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Preparing for Tribulation II

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Question #1: 


I am studying Revelation with a group of believers. I have read your thoughts on what it is to overcome or be an overcomer. You have been helpful to me in some regard, but I am still struggling a bit. In the letter to the church of Sardis, it is stated that the overcomer will not have their name blotted out of the book of life. To me this implies that the non overcomer will be blotted out. To be in such a book , I would reason that a person must have accepted Christ's gift of grace. Reasoning thru this seems to imply that this gift of salvation can be lost by not overcoming. I have always believed ( supported thru scripture) that one can not lose the gift of salvation offered thru Christ. I also believe that Christ stated that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin. For your prayer and consideration, do you think that a believer who has The Holy Spirit abiding in them, can or would be blaspheming against that Spirit if they denounced Christ in a situation of extreme duress ? I know that we will never know how Christ will judge, but he will do so perfectly. However, I think this is important to try to understand. Our Lord repeats to those who overcome 7 times, so it must be important. I also don't think that our Lord is saying to those who believe you will receive these rewards. Overcome is a stronger word than believe. All of this comes to the front of my mind with recent events where Christians are killed for not denouncing their faith. To me these are true overcomers. Someone brought up Peter who denied Christ 3 times and he was surely forgiven, but he did not have the Holy Spirit abiding in him. Your thoughts?


Response #1: 

Good to make your acquaintance. There is a lot written at Ichthys on these subjects, so I will give you just the gist here and point you to some links where there is more depth. Some believe salvation cannot be lost no matter what; others believe it can be easily lost through some sin; both positions have one foot in the truth and one foot outside of the truth so as to be wrong. It is true that salvation is secure – just as long as we do have faith / remain believers in Jesus Christ. It is true that salvation can be jeopardized – but only by abandoning our faith / belief in Jesus Christ. Faith, for most believers who are serious about their Christianity, is something that they would never give up no matter what troubles or threats came upon them. That is really what it means to "overcome", namely, to get through this life with faith intact so as to be not only positionally "saved" as believers are now, but experientially "saved" as in brought through the crucible of life without abandoning Christ.

It is dangerous to teach or believe that nothing can affect salvation, because that point of view cannot help but encourage some to do what most in this generation are doing anyway, namely, drift farther and farther away from the Lord through lack of spiritual growth on the one hand and more and more questionable conduct on the other. These two negative trends go hand in hand, because the less one is concentrating on the truth of scripture, the more likely one is to go one's own way; and the more one goes one's own way, the less willing a person generally is to give attention to the truth. When a prodigal son or daughter gets to the edge of faith, he/she may have a moment of epiphany and return (as the young man in Luke did) – goaded to that good result by the troubles of discipline the Lord brings on – but it is also possible for some in that situation to abandon their faith entirely. Apostasy can and it does happen (and during the soon-to-come Tribulation one third of believers will apostatize and follow the beast; see the link).

It is also dangerous to believe or teach that salvation is easily lost. We have the Holy Spirit sealing us, as you mention, so that no one can snatch us out of the Lord's hands: only we can remove ourselves from Him, and only by deliberately foreswearing Him and our faith in Him. This is not and cannot be done easily. It is not accomplished by a single sin (such as some unspecified "unpardonable sin" – what is meant in scripture is in actuality the specific sin of rejecting Christ); the only sin which causes a loss of salvation is the sin of absolute unbelief – returning to the state a person was in before putting faith in Christ. This process, known as apostatizing (which results in apostasy), is not accidental and seldom accompanied by angst or tears – those who wish to depart from Christ do so of their own free and un-coerced will (those who are still believers but merely worried about their status are the ones who will be emotional about potential loss).

"And those [whose seed fell] on the rock do receive the Word with joy when they hear it. However these [types] have no root. They believe for a while, but in time of testing they apostatize."
Luke 8:13

In my observation and experience, the two most common reasons for apostasy are people who suffer some terrible loss and blame God for it (and so turn away from Him as in the verse above), or who fall into gross sin and embrace it, then become tired of repentance and unwilling to look God in the face anymore, so to speak. There is also a category of believer who refuses to let go of some dire sinful behavior in spite of divine discipline, but who also refuses to let go of Christ; such individuals suffer the sin unto death if they don't finally turn around (they are still saved, but leave this life in a terrible way with little or no reward to show for it).

Your can find out more at some of these links:

The False Doctrine of Absolute Eternal Security III.

Apostasy and the Sin unto Death (in BB 3B)

Being Saved: Security, Apostasy, and the Sin unto Death

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #2: 

Hi Bob,

"At that time, Michael the great prince (i.e., archangel) will take his stand [in your defense], [even] he who stands [in defense] over the sons of your people. For [that time] (i.e., the Great Tribulation) shall be a time of distress such as has never occurred since people first existed [on the earth] until that time. But during that time your people will escape, [that is,] everyone who[se name] is found written in the book [of life] (i.e., present and future believers)."
(Daniel 12:1)

Will Michael's agency of avail also apply to believers around the world, or just Israel? The phrase "everyone whose name is found written in the book of life" is jarring with the intended group of Michael's focus.

Response #2: 

The special protection of those saved under the ministry of Moses and Elijah who are brought to a special hiding place in the desert seems to be only for Jewish believers present in Israel at the time, namely, the very commencement of the Great Tribulation.

However, I fully expect that believers will all be delivered just as our Lord has promised elsewhere (e.g., Lk.21:18).

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Psalm 55:22 NIV

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, "The LORD is my refuge," and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
Psalm 91:3-13 NIV

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:2 NIV

However, in the case of a great many believers, that "deliverance" will be an early exit from the troubles of the Tribulation through martyrdom (e.g., Rev.13:10). Such an end does guarantee a high reward at the judgment seat of Christ for those who really are dying for the Lord – so it does constitute getting out of this life with one's eternal life and one's reward safely intact. For gentiles who endure to the end, escaping Babylon on cue will be the biggest test in this regard. But those who do are going to see the Lord return face to face – and then be resurrected while still alive. We have to trust in the Lord that the path He chooses for us to walk in those days is the right one.

"If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed." This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God's people.
Revelation 13:10 NIV

In hope of that glorious day soon to come.

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Dear Dr Luginbill,

Thanks for the heads up! I find the information on your website so rich and so voluminous that I haven't done a straight through reading of any particular study. Rather, I have really zeroed in on certain parts and began my own studies off of them (you know how you think you're heading one way, but the Holy Spirit has other plans). Your breakdown of Satan's deception of Eve sprouted into many months of studies all by itself!

I agree, at this hour in history, I don't think it at all unwise to spend a lot of time on this topic. I belong to a few post-trib rapture groups on Facebook and have shared your tribulational code of conduct and many other things from your website.

I keep thinking of Jesus' words about the "night when no man can work." I believe He may be referencing the thick spiritual darkness that is already beginning to fill the land, and is no doubt only going to increase as the Day draws near. I feel we must be rooted and grounded in His Word even more than ever in order to withstand this deception, as we will all be tested and tried. We need not fear as I know the Lord is with us, but that doesn't mean we don't have to mind our P's and Q's!

Anyway, thank you so much for thinking of me and letting me know about the new content. I think I'm going to head over there right now!

Be Blessed,

Response #3: 

You're most welcome,

No doubt it will be tough to "work" for the Lord during the Tribulation, but there will be many who will need that help at that dark time – more than ever. So just as the Lord gave light to the Israelites even when darkness descended on the Egyptians, I am confident that for those who are prepared to do so, the Tribulation will not be a time without fruitful labor for the Lord.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

Dr. L,

You're right. He is so faithful, He will do it! There seems to be no end to the spiritual preparation, but at the same time, keeping that child like faith...it can be difficult sometimes!

Many in my post trib groups are trying to find a way to survive it. I'm just looking to keep my faith and knowledge of the Word strong, that I may continue to be prepared to die for Jesus no matter what happens, and to help others as best I know how. I live on some acreage here in the east that I hope may provide a haven. But that is in the hands of the Lord!

I find he has been bringing me back to "basics," studying the beatitudes and reading the Gospels straight through again. It is in the Gospels that my child like faith really took hold. It's so tempting to be cynical these days. I stay away from nearly everything secular, but even some Christian groups can be challenging. Anyway, I'm quite sure that's why the Lord has brought me back to the Gospels. His wisdom is unsearchable! I'm also making a concerted effort to read your studies straight through. Really, I just find them so packed with insight, it takes me a while! I know it's no rush or obligation, I would just like to go through them for the overall picture, then go back and examine certain things. That's what I'm doing with the Gospels. I'm the person who often catches one verse or set of verses and then veers off to study it, which leads to another study etc. I know that's good too, but it's been a long time since I've read the Gospels straight through, and would like to do the same with the studies on Ichthys.

Thanks again for thinking of me with the new posting. Your friendship has provided much encouragement. I will be praying for your ministry, as well as for you and your family.

Love in Christ,

Response #4: 

Thanks for this update, and thanks for your prayers.

I have no doubt about God's ability to keep us alive if that is His will. He always does His part. Our part is to keep faith with Him, and that does take spiritual preparation when times get tough.

Your dedication to the Lord is an encouragement to me as well!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Hi Robert.

I am reading the Ichthys Armageddon end times section and when you describe what us written in Revelation regarding the things that will take place, sores, scorching heat etc. it says that Christians will be protected from these things. If things such as sores and severe disease is affecting Christians like me right now, then why would we be protected or spared from this at that time? Thank you for your help.

Yours in Christ,

Response #5: 

I hope things went well today – that is certainly what I've been praying for!

Job was afflicted with sores in spite of the fact that he was the greatest believer alive (or actually because of it), and we know that this world is the devil's world, that all believers are therefore "targets", and that this is no garden of Eden as a result.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
1st Peter 5:8-9 NASB

Job had done nothing wrong, and likewise much of the trouble that comes our way in this life is not at all our fault or the result of some sort of divine judgment – especially in the case of those who are determined to walk closely with Jesus Christ, taking in the truth of the Word of God daily, and helping others to do the same. For us, whenever we do have troubles of whatever sort (and there are a great variety of personal tribulations, some visible to others and some hidden; see the Peter series), it is usually not some sort of divine discipline for sin but rather an attack from the evil one, allowed by the Lord, as in the case of Job, for His glory and for our spiritual growth (if we handle the test correctly, relying on the Lord's perfect faithfulness and waiting patiently for His deliverance).

"In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me," declares the LORD.
Isaiah 54:14-17

The judgments of the Tribulation are divine judgments sent upon a wicked world, with the first major installment (the trumpet judgments) designed to warn the world of unbelief about the impending Day of the Lord, and with the second major installment (the bowl judgments) designed for retribution before final judgment. In other words, these two sets of tribulational judgments are directed towards unbelievers. As those who belong to the Lord, we can therefore expect to be protected as those who belong to Him – just as the children of Israel were protected from the ten plagues suffered by the Egyptians. In that biblically drawn analogy, we may be sure that these Israelites were not perfect (we know that for certain given their terrible conduct in their failure of the ten tests the Lord later sent upon them in the desert, and in their rejection of the land of promise); and we may also be certain that they had their individual problems and personal tribulations just as all do who live in the devil's world. But they most certainly were miraculously protected from these exceptional judgments which came directly from God Himself with a special divine purpose. The same essential thing will be the case during the Tribulation. It will be a time of great suffering for the whole world, believers too – and in fact one third of the true Church militant, genuine believers that is, will be martyred for our faith during those dark days. So we can't realistically expect to be insulated from everything that is happening around us (Jer.45:1-5), even though Babylon may be a sort of safe haven for a time (as I have speculated based upon the evidence). But we can be sure that the Lord is not going to give us what the wicked deserve anymore that He is going to give them what we deserve.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Hi Robert.

Thank you for explaining all of this in such a perfect way as usual. [details omitted] I can only imagine what Jesus experienced when he was here with so many unbelievers but he handled it all so well. I only wish I could be more like Jesus and not get angry, frustrated or upset but I have had my struggles in coping and dealing with all the naysayers and it is especially difficult when I am this sick. I am praising God. Thank you for everything Robert for answering my bible ?'s and for all your prayers and for simply being the kind and caring person you are. I hope all is well with you and that you enjoy this summer!

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Response #6: 

You're most welcome. I do hope this all works out, and while I certainly don't know the future I'm confident . . . in the Lord's faithfulness.

Yes, all who want to live godly in Christ Jesus will face opposition as we share the sufferings of Christ (Rom.8:17; 2Cor.1:5; Phil.1:29-30; 3:10; Col.1:24; 1Pet.4:12-13; cf. Matt.10:38; 16:24; Mk.8:34; 10:21; 10:38-39; Lk.9:23; 14:27; Acts 5:41; 2Cor.4:10-11; Gal.6:17; 1Thes.1:6; 2Thes.1:4-5; 2Tim.3:12; see the link: in CT 2A: ""sharing in the sufferings of Christ" is a part of the normal Christian experience").

What we go through is nothing like what He went through, of course, but it does stretch us, sometimes to very near the breaking point, and in this way it gives us a much better idea of what He did for us in His matchless grace and love.

Keeping you in my prayers, in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

I am also so grateful for the Lord for these wonderful recent changes with my friend and my father. We know we always need to do our work in God's vineyard, but I really feel motivated and responsible now that those few who have opened their hearts will be relying on me with their spiritual growth.

I understand your argument and I have already commenced planning my own studies. I also correspond with with a few close ones regularly, I have been writing and responding most days now. My main concern and the reason I asked about translations is the time. It really is short now, one senses is every day. This is why the idea came about - translations would allow access to all these wonderful resources and non-English speaking Poles really have almost literally nothing to study and read apart from the scriptures.

I do have some concern whether I will be able to bear the fruit that I am capable of before the Tribulation begins. I look at a ministry like yours and where I am with things and it is evident I will need time. I hope and pray that I can bear some fruit for the Lord.

I finished the gospel of John in Greek and the words of the powerful command repeated by our Lord.

John 21:15-17(NASB)
15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Tend My lambs." 16 He *said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Shepherd My sheep." 17 He *said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you [f]love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus *said to him,"Tend My sheep.

In our Lord, whom we love,

Response #7: 

Very nice, my friend! I remember fondly when I finally began to "break through" and understand scripture on more than just an intellectual level. Some folks are all about emotions; others are all about grammar; but Paul, e.g., was a real person writing to real people about real spiritual concerns . . . in the power of the Spirit. I'm very happy to see/hear that you are really coming into your own!

As to time, again, there is a "sweet spot" here which is someplace between putting so much pressure on yourself that you become paralyzed on the one hand, and not feeling any sense of urgency so that you don't move on nearly as fast as you otherwise might on the other. As long as you are in-between those two, it's good (in my opinion) – and you can tweak things from that position of strength. However, I don't see that ministry will stop during the Tribulation. If anything, it may well be that then is when it will really starts for many. So many of our brothers and sisters in this age of Laodicea are completely unconcerned with the truth and will thus find themselves thrown into the Tribulation completely unprepared. And yet while one third will apostatize, the other two thirds are going to "make it" – one third being martyred and giving the ultimate witness for the Lord. I don't think it'll be possible for many believers to get all the way through the Tribulation, let alone undergo martyrdom, without being spiritually mature and grounded deeply in the truth. It's not happening now. So perhaps it will happen then once the pressure is really on. Most of my Greek and Latin students don't start studying for the exam until the night before; this is a common, human way of doing things. So there may well be plenty for us to do once the Tribulation starts as well. So much we don't know. But I'm not counting out that possibility.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Hello Bob,

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and re-reading your kind emails from a month ago and I firmly believe that God WILL provide in some way for those who are His. We just have to believe without question that the words in Matthew 6: 25 – 34 are sufficient for us.

We talked a little on Manna and of course, as you say we don’t yet know how it will be until we see it but it has got me thinking of how we could possibly help Him in some way.

My youngest son has just bought for us a Flow hive, which is a very recent Australian invention that harvests the honey naturally without the need of expensive centrifugal honey extraction equipment, not to mention how labour intensive it is as well as the stress it causes the Bees and oneself. This invention has taken the Bee community by storm and many have been sold in the US. You can see it by Googling Flow hive and once buying the set-up, that’s it, there are no ongoing costs.

You would no doubt be aware of the healing properties of honey, and this is from honey that is store-bought from commercial manufacturers, which is very different from raw, unprocessed honey straight from the hive, and has all the good qualities/properties still in it that store-bought honey hasn’t. It also tastes so much better.

Out of interest, I googled ‘can you survive on honey alone’ and found some interesting answers – some say there is evidence you can survive on raw honey and water alone indefinitely. Now I don’t know the validity of those claims but I think it’s worth considering, even investigating.

As it is the last 3.5 years of Tribulation that will be the most worrying and trying time I don’t think it would hurt to conduct an experiment to substantiate these claims. It is interesting to read that Manna looked like a white coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.

I’m interested in whatever thoughts you may have on what has been said.

Will make this do for now Bob and I remain,

Your brother by His mercy,

Response #8: 

Always good to hear from you, my friend. Very interesting email! You have my previous comments (as well as the material on the site). I certainly don't mean to suggest that working for a living is not necessary or that it won't necessary during the Tribulation – it certainly will be until the resurrection. I also wouldn't want anyone to get the impression that we are to sit on our hands and ignore what is coming from a material perspective. Clearly, spiritual preparation is what it needed first and foremost. And if we truly are spiritually prepared, everything else will fall into place. My main point in dealing with this issue is to help my fellow believers develop that proper perspective of the need to prepare themselves spiritual and not become over-focused on material preparation. What we carry in our hearts we can take anywhere and cannot be taken from us – and has eternal benefits. What we prepare materially cannot necessary be moved from place to place (if it turns out we have to move from place to place), can be taken from us (and I have no doubt that many believers around the world will be robbed of all or most of what they have by the evil regime of the beast), and will make no difference to our eternal status and reward – unless we allow it to become an idol in our hearts and thus frustrate our spiritual preparation before the fact or lead us into bad decisions when the time comes. The more we have that tied to a certain place, the less willing we will be to leave that place (even if that is what we should do) and the less willing we will be to endanger what we have amassed (and that can lead to compromise). The Lord is our security, and the closer we walk with Him, the more secure we in fact are – even if our eyes, ears and feelings are telling us something different.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 46:1b-3 NIV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Hello Bob and family,

I hope this email finds you well and in good spirits.

I’ve just finished reading your new addition of Eschatology part 2b – wow, what a good read! I had read the previous version but this one is a read and a half! So much help in all you write, not just through ichthys but your very valued emails as well. I can never express how much help you have given me in a deeper understanding of my Bible, ichthys has certainly opened it up in a beautiful way that I could never imagined and I will continue reading it to the end. I just hope and pray that ichthys will continue to have free course in the world in the coming days and that more souls will be drawn to it. It is so distressing that so many are just drifting towards a lost eternity and for some time now I have been praying that He will use me in some small way – if He would help me to help others, then use me.

It is so clear from the escalation of world events that the Tribulation is coming at flood speed in less than a decade now, which will pass in the blink of an eye and so many will be caught unawares. Of course we know there are none so blind who will not see and none so deaf who will not hear – how often do we hear the phrase ‘if only they knew.’ But it doesn’t stop my heart from aching for them and if mine aches, how must God ache for them.

The thoughts of these coming days are constantly on my mind and I want so very much to have a ‘preparedness of mind’ so that I will not falter and lose my inheritance, not just for myself but for my family and others as well and I know my faith will be severely tested before and during this time. I’m in reasonable health it’s quite possible I will see a fair part of the Tribulation, perhaps even all of it if God permits it. Which brings me to my question.

I have given up my previous thoughts on trying to escape during these times by selling up and buying a self sustaining country property as I understand the reasons that you’ve outlined in your previous emails – that there is no guarantee that a legally bought property won’t be taken from us by the corrupt, ruthless ‘government’ that will be here in those days, not to mention other things.

Because it will be impossible to buy and sell in the second half, I can’t see how we can even live in our own homes, it would seem to me that we will just have to walk away from them at the last minute and become as refugees and outcasts in our own country and put our trust completely in Him.

The Jews are given a ‘last minute warning’ to flee into the mountains after the image is built and we know that God will sustain them for the duration and we are only warned in Matthew 6: 25-34, which doesn’t tell us to flee per se, nor does it say to stay put but it does say enough to give us confidence that He will provide for us in some way. You mention in a previous email that we may be moving around from place to place, which suggests of being like a refugee and I can only think to survive (if we are meant to survive) such horror and persecution, our only option will be to buy the best 4 season’s tent, having as much survivalist equipment as we can carry and disappear into the wilderness after careful consideration and prayer as to where to go.

As you say, at this time we don’t know how God will provide for us but as He provided manna in the morning and quail in the evening and most importantly water, even though they had their flocks with them, it is certainly possible for Him to do it again. When I think of the several times in my life that I know God has saved me from certain death, I am confident He will provide for us. Someone once said, God didn’t rescue me from the surf just to beat me up on the sand!

But if God has marked me for martyrdom, then so be it, I would much rather face this death for Jesus than the second death and I hope that courage won’t desert me and that I am found constant in prayer. I’m sure that Jesus won’t let go of our hand; it’s us who let go of His and neglecting to pray is the first downward step.

I understand from what I read about the seals and trumpet judgements that part of these will affect us as well and I am wondering if such preparations are leading to the wrong mind-set, I don’t want any thoughts that may lead to selfishness and self preservation, which may be considered wrong.

Your guidance in this will be very much appreciated.

Will make this do for now and again dear Bob, I remain your brother by His mercy.

Response #9: 

Thanks so much for this very encouraging email, my friend! I think you have understood all these things exactly right. I would only counsel you not to worry about anything. Since you are preparing spiritually, you really have nothing to worry about. We have seen the Lord's deliverance many times in scripture and we believe it, and we have seen it with our eyes as well: He is absolutely faithful and could not be otherwise (Ps.9:10). I think it is best to see the Tribulation as an opportunity to witness for the Lord the power of faith and truth mixed together in the heart of a Spirit-filled believer. Just by standing steady when the world is falling apart – and many who ought to know better with it – will be a witness to men and angels both. I have often opined that Babylon may be a place of greater peace for Christians than the rest of the world is, since Babylon is the place whence the beast rises and the ruling power of his kingdom – until she is destroyed just before the end, that is. We need to be ready for anything at any time; many will be called upon to witness to the Lord with their lives, it is true, and even if believers are spared the judgmental aspects of the trumpet and bowl judgments (as the Israelites were when Egypt was analogously struck), it is not going to be a happy time, to put it mildly. One of the main things I would emphasize to believers in this country is the need to be ready to flee once that command is given. When everyone else is saying "peace and safety!" (cf. 1Thes.5:3), it will take the courage of our convictions to depart into what the world will see as an uncertain future. But we trust our Lord and are willing to "follow the Lamb wherever He goes" and wherever He would have us to go.

I have been praying for you for ministry in preparation of yourself and others for what is to come, my friend, and will continue to do so.

Thanks again for your good witness to the truth!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Hello Bob,

Thank you again for your insightful words of encouragement, I was eagerly anticipating your reply, which as usual, never disappoints.

If I am to be totally honest, I guess it is the natural human fear of losing my life in a violent way at the hand of an enemy as opposed to natural death. As you have already mentioned, not many would seek martyrdom normally, (except those who for reasons known only to them who believe in it) and because the mark will be in place all over the world eventually disallowing us to buy anything – if it becomes impossible to live in our own homes and I can’t see how God will enable that, I wouldn’t want to resort to stealing to survive and I know you’re not suggesting that.

Living in Australia, we may not have the same ‘command to flee’ as in your country and of course we don’t know to what extent we will suffer in persecution but I can think it will be similar and I’m only thinking this may be a way of escape here – I don’t know.

Unlike verbal dialogue, which can be extended to grasp ones meaning fully, we have to rely on reading between the lines sometimes to understand what is being said and that can be the case right now. I can understand that you may be unwilling to say that there is nothing wrong with what I am suggesting in case it backfires on either of us and it may be that I just haven’t reached the point where your mind is on this issue at this moment, perhaps in time with prayer God will help me with this.

I suppose I’m really asking if you see what I’m proposing is really wrong in the Christian sense, I’m ok with that but if I go ahead with it in the second half and it turns out bad for me and whoever is with me I would have no-one to blame but myself. I can assure you I won’t just ‘tramp off into the bush’ without careful thought and prayer over the next 10 or 13 years before it happens and I understand that so much will change beforehand. Hopefully I will allow myself to be led by the Spirit in this time and not allow wistful thoughts to cloud my judgement.

I hope my thoughts are not giving you too much to wrestle with and I feel that I haven’t quite expressed myself in the way I wanted to so rather than write too much, which is beginning to confuse me I will close now and look forward to your reply.

Again dear Bob I’m very grateful to your responses to my questions.

I remain your brother by His mercy,

Response #10: 

My main concern on this issue is not to "throw a restraint" over anyone (cf. 1Cor.7:35), but to disabuse my fellow Christians of becoming married to the wrong mind-set regarding the Tribulation. Everything about the Christian walk, properly conducted, is meant to develop our faith in God's faithfulness. His faithfulness is absolute and perfect in every way. That means not only will He never let us down – it's totally incompatible with His perfect character to do so. If we worry about things – which we are specifically ordered by our Lord not to do – we will be getting all this upside down. Mind you, I don't think many Christians have ever gotten to the point of never worrying about anything (maybe none). But that is the logical result of having complete faith in God's faithfulness to us. We know that He has everything planned out. So we don't have to worry about anything. The proper response to that principle is not to stick our heads in the sand or to sit down on the river bank waiting for the ravens to arrive with our supper. We live in the world and we are required to do the things necessary in this world to earn our bread by the sweat of our brow. We are also required, it seems to me, to be prudent and wise in what we do.

So for example there is a sweet spot between eschewing self-defense entirely on the one hand and possessing an armory large enough to outfit a small country on the other. The one is tempting God; the other is not trusting Him. If there were any scriptural commands to make specific material preparations for the tough times ahead, I would be all for going all in on that. I don't find that in the Bible, however. The Tribulation will be a time of such unusual and unprecedented events that it seems to me impossible to anticipate, even with the wealth of information we do have, how exactly everything will pan out when it comes to the texture of our individual Christian lives during that time. The one thing I do know is that our Lord expects us to give a good witness by how we behave, and that includes what we say and think. If we are relying on Him and expressing that reliance to our Christian brothers and sisters, well and good. But if we are indicating by our actions that we really are relying upon things we have done, are doing, will do to get us through, I find that problematic. That is most definitely not to say that it would be wrong to have some land or some provisions or even to contemplate various scenarios – just as long as 1) we recognize that things are likely not to turn out as we are anticipating them and foreseeing them (not when it comes to the all-important, nitty-gritty details, that is), and 2) we may have to give up at a moments notice all of our plans and possessions. The latter will be harder, it seems to me, the more time, effort, resources, and emotional involvement we have invested in these.

If it is God's will for you or I to be arrested at the commencement of the Great Tribulation and imprisoned until Christ's return – when we are resurrected – then that is what will happen. If we are in an attitude of accepting whatever comes, then we will no doubt be able to endure that trial better. But to the extent that we are leaning the other way, we might be merely undermining our own faith by subtly depending upon physical means rather than spiritual resources. As I have said many times before and affirm as believing fully now, in those trying times an ounce of spiritual preparation in the heart will be worth a ton of canned goods in the basement. That is because we don't know if we will even be allowed to open a single can – but we most definitely will be using every single scrap of truth we have stored in our hearts by faith.

All this doesn't mean that putting some things aside or making some plans or taking some preparations are wrong – these things may even be salutary. But each of us needs to evaluate our motivations very carefully before doing so, it seems to me, and keep firmly in mind that we really need to be putting spiritual considerations first. God can feed us miraculously, whether our sustenance comes from heaven directly or by the hand of some kind soul – like yourself. He knows the plans He has for us, plans to build us up and not to break us down, plans to use us to witness to the power of truth, regardless of what we may be called upon to suffer (cf. Jer.29:11). There is no single rule of thumb when it comes to the specifics, other than what I've tried to explain here. So no one can say that anything you may be planning or doing is wrong or out of bounds – and it may even be a help to many. But we do have to have our thinking "right-side up", and there are many things which can militate against that. Every Christian needs to have his/her own weaknesses and strengths clearly in mind when it comes to such matters . . . so as to make the best possible decisions then and now for the glory of Jesus Christ to whom we belong.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Hello Bob,

Again my thanks for your timely and lengthy email – never expected it so quick; you must burn a lot of midnight oil!

As I have come to expect and accept, your answer was as I was inwardly fearing and thinking about my own fears I guess it could well be that if I don’t get to see Tribulation begin; it’s quite possible I am fearing more for my own children in the coming situation and I don’t think any parent who loves their children dearly would think otherwise.

I can understand fully that it is almost impossible to foresee completely the events that are and will present themselves and I fully believe what you say regarding an ounce of spiritual preparation far outweighs a mountain of canned food. I can see that having a ‘preparedness of mind’ will ne my best armoury in defence.

Again dear Bob, with brotherly love,

Response #11: 

You're most welcome, my friend. I imagine we all are concerned for children, family, loved ones, friends we care about deeply – many of whom are not believers or at least not particularly positive ones. There is a limit to what we can do in such cases beyond witnessing to the truth personally by what we say and do – which things are based of course on what we are really thinking. So thinking about these things correctly is the first step.

Again, I don't want to discourage you about whatever the Spirit may be leading you to do. I do agree with your conclusion here, however!

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12: 

Hello Bob,

It’s been a little over a month since your last emails and I have been digesting them, re-digesting and re-digesting them again, even to the point of just not knowing what course of action we should all be taking. I understand perfectly all that you have said and advised in previous correspondences – and I certainly agree that we must be spiritually prepared as much as possible or run the risk of apostatizing because we didn’t fortify ourselves with a strong faith and belief that He will deliver us and I truly believe that. If you look over these emails you can see I’ve had enough ‘life experiences’ – even near death experiences to know and realise He has delivered me safely before and if I cling to Him there isn’t any reason why He won’t do it again. That much I understand and believe.

The problem that I am having getting my head around is knowing that the second half of Tribulation will be the worst time ever and simply knowing that none who refuse the mark will not be able to buy or sell, I cannot see how we can even remain in our own homes – I know that anything is possible with God but I’m having a hard time linking it together for the best. Living in Australia things aren’t as bad as in some places in the world yet but I’m sure that will change as the day draws closer, and as we in Australia are not told to ‘flee Babylon’ at a given time, perhaps we will just have to be as best prepared as we can be. I just wonder if that includes the thoughts of ‘disappearing into the wilderness’ and trusting in Him to sustain us in some way. I keep thinking if He did it in the Exodus and I keep linking Matthew 6: 25 – 34 with that, it’s possible that He will keep us too and I know that’s a big leap of faith but as much as I try I can’t see an alternative at this stage.

I just wonder what the attitude of society at large, who having taken the mark, will be toward those who haven’t – we can’t just walk the streets hoping for handouts – I don’t see that as being any different than disappearing into the wilderness, we are still risking death at every corner.

I can certainly see the world under the control of the Anti-Christ and his ‘one world government’ not to mention a one world religion, that the whole world will eventually not be able to buy or sell without the mark.

The old adage ‘being forewarned is forearmed’ and as you have said we may have to be ready to move at a moments notice – even salutary, I just wonder if you lived in Australia and not the US, knowing that you will eventually have to ‘re-locate’ or suffer the same consequence, would it cross your mind to do what I am only considering as we aren’t told to re-locate as you will be. I have tried to explain my thoughts by putting a different slant on how you might view the situation if it were the same for you if you lived in Australia.

As always dear Bob, with brotherly love,

Response #12: 

Always good to hear from you, my friend. I do hear what you are saying, and you make a number of excellent points. I certainly can't tell you – and I hope you didn't interpret anything I have said as meaning – that believers shouldn't even dream of making any sort of material preparations for what is coming. The main things that I always try to get across in such discussions are 1) spiritual preparation is so much more important – so to the extent that becoming occupied with material preparation in any way hinders spiritual preparation it is a negative and not a positive; 2) the exact way in which events will play out once the Tribulation does begin will undoubtedly be surprising to us in many respects – scripture gives us the general outline (of chronology) as well as the major themes (apostasy and persecution), but not the texture as we will be experiencing it, so that it is more than possible that, since things will not transpire in the way we may think they will from our present perspective, all of our work in material preparation may turn out to be for naught. For example, if we are prepared in our hearts to endure whatever hardships may come, we will be able to encourage not only ourselves but also those whose spirits are flagging, and may be a spiritual life-preserver to those around us (less so if we have wasted too much time on material preparations). For example, if we set up as secret place in the wilderness, we may not be able to make it there, or it may be betrayed to the authorities by someone near and dear (that is a prophesied feature of the Tribulation as well).

I don't pretend to have any special knowledge of insight about these things beyond what I read in and can extrapolate from the Bible. I am counting on the Lord to work all these things out for good. There is, it is true, a balance to be struck in this life in most things, and the balance between spiritual and material is always a part of that. We trust in the Lord to provide, but as my old pastor used to say that doesn't mean we can skip work and sit on a park bench waiting for the ravens to bring us bread and meat (we'll starve if we do). So I don't want to leave you with the impression that we shouldn't even consider acting on the information we do have ahead of time.

If you are being called by the Lord to do certain things, you should do them. I lean in the direction of more spiritual less material. And I feel that in a time when almost everyone else who purports to teach the Word is leaning in the opposite direction it is good and right that I do so. It may well be that some who are likewise putting spiritual things first will benefit from your foresight in material things in the future. One of the things I find particularly refreshing about you and your approach is that it is directed towards the idea of helping others (most people intent on collecting guns, ammo and canned goods are only thinking about themselves and their immediate families). So your sense of selflessness when mostly I find others with this idea suffering from selfishness gives me particular pause. I reiterate: you should do what the Spirit is leading you to do. Figuring that out is the tricky part, but it's something we all have to learn to do in the process of spiritual growth.

Looking forward to meeting you on the other side, my friend – or perhaps even in this life (life can be funny that way: don't kick me out if I show up at your ranch).

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.
Psalm 33:10 NIV

The LORD knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever.
They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
Psalm 37:18-19 NKJV

And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
Psalm 50:15 KJV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Hi Bob,

As always, you make good sense in your reply and I need to say from the outset that my thoughts now are so much downsized from my original, ignorant thoughts (which would have been costly in a monetary way) that would have led to whatever obtained could well be taken from us – to thinking about a possible ‘escape plan’ that would involve minimal time in preparation and cost, most of which I already have. I cannot in truth say at this stage I’m being led by the Spirit to do what I’m thinking but I certainly am praying that He will cause me to know what I should do if and when. I would be a fool to march off into the bush expecting to be sustained without spiritual guidance – it could well be that I am to just stay put but whatever it is, I will have to trust and obey Him. I sincerely hope the Spirit will lead me in this.

Of course not knowing the entire details in texture as you say, it will be taking one step at a time so to speak and I understand what you say that spiritual preparation is more important than material preparation – one thing is for sure I won’t know what to do without a good measure of spiritual preparation. I love reading your responses over and over, sentence by sentence and just reading things once, the full and true meaning is often missed and I don’t want to miss anything you would say to me.

We have three sons Bob, the youngest of whom believes as we do, the other two have yet to come to accepting Jesus as their saviour – they were all brought up in the knowledge of God and Jesus but haven’t done much about it, I can only hope and pray that before too long they too, will come to it. I am trying very hard to lead by example but I don’t think I’m a very good leader. I’m quite sure you’ve heard the term, ‘loose lips sink ships’ and I am keeping my thoughts very much to myself as I understand you mentioning betrayal.

Again Bob, I thank you for your wisdom and your tactful way of explaining things, it is very much appreciated. After having read most of what you’ve written in ichthys, which have been so much of a help to me I too, have been going back ‘for seconds’ and I will never stop trying to point others to it – it is such a help in understanding my Bible, which some would say is a mystery to them. I love waiting on your Saturday postings of emails because the help you give others is priceless, (Isaiah 55: 1 – 3) and as I have said previously and also have read in the postings, ichthys and my Bible is my church.

I say this because of my mistrust in most religious affiliations, most of which are just becoming hoopla and fanfare with music to entice the young. You may remember I told you of the group that I belonged to had no name (cult) which was loosely known as ‘the way’ to those in it or the 2 x 2’s to those outside it, which is also in your country and I’m sure you know of it and I believed in it with my heart and soul but that is behind me now. I am quite happy to only have ichthys and my Bible as my church because I don’t want to tie myself to these organisations that will be overtaken in the second half by Satan and possibly accepting the mark in ignorance, knowing that ignorance will not be an excuse.

Something I heard some time ago and I’ve never forgotten and I think you will like as well,

I will look for Him today and if I don’t find Him, I will look for Him tomorrow.
And if I don’t find Him tomorrow, I will look for Him the day after.
And the day after that, until I find Him.

Beautiful isn’t it!

Will make this do for now dear Bob and again with brotherly love,

P.S. Truly hoping also in meeting you on the other side too Bob and if you ever find yourself in Aus, there is always a place for you at our table – humble as it is.

Response #13: 

Thanks for the encouraging note. I very much appreciate it.

As to the issue at hand, it seems to me that you have all this exactly right.

We're likely to find out the details soon enough. In the meantime, keeping you in my prayers day by day, my friend.

Please write any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14: 

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I’m from Australia and I have been reading all you have graciously written for the benefit of all for about a year now and I love reading it over and over. There is just one question that is still troubling me and it concerns Matthew 6: 25 – 34.

I understand that half way through Tribulation, the anti-Christ will cause everyone to receive the mark of the Beast either on their right hand or forehead if they want to continue to be able to buy and sell, amongst other things.

My question from these scriptures, just how will we, who refuse the mark survive Tribulation. I also understand and accept that many of us will be martyred and I would much rather face this death for Jesus than the ‘second death’.

In Matthew 24:16 the Jews are told to flee to the mountains instantly for their lives but I can find nowhere in scripture that the same warning is given to the gentiles to flee in the same manner.

From what we read in Daniel 12: 8, 9 it would suggest that direction will be given at a later time.

Thinking how God provided manna from Heaven to the Jews for 40 years it would stand to reason that this is possible again through the verses in Matthew 6.

I am hoping you can give me some guidance on the above question that will bolster my faith.

I remain your brother by His mercy,

Response #14: 

Very good to make your acquaintance, and thank you so much for kind and supportive words.

It's a good question. As you rightly surmise, the "flee" passages directed to Israel are for Israel, that is, for those of Jewish extraction living in the land proper who have become believers in response to the ministry of the two witnesses, Moses and Elijah, and the ministry of the 144,000 directed by them. One might add that the "flee Babylon" directive is also not applicable to your question because this is directed toward those in Mystery Babylon and will only take place during the final months of the Great Tribulation. How believers will survive in the meantime when we refuse to take the mark is not delineated in scripture.

There are a few things we can say about this however. First and foremost, our God is the God of the impossible, and His faithfulness in delivering those who belong to Him through all manner of tribulations great and small throughout human history is perfect. Our eyes and ears and feelings may tell us otherwise, but in our heart of hearts we know that He is sufficient unto all things for us, and that He will "never abandon us or forsake us" (Deut.31:6; Heb.13:5). Our God is a God of miracles, and if the situation in the Tribulation requires miraculous deliverance, it is clear that our God can provide for us in a miraculous fashion, as He did for the Israelites in Egypt and during the exodus – which is a type of the Tribulation. Secondly, we do know for certain that the resurrection which takes place at the end of the Tribulation will involve a very large number of believers (cf. 1Thes.4:17). So we do know that after all is said and done our Lord will keep/has kept many believers alive at Tribulation's end, and we also are confident that He can/will do so. Since He can and since He will, all we are wondering about is the "exactly how?". But isn't that precisely what all tests in this world always involve, namely, questions such as when will God deliver us from our present problems and how He will do so? This is one of the reasons why studying the Tribulation is valuable in helping us with present, personal tribulations. We see that even in the most intense trouble the world has ever seen, the Lord will in fact provide for believers and bring them safely through – as indeed He certainly can; so we conclude that here and now He can and will do the same. Conversely, we have all had experiences of His deliverance here and now through situations and circumstances which would have seemed impossible ahead of time; so we conclude that He is the same tomorrow as He was yesterday and today, and that His faithfulness will be just as perfect during the Tribulation was it we have already seen it to be in scripture and in our own lives hitherto.

It is certainly true that the Tribulation is different. It seems that one third of the Church will apostatize under its pressures, and will take the mark (see the link); and it seems that a further third will be martyred (see the link). So we do need to be prepared for that latter eventuality as we are absolutely determined to remain faithful to our Lord no matter what. But that is true today as well. No one knows the day of his/her departure, and we have to be ready at all times to leave this life in confidence that what the Lord has for us on the other side is infinitely better. So we are talking here about a matter of degrees. I cannot say how the Lord will provide for us seeing that we will not be able to buy and sell. Will He send manna? Will He send ravens with bread and meat (as He did for Elijah)? Will he cause our jug of oil and barrel of flour to continue to provide in a miraculous way (as He did for the widow who besought Elisha for help)? Will He cause our bread when divided to multiply to all sufficiency (as He did for the four and the five thousand)? Or will He provide in some other way, whether visibly miraculous or not? We cannot say before we see it, so that this a place to exercise faith – absolute faith that the One who took away our sins by coming into this world and dying for them Himself can also provide for our daily bread no matter what the worldly circumstances may be. He who did the most for us can certainly do this as well.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15: 

Hi Bob,

Thank you so much for your quick response to my email, I never expected it so quickly, if at all.

I was thinking before I sent it, that because you get thousands of questions, which I see on your site, is it a stupid question and I was hoping that it wouldn’t be a nuisance or an annoyance to you and your reply certainly dispelled my uncertainty about that. What a kind man you are to give me so much encouragement in your reply and the time you took from other things to detail it perfectly. And it all makes perfect sense – it was exactly as I was thinking and I needed confirmation of it. To quote a few words of yours that mean a lot to me, "if we remain faithful to Him, He will remain faithful to us" really spells out the courage that will be needed in the days ahead and I pray that I and others will be able to stand firm, if we have that preparedness of mind that you speak of.

Before I found your works, which I can understand the time that has gone into compiling this work, I used to search the internet with specific questions that I was having difficulty understanding from my Bible and I came across so much rubbish, but at least with my limited knowledge of scripture, I was able to separate fact from fiction, particularly about what is commonly known as the rapture. I can’t understand how anyone can believe in a pre or mid trib rapture and that was the first thing that turned me away from those sites – as soon I discovered their belief on this I retreated from it. In all my searches I hadn’t found what I was looking for until I found ichthys – perhaps God saved the best til last! I’ve now stopped searching.

I will be an octogenarian when Tribulation begins and who knows what from there. My primary objective now is for the salvation of my family and others, I am encouraging them to read ichthys for a better understanding of the Bible.

I will make this do for now and once again Bob, I thank you for all that you’ve given me through your works.

Your brother by His mercy,

Response #15: 

And thank you so much for your testimony, comments, and encouraging words! We all need that mutual support to keep moving forward spiritually toward the goal, so that we might indeed be prepared for all the Lord has for us ahead.

Feel free to write me any time, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16: 

Hi again Bob,

Again my thanks for your kind response to my previous emails.

Please permit me to take you back a little before I found your works – there was a time when I thought that it might be possible to escape in a small way, some of the things that are going to happen in the Tribulation, particularly the second half. From what we read in Revelation 12: 6 – 17, which you confirm in your first paragraph in your first email to me, it would seem, because of the fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity being that they still adhere to O.T. scripture, not yet believing that Jesus IS our saviour but a remnant will on account of Moses and Elijah and the 144, 000 witnesses, and that God will provide a miraculous escape or deliverance for them and He will also sustain them in this place of refuge for 3.5 years. An escape at the 11th hour, so to speak.

Thinking that those Jews who turn back who recognise these things, it would seem that intervention by God at the last minute would be their only chance of survival. The fact that the Gentiles are not told to flee in the same manner under His protection but we as Gentiles have had prior warning through the N.T., even though some of us are only just coming to that realisation now.

Because I didn’t fully understand Matthew 6: 25 – 34, and if I’m honest, I probably pushed it away because I knew it would require a great deal of faith, maybe even more than I possessed. I thought that it might be possible to buy a block of land in the rural districts away from densely populated areas, where I’m sure when it arrives, most non believers or even neutrals will descend into such lawless behaviour never before seen after the ‘restrainer’ is taken out of the way. With my family to help financially, we could build a house large enough for all, equip it with solar and wind power, a very large water tank, an Eco system for effluent waste, which is encouraged by these councils in those areas. This would have eliminated all utility fees to councils.

I was thinking that we could pay council rates for the last 4 years in advance while it is still possible to use cash. I was also thinking that we could grow vegetables, keep chooks for eggs, a cow or a goat for milk, I had even found many properties that have rivers or streams on their boundaries that contain fish. Having a large dam could support Yabbies – a small variety of lobster. That is, if God didn’t provide sustenance in a miraculous way.

Of course the trumpet judgements were becoming evermore real and were beginning to worry me, I was just hoping that God knows where His own are and will give protection from these things so that we could have survived in the above manner.

I can accept totally what you have said and particularly about the faith that will be needed – I know my family’s first response would be how can we live where we live, being unable to pay for the things that we take for granted – the utility fees etc. and not just food alone. I am not one to revisit the same question over and over as I have seen from some who send you an enquiry but not really accepting your reply – I can understand that would get tedious.

I think this is a difficult thing for some to consider and I hope you can give me some direction to help my family as I haven’t shown them your email yet, I’m just thinking ahead of what their response could be. For me personally Bob, your answers are enough and I pray daily that He will increase my faith to dispel all doubts. I am eternally thankful that you have been gracious enough to respond in a kind manner to my emails, I very much love the work you are doing and I will continue reading them until the end.

Your brother by His mercy,

Response #16: 

You are most welcome, and I do appreciate your heartfelt concern. I suppose the best way to answer this is to ask you what advice we might have given the Israelites just before they began to be oppressed by the Pharaoh of the exodus (assuming that they were in possession of the details as we are in the possession of the details in scripture). After all, their experience is a deliberate parallel to the Tribulation (with Pharaoh playing the part of antichrist; please see the links: "Pharaoh", "The Exodus Parallel" and "The Analogy of the Exodus"). Was there any sort of material preparation they could have made before the fact for all the terrible plagues that swept over Egypt – or for Pharaoh's hostile reaction to themselves? I doubt it, even if they had had the same sort of information we have from Revelation and elsewhere. And in the event they didn't need it – what they needed was faith. God provided for them perfectly so that while Egypt was devastated and Pharaoh and his hordes totally destroyed, the people of Israel passed through the Red Sea dry shod.

Simply put, we need to be building up our faith beyond anything else. As Christians, we know that we don't have any guarantee that we will be given a "tomorrow", and that doesn't concern us in the least because to be with Christ is "better by far" – and that is our hearts desire. We are only even interested in and willing to carry on down here because that is what the Lord wants us to do (apparently, if we are still here). We do not love this world and we know what this world is – not a place of happiness but of evil. Our happiness comes from our relationship with our Lord Jesus, and in our drawing closer to Him day by day through the truth of the Word of God, building up our heavenly reward through consistent service to Him and His Church. So if the Lord wants us home this evening, no amount of preparation for future tragedy is going to delay our return for a moment – and if the Lord wants us to abide until He returns, as He told Peter, "what is that to you" (Jn.21:22). No force in heaven or on earth will be able to keep us from surviving until the second advent, if that is what God has written in His plan for us – and that is true whether we make diligent material preparations or none at all.

The problems with making diligent material preparations are 1) it's all time, effort and resources we could be sinking into spiritual preparations and ministry; 2) this sort of thing has the occupational hazard of making an idol out of our preparations to the detriment of what the Lord really wants us to do. What if He does want us to "flee Babylon" when He tells us to – but we have a fortress in the mountains that has cost us dear. Aren't we going to be reluctant to leave when we should (like Lot's sons in law) or looking back when we should be looking forward (like Lot's wife)? Also, I am a man of very limited imagination (experience has proven), but even I can well imagine and easily too many things that would complicate a strategy of preparation. Did we pay our taxes ahead of time? What is to prevent new taxes that we now cannot pay because we refuse the mark? And, after all, history is replete with instances of godless governments expropriating people's property in violation of all previous law: if there ever has been a godless, lawless government, surely it will be antchrist's. Further, having some fortress will, if push comes to shove (which it may certainly do during the Great Persecution) tempt us to fight for our fortress when that might well be the last thing the Lord wants us to do. In other words, our efforts may well result in exactly the opposite of what we intend. But if we follow the Lord in faith, taking things one day at a time with Him, we can be certain that He is with us and will never abandon us. We only get into trouble when we insist on doing things our way when we can see clearly that it is not His way.

All this doesn't mean that taking prudent precautions is un-Christian or wrong. It does mean that whatever we do (as in building up a 401K or an arsenal or cache of canned goods or a horde of gold or mountain fortress), we have to accept ahead of time that it could wiped away in an instant – but if we are truly walking with the Lord in faith, this will not shake us to the core when and if it happens, nor will we be kept for our appointed destiny, whether martyrdom or the living resurrection at the second advent, if we do keep faith with Him.

If these things are hard to hear, and they are admittedly hard to hear, it is only spiritual growth that will build faith to the point where we can hear them, accept them, and act on them in a godly way.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17: 

Hello Bob,

Firstly let me say again how much your wonderful works and kind letters have been invaluable to me and I thank you again for your last letter, in which you have patiently explained why making material preparations to try and survive Tribulation by our own hand is an absolute a waste of time, effort and money – not to mention the wrong mindset.

Those thoughts are no longer entertained by me and whether or not I survive Tribulation is entirely in God’s hands.

I suppose one could say, that’s easy for you to say, being the age you are you might not even get to the beginning of Tribulation so you may not experience it but as I mentioned in my first letter, my prime objective now is to help my family and others realise what salvation means and I hope God will allow me the time and the ability to see it happen in my family and others. I can’t help but think that Jesus was willing to come and suffer so cruelly, to die in such a manner so that a sinner like me could win salvation through His sacrifice, then the least I can do is be prepared to die for Him if God wills it. I know that there would have been some terror is Jesus’ heart but He was looking past the cross – I hope I can have the courage to do the same if it is to be.

Even though I’ve never met you but through your letters and your works that are so thorough and exhaustive, I feel that I know you very well and I sincerely wish that more people would find your works – in fact I wish everyone would.

To digress for a moment, I would like to tell you about my religious history, for want of a better description. When I was about 6 or 7, my Mum sent me to Sunday School where I first learnt about God and Jesus and I continued occasionally up to about age 14 and like most kids at the time, I drifted away from it. Then as I got older various friends invited me to the churches they were going to but I always felt something was missing, so they didn’t last. Then when I was in middle age I was invited to another and I’m sure you would know of this one – it’s in your country as well. It’s called by those in it ‘The Way’ or loosely by others, the 2x2’s and other names as well. Of course, like so many false ways, they think they are the only ones going to Heaven and I was taken by it. Because I was desperately searching for the truth at the time, I really felt this was the true way and I belonged to it for a long time but then left for personal reasons. Recently I found on the internet some very disturbing information about this "way", which did hurt me because I trusted it but I definitely won’t be back any time soon. Because of the fact of the church age coming to an end and what will happen to them I am completely satisfied now that I have found your works, which is all I need.

Your works and my Bible is my church.

Again Bob, my sincere thanks for all you’ve given me through your works.

Your brother by His mercy,

Response #17: 

Thanks much for your kind and insightful words, my friend, and also for sharing your testimony with me. We don't know what the future is going to bring, but we DO know "with whom we have to do"; our Lord's faithfulness is perfect and complete. We can trust Him even when we don't see how things can go right – He always makes them go right as we see when we are on the other side of the parted sea (Rom.8:28). It's the stuff of great spiritual maturity to force ourselves to see it on this side before the sea has parted, even though we can see no possible way that it will. If Job had done so, he would have passed that most difficult test at the end with flying colors. We have the book of Job and so no excuse not to be like Abraham who waited for deliverance so long and kept being "strong in faith", confident that the Lord would provide the promised heir even though that was impossible – to the eyes of the world and to his own. The Lord will deliver us too and all those who call upon His Name – if we but hold fast to our faith and confidence that He will do so.

I'll try to be worthy of your confidence.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18: 

Hi Bob,

So I was on a blog where the poster said that he wants to bring back segregation, and I commented with the following: "The only reason you support segregation is because the wealthy convinced lower class laborers to be divided against each other by race so they can continue to steal your labor." I was then called a communist.

"Communist" is a very hard label to shake off. I cannot be a communist for the triple reasons that:

(1) I am not a member of the Communist Party.

(2) I believe in the right to own private property.

(3) I don't think that communism works.

What if the Antichrist rises to power and executes me for being a communist, even though I openly disavow communism? What if he says that the only way to prove that I'm not a communist is to do something evil, like murder someone or worship him?


Response #18: 

The time is far enough away, I wouldn't exercise myself about that. We can be sure that the Lord has it all planned out for us. If it be our lot to be martyred for Him, that is a guarantee of eternal reward. We also have been told not to worry about "what to say" if we are hauled before some tribulational kangaroo court because the Spirit will give us the words. So another reason not to worry: we are commanded not to worry about the future generally (Matt.6:31-34), and not to worry about or give prior consideration to our defense regarding potential martyrdom under the regime of antichrist (Matt.10:19; Mk.13:11).

If you do want to be proactive, aggressive spiritual growth is the best way to prepare for the unknown and otherwise "un-preparable". Please see the link: CT 7: "Preparing for Tribulation"

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19: 

Dear Bob,

Thanks once again. I learned quite a lot about the legions that I didn't know. Do you think Gibbon's "Decline and Fall..." is worth the time and money (and eye strain?) In my time in the Air Force, I only saw the ethos you describe from the pilots. But, it was in the early '70s before we fled and morale was in the gutter.

Rigging the elevators on the Sabbath is extreme. That kind of environment would make the flight that much more obvious. I doubt many would survive. Your explanation (much more thoroughly thought through than mine) confirmed my understanding. Thank you.

I have to tell you, learning about the Tribulation is not sweet. It scares the daylights out of me. I read this weeks email posting with interest. I've wondered if some of these people committing these atrocious crimes are demon possessed. Or, if we're just seeing the restraints being gradually removed and people's natural tendencies coming out.

Your answer about drugs was very interesting. I have read, whether true or not, that all but two of the mass shooters were on prescribed psychotropic drugs or recently off of them. Your comments on mind altering drugs made me wonder if perhaps the drugs opened the door for demonic control.

Thanks for your patience and explanations.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #19: 

Always a pleasure.

I could never get through Gibbon. Part of the problem is the language; also, since there is a whole lot of more recent bibliography on Rome, it's not necessary to go to Gibbon if Roman history is an interest (and by the by the "fall" is the fall of Constantinople in 1453 A.D.).

I have little doubt that drugs then, now and in the future are part of the picture in facilitating demon involvement and possession. What is recreational drug use, after all, if not a voluntary divorcing of oneself from reality (and hence from control over one's own will)?

Yes, anticipation of experiencing the Tribulation can be daunting. But we have to remember that the Lord is going to be with believers just as He was with the exodus generation. That doesn't mean we won't have hardships if it is our lot to go through it; it does mean that we are not like unbelievers who have no hope and no Protector:

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.
Psalm 33:10 NIV

The LORD knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever.
They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
Psalm 37:18-19 NKJV

And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
Psalm 50:15

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #20: 

Dear Bob,

You have a unique way of soothing and calming the soul. Thank you so much. I don't know how you do it.

I thought Rome started the decline when Caesar crossed the Rubicon with the so called barbarians and by 400-500 AD was dead and no more than titular. I had no idea it was still alive at the fall of Constantinople. In fact, I thought the Roman Catholic Church was the linear continuation of the Roman Empire which, as I understood came together after the Council at Nicea in 350+ AD.

I do have an interest in the decay of Rome because I think it reflects our decay and fall. As did the "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." (Not a pleasant read. Nor did I expect that of Gibbon,

thank you.) Not that it means much at this point. My gut is telling me we are sliding into the Tribulation right now. I respect your analysis of 2026, but every time I go out amongst other people I can't help but think that if it takes that long, what we see today is a Mary Poppins fantasy compared to what we'll see in the next decade -- and then have 3-1/2 years before it gets really bad. I also respect your judgment that the shortening of days will only be days or weeks and scripture suggests that is the case, but, "... except those days be shortened..." suggests, in English at least, a broader time frame is possible. I pray that it is.

I believe the Lord will ultimately protect us though it may come after death. As I don't believe in a pre-Trib rapture, I'm not sure I'll be whisked away and not tested as some believe. Maybe I will

be shielded; I've never comprehended why I've been given this quiet place in the country, It's a blessing but I don't know what I've done to deserve it. It can only be a gift and grace. I only pray I'll pass the test to come and be counted worthy.

An additional comment. Technology __is__ evil. I got into technology back in the early '80s when a company in Michigan developed some typesetting software based on software developed at Stanford that became the basis for nearly all computerized typesetting - down to and including Windows. I saw the potential for good and got excited. What happened was a total destruction of quality and professionalism. It was "good enough." Of course, we can use technology for good as we could back then. We generally don't. I have come to see technology as Satan's entry way as it is with drugs. How we use it is the difference.

As for drugs, I watched a friend kill himself with black horse heroin and I couldn't stop it. Most of these mass shooters on drugs have also died along with their targets. I don't see any drug whether legal or not as anything other than evil. Like technology, it could probably be used for good; I'm not sure I've ever seen that.

Thanks for being you and doing what you do. And, sorry for being so windy,

Yours in our Lord and Protector Jesus,

Response #20: 

Yes, most would agree. However, there was an eastern half of the empire as well as a western one; the eastern half endured until the Turks finally captured Constantinople in 1453.

Things are bad and getting worse; however, this is not the first time in history that things have been in that state. Consider the early days of World War II; definitely an "end of times" looking scenario.

And I don't mean to say that I believe that the Tribulation will be easy for believers. Think how difficult the exodus was for the believers at that time: making bricks without straw and suffering under all of Pharaoh's retaliation and threats – but they escaped with their lives. During the Tribulation, that will only be true of about half the believers who endure to the end to be saved by the resurrection; the other half will be martyred. In addition, of course, the biblical description of those seven years paints a picture which in every respect is of the most difficult time in human history (and literally says so: Dan.12:1; Matt.24:21). So I don't mean to say that it won't be hard; it will be hard: fully one third of the true Church will apostatize no doubt in great measure because of the terrific pressures of that time. But what we must understand is that God is 100% faithful and He will be with us in that terrible time (Ps.9:10). That will not be true of unbelievers. The difference is profound.

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
Psalm 34:19 NIV

As to technology, since human beings are essentially sinful, whenever there is a cultural or legal framework wherein people behave in a good way because of the restraints of the organization or polity in which they live, that is exceptional and to be appreciated. Once the restraints come off, few unbelievers possess a moral compass strong enough to keep them on a good track in times of severe pressure. As a very wise man once said: "For in peace and prosperity as well cities as private men are better minded because they be not plunged into necessity of doing anything against their will. But war, taking away the affluence of daily necessaries, is a most violent master and conformeth most men's passions to the present occasion" (Thucydides 3.82.2, Hobbes trans.). If even unbelievers can see that this happens when it's not yet the Tribulation, just imagine when the Restrainer ceases restraining (2Thes.2:6-7). So anything that amplifies a person's power – even a knife (cf. Cain and Abel) – is apt to be used for evil, especially if the person is evil or the times or evil or both. We who love the Lord should not for that reason be loath to use knives for good purposes (e.g.). Heroin is as I read in the news breaking out like a modern plague. Doesn't mean I'm going to stop using aspirin when I have a headache. Pornography, I have heard, accounts for some massive percentage of internet traffic worldwide. Doesn't mean I'm going to pull this ministry off of the web.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21: 

Hello, Bob,

You're right. I didn't know the eastern empire lasted more than a couple of "emperors" after Constantine.

I wonder if martyrdom wouldn't be the easy way out of the Tribulation. Having known people growing up in Nazi Germany and imprisoned at Auschwitz who were willing to share their memories, if that was a dry run, we are in terribly deep trouble. Good Lord willing, I will see very little of it, If I do, I have no doubt that I'll not survive it. That doesn't bother me at all.

Thucydides was a wise man -- and spot on. After 30+ years in the computer business (Unix systems engineer) I can assure you that it encourages evil. I got involved in the early 80s, shortly after Berkeley released the first BSD tapes from which all networking evolved. At the time, everyone involved had high hopes of relieving man of tedium and grunt work. By the early 90s, non-computer people turned it to garbage. Now, even computer people are incompetent and fostering the rot. Certainly, I use it too. This email, e.g. But I'm not a true believer and I know perfectly well it isn't going to help mankind. (Sorry, that scraped a scab...)

Regardless, thank you. I try to keep three verses in mind: Psalms 46:10, Jeremiah 6:16 and Ecclesiastes 8:15. They are a comfort when I get wrapped around the axle over the nonsense going on out there today.

Yours in Jesus Christ, 

Response #21: 

No argument from this quarter on technology being a double-edged sword. I have no doubt that it plays a big part in Satan's plan for the coming Tribulation. After all, that "one world" idea is what his gambit at the tower of Babel was all about – and technology is what is bringing similar machinations into the realm of the possible today (see the link).

On martyrdom, I think it would be best not to assume that this course will be easier than surviving the Tribulation. As I have written about what scripture says of the Great Persecution (see the link), there is likely to be much suffering for the martyrs even before they are put to death, lasting over what might be a very long period of time as well. But God knows what we can handle and what we can't, and He never puts on us more than we can actually bear – though as I often say it's not unusual for us to think we are being tested past the breaking point (1Cor.10:13). Both paths will require great faith to successfully negotiate, and we will be grateful on that day for every ounce of spiritual preparation we have garnered, whichever way or Lord takes us.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22: 

Dear Bob,

I hope all is well with you and yours.

There are several questions in my email but I think they all relate to the same basic question which is basically, would the Lord ignore us until the Tribulation or do away with us, now?

Ergo, is it possible that we (the USA) are not recorded in the Bible as players in the Tribulation because we don't exist as a nation at that time? Alternatively, why couldn't the antichrist originate here even if we didn't exist as the nation as originally constituted?

I recently felt compelled to reread Isaiah and Jeremiah and was chilled with the resemblance of Israel and Judah to the US today. We are doing the same things. Details are different today than before but, historically, were Israel and Judah any worse?

Just because the Tribulation is at the doorstep, is there any reason we couldn't be conquered and/or destroyed by a foreign tool in God's hand? Why would we not? I believe God used the US as a sword to punish others, but could it be that it's our turn to be the punished instead of the being the sword? After all, Egypt was used as the sword until it was destroyed. Germany was destroyed in about 5 years. Why couldn't we be also punished and gone in 5 years? Regardless of when the Tribulation starts? I can't get away from the notion the Lord is reasoning with us now and we're simply not listening. The solution today is the same as it was then but no more likely to happen.

I think one of the reasons there has been no prophecy since Jesus is that we have been given all the examples we need. All we had to do is heed them. Like Israel and Judah, I doubt we ever will. Frankly, Bob, I can see no difference between our nation today and Israel and Judah. Why should we expect a different outcome?

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #22: 

If the US is (actually, "going to become") mystery Babylon, the fate of that prophetic nation is total destruction (e.g., Rev.17:16-18; see the link: "Judgment on Babylon"). So judgment and punishment of the most severe nature would be forthcoming in either case.

Could the US be destroyed before the Tribulation? Certainly it could. It is, however, difficult to fathom a scenario wherein the US is destroyed and the world comes around to the situation that the prophecies about the Tribulation envision at its outset. Put another way, if the US is not Babylon, some other nation in the quadrant of the biblical west would have to be, and I can think or no other western hemisphere nation or potential combination of nations which could become the only world superpower in such a short time frame (possible nations of Europe or Asia, but they would not fit the prophecies).

I think the thing which is exercising you here is the similarity you see between the spiritual degeneracy of Israel and Judah on the one hand and of the US on the other. There is a critical difference, however. Israel was a nation created by the Lord to worship Him. It was and will again in the future be completely unique among the nations of the world. All of its inhabitants were supposed to be believers who would willingly worship Him; those who were unwilling to do so were supposed to be destroyed. For that reason Israel (later Judah) was held to a far higher standard than that of any other nation.

I think a lot of Christians tend to think of the US as a "Christian nation", but that has never been and will never be the case since there is no such thing. There are Christians in a nation, and that remnant does have a lot to do with the nation in question's destiny. So there clearly are parallels, but the accountability is not toward everyone in the country in question; rather, the Lord holds believers in this country accountable for what we do – not the unbelievers (whereas in Israel, all are "positionally" believers even if they are not truly saved, so all are accountable).

What this means is that while national revivals and political solutions made sense in Israel – where there was no distinction between state and "church" in God's eyes – in our country (or any other gentile country) such solutions are absolutely counterproductive. Trying to change how unbelievers behave will only corrupt our own behavior as believers as we then begin to look to human solutions instead of trusting God. If believers really want to make things better in this country, the only way to do so is to personally and individually improve our own process of spiritual growth, our walk with the Lord, and our ministry to others in learning, applying and serving the truth. Anything else mistakes the entire economy of God in today's age of the Church.

In any case, the time is short. We are going to find out the answers to all these questions soon enough. The really important question for us as individual Christians is, will we be spiritually prepared to deal with everything we will have to suffer in the very near future? If we are, then the rewards on the far side will be significant, and will more than compensate us for our trouble. If we are not, well, it is prophesied that an entire third of the Church will apostatize on account of the pressure of those terrible days to come, losing not only their reward but their eternal life.

So keep on running the good race, my friend. In so doing you stand to save both yourself and those who heed your good words of wisdom and truth (1Tim.4:16).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23: 

Thanks for the explanation, Bob. You were both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. It occurred to me, as I read your response, that the Lord could easily be saving this country, for now, to fulfill prophecy. In which case, there's no easy way out if I'm still here. I have to admit, I'm concerned and frightened, as anyone going into battle for the first time, that I'll not measure up. I have been so richly blessed up to this point that I wonder if my real testing comes later.

Your comments about a Christian nation struck home. Do you think it's still worth praying for this country?

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #23: 

You're most welcome. As far as fear is concerned, continued spiritual growth will be an answer to that. The Lord struck Egypt – not a godly nation – for the sake of His people whom He delivered while keeping them safe from every plague in the bargain. It is true that during the Tribulation many believers will be martyred, but we can rest assured that this is an important part of God's plan and that our death, if it comes to that, will glorify Him. We won't have to be fearful or worry about what to say either. He will give us the confidence and courage to face what we have to face and He will put His own words into our mouths (Matt.10:19).

"If anyone is [destined] for captivity [to captivity he will go]. If it is necessary for anyone to be put to death by the sword, by the sword he must be put to death. Herein lies the perseverance and the faithfulness of the holy ones."
Revelation 13:10

As to praying for our country, the apostles Paul and Peter both commended this when the government in question was entirely pagan and officially hostile to Christianity, persecuting and eventually putting to death both of these great men.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1st Timothy 2:1-4

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
1st Peter 2:17

So not only should we pray but we should also make it our business to keep growing spiritually so as to be "salt" for our nation, a spiritual help to it and to our fellow countrymen through the blessings flowing from God on behalf of His godly remnant (see the link).

Be strong and courageous, my friend. You will not be called upon to do anything you cannot do in the power of the Spirit (1Cor.10:13). God has this all planned out to the nth detail and will bring you through to victory whatever the particular outcome. Only stand fast in the truth and its daily learning, believing, applying and ministering to the glory of the One who died for us that we might live forever with Him.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24: 

Dear Bob,

You're quite right. I know. But facing it is an intimidating thought. I do have to add that, given the blessings I've been granted, there is no doubt in my mind who's in charge. I just don't know why I've been so blessed. I trust that He'll still be with me when or if the time comes.

Praying for our country, with it's completely corrupted government will be more difficult. I'll do my best.

If we are to be Babylon, as you've convinced me we will, maybe you can shed some light for me on the "image" Nebuchadnezzar erected. Was it the beginning of the "gold standard?" Do you suppose it was only allegorical? (Which seems unlikely.) As I read the Biblical description, all I understand from it is that it was gold and very large. (I'm assuming a cubit of 25"-27".)

Part of the reasoning behind my question is this: If it did, in fact, establish the "gold standard," then that probably relates to the end-times Babylon and the merchants of the earth. Wall Street no longer uses sackbuts but they do have the bell – every day. Maybe I'm extrapolating too much but it does seem a reasonable connection.


Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #24: 

I have no doubt but that as you continue to grow in the Lord you will gain ever growing confidence in whatever He has in mind for us collectively and for you individually. For we know of a certainty that everything He is doing is for our good in every way (Rom.8:28). So that must mean that even in the hardest times imaginable ahead there will be ample opportunity to glorify Him – and earn wonderful rewards in the process. So keep growing, and keep looking forward to that day of reward. Everything on the other side puts everything here on this side in the shade.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4 NKJV

Question #25: 

Dear Bob,

This isn't really a direct question, well, maybe the second one is, but I was wondering what you think about stuff going on right now over in Europe? It all just makes me nervous like, I have this feeling that we're actually closer to the end more than initially anticipated? With the migrant crisis over there, what the Catholic Pope has said about it (though I wouldn't be surprised if media purposefully misquoted him?), and I'm unsure what to do exactly.

I know that at some point during the tribulation, we are to flee to Jerusalem, right? I read a discussion you had on the subject in one of your emails with someone else, but was hoping you could go a bit more in-depth with it. If I read it right, we're to avoid Jerusalem/Israel for awhile, until such a time where an event happens, where we are to try to flee towards it? How will we, overseas, get there when the time comes, if I am remembering correctly?

I realize I may be 'jumping the gun', as it were, since there is still a lot unfulfilled, not enough signs showing that the end times are indeed imminent; though, I suppose it is better to speak of this now, ahead of time, to be more properly prepared for the future.

Response #25: 

Always good to hear from you, my friend.

As to your question, it is true that things seem to be lining up in the direction they would need to go to facilitate the events described in the early days of the Tribulation. However, with the removal of the Holy Spirit's restraint once it commences, things could go from zero to a hundred instantaneously. For that reason, the absence of absolutely anything that might look like an essential prerequisite for tribulational events to be possible will not at all mean that it could not happen tomorrow as a result. The flip side of this is true as well. The fact that things may look imminent does not mean that they are going to happen tomorrow or next year. From God's point of view, the return of Christ (and therefore the seven years of trouble which must precede it) have been imminent since the cross. Remember, during the days leading up to WWII, there were many things that looked more "tribulational" than even perhaps today's events – but it was not in fact yet time, even though that war was a terrible scourge.

What to do? Keep preparing spiritually. The fact that you see that things are closing in should help provide motivation to keep growing and keeping walking with Christ closer day by day – and come into the ministry the Lord has for you. This is the best way to be ready for the Tribulation. Just as when we die we "can't take it with us", analogously during the Tribulation we can't be sure of anything continuing as it is now or of retaining anything we presently have – except the truth and the growth we have stored in our hearts.

"Flee Babylon" will be a command given by a heavenly voice (Rev.18:4) which will be heard around the world. So there is no chance that a believer who has studied these things as you have will be led astray to leave too early – or fail to realize when this voice is heard that "now's the time".

There's more about all this at these links:

Flee Babylon (in CT 5)

More on Flee Babylon

So please don't be nervous or upset. Even if we were on the edge of things, all these things must take place before we see the Lord. That is the blessed hope upon which we need to fix our gaze, not the intervening troubles. Troubles there will be, but nothing that can't by handled by what the Lord has provided for in advance for all who love Him. Just as the children of Israel were kept safe from all the plagues of Egypt, so we can be sure that He has made provision for us. This will be a great test of faith indeed – but remember that Jesus Christ is always faithful and could never be anything else.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:19-26 NIV

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8 NKJV

I'm keeping you in my prayers, my friend!

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #26: 

Thank you for your kind words and assurances, as I suppose much of it comes from my own insecurity as to my own faith, but I just need to remind myself that even being concerned about my faith is sign that it is indeed there, and I need to remember that the Lord will not let me go through more than what I can bear. I suppose some of the nervousness, once again, comes from my concern over my parents. I really shouldn't agonize over it, since ultimately it is not up to me. My parents relationship with the Lord is between them and Him, and all I can do is pray and hope that one day their hearts will be exposed and receptive. Anyway, thank you again for you help.

Response #26: 

Good thinking.

We love those we love. We can witness and pray; but we can't let other people's insufficient attention to the Lord undermine our own attention to the truth.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27: 

Dear Robert,

I am enjoying reading your acts of expositions on the Scriptures. I take liberty in asking for your guidance regarding the following: " For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14 KJV). As examples 1) I have many family members and friends who refuse to accept the truth in regards to water baptism as an non-requirement / no-part of "... the gospel of the grace of God." (Acts 20:24); 2) church and missions; and especially the focus on water baptism at repentance / conversion. Am I to distinguish between the "called" and the "chosen" of Matthew 22:14, even though I have the responsibility to continue to sow the seed of the truth?

Shalom and blessings,

Response #27: 

Hello again,

Thanks for your good words. As to your question, there are many false issues and false doctrines flooding the church-visible in this last era of Laodicea. Elevating water-baptism to the level of a requirement (and sometimes to the level of a necessity for salvation) is just one of many legalistic characteristics of both evangelicaldom and traditional Protestantism. There are many reasons why even true believers go to such churches, the main one being a desire (from many motives) to be part of a physical fellowship in a dedicated building. If one is blessed to find such a fellowship locally where water-baptism is not required, while it's a good sign, it certainly doesn't guarantee that the group is correct on other important points of doctrine or that there is serious, Bible-based, in-depth teaching of the Word of God going on – which is the reason for assembly and thus the most important thing. During the soon to come Tribulation, we will undoubtedly find out that a good many, possibly even a majority, of those who attend such places are not even believers. Further, one third of the true Church are prophesied to fall away from the faith during the pressures of that difficult time (no doubt they are mostly the lukewarm at present; see the link: "The Great Apostasy"). But the elect will come through the ordeal with faith intact, with half being martyred and half surviving until our Lord's return to be resurrected when He appears (see the link: "The Great Persecution"). Given all this, I too am much concerned about the parlous state of the faith of so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and an attempt to warn those willing to listen of the need for spiritual preparation before that day arrives has been a major thrust of this ministry. It's not really possible for us to know ahead of time who will come through the crucible and who will not. We can certainly make some educated guesses, but people have a way of surprising, sometimes for ill (i.e., positive believers who will succumb despite a measure of preparation – one hopes this number will be very small), sometimes for good: the one third martyred and the one third who endure until the end will need to be people of great faith in either case, and, given the sad state of affairs in the church-visible today (see the link: Laodicea), most of that tenacity and the truth of scripture necessary to feed and support looks at present as if it is going to have to be gained in the fires of the Tribulation itself.

Here are a couple of links which may be helpful (and do feel free to write back in case I've missed the gist of your question):

The Plan of God

God's Plan to Save You (in BB 4B)

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #28: 

Hey Bob,

I am up late tonight, unable to sleep, and wanted to talk a bit about things to come, and I guess ask a bit somewhat about it. I may have made a mistake of reading a little bit too much, all at once, maybe more than I can take in and properly process? A lot of what I read concerns the Tribulation, the time after, and rewards and Heaven. It's hard to compose my thoughts, because it all just seems so massive, and huge, and I had a bunch of questions but can't remember most of them. Even though I am saved and mentally know it, I can't help but feel a little bit uncomfortable? I feel nervous about it, but also a little excited, looking forward to being with the Lord.

I guess one concern I have is pain. I would gladly die for our Lord Jesus Christ, without a second thought of it...but what worries me is what if that is not the case? What happens in the case of say, being tortured? I know I could hold out as long as I could, but I am scared that I would eventually get tortured into submission, unless that is not a possibility? Will believers be tortured, or only persecuted and executed? This is probably my biggest concern, and the only one that actually gives me worry.

Another thought I had, as strange as this might sound, is after everything is said and done. After we're with God in heaven, after the judgement, after Christ's kingdom here on Earth, what are we to become? What will we do? Something that does concern me a bit, and this does have to do with my mind, is what if we have...thoughts? I'm not sure how to put it other than, if we still have free will, would anyone in heaven -could- anyone in heaven disobey God? It almost doesn't make sense, since only people who are believers in Christ are saved, and therefore love God, and I don't even know why I'm think or a bit worried about this? Our heavenly new bodies will by pure, free of sin, so why would such thoughts even come to us? Am I over-thinking this because of my experiences here, recently, with my human body? Will we have any kind of negative feelings anymore afterward, like, the capability of sadness, complacency, frustration?

Like I said, it all just seems so big and overwhelming to all of my senses. And I try not to think about hell, but I did read one of the emails where you were describing to someone what everything would be like after Revelation. The unbelievers and hell would be visible, or something like that? Just the idea of hell is very uncomfortable to me, and frightens me, and the idea of anyone going there is absolutely saddening to me. I feel myself wanting to weep for anyone who goes there, and want everyone to be saved. I mean, I know I'm saved and should be comfortable in that, and do, but just the idea that such a punishment even exists is horrifying. Am I thinking about it too much? I guess what I'm worried about is I don't want to see it, both in the sense of not going there (but I am a believer and saved, so shouldn't be worried about that), and just.. even seeing it, or knowing about it, or thinking about it at all, once we're all in Heaven. I guess, 'out of sight, out of mind'.

These are all really big and overwhelming thoughts, and part of me almost doesn't want any of it to be real, but I can't be thinking like that. It is real, and I have to face it, and just cling all the more to our Lord Jesus Christ, and look forward all the more to our God. Am I the only one that feels so overwhelmed by all of this? In fact, writing this right now, I look around, and it's just not fully sinking in just how much this world doesn't matter – it is all dust, and will be dust, as you've told me. I guess these massive thoughts are just making me wonder what to do. Do I just keep living life like normal? Obviously, I always will keep looking forward and pursuing Jesus, but this knowledge all feels heavy on my mind, and it as though I am unable to think of anything else.

Maybe it's just tonight.. and I just need to get some sleep.

Response #28: 

I think most Christians think about these things from time to time. Thinking about our future with the Lord is a good thing, and it should be in every respect something that comforts and encourages us. This life, this world, is the time of trouble and uncertainty. But God is gracious beyond what we know, and He has prepared an eternity for us that will exceed our wildest dreams:

However, as it is written: "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived"— the things God has prepared for those who love him—
1st Corinthians 2:9 NIV

We aren't given as much information as we would like about the eternal future, probably for two reasons: 1) we wouldn't really be able to properly understand it prior to being resurrected and seeing the Lord face to face, and 2) if we did have a clear picture of what is to come we would probably be ruined for doing anything in this world – and we are here to grow, progress and produce for Christ. Be assured that it will be impossible to sin or do anything wrong in eternity. This world, this life is the time of choice. Once we leave it via death, martyrdom, or the living resurrection at Christ's return, the old things will have passed away and everything will be "new" (Rev.21:5).

So you don't have to worry about anything. Jesus loves you beyond your understanding and the Father's plan has perfectly taken everything into account. He knows what you can handle and what you can't, so He won't be calling upon any Christian to endure more than can be borne, even in the Tribulation:

You have not suffered any testing beyond normal human [experience]. And God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tested beyond your capacity, but, along with the test, He will grant you the way out, so that you can bear up under it.
1st Corinthians 10:13

As to the Tribulation, so much of what will happen is likewise unknown, even though of course we certainly do have a wealth of information given to us in Revelation and throughout scripture. The verse above applies here too: we can be absolutely sure that just as our Lord has promised to give us just the right responses should it be our lot to be interrogated on His behalf (Matt.10:19; Mk.13:11), so also He will be with us to grant us the "way of escape" so that we can bear up under anything that is to come. The Tribulation will be difficult. I will not be impossible to negotiate for those like yourself who are doing adequate spiritual preparation. So "be strong and courageous" (Deut.31:6), and trust that the Lord that no matter what happens in it He will bring you through should it be your lot to have to live through the Tribulation.

Keep growing in the Word, my friend. You are making progress. The Lord is leading you where He wants to take you. Be pleased to follow Him in the Spirit. And please read the link: CT 7: "Preparing for Tribulation"

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29: 

Thank you for your reply, and I just now realize how ingrained sin is into us in these bodies. The idea that we can't comprehend a life without it, as though it were whispering 'what would you do without me?', kind of message if both disturbing...and liberating. This makes me realize all the more how important and wonderful what Jesus did for us on the cross truly is, since it is hard to imagine a life without this sin nature, and I will most definitely be glad to be rid of it once all is said and done. As long as I keep looking forward and keep going in Christ, I'm hoping the actual feelings will follow.

Response #29: 

They will, my friend. First step is to learn to ignore our emotions; second is to learn how to persuade them:

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.
1st Samuel 30:6 NKJV

Keep running the race, keep fighting the fight, and keep growing spiritually day by day – everything will fall into place with perseverance, patience and attention to the Word of God.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.


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