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Eschatology Issues LXXII

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Question #1:

Morning Dr. Luginbill,

I just had a quick question about Hebrews 9:24 that has been on my mind intermittently over the past few months, that is, where it says in Hebrews 9:24b “...but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”. How did the heavenly things become corrupted by the sin of man that would require they be cleansed by the better sacrifices, presumably the blood of Christ? How did man’s sin corrupt the heavenly temple?


Response #1:

The "heavenly things" at Hebrews 9:23-24 are referring to the "real things" as opposed to the "copies" which represent them. Before the cross, the "problem" for us in heaven was the justice of God. God's justice demanded propitiation for all sin before mankind could be saved – those of us willing to be, that is. Sin was the problem, the obstacle between us and God, the barrier dividing us from Him and thus condemning us to the lake of fire . . . absent a Savior. So Jesus had to "cleanse" that problem out of the way. The blood of Christ, His payment for sin, is symbolically represented by animal sacrifice on earth, and the furniture of the tabernacle on earth and the tabernacle itself are symbolic representations of greater heavenly, spiritual realities. They demonstrate that without blood – which in the heavenly, spiritual reality means Christ's sacrifice for all sin – there is no way anyone could enter heaven (the tabernacle representing access to the presence of God). But now that sin has been paid for, we who have been cleansed, we have been made righteous, justified "by faith", have the right to stand before the Lord on that Day . . .

. . . being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:24-26 NKJV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Dr. Luginbill,

I have some questions that probably fall into the category of Psalm 131 "matters too great or things too difficult for me to understand." I am going to ask your opinion of these things, but suspect that you will have to answer my questions by explaining that God did not give us the specific details about those things in scripture.

Question #1: Once we have been resurrected we will no longer have a sin nature and will no longer be tempted to sin or rebel against God. How does that work with free will? Will we still have a free will once we have been resurrected? Is there even such a thing as free will if there is no ability to rebel (to choose differently than what would be God's will)? Or would we have the wisdom and understanding that would make us abhor even the idea of choosing differently? Would understanding the full cost to God for our salvation be a strong enough motivation to ensure that we would never ever choose to rebel even though we could? Could the fact that we have experienced the consequences of sin on the earth result in a strong abhorrence of anything that would displease God who loved us enough to sacrifice His only Son to pay the price to redeem us from the consequences of sin? That understanding and experience doesn't seem to have prevented the fallen angels from continuing to rebel.

Question #2: The angels were created with a free will (but evidently with no sin nature) and some chose to rebel. Satan was tempted by pride and rebelled. What would keep us from doing the same thing? Did the fallen angels receive a sin nature once they chose to rebel? And since they chose to rebel with full knowledge (unlike man who was born with a sin nature and did not consciously make that choice) did that make them irredeemable? (I understand that the fallen angels revealed their lack of repentance or desire to be redeemed by trying to kill mankind rather than trying to help them.) Will the nature of angels change in the new heavens and the new earth? If not, how could God ensure that no angel will ever again choose to rebel?

Pardon my questioning nature. Thank you for all you do, and may Christ continue to be honored.

Response #2:

Always good to hear from you, my friend. As to your questions:

There will be a tree of life in New Jerusalem; but there won't be a tree of knowing good and evil. "History", time, the seven thousand years (following the time the angels had before the blacking out of the universe and its reformation on the other side of the Genesis gap) is the "threshing floor time", the time when creatures made with the image of God choose their eternal future, sorting themselves out according to the perfect plan of God. There is only light in the new heavens and new earth, and no further possibility of darkness ever again.

In eternity, all angels with a proclivity to rebel have done so and been consigned to the lake of fire; all angels determined to stay loyal have made that decision and had it confirmed over many eons; all human beings who were unwilling to submit to God by accepting His Gift have likewise been condemned and removed from having any part in His new creation; all of us who rejoice to be saved have been saved and that salvation has, at that point, passed from positional and experiential to ultimate and unchangeable, never to be taken away – impossible that it could be taken away.

The resurrection is forever. And there is no further "test" of free will in eternity. We are still us; we still have the image of God; but the war is over . . . forever. In eternity we will be not only "able not to sin" but "not able to sin". No one will want to, human or angel, and no one would be able to in any case.

God could have made us and our situation like that from the beginning in theory but not in fact. The plan of God, being the one and only possible perfect plan, demonstrates that the perfect set of creatures given free will had to result in some choosing against Him. So in the counterfactual, we wouldn't be "us". It had to be the way it was in time to determine who was willing to live with God forever on His terms, but eternity will be untouchably "solid state" in regard to our status and the status of the elect angels.

So we have nothing at all to worry about in this regard. All that will be SO very clear the instant we find ourselves in resurrection bodies; it's only now in these bodies of sin that such concerns can even occur to us as possible (they are not possible).

So I, for one, am very much looking forward to eternity! We don't know the half of the wonders of it yet – not even close. But it is good and right for us to motivate ourselves to keep fighting the fight in hopes of a good reward therein, one that glorifies the Lord who went to the cross to make that glorious future possible.

In Jesus our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Are you Arminian?

Response #3:

Haven't heard from you for a while, my friend. Hope you and your family are doing well.

To answer your question, I don't believe either hyper-Calvinism or hyper-Arminianism have it right. God decreed all things, knowing just how we would decide on every occasion. The decrees don't prohibit free will; rather they enable it. For more on this (in lots of detail), please see the link: BB 4B: Soteriology. And here's link to a shorthand version published recently too (see Q/A #1).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hello Bob,

I am sorry to have to bother you again and I am cognisant of the fact that it is your summer holiday, so I hope this won’t be too much of an imposition.

A very dear friend of mine sent me an email telling me that she had read a book called “The Road Back” an Enneagram journey. Her purpose in telling me about this was that she is studying this stuff and growing spiritually and wanted me to benefit from this as well. After flattening the hair that had stood up on the back of my neck, I was tempted to just ignore this but they are very dear Christian friends who live, work and minister to the poor in Guatemala and they are the most altruistic family I know. We spent time with them in Guatemala and observed the work they do there and they are only minimally funded. Also ex South Africans so we have a special bond.

All this to say that instead of dismissing this out of hand I did a bit of research and am convinced that this is New Age garbage. I’m not sure if you even know what this stuff is but suffice to say, I wrote back quoting 1John 4:1 and gently said that I thought she was being led astray by a false gospel and should not pursue this.

She was appreciative of my input but then sent me a long article purporting to prove that religious articles against the Enneagram have been proved false and that she has seen so much fruit in the lives of friends that have embarked on this journey.

I wanted to say that if she is looking for evidence of fruit, the bible clearly indicates how this is so and that she should rather read the Word than waste time on this stuff but I know her and she genuinely wants to keep having a close relationship with the Lord and grow in the faith.

She is not offended with me being direct and I have such a strong feeling about this.
Can you offer some other advice that I could pass on to her other than what I’ve already said?
Ephesians 4:14 comes to mind but I am dismayed that such a committed Christian can be so misled...

Sorry Bob, I must be your number one nuisance with my questions.

We do not belong to a church here, having tried them all, so you are my go to person for Christian advice.

God bless you and your work,

Response #4:

Not at all! It's always great to hear from you.

Pop psychology is always producing best sellers. I remember a hot one when I was in college, "I'm OK, you're OK", which reduced human behavior to "transactional analysis" (i.e., I say hello to you with the expectation that you'll say hello back, etc.); and another one "Organization Man", which attempted to find corporate behavior patterns modeled in early human hunter-gather behavior. All these sorts of things have a germ of truth in that they express in a new way things that are obvious but not necessarily obviously realized. They are usually only problematic if people take them seriously.

In terms of the "enneagram", my first reaction was to wonder if there is much difference between this and astrology. The main difference would seem to be that one can figure out "one's sign" by one's birthday; for the enneagram one has to take a test. Psychology has all manner of such tests as well for other rubrics (equally pointless in my personal estimation). As with astrology, each of these categories is general enough and plastic enough in its application to be able to fit all manner of people – and to allow people to fit themselves into it, that is, whichever category they've been born (or tested) into.

This sort of thing goes back a long way. Greek and Roman comedy thrived off of presenting stock characters, and in the fourth century, one of Aristotle's pupil's, Theophrastus, wrote a work called "Characters" in which he delineated thirty "types" of undesirable Athenian sorts. The difference between this and the Enneagram and astrology approach is that the latter focus on positives, stroking egos in order to win people over to their systems. It's very tempting to human arrogance to be told that without any work or effort you just "are" this "type" . . . and therefore fall heir to all of that type's positive characteristics. Sort of like being born a Colonel without having to work your way up through the ranks.

There are many Christian books that verge in this direction too – in fact, of course, whether the "Power of Positive Thinking" or "The Purpose Filled Life", or any manner of other putatively Christian works, the idea is always to present an entertaining model into which anyone can fit themselves with little effort and then feel good about themselves (without doing much of anything in fact). It's not fiction. It's worse than fiction because it purports to be true.

