[conversation with a JW omitted by request]
I won't publish your emails on this.
Resources to refute JW teaching?
I would suggest he read the Bible. The Bible is very clear about the fact that Jesus is God as well as a human being (since the incarnation; see the link), and that accepting the full truth about Jesus Christ, His person and His work in dying for the sins of the world, is what constitutes saving faith.
1st John would be good. Here's some excerpts apropos of this:
Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
1st John 2:22-23 NIV
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
1st John 4:1-3 NIV
Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
1st John 5:10-12 NIV
Or as our Lord Himself told us . . .
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
John 6:26-29 NIV
I thank God that you are not to be swayed from the truth.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
1914! Yikes! I believe you are correct that this is a JW teaching (i.e.,
that the second advent would occur in that year). I think they had
predicted that Christ would return and single them out in that year –
then it passed without the second advent, and of course their numbers
have exceeded 144K since then (unknown to me just why, but then there
are plenty of religions and cults completely devoid of the truth which
do quite well, the RC church, for example).
Right. "Special" or otherwise, there are no new "revelations" in biblical terms, at any rate, because there are no prophets now that the canon of scripture has been completed. It's easy to claim things. People often claim things. And Christians, good-hearted people that we are, are more gullible about such claims than unbelievers. Which is why the Lord told us to be "wise as serpents" even as we are "harmless as doves".
"But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’—when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him."
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 NKJV
I'm sorry to hear that your family continues to be troublesome to you.
It's not easy for many of believers, dealing with family (I get plenty
of emails on this subject), especially since we care about them and in
many cases not all of them are where they should be spiritually. How to
cope with that and what to do are matters for the Spirit to guide us
about. As with all things, there is a right time and a wrong time to
speak with those who oppose us (Eccl.3:1ff.), and it does take some
spiritual discretion to know which is which – but God helping us He will
open up the hearts of all of these we love anon.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Hope you enjoyed the holidays...
With respect to Rev. 13:16 and the mark of the beast - will the greek preposition "epi" be accurately translated as "IN" or "ON" with respect to the mark being placed IN or ON the head and hand? It could make a vast difference...
The preposition "epi" means "on" or "on top of" usually; cf. epigraphy,
epidermis. If "in" were what John meant in Revelation 13:16-18, he would have
used "en" not "epi".
The mark will be a visible tattoo. It's not a vaccine or a DNA altering procedure or a microchip implant or any such thing. The mark is not something designed to change people; it is a proclamation that they have already changed – to follow Satan through the overt worship of his son, antichrist.
So the mark of the beast is a symbol of what has already happened inside of the person receiving it, not a device to change those otherwise unwilling to change.
Here are a couple of pertinent links:
Numbers, Letters, and the Mark of the Beast
The Number of the Beast
Hope all is well
I have a question? I been studying over the book of Mark I enjoy this book as I was going over chapter 5 Our Lord zeroed in on verse 5 "crying".
Our Lord led me to Psalms 34:1-6 & Psalms 61 and the man became a living witness according to these 2 chapters it was such a blessing to receive this.
I saw the man crying unto God, Praise Our Lord.
What I was curious about was this man possibly Greek seeing the location he was at.
Take care and God Bless you Brother
It's a wonderful observation! Our Lord was sent to "the lost sheep of
Israel", but often it was the gentiles who responded. I think of the
centurion of whom our Lord said, "I have not found such faith in
Israel!", or the Syro-Phoenician woman of whom He said, "Oh woman, great
is your faith!" In this instance you ask about in Mark chapter five,
none of those people to whom our Lord came responded – except this one
man. In fact, when they saw the miracle of the demoniac healed and the
swine drowned, they asked Jesus to leave! This one man alone, yes, a
gentile (for that reason our Lord did not allow him to follow Him but
sent him back to spread the word to his people in the Decapolis),
responded. And I believe you are right – God heard his prayer. What a
great illustration of the grace of God and the truth of the proposition
that He hears all who call upon Him in truth – even if no one else is
willing to do so.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
It's funny the way you wrote those words - it's exactly how I say them! I think you emphasize the letter "R'" more than we do (?).
After we had our chat about your Latin class the other day, just out of curiosity I watched a video online about how to pronounce the alphabet in Classical Latin. And speaking of the letter "R" I had a go and I managed to get the "trill" sound. The teacher said they call it "the dog letter" because it sounds like a dog growling. Have I got that right? It sounds like a beautiful language when it's spoken properly.
Hope you have a good day tomorrow, teaching from home (?).
Keeping you in my prayers.
I just filled in a crossword puzzle answer "silent 'r' " to the clue
"characteristic of a British accent" – so thanks for that! Yes, this is true
about Latin. I'm not much of a triller . . . especially not by the fourth hour
when I teach my first years.
They're talking about boosters over here too, but there is a debate in the medical establishment as to whether or not they're even useful let alone necessary, so I think it'll be a very long time before there's any pressure to get one. We still have plenty of folks who haven't gotten the first shot, let alone the third.
It is all very wearing. I ran into a former colleague at the store. She and her husband retired recently (they are in their 70's, so it was timely enough). She said that they had planned to do all manner of "fun things" but that Covid had thrown a wrench into those plans as it is apparently "never ending". It does feel like that sometimes, doesn't it? But whenever I hear things like that I think about the Tribulation and remember what the Lord said to Jeremiah:
"If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?"
