Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | May 10, 2021

The Painted Veil That Hides Reality, by David Bower

(I have observed, with great interest, the continuing popularity of this essay. It was first published in May of 2014 and has been sought out by readers almost every week that goes by. For some reason, of the 486 essays I have published on “Life from a Christian Perspective,” this one comes closest to having a life of its own according to WordPress statistics.) 

 The Sonnet, the Novel, and the Movie

The Painted Veil Poster Resized

A few days ago we had the opportunity to watch a fascinating movie, an epic movie experience filled with intense drama, “The Painted Veil” which led me to the discovery of a book, and a sonnet which all addressed, to some degree, a subject on which I had written in the past.

To start at the beginning of this line of thought, Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote a sonnet whose first line is “Lift not the painted veil which those who live Call Life.” This sonnet was a source of inspiration to W. Somerset Maugham as he wrote a novel in 1925 named, “The Painted Veil.”

This novel was later made into three different movies, “The Painted Veil” 1934, “The Seventh Sin,” 1957, and the most recent, again named “The Painted Veil,” which was released in January of 2007. It was this last version which stirred my spirit of inquiry into researching the background of the movie and the novel on which it was based which, in turn, led me to the discovery of Shelley’s sonnet.

The heart of the movie can possibly be reduced to one line spoken by Dr. Walter Fane to his wife Kitty, “It was silly of us to look for qualities in each other that we never had.” To some degree, each had come into their marriage with preconceived notions of how it would be and how the other would respond. This, of course, is the never ending challenge to young couples entering into marriage; separating fantasy from reality.

The Sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Shelley’s sonnet has been declared a mystery by some and aggressively analyzed by others; here is the sonnet:

“Lift not the painted veil which those who live

Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,

And it but mimic all we would believe

With colours idly spread,–behind, lurk Fear

And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave

Their shadows, o’er the chasm, sightless and drear.

I knew one who had lifted it–he sought,

For his lost heart was tender, things to love,

But found them not, alas! nor was there aught

The world contains, the which he could approve.

Through the unheeding many he did move,

A splendour among shadows, a bright blot

Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove

For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

What is Reality?

Those of you who have followed my blog may recall the essay I wrote called “What is Reality?” In this essay, which I published in September of 2011, I questioned the identity of true reality which was defined as, “the quality or state of being real: something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily.” Using that dictionary definition I determined that only the Triune Godhead was real, all else was derived and dependent on the will of the Creator.

I went on to write, “I suggest to you that this is not true reality at all but little more than a facade, more similar to a stage setting one would find on a movie set. It is admittedly a complex and involved stage setting and has the appearance of permanence; permanence, however, from a finite point of view. The tragedy is that most people devote their entire lives to responding to the stage setting and ignore the true realities of life.”

Effectively then, what we call life is the painted veil that is described by Shelley as unreal shapes with colours idly spread.

Mankind’s Desire for a Deliverer

I found it fascinating that Shelley would describe a hopeful figure “who had lifted it–he sought, For his lost heart was tender, things to love, But found them not, alas!” Here was Shelley’s redeemer, but a redeemer who was doomed to failure and he, like the Preacher, found it not.

The identity of the Preacher has also been an object of debate, but in the context of the sonnet, I thought of the first two verses of Ecclesiastes, also known as The Preacher; “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” Here we find a similar longing for that which is not found.

I have long noted the need for a messianic figure in literature; the example that immediately occurred to me was Ayn Rand’s John Galt. In her novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” Ms. Rand creates an intellectual super hero named John Galt who is able and willing to take the necessary steps to deliver society from its many ills. I find these futile hopes for a messiah, as devised by the mind of man, to be pathetic and sad.

Lifting the Painted Veil

It is only in the Bible that the painted veil is lifted and the true nature of reality is fully exposed. It is only in the Bible that we learn the true nature of our existence and the fact that we are created beings living in and sustained, from moment to moment, by our creator as a part of that creation.

It is only in the Bible that we discover the identity of our true Messiah our very own, “splendour among shadows” and then discover that He has come to redeem us and that His work of redemption has been successfully begun. It is only in the Bible that we learn that this process of redemption will be fully completed at a time determined in eternity past by our Creator; that our Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, will lift the painted veil forever.

