Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 23, 2017

The Coming Family Celebration

A Heavenly Future

There is probably no way we can realistically understand or relate to heaven; I suspect that heaven is so far beyond our understanding as to be essentially unknowable.

With that caveat in place I believe we are at liberty to speculate based on the revelation of God we have in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We know from Scripture that if we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father; the life of our Lord provides insight into both heaven and the nature of God.

The Judgment Seat of Christ, a Celebration for the Family

It is generally acknowledged that the Judgment Seat of Christ will take place in heaven during or slightly before the seven year period leading up to the Second Advent. The church will have been taken up at the Rapture and Christians will have received their resurrection bodies which will be eternal bodies, free of sin.

We are told in I Corinthians 3:11-15 and II Corinthians 5:10 that our works as mortal humans will be judged for the purpose of determining rewards; this is called the Bema, the judgment seat of Christ. The believer’s salvation is not in question, just the believer’s works, whether they were done for God’s glory or self glory. Paul speaks of fire which will “test the quality of each person’s work” I see this as a refiner’s fire which will burn off the dross and leave only the purest gold; the gold of Spirit led works for the Lord.

Whereas our position in the Lord was perfected by Christ’s sacrifice, our experience on earth as mortal humans has been flawed by sin; I see this event as the purification of our experience which will result in the removal of all works that were done in the power of the sin nature. I think of a loving parent who must clean up a beloved child who has returned home covered in mud; this is a mud removal process so we, as children of God, can enjoy the party and rejoice in this final purification from dead works.

I have heard the comparison made between the Bema and a judge’s stand at a sporting event; this is a better comparison than a court of law, the believer is not on trial, his works are being judged for the purpose of rewards. Just as athletes may appear before a judge’s stand to receive their awards so Christians will appear before Christ to receive rewards for what they have done in the power of the Holy Spirit and additionally have all their penalties and errors expunged from the record. I am convinced this will be a time of celebration for God’s family and we’ll all share in the joy.

The Bible does not reveal the exact nature of those rewards nor does the Bible reveal the exact nature of what we will be doing in eternity or where we will be doing it. We know from Scripture that the Lord Jesus Christ will create a new heaven and a new earth in which we shall live forever.

Eternity Will be a Busy Place

I believe we’ll all have work that is assigned to us in eternity. It seems to me the principle was established in Genesis when God placed man in the garden and told him to care for it and to also be responsible for all of the creatures He created; Adam’s life was never intended to be a life of indolent ease.

Keep in mind the church is a special creation of God and is given unique privileges and responsibilities; this too is a matter of God’s marvelous grace!

The members of the church are given some clues as to what our responsibilities will be; in I Peter 2:9 we are told we’ll be a royal priesthood which suggests both administrative and spiritual leadership responsibilities. Then in I Corinthians 6:3 we are told we will judge angels which would suggest judicial responsibilities.

I’m getting the impression there will be plenty of work to go around with absolutely no danger of unemployment or boredom. That does not explain the differences in rewards which, I think, will have to wait until we get to heaven and find out; it may be that some rewards will only apply after the new heaven and the new earth are created.

A Sin Free Celebration

Although we may all have our fair share of penalties and errors which need expunging I suspect that most of us see ourselves more as observers rather than participants in this process of receiving rewards. While we may hope we receive some small reward we recognize that our lives in no way compare to the lives of those saints about whom we have heard so much. How then will we feel as we watch those well known saints receive their well deserved rewards?

I’m confident we can all remember occasions when a family member was given special recognition; the feelings of happiness as we watched a beloved member of our family receive a special reward; I’m convinced this will be that sort of event, a celebration for a job well done.

One thing we can count on at that time is our resurrected bodies will be completely free of sin and the old sin nature. Another thing is the reality of our all being part of God’s family and seeing each other as children of God in that family.

When one imagines a contemporary sporting event, the conclusion of the event produces winners and losers; the winners joyous in victory and the losers agonizing over their defeat. I am convinced that this will not be the scene at the Bema of Christ! This will be a celebration for the family where we will all rejoice as members of the family are recognized; the winners are after all members of our family!

A Grand Day of Thanksgiving in Heaven

I believe the Bema of Christ will be a day of happiness, rejoicing, and thanksgiving for all believers. One reason is the promise that in heaven there will be no more sorrow, crying, or pain. Another reason is this is a family affair and none of us will be burdened with a sin nature so we will be able to unreservedly love our family and celebrate their good fortune.