Jeremiah 12:5 NKJV
I suppose we should be grateful for the "tune up".
Glad to hear you had a good day! Yes, I stay away from campus now on Thursdays and do whatever needs to be done from home.
p.s., I just had a gander at our 'vax dashboard' at U of L and, lo and behold!, we are over the 80% mark in all categories! 84+%, as a matter of fact! Which means we don't have to wear masks anywhere anymore! . . . or so they said. But this figure was as of Monday and there has been NO announcement yet. Probably another case of "moving the goal posts".
It's great to know I helped you with your crossword puzzle answer - good timing!
I agree with you, Bob - it's all very wearing and it does feel "never ending". I always try to remember what you say about taking it one day at a time. And in one of your responses this week you wrote that we need to be careful to get sufficient rest . . . and to make sure that we are resting in the Lord every step of the way relying on His strength and not our own. That's so true!
I'm doing my best to make the most of the time we have left to prepare for the Tribulation - to continue to grow spiritually. Sometimes I wish we could just get on with it right now rather than having to wait another few years. Get it over and done with so we can be with our Lord. More and more each day I can't wait for His return. But we have to be patient.
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Great news about the vax percentages at Uni. Here's hoping you'll be able to ditch the masks soon!
In our dear Lord Jesus
p.s. I hope your niece is feeling a little bit better and I'm keeping your former colleague with the broken back and arm in my prayers too.
We just got an email from the university Provost today, congratulating
us on what a fine response we all have had in boosting the vaccination
numbers so quickly . . . and adding that because of the changed
situation (?!) and on consultation with experts, they have decided NOT
to remove the masking requirement "at this time". I think if I asked my
neighbor's boy to mow my front lawn on the promise of going for ice
cream, and if he did and I then said, "well, on reconsideration, I would
need you to mow my back yard too", it would not be well-received, even
if I said, or more particularly especially if I said, "but you did do a
really fine job on the front!"
Honestly, I'm not surprised at all – I was actually expecting this. I've been there over thirty years now, and they've been promising to do something about low A&S faculty salaries since I got here too. Still waiting.
"I wish we could just get on with it right now rather than having to wait another few years." Amen!
It would be nice if there were NO Tribulation. It would be great if the Lord would just return and that would be that. Doesn't everyone feel that way? That explains the popularity of the pre-Trib rapture fallacy.
For me, this is the one solace in contemplating seven years of trouble like we've never seen before: at least the clock will finally be ticking! Patience has always been something I have to work on.
But we can all profit from more time for preparation before it does begin.
p.s., my niece is doing well, last I heard; my friend is very upbeat, especially given what she's dealing with; a real witness! Thanks for those prayers!
It's disappointing to hear that they're making you continue to wear masks. Have they explained what the "changed situation" is?
We had another member of staff leave today. She's going to work in an office instead. She said to me that our job isn't what it used to be and she doesn't enjoy it anymore. She said a big part of the reason for her leaving is all of the heavy PPE we have to wear now, especially the masks. I'm really pleased for her and I don't blame her because it's very tiring.
I was going to say to you in my last email that I'd love it if there were no Tribulation and the Lord would just return. But I'm very glad that I know the truth and that I don't believe in the pre-Trib rapture. I'm very grateful to have CT to study and time to prepare for it. And I think exactly the same as you - at least when it does start "the clock will finally be ticking!"
I hope you had a good day, Bob. We've reached another weekend!
Keeping you in my prayers.
Had a LONG faculty meeting today after four classes where I "taught my guts out"
and then had some other things to attend to as well. It's clear from meeting
with my colleagues in person as a group for the first time since the "pandemic"
started that many of them are still petrified of Covid – even vaccinated and
wearing masks, many of them were reluctant to get give up "social distancing" to
get close enough for some collaborative work. Amazing. Or it should be. Frankly,
I'm not surprised by it – nor by the changes in policy. The "reason" has to do
with the spike in cases here in the US generally and KY in particular. But if
memory serves things were in about the same state when the policy was announced.
What I really think is going on is that the administration would like us to cut
the grass in the back too (i.e., get the rate to 100% or even 105%) and also
avoid any liability for anyone getting Covid "because you got rid of the
I don't blame your co-worker. But at this rate, you'll be the only staff they've got left very soon! They better start treating you nicer!
Come to think of it, we really don't need the Tribulation to start. We've got enough difficulties as it is!
Have a good, relaxing weekend – that's definitely on my agenda!
It's a tough situation, my friend. I think you are negotiating it as best as
anyone possibly could. I'm praying for the Lord to give you strength.
This "ball of mud" we live on, as you eloquently put it, is really losing whatever appeal it ever had – and mighty quickly too. There is a lot we don't know about the other side. But I'm convinced that the notion that there is "less" there than here is entirely wrong. In eternity it will be "more" and "much better" in every way imaginable and in innumerable ways impossible for us to imagine here and now. So, no, I don't think we'll lose anything in terms of relationships with those we love. We'll merely gain much, much more.
So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life."
Mark 10:29-30 NKJV
I won't be glued to this theory (sc., that antichrist will have long hair) and I
won't expect it to be the case but I just thought it noteworthy.