The Bible, by way of starkest contrast, is filled with commands to think and do and say what is right – and when reading scripture we always become keenly aware of how SHORT we fall. So that we are motivated NOT to feel good about ourselves automatically, but rather to tighten up our behavior and begin doing what the Lord wants us to do. E.g., one of literally hundreds if not thousands of examples:

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
1st Peter 3:8-9 NKJV

And unlike psychology or astrology, these directives are for EVERY believer – regardless of birthday or what category the test sorted you out into.

People like to escape from reality. Why not? Reality stinks . . . except for Christians who understand why we are here and what we are gaining in spite of all the trouble: eternal life and a good reward, for those who are doing what the Lord called us to do in denying ourselves, picking up our crosses, and following Him in spiritual growth, progress and production.

So to the extent that getting "into" something like this is a just a tick which isn't taken very seriously (like reading a novel or watching a movie), while it's not spiritually profitable, it's unlikely to swamp one's faith. But to the extent that a person really buys into any system of lies, that is very spiritually dangerous. Because we know who is at the source of all lies. In truth, regardless of the inclinations of our sin natures and the variations of our personalities, we are not "this type" or "that type" by cosmic decree; rather, by the Decree of God Almighty we have been given free will, the very image of God, and the right to determine our eternal future (by accepting or rejecting the Gift of gifts) and something of the texture thereof (by running a good race for Him . . . or not). We are not predetermined to failure or success; God has predetermined that we have the right to choose to obey the truth . . . or not.

There is a good deal about "new age-ism" in some of the more recent versions of "Eschatology Issues" in the weekly email postings at Ichthys (it's scattered here and there, I admit).

I promise to say a prayer for your friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Thank you Bob, as always.

I will try to dissuade her but ultimately it’s her choice and her responsibility.

Response #5:

That's right. It's a fact that when people become disinterested in the truth they always go after some substitute or another.

About the only good thing I can say about the enneagram thing is that NOW I have a word in common usage with the Greek prefix meaning "nine" (ennea). This has always been a problem teaching the numbers. Plenty of words from the other 1-10 numbers, but Plotinus' Enneads was the only word I could think of for nine. So thanks for this!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Dear Teacher

Have you been well, Sir?

I have been trying to keep my head above water spiritually. God has been kind to me and helping me with that.

I've moved into my new place. It is still quite bare of furniture, but I am hoping to change that soon. I am praying to get a new project to work on this month that can pay me well enough to make some changes in that regard.

In the meantime, the Lord has been kind to me so that I have been able to change the locks on my front and back doors at least. That has been a huge help in securing the place. Only after moving in am I hearing that the neighborhood has recently become a target for armed robbers and kidnappers. I did ask about the security situation, but, of course, the agents said what they needed to to encourage me to take the place so that they could get paid.

I've just finished a new installment that I planned to get to you much sooner. I'm happy to have finished it finally. I hope that I can get back to producing them weekly again. It is a joy to be able to do that.

Keeping you in our prayers.

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #6:

The installment is excellent! I will paste in the entire thing when I do my next email posting.

I continue to be appalled at the dangers of living in your country. Of course mine, although it's not at the same point yet, it certainly is headed in the same direction.

Life is filled with aggravations. But while unbelievers worry about them, that is one thing believers do not have to do. We understand that God is with us and that His plan is perfect and that all of this has been foreordained – to work out for good for us in every way. The Lord is in us and has never ever let us down, even if we've been aggravated from time to time. That is part of testing that lets us see where we are spiritually and helps us to grow too if we are willing to trust Him to see us through the bumpy parts of the road.

I keep you and your families in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Dear Teacher

That would be amazing, Sir. I certainly can't take credit for any of this. I am very happy that I have this production, but when I consider how they came about, I know that it is all the Lord and not me because pretty much all the time now, I just feel too harried to stay on target spiritually.

Thank you also for the encouragement. I am starting to try to open up to the possibility of moving to another country, but I don't like that option at all. If we were not facing the potential of another war here, I would not even bother anymore. Besides, I wonder just how soon such an option would even work out. I'm not even sure what country I would want us to go to. I would rather avoid all countries with such a wild Leftist bent. That seems to me to pretty much close out everywhere in the West except the US. I decided to stop trying to leave and try to build what life we can here unless a migration opportunity presents itself. It really is exhausting pushing at something so unyielding.

I am working on keeping my mind focused on God's absolute sufficiency in all things. However things turn out, I know that He can protect us from harm and provide us with all that we need. If He chooses not to do either, then if we die, we end up with Him in a perfect state of existence waiting for resurrection with the rest of the Church. It's a true win-win. The trick, of course, is to remember this at all times.

Thank you for your prayers for us, Sir. Ever since the latest round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, I have had my ears pretty much pointed at news from your country and understanding the politics there. I started to feel the sense of despair too, but I have been taking refuge in the Lord and His coming deliverance of the world from all the madness gripping it. What a trap it is to have to deal with people like the Leftist Democrats in positions of power! What an annoyance to endure. The more I listen to the news from PBS or Bloomberg even or from Fox News, the more I understand why watching the news in the US is so hard for believers. Here in Nigeria, the difficulty with the news is that it is filled with horrifying stories: attacked villages, kidnapped schoolchildren, wars on the streets between security forces and criminal elements and between rival gangs. For you, it is people spouting obviously ridiculous rhetoric in the corridors of power and doing so with the blessing of fellow citizens. There is a sense of frustration that comes from that. We pray for your own peace here too.

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #7:

Yes, the world as a whole is a mess, and there isn't a lot of time left in my personal estimation. What you say makes sense. I'm praying for your success.

These are difficult times, and there is a great deal of incoming "flak" designed to keep believers from running good races. With so many stumbling blocks being cast in our way it's not uncommon to lose a bit of balance from time to time. The thing is to keep pushing forward regardless, and not let a little stumble escalate into a great fall. We keep moving forward and forget about what's behind. And before you know it, we have something good to put before the Lord – like your latest installment (posted below).

"The trick, of course, is to remember this at all times." Very true! The fight to retain our day by day, moment by moment "Sabbath rest" is not an easy one, but a very necessary one. When we are letting God do it – by working hard in true humility, understanding that He is the One giving us all means and good results – things go fine even when they are not going fine; but when we forget that and become worried, anxious and start sacrificing spiritual priorities, things start to go sour even before they actually get sour.

I would definitely NOT watch the news if I lived in your country.

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

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.
p.s., here is the installment [also posted on this page with more of our friend's work at the link]:

The Knowledge of God—Creation and Human Nature

Let us begin at the beginning then.

The Nature of Creation

God, by definition, is not part of the universe that He created. In fact, common sense makes it clear that a thing cannot also be part of the thing that it produces. It must be distinct from it. This does raise the question of how we are sure that the universe had a producer outside of itself.

Obviously, we cannot claim that the universe made itself. That would be absurd. Also, it does not exactly help to think that the universe is the production of an infinite chain of universes outside of itself. This argument still needs an explanation for how the first universe in the chain came to exist in the first place. If there is no first universe in this infinite chain, on the other hand, then how does anything exist at all? We also cannot pretend ignorance as to how the universe came to exist because if something exists, there are only two ways to explain its existence: Either it has always existed or something outside of it made it.

The real question then is whether the universe has always existed or whether something outside of itself made it.

How can we hope to find an answer to this? It should be obvious to us from the foregoing that we cannot expect to find a meaningful answer by mere philosophy. We have to approach the question realistically. Perhaps there is some philosophical merit to an infinite regress, but there is no real merit to it otherwise. We DO have the physical universe around us. We DO have a working intellect. What do we perceive then in the world around us? What does the evidence of our own eyes, ears, and hands tell us?

If it tells us nothing, surely it tells us that the universe changes all the time. It is stable enough to have a discernible definition, but it does change in quality. We need not go so far as to explore all the worlds far away from us; we can judge from the planet on which we live. At this very moment, we are inundated with news about climate change at least. In our own lifetimes, we do see things change around us. Whether through accumulated human activity over several centuries or millennia or through natural processes independent of human activity, we do see much change. Deserts form. Lakes form and disappear. Whole rivers dry up. Whole species disappear. Even those atheistic academics believe that our planet has gone through multiple ages, eras, or epochs defined by great change[1] even if their ideas of these changes are also atheistic. That is, in the end, we all agree that the universe is subject to change. It is in its very nature to change.

What does this mean? Well, why do things change? In our collective human experience, unless the change in an entity is brought about by a conscious choice of its own, it is inflicted upon the entity by some external entity or phenomenon. Proceeding from the former, if the change is brought about by its own conscious choice, why would it choose to change if the change is not in pursuit of perfection? A perfect entity cannot become more perfect. It can only become imperfect. Why then would the universe choose to change—if it does possess the ability to make choices—if it were already perfect? Common sense says that it would not choose to change if it was already perfect and conscious of its own perfection unless of course itself or something outside itself persuaded it that it was not perfect.