It is the Bible that reveals what the painted veil conceals and it is infinitely more than the scene painted by Shelley’s words “behind, lurk Fear And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave Their shadows, o’er the chasm, sightless and drear.”

Behind the painted veil we call life lies an eternal plan of which we can be a part by simply receiving Christ as our Savior. There is also a terrible place called the Lake of Fire which is reserved for those who reject the salvation available to all who will receive Christ as Savior.

The veil has been lifted; we have a Redeemer and a Messiah, one who is still seeking things to love, and ignore Him at our own peril; receive His love and love Him in return!

“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved”

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | May 3, 2021

Living Your Life Filled with Peace and Joy!

The Real Meaning of Life Explained! Everything, to This Point, has been Nothing more than Preparation for What is to Come!

Mankind was created to rule, to have dominion over all the earth but lost that opportunity when the first Adam disobeyed a direct command from God. Instead of ruling, man became a tenant on a sin-cursed earth which has been controlled by Satan as the Prince of the Power of the Air and has become a battlefield in an ancient spiritual war!

God, in an astounding expression of grace, mercy, and love, sent a second Adam from above, the Lord Jesus Christ, to serve as a Kinsman/Redeemer, to free mankind from spiritual death, slavery to sin, and buy back mankind’s lost inheritance by the shedding of his own blood as a sacrificial payment for the sin of the first Adam.

A time is coming when the earth shall be restored to mankind and Satan’s control of the earth brought to a devastating conclusion. The Bible provides us some guidance as to what will happen and it is very possible these events may start soon. I have written more on this in a four-part series which begins with: “What’s Going to Happen Next? Part 1”

The Timing of These Remaining Events is Known Only to God

The Bible does not reveal the timing of these events awaiting fulfillment, but does reveal there are two periods of prophetic time still future; one period of seven years and one period of one thousand years. In addition, there are Biblical references to events, yet unfulfilled, that need to take place. I’m of the opinion that these events could possibly add another five years to the total.

I believe the Bible clearly teaches the initial trigger for these events will be the rapture of the church as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 where the Lord Jesus Christ meets with all born-again believers in the air to take them to heaven and be with him forever!

After the seven years of the Tribulation and the one thousand years of the Millennial Reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, the final judgment will come at the Great White Throne where Satan, sin, death and all whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, this is the Second Death!

As Christians, awaiting the Lord’s return, we have an obligation to let the Holy Spirit take the lead in our lives; our lives should always clearly exhibit the fruit of the Spirit to the extent there is no question about our life’s priorities!

The New Heaven and the New Earth

A few thousand years in comparison with eternity is only a drop in the bucket! The Apostle Paul speaks to this point in Romans 8:18-23 where it is written:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

I suspect that we, with our many limitations, can in no way even begin to imagine what God has planned for us; a full understanding of “the glorious liberty of the children of God” will just have to wait.

I personally delight in the sure knowledge that I have been given the indwelling Holy Spirit to be with me forever. By God’s grace, all of us, who have received Jesus Christ as our Savior, have been given the firstfuits of the Spirit!

I’m totally confident life in the New Heaven and the New Earth will far exceed our loftiest hopes and expectations by an infinite amount. In the meantime, we can rejoice in the Lord and the promise of his coming!

What About Life Now?

While eternity with God is going to be fabulous, what about life right now? God has made provision for that as well if you will only follow God’s instructions! In Philippians 4:4-9, God addresses the question of life right now:

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Rejoicing in the Lord and faithfully worshiping and serving him is what life is all about; this is what we are created for and is the only thing that will bring happiness and completion to our existence!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | April 26, 2021

The Real Meaning of Life Explained! From Ruler to Tenant

Whether you Realize it or not, You’re Descended from a Family of Tenant Farmers!

When Adam disobeyed God, Satan became the ruler of this world and is even now, “The Prince of the Power of the Air!” Adam’s descendants were doomed to live out their lives on a world controlled by Satan and experience the impact on their lives imposed by the spiritual war Satan was waging against God!

And if that was not enough, Adam’s descendants would be born spiritually dead and with a nature to sin!

What is even more frustrating is there was absolutely nothing Adam’s descendants could do to correct that situation! No matter how good or bad any particular descendant would live their lives, their actions could not bring their dead spirits back to life.

God’s solution for this devastating problem was already in place, I believe the voice in the Garden of Eden that called out, “Where are you?” was the voice of the one who would eventually serve as mankind’s “Kinsman/Redeemer,” the Lord Jesus Christ!