As mortal believers we are given the opportunity to walk by faith and enjoy the fruit of the Holy Spirit; I believe our normal perspective in heaven will always reflect the fruit of the Spirit as specified in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

It is these feelings that will dominate our reaction as the rewards in heaven are being given. It is these feelings that will cause us to rejoice with gratitude as our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ are given their rewards.

The Judgment Seat of Christ will be a time of great rejoicing, a time of thanksgiving for all of God’s children as members of the family are recognized; what a blessed way to start our eternity with God.

First published in November, 2011 expanded and revised

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 16, 2017

Is There a Force with You Too?

Promotional Poster, TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Truth is Stranger than Fiction!

As many of you are aware I’m a science fiction fan and collect both books and movies devoted to the genre. Yesterday I watched one of the recent releases in the “Star Wars” saga named “Rogue One.” One of the characters in the movie is blind and on occasion would chant “I’m one with the Force, and the Force is with me” as he encountered dangerous situations.

As usual I see parallels with Christianity in everything so this rather quickly brought my mind around to thinking on the privileged position we experience as born again Christians. At the point of the new birth we are joined for all eternity by the Holy Spirit who becomes one with us so in a very real sense we are one with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not only with us but in us.

Just to be clear let us recall the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity and is eternal God who has always been and will always be; it is this eternal deity who is now one with us.

I suspect most of you are familiar with the general storyline behind the “Star Wars” movies; the conflict is between those who align themselves with the Rebel Alliance and those who are part of the “Evil Empire.” Both factions have fighters who seek to use the power of the Force which is defined as “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.” The Star Wars Force has a light side which is good and a dark side which is evil.

This humanistic concept of a universal force is reasonably predictable but infinitely inferior to the reality experienced by Christians who are born again. I’ve discussed the Biblical concept of reality in an essay “What is Reality? and am amazed how distinctive the Bible is from literature written from a human perspective.

A more Biblical definition of the Force might be the creator of all living things which surrounds us, penetrates us and binds the galaxy together. The Triune God is the Force which has created all things and by whom all things consist.

The Bible teaches all creation is held together by the power of one, the Lord Jesus Christ by whom all things consist (Colossians 1:15-17); it is by His power all things are bound together. In the Trinity’s deity all three persons share the same divine essence which includes omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience. While we have been made a temple by the third person (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) we are used by the second for service (Galatians 2:20).

It Gets Stranger Still

In addition to the amazing things that have been done to the born again Christian there is yet another that is even more unexpected, full adoption into the family of the Trinity! In Romans 8:15-17 it is written:

“15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”

I find it of great interest to note the particular Aramaism used for father by Greek speaking Jews, abba, Ἀββᾶ; is an affectionate term that “was also used as the term of tender endearment by a beloved child.” God thinks of you as a beloved child; how do you think of God? As a born again Christian you are now a very real part of God’s eternal family and always will be; there is no way we can even begin to comprehend how enormous that is but we can and should let it be a source of great joy and comfort as we face the trials of life.

May the Force be with You!

As a science fiction fan I have encountered a wide variety of worlds and universes as devised by the mind of man. While some of them have been entertaining and a few of them highly imaginative none of them have even begun to approach the totally incredible universe in which we actually live. The true reality in which we find ourselves is vastly more unexpected and alien than anything devised by the writers of science fiction and fantasy.

While I have read many volumes of science fiction and fantasy I have never encountered anything that even begins to compare to the Bible. Whereas I have found it easy to spot the human mindset in fiction I have found it to be absent in the Bible. In the most respectful sense possible the Bible is non-human in its perspective on life and living; this is one factor that has made it easy for me to believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible. The Bible is a divine book, not a human book!

We do ourselves a shocking disservice when we neglect the truths revealed in the Bible; we do ourselves a further disservice when we fail to apply these truths to our lives each and every day. Let us learn to faithfully observe the commandments of the Lord and apply them to our lives; by doing this then we can affirm with complete confidence and joy:

“I’m one with the Force and the Force is with me!”

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 9, 2017

Gun Control and Child Proofing the Room

Is Gun Control Another Effort to Childproof the Room?

The recent mass murder in Las Vegas has once again provided an occasion to beat the drums for gun control. The mantra being if we only had better gun control something like this would not have happened. The fact of the matter is guns are inanimate tools and have no agenda whatsoever; killing is instigated by people, not guns.