From this reasoning, we know that change already proves that the universe is not perfect even if we allowed that it is sentient. That is already enough proof that it cannot be God. But to be clear how it is, we only need to remember that God is necessarily perfect. Whatever is truly God cannot be less than perfect. Therefore, it would not be changing in pursuit of perfection.

Proceeding from the latter, on the other hand, if we erase the idea that the universe as a thing possesses free will (because it obviously doesn’t), then, obviously, the change is being inflicted upon it by something outside of it. Interestingly, this is pretty much what the Bible itself says (cf. Job 38-41).

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Romans 8:20-21 (NKJV)

12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
And caused the dawn to know its place,
13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,
And the wicked be shaken out of it?
14 It takes on form like clay under a seal,
And stands out like a garment.
15 From the wicked their light is withheld,
And the upraised arm is broken.
Job 38:12-15 (NKJV)

If then we agree that the changes that the universe experiences are due to the exertion of an external will, then the universe cannot be God. It is subject to whatever changes it. This is what the Bible teaches too.

The conclusion then is that the most obvious thing that we can hear creation saying is that it is not itself God. It can’t be since it is neither perfect nor sentient. A true God would necessarily possess both qualities. This can also be understood to mean that the universe presents as proof that there is something outside of it that is responsible for its existence.

As we can see from all the foregoing, this is where common sense reasoning brings us. One need not read the Bible to come to this conclusion. One need only be honest in one’s appraisal of apparent reality. However, this is also where any honest reading of the bible brings us (Genesis 1:1; Job 38-41; Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:20; Revelation 4:11). Everything that exists points to something outside of this universe as the reason that it does.

Natural Revelation

The above is part of what is called “natural revelation.” That is, this is information that God has supernaturally provided to all human beings without using any special tools or means such as visions, dreams, or prophets. No matter what anyone believes or prefers to believe, no matter where they are or what they care about, all of us have the same access to the world around us and all of us possess the natural human qualities that enable us to draw this conclusion that there is a God who made all things.

This is why the Bible says,

1 The fool has said in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.
Psalms 14:1 (NKJV) (cf. Psalm 53:1)

That is to say that there is no more natural conclusion to draw from anything than the conclusion of God’s existence from the evidence of the universe around us. The rejection of the clear implication of all that evidence is like the greatest foolishness that anyone can display no matter how “wise” or smart they prove in any other endeavor.

However, we can easily see that if this God is good, then it only follows that He will tell us enough about Himself from the same creation to give us good reason to seek to know Him. That is, being creatures with free will and such limited capacity to apprehend reality fully, the knowledge of God’s existence may not in and of itself be sufficient to get any of us to go seeking after God. We may say, “God exists, so what?” On the other hand, the knowledge of His existence might terrify us into trying to get as far away from Him as we can.

Beyond the bare fact of His existence, the universe tells us about God’s character. That is, it not only tells us that He exists, but it also tells us what kind of person He is and therefore what we can expect of Him (Acts 14:17; 17:24-31).

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
Romans 1:20 (NKJV)

7 “But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
And the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
8 Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you;
And the fish of the sea will explain to you.
9 Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
11 Does not the ear test words
And the mouth taste its food?
12 Wisdom is with aged men,
And with length of days, understanding.
13 “With Him are wisdom and strength,
He has counsel and understanding.
14 If He breaks a thing down, it cannot be rebuilt;
If He imprisons a man, there can be no release.
15 If He withholds the waters, they dry up;
If He sends them out, they overwhelm the earth.
16 With Him are strength and prudence.
The deceived and the deceiver are His.
17 He leads counselors away plundered,
And makes fools of the judges.
18 He loosens the bonds of kings,
And binds their waist with a belt.
19 He leads princes away plundered,
And overthrows the mighty.
20 He deprives the trusted ones of speech,
And takes away the discernment of the elders.
21 He pours contempt on princes,
And disarms the mighty.
22 He uncovers deep things out of darkness,
And brings the shadow of death to light.
23 He makes nations great, and destroys them;
He enlarges nations, and guides them.
24 He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth,
And makes them wander in a pathless wilderness.
25 They grope in the dark without light,
And He makes them stagger like a drunken man.
Job 12:7-25 (NKJV)

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
2 Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
5 Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
6 Its rising is from one end of heaven,
And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
Psalms 19:1-11 (NKJV)

As we can see from the passage in Job above, the power of God can be terrifying to contemplate. If that were all that the Lord left us with, we would be unable to live life in this world.

Without doubt, God is to be feared. Any power that can make the universe that we see every day is not to be taken lightly. It is good to be aware of this because it should ordinarily humble us so that we will not endanger ourselves through recklessness in dealing with the God to whom we must answer. But that is not all that God has left for us in the universe.

The universe also witnesses to the goodness and graciousness of God, to His generosity and mercy, to His love and kindness, to His joy in forgiving sinners, and to His patience with His enemies. The passages in Acts referenced above speak to this. Despite the antagonism or just plain ignorance of men displayed toward Him, God is still gracious in providing sustenance for all people everywhere so that everyone has ample opportunity to seek Him and find Him and avail themselves of His mercy.

The universe shows this to us through the provisions that are constantly made available to us through it. As Paul and Barnabas put it in Acts 14 and as our Lord Jesus Himself put it in Matthew 5:45, God provides all that we need to live in this world. Whether it is the shining of the sun that puts gladness in our hearts, or it is the rain that gives us food for sustenance, He does not withhold His hand even from His enemies.

Whether any given person or nation believes the Bible or not, this is always the case even for them. No one need be good in order to benefit from the natural blessings that God bestows on all mankind. Everyone is provided with the good things of this life in some measure. We may not always appreciate what we have or be content with it, but we do have what we need. The world is filled with witnesses of God’s love and kindness so that we are not terrified by His power that is displayed in the magnificent and awe-inspiring creation that surrounds us.

This is all to say that the universe around us is filled with a sufficient and proper introduction to God that does not overwhelm us with dread or leave us without sufficient impression to cause us to have at least a thought about Him.

This is not all, however. If the universe outside of us is designed to tell us about God, what about us? What makes us able to hear what they say? The witness of creation around us would be meaningless if we could not perceive it. Another way to put this is: Is everyone able to perceive this witness?

The Witness of Human Conscience

Acts 14:17 and Acts 17:26-27 make clear that everyone of us can perceive this witness. How is this possible? Why are we all in this same boat? Why can it not be argued, as some atheists would, that some of us are privileged to perceive this witness of creation about God and others are not? The following passage in Romans 2 offers the answer.

14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them
Romans 2:14-15 (NKJV)

That is to say that God put something inside of us that makes us able to recognize His signature in the world around us. We call it a conscience, and Paul calls it “the work of the law written in [our] hearts.” We can perceive morality, that is, we can tell the goodness and badness of things in a moral sense. Thus, we can perceive moral character. Therefore, we can perceive God’s character in His works.

A God who filled the universe with pleasurable experiences despite the difficulties and pains of life has to be a good God. A God who has such absolute power and does not have to take the insolence of His creatures but does anyway must be a merciful God. A God who is powerful enough to create such a pervasive universe and must therefore have an irresistible appearance but who hides Himself (Isaiah 45:15) must be a God who values the free will choices of His moral creatures. These are common sense judgments that any human being capable of reason can make from contemplating the universe around us.

Because we can contemplate, think, consider the world around us, and because we have an innate moral compass that enables us to perceive moral character, we can learn plenty about God from the universe around us. We may not learn His specific identity, but we will learn of His existence and His character from creation.

But what would even lead us to contemplating the world around us? Why would we be bothered to find out what creation might be about?

Eternity and the Testimony of Death

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)

By nature, human beings don’t look forward to the termination of life. We naturally want an eternal existence. This is a natural longing for all human beings. Beyond this, there is also a large yearning in the hearts of human beings for an experience bigger than this temporary life we have here. We see this play out in all the efforts we make to immortalize ourselves in one way or another.

Death, therefore, is not a welcome experience for human beings in general. We don’t want to die. We want to live forever and to have experiences that last forever and fill us up in every way.

This, however, is not what we actually experience. What we get rather is a truncation of the meager existence that we manage here on earth. Nothing says more emphatically how little control we have over anything than the reality of death that can happen at any moment to us despite what we do to avoid it.

Not long after any of us comes into this world, we realize that death is not “right.” That realization is what drives us to think about our time in this world and what our lives mean.

In pursuing meaning (the drive of eternity in our hearts), we begin to listen to the world around us and to consider what it says in light of the law written in our hearts. If we are honest, this contemplation will naturally lead us to the truth of God’s existence, of His power, and of His basic goodness to us.

This introduction to Him is what prepares us to start exploring the question of His identity, a matter that falls outside of the purview of natural revelation.

[1] NASA & Chaisson, E. J. (2004, August 6). Three eras of cosmic evolution. In John Billingham (Ed.), Life in the universe. National Aeronautic and Space Administration. Retrieved May 22, 2021, from https://history.nasa.gov/CP-2156/ch0.htm 

Question #8:

Hi Dr L,

How are you doing? I am alright. Still on Anabasis. I like this type of story. A lot of modern stories make it like the main characters are indestructible and will always win if they just try hard enough. In the real world 'time and chance happen to all'.