It came to the forefront of my attention because of Oliver's news videos in this country are getting a lot of support. Also I saw this news story recently of a man is Australia claiming to be the "prime creator" and he looks the same as well. He is a popular figure despite his crazy claims. The worrying thing is that people find him more credible than their own government.
I know there have been various cults over the years with these long haired, bearded men claiming to be the Second Coming. I know this Vissarion fellow being a prime example.
Even Hollywood have gotten in on the act. Jared Leto went to a place called Mars Island and got people to dress in white robes and follow him around after paying an exorbitant fee to be in his presence. He also has this same look.
Remember before when I wrote of how much of a struggle it is being the only believer in your locality? Well I have been feeling that way again. I do get taunted and mocked for regularly studying the Bible and I know my family think I've had a breakdown and that is why I am always in the Word. I'm not sure if my witness counts for much to them as they love the things of the world so much and they think I am pretty unique and crazy for what I'm doing. __ never leaves off on trying to encourage me to join some religious order like a convent. I keep telling her that I am NOT Catholic and that orders are not what God had in mind. The thing is that she wants some worldly acclaim for me from man. She thinks my faith is pointless if I am ridiculed and derided for it. She would only think there was any point if the whole family and neighbourhood were proud of me. She gushes over a man I used to go to school with who is now a catholic priest and met the Pope at the Vatican. She thinks I should be doing something like that. Sometimes it gets very hard.
I've realised that the closer I walk to God, the more alienated from this world I will become. Recently I got in touch with old friends but I realised that if I can't talk about my faith then how can it really be a friendship because I can't fellowship. I just didn't feel enthused talking to them as I didn't want to pretend I am something I am not.
It's a very lonely path indeed but because I know how precious my salvation is, last night I decided to throw myself in completely and double down on my study and growth. I realised that there is only the narrow path or the broad road and there is no way that I am going back where I came from because that was miserable and without God so the only option is to push on with more enthusiasm. I really am ready to lose everything for Christ as there is very little ties that I have to this world.
I realised this morning that there are quite a few believers in the Bible who found themselves alone and surrounded by unbelief. They weren't dissuaded because of this but it made them all the more determined to stand out and make their light shine all the more brighter for it.
This is what I want to do now. I know in the years to come the pressure to leave my faith will intensify from all sides. The alienation I have received for not taking the vaccine is only a small taste of what is in store for me. When the world hates us for our faith then I will be seen all the more crazy for clinging on to it so this is good training for me.
I can see why people get drawn into false churches just to have company. Being the only believer around is incredibly lonely at times but it makes me more reliant on Jesus Christ so for that I am eternally grateful.
On, "The worrying thing is that people find him more credible than
their own government", that is not saying much these days, whatever
government we're talking about.
It really is getting nutty out there. But the Lord warned us about that:
"Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it."
Matthew 24:23-26 NKJV
When people stop believing the truth, stop believing the Bible, they are
capable of believing anything – as long as it isn't true.
You're fighting a good fight, my friend! That is of course going to be opposed by the evil one. But God gives us "greater grace" (Jas.4:3), that is, help and support in the Spirit greater than whatever opposition we have to face.
ceremonial calendar study [link], I am confused on the explanation
for the Church Age gap. In the explanation it says, “the 108 days
from the end of the feast of Weeks until the commencement of the feast
of Booths (or Tabernacles) represents the Age of the Church, a sizable
hiatus in the cycle of festivals signifying an interruption in the
Why is it not 122 days from the end of Weeks to the commencement of Booths since the calculations say it should be 108+14?
That alternative calculation would be counting from the beginning of the feast: the gap (108 days) plus feast (14 days) does equal 122, but the gap itself is 108 days as stated "from the end . . . until the commencement".
In this world I have found that there is only one thing that is trust worthy and true and of course that is the Holy Word of God. The only problem then is for me to actually understand what it says. Perhaps I have just not paid well enough attention to what is directly expressed in scripture vs, interpretations based on assumptions. Not your fault, you have said that 2026 as the date for the commencement of the Tribulation is an interpretation. For me though it feels like everything is interpretation. The meaning of the words seem to be a interpretative as those who know the language will still have differing opinions.
Another problem is that I have a very hard time understanding all that is being taught, I do not have the education or vocabulary that you have. For instance, Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one. You teach that oneness is His infinity, everything else can be counted, except for Him who is "one".... I can count the number one and this makes absolutely no sense to me but I say to myself, " Dr. Bob knows what he is talking about and you just aren't smart enough to understand yet, move on." Sometimes things become clearer to me later on in a study or while reading the emails. For years I would actually not read the questions in the emails and only your answers so that I would not accidentally remember their thoughts instead of yours. I have more confidence now that I have learned so much from you. Even with __ and __ in the beginning I thought they were so much more advanced and had everything you teach memorized. I finally figured out that they are still working and studying as well. In other words I thought talking to them was like talking to you because they are" teachers" but I found that only you can be my teacher because you are the one I respect and trust. You are the one with the education and the years of experience in handling the language and the Word. Which leads me to my next potential problem.
Perhaps I have put you on to high of a pedestal. In fact I know I have at times and I really do not want you knocked off! As you said in your previous email " we put our confidence in the word of God" yet I have also put my confidence in you. I'm not sure how to properly balance this. In studying the reasons for your interpretation of the date of our Lords return, they make sense to me and I only have had thoughts that it may even happen a year or so sooner. In fact starting last fall I have in mind to be more aware of things during the time of the fall festivals so that I would not miss the Lords announcement of the upcoming events.