Inanimate tools are nothing more than that, just tools; whether you pick up a gun, a knife, an axe, a stick, a hammer, or a chainsaw it is nothing more than an inanimate tool that can be used according to the will of the user. It can be used for either good or evil but that is a decision made exclusively by the user, not the tool.

While the death of 59 people in Las Vegas is a terrible thing, it is a small number by comparison with the 762 killings in Chicago in 2016. Chicago just happens to have some of the most extensive gun control laws in the United States but this seems to do little good for those people who got killed anyway. The Associated Press distributed a press release on January 1, 2017 with this headline: “Chicago Ends Year With 762 Killings, the Most in 2 Decades”

Whether a gun, or any tool, is legal or illegal it is equally deadly in the hands of a killer.

A Monumental Effort in Misguided Good Intentions

Our three children were born between 1957 and 1961 and were close enough in age to grow up together. By the time our first boy was born we were enthusiastic students of the Bible and spent a lot of time rejoicing in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As Christians who believed the Bible was the inerrant word of God we had already decided it was “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Based on that conviction we decided to raise our children in the ways of the Lord and proceeded to follow Biblical teachings in their upbringing. We believed the child should be taught how to behave and exercise the self-discipline needed to refrain from doing that which was unacceptable.

We had also come to believe in certain principles of life and living that would help our children establish a solid foundation for their lives; the first was an unconditional love on which they knew they could always depend.

The second was a principle I had picked up from Scouting Magazine; this had to do with the importance of establishing parameters of acceptable behavior. The children had to understand where the limits were on their behavior; in effect they had a fence around their lives beyond which they were not allowed to cross. Any crossing over the fence would result in discipline which brings up the third principle.

The controlling thought behind the third principle, discipline, was not severity, but certainty; the discipline didn’t have to be severe, just certain. This was a principle I had picked up during my short but intense period of service in the United States Navy. The axiom was “It is not the severity of punishment that counts but the certainty of it.”

I’m happy to report that this system produced excellent results; the children learned at an early age that self-discipline was a much better alternative and chose to exercise the self control needed to avoid parental discipline. The fact of the matter is their teenage years were rather fun for the entire family; at least most of the time.

By Way of Contrast

The name of this essay includes the concept of childproofing which is the real subject of the essay. When our children were very young we observed what appeared to us as a strange and unworkable phenomena.  Young parents of our acquaintance were embracing a new concept which included never saying no to their children and never disciplining them for their misdeeds. The idea seemed to be that such negative actions would harm their young psyches and hamper their development into productive adults.

In order to avoid creating situations that might cause the children to do something bad the parents were childproofing their houses so the little children couldn’t reach those things that might break or cause them to harm themselves or others. Anything thought of as breakable or dangerous was put out of reach of the children. Such a room was childproofed as far as the parents could make it.

I can recall speculating with my wife on the potential difficulties when these children moved out into society and lacked the self-control to discipline themselves.

I had overlooked one significant and unexpected development; the same parents that would try to childproof the room would later try to childproof society as well. That is pretty much where we seem to be today; we see efforts all around us to remove the dangerous things, like guns, out of reach of the adult/child that has never learned how to exercise self-control.

I think on occasion of the verse in Proverbs 22:15 where it is written:

“15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”

It would appear this foolishness is now bound in the heart of many adult/children and is being nurtured by society as it continues to futilely attempt to establish a childproof environment free of dangerous things. The problem is not environmental, it is internal and can only be successfully dealt with at the spiritual level.

The Real Problem

One of the major questions being addressed by the media today is why did Stephen Paddock go on a killing rampage; what happened to cause him to carefully plan and then murder all those people at random. Out of all the discussions appearing on the major news shows there has not been one reference to a spiritual problem that I’ve heard about.

The Bible makes it clear that Stephen Paddock, just like every other human being, was born spiritually dead and from all appearances was spiritually dead at the time of his mortal death; his fallen sin nature was always in control of his life and guided him in all his decisions. Fortunately the fallen sin nature does not guide everyone who is under its control to commit mass murder but it does inevitably result in eternal separation from God.

The only deliverance from this curse is the new birth which comes with salvation by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That is why Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

Even if, by some stretch of the imagination, society was able to perfect the environment and successfully make all of society childproof that would in no wise solve the problem of sin and lawlessness; the basic problem is internal, not external. This is clearly demonstrated by the experience in the Garden of Eden and the coming experience during the Millennial Reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. Perfect environment is not and will never be the answer to man’s sin problem; the only answer is the new birth; you must be born again.

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be Saved!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 3, 2017

The Horror in Las Vegas!

The Mass Murder of Innocent People in Las Vegas

Stephen Paddock, mass murderer

The rather strange photo above has been widely circulated in connection with a horrendous murder rampage in Las Vegas this past Sunday night. The media reports there are now 59 people killed and over 500 wounded. The motive for this killing has yet to be established but is being carefully investigated by authorities.

According to reports this man was found dead when the police broke into the room he was in at the hotel. By his death Stephen Paddock has eluded the judgment of the courts and will not stand trial for his misdeeds. The Bible is clear regarding all humanity including this one; Stephen Paddock will live forever in some location known only to God. In the minds of those who believe in an afterlife the question may now be one of where will Stephen Paddock spend eternity, in heaven or in hell?

Common sense would demand he spend eternity in hell because of his hideous crimes against humanity but is this the way God would look at him. From the divine viewpoint what is the basic charge against Stephen Paddock when he appears before God to be judged? I suggest to you the murder and carnage caused by this man will not be the basic charge against him; it will be something totally different and I believe the Bible makes this very clear.

The Atoning Work of the Lord Jesus Christ

I published a two-part essay on the subject of personal sin on August 7, 2017 Forgiveness and September 8, 2017 Everything has Changed and presented the Biblical perspective that personal sin had been paid for by the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. The Lord Jesus Christ had died for the sins of the entire world, past present and future and eliminated personal sin as a barrier between God and man; to be specific the Lord Jesus Christ died for the sins of Stephen Paddock including the massacre at Las Vegas.

By his apparent suicide he has escaped judgment by the judicial system; now the only question that Stephen Paddock faces, from an eternal perspective, is did he receive Jesus Christ as Savior and was born again during his mortal life on this earth. While I would quickly agree there is certainly no evidence this ever happened I would add this is the only condition that will determine where he spends eternity.

Why do I mention this now? The full nature of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ is too often misunderstood; when he spoke the words “It is finished” all personal sin was judged at the cross in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for those sins; the debt had been paid in full including mass murder by Stephen Paddock!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 2, 2017

The Tomorrowland in Your Future

Tomorrowland movie promotional photo by Walt Disney

It’s Coming, you can Count on That!

I saw this movie advertised on TV and decided to record it for future viewing; the other night I finally got around to watching it and enjoyed it enough to watch it all the way through and now I’ve ordered the disc to add to my collection of science fiction movies. As a science fiction fan I found it of interest as it told a story of time travel and adventure with the usual collection of good guys and bad guys.

From a theological perspective (everything in my life has a theological perspective) it falls into a familiar trap; human problems can be resolved by adjusting the environment. In this version a machine in the future is reaching back through time to influence the thinking of all mankind in a negative way; (spoiler alert) the answer is to blow up the machine and remove all of the negative influences that were causing all of mankind’s problems which is done by the good guys and gals.

From a science fiction movie point of view it is light entertainment designed for the younger audience; it is rated PG and is essentially free of gore and bad language and generally suitable for the family. The movie picks up on the very real feeling that there should be something better than what we have now; there must be a better way if we could only find it. I’m convinced this feeling of longing is based in part on the essential essence of who we are and how we’re made. In Ecclesiastes 3:11 it is written:

11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

We have eternity set in our hearts; after all we are made in the image of God with all the resultant ramifications of that creative act. There will never come a time when you are not a living, self-aware life; you have been created to live forever. I find it fascinating how little that is taught; very few people live their lives with the realization of the true nature of their eternality.

Is Perfect Environment the Answer?

In Tomorrowland the implied message was the shutting down of the machine would bring peace and harmony to mankind; the movie ends with the destruction of the machine and the promise that all would now be well. This sad illusion has driven many as they sought to correct various perceived imperfections from the environment or the social or economic fabric of society; virtually all of the world’s “isms” have operated on this assumption and have failed miserably to accomplish their desired goals.

The Bible describes the futility of this hope in the Genesis narrative of the Garden of Eden and the Revelation narrative of the Millennial Reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. In both instances, one past and one future, the narrative shows beyond any doubt that perfect environment is not the answer. If a lack of a perfect environment is not the cause of man’s problem then what is the cause of man’s inability to achieve the utopian world of which he dreams?

The Bible provides a very clear answer indeed although the explanation doesn’t rank very high on the popularity scale; the cause of the problem is not external, it is internal! Mankind is, by it’s nature, a fallen race whose members are born spiritually dead and have no way to correct that condition by any means available to them. The Genesis narrative tells the sad story of mankind’s rebellion against God and his spiritual death; what is even more sad are the ramifications of Adam’s disobedience which resulted in the spiritual death of the entire human race. It is this death and the presence in all of Adam’s descendants, born of a human father, of an incurable virus called sin. I have written more on this in the essay Is There One Unforgivable Sin?

God’s Tomorrowland

No matter how big you can think your wildest imaginations are going to fall way short of the Tomorrowland God has planned for his family. The art work at the top of this essay sparks my imagination but it doesn’t even begin to compare with the description in Revelation 21:10-27 that tells us of the New Jerusalem.

God’s plan for the redemption of mankind is well underway and will ultimately see full realization at a time yet future. The vital first step has been taken by the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary; when our Lord spoke the words, “It is finished” God’s irresistible plan for the redemption of mankind had been put in place. I look forward with great joy and longing for its fulfillment and our entry into God’s Tomorrowland!

For Dreamers Only

The movie ends as a new tomorrowland is beginning to emerge which will be built and populated by dreamers; God’s tomorrowland is also a place for which we can dream. We can dream of a place where God is with us and He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. All who are thirsty may drink freely from the springs of the water of life.

There will be no temple in God’s tomorrowland, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And God’s tomorrowland shall have no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates it, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter into God’s tomorrowland in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there.

 There shall be a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb and it shall flow down the center of the main street. On each side of the river will grow a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves shall be used for medicine to heal the nations.

No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.  And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever in God’s tomorrowland.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 25, 2017

A Temple’s Prayer of Homage to the Creator

Stars © Adele Bower

Our Holy Father

We come before you humbled by the thought of your holy sovereignty; we acknowledge that you are the creator and all creation exists by you and for you. We rejoice that you are working all things after the counsel of your own will and have a perfect plan for your creation that will be revealed in accordance with that plan.

We thank and praise you for the loving grace and mercy that sent your Son to the cross to redeem your fallen creation; we recognize that in your power you could have destroyed the old creation and produced a new creation with great ease. We thank you for your faithfulness to your creation and your promises to that creation which resulted in our liberation from sin through the shed blood of your Son.

We are eternally grateful for the gift of adoption into your family by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and rejoice in your unconditional love and faithfulness to us as your children in Christ Jesus. We know we have failed to live up to your divine standard and thank you for the privilege of restoration through the simple acknowledgement and confession of sin to you.

We rejoice in the baptism of the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit now and forever and pray that we may use our bodies in a way that is pleasing to you and honors the great gift we have been given by your grace and mercy. We praise and thank you for the intercessory prayers of the Holy Spirit on our behalf who pleads for us in harmony with your own will with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

We wish to acknowledge with deepest gratitude that you are working all things together for good in our lives and are thankful you are conforming each of us to the image of your son, Jesus Christ. By your grace we seek to live lives that please you and bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. We ask for your guidance and blessing that we might grow in our faith and faithfully serve you all of our lives.

We are truly thankful for the many blessings you bring into our lives and acknowledge that without you we are nothing. May our lives be a sweet smelling savor to you as we seek to serve and honor you in the power of God, the Holy Spirit.

In Jesus name we pray, amen.

19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 22, 2017

Will the Earth End Tomorrow?

So Far We’re Still Here and Nothing’s Happened

Think of this as a progress report. The Lord’s national focus is, and has always been, on Israel. It is the nation of Israel the Lord has promised to protect and preserve and it seems reasonable to me to think of the Feasts of the Lord as they relate to Israel. As I write this I notice the time in Jerusalem is 8:20 PM  which means the Sabbath has already started so the Feast of Tabernacles, 2017, has passed into history.

The church is still on the earth so I believe it’s safe to presume the church was not to be raptured on the Feast of Trumpets, 2017. Now the remaining question is will the earth end tomorrow, September 23, 2017? Although NASA has confirmed that no planet named Nibiru even exists there are others that claim it does and that it’s on a collision course with earth which will take place on September 23rd and bring about the end of the world.

I am convinced the earth will not end tomorrow based solely on the testimony of scripture! As I’ve mentioned before the Bible predicts a number of events which must take place before the end of the world.

I’m personally of the opinion that we’re talking about an absolute minimum of around 1,012 years of time before the end comes with several momentous events having taken place including the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Second Advent, and the Millennium in that order.

Monday will be September 25, 2017; if the Lord is willing I’m planning on publishing a prayer on behalf of all Christians everywhere.

Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! 

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 14, 2017

Seven Days Left?

Adele Bower ©

Has the Final Countdown for the Church’s Big Event Already Started?

First of all let me establish one important fact; I’m convinced the next thing for the church is the Rapture which could take place at any time! What I’m not convinced of is it taking place on September 21, 2017.

There is a great deal of speculation floating around on the web concerning September, 21st and 23rd of 2017. It focuses on some wording in Revelation 12, the alignment of the stars and planets and the possibility of this next Feast of Trumpets signaling the calling home of the church and the end of the Church Age on September 21, 2017.

On August 22, 2017 I wrote on this subject in some detail in my essay, Big Changes for September?. I concluded it with a Timeline for Unfulfilled Prophecy which I saw no need to revise based on current speculation. While I join with those who long for the Lord’s return for his church I have difficulty reconciling the timing of the Rapture with the various signs cited by those promoting September 21st and 23rd as significant dates for prophetic fulfillment.

The only thing that would make me happier than the Lord’s return for his church on the 21st would be his return on the 14th of September. While I know any of that is possible I will add that I am mailing in my quarterly tax payment for September.

I concluded that essay by saying we didn’t have long to wait to see what the Lord may have planned for The Feast of Trumpets, September 21, 2017; now we have even less time left, seven days and counting. Should the Lord tarry I’ll plan on sending out a prayer of praise and rejoicing to the Lord for all of God’s children on September 25th.

Update 9-17-2017

Now we have this which I noticed on Fox News yesterday:

Biblical prophecy claims the world will end on Sept. 23, Christian numerologists claim

The article concludes with the following quote:

“According to the Express, author Jonathan Sarfati wrote that the same planetary coincidence previously happened four times in the last millennium.

“As usual with any astrology (or Christian adaptations of it), one cherry-picks the stars that fit the desired conclusion,” Sarfati wrote, according to the Express. “There is nothing to suggest that 23 September is a momentous date for biblical prophecy, and Christians need to be careful about being drawn into such sensationalist claims.”

As I have written before I am confident the Bible tells us the earth has at least 1,007 years to go before “the end.” Although I am not familiar with the works of author Jonathan Sarfati I do agree with his conclusions in this matter.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 8, 2017

Everything has Changed

What Happened?

On August 7th we considered the contrast between the Lord’s statement in Matthew 6:14-15 where it is written:

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

And Romans 8:1-4 where it is written:

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”

We determined that everything had changed by the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ; in the first statement our forgiveness was conditional (law), in the second statement our forgiveness is absolute (grace). I would like to examine in more detail just what happened.

There was a Change on April 3, AD 33 Which Affects Everyone!

Easter Sunday is the day Christians observe the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The preceding week had seen the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem, His death and burial as the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.

At His crucifixion an amazing thing happened at Herod’s Temple, the heavy curtain separating the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place had been torn from top to bottom which was clearly a miracle from God. This symbolized the separation between God and man caused by Adam’s disobedience had been removed by Christ’s death on the cross; sin was no longer a barrier between God and man.

If Sin is no longer a Barrier then why is it still such an Issue?

Do you think it would be safe to say the entire world has a problem with sin? I suspect that each of us could start with ourselves and see a deep problem with sins of all shapes forms and sizes almost everywhere we looked.

My wife refers to the local news as the “local police report” as it seems to feature all of the crime and carnage of the day. The old saying, “if it bleeds it leads” seems to characterize the priorities of the media and with improved communications it can even bleed in Europe or elsewhere and lead in the USA.

All of us would agree, at least to some extent, that sin is harmful; the problem is the popular definitions of what is sin vary all over the place. If you look up a dictionary definition of sin there would likely be some reference to God or theology. Sin, as defined by the individual, is seen as a problem within that person’s perception of reality and can be very subjective.

Transgressions against society are more likely to be labeled as “against the law” or illegal rather than sin or sinful. They are more easily identified because some law had been written by legislators in a specific cultural environment declaring certain acts to be a violation of the law in that environment. It is illegal to drive 75 in a 20 mph school zone during school hours; while that would be a clear violation of the law it would probably not be labeled a sin.

Now Back to the Change

Our Lord was explaining an important point about the ministry of God, the Holy Spirit, to His disciples when He told them in John 16:5-8,

“5 “But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. 6 Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. 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. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.”

The Advocate, a reference to God the Holy Spirit, would minister to Jesus’ followers in a new and significantly different way after Pentecost; He would be in the disciples and not just with them as the Lord explains in John 14:17.

“17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”

The later is a reference to Pentecost, May 25, AD 33, when the Holy Spirit indwelt Christians for the first time. The Holy Spirit would also have a general ministry to the world concerning sin, righteousness, judgment and the restraint of sin.

In verse 9 our Lord identifies the world’s sin and tells His disciples; “9 The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” John 16:9

Just think about that for a moment, the Creator of the universe is telling us that the world’s sin is rejection of Jesus Christ. Is there any shortage of evil acts being perpetrated against many; are there no more murders, rapes, or pillaging to be found in the world? I think we all know the answer to that question, there is no shortage whatsoever of evil, hurtful acts taking place all over the world and if anything they seem to be on the increase.

Why then would the Lord tell us the world’s sin is rejection of Christ, is there an answer?

Paid in Full!

In John 19:28-30 it is written:

“28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

At that point the penalty for all sins past present and future was paid in full, the debt was paid, and the redemption was complete. The work the Lord had come to do at the First Advent was completed and He was finished, our Kinsman/Redeemer had begun the restoration that would be completed at the Second Advent.

Sin, in all of its forms, was no longer the barrier between God and man; the only remaining issue was reception of Christ as Savior. That is why Christ could say the sin of the world was failure to receive Him as Savior.

Just Like Adam

When Adam was in the Garden of Eden there was only one sin he could commit and that was failure to obey the one commandment he had been given regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Today the world shares a similar situation, there is only one sin that was not fully paid for at the cross, only one sin that remains as a barrier between God and man and that is rejection of Christ as Savior. That is why Jesus could say, “The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.”

Does that mean all the atrocities we hear of today are all forgiven? Yes, that’s exactly what that means; there is no sin or misdeed that you have ever heard about from any news source that has not been forgiven by the shed blood of Christ. None of those are an exception to the rule, none of them will be charged against the perpetrator, Christ died for them too!

So Now What?

Since forgiveness of mankind’s sin is total and complete with only one exception, and the Bible assures us it is, then what should be emphasized in the church’s message to the world? May I suggest, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 1, 2017

A Remarkable Week

Harvey

The Houston, Texas area has undergone a challenging experience known as Harvey, a category 4 hurricane that has caused massive flooding to many parts of the metropolitan area. The resultant flooding is causing unprecedented problems including the evacuation of many homes and businesses; fortunately the immediate Houston area was spared the worst of the hurricane force winds but wound up on the “dirty side” of the storm which produced the massive flooding. It appears Harvey will establish a new benchmark for flooding in the Houston area which may or may not stand.

Recovery will take a long time as the damage is so extensive; whether this is months or years I don’t know but it will leave an indelible mark on the history of this city. Although hurricanes are a part of life on the gulf coast it is always tough when it happens to you. As a native Houstonian I can remember sheltering from hurricanes from my childhood and as an adult remember the tension of the storm and the hard work involved in the cleanup after the storm had passed.

This time our family had a mixed experience; part of our family in the far southwest had to evacuate their home because of flooding and have no idea what they’ll find when they are able to return to inspect the damage. Our daughter and her husband have taken in the displaced part of the family as they live nearby in an area that did not flood. My wife and I have a location that has remained flood-free ever since we moved in almost 42 years ago.

Recovery

Recovery efforts began immediately all over the area and are well underway at this time. Sadly most of the bayous are cresting at unprecedented levels and some have not even started to recede; it has been estimated some may not be restored to normal levels for weeks. The power at our house has been out since Tuesday morning but after Hurricane Ike and being in the dark for two weeks I invested in a standby generator which automatically kicks in when power is out and provides electricity for the entire house. It has now been in continuous operation since Tuesday morning and is powering the computer as I type this. Internet service was restored earlier this morning which completed all necessary components to send this out. I’ll send it on it’s way before the internet goes out again.

The sun is shining and the sky is blue and filled with puffy white clouds; you’d never think we had just gone through a record breaking hurricane.

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