Anyway, I was reading the part of the OT where the Canaanites tricked the Israelites into making a contract. And it occurred to me that we have this idea now in the law that if you mislead those you make a contract with, the contract can sometimes be declared void. If I were transported to a situation with superficial differences and not thinking of the OT, and found out the person I had made a contract with lied/acted fraudulently, I would point to that they lied and say 'I am not bound to this because you misled me, in my country that is illegal (depending on the exact circumstances)' Are we modern people wrong? What do you think?

Response #8:

Hope your "short week" is going well (they sometimes seem to be longer than the regular ones!).

Good point about fiction: authors can manipulate reality however they wish, but that is, of course, a lie. People "get away" with risky behavior in fiction. Reality is different. Even if a person "gets away" with a lot, it's only because the Lord allowed it for His own purposes, and for those who are saved and should be walking with Him, His tolerance is much lower, in my observation and experience.

Contracts between people are one thing; biblical covenants are another – and swearing an oath to God is something entirely different. It's not a question of the "why?" If someone swears an oath to the Lord under the Law, that is the end of the matter. Failing to carry it out brought dire consequences, so much so that even extreme oaths were often kept (cf. Jephthah and his daughter). If you swore an oath to the Lord, no matter that you acted hastily and in an ill-considered way, you HAD to carry it out, and no protestations of the oath being a "mistake" would get you out of it, not in the Lord's eyes (Num.30:2). About the only exceptions I can think of are the ones made for women under authority whereby the father or husband could negate a daughter or a wife's oath – but only if he acted swiftly (Num.30:3-16). So oath-swearing was/is a serious business, much more so than making a contract with a human being . . . because one is committing oneself to the Lord to do as promised. That is why, no doubt, our Lord gave us this directive:

"Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one."
Matthew 5:33-37 NKJV


But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.
James 5:12 NKJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Sometimes I do feel God has kept me safe from things around me. I don't hang my life on marriage, despite all the romance novels (lol). The main bit I hang my life on is my relationship with God and works He has given me to do (like praying).

I see what you are saying on the oath swearing thing. Can I also ask: when if someone when younger promised God something but hasn't kept it, should they go back to keeping it, do you think?

Response #9:

"The main bit I hang my life on is my relationship with God" Amen! People who are not in marriages tend to think of marriage as the magic solution – and people who are married sometimes feel that if only they could get OUT of their marriage everything would be great.

The oaths we were discussing have to do with the Mosaic Law which was fulfilled (and abrogated) by the cross. So I wouldn't worry about the dim past. After all, our God is a God of great mercy and forgiveness . . . in case we have done or said something in the past that still bothers us. We were forgiven when we confessed the first time. I think all believers have a tendency to be capable of being upset by some things they did/said in the past – but not at all by other things, even though all sin is sin in God's book. And all sin was taken away by Christ, and all sin is forgiven when we confess.

I think the Lord understands the circumstances. I don't consider Him to be a stern and unyielding accountant; I rejoice in the mercy and love and forgiveness of the Lord always! And always counsel others to do the same. What's past is past. We are supposed to be moving forward, forgetting everything that lies behind.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Ezekiel wrote it
The message made clear
To the watchman ,
Who sees the sword brought near
Sound a warning, blow the trumpet loud
To all that will hear
So I stand my watch alone
Without staff or a stone
Stay awake on duty
Don't be slack
Be not afraid watchman
A spirit has your back
You were made a watchman for the house
Warn them for me
That word came from His mouth.

Ezekiel 33:1-11

Response #10:

Very nice!

We've all been given responsibilities from the Lord, varying according to our gifts and circumstances. We certainly all need to be diligent about carrying them out day by day.

"He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it."
Luke 19:16 NIV

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
2nd Corinthians 5:10 NIV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Brother Bob:

Praise The Lord.

I hope and believe this email finds you well. Its been a while since I have written to you. I basically did not want to distress you with my situation.

Thank you for your prayers! We are still eating three meals a day with no stable income. Meanwhile, many of my friends and their extended family have succumbed to the Covid plague in my hometown. Thankfully, The Lord has mercifully kept us alive and well. I have some side projects that offer some hope of bringing home some money soon God Willing.

I have not heard from my mother who is living alone in Coimbatore city as she hung up on me the last time I called her about three months ago. We keep her in our daily prayers. I am unsure if my mother is saved. Please pray for her salvation and change of heart from her bitterness as she is nearing 70 and is in the center of the Covid Hotspot.

The family is doing okay except for some physical weakness secondary to chronic anemia. Thank you kindly for your concern and for leaving our prayer request up on the Ichthys website. I just started reading this week's email posting and stopped to write you an email. I started doodling on my design software and suddenly was prompted to start on an e-book project and guess what I caught my attention? The Peter's series. I just finished the cover and a section of the intro and thought I'd send you the prototype to know whether you like it. Please have a look at the attachment in pdf format. Nothing fancy or eyecandy material though just basic stuff. Do you approve of this project brother?

Praying for you and your family and The Ministry. All say hello and send you their love.

In Christ our All,

Response #11:

I'm happy to hear that the Lord is preserving you and yours, my friend. I assure you that I pray for you and your family and your situation every day. I will add your mother to my list, as well as the other family health concerns. God is good – I know He won't let you down, even though you are having to endure quite a test.

On the attachment, it looks wonderful! You're quite skillful! I don't know what I'd be able to do with such nice artwork, however. I've got no plans to move things into print, and I've been trying to keep the e-materials minimalist for a variety of reasons. I do appreciate you thinking of me though!

My best to your wife and children as well!

Hoping you'll have some really good news for me soon, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Dear Brother Bob:

Thank you for writing me back in less than a heartbeat! & A Big Big Thank you for your faithful continued prayers for my family! I certainly am confident that our Dear Lord Will See us through. Thank you for your kind remarks on the ebook design. I appreciate your feedback. I know your website is minimalist, but I thought it would be nice to offer it as a full color e-book that folks can download from your website in pdf format. You don't have to worry about print ever. I can find a way to compress it, but it sure is a lot of work to get all the 34 studies in. Maybe I would just use it to offer my friends as a free gift over the mail or whatsapp sometime. I want to translate the series in my mother tongue Tamil; so yes it's a double bill of sorts! Either way, I will let you know when I get around to finishing it in two or three volumes by God's Grace. I will discuss the disclaimer and other things when I get through the copying work. I don't have a definite timeline for this. Please keep this project in your prayers.

Everyone says thank you and love you and they are praying for you personally.

I sure hope to bring you good news soon as The Lord Graciously Allows

You have a wonderful day ahead brother.

In Jesus our Lord and Savior,

Response #12:

You're most welcome, my friend! I always draw great encouragement from your steadfastness and positive attitude in the face of such great pressures. That is a testimony to your faith.

I didn't realize that you were translating these materials into Tamil! I absolutely support that (format them however you would like); I'd be happy to give them a page on Ichthys too!

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

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Dear Brother,

Thank you again. I am just a weakling in the Lord's Camp but I know it is good for me, I am determined to fight the Good Fight of faith and yes I am looking forward to some rewards however small. I have your prayers and able leadership and you are an inspiration to not just myself but to millions around the world. God Bless Your Heart and All You Do for Us.

Thank you for your generosity and kind offers. I hope to deliver soon.

You have a wonderful day ahead.

In Jesus our ALL,

Response #13:

It's me who should thank you for taking on such a project! Translation is a difficult enterprise in ways that only those who've seriously engaged in it can appreciate.

"to millions" – would that this were true. I'll settle for a lot less as long as on the list are all that the Lord meant for these materials to get to. As a friend of mine who spent a decade working on an academic book reported to me after a year or so of publication, "It's sold dozens of copies!"

A good friend observes that fewer and fewer Christians are getting excited about the Word or persevering in their commitments and obligations to study it faithfully. I'm seeing the same thing – Ichthys numbers continue to decline. But I'll keep at this as long as the Lord has a single fellow believer He wants helped by this ministry.

We are grateful for each one – each person saved and each believer moving forward spiritually, that is.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob and family,

I couldn’t help but feel for the lady who gave a heartfelt testimony – Q & A #24 in last Saturdays postings. Perhaps she might find comfort in Romans 11: 22, 23 which says:

Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
Romans 11: 22, 23

I think that verse is of beautiful encouragement and forgiveness to all who may be struggling and while there is life, there is also hope. Even every unbeliever’s life can be turned around. It is also an encouragement to the sinner, that there is no sin that He won’t forgive if we come to Him broken to be mended. And who can say they are without sin?

If only more would stop and think how close the hour it is when time will come to an end – and not just time. And no-one knows when our own ‘last day’ is.

Hoping more will find Ichthys.

Again as always my dear friend,

Response #14:

An excellent verse and right to the point on this! I'll copy her on this email.