Our Lord knew he would be the one to pay the price for Adam’s reckless foolishness; he would need to be the one to pay the price of redemption!

From Ruling to Recovery

The entire situation for mankind had now been changed, thanks to Adam; mankind would no longer rule God’s creation as God’s representatives but would be faced with the challenge of raising his food on sin-cursed ground!

While facing this challenge, mankind would exist on a world which had now become the scene of an age-old spiritual battle in progress since before man’s creation.

The Old Testament portion of the Bible records God’s dealing with mankind before and after Adam’s fall and prepares mankind for the Redeemer who was to be sent to pay the price of Adam’s sin and restore the earth to Adam’s descendants.

Obedience to the revealed commands of God would be the standard required for God’s approval and a system was put in place to make that possible. That system was called the “Mosaic Law” and served as the basic framework for achieving imputed righteousness from God.

In addition, the promise of a Redeemer and full restoration was made in the person of one who would come in the last days, in Job 19:25-27 it is written:

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

The Mosaic Law was designed to provide a picture of the work that would be performed by the Redeemer; the one we now know as the Lord Jesus Christ! Christ, as our Kinsman/Redeemer, would accomplish the redemption and restoration that fallen man could never achieve.

Redemption Accomplished!

At the precise time ordained by God, our Kinsman/Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, died on the cross for mankind’s sins and rose again on the third day! The victory was won, the price had been paid once and for all!

Now, full restoration was possible by simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. All who received Jesus Christ as Savior would be born again to new spiritual life to become not only representatives, but children of God!

The guarantee given to every one who receives Jesus Christ as Savior is the Holy Spirit who comes into each new believer to live with them forever!

What is the Real Meaning of Life?

Considering the reality of our situation, the real meaning of life is to receive Jesus Christ as Savior, be born again into the family of God and become a child in God’s eternal family! No other decision we can ever make can compare with the critical importance of that one decision.

As born again, spiritually alive, children of God our lives now have new meaning, we have a new job which is described in Matthew 28:18-20 where it is written:

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Why is Total Success in Life so Simple?

It may be hard for some to believe that total success in life comes as a results of the new birth, of being born again by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. The Satanic world system would have you believe anything but that; when a person is born again by faith in Jesus Christ, Satan loses another victim, one less to join him in the Lake of Fire.

Our mortal lives are nothing more than a pass/fail test with only one question; do you receive Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior? Receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and you pass the test; reject salvation in Jesus Christ and you fail the test!

The consequences of your decision are eternal and unchangeable! Salvation means participation in the First Resurrection; rejection means participation in the Second Resurrection and I promise you that is not what you want!

How can something so important as your eternal destination be so simply resolved, you might ask. Salvation is simple for mankind because the Lord Jesus Christ did the really hard part. I’m convinced the suffering endured by the Lord at the spiritual level far surpassed the physical suffering he experienced by crucifixion.

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

When Christ was made to be sin for us, I believe he was separated from the Father and the Holy Spirit for a brief period at which point he exclaimed:

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

When the Lord Jesus Christ was made sin for us, he was totally alone as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world! He, who had always existed in perfect harmony with the Father and the Holy Spirit was isolated with the sin of the world as his only companion!

This supreme price, which could only by paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ, was the only solution to mankind’s sin problem and if mankind was ever to be redeemed, he was the only one who could accomplish redemption for Adam’s descendants!

Eternal security as a member of God’s royal family is being offered to you as a free gift; I encourage you to receive this gift and be born-again into the family of God!

Next time, The Real Meaning of Life, Living Life as it’s Supposed to be Lived!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | April 19, 2021

The Real Meaning of Life Explained! The Catastrophic Error in Judgment

The Ruler of the World

Adam had been given something no other man has ever achieved, complete control over all the earth and every living thing that lived on the earth! This will not happen again until the Lord Jesus Christ rules over all the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords!

(Another key factor in the creation of Adam, was his creation in the image of God; just as God is eternal, Adam, and all his descendants are also eternal and will always exist in some form somewhere! In case you’re wondering, yes, that includes you and me!)

As a condition of his serving as supreme ruler, he was given one command:

17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:17

In retrospect, that doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable command, there was an abundance of alternate food sources available so there was absolutely no danger of Adam going hungry! This one tree was off-limits, everything else could be eaten as desired.

