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Eschatology Issues LXXXVI

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Question #1:


Dear Praying Friends,

Half a world away in Ukraine many dear friends remain in harm's way in the wake of the Russian invasion. Some have fled west to Poland and southwest to Rumania while others are in transit, dodging the pincers of the Russian army and fleeing Putin's inexorable red stain on the sky blue and sunflower yellow land; still others have sheltered in out of the way towns and neighborhoods, praying to be bypassed and hoping to feed and keep warm their families for what remains of the winter; and all too many remain unaccounted for as we agonize through the hours of their silence. Yes, the immediate situation is dire, and even as we know a great many of you are praying, we ask for your diligence and thank God that nothing escapes His omniscient gaze and His ability to intervene with His ever-caring hands. We plead with you to pray.
The Ukraine I knew for many short term mission trips was a one of people who loved their freedom and hoped for better lives. It was a place where billboards blossomed, kiosks grew up around metro stations like grass in the Spring rains, and where beautiful Ukrainians, crowded into their tiny kitchens, laughed and talked with the love of the Lord in their hearts. It was a place where Bible teaching was new and the people were unjaded toward biblical Christianity, and where many of us first knew the power of God's calling to the mission field. I can well remember at the conclusion of my first trip to Kyiv knowing with certainty that God was calling me. I am where I am because of Ukraine, because of Jim Myers, and those beautiful steadfast believers in our Savior.

There is uncertainty now about the freedom to continue the work there, at least in aboveground forms. But make no mistake: no tyrant, no bully, no not-yet-converted Saul of Tarsus can stop the all-powerful Holy Spirit and His work in the church. Because of this war the Gospel will spread, many will grow strong, and the determination to continue will only become adamant. These are the friends I know well. They will continue to acquit themselves with courage and faith and the work will continue wherever they land and in whatever forms the Lord directs.

One more request. Get into the fray. Give your whole self to the Great Commission of our Savior. It is human nature to sleepwalk through the routines of our daily lives and give barely a glimpse to the world out there that is longing for Christ and worse, dying without Christ. It is human nature to stay on the sidelines and be convinced of all that you lack to serve the Lord in the harvest of a dying world. Rather, be convinced of all that He has given you, and find places and ways to serve. He will direct your steps.

Serving the Chief Shepherd,

Mark and Rene'

Romans 12:9–13, "9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality."

Please check out our updated website! www.evanelia.org.

Response #1:

Wonderful, Mark!

Indeed, there's never been a better time to commit to spiritual growth as priority number one. After all, what's happening over there now is only a small harbinger of what is about to take place everywhere.

Keeping you and Rene' and your ministry in my prayers daily.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Seems like things are beginning in Matthew 24, and perhaps have been going on for a while. Also looks like verses 11 is happening now for you can see plenty of these false prophets who say they have a word from the LORD, and false prophets prophesying with un-scriptural rhetoric. One even started with the following statement: "God did not create us to suffer", among other things that were not biblical.

Just wondering what your thoughts might be of Russia and Ukraine war and is it pertinent to Revelation or Matthew 24.

If you have time, and I know you are always busy but don't take time to answer if you are busy. I don't want to interfere.

Thanks so much,

I cherish your input to this subject.

Blessings always,

Your friend,

Response #2:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

Indeed, there are plenty of things in that chapter which "ring a bell" when compared to contemporary events.

However, as I always remind people, WWII, especially in the run up to it, certainly had a claim to all this as well, and people could have been forgiven for suspecting that they were witnessing the Tribulation or the run up to it then.

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:1-5 NIV

Based upon all of the other descriptions of such things in Revelation, I take these last events in verse five to be substantial occurrences which will be experienced throughout the world. The fire is thrown onto "the earth", and, among other things, an "earthquake" results – which is definitely "down here".

So I don't think that believers who have the least bit of biblical knowledge and who are paying the least bit of attention will be left in any doubt as to the commencement of the Tribulation.

That hasn't happened yet.

As to contemporary events, one can imagine many scenarios whereby what is presently happening (in Ukraine and elsewhere) might easily contribute to facilitating the occurrences prophesied to take place during the first half of the Tribulation (see the link). But as I often say, the Bible gives us a schematic of what will happen during those seven years, not a detailed and specific record of the political events that will form its worldly backdrop.

I do think it is true that societal and political trends at home and abroad, of which this present conflict is surely a part, do indeed seem to me to be leading into the direction suggested. But, again, that has been the case in the past as well.

Believers who see the fig tree sprouting leaves, would be wise to "stick to their knitting" even more so than before. One thing is very certain: when the Tribulation does begin, none of us will regret a single thing we have done to prepare . . . spiritually.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hello Bob,

You may have answered this before. If so, please accept my apologies. (Gettin' old ain't for sissies!)

Do you see any spiritual significance other than "He made them male and female" that men have XY chromosomes and women XX? By that, I wonder if there is anything beyond the fact that we're different suggest something more we should understand. After reviewing Romans 1 and 2 Timothy 3:1-5 it looks to me that the ding-battery out there is working to overturn God's laws. Which is a red flag for me. I know, that's not a new revelation...

For what it may be worth, I've come to the conclusion that America IS later day Babylon. All other nations seem to be lagging behind the perversity of the US. My only question at this point is, "Is it confined to NYC or does it spread to the entire country." Austin has become as corrupt as San Francisco, Miami or NYC.

It's interesting to me that Russian popular vocal singers and groups dress modestly and don't squirm around on stage. American popular singers and groups show as much flesh as legally possible and show as much suggestive as possible. Is this a clue? Is Russia REALLY our enemy or an ally?

I'm sorry, Bob. I apologize. I'm still not in a good place, yet, and I'm getting thoroughly disgusted with what I read is going on out there. Where I am, it's not quite prevalent but Austin and Cedar Park (from which I moved) are showing all the symptoms. From the excessive building I'm seeing out here, it will only be a year or two before it's here too.

My questions are poorly framed and for that, I apologize,

Frankly, I'm ready to go home.

In our Lord,

Response #3:

I was planning on writing to ask how you are doing, my friend. I am keeping you in prayer every day.

On your question, I'm not sure what to say but that God made men and women and He made them different for a reason. This is knowledge that is hard-wired into us all, just like the "laws of divine establishment" as my mentor Col. Thieme used to call the basic human understanding of the need for family, law and order and nationalism as organizing principles of human society. Of course, knowledge doesn't result in correct action (pace Plato): we all make choices, and we all make some bad ones, and there have been plenty of people in the history of the human race who have dedicated themselves to embracing bad choices. Rejecting God is bad enough; embracing Satan is far worse – for us all, especially the more people out there who are doing so. And there is clearly an accelerating trend towards evil, one of the reasons why I don't think "all this" can go on much longer.

And, yes, it does seem to me that the US is at the forefront of this degeneration (although there are other places in the world that are giving us a run for our money in some areas if not the the complete picture).

Sorry to hear that the sprawl is sprawling your way! Things never stay the same.

Are you going to be with your family for Christmas?

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Bob,

It was probably an ill framed question but I'm finding there's so much in scripture that I thought I understood I'm beginning to wonder. Everything seems to have many levels of meaning and the examples in scripture apply to not only the subject referenced but to so many other aspects of life as well. I wonder how the difference between men and women will play out in the resurrection.

Christmas for me will be very quiet. ___ has family close by and they normally celebrate in the evening when I can no longer drive. I will see them either before or shortly after, though, when we'll burn some steaks. It works well for both of us.

You lost me on the "pace" reference. If I remember my highschool latin. "pace" meant peace or tranquility. What did I miss?

Thanks for being you.

In our Lord Jesus,

Response #4:

I learn something new every time I read my Bible, especially in Greek or Hebrew.

How things will be in the resurrection is very much veiled from us at present – except that we are given to understand that it will be wonderful beyond present imagination or understanding. Jesus does tell us that there will be no marriage there (Matt.22:30; Mk.12:25; Lk.20:36).

I'm glad to hear that you will be seeing your family over the holiday.

As to "pace", it's Italian, not Latin (though indeed derived from 'pax, pacis'). It means in effect "in spite of what Herr Professor Doktor wrote in his book/article about this, I say the opposite". You know you've arrived in Classical scholarship when someone "pace-s" you.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Bob,

I wasn't even close on the "pace." Forgive me. Gettin' old ain't for sissies:) It doesn't look like I'll ever arrive in classical scholarship. I never could keep my declensions straight.

As far as the Bible, the fact that it applies on so many levels is all the proof I need to believe it was divinely inspired. No human author could have done that. If we are immortal, there would be no logical reason for marriage because we won't be procreating. Families, though, I do wonder about. The description of New Jerusalem convinces me things are organized by families and tribes. I suspect cleaning up the earth and teaching will probably be big chores so I doubt we'll be idle.

In any event, I'm looking forward to it.

A last question: in 2 Timothy 3:1 Paul speaks of the last days and the description follows fits with the ding-battery we see today. Was that expression generic? Ergo, I've understood "the day of the Lord" to mean everything after the ascension to be last days or day of the Lord. Or did it mean the final days before the Tribulation?

Thank you for your prayers. You and yours are in my prayers daily.

In our Lord,

Response #5:

No worries, my friend. It's a fine point.

"Last days" does mean generally everything since Pentecost, but has a particular application for the Tribulation. This is along the lines of antichrist being revealed in his time (2Thes.2:3), yet even today there are "many antichrists" (1Jn.2:18): specific fulfillment in the Tribulation vs. post-cross trend which mirrors and foreshadows the ultimate fulfillment.

Thanks for your prayers too, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Dr Luginbill,

Do you believe that Rev 14:6-7 is the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14?

Response #6:

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."
Matthew 24:14 NKJV

Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
Revelation 14:6-7 NKJV

That is correct! Clearly, the gospel has been shared in many places and in many ways over the last two thousand years or so (cf. also Heb.1:1-2), and that will continue until the end – but this pronouncement of "the everlasting gospel" will be heard by everyone all over the world, "every nation, tribe, tongue, and people". God is merciful beyond our understanding. Here is a miraculous provision of the truth which refutes the beast and his false prophet and which will turn anyone with any inclination for the truth away from receiving the mark of the beast so as to be destroyed. For this is followed by a second angel's proclamation announcing the fall of Babylon and the destruction of all of her pernicious satanic influence, and then by a third angel:

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Revelation 14:9-11 NKJV

Looking forward to all the glories to come in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Thank you for that affirmation! This understanding is actually very comforting to me.

Raised in a very evangelical preachers home, I have always felt huge external pressure to “witness” or “share the gospel”. From the pulpit, I have heard it stated that there may well be those who never hear the gospel if I don't tell them!

I absolutely believe that believers have a role in evangelism and many empathize with the statement ”Woe is me if I preach not the gospel” indicating a strong proclivity towards the gift of evangelism. But the tremendous pressure and guilt I have arbitrarily been assigned never led me to useful activity.

Knowing that this is not a job that I or any other believer can or will finish is freeing and empowers me to just be a co-laborer through the meager abilities with which God has endowed me.

Response #7:

Your story is a very familiar one. I think any believer who is honest and honestly seeking God will eventually come to the same conclusion about over-zealous "bells and whistles", "rah! rah! rah!" evangelism: that as you say it "never led me to useful activity".

Of course we want to share the Word! Of course we want everyone saved! So does God (2Pet.3:9). But at some point growing believers figure out that it does not depend on them: it depends on God. There is a sweet spot between sitting on our hands on the one hand, and trying to jam something down an unwilling throat on the other (and risk being trampled as a result). That sweet spot is found through personal spiritual growth and listening to the Holy Spirit. Making a virtue of throwing pearls before swine, on the other hand, results in a great deal of noise and churn, but very little actual practical result. While hyper-evangelists are patting themselves on the back for all the good things "they've done for God", their "saved" sheep are usually wandering back to their prior lives – if they were ever really saved in the first place (e.g., Lk.8:6). The change has to come from within: we are born again, born from above (Jn.3:3ff.), given rebirth by God Himself (Jas.1:18). We are happy to share the truth – with those who are willing to receive it.

It might also be helpful to know that in the Bible – as opposed to in evangelical circles – the "gospel" is the entire teaching of the New Testament and of the entire Bible, not just the small amount of salvation-related truth necessary to become a believer in the first place. When Paul says "woe is me if I do not proclaim the gospel" (1Cor.9:16), he is speaking about his duty as an apostle to teach the entire counsel of the Word of God (cf. Acts 20:27). Paul didn't give an "altar call" then move on. He stayed on, sometimes for years, teaching day and night.

(16) For if I proclaim the gospel (i.e., the whole realm of kingdom truth), that is no basis for boasting since the necessity of doing so lies upon me – and woe to me if I do not proclaim it! (17) Now if I do this willingly, I do have a reward [to look forward to], but [even] if unwillingly, I still have a duty which has been entrusted to me to dispense [the truth] (i.e., all of the truth of the Word of God = "the good news of the kingdom").
1st Corinthians 9:16-17

It is misinterpretation of scripture to reduce the noun euangelia to "salvation-only truth", or the verb euangelizo to "preach" (which means nothing in effect) – when it really means "proclaim and teach". What good is it to lead thousands to Christ (if that is really what happened) if you then abandon them to their own devices and they fall away? But the people who do this are often no further along the road to spiritual growth than the people they have just ostensibly led to Christ. And in my observation of these things, many more are claimed "saved" than is actually the case (by a very large multiple), and few of those so "saved" and abandoned persevere to the end. The whole evangelical model has in many ways, done more harm than good (1Cor.11:17; cf. Is.1:11-12; Amos 5:21; Mal.1:10). But that is why this era is called Laodicea, after all.

You are cleaving to the truth and fighting the good fight, my friend! Keep up the good race for Jesus Christ!

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

In your teaching on Hamartiology you referenced this verse:

Hebrews 9:28.
"so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him".

As I read this verse, I suddenly noticed the phrase "will appear a second time", and it hit me suddenly as support for debunking the so-called "rapture" theory, one of many.

1. This verse does say "will appear a second time", not a third time for those who believe in the false doctrine of a rapture. There would have to be 3 comings of Jesus Christ.

2. The rapture folks use 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 as their support.

This revelation came all of a sudden to my mind and I said to myself, wait a minute.

Thought you may be delighted to hear that your teaching on Hamartiology helped me in this regard.

Blessings to you always,

Your friend,

Response #8:

Great observation!

Scripture is replete with passages which refute the wishful thinking false pre-Trib rapture theory (here's one link).

Here's hoping (and praying) that more and more of these people start to wake up before the darkness falls. None of us will ever regret any time we've spent on spiritual preparation once the Tribulation begins.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Wow! Even my Unger commentary holds on to the idea of the pre-trib rapture.. Is it true this interpretation came from John Nelson Derby in the 1800s? Was this view never espoused before?

Did it start out as heretical and then became orthodox teaching?

Response #9:

Darby does seem to be the origin – or at least to have been the one most responsible for popularizing it initially. It's such a "feel good" false teaching, however, that it's no wonder that it spread like gangrene right from the start. Here's a link: "Darby"; and here is something I wrote earlier:

That said, I can recommend two things to you: 1) Millard J. Erickson's Contemporary Options in Eschatology (Baker: 1977) is a balanced look at the origins of pre, post, and mid-trib teachings of the resurrection; and 2) Dave MacPherson's The Rapture Plot (Millennium III: 2000) – this second book, I confess, I have only seen in snippets which were compilations of Greek and Latin church fathers whose comments clearly seem to exclude any thought of a pre-trib rapture (I am not in a position to comment about the accuracy of his research vis-à-vis the 19th century origin of the idea, though it is pretty clear that the idea has a 19th century origin). As I say, if I thought the theory was biblical, I wouldn't be deterred by its late origin. Erikson attributes the specific development of the theory to John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), but it is also true that the intense interest in prophecy and all things eschatological at the turn of the nineteenth century (encapsulated by “Dispensationalism”) had much to do with popularizing the hypothesis. As often happens, once the idea became popular, it wasn't long before groups which had entertained it began to get very defensive about any suggestion that the Pre-Trib rapture theory might not be the ultimate answer and so it was very soon enshrined as “sacred doctrine”.

"Heresy" as we use the term is an RC concept, meaning something that the "official church" has deemed contrary to their doctrine. In the Bible, however, which knows nothing of denominations (let alone cults such as the RC "church"), the word means "division" referring to the divisiveness of false teaching (much more to come on that subject in the next installment of the Peter series). Outside of the RC church, a group could always teach whatever it felt was right, and only if the teaching conflicted with the official line of the group might that word be used, but following the RC model not the biblical usage.

The RC church is amillennial in belief, and most of the Protestant denominations which sprung from the Reformation were as well. It really wasn't until the 19th century that eschatology began to be considered again, studied and taught. This pre-Trib "rapture" was a mistaken idea which, unfortunately, gained a lot of credence because it is so "feel good", no doubt.

*By the way, this second email from you went into SPAM for whatever reason. I went over it with a fine tooth comb and can't see why. So if I ever don't respond, please do write back. My SPAM folder is so huge that I can't guarantee finding it in there – since I'm getting inundated from ".co" (Columbia, which looks like .com to computers, so I can't block out the whole upper level domain, and they change the lower level ones daily). Only found this one by purest accident. [n.b. I'm usually good about getting back to folks in under 48 hours, so if you write me and don't hear back, there has almost certainly been a glitch of some sort, so please do write back again in such a case]

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

I know you've been over this before and made yourself quite clear that the Mark is a visible tattoo. So the real question is: why are you convinced it's a visible tattoo? I ask because I'm seeing stories of of implantable covid passport and medical history chips, which are voluntary, subcutaneous tattoos for medical history which are also voluntary and other chicanery, most of which are voluntary.

There are also reports of automated vaccine passport scanning kiosks being deployed. A secondary question(s) would be, does it mean the Mark must visible by eye or also by machine? Does the Beast requirement that we have the Mark an issue of "Now we must start this" or "Now that so many have accepted this, you must, too?"

I apologize. I know you have dealt with this many times before. The insanity out there has subceded my lowest expectations. Scripture, at least in the two English translations I read, only state, "and all should receive the mark."

Yours in our Lord,

Response #10:

Here's how I translate the passage (you can read the commentary on it at the link):

(16) And he (i.e., the false prophet) compelled everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to allow [his clergy] to place a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, (17) so that no one would be able to buy or sell except those with the mark, [consisting of] either the name of the [first] beast or the number of his name.
Revelation 13:16-17

If we were talking about something genetic or some sort of silicon chip or anything of the sort, what difference would it make where it was placed? But scripture is clear that 1) this is a "mark", which is a tattoo, not a chip or a vaccine, and that 2) the whole purpose is to provide a visible sign of obedience. Those who refuse won't have to be "read" by some scanner or have a blood test: it will be obvious that they do not have the mark. Also, the mark has a special meaning, representing antichrist's name (for the four different possibilities of location and representation and what they likely mean, see point six under the link above). In other words, people will be able to see the tattoo on others and see that it is the name or number of antichrist. None of this would be true of a computer chip or a DNA alteration or any of the other many strange theories circulating out there in the ether. So as to what the mark of the beast "IS", from the passage above there really can't be any doubt: it is a permanent, visible mark on the forehead or the right hand containing either antichrist's name or the number of his name, visible to all – so that those who don't have it can easily be refused service (and persecuted).

Much of the persecution will come NOT from state officials but from normal everyday people who have bought into the beast's religion – as most of the world will. That, to me, is the scariest thing about the present unpleasantness, namely, the ease with which the population has been terrified into obedience and how many are self-deputizing themselves to harass others. East Germany had nothing much on us as things are developing today, and that awful model will be exceeded in the Tribulation:

"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."
Matthew 10:21-22 NIV

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for explaining. That makes it clear. I didn't realize the mark had to be visible but it makes sense. I too think it will be ordinary people that will be the threat as they are today. Thankfully, I don't believe I'll last long if I live to that point. What I don't recall from scripture is how many suicides there will be. I know that there will be a point where people will wish to die but can't but how many prior to that, I wonder.

Yours in our Lord Jesus,

Response #11:

During the Tribulation, when the Great Persecution begins midway, it'll be a question of believers who refuse to recognize antichrist as Christ – that is what the mark is, the acceptance of the son of the devil over the Son of God . . . and that is why there is no coming back from taking the mark. Once that level of hardness comes into a person's heart, there can be no further change:

(8) And then the lawless one (i.e., antichrist) will be revealed, [that same one] whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of His mouth and destroy when He appears at His [glorious] return – [that same lawless one] (9) whose appearance [will come about] through Satan's empowerment [and will be] accompanied by every [sort of] false miracle, both signs and portents, (10) and by every [sort of] unrighteous deception [designed] for those who are perishing, [namely those who will believe these lies] because they did not open themselves up to the love for the truth so as to be saved. (11) And for this [very] reason God is going to send upon them an empowerment of error so that they may believe the lie, (12) in order that they may be condemned, [even all those] who have not believed the truth but have [instead] approved of unrighteousness.
2nd Thessalonians 2:8-12

Those smitten by the demon-scorpions will "seek death" and not find it (unbelievers only: Rev.9:6), but there is no indication in Revelation of suicides. Believers who stay true to the Lord wait on His deliverance; unbelievers – and believers who apostatize into unbelievers during the Great Apostasy of those days – having nothing besides this miserable life. And that will remain true, no matter how much more miserable it may become.

But we believers have a "blessed hope" (Tit.2:13) of resurrection, reunion with our loved ones, reward in New Jerusalem . . . and being with the Lord Jesus Christ forever in life eternal.

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Romans 13:11 NIV

(35) So do not throw away this conviction of yours – it leads to a great reward. (36) You need to keep persevering so that you may carry off in victory what has been promised – after you have accomplished God's will. (37) For yet a little while, how short, how [short the wait], and He who is coming shall come, nor will He delay. (38) "Then shall my righteous one live by his faith, but if he shrinks back, My heart takes no pleasure in him (Hab.2:3-4)." (39) Now we are not possessed of cowardly apostasy which leads to destruction, but we have faith which leads to [eternal] life.
Hebrews 10:35-39

In anticipation of this ultimate deliverance, your joy overflows, though at present it may be your lot to suffer for a time through various trials to the end that your faith may be shown to be genuine. This validation of your faith is far more valuable than gold, for gold, though it too is assayed by fire, ultimately perishes. But your faith, when proven genuine in the crucible of life, will result in praise, glory and honor for you at the glorious return of Jesus Christ. Though you have never laid eyes on Him, yet you love Him. And though you cannot see Him at this present time, yet you have faith in Him. For this reason you rejoice with an inexpressible joy that bespeaks the glorious future to come, when you shall carry off in victory the ultimate prize – the deliverance of your lives – which is the very purpose and objective of this faith of yours.
1st Peter 1:6-9

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi Bob,

I can't understand how people who have experienced the gifts of God could turn their backs on Him. Of course, I don't fully appreciate the level of pain and persecution that is to come. Given what subtle hints I see today, it will be horrendous.

Thank you for your prayers. You and yours are in my daily prayers as well. I need to focus on Matthew 6:34. The evil of the day today is certainly sufficient. It's always been that way. I'll be happy when it's over.

One question, though. Your Titus cite is reassuring, but where in it do you read a reunion with loved ones? I believe we will, as I've mentioned before, but I don't see that in Titus 2.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #12:

Here's another passage:

(15) For we tell you this by the Lord's own Word, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord (i.e., the Second Advent which brings the Great Tribulation to a close) will not precede those who have fallen asleep. (16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the archangel's blast on the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first (in resurrection), (17) then we who are alive and remain will be snatched up together with them in clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and in this way we shall always be with the Lord.
1st Thessalonians 4:15-17

"We" shall always be with the Lord following the resurrection, and who is "we" except for the entire Church of Jesus Christ?

As to the Great Apostasy (link), we do have to persevere in our faith until the end. There is no "once saved, always saved"; there is only, "he who endures to the end will be saved" (Matt.10:22; Mk.13:13). So this IS serious business. The seed that falls on the rock sprouts quickly, but the heat of persecution causes it to wither. The pressure of the Tribulation will make clear who really loves the Lord . . . and who really does not.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

How are you? Hope you are well.

In my Unger commentary of Isaiah it says that "Christ will doubtless not reside constantly on the millennial earth, but visit it on special occasions".

I was a bit surprised to read this as I was somehow under the impression that Jesus would stay on the earth during His millennial reign. I haven't got up to that part yet in your Coming Tribulation series.

Thanks again for all your help, support and teaching my friend!

In Him,

Response #13:

Your assumption is correct. That is a goofy thing to say! Unger is pretty good, but as is said in Classics, "Even Homer nods, occasionally".

If I had to guess, I would guess that this is Unger's way of reconciling the facts that 1) there will be a "prince" who has children over Israel (Ezek.46:16), and 2) David will rule in Jerusalem (Jer.30:9; 33:15-17; Ezek.34:23-24; 37:24-25; Hos.3:5). But My explanation is that Christ will rule the world from the temple while David is the ceremonial head of Israel with a non-resurrected prince administering that state.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Thanks Bob for clearing that up.

I knew that sounded odd!

Is it odd to be excited by the prospect of being with Jesus and the Millennial Kingdom?
For too long I was overtaken by fear of the Tribulation and although I still know it will be truly abysmal to put it lightly, but because I have been aggressively studying to seek spiritual growth, I am now looking beyond the Tribulation to all the incredible and glorious events that will take place after.

In fact our future with Jesus is my focus and I find I am blinkering myself against all the chaos that swirls around us all presently. I am too busy stretching my neck forward to finish this race and I want to finish strong!

I couldn't care less about conspiracy theories anymore. All the dramas around me is merely theatre for me now. I just shake my head at it all and press on and go about my every day life as though it isn't happening and concentrate on what I am put here for!

Thanks my friend! I couldn't have grown up without your ministry!

In Him,

Response #14:

That's fantastic!

Indeed, we are SUPPOSED to be looking past the trouble of this life and "to the things above" instead (Col.3:1); the return of Christ and the resurrection are our "blessed hope" (Tit.2:13); and the coming transformation of our bodies as we rise to meet the Lord in the air is our means of encouragement (1Thes.4:13-18).

Once the Tribulation begins, knowing what we are in for will be helpful in negotiating it, but there is also the blessing that we will know that our liberation from this world and being together with the Lord is a maximum of seven years out at that point, and that is an encouragement as well.

If you can handle what's going on in the world now and still keep your eyes on the Lord, the cross, and eternity, then it will be possible to do so during that dark time as well. The Holy Spirit is not limited, and He will be with us to the end no matter what.

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."
John 14:16-17 NIV

Keep up the good fight, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hello Bob

Greetings from Bedford Nova Scotia, Canada

It seems all the preachers on YouTube and those I know personally teach that Matthew 24 is only for the nation of Israel. How does one refute this interpretation using the scriptures? All these preachers teach pre-tribulation rapture. I believe the church will go to the tribulation. (Only one interpretation can be correct!) Thank you in advance for your answer. May God continue to bless your ministry, it surely has blessed me.

Response #15:

Yet another reason to delete the YouTube app!

Clearly, the entire Bible is for all believers. It is true that we do have to take into consideration the time and circumstances of its writing when interpreting it. But Matthew 24 is looking forward to the Tribulation, for the most part, and all of us alive today are liable to find ourselves in the middle of it very soon indeed. So if anything Matthew 24 is very much applicable to us all!

In terms of refutation, sometimes there's no arguing with swine by means of pearls. By what canon of interpretation, I would ask, can someone claim that any part of the Bible has no applicability to believers? The Bible was written for us. And Matthew 24 is speaking of future events that are covered many other places in the New Testament, directed to gentile as well as Jewish believers (just read 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, just for example). I'm never too interested in refuting false teaching. For me, it's enough to identify it as false, reject it, and teach what is true.

"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit."
Matthew 12:33 NKJV

Thanks for your good words of encouragement, my friend! They mean a lot.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I hope everything is going well.

I have a question on a verse on John the Baptist at the beginning of Luke. In 1:16, when Luke writes that he will turn the many back to the Lord, can we interpret this to be for primarily "temporary" believers, considering the thousands and thousands that Jesus taught either forgot about Him or left him after his crucifixion. In Acts, Luke also records the mere 120 that were gathered after the ascension (Acts 1:15). Was the testimony of Jesus' ministry the important thing? Let me know.


In Christ,

Response #16:

A couple of observations. First, some did turn back to the Lord; some did subsequently follow Jesus; we can't ignore that by the time of the first Pentecost many of these 1) did not reside in Jerusalem (since Jesus ministered throughout Palestine), and that 2) some of these may well have passed on to be with the Lord by this time. Also "many" can be true without it meaning anywhere near "most" of those to whom the Lord ministered.

Secondly, these prophecies are all also paired with the heralding of the second advent in addition to the first, and thus has its complete fulfillment yet in the future. Moses and Elijah (aided by the 144K) will lead a revival within Israel which will also lead "many" of Israel to the Lord – though not "most" Jewish people alive at that time.

Hope you are doing well!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for sharing what our friend wrote to you. I'm happy to know our prayers are helping and I'll keep them going for him.

Yes, storm Arwen hit us over the weekend. It was VERY wild in some places but we weren't too badly affected here. Further North got hit the hardest. We had some rain through the night and when I looked out of the window this morning all the snow had disappeared. So it didn't hang around for too long.

Our office doesn't close early for Christmas. We're only normally closed on Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year's day. Leading up to Christmas we're always really busy because people come in wanting their teeth checked "just in case" something goes bad ways over Christmas. It's understandable - no one wants a nasty toothache spoiling their Christmas.

We're supposed to be having our meeting this week about the new infection prevention and control guidance. My manager sent us an email with pages and pages of this guidance to read through before the meeting. I've read through the bulk of it but I'll know more tomorrow when I go to work.

I'm wondering if any of this new guidance for us will change now that the Omicron variant has made an appearance. So they're calling it a "variant of concern" and as from today in England masks are compulsory again in shops and on public transport. I'm sure you've heard there's a few confirmed cases here in the UK. I'm not concerned - just tuning out because I'm bored of listening to it.

Should be interesting at work tomorrow. I'll let you know how things go.

Is there much talk about it over on your side of the pond? I don't think you've had any cases yet have you?

Anyway, no matter what goes on in this world, it's SO good to have the Lord's peace in my heart. And that's getting stronger and stronger as the days go by, stronger with each test and stronger as I continue to grow spiritually.

I'm so glad we belong to Him!

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #17:

I just heard from our friend – he is not on the forum. I told him I'd be happy to ask have him invited, but he has a lot of trouble with his eyes and his "screen time" is limited as a result.

We're used to weird weather in the states, but it does seem to me that you've been getting your share over there in recent times too. We also heard that some folks in the mountains over there got stranded by the snow in a pub for a few days (not the worst place to get stranded, mind you).

Sorry to hear that you don't get that many holidays off! Being not full time, do you get any vacation? If not, sounds a bit of a raw deal.

Like you, I am beyond tired with the whole Covid thing. There seem to be far too many people and institutions and groups with a vested interest in keeping the panic going. That's the only way I explain the omicron things since even the dr. who found it doesn't think it's necessarily a big deal (milder symptoms) and only a few cases around. We're not supposed to "love the world". That's getting to be an easier command to fulfill day by day the way things are going.

I'm so pleased to hear that you are continuing your advance, my friend. Yes, there is nothing like God's peace – and those who truly enter into it are a lot happier (and more spiritually secure) for doing so.

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Good morning Dr.

I was reading on the internet and in several places it declared that Pope Francis has declared that the BIBLE is outdated.

Are you aware of this. I just cannot come to grips with this. What in the world is happening?

Your Brother in Christ

Response #18:

While I wouldn't put anything past the RCs, I think this is "fake news" or maybe satire.

After all, there is no need whatsoever for the RCs to change their Bible further (it already contains the Apocrypha) or even get rid of it – because they pay absolutely no attention to it in any case.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hi Bob,

When I read that when the centurion pierced the Lords side with a spear and blood and water came out, should I understand that instead of just liquid that the "water of life" spilled into the earth? Is there other symbolism there I should understand?

When the Lord allowed Thomas to insert his hand in the wound in the Lord's side yet he was unrecognized by disciples, can I understand that after the resurrection, we will be able to do nearly the same?

If Paul said the seed must die to produce the ultimate plant, can I understand that we will be enhanced and able to do many of the things our Lord is recorded to have done? Specifically, will I have to look like the old, worn tire casing I appear today?

Lately, the end of life is more on my mind. I know of nothing in scripture that directly addresses these questions so I guess I'm calling on your informed speculation.

In our Lord,

Response #19:

1) This incident demonstrated several things we needed to know: a) that Jesus had been physically dead for some time (long enough for the fluids in His physical body to separate); and b) that He was most certainly a genuine human being – there have been many heresies directed at the Person of Christ, some attacking His deity, some attacking His humanity. This incident shows that His human body was real, and just like ours in every way except for the absence of the sin nature, which absence was necessary for Him to be able to bear the sins of the world (cf. 1Jn.5:7-8 when correctly translated).

2) If you are asking whether or not we will be a) recognizable, and b) tangible in resurrection, the answer is a resounding "yes!". At Luke 24:16, we are told that the believers on the road to Emmaus did not recognize our Lord because "their eyes were [supernaturally] restrained". We will definitely know each other, no doubt also from the vastly improved abilities we shall all have then.

3) The best deduction is that we will be like our Lord since that is what scripture says (1Jn.3:2). In other words, He was 33, in the prime of His life. Just as Adam and Eve were created that way, just as the Last Adam was resurrected that way, so we should conclude we will be on that great day. I hasten to add that the difference between a zinnia seed and a blooming zinnia is such a dramatic one that we can also conclude that we will be exponentially better in every way, and in many ways we cannot yet imagine (cf. 1Cor.15:37ff.).

Please see this link for the most concentrated area of teaching posted at Ichthys on the subject: "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride" in CT 5.

Aches and pains often have me looking to that glorious future too, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Thanks, Bob, for your encouraging words. In my mind's eye, I'm still 28, virile and handsome. I look in the mirror and feel the aches and pains and I'm quickly disabused of that nonsense. There's probably an elegant symmetry to that. As time goes by, I'm finding less and less appeal to this lifetime and would almost rather get on with it. There are still things that concern me. I still worry about son-in-law and grandkids all of whom seem to be coping well. And I worry about my geriatric Basset hound. He and I are performing the coda of our lives. He had such a hard life before he came to me that it's taken seven years for him to trust me. He's now family, grumpy curmudgeon that he is.

As an aside, from my experience, it takes only minutes for blood to turn dark and congeal. What I saw was venous – not body cavity, so I don't know if my experience applies to what's recorded of the crucifixion.

I wonder about life after the resurrection. I suspect that, even if I still look like a blown out tire casing, it will still be better than what we have today. Ultimately, regardless of my concerns today, we all must go down the same road

I have no idea what the Lord has in store for me. As He wills. I think. or at least hope. I'm ready.

Bob, I apologize if I've waxed a bit maudlin. This has been a difficult time for me.

Yours in our Lord Jesus,

Response #20:

You're most welcome, my friend. We rejoice in God's miracle! He is so good to us! And we'll keep praying until things are back to normal, however long that takes.

On the "blood and water", I'm no M.D., but the way it has been explained to me is that these fluids will collect in the lower torso of a deceased body which is hanging, and that they will separate into sera and concentrated blood when they do so at some point post mortem, not having been exposed to the air.

Yes, the resurrection will be wonderful, far beyond anything we are even capable of imagining at present. I'm REALLY looking forward to it, especially on certain days.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Anyway I saw a vid of a mother who pointed out one board member's hypocrisy at a meeting. And there was this big hullabaloo and she was almost arrested. I also recently read in one city they recalled two members. But, to me, those are not wins. If I were the commander I would tell me deadly gentlemen and ladies that those are participation trophies. I wonder about this because for me, you know I come from an extreme background and know a bit about history and also human nature (the jungle portion anyway, and less the civilized part).

I would, well, use tactics that the left uses but the right won't even think of. Like I would say on all my public forums 'ok (full name) who makes 3x what the average parent in the area makes, or abuses and goes after innocent children who never did her wrong for a symbol she herself doesn't use, and then whines like a little girl when her hypocrisy is called out.' And that is just a side or beginning tactic. Like that act would be nothing in my strategy. I would say to my parents in my group, that if they can't strike when they need to protect their children, they need to rearrange the game. Attack the system, make it easy to put public officials on full blast so they can't just scamper off into a little hole with their riches. Make it easy to remove them and make it so there is a database so wherever they go, their misdeeds will follow. I won't go into a dissertation, but I would begin being brutal. If they go after my kids I warn them how unfortunate it would be if I did the same to (insert their full names and addresses and private schools (because I find these people's kids are more important than other kids to go to those public schools). I would recommend shunning, denying business, all sorts of things.

The real question is does my moral code line up with His? And there are verses that if someone doesn't show mercy, it will not be shown back. But also verses where He says to go and do something and not to show mercy.

Response #21:

Apologies for just getting to this. Saturday is posting day, and it was a particularly busy one on top of that.

I'm never surprised by people getting upset watching "the news". Because "the news" isn't "the news" anymore like it was in, say, 1965. Today, the whole point is to present things in a way that is aggravating and enraging – to get people to watch more for ratings' sake.

I think being intolerant of half-measures is a good sign. But believers have to remember that this "game", as you put it, is the devil's game on both sides. Any sort of involvement with anything political will always end badly for believers. Just look how upset you are just by giving it some consideration.

Besides, things are going to get a lot worse very soon. And it may very well be that the "good side" of these debates will be the one first to be coopted by antichrist. Some people think it more likely that he will arise from the right rather than the left for just this reason.

In any case, I hope you had a relaxing Sunday, and I wish you a good week ahead.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #22:

P.s remember when I sent you that page of Soviet style subversion on how to collapse society?

Well, I put the tv on for the news this morning and the children's channel popped on and it was really weird.. There was a young man dancing and telling the children watching to dance along and he told everyone to say the word "yuck"!

I thought that's a really odd thing to say but I then looked it up and "another" meaning to the word "yuck" is to laugh at something. I always thought it meant expressing disgust. So now it has the opposite meaning!

Some other words that have changed meaning (or have dual meaning which now means the opposite)

Bad = good
Sick = good
Wicked = good
And now
Yuck = laugh

I've also noticed that people are now calling abominable practices like transgendering children as being "pure". I looked up what this changed meaning meant and it means "A person full of life and spirit to run wild in their own atmosphere and mind". Also an app popped up saying that "pure" was a shameless casual dating app!! So pure now means to shamelessly run wild!

I guess we will see more and more of this as we get closer unfortunately.

In Him,

Response #22:

Maybe it's a case of American dialect. Even when I was a kid (MANY years ago), people were said to "yuck it up" meaning laughing. On the other hand, I frequently use words and make cultural references that leave my students scratching their heads because they've never heard them before. Found out that the only one in my Greek class who had ever heard of "Podunk" as a reference to "uncultured" rural USA was a returning student older EVEN than me. Even the faculty member sitting in had never heard of it.

On words meaning the opposite of what they once meant, Orwell is good on that. Animal Farm: equality: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"; 1984: "doublethink", "Thought Police", "thoughtcrime", "Newspeak", and "2 + 2 = 5".

Thucydides is earliest on this, writing about the revolution on the island of Corcyra where the stasis got so intense that the country essentially devoured itself. Excerpt:

(3) Revolution thus ran its course from city to city, and the places which it arrived at last, from having heard what had been done before carried to a still greater excess the refinement of their inventions, as manifested in the cunning of their enterprises and the atrocity of their reprisals. (4) Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence, became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defence. [History 3.82.4; trans. C.F. Smith]

Sounds pretty familiar!

Good thing we believers have the truth of the Word of God, a perfect standard that can never be compromised. Only by attention to the truth can we believers be certain that we will never be deceived, led astray by false teachers and false teaching – and that will be of such great import during the soon to come Tribulation (lots more on this subject in the next installment of the Peter series).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hey Bob,

I didn't think about it being an Americanism. I used to use a lot of American slang words in the past because a lot of them are fun to use. I also guess that "yuck" is a bit like an onomatopoeiac word in that it can sound like a laugh. Like nobody actually laughs with a "ha ha" or a "heh heh" but we use these words instead.

I guess a lot of American English is a mixture of languages from all over Europe. Yuck as in laughter could be a Netherlandish type expression. I can imagine Canadians using that one too!

That Thucydides quote is really something! You're a big fan of his and I can see why! How do you say his name? Is it like thu-sea-die-diz?

Speaking of "1984", a University in this country only issues this novel now with a "trigger warning" on the front of it! Apparently students are upset by many of the themes. They also have had to do this with novels by Charles Dickens and Emily Bronte. Have you managed to trigger anyone yet? Do you have any "safe spaces" at your uni?

I shudder to think what these callow youths will make of the Tribulation! (I almost wrote Trubulation then instead as a malapropism!)

Speaking of which, I read the other day that Mrs.Malaprop described someone as being "the pineapple of success!" I thought that quite clever in that most stately homes here actually DO have pineapples carved into gold or wood as decorations showing others that they really had "made it"!! I guess these days it would have to be something more fashionable like flowering Kale!

In Him,

Response #23:

There are usually several "correct" ways of pronouncing Classical names, and the British usually have their own unique way of doing so.

"1984" as a "trigger", LOL! Life will be a trigger to these individuals if they ever manage to make it out into the real world. Coming from a university perspective, I can tell you that while the psyches of the average university student nowadays are much more fragile than in the past, it is a case by case thing, and it is also a case of the "squeaky wheel" getting the attention. In other words, concerns are focused on the lowest level of tolerance rather than being anywhere near the norm. This obviously suits the political and personal agendas of many professors and administrators who are going gaga over such things. I just try to keep my head down and teach Greek and Latin.

Love "the pineapple of success"!

Spoonerisms are fun too: "Sir, you have tasted two whole worms; you have hissed all my mystery lectures and been caught fighting a liar in the quad; you will leave Oxford by the next town drain."

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Bob, it took me a few attempts at that last one but then I remembered that Spoonerisms are exchanged letters instead of words!

Speaking of languages, do you think there would be any point me trying to study Greek and Hebrew using your links for beginners? I mean, I won't have the gift of teaching and it is rather late in the day and I have so much other study to do. Would it be beneficial for me given my youth in Christ and the time we have left and not given the gift to teach?

In Him,

Response #24:

I would never tell anyone NOT to study Greek!

I will say, however, that reading into this ministry is something I wouldn't sacrifice for the sake of such a project (or any project). So if it's a question of spare time, studying Greek pays wonderful dividends in many ways; if it's a question of considering the study of Greek as on a par with Bible teaching, that's not the case, even if one is using the NT as the basis for learning.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Doctor!

I did see that. I appreciate the email reminders. It’s more and more difficult to find reading time with the job and all the kids (up to 6 now, new boy, Samuel, just over 2 months ago). Not sure when that train ride will end but my wife and I are still in great shape. I wish she could have more rest though, I keep asking, praying for her to have that, but you know babies.

Job wise, it’s almost too good. We’re at that point where Medicaid will potentially no longer apply, and if that’s the case my monthly expenses will put us back into poverty levels with the currently costs the way they are, so I don’t know if I’m excited about the extra income or not. I hate having to say that though. If my income goes up yet another level and we can afford it all, that’s the best case scenario otherwise back into the debt cycle Americans asked for (unintentionally or otherwise I guess). This really is Babylon. That said, I haven’t made this much money ever I think, and my boss is a good man, so no government encroachments like masks or mandated shots to worry about.

I hope you are doing well and had a great Christmas with family. We ended up having a semi-quiet day to ourselves.

I’ll get lesson read soon as I’m able and thanks again.

Talk soon Doctor.

Response #25:

Thanks for the update! I'm happy to hear that things are going well for you and your family, my friend.

Yes, there are a lot of things Babylon will have to answer for. But its complete destruction is looming, so justice will be done. It really is a scandal that by working hard and doing well you can put yourself into trouble.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily.

Wishing all good things for '22!

In Jesus,

Bob L.


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