"If only more would stop and think how close the hour it is when time will come to an end – and not just time. And no-one knows when our own ‘last day’ is." Amen, my friend! That is so true. And for those of us who are walking with the Lord, it's a comfort in fact.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Bob,
Thank you so much for sending me the email from our friend. His words were such an encouragement to me and the scripture from Romans gave great comfort to my heart. I am very appreciative. May our Lord Jesus Christ bless him for the blessing he gave me in the email. And again I am so thankful God led me to your Bible Studies, this has helped me to press on through the adversities I have been experiencing in my life. In our Savior Jesus,

Response #15:

I'm very happy to hear it!

Thanks for letting me know, my friend.

I'll be keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Bob,

Thank you so much for sending me our friend's response to your sending her my concerns. It means a lot to me as I’m sure you are aware – it makes me more determined to be a help to others in whatever way I can.

Those verses, as well as many others have been such an encouragement over the years and I can’t help but think of how we all go through testing times. And for some, those adversities impact some more than others – we’ve all heard the awfulness that many have endured, which makes you realise there’s always someone worse off.

But even in those adversities if we just continue to keep our focus on Jesus, who will bind all our wounds on that day of days.

Again thank you my friend,

Response #16:

You're most welcome!

It is a blessing whenever we can be of help to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Mutual encouragement is, for example, what the command "not to neglect coming together" is all about in Hebrews 10:25 (not just showing up some where for the sake of showing up, as if that meant anything to anyone).

Indeed – all that is to come is blessed beyond present understanding! We have every reason for hope and joy – and peace in the interim.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hello Prof,

It has been a long time, my Brother. I am just fine; I do hope and pray always that the Lord keeps you safe and healthy. I continue to benefit greatly from your ministry. And from Curt's Bible Academy [link] and all the other brothers' ministries as well. I thank God always for all of you, my brethren.

I have been going through Peter #34; I have noticed a typo(?).

I am doing a translation of Peter #34; I will, as usual, send the translation to you once its done.

My life continues to be a mixture of work, study, persecution (sometimes so intense!), ministry, some good times the Lord puts in between the rough times. But now I have become used to this cycle, thanks to your teaching, my Brother. God bless you, sir.

In Jesus our King,

Response #17:

Good to hear from you!

I'm excited to hear that you're in the process of translating Peter #34 – good for you!

Thanks for catching the typo.

I'm sorry to hear that you are still suffering persecution for your embracing of the truth, my friend. I do keep you in my prayers daily and will add this to my list.

Hoping to hear word of your complete deliverance very soon!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

[concerns about catching Covid omitted]

Response #18:

Be strong and courageous.

Trust the Lord.

He will never let you down or desert you.

He will hide you under the shadow of his wings.

Since you are doing what you feel He wants you to do, you have absolutely nothing to fear.

And if the worst that can happen is that He takes us home early, then we really do have nothing to worry about.

Psalm 91

Put it all in God’s hands, be a good witness, and try to enjoy your vacation.

I’m keeping you, your family, and your friend in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hello Bob,

I've just found something extra out about my old friend who has become a highly successful [omitted]. I realise how free I am in Christ! I am even now praying to keep earthly success away from me as I know it is a trap. I would rather be a nobody in Jesus than a somebody in
Satan. Is it worth writing to him to warn him? I am praying for him.

I am going for a holiday with my family tomorrow to the Lake District for a week. Please pray for the family concerns I've mentioned too.

I've realised how hard it is to balance spiritual growth with regular life commitments. I seem to fall into a habit of spending time on one and completely neglecting the other. The balance is never right. Also when I am doing my regular day to day commitments, I find that under stress I lapse back. I haven't got to that stage where I am living my faith walk all day long. I feel as though I put my walk on hold, fall into the flesh when stressed, confess and then carry on the walk. I also realise how hard it is to navigate the day to day life of getting things done without being "of the world" again.

Thanks again my friend.

Response #19:

I'll be keeping your family and friends in my prayers (thanks in advance for keeping me in the loop).

On your friend, I'm not sure that anyone in such a situation is going to be reached by a personal appeal. People who are in that deep generally need an intervention all right, but one that comes from the Lord in an unmistakable way – I know I personally did. We can certainly pray for him.

On the other issue you mention, I think everyone has trouble with the discipline of balance. Modern life is very hectic and demanding. Believers have to learn to keep most of the areas that compete with what's really important behind them, even as we do have to keep dragging them along, not looking back as we "plow forward" for Jesus Christ (Lk.9:62). That, of course, is much easier said than done. Part of doing so effectively is keeping the priorities straight in one's heart, holding onto the mental and emotional "high ground" of understanding that everything down here is temporary and ephemeral, and that all that is to come is what's really important, our Lord's assessment of our performance on "that day".

Of course, devoting more time and energy to Bible study from a good source, Bible reading, and the things we should be doing for our brothers and sisters in Christ (like praying and fulfilling our personal ministries) are the very things that help us keep moving in the right direction, whereas giving them short shrift works in the opposite direction. Good momentum is hard to attain and even harder to hold onto; losing headway and get mired in the day to day is incredibly easy; both directions tend to be self-reinforcing as well.

I can draw a parallel here to exercising (the Bible does this too, after all; link). If a person wants to get into good shape, it will require determination, self-discipline, and above all consistency. One of the key ways to achieve the latter is setting a standard time to work out, one that is nearly inviolable and more easily defended than a catch-as-catch-can approach. In the USMC, in garrison situation, this tends to be "lunch time" (the military in peace-time garrison gets an hour and a half for lunch, so on USMC bases around the country you see everyone out jogging at that time). For civilians, it's often the case that the best time is first thing in the morning, and those who are really serious get up extra early to be able to put in the necessary work. Everyone is different and everyone's schedule is different, but setting a time for "Bible Study" that can be honored in busy times as well as in slack times is, if not essential, a very good strategy in my experience and observation.

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
Daniel 6:10 NKJV

Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Bob,

Hope you've had a good day and you've managed to get going again on your research.

Thanks again for this week's emails. The stench of those rotting cicadas sounds disgusting! And the deafening noise they make sounds nasty too.

It's encouraging to read about the fighting spirit of those who are going through some tough times. I'm praying for your correspondent over here in England near Bolton. I think all of us have a lot of "noise" coming at us from all directions in this world. It's enough to give you a headache and sometimes it can feel like there's a million cicadas in your head! But then I think about Phil. 4:6-9

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practise these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Phil. 4:6-9

For me that is filling my mind and heart with the truth about our Lord and the truth of His Word. When I focus all my thoughts on Him then it shuts out all the noise and stench of this world. And when in faith I act on the truth then that's when I have the Lord's peace in my heart. We have absolutely nothing to fear - we can have complete trust in Him. He loves us and is watching over us and He has everything under control.

__ had his second Covid jab a couple of weeks ago. I think I told you he was in bed with flu-like symptoms for three days with the first one. I prayed that he'd be okay with the second and he had no side effects at all this time. He'd forgotten he had even had it. So two answers to prayer to write down and remember and thank the Lord for.

I'm back to work tomorrow, Thursday and Friday. It's very hot here at the moment so it will be fun in all my "get-up". Thanking the Lord so much for my job though!

Keeping you and yours in my prayers too!

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #20:

I've been deluged by admin – in the middle of summer! But I am managing to do some on the research, and I'm confident that if I keep engaged every day I'll get done what I need to get done before the summer runs out on me.

It is indeed a blessing to be encouraged by our brothers and sisters in Christ – and to give encouragement in kind. That is how the Church is supposed to be. And it's all the more blessed when it's clearly from the heart with nothing phony about it at all (as opposed to much of the questionable "testimony" I have seen and heard in various places). We also have the blessing of being able to pray for our brethren – and receive their prayers in turn. Add helping out with the specific ministries and ministry opportunities we've been given and you have the Body functioning as intended. Why is this so rare in the church-visible? Obviously, because the Holy Spirit is the Driver of this process, and He works in us through the truth we've bothered to seek out, learn, believe and apply . . . and that undertaking is apparently far too onerous for the average Laodicean.

Wonderful scripture, my friend! And wonderfully encouraging words! Thank you!

I'm very happy to hear about your family. Answered prayers indeed. God is good!

We've traded weather! We've had several days of your "English sunshine" with more expected tonight and for the next few days. No serious flooding but we are getting a bit waterlogged. Doesn't seem to be stopping the cicadas, though. I shook about a hundred of them out the big butterfly bush this morning and for the first time got sap on my hands doing it (which means they are drilling in to lay eggs). No flagging yet, but that damage lags by a week or two I fear. Hoping they don't kill too many of the trees and bushes we've spent so much time and effort and treasure on. Another month of this to go at least!

Have a good week at work!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hi Bob,

It has been hot and humid today at work and we've been drinking lots of water. I'm feeling a bit drained tonight but we persevere with the Lord's help. I'll get an early night tonight ready for another session tomorrow. It might be a little easier once our "English sunshine" comes back!

Praying that the cicadas don't do too much damage to your beautiful garden.

Thanks so much for all of your encouragement, support and prayers too. I'm very thankful to the Lord for you.

In Jesus

Response #21:

Thank you,

Things continue to normalize here in the states. Friday is "the day" our guv set for lifting all restrictions, and the restaurant at the end of the street is conducting interviews for new staff in order to reopen after over a year (we're thrilled about that!). U of L has been spitting out policy statements about "return to campus" with the not so subtle message that everyone WILL be returning to campus, like it or not. I got another Greek student signed up today so things are moving in the right direction there too. God is good!

Research agenda is gradually picking up steam in spite of lots of little administrative tasks which keep trickling down (don't these people know it's summer time?!). I have hopes of getting a few things finished before I run out of time and have to start thinking about fall classes.

Health is good; knee is holding up to increased walking and some jogging; a little "cranky" but tolerating it.

Here's hoping for a complete return to normality on your side of the pond as well. Perhaps common sense will eventually prevail. I mean, if nearly everyone is v d, why the "get-ups"? And for those who aren't, well, isn't that their look-out?

Bugs were less and somewhat subdued today, but it was a drippy over-cast one. Sun is supposed to come out by next Monday. Then we'll be able to assess the damage – and get a sense of how long "this" will continue.

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

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob,

In Romans 13:1, Paul says, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." If one refuses the magic jab and is required to isolate and accepts that in a Christian way, is that not also submitting to authority?

Salvation: I have friends, one in particular who believes in Christ and is reading her Bible even though she's RC. Can I safely assume that, if she actually believes, she will be saved though maybe not highly rewarded. John 3:16

The V : I know a woman who is in the middle of the "change" and has experienced a most sever though now, thankfully, sporadic cycle after associating with a group of v ed people. No one I know has experienced covid symptoms or knows of anyone that died of it including the medical professionals I know. This experience suggests something is afoot with the "v ." The kill rate seems to be exceeding the elusive covid virus and in younger people to boot. I read that scienticians have been working on self-spreading v  -- essentially to kill rats and other vermin so they claim. Could this be an early example of a self-replicating v ? I suspect the next wave of virus our Gesundheitsführer F assures us is coming may be the results of the current genetic monkeying. It may be just a coincidence that Social Security and Medicare are estimated to be out of funds this year.

Karl Marx: Down here, the Civil War is still alive and resented though the memory is dying out with the influx of Northern refugees. I can't help but recognize that Marx published the "Manifesto" in 1848. The taxes and tariffs on the south began shortly after. The Civil War started in 1860 largely because of those taxes and tariffs (Why Ft. Sumter? Slavery was only a marginal issue) and was unbelievably bloody. Hitler reputedly patterned the Polish blitzkrieg on Grant's and Sherman's campaigns. Whether true or not, there are remarkable similarities.

Today, the principles Marx laid out in the section "Principles of Communism" in the manifesto have been fully or nearly fully implemented in western governments; ad valorum taxation, control of education, government ownership of property, etc. (Try not paying your property taxes and see who really owns your "property.") Western cultures have been largely "Christian" so was the initial focus. But they're coming for all of us.

This was a rather long winded preface to conclude that the kill rate of the "v ," the Civil War and Marx are patterns of things to come and good practice for the Show. There is ample historical precedent for all of it but it now appears to be operating on a worldwide basis. The number of politicians, bureaucrats, intellectuals and educators embracing these practices is stunning. Fortunately, I'm re-tired and somewhat isolated out here on my little patch of prairie. Maybe I can enjoy a bit of respite?

Cicadas: On rethinking, if milled or ground, could be made into patties avoiding the mouth feel issue. Maybe I'm missing an important point, but I equate eating cicada or grasshopper legs to eating shrimp or crayfish legs. None of which I would be willing to do. Onions, a spicy ketchup, maybe with some horseradish, on those cicada patties might make them somewhat palatable. Of course, adding jalapeño would be obligatory and maybe some hot sauce. Also good practice. Maybe we shouldn't be so parochial and appreciate the gifts we are given?

Yours in our Lord Jesus,

Response #22:

Last I heard, no one was being required by the government to be v ed. I do understand that some companies and organizations are requiring it as a prerequisite for continued employment; but there is push-back, and I have a feeling that is illegal – though fighting this in court would be a difficult row to hoe (I have some experience of these things).

On the RC issue, as I often say, that seems reasonable to me; but I hasten to add that every RC refugee I've conversed with about this has affirmed in no uncertain terms that no one who is truly born again would deign to stay in that "church", and that no one in that "church" is saved. It seems a bit extreme to me, but it is a religion of salvation by works, and what works are worse than continuing in terrible mumbo jumbo for no other reason than "comfortable tradition"? Truly, what is the difference in practical terms between continuing with the RCs today and continuing in pagan worship in antiquity – because it was comfortable, familiar and traditional. They believed in "god(s)" too (just had different names for him/them), and of course the RCs owe a lot of their paraphernalia and accouterments to paganism (run through the OT recycle machine). So I remain agnostic. The biggest issue I have is the "why?" After all, everything about that religion is contrary to the truth, so that anyone who has TRULY embraced the truth would seem to me to want to flee – as has happened, as I say, with every former RC I've ever known who was truly born again, born from above.

On the v , I think you give "them" way too much credit for what they have the ability to accomplish (motivations and desires notwithstanding).

On other issues, believers don't need to worry about any of this. We recognize the "signs of the times", and we know that it won't be long before the Lord returns and straightens all of this out . . . with the sharp sword that proceeds from His mouth. Of course, there is patch of rough road between here and there . . .

On cicadas, they are stinking to high heaven and swarming over everything. Saw the first nearly dead tree today, a result of their handiwork. Won't be long now, I fear, before other small trees and bushes have had it. I'm hoping the damage to our favorites will be endurable and not fatal. Their noise is now worse than what I remember from 17 years back. Gives a person a headache just to go outside. If cicadas are a gift, I'm cancelling Christmas. I'm thinking of them more as a test – just when Covid was letting up too.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hi Bob.

You're right, the government can't require it now. It's illegal. not that illegality has ever bothered them. I expect it though.

I never understood Catholics. My wife was raised RC though her father was Orthodox. She abandoned the group early. Later, a friend in Oklahoma thankfully brought her to Jesus. My faith was lukewarm at the time so she ended up proselytizing me. Thank God. We went to the funeral of her uncle and they read the rosary. 181 beads on that thing if I remember right and we sat through the entire litany. If there is anything that would make you feel like a more worthless piece of dirt, I don't know what it is. The Orthodox church at least has beautiful music. (Another funeral.) I have read, whether true or not, the priest's miter was used in the worship of and represents Dagon.

My friend stays in the church more because of tradition, I think. The question for me is, if they truly believe Christ was crucified and rose from the grave on the third day, whether RC or Methodist, no matter how misguided or lukewarm, will they be saved?

I learned to never underestimate government technology. They have unlimited funds (ours) to hammer at something until they get it working. Technology available to government is at least 30 years ahead of the most sophisticated we can see on the market. At least it was with computer technology. The UFO situation is case in point. I don't believe in extraterrestrial aliens. We have enough of them here. Sometimes intelligent life is questionable. The technology, I believe, is developed on earth and piloted by humans, probably remotely. The broadcast of HG Well's "War of the Worlds" created a massive panic back in the '30s. When the virus propaganda poops out and the war mongering poops out, imagine the panic caused by these things hovering over the cities and "news" broadcasts in a reprise of "War of the Worlds." More lying signs and wonders. A perfect forum to introduce the "savior" who will restore calm for the start of the Tribulation.

As far as the v s, if current v es (aka gene manipulation) can make human cells produce the magic spike protein, I see no reason people can't actually spread the disease. A perfect storm that will reduce population, ease pressure on government entitlements and keep the panic going.

I'm truly sorry about your cicada problem. You are in my prayers which include students coming and bugs going. Have you tried gun muffs for the noise?

In our Lord,

Response #23:

I have known some Orthodox in my time who were very good people and certainly seemed to be believers. But as with adherents of old-line Protestant denominations who are little concerned with the truth as they cling to their traditions, it'd be a case of "saved by the skin of their teeth", and that is certainly a waste of a life. Even though of course those who are essentially AWOL from the fight are often not experiencing anything like the shot and shell of those who are truly fighting the fight, it's still not nothing to persevere through this life in faith. Why go through it without something to show for it? But those who are far from the Lord have incredible spiritual myopia. Indeed, even for those of us who are making every effort to draw close, it's a day by day and moment by moment Sabbath we are attempting to hold onto, and it is challenged always – and challenging to accomplish. In any case, I have even less confidence in my ability to rate Orthodox as opposed to RCs. I always go back to the point that anyone who is seeking the truth will find it – but those who are not looking for the truth have little reason to abandon their traditions (as your wife blessedly did).

"[The government] have unlimited funds (ours) to hammer at something until they get it working". So I'm scratching my head trying to figure out something they've actually "got working" – even a little bit. We exclude from this criticism the armed forces which have been kept afloat by a cadre of dedicated professionals and citizen soldiers for the whole history of the country.