At some undisclosed point, the Trinity, referred to as God in the Bible, determined that man should not be alone, in Genesis 2:21-22 it is written:

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.”

One can only imagine the joy, happiness and excitement when Adam saw Eve the first time, it is recorded in Genesis 2:23

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

It is important to note, the command, concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was given to Adam, not to Eve.

The Passage of Time

The Bible provides no details on the timing of the activities of Adam and Eve after her creation. I suspect Adam brought Eve up to date on life in the Garden of Eden and warned her of the prohibition about eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In Genesis 3:1-3 we read of a conversation Eve had with the serpent (Satan) when, I’m convinced, Adam was not present:

“3 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”

Please notice the addition to God’s command, whereas God had told Adam not to eat of the tree, Eve adds, “nor shall you touch it.”

I suspect there was a history behind that addition on Eve’s part; I would guess there had been many discussions about the “forbidden fruit” to the point where Adam, in a moment of frustration, told Eve, “don’t eat it, don’t even touch it!”

My Speculation on Genesis 3

While this is pure speculation, it could explain Eve’s addition of the touching part when she is challenged by Satan. I suggest, by way of further speculation, that between verses 4 and 5 that even more time passed. I suspect that Eve was fascinated by the tree and watched it while birds and animals ate of its fruit with absolutely no ill-effects.

At some point, I believe Eve ate of the fruit, when Adam was not present, and absolutely nothing happened to her. How much time passes before Eve decided to share her big secret with Adam is unknown, but eventually Eve told Adam what she had been doing.

We can only imagine the flood of thoughts that went through Adam’s mind when he heard Eve’s story; had he misunderstood God, how could Eve be alive after eating of the tree, what would happen if he ate the fruit of the tree?

This is where the details of God’s command come into play, death would come when Adam ate, not Eve! Let us theorize Adam and Eve then went to the tree; Eve wanted Adam to watch the birds and the animals enjoying the fruit with impunity, Eve then eats of the fruit and before Adam’s astonished eyes, nothing happens; then Adam eats of the fruit and they both die spiritually on the very spot!

Direct disobedience to God’s command was the cause of Adam’s spiritual death, not a harmless bit of fruit. When Adam decided to intentionally disobey the only command he had been given, he then lost the earth, killed his own spirit, Eve’s spirit, and the spirits of every person subsequently born of a human father!

The Biblical Consequences of Disobedience, The Walking Dead

Thorns and Thistles

While, in the preceding section, I indulged in some speculation; the Bible is quite clear on the consequences of Adam’s disobedience.

Although spiritual death came instantly, physical death was delayed but inevitable; every human being would now be born spiritually dead if they had a human father and, after an allotted life span, would, (with two notable exceptions, Enoch and Elijah) die physically as well. (It is important to recognize the eternal essence breathed into Adam by God is passed on to all succeeding generations and will never die!)

God’s judgment is described in Genesis 3:8-19 where it is written:

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:

“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

16 To the woman He said:

“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”

17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”

Next, we will consider the impact on humanity and the critical changes that have taken place as a results of Adam’s forfeiture of world ruler-ship to Satan!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | April 12, 2021

The Real Meaning of Life Explained! The Beginning

Mortal Life is Incredible, Amazing, Wonderful, but no More Than a Fleeting Introduction to What is Coming Next!

Most of us, at some point in our lives, have wondered why we are here and why things are the way they are; in some circles, these matters are debated with some intensity while in others it may be no more than a passing thought, an idle reflection.

Regardless of how much or how little such thoughts occupy our minds, all of us are irrevocable bound to the reality in which we find ourselves! We all come to realize that certain laws, the laws of nature or the laws of God, have an irresistible impact on our behavior.

There are certain things you simply must not do without suffering devastating consequences; experience is usually an authoritative teacher in such matters!

What is clearly less obvious, is the long-term impact of our actions; when there seems to be no immediate consequences for a certain action, then the question can come up as to whether or not there is, in fact, a consequence that really should be factored in to our thinking regarding that action.

An Illusion of Control

I have read that drug addicts begin using drugs with the notion they can control their use of drugs in their lives; by the time they discover the drugs are controlling them, it is just too late to take easy corrective action.

Sometimes life can lull us into a false sense of control when the consequences of our actions are delayed. We have the opportunity to live in an era where God is not immediately judging the actions of people; while this arrangement has advantages, it also has disadvantages.

It can produce a false sense of security in which we think there may be no adverse consequences for our actions; perhaps God doesn’t really care that we’re doing this or that. It may be hard, for some, to fully realize that the restrictions God has placed on mankind are there to protect and improve their quality of life.

If We are to Clearly Understand Who We are and Why We’re Here, it will Probably be Necessary to See Where it All Started and How We Got to Where We are Now!

The first critical element we will need to understand and fully accept, is we are created beings who exist in a created universe. That, which we can observe around us, is all a part of a creation that exists at the sole discretion of an eternal creator who has always existed as a Trinity, three persons who share one essence.

The Trinity has happily given us assembly instructions for life which provides the information we need in order to successfully complete our mortal lives. These instructions also include some helpful background on how we got to where we are at this point in time; sadly, it is not very cheerful news!

We discover, as we read the instructions, the very first human being, created by the Trinity, was placed in a specially prepared location and given certain very important jobs to do.

In these instructions, which have come to be known as the Bible; it is recorded in Genesis 1:26-31 the following details:

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

From this, we see that man was to have dominion over all the earth, fill it and subdue it, and have dominion over every creature that lived on it. They were all to have herbs and fruit for food.

The World’s Oldest Profession

We are given additional information in Genesis 2:15-17 where it is written:

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend (cultivate) and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

From this we see the world’s oldest profession is ruler over all the earth as well as gardener; man was to have dominion over the earth, every animal, and cultivate the garden and keep it. In addition, we see man given one command, do not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Death would be the consequences of disobedience!

The command was given to Adam, not to Eve who had yet to be created; this distinction helps to explain what would happen later. Next time, we will take a look at the events leading to Adam’s fall from power and the death of his spirit. Let me reassure you, without a proper understanding of this background, it will be impossible to understand where we are today and what we must do to recover!

Next time, a catastrophic loss!

Burning Sulphur

This is Deadly Serious Business for Every Human Being!

Eternity, for those who reject salvation in Jesus Christ, is horrible beyond imagination; burning sulphur, referred to as brimstone in some translations of the Bible, has a choking, putrid stench that is never forgotten! Eternal torment, with no rest, in a lake of fiery burning sulphur is impossible to even imagine!

I am deeply saddened by the scope of Satanic deception I observe in the world today! The popularity of Satanism has grown around the world and seen, at many levels of society, as a license to sin. While people have the freedom to choose, they do not have the freedom to escape the consequences of their choices! I have written more on this in “What You Are; Satan’s Deadly Deception!”

A Gap of One Thousand Years

There will be a gap of 1,000 years between the end of the first resurrections to heaven and God; and the second resurrection to the Lake of Fire. This period of time is referred to as “The Millennial Reign of the Lord Jesus Christ;” it will be populated by the resurrected saints of all the preceding ages.

In addition, there will be a mortal population, who have received Jesus Christ as Savior, and will have survived the Tribulation. The reference in Matthew 24:36-41 is to the removal of those who will have aligned themselves with the Antichrist and received the mark of the beast. Those left behind are the mortal believers who will repopulate the Millennial Kingdom.

The Millennial Kingdom

The Millennial Kingdom will begin with nothing but those who love the Lord as Savior and God. As mortal believers begin to repopulate the earth, some born to them will believe but some will not. By the end of the 1.000 years the population of earth will include a vast number who have rejected Jesus Christ as Savior and God in spite of the perfection of rule and environment!

When Satan is released, at the end of the Millennial Reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, he will attract a large multitude to himself to attack the Lord and his kingdom. This attack is described in Revelation 20:7-10

Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

(Note particularly, after 1,000 years in the Lake of Fire, the beast and the false prophet still have individual identities!)

God’s direct intervention brings this final battle to a sudden end and the Satanically inspired combatants will be annihilated and ultimately appear before the Great White Throne, which follows the Second Resurrection.

The Millennial Saved

Although the Bible does not specify what will happen to those mortal survivors who will have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior during the Tribulation and the Millennial Reign; logic would suggest they are the ones who will populate the nations referenced in Revelation 21:22 and 24 and enjoy eternity as mortal subjects of the Lord Jesus Christ!

22 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.

The Second Resurrection

Stage 4 and Group 5, the Lost

In Revelation 20:11-15 it is written:

11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Where Do We Stand Today in God’s Schedule?

Any casual perusal of the world today suggests we are close to the time of the removal of the true Church; I do not know of any unfulfilled prophecies that must take place before the church can be taken home.

I see an interesting parallel between Israel, at the time it was set aside on March 30, AD 33, and the church today as it exists on the world stage. Corruption, perversion and abandonment of Biblical truth was evident then and is evident now.

I believe we are living in the seventh and last church age, Laodicea, which is described in Revelation 3:14-22 where it is written:

The Lukewarm Church

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ”

Even so, Come Lord Jesus!

36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36

The wrath of God is greatly to be feared!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | March 29, 2021

Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the Beginning of the End!

The End of What?

This Friday is the day we observe Good Friday and while that is the day we remember the crucifixion, death and burial of our Lord Jesus Christ; Easter Sunday is the occasion we celebrate His resurrection from the dead. A historic change in man’s relationship to God had occurred; by God’s grace the barrier between God and man that had been created by Adam’s deliberate sin of disobedience had been removed by the death of our Lord, the Second Adam from above.

You may recall in Genesis 2:15-17

“15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Unfortunately Adam choose to disobey God and when he ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he, and all of humanity present and future died in Adam. As I’ve observed before, that means that you and I and every human born of a human father are born spiritually dead. It is the sin of Adam that created the barrier between God and man and the primary reason the Lord Jesus Christ suffered death as our kinsman-redeemer.

The Tearing of the Curtain on Good Friday

God gave us a symbol of the removal of this barrier when, at the time of the crucifixion, the curtain between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies in Herod’s temple was torn from the top to the bottom; signifying that access to God was now open to mankind through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

By his death and resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ had paid the penalty for all human sin for all time; sin had been removed as a barrier between God and man. As hard as it may be to imagine, personal sin is no longer the issue; the only remaining issue requiring resolution is receiving the forgiveness of God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and God.

The Good News

Because of the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, the end had come for sin as a barrier between God and man. This is effectively expressed in 1 John 2:1-2 where it is written:

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”

I have written more on this in Is There One Unforgivable Sin?

The church can now proclaim a message of hope, a message of reconciliation and good news for a suffering humanity:

BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND YOU WILL BE SAVED!

(First published April 3, 2015, revised and updated)

Next time we will complete Part 3 of Death and Resurrection; the Second Resurrection to the Lake of Fire.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | March 22, 2021

Palm Sunday 2021 and its Enormous Significance!

March the 28th, 2021 is Palm Sunday

This Sunday we observe and remember the entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem where He had come to die. This week was to be a terrible time of testing for the Jewish nation although they had no idea of the great significance of what was to happen from that point on.

The exact date for this momentous event had been prophesied by the Prophet Daniel and that prophecy, among many others, was being perfectly fulfilled by our Lord as He rode into the city. I would say it was certain that among the tens of thousands present that day, only the Lord understood the staggeringly wondrous truths that were being put into place as that amazing prophecy was fulfilled.

Four hundred and eighty-three years had passed since the beginning of the third and final group of three 490-year periods that had been given to Israel by God. The second group had ended with the Babylonian captivity and now the third group of 490 years had been put on hold at year 483 as also foretold by Daniel; I have written on this in some detail in a three-part series, The Seventy Weeks of Daniel.

Israel was being set aside for an unspecified number of years while a mystery was revealed, the mystery of the church and the age of grace, the age in which we now live. The remaining 7 years promised to Israel would resume at a point yet future when Israel would sign a covenant with the Antichrist.

The Entry into Jerusalem

Contrary to what we customarily celebrate, the entry was on a Monday, not a Sunday and it was not triumphal for our Lord; it was a time of great sadness as evidenced by Luke 19:41-42 where it is written,

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.”

The particular Greek word used for wept (ἔκλαυσεν) means a loud wracking sob; our Lord’s body was shaken by His sobs as He entered Jerusalem. He is likely the only one who understood the enormity of what was happening; the Jewish nation was being temporarily set aside, their rejection of their Messiah was going to yield great suffering for centuries to come. Their judgment would be severe and is still in force today.

It is likely, in His omniscience, that Jesus saw the Jerusalem of 70 AD as destroyed by Titