Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 26, 2016

The Mystery of the Nations in the Millennium, part 2

Satan Released

In part 1 we covered the beginning of the Kingdom and the identity of those who would populate it and concluded part 1 with Satan being bound. As we read in Revelation 20:3 Satan will be released for a short time and will draw a huge number of unbelievers to him quickly. In Revelation 20:7-10 it is written:

“7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

I am always amazed at mankind’s ability to quickly adjust and take the most remarkable things for granted. Today we, as members of the body of Christ, should not be too quick to throw stones at those who live during the Millennial reign of Christ.

Far, far too often the great blessings we enjoy as Christians go unappreciated; the monumental blessing of the indwelling of God, the Holy Spirit, in every Christian seems to be a matter of little or no interest to many. How then can we point an accusing finger at the those who take for granted the personal presence of the Lord Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords? The sin nature is a formidable enemy!

Fire from Heaven!

We live in an age of hyperbole where things of little consequences are spoken of in exaggerated terms; the life changing benefits of toothpaste or a particular brand of deodorant being cases in point. The Bible, on the other hand, is remarkably understated with the most extraordinary events being described in an almost prosaic manner.

The events in Revelation 20:9 are a perfect example of this; fire from heaven coming down and selectively devouring those who are rebelling against the Lord! Can you imagine how horrific this will be on any scale? Here, however, we are talking about a number like the sand on the seashore and although no number is given it must be a staggering number of people who are devoured by fire.

Destruction and Reconstruction

We now enter a time where details are conspicuously absent; we know that major changes are coming but the Bible gives little information on how this will happen. We know the old heaven and earth are going to be destroyed by a fervent heat. In 2 Peter 3:10-13 it is written:

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”

We also read in Revelation 20:11,

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.”

The Great White Throne judgment is only for those who have rejected Christ as Savior. At that point all that has charmed the unbeliever will be gone, vanished from creation; only the great white throne and final judgment will remain! The old cursed, sinful creation is being once and for all disposed of in order to make room for the new heaven and earth.

The Bible does not reveal the way the redeemed are preserved through this destruction of the old heaven and earth. We know the New Jerusalem, which has been in existence throughout the Millennial Kingdom will be preserved but the exact mechanism of preservation is not revealed in either case.

Although uncounted millions will have been killed by fire from heaven, I suspect a vastly greater number will have been saved among all who have received salvation by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior during the Kingdom age. It is these who will be preserved through the transition to the new heaven and earth who will populate it and become the nations described in the last two chapters of Revelation.

Next time, the Mystery of the Nations in the New Universe.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 19, 2016

The Mystery of the Nations in the Millennium, part 1

Who will Populate the Millennium?

While the New Universe is surely coming, there remains one more interim step after the Tribulation, the Millennial Kingdom Age. This will be a time of environmental and social perfection that is overseen by the Lord Jesus Christ. To better understand the role of the nations in the New Universe it may be helpful to better understand their origination as an identifiable end time’s group.

Last time we considered the formation of the New Universe now let us think on the question of who will be there to enjoy the blessings God has planned. The Bible tells us the Triune God will be there; the church will be there along with God’s angels and the redeemed of Israel, both resurrected and mortal, and a group called the nations.

Throughout the Bible the term nations has been applied to Gentiles collectively; it is reasonable to assume the term applies to Gentiles in this context as well. Where then did these Gentiles come from; they are distinguished from the church but they have been saved. We’ll need to look back a little and see what happened to get us to this point.

The Sheep and the Goats

At the end of the Tribulation there is a judgment; the judgment of the sheep and the goats. Let us look at Matthew 25:31-46 where it is written:

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?39  When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

This judgment comes at the time of the Second Advent and those judged are living mortal human beings who have survived the Great Tribulation and either accepted Christ as Savior, the sheep, or those who have rejected Christ as Savior, the goats. The sheep are invited to take part in the Kingdom that is being formed, the Millennial Kingdom which will last 1,000 years. These are the ones who will populate the Millennial Kingdom and whose eventual descendents will rise up in rebellion when Satan is loosed for a season. The goats are cast into the lake of fire before the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom where they will remain forever.

The Millennial Kingdom

For 1,000 years the Lord Jesus Christ will reign over the earth and provide a perfect environment for all its inhabitants. As in the Garden of Eden, there will be a peace and harmony that is only possible when the Prince of Peace is sovereign.

The Millennial Kingdom will begin with only those who have Jesus Christ as Savior and will include both mortals and immortals, those with resurrected or transformed bodies. The church will have been resurrected or transformed at the end of the church age which is brought to a close by the Rapture of the Church; Israel will have been nationally transformed or resurrected at the Second Advent.

The mortals who enter the Kingdom will include both Jews and Gentiles; these are the ones who will have children and repopulate the earth. Although this generation is saved, they still have their fallen sin nature which will then be passed on to their children.

There are indications in the Bible that life spans will again be long as they were before the flood; the Bible does not specifically mention the mechanism by which this is achieved but I think it possible the water vapor canopy will again be in place to protect the earth and its inhabitants.

Satan Bound

One key aspect of the Kingdom is the binding of Satan; Satan is bound for most of the 1,000 years and is only released at the very end. In Revelation 20:1-3 it is written:

20 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.”

God is once again providing perfect environment for everyone on earth. No one can say they have been corrupted by their environment and are therefore victims of circumstances. In this perfect environment the population will grow rapidly and many children will be born, all with a dead spirit requiring the new birth.

While many will receive Christ as Savior and be born again during the Kingdom age, many will sadly reject the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. This once again puts to rest the erroneous notion that perfect environment will produce perfect people!

Next time we will continue with the release of Satan and its deadly consequences.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 12, 2016

Your Royal Priesthood now and in the New Universe!

And What’s More we have a Royal High Priest Eternally Ordained by God!

 It sets my head to spinning when I think long and hard about all that God has done and will do for His children; we have been uniquely blessed by the gift of His Holy Spirit taking up residence in us for all of time and eternity.

While the First Advent was the occasion for the incarnation of the Son, the incarnation of the Holy Spirit began at Pentecost and continues to this day as new believers are born again and added to the true church, the body of Christ.

Previously I discussed our role as ambassadors and in addition we have been given the position of royal priests and a High Priest in the Lord Jesus Christ who is a royal high priest forever. If that doesn’t start your head spinning then you’re not concentrating!

I once asked a Bible class how many of those there had met a royal priest in person and no one said they had. I then pointed out the significance of 1 Peter 2:9 where it is written:

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”

I then asked the question again and everyone there indicated they not only were royal priests but had indeed met and knew other members of the royal priesthood. All too often we fail to think in terms of spiritual reality and that is dangerous. It is also pointed out we have a ministry to show others the goodness of God; another hat to wear as we live out our mortal lives as servants of the Most High.

The Bible does not specifically explain how our roles as ambassadors and royal priests may carry over into eternity; I can only speculate they will somehow carry over into the new universe.

Only God knows how all this plays out in eternity; I am confident of one thing; we shall be busy and have plenty to do. As Christians we are being conformed to the image of Christ and enjoy the perfection that has been imputed to us by God’s grace.

As members of the royal family we will likely have administrative duties and also priestly duties as we minister to those whose care will have been entrusted to us. I, for one, would love to have more details on life in eternity but can easily imagine the difficulty involved in trying to explain this to mortal human beings; it could very well be like trying to explain life in New York City to a native who has known only mud huts and jungle; there is absolutely no frame of reference, the words would have no meaning.

Life in the New Universe

Although much is shrouded in mystery we are told the heaven and earth that now exists will be destroyed and replaced by a new heaven and a new earth; that alone is an enormous thought that can overwhelm the imagination. Our roles as royal priests in the new universe are not revealed but I suspect they’ll be demanding.

Certain facts are mentioned in the Bible but very few by comparison with the questions that could easily come as we think on the coming changes.

We know there is a final judgment called the Great White Throne judgment that will rid the new universe of all elements of sin and death; in Revelation 20:11-15 it is written:

11 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. 12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15 And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

The Bible never gives a location for the lake of fire so we have idea where it may be in the new universe; we just know it will be a place where no one would want to spend there eternity.

Who You Really Are!

The new creation, finally cleansed of all sin and corruption will rejoice in the freedom for which it had waited with eager hope. In Romans 8:19-25 we read:

19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

Next time, to whom shall we minister as royal priests: the Mystery of the Nations.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 3, 2016

The Night I Stole an Oldsmobile 88

“It was a Dark and Stormy Night!”

During all of my college years I had extra jobs in order to help pay the bills and support my family of five; the year I stole an Oldsmobile 88 was no exception; I was still doing my undergraduate work at the University of Houston and holding down a job in the evenings. You may be wondering how I could bring myself to actually take someone else’s car; well, therein we find our story.

On that fateful night I was working as a salesman at a high-fidelity specialty store on Westheimer in Houston, Texas. High-Fidelity audio equipment was growing rapidly in popularity and I was doing fairly well as a salesman plus I was thoroughly enjoying my work. I would work evenings after I finished my schooling and then work all day Saturday.

One very stormy weekday evening there were no customers so when quitting time for the secretary came around our store’s parking lot was empty. As employees we were expected to park about a block away on a residential street so our limited parking could be available for customers.

 About a half hour before it was time for her to leave she mentioned to some of us how she dreaded the thought of the walk back to her car in the dark, on such a stormy, rainy night. It immediately occurred to me that I could go get her car and park it in our lot so she wouldn’t have to make that walk; since there had been no customers that evening hers would be the only car in the lot.

Olds 88

Olds 88

She gave me her car keys and I took my umbrella and walked to her car which was about a block and a half away from the store. I unlocked it, got in and drove it back to the store, parked it in the lot, locked it up again and went back inside. I gave her the keys and told her the car was ready for her in the store parking lot; I then went back to work doing something I can’t even remember.

After around twenty minutes her time to leave came and she said goodbye to those of us who had to work later; so far so good.

Shocked Surprise!

Less than a minute passed and the secretary came back into the store with a shocked expression on her face telling us “That’s not my car!” At that point there were at least two faces with shocked expressions! This was one of those moments when your life flashes before your eyes; I think all the blood rushed down to my feet and I’m surprised I was able to stand. Some time had passed since I had taken the car so I was sure someone would have noticed and called the police.

Well, I had no choice, I would have to return the car and face the consequences; the fact that her keys had fit a stranger’s car would surely carry some weight, at least I hoped it would. I got back in what was not her car and fearfully drove back to the place where I had found it.

Imagine my utter relief when the street was still silent and dark, no police cars, and no flashing lights. I carefully parked the car exactly where I had found it, locked it up again and sure enough, right across the street was another Oldsmobile 88 and her keys worked perfectly in that one too; this time I had the right car. What are the odds that two Oldsmobile 88’s parked on the same street less than thirty feet apart would use exactly the same key?

Once the anxiety surrounding my inadvertent thievery had passed I sort of wished I had parked the wrong car on the other side of the street facing the opposite direction; the owners would puzzle over that for the rest of their lives and never guess their car had been stolen, at least for a brief time, on that unforgettable dark and stormy night.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | August 29, 2016

You’re an Ambassador for Christ!

The Older I Get the More Exciting My Ambassadorship Becomes!

The Apostle Paul makes an important point in 2 Corinthians 5:20 regarding a responsibility we, as Christians, have been given when he writes:

“So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

As Christians we are asked to wear several different hats and our ambassadorship is one of those hats. We might do well to think through this responsibility and see in how many different ways this should influence our behavior!

What is an Ambassador?

First we might want to define the generally accepted role of an ambassador, what is that persons responsibility toward the government represented?

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines an ambassador as follows?

 1:  an official envoy; especially :  a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment”

How does that definition fit a Christian? Well we have been made a diplomatic agent of the highest rank by adoption into God’s family; we function as children of the royal family and are representing our family to those to whom we’ve been sent. There is an unusual feature to our ambassadorship, we have a dual citizenship; we are citizens by physical birth of the country in which we were born and citizens of heaven because of our second, spiritual, birth.

We have been given a special but temporary assignment as representatives of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. While we may be living in the country of our physical birth we are also citizens of heaven, and have been given the job of representing our heavenly country’s interests to the country of our physical birth. How does the role of ambassador fit in with your self-image; do you have any difficulty accepting that idea? Like so many other spiritual realities it is a matter of faith; we know this is true, we are ambassadors because the Bible tells us it is true!

Deteriorating Conditions

We who live in the United States may observe a difference of opinion developing between the policies and principles of the country we represent as ambassadors and the policies and principles of the United States. Our Divine Leader is no longer welcomed in centers of governmental power and is now being told that any references to Him must be removed. I believe it would be fair to say there is a serious deterioration of relations in progress.

As ambassadors we have been warned that war is inevitable, our leaders have informed us as conditions continue to deteriorate our withdrawal as ambassadors is coming. It is easy to see how things are changing, the United States of today is vastly different from the United States I knew as a boy and a young man. It seems as if most of the institutions that have been a part of my life are changing at a fundamental level; even the church is different as it seems to be increasingly merging with the world.

In our role as ambassadors we should not take any of this personally, we are here representing the interests of our home country and not our own personal interests. There must be an objectivity as we watch developments matched with a faithful discharge of our duties. We must not forget our station in all of this and always be mindful our responsibility is to serve as ambassadors for our home government which in this case just happens to be God in heaven.

As ambassadors we have been informed the leadership of the United States is chosen by God; whoever is elected will be a servant to be used to accomplish the goals determined by God in eternity past. Serving as ambassador for an omnipotent creator God definitely has advantages!

Being spiritual ambassadors has both advantages and disadvantages; one of the disadvantages is we’ve never visited our home country; we have no idea where it is or what it looks like and must accept all that we can possibly know by faith. By faith we can know it exists and we have been appointed ambassadors; by faith we can know there is something wonderful waiting for us on our arrival when we are called home.

In the meantime we have a responsibility to faithfully discharge the duties we have been given as ambassadors; we have been given a commission to evangelize and teach and it is our duty to carry out those responsibilities as the Lord enables us.

I invite questions and comments and would like to hear from you. I rejoice in God’s word and the opportunity to discuss it.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | August 8, 2016

Will You Vote for the President in 2016?

Hotly Debated!

The question of Christians voting for the president in the 2016 election has become a polarizing topic in the Christian community. Some are saying they will not vote for either of the candidates, others are saying to vote for the lessor of two evils and often, but not always, identifying the lessor along party lines, while some may even be enthusiastic about the candidate of their choice.

No part of the Bible was written in a political setting such as we have today in the United States. The whole concept of the consent of the governed was generally alien to those times with some notable exceptions. In spite of that is it possible to find any guidance for this question of voting for president in the present circumstances?

Render Therefore Unto Caesar!

In Matthew 22:15-22 it is written:

15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

While this section had to do with paying taxes may we stretch things a little and apply it to other responsibilities even if they didn’t exist at the time the Bible was written? One of the basic responsibilities in a constitutional republic is the responsibility to vote, only by voting can the voice of the people be heard and the direction taken by the government be a true reflection of the will of the people, or so the theory goes.

Are we not then, by voting, rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s?

A Special Wrinkle

As a Christian man I am convinced the Bible is the word of God; it is written in Hebrews 4:12:

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The Bible makes some fascinating observations when it comes to governments and rulers; two verses come immediately to mind:

17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. Daniel 4:17

and

13 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Romans 13:1

There are many other verses which show that national leadership is put in place by God and used by God in the accomplishment of His will. I believe it safe to say that whoever is elected will be there as God’s servant and be used by God according to divine plans formulated in eternity past. Do I think either of them would realize they are servants of the Almighty and the answer is of course they would not; neither of them would be prepared to admit they are being used as tools by God in the accomplishment of His will.

Regardless of who God selects His irresistible will shall be done! The future of the United States has been determined by God; the leaders of this country are nothing more than God’s servants chosen by God to serve as tools in the accomplishment of the will of Him “who works all things after the counsel of His own will.”

As Christians we must each determine whether we will render unto Caesar or not in the matter of voting; I suspect we are already rendering unto Caesar in the matter of taxes!

 

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 31, 2016

The World Will Surely End on July 29, 2016!

Or Not!

Yet another life extinction event has come and gone but this time largely unnoticed by most; it didn’t even rate a movie like 2012 did. A web site named “End Time Prophecies” has featured a short video telling the viewer why the world is coming to an end on July 29, 2016.

The “End Time Prophecies” web site wrote:

“Why The World Will End Surely on 29 July 2016 ? Shocking Facts

If you want to know When Will Be The End Times , the End Of The World , end of days, End of humanity and who is the Antichrist , you’re in the right place by reading Daniel. In fact the recorded prophecies tell the history of mankind from the days of the great Babylonian Empire. All the evidence tells us that the end of the world ,end of days and the end of time on 29 July 2016.”

The fact that we’re still here and nothing happened would suggest an error in calculation at the very least. While I am very enthusiastic about the prophecies in Daniel, what I would suggest is a failure to carefully examine all the prophecies as revealed in the Bible. I have previously written on “God’s Prophetic Calendar” and listed the order of the remaining events in what I believe to be the most likely order. In the two-part essay I noted the very next event on God’s prophetic calendar is the rapture of the church; which could happen at any minute.

In part 1 I showed a list of the events that are still awaiting fulfillment:

  1. The Rapture of the Church
  2. The Battle of Psalm 83
  3. The Battle of Gog and Magog
  4. The signing of the covenant agreement between Israel and the Antichrist
  5. The beginning of the Tribulation
  6. The Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ
  7. The beginning of the Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ
  8. The second battle of Gog and Magog at the end of the Millennium.
  9. The destruction of the present heavens and earth and the Great White Throne Judgment.
  10. The creation of the new heaven and earth and the beginning of eternity.

For those of you who may have an interest in more detail I invite you to read Part 1 here: God’s Prophetic Calendar

Efforts to establish an exact date are doomed to failure, God has chosen to reveal significant signs but conceal the actual date. The next event will happen without warning and be done before the mind can even comprehend what is happening. The Bible tells us the end of the world is over 1,007 years away at the very least.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 25, 2016

Violence! Peace? Violence!

Peace in the Midst of Violence, is that even Possible?

Does it seem to you that violence is on the increase? It seems to be getting harder and harder to avoid excessive exposure to reports of violence today; everyday brings new accounts of violence being inflicted on one person by another and it just seems to be getting worse! Even if we keep in mind the overexposure to news which results from the technological wonders of modern communication along with the media’s propensity to feature blood and gore it still appears that the number of stories is on the increase.

Although I’m only a casual student of history I am a student of the Bible and that alone will show the reader that violence is not a new phenomenon. It would appear our poor troubled world has known too much violence from the beginning and shows no signs of changing for the better. The Bible, of course, explains why that is happening and promises us that this era has both a starting and a stopping point already determined by God; I suspect that many of us look forward to the stopping point!

Considering the nature of this world what is Jesus talking about when He tells the disciples He will give them His peace? This world has never experienced world-wide peace so what do you think Jesus had in mind? Let’s look at what Jesus said and try to understand His meaning.

Is it Possible to Find Peace in the Midst of Violence?

 In John 14 our Lord is explaining to His disciples that changes will be coming to their lives and how they should view those changes. The promise of the coming of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit to live in them forever is revealed in this chapter and later the promise of peace; a special kind of peace the world cannot give will be God’s gift to His children. So if this gift was given, then does this mean you’re enjoying God’s peace while living in such a troubled world? In John 14:27 it is written:

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

What is the Lord saying in this verse; this peace is a gift to His children, not a gift to the world. Someday, as the Prince of Peace, Jesus will bring peace to the world but that day is still in the future. The last part of this verse tells us the nature of the peace we have been given; an inner peace which includes an untroubled heart and a freedom from fear.

I think we can all agree an untroubled heart and a freedom from fear would have great value in today’s troubled world. During these “Times of the Gentiles” there will not be world peace; world peace will only come when the Prince of Peace returns and takes control of world affairs, not before. By the time that happens we will have already been removed from this world by the power of God.

Peace Through Tribulation and Trouble, not Peace from Tribulation and Trouble!

Although there may be moments of relative peace in our circumstances there is no guarantee these moments will not pass. As I wrote in God Has the Answer to Your Biggest Problem:

“Problems are a way of life as we live our lives on this troubled world. We’ve all heard the old saying which goes something like this, “You’re either in the middle of a problem, just emerging from a problem, or getting ready to encounter a problem in your life.” The longer we live the more readily we can see the truth of that statement.”

What we must recognize is nothing that happens to us catches God by surprise; He has known from eternity past exactly what would happen any specific day at any specific time! The challenge we face, as God’s children, is the nature of our response; will we respond by faith and honor God or by sight and dishonor God, that is the question.

The response of sight to tribulation and trouble will be anxiety and fear, we demonstrate by our sight reaction a lack of faith in God; in God’s ability and willingness to provide for us and care for us as a loving father should.

Responding by Faith

The response of faith demonstrates our trust in God and His provisions for us in every situation; this is the response of Romans 8:28-30 where we are told:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

If we know that God is working all things together for our good and is working all things according to His will then how can we worry and complain? This is a vital part of living a life of faith and must be learned as the Christian grows in their faith. It is only as we learn this lesson by faith that we can join with Paul when he writes:

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

Learning the Secret

Let us set for ourselves the goal of learning “the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

In the meantime let us join with Paul in his determination to:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

May the God of Peace be with You!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 18, 2016

“Are you a white man or a black man?”

“I am sorry about this question but I truly want to know you.”

Both the title and the headline are copied directly from a letter I received from a precious Christian brother in Nigeria which I answered from a Christian perspective. The overall tone of the letter was gracious and loving but it was the very first time I have been asked that question out of many thousands of letters I have received during my years as an online missionary for Global Media Outreach. That question and comment triggered a line of thought and meditation which has resulted in this essay.

It seems race is becoming an ever greater point of consideration, contention or even confrontation on the world scene; reports on the recent killings in Dallas reference a black shooter who said he, “wanted to kill white people.” The truly sad fact of the matter is despite the intensity of focus by the protesters and the media, race is of no importance at all with regard to spiritual matters of eternal significance.

There are Only Two Distinct Classes of People!

The entire population of the world is made up of only two classes of people; those spiritually alive and those spiritually dead! The second birth is the exclusive distinction that makes a deep and eternal difference in the lives of all people and there is no visible difference between the spiritually dead and the spiritually alive; race is truly irrelevant!

There are many different races of people in each group, the living and the dead, but their racial differences are of absolutely no consequence when it comes to their being spiritually alive or spiritually dead. The point of differentiation comes with the matter of the new birth; it is only by being born again by the power of God, the Holy Spirit that one moves from the dead to the living. People of any race can make the transition from death to life by personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Satanic Deception

Why then is the real issue of spiritual life and death so widely ignored? How is it that relatively inconsequential issues dominate the media and the minds of mankind? There is one obvious explanation for this, we are living on Satan’s world and Satan is the prince of the power of the air.

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Ephesians 2:1-3

“9 This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.” Revelation 12:9

The children of wrath, the sons of disobedience, are deceiving and being deceived by the influences of Satan and Satan’s world; the truth that could set them free is being obscured by multiple fantasies of Satanic deception! Racial conflict at any level is playing right into Satanic deception by obscuring the issue of the second birth!

A Spiritual Battlefield

I have written extensively on the subject of the spiritual war and the search facility in the upper right-hand corner of this website will produce many examples. I have noted the very existence of a spiritual war is often ignored by the organized church and many Christians have no knowledge that such a war is even in progress much less understanding they are a soldier in that war. This continues to be a dangerous omission for the Christian community.

One of the major factors in this war for men’s souls is the world-wide ministry of God, the Holy Spirit. In John 16: 7-11 we are told of the Holy Spirit’s ministry to the world:

“7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. 11 Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.”

I draw your attention once more to verse 9, “The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” Why is that the world’s sin? Because all other sins were paid for in full by Christ’s death on the cross.

When Christ said, “It is finished!” He really meant it! This is why the focus of the Satanic attack is to divert attention elsewhere; deception and distraction to keep the world’s attention on anything and everything but the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ and the critical importance of being born again! Sadly the organized church is falling into Satan’s trap and letting inconsequential issues take center stage while overlooking the critical preeminence of the second birth.

Whereas the ultimate victory has been won by Christ’s death on the cross, the battle is still raging and the Satanic forces of evil are still causing damage and destruction using many deceptions including racial conflict. Many thousands are, however, being turned from death to life by the power of God, the Holy Spirit but the warfare is still raging all around us.

A Strategic Withdrawal

At a time known only to God the true church, the body of Christ, will be removed from the Earth along with the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit; at that terrifying time Satan and sin will begin to have it’s way in a manner unprecedented on the Earth. Later, a covenant will be signed by Israel with the Antichrist and this event will start the last seven years God promised to Israel, a time known as the Tribulation. The time of the church’s strategic withdrawal may be near, only God knows the date He has planned for that event from eternity past.

In view of the staggeringly major events God has ordained for what I believe is the near future, let those of us who long for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ turn our backs on any form of Satanic distraction including racial division or conflict and keep our eyes and attention on what really matters. The mission of the church is to bring people to Christ by the new birth and help them as they grow towards Christian maturity. Let us join with the Holy Spirit in this epic battle to complete the body of Christ.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 11, 2016

Full Disclosure, the Truth Revealed!

What has God been Doing?

Last time we considered the great blessing bestowed on all born again Christians, the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit. God, in His grace and mercy, had given His adopted children a fast rolling start on the process of conformity to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. This amazing change had started with the incarnation of God, the Son, and was continued at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit indwelt Christians joining the Creator with the creation in an eternal, unbreakable bond.

At the initial time of creation described in Genesis, God created the first Adam by molding his body from the dust of the ground and breathing into him life in the image of God. The first Adam disobeyed a direct command of God which resulted in the immediate spiritual death of the first Adam and all present and future generations of man, and later their physical deaths.

A New Beginning

God determined that there would be a second Adam but this time it would be handled differently. Instead of simply breathing the image of God into the second Adam God would personally indwell the second Adam! At the appointed time, God the Son indwelt a human body created by the power of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb and a totally new creation came into existence.

The success of this plan would depend on the faithfulness of God and not the faithfulness of man. Whereas the first Adam had failed when he disobeyed God’s command, the second Adam would succeed because he would exercise the righteousness of God and would perfectly obey even to the point of death!

Out of the death of the second Adam would come a new creation, a new race of man indwelt by God, the Holy Spirit, who, by means of a new birth, would then indwell them forever! A clear understanding of this gives important insight into what the Lord said to His disciples in John 16:7 when He told them:

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

At Pentecost not only did the Holy Spirit come to them, He came into them to remain forever with them as the down payment on the blessings to come!

What is God going to do?

The First Advent is now history and the world awaits the return of the Lord Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! This time the glory of the deity of Christ will be revealed and all will see Him as He really is, the eternal creator and God of heaven and earth. In addition, all who have been joined to God’s family by faith will rejoice in “the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us.”

19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. Romans 8:19-21

4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

Blessings to Come!

The Bible reveals very little about the world to come, much less than some of us might like but we can have total confidence that it will far exceed our deepest hopes and dreams; after all we are creations of the designer and He knows us perfectly!

The last two chapters of Revelation give us a few clues as to what we can expect; I’m particularly fond of these verses:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. Revelation 21:1-7″

As a Christian you have been richly blessed beyond your ability to even imagine! There are wondrously amazing adventures ahead! We can surely join with all of creation as we wait with eager hope and perseverance for that wonderful day when we shall all enjoy glorious freedom from death and decay!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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