I'm not worried about UFOs. I find the "controversy" boring, to be honest. We've got bigger things to be concerned about – real things. But I agree that the evil one is using this as he does all other lies (of which he is the father) to prep the ground for the terrible times soon to come. All the more reason to double down on the truth while we still can.

I'm also not worried about Covid or other related plagues or the v  or government shenanigans related thereto. The time remaining is very short. The worst that can happen is an early exit from this world – directly into the glorious presence of the Lord. As long as we are doing what He wants, we don't have to fear anything at all, even if we are given over to a premature removal from this terrible world (although in my own case the word "premature" no longer really applies).

Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:1-5 NIV

The cicadas are annoying; but it's a pretty minor test in the scheme of things. In ancient Greece, they made golden safety pins in the shape of them and composed drinking songs to them – guess they never bumped into the likes of "Brood X".

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hello Bob,

Whether they're saved or not is something we'll learn after the show. [I'm not being facetious. I think the Tribulation will be Satan's greatest show on earth.] I'm not at all worried about this or that time. Truth told, I don't expect to be here for the Tribulation and the way things are going, it will be a relief. I do hope to see my wife again but the only reference in scripture I can remember that suggests that it may be a possibility is David's hope to see his son again.

As far as government, the only way they get things working is by hiring contractors. I made decent money doing that including teaching "government workers" what they should have known before being hired. Military? You clearly had a different experience from mine. The rest is a fraud; lying signs and wonders. (UFOs could very well be holographic projections which will be a big player during the Tribulation.)

I apologize for my recent emoting. My current fixation is how closely scripture has laid out all that is and is to come. As I read the prophets more closely, they describe the same decay, corruption and perversion in Israel and Judah that we have today, including the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah; sins which seem to be a recurring theme throughout scripture. Many "churches" have enthusiastically embraced that garbage.

I'll sit down now and shut up about all this business. We know what's coming; you much more than me so there's no point in ranting to the choir.

Sorry about the cicadas and the stink. I've never seen anything that bad.

In our Lord,

Response #24:

You never know, my friend! Moses was 80 when he was called in the first place to his 40+ year ministry! But you will most definitely see your wife again. We'll most definitely see all of those whom we loved who were believers too. Things are different on the other side in ways we can't yet fathom, but as I often say, they are described to us in terms of absence of negatives because we don't yet have the frame of reference for the as yet inestimable positives. Understanding the resurrection is like comparing a seed to the full grown plant – without ever having seen the latter (1Cor.15:37ff.). Best link on this: "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride" in CT 5.

Well, I was in the USMC not the Army. I spent time with the Army at Fort Knox (more time than planned since I had my ankle crushed and needed time to heal up before being sent back to my unit). Also have some small experience with the Navy. I've known men who served in all of the services – and it's people like the ones I'm thinking of who were the glue holding the armed forces together, some doing so for a whole career. I don't see anything like that in the rest of the government – anywhere. Although there are believers everywhere, so one never knows.

Are things bad? Yes. Are they getting worse? Yes. Could they get a whole lot worse? I'm afraid so. But we believers have a right and a duty to rise above all the nonsense, walking in peace with the Lord all the way every day. That is our Sabbath now, and we are bound to keep it, ceasing from our own works – as if WE could solve any of this (since we can't do so in our own little lives, we certainly can't even think about the broader society), and putting it all in the Lord's hands instead. We do our due diligence, but HE is the One who does the heavy lifting for us. We trust in Him. That is our job #1. There is our peace, there is our rest.

Yes, the cicadas have begun to take out the trees and bushes now. It is what it is. But it won't last forever. Pretty minor in the scheme of things – especially given what we've all just gone through! But it is sort of ironic that now that we're not being encouraged to stay indoors any longer all we hear outside are those nasty bugs!

This too shall pass.

In Jesus Christ our Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Bob,

Thank you. Your understanding of the Sabbath rest is one I never considered but it certainly makes sense. I always saw it as part of the New Covenant and let it go at that. Your analogy of the other side is a compelling one, too. It's true, though I never thought of it that way. Thank you again.

I always considered my isolated life out here on the prairie as my Sabbath rest. For many years, I was in the thick of it. I'm seldom stressed now and, I believe, I have my mouth and thoughts mostly under control. Not completely yet, but getting there. So there's little provocation.

I did read Peter #34. I think and believe I'm comporting with nearly all -- at least as best I can. I generally only come in contact with either geezers like me or young people who are still taught out here to show respect to their elders. That doesn't exist in more populated areas like the one I left. I'm happy. This place was an answer to my prayers.

Don't despair over your plants. I thought almost all of mine were killed in the Great Texas Freeze of '21. All (or almost all) came back healthier and stronger than before. The persimmon I wrote off before the freeze is stronger and healthier now than before. I suspect yours will survive, too. Don't give up on them. It may take them a bit of time to recover, maybe even until next year, but I suspect nearly all will come back. The Lord takes care of His own.

I should note that the only plant of mine, of which I'm aware, that died in The Great Freeze was a weak grapevine and a wild mesquite I planned to cut out anyway. I take great comfort in knowing the Lord takes care of his own. I believe I will be on the other side if I don't screw up even though I will probably only be the CQ of the public latrine in Lower Slobovia. It's better than what we have to deal with now.

Thank you.

In Christ,

Response #25:

Thank you, my friend.

I'm very happy that your place on the prairie has worked out so well for you, spiritually as well as materially. That is surely a blessing from God. To have some peace in this life is truly blessed – and not to be taken for granted. Merely being out of the line of fire of provocation is a blessing . . . of course many of the rest of us could reduce that trouble by blowing up our boob-tubes and turning off everything else electronic. The latter is not completely possible for those of us still earning bread via brow-sweat, however.

I'm happy to have what survives survive this year. It's been a weird time with no real opportunities to get out in the yards and doing anything serious since it's been raining off and on for over a week now. Next week we'll probably have a better picture of where we are on the damage. I had heard "mid-June" for the end of the bugs; but now I'm also hearing "end of July" (big difference).

Don't worry about what's coming, my friend. The least in the Church will have a wonderful place in New Jerusalem that delights the heart inexpressibly. And there will be no regrets. So keep growing. Your emails minister to me and to others too – and everything we do in the power of the Spirit will be rewarded.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your comforting words. I agree with you about electronics. It's impossible for any of us today to completely rid ourselves. Still, I've taken Jeremiah 6:16 to heart in more ways than scripture intended and in as many ways as I can. True enough, I find it to actually be a comfort; "rest for my soul."

As far as your plants, don't be so quick to dig them up and replant. The persimmon I told you about was defoliated by grasshoppers last summer and showed no sign of life. I thought it had been killed. Then, late this spring it was back and seemed healthy. I thought the freeze killed three of my pomegranates and all three figs, but they're all back. Starting from scratch, but they're back. The rain is a blessing; it will help suppress the bugs. Give your plants a chance. Your garden annuals are probably toast, though.

As an aside, after 38 years in Texas, I was finally stung by a scorpion. A bee sting is pleasant in comparison. Revelation 9:5, "...their torment was as the torment of a scorpion..." has taken on an entirely new meaning. Those five months, while probably survivable will be excruciating. This time was my fault and lack of attention. Their suffering, too, will be their fault. Thankfully, the Lord in His magnificent design has provided remedies for such things if we use them. Plantain (the weed not the banana) was used by American Indians to draw poisons out of bites and stings. (Makes a reasonable pot herb as well.) It works as well today as it did then.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #26:

On the plants, it'll be what it will be. Now when I shake the big butterfly bush I flush about a hundred cicadas – and get black sap on my hands. No signs of damage yet but I think it takes these bushes and trees a little while to succumb. Hoping this will be over soon.

Very interesting about the scorpion. Yes, I've heard that they are very painful bites. Indeed, there's nothing for us believers to be concerned about regarding the supernatural ones of the Tribulation. For us, the judgments of God will be vindicating and a true blessing. Our troubles will come from more immediate sources.

If anyone [is marked] for captivity, he is going into captivity. If anyone [is marked] for death by the sword, by the sword [he must] be killed. Therefore endurance and faith [on the part] of [my] sanctified ones is [called for].
Revelation 13:10

You're my "go to" person for home remedies!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Dear Professor

Thank you for the perfect answer to my question.

The second day of winter here. Only 19 more days to the shortest day of the year - and then the daylight hours will start getting longer. There is always the bright side. In the meanwhile we are being blessed with some very welcome rain. Our winter never gets as cold as in your part of the woods.

Your turn to enjoy the warmer weather.

In Jesus

Your student and friend

Response #27:

Cold and rainy here today! Managed to get damaged parts of the deck sealed before this Monsoon period (weekend is supposed to be nice again). Couldn't get out and walk/jog today so spent some time "field-daying" the house; also had lunch with an old colleague. No masks! But McD's employees were all wearing them, even though we didn't have to – and the girl at the counter had to be told by the manager that, "no", the customers did NOT have to wear masks. Some of the tables were still restricted, they still had the silly six feet circles on the floor, and the self-service drinks station was closed off. But I'm feeling a creep back to normality.

Glad to hear the rains are helping down there. Our seedlings and trees are enjoying the weather too, even if it's cramping my style temporarily.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend – and thanks so much for yours!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Dear Professor

Glad to hear you are doing some pleasant things like catching up with a colleague.

I wonder whether our cold weather at the moment is not much colder than your warmer weather.
Good thing my radio was able to pick up our national radio station this morning - the new bus radio is weaker than the old one so often I am restricted to the local ABC chit chat. Surprised I could get the national station in the fog this morning. The fog halted the tree pruners this morning so I didn’t have to wait in queue for them to give me the “slow” sign, as they were parked up in the paddock with orange lights flashing and waiting for the fog to lift. Yes, the States are moving along much more nicely now. (ABC Radio National) You can score free tickets to a ball game, free beer, other little delights and a large chain store is providing a (weekly?) prize of a million dollars to one lucky newly injected v  recipient. Great incentives for “doing the right thing”. Looks like your wait and see tactic could pay off handsomely and be the answer to your financial affairs. Though, a country in South east Asia has had a prize pack with a monthly draw to reward a lucky v  recipient with a cow worth $400. Hard to top that - or to resist.

Not so sweet was a proposal by one of our leading doctors to penalise people for not getting the v . His suggestion has not been taken up - at least not yet. As I observe, down here we are often first to take up new technologies - and if we aren’t, then the carrot can replaced in favor of the stick (we have ways and means).

No need to reply to this email. Just sharing a bit of small talk.

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus our Lord

Your student and friend

Response #28:

Cows going for $400?! I'm no dairyman, but last I heard they were a lot more expensive than that in the states. Don't know where I'd put a cow, however. And if they are milk cows, you have to get up VERY early to milk them, even if you only have the one. I'll wait until the payoff is a bit more generous (they started here with a single donut – not much in the way of compensation for potential long-term medical incapacitation . . . even if it's a very good donut).

One of the problems with penalties over here is that only about half of medical professionals – even the people who work at the CDC – have been v ed, and that little "problem" would have to be addressed before forcing 150 million reluctant private citizens to do it. To me that speaks volumes about the uncertainties.

Have run through most of my summer "to do" list, so not many more excuses to delay a "full on" attack on the research agenda. Monday . . .

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Dear Professor

That was a country in SE Asia where if that was USD 400, would be a lot of money to them - though in rural areas a live milking cow would be a greater asset.

Can I believe ABC Radio National? This morning (radio reception ok in the fog, though the orange flashing lights still confined to the paddock) saying that Biden was enlisting the aid of barbers in the v  effort. And that free weekly million dollar lottery is up for grabs once you reach 70% v rate. After the USA’s initial frenzy to get jabbed, Australia now has a higher per capita (daily?) v  rate at 0.4% compared to USA 0.3%. Though USA is far ahead in total percentage as we were slow starters for lack of supply and still some hesitancy from the obstinate. Seems the now slower take up means that the US is sending millions of doses overseas to aid countries who cannot afford them.

Next door neighbors got jabbed and when I checked yesterday (one day after), they seem fine - though he put on a “sick show” for my benefit. Adverse reactions can follow up to 2 or 3 weeks later according to one medico on the radio who is promoting v s. Today, Perth radio reports that there are no appointments for years to come as all paediatricians are booked out with autism, ADHD and other ailments. Even dieticians and such are flat strap. Does make one question all these chemicals we are pumping into kids (we got 6 v  doses as kids - nowadays it is 52 doses). Plus HUGE doses of atheism to teach kids the “right” stuff. One mum reported that her 6 yo does not want to keep on living and others rang to say their child actually did suicide once they became a teen. An epidemic that is higher than the road toll. Maybe society is doing something wrong! (Stuffed about by experts).

Fine weather here today, though other fronts are on the radar. So much for the drying trend scientists (pinch or more of salt) predicted for our south west - well above average and near record rains in some districts. No salt in these showers either. Grabbing at straws is the favourite game of these diversionists. God provides the good things - man mucks things up.

I am thankful for the rain which is a great blessing to us living in reportably the driest continent (except for Antarctica) on earth. Have a good holiday break.

In Jesus our Lord

Your student and friend

Response #29:

OK, that explains it. When I was a kid and my parents lived in a very small town, they used to buy a whole "side of beef" every year and put the individual parts in the freezer for consumption over the course of the winter. $400 for the entire animal which would feed me for several years seemed pretty cheap (you let the butcher keep the parts you don't want for the privilege of sectioning it up in the old days). Of course I'd have to buy a big freezer and find some place to put it . . . just as well I didn't win that prize.

The plague seems to be dissipating by the day here and the hype along with it. Louisville is a pretty liberal town but we're down to about 50/50 on the masks here already, and the guv's mandate doesn't even run out for a week. Now the chatter is about who was responsible, and angst has moved on to cyber attacks.

Rains have passed us by here finally and it's very hot and humid. The cicadas are worse than ever and getting into anything. Every time I shake one of our trees or butterfly bushes I launch an angry swarm of them. Sure hope this is over sooner rather than later. Glad for your rain! Should be good for the crops (what do you grow, again?).

Thanks for your prayers, my friend! Keeping you and yours in mine as well.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Dear Professor

I was thinking more milk than meat - the villagers may value an ongoing source of milk, yoghurt, butter, cheese, whey and a grass mower, than looking for another prize of generator, solar panels and freezer (all which weren’t offered in the monthly prize pack anyway). If they used the cow for breeding they could sell the surplus meat. I can see the poly tickle experts complaining of the gas the cow emits perhaps preferring some multinational company to cut down their forests and poison their drinking water in developing “clean and green” power sources. Happening on a huge scale already. [getter effective slogans to smother their tracks is their trade].

Glad you haven’t had to consult cicada recipes. That big meat company that is also in Australia ended up shelling out bitcoins to get our steaks back on our plates. Then there was your computer oil hiccup. How vulnerable the internet! (Tap tap tap and that’s that!) Was that one third of the supply? [“preview”or reminder of the “thirds” to come in Rev.8:7-12?]

The plague: Here information on the other side of the covid cloud is almost as common as hen’s teeth. Officially we have had 3.6 million people jabbed with only 2 deaths, caused by the Astra Zeneca v  - a 52 yo woman died recently. Extremely rare and we need to get rid of our surplus Astra jabs (most want Pfizer but we got less of that and it isn’t allocated for us older folk). Medical experts were saying that one covid death is one too many - now a few covid v  deaths is a cheap prize to pay. Watch your language son! There are many reactions to the v with some in hospital with serious v  caused illness and at least one they admitted is critical. Only heard this on radio the once as a quick passing by quote by media before they quickly returned to mantra. My friend’s dad obviously wasn’t included in the v  death statistics and I suspect many other deaths following v  are not included. Did I tell you our electrician has come down with severe v -itis? I would rather have the full truth than the whitewashing we are subjected to.

Masks were a bit of a thing with other drivers and students for awhile but I couldn’t bring myself to the Jessie James look and now almost all are naked faced again.

Not much growing in our paddock of much value - except to the kangaroos, echidnas etc. Will require a seismic shift to get that changed - perhaps a change of job hours/days. Might have left our run a bit late.

My wife has been listening to Cutis Omo of Bible Academy [link] saying that antichrist will arise in a time of peace. I do wonder what kind of peace that will look like, as the spiritual conflict seems to be accelerating and intensifying against believers even now?

The draconian loudspeakers of evil we hear on the media seem to be already well versed in their father’s language of deceit and totally ready to take up their positions of eliminating all believers. The passion they display in their disgust of believers is hardly concealed, even now. Perhaps your “debate” over there is more balanced, than ours down here who really are permanently upside down on the planet. Or maybe more sophisticated than our Aussie culture (though we do try to conceal our bigotry in “appropriate language”, but the bigotry bursts through).

I must concede that we humans do love our bigotry - despite where it leads to.

I pray we believers remain in the truth - because of where it leads.

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus, the only way.

Your student

Response #30:

Excellent commentary as always, my friend.

We really do have to stick close to the Lord in the face of all the nonsense that's taking place "down here". Blessedly, the Lord will be back very soon to straighten it all out – and removal of those who are most problematic will be a major part of putting things right. In the great wisdom of God these will self-select themselves for the baptism of fire by taking the beast's mark and throwing their fortunes – and eternal futures – in with him. We, on the other hand, will be part of the solution quite literally as we share in our Lord's millennial administration in resurrection forever.

Until then, we need to be prepared for madness and insanity expanding exponentially. It's clear that this expansion is already underway. How much more so once the Tribulation officially begins!

Come, my people, enter into your rooms
And close your doors behind you;
Hide for a little while
Until indignation runs its course.
Isaiah 26:20 NASB20

Good advice then – and not bad advice now!

"Or maybe more sophisticated than our Aussie culture . . ." If the present political discourse in this country is any measure of "sophistication", I'm proud to be an ignorant rube – and intend to remain so until Kingdom Come.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

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