As I write this in tears, I do not wish to lay a big guilt trip on you for something you may have misspoke but I am not convinced that is what happened. "We do not know" is a long way from "we do not know with absolute certainty". You say you are confident in your interpretation but I would like to get a better idea of how confident you are. Would you buy a 15 year bond? If you needed a new roof would you purchase 15 yr or 30 yr shingles?
We are to live as though each day is our last because we do not know when God will call us home but yet it seems we all have to make decisions concerning the future. Is my earthly future limited to 12 years (give or take) or is it like other teachers say, we do not know? My son asked me when we were beginning our bible studies together what if he is wrong about the date. I said then that we would never regret studying the bible more. He agreed. I still stand by that of course. Thank you Professor.
Your in Christ
First, I think everything you have said is wonderfully well thought out,
and I find myself in complete agreement with all of your observations
and conclusions. To attempt to answer your underlying questions . . .
What the Bible says is true. When we deduce things that are not directly stated in the Bible, that is an interpretation.
Bible fact: Jesus is God (e.g., Matt.1:23; Jn.1:18; Rom.9:5; Tit.2:13; Heb.1:8; 1Jn.5:20).
Bible fact: There will be a Tribulation as Jesus Himself tells us (Matt.24:21; Mk.13:19).
Bible fact: The Tribulation will last seven years and the Great Tribulation will last half of that period (Dan.7:25; 9:25-27).
Bible fact: The Millennium will last 1,000 years (Rev.20:2-7).
Bible fact: The Gentile and Jewish ages lasted approx. 4,000 years (for the calculations based on scripture, see the link).
Bible INTERPRETATION: The Church Age lasts 2,000 years also, giving us a perfect 7,000 years of human history paralleling the seven days of re-creation in Genesis (confidence level in this interpretation is VERY high, because of the preceding and also because of the info in the Hebrew ceremonial calendar, but it is an interpretation because scripture does not actually provide this figure: it has to be deduced).
What about 2026? It is definitely the case that the Tribulation will occur before the Millennium and that the resurrection will occur after the Tribulation. The Church Age is the mystery age, intervening between the cross and Jesus' resurrection on the one hand and the commencement of the Tribulation on the other. The timing of that commencement is reasonably interpreted to begin immediately following the 2,000 years of the Church Age.
However, the date of Christ's crucifixion and rising from the grave is determined through a combination of biblical and secular evidence. We have a high degree of confidence about how to read the former but when it comes to the latter, we obviously cannot be as dogmatic because it is not information which comes from the Bible. For example, when Luke establishes the date of John's baptismal ministry – the date we need in order to peg the beginning of the three and a half year ministry of Christ – he does so by saying at Luke 3:1 "In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar". We have a good idea of what that means, and, in secular history, a fairly certain idea of when that would have been (i.e., somewhere between August 19th of A.D. 28 to August 18th of A.D. 29) . . . but this determination is based not on the Bible but on secular historical records which, while in this case fairly certain, not perfect as the Bible is perfect.
I have spent a lot of time and effort marrying up the various biblical statements relating to the chronology with the secular historical evidence we possess and these results are presented in the prior link given. Am I confident about this? Yes I am. But I have enough humility to understand, since this is an interpretation built upon a good number of potentially "moving parts", the evidence for some of which does not derive from scripture, that I should acknowledge that it is POSSIBLE that the date provided, 2026, might turn out to be early or late by a few years either way. Mind you, I do not think so nor do I anticipate that such is the case – but it is my responsibility before the Lord to say what I've said.
As to "what to do" with the information, I don't buy bonds (that would require money). I'm happy to be scrapping by and my plan is to continue to scrape by, God helping me, as long as the Lord wants me here participating in this ministry, regardless of whether the situation is "good" or "bad" from our earthly perspective. Things can become very bad even without the Tribulation.
I am a student of WWII, and I can tell you that reflecting on some of the times and circumstances many people lived through (those who survived and those who did not) during that period, it's hard for me to imagine that the Tribulation could be much worse. But of course it WILL be worse. Our Lord tells us that Himself as quoted above (Matt.24:21; Mk.13:19). But the WWII generation in many instances couldn't see the trouble coming, and many people on many continents lost everything.
The point is that we don't even know if we have a tomorrow, let alone what might happen before a 15 year bond comes to maturity. We have to take the approach James recommends and say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that" (Jas.4:15 NIV). If we do that, then – in terms of our application to how we are living our lives – it really shouldn't matter whether the Tribulation occurs tomorrow or a hundred year from now or any time in between. It's not wrong to take prudent measures on account of the Tribulation's probable proximity (focusing on spiritual growth with a renewed sense of purpose, for example), but if it's right for us to do something today, we should do it today irrespective of the date of the Tribulation. That is my view, at any rate, for what it's worth.
I am not a prophet. Not having the gift of prophecy, I teach, with the help of the Spirit and the gifts I have been given, and with diligent study of the Bible, what I have been given to understand about the scriptures. Whenever there is "room for interpretation" because of biblical silence or because part of the teaching is based upon non-biblical information, it is my duty to point that out – especially if, as in this case, readers may be apt to "run ahead" (2Jn.1:9) and misapply the information given.
After all, we are only here on this earth for a very brief space of time. If the decisions we are making, the big ones in particular, are being made in the light of eternity, meant to please our Master and receive a good report at His judgment seat so as to win a good reward, then those will be good and proper decisions to make regardless of the timing of the Tribulation. But if our concerns are focused on self, and if we are really only concerned about our own comfort and well-being, then the same applies: even if we are right about the exact date of the Tribulation, since our actions will be self-directed, it really doesn't matter what we do in anticipation because it will all be burned up before Him on that great day.
I very much appreciate your good words and sincerity of purpose in these emails, my friend! And while I rejoice in your dedication to the truth, it pains me to think that any of these teachings has caused you distress. Please do feel free to write me back about any of the above.
"I said then that we would never regret studying the bible more. He agreed. I still stand by that of course." Amen and Amen!
In Jesus Christ, our blessed hope, whose return we long to see.
p.s., you're not the only one who skips over long questions and only reads the answers – but I certainly hope that everyone does read your valuable input here.
Just quickly because I know you're busy - I think it IS amazing how your colleagues are still petrified of Covid even though they're vaccinated and wearing masks. Why are they so scared, Bob? I don't get it. It must be so frustrating for you. How would they get on doing the job that I do?!
I remember two of my colleagues behaving in this way but it was right at the very start of the pandemic when we didn't have testing or vaccines etc. And even then I thought their behaviour was over the top. I tried to be understanding and respectful but it didn't half get on my nerves! It made a difficult situation even worse for the rest of us. There was just no need for it.
We still have to wear our masks the whole time even when there's no patients in the building. The dental council gave us the orders and my boss was going to tell us to continue wearing them anyway. Social distancing is pretty impossible in our job - it's only at lunch times (if we get one!) when we do that.
Anyway, thanks so much again for the brilliant emails this week. Apart from Ichthys, Bible Academy and the other teachers associated with them I just can't listen to anyone else on YouTube or read much other stuff because I don't trust it and sooner or later I find something they are teaching which isn't the truth. I feel very strongly about this. I just don't want to go anywhere else and after reading the emails I see the damage it can do to your faith if you're not careful. So thanks for all you do!
I think the bottom line is that they are afraid because death is a much
more terrifying prospect to them than it is to us. The closer we grow to
the Lord, the less we are concerned about dying – not that we
particularly want to die (though we do desire to be with the Lord), but
we are detached enough from the fear of death to be able to be objective
about the risks. For someone for whom physical death is "the end",
however, a small chance of mortality looms large, and the more dear this
short, miserable life is to them, the more terrified they are likely to
be about the prospect of losing it.
Thanks so much for your kind words as always, my friend. And thanks so very much too for the timely proofreading. It's nice to know that not everyone will see these mistakes because you got to them first!
Sorry to hear that work is continuing to be such a challenge. I dearly hope that Covid-think is not a forever thing. Bugs will always be with us, at least until the Millennium starts. But all this is getting a bit silly.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
What’s the Significance of this phenomenon (Red Sea turning red)?
I wouldn't worry about this sort of natural phenomenon (we have "red tide" in Florida occasionally as well).
When a third of the ocean turns to actual blood will be the time to take notice
Hope you are doing well. Keeping you and your health in my prayers.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
In My Old New Standard American Bible Romans 9:5 Reads...Whose Are The Fathers And From Whom Is The Christ According To The Flesh, Who Is Over All, God Blessed Forever Amen...You And I Can Exchange Scriptures On Jesus But I Have Jesus Testimony At His Trial When He Agreed With The Then High Priest That He Was The Son Of God And They Believed God Was One As One Means One, God Himself From Heaven And In Scripture Has Testified To His Only Begotten Son...Jesus Speaks Of His Father In Many Scriptures So He Has A Father, An Eternal Son Has No Father Nor Can He For He Is Eternal....Satan From The Beginning Has Been Telling Lies About God And About What He Has Said, Any Scripture That Calls God Or His Own Son A Liar Or A Deceiver Is Of Satan And Of His Church In Rome
Your version says the same thing in terms of meaning as Romans 9:5, the verse I sent you.
"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:18 NKJV
What does it mean to believe in the name of the Son, Jesus Christ? It means to accept what the Bible says about Him as true – that He is God and man in one unique person forever, and that He paid the entire price for all of our sins on the cross . . . something only a man who was also God could do.
He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.
1st John 5:10 NKJV
In you don't have the Son, you don't have the Father either.
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved!
Dear Dr. Luginbill,
First of all, thank you for taking the time to personally reply to my previous questions over email.
Can Christian eat blood or food made from blood? This is a culturally related Biblical questions, since this wouldn't (or shouldn't) be a problem for most of the Western Christians (I assume). A little background on the question: The Chinese church that I grew up taught that Christians should never eat blood because of (1) what God commanded Noah in Genesis 9:4, (2) what the apostles in the Church of Jerusalem declared in Acts 15:28-29, and (3) the life of living creatures in the blood and blood is given us for sacrifice Leviticus 17:10-11. Blood is not in the majority of Chinese food, but there are some specialty dishes that are made from pork or chicken blood.
Only until recently that I learned there are Chinese Christian Bible teachers and churches that believed that Christians not only can eat food like pork, but also they can eat blood. Their argument is based on a few verses: (1) Jesus said that in Matt 15:11 that only what comes out of men's heart would defile a person, (2) Paul's teaching about food that was offered to idol, such as 1 Cor 10:25. (3) God's kingdom is not about food and drink. Rom 14:17. Their conclusion is that the sanitary and dietary laws were given to the Israelites under the Old Covenant for their specific situation and condition (such as wandering in the wilderness) and they do not apply to the New Testament Church. They also argued that the decreed from the Church of Jerusalem in Acts was for the sake of unity of the Church to appease the Jewish believers because the Jews do not eat blood, so they asked the Gentiles not to eat blood. In any case, they argued using the verses Matt.15:11 and 1 Cor 10:25 that Christians today can eat any food, including blood.
I do not think the issue of eating blood is the same as the issue of eating pork, because of the clear verses given to the Gentiles (under Noah), given to the Israelites (under Moses' Laws) and to the Church (Acts 15). Also more importantly because of the spiritual and physical significance of blood both in and outside the Scripture, so there's a very good and strong reason of not eating blood.
In any case, I just like to hear from your perspective on what do you think on this issue. Thank you again for your help.
As to eating food in general, it's all to be gratefully received as "sanctified
by the word of God and prayer" (1Tim.4:5;
see the link); teaching otherwise is legalism (cf. Col.2:20-23).
I do hasten to add that gentile Christians should be sensitive to Christians of Jewish derivation who have a different approach for traditional reasons; that is certainly right to do (Rom.14:1-23). When it comes to matters about which the Bible is flexible, we don't let ourselves be bullied into doing things we don't feel to be right for us, or in this case into not doing something because others don't feel that it's right for them.
Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness.” If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness.” “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience?
1st Corinthians 10:25-29 NKJV
Given the way animals might be slaughtered or prepared in a pagan market, it is
very possible, one might even say probable, that the situation Paul envisions
(which must have come up many times) involved meat which was not prepared in a
Kosher way, possibly for the reason of not properly spilling the animal's blood.
But Paul says not to mind about that . . . unless someone with a weak conscience
brings it up.
To apply this to the situation you mention, if I were in a restaurant in China about to dig into some sausage, unaware of what was in it, and one of my fellow Christian diners said to me, "Wait! That's blood sausage!" It would be my duty to pass on the sausage – but also not hold forth on a disquisition about how eating blood sausage was wrong.
I personally couldn't recommend eating blood. We do know that the Jewish counsel at Jerusalem asked the gentile believers to stay away from meat that was strangled for this very reason (Acts 15:20; 15:29; cf. Acts 21:25); so we have a precedent even if it is not binding. They also asked the gentile believers to stay away from meat sacrificed to idols and from porneia. The latter is clearly sinful, and dangerously so (1Cor.6:18); the former is said by Paul to be a problem only if it will trip up another believer. Eating blood / meat slaughtered by strangulation (where the blood is retained thereby) seems to be somewhere in the middle.
It is true that before our Lord "cleansed all foods" (Mk.7:19; cf. Acts 10:9-16), eating blood was strongly forbidden (Gen.9:4; Lev.17:12). But these commands are all connected with the practice of animal sacrifice where the blood represents the Blood of Christ, that is, His payment for our sins. Absent this analogy, since we are no longer engaging in animal sacrifice, it is at least questionable whether or not the prohibition holds; we know that it is not repeated in the doctrinal sections of the New Testament.
So I can only tell you my own application on this. It's along the lines of how I feel about eating anything with hydrogenated oil. For health reasons, I generally rarely eat anything made with hydrogenated oil – not knowingly, at any rate. But I also don't go to morbid extremes, reading the fine print on all labels "just to make sure". If it comes to my knowledge that product X contains it, I'll generally get something else instead.
Similarly, for spiritual reasons, since there is a scriptural prejudice against it at the very least, and since it could offend a Jewish brother, I wouldn't order "blood sausage" or otherwise knowingly eat products made with blood. But I also wouldn't get exercised about some group of believers who felt differently. If they asked my opinion, I would tell them my practice – as I'm doing with you – but I wouldn't go out of my way to make an issue out of it either.
There are clearly much more important issues in the Christian life than what we eat and drink or how we do so.
For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17 NKJV
We all have questions about this sort of thing from time to time, but groups and
individuals who are overly fixated on these matters are usually not mature
and/or not pursuing spiritual growth in the biblical way.
I understand everything you're saying. I think their fears about death are much worse than I realised. If there are some who turn to the Lord because of Covid then that would be wonderful.
I don't know how to explain this to you, but though I'm enjoying studying a lot and praying but I feel like I'm just drifting along. I don't really know what direction I'm headed in. I don't know what else the Lord would have me do. Everything feels a bit up in the air at the moment. Maybe it's just a stage I'm going through and one I need to pray about.
If you have the energy, please could you throw some of your thoughts and encouragement my way. I think that would help me a lot. Thank you.
In our dear Lord Jesus
"If there are some who turn to the Lord because of Covid then that
would be wonderful." I certainly agree with that! I was hoping that
the whole mess the world has gotten into, Covid being a large part of it
in this country, would have spiked interest in Ichthys. Haven't seen any
evidence of that, however (just the opposite, actually).
In terms of drifting along, if you are praying consistently, reading your Bible, and concentrating on teaching, learning, believing and applying the truth, then you are doing everything right! The more consistently you do so and the more "time in grade" you have doing it, the better it will be for your spiritual growth and perspective, and for your progress in your walk with the Lord.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9 NKJV
The "doing good" here is not "tithing" or volunteering at the soup
kitchen – not that there's anything wrong with either (as long as the
former is not thought to be obligatory or the latter done on a supposed
"bless me for what I'm doing, Lord!" basis). YOU are "doing what is
good" . . . so don't let yourself "become weary" with it. Believers who
do let the grind get to them so as to cease persevering with their good
approach find out soon enough that where they were was the "good place".
I do understand what you mean. We have to remember that how we feel is not important . . . unless we allow our emotions to dictate our actions. We believers who are following Jesus Christ are focused on the truth, not on what we see or hear or think . . . or feel. We know to whom we belong and what we are doing here and why. We are not drifting; we are marching resolutely toward our eternal city "whose architect and builder is God" (Heb.11:10). We want our Lord to tell us "well done!" for our efforts in His behalf here in this temporary world, for our spiritual growth, our ever closer walk with Him, and for whatever production we have managed on behalf of His Church. We are confident that He will reward us for all this – as long as we hang in there and do not become so "weary" that we stop forward progress – an eventuality which always leads to true drifting . . . backwards.
One of the reasons why I always encourage believers to think about their spiritual gifts and what ministries the Lord may have for them is because I have noticed that those who are ministering, genuinely in the Spirit, that is, are helped by the duty and responsibility they owe and feel towards their ministries to keep on track. That has certainly been the case in my own life. When you have sheep to feed, and when you work for the Great Shepherd, well, let's just say if you ever do start drifting you become conscious of it very quickly – because the Lord lets you know about it.
We have a perfect resurrection body to look forward to, one which will never grow old or feel pain or be in need of any kind ever again (and with all manner of other capabilities of which we are as yet unaware). We have eternal access to the tree of life and water of life. We have a mansion in New Jerusalem. And we are an integral part of the Body of Christ which, as one, will rejoice together with our dear Savior, worshiping Him forevermore. And for those of us who persevere through the hard times and through the challenging times, we have crowns of reward to look forward to with corresponding rewards that will bless our heart for all eternity.
So be encouraged, my friend! And remember that your labor in the Lord is NOT to no point.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
1st Corinthians 15:58 NKJV
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Thank you Bob for your support!
I started to go down the wrong path a little bit about those fields. I quickly discovered that there is a nationwide land grab going on supported by the Supreme Court but now I realise that this is happening because God has allowed it to happen. I realise that this is another test. That Satan is working overtime right now in taking away "freedoms" whether it be freedom of speech, religion,
medical freedom or the right to roam in green fields. It's all being whisked away from under our very noses BUT THIS IS A FAITH TEST! Satan desperately wants us all to "rise up" and rebel and to "take back control", to "build back better" and grab back our "freedom"! This is a HUGE SNARE though! It nearly got me in it.
That seems to be the game plan then going forward. Satan wants to prod believers and poke and provoke us in a 1001 different ways so that we break and try to fight back in the flesh and turn our backs on God. That is what all this is all about! No doubt the antichrist will be a freedom fighter with a cape like Superman! Most people will fall for it.
It's all about not getting involved, not taking it personally and like you said, emotionally disinvesting ourselves of all connections to this world. We are not here to fight for freedom or even for our own flesh. We have already died to the flesh after all. Our battle is not with flesh and blood! This is a spiritual battle and our weapons are spiritual ones!
I'm so glad that our Lord grabbed me away from that one really quickly! He is amazing isn't He! He REALLY CARES about us doesn't He. They often say that most hikers or walkers get lost or go missing after just taking one step in the wrong direction. That one step is enough to throw a person completely off course which can land a person in real tragedy. I'm so glad that God gave me a literal dead end and made it clear to go no further. This is not the first time He has done this. He hedges me off when I take a step off the straight and narrow! He is so gracious and true! However I don't want to make this mistake again. I realise that getting involved in any
sort of political action or protesting is absolutely lethal to our walk. I just wanted to share it with you and others.
No doubt as the pressures grow as we move towards the tribulation, the temptation to rebel and be led by the flesh will be more and more overwhelming and yet we are to submit to government after all as long as we are not sinning against God. I don't like my government and in the past I have said hateful things about them but I realise this is wrong. Should we still pray for Government even when they turn on us?
On Sundays now I read through your emails, I have a communion meal by myself and then go through your prayer list and pray for everyone on there including yourself, I do this now every Sunday but I pray for you and your ministry every day. The rest of the week I pray for family and friends or for particular problems that I am having.
Hope you are well my friend!
"If there was a ever a good time to stay out of politics, now is the time!" I couldn't agree more! A very good time to train oneself not to be upset about political goings on as well. The closer we come to the end, and especially during the Tribulation, more and more of the unpleasantness will be deliberately directed right at believers. That is to say, it won't just be a question of the aggravation of watching things being "messed up" by incompetent and evil rulers whereby we are indirectly affected as those who live under their rule. Rather it will be a matter of active persecution of us for our faith. If we are having trouble with the former, how will we abide the latter?
"If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?"
Jeremiah 12:5 NKJV
But we believers have a right to put all of this in the Lord's hands. He is going to avenge us, and mightily so. The bowl judgments are all directed at the followers of the beast precisely because of the persecution of believers. And in the end, we know very well what awaits those who oppose God.
Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
Isaiah 35:4 NIV
Just to mention in passing.. I noticed a popular "meme" that is growing
online right now.
The "meme" is people posting "I hate the Antichrist". These are usually unbelievers and they usually accuse the United Nations being the birthplace of the Antichrist and so they put troll comments on their sites (they also refer to the UN as bluehelmets.) Apparently this notion was popularised by the Left Behind books by Tim LaHaye.
It probably means that on the contrary, the antichrist will more likely to be anti-globalisation and if anything he will probably destroy the United Nations and get people to come together in destruction of it. More and more I think he will be a nationalist right winger rather than a leftie but I am not glued to this theory.
Again probably nothing but I do tend to make a mental note when something about the end times is being spread by the unbelievers in the world. It may be enemy propaganda.
Yes, the "Left Behind" series is filled with nonsense. In fact, it's all
nonsense. One of my students one time asked me about the movie, "The 300": "Is
there any historical accuracy to it?" Me: "Well, there WERE 300 Spartans."
Otherwise the movie is nonsense, of course, but the "Left Behind" stuff is even
worse – and it's putting out all manner of lies dangerous for believers. And by
the way, these books were actually ghost written by a man with no particular
theological "chops" (not that T. L. has any either), just a writer – who has
gotten almost none of the huge profits.
As to the UN meme, we have to be careful about wedding ourselves to any scenario. We know what the Bible does say about these matters, but as I often remark, the scriptures give us a broad framework; not the gritty details. So we can't really know ahead of time how this will play out. We do know that most of the world will be deceived. I have posited, based upon what is in the Bible, that the beast will make it out that the leader of the southern alliance of mid-east nations is "antichrist", the better to lead the crusade against him – led by, of course, "Christ" (who is actually the beast masquerading as Christ, ergo "anti-Christ").
(16) Dan [in the person of antichrist] will judge his people as if he were [of] one of the tribes of Israel. (17) [But] Dan (i.e., antichrist) will be a serpent beside the road, a viper beside the path, one who strikes at a horses heels, so that its rider falls [off] backwards. (18) I wait [in hope] for your deliverance, O Lord!
We'll know the details soon enough. We wait for your deliverance, O Lord!
Think I’ve mentioned before that you have more patience than I do dealing with folks who repeatedly ask or say stupid things. Can deal with someone searching for an answer but it's the ones who don’t listen that I have trouble not going Marine on. We are all failures in living to some extent, some more than others, but it's the ones that wallow like a water buffalo in it that irk me. You mess up, you deal with it and move on. People want to flagellate themselves; the old “well, I need to somehow truly atone for this” attitude. Unfortunately modern church leaders as a group are useless to their members cause they do not teach them what they need to grow spiritually, which also helps growing up emotionally. Guess I was fortunate, or more likely the Lord put it there for me knowing I wanted it, to have been introduced to Thieme in high school. Didn’t make me perfect, far from it even now, but did learn to not let spiritual failures that occur in us be a source of discouragement; think it also resulted in my not being discouraged by other kinds of life failures or setbacks. One just has to continue the race until the end; despite any crowd or the other runners, you keep running and pull the strength to continue from what you have already put inside beforehand. We still have the grace of time to prep for the big one. And remember we’re not as young physically as when we wore the green, so don’t try to act like it. Adapt your physical exercise to your age. Yea, I know its not what any of us want to hear but it does make me appreciate that future resurrection body. Take care old friend and stay well.
Thanks, ol' buddy! I always have similar feelings when I post exchanges
like this. We grew up in a tougher school. Everything I was involved
with – until I got to college -- was a "no-whine zone" (home, school,
scouts, ROTC) . . . and then there was the USMC. So no doubt we find it
odd when people who haven't had the same benefit (and it WAS a benefit)
have a hard time getting on track. But there are a lot of now positive
readers out there who identify with this alternative experience (already
heard from a few of them thanking me for this posting!) and appreciate
the fact that they are not "nuts" or unique in having had to struggle a
good long time before finally coming around.
I certainly appreciate that you got introduced to the Col. in HS – because otherwise how would I have gotten the introduction at Las Flores?
I have been adapting – more to my weight than to my age, I fear. Walking now but hoping to get back to jogging. Trust me, I know that it's NOT like it was. Can't believe how slow I'm becoming. Gravity seems to be winning.
Amen! Bring on the resurrection! Wish there were a rapture!
Your pal in Jesus,
I pray and hope all is well with you. I am looking for a good conservative commentary of the bible. I would like OT & NT in one edition. Don't have the space for multiple books?
Do you have one in mind? Also, what are your thoughts about the Believer's Bible commentary from MacDonald?
Thank you very much
I spent some time looking over MacDonald. As commentaries go, it seems better
than most. I did see that he believes in a pre-Trib rapture and not only that
but in a partial rapture where the "good believers" will be raptured but the
"bad believers" will be judged. A lot of nice charts and illustrations and some
good intro material here, but some real "rocks and shoals" when it comes to
doctrinal truth. You would probably get some help and insight in historical
matters . . and want to throw the book against the wall regarding many
theological matters. As I say, it's better than most. I don't know of any "good"
commentaries, so there is also that.
Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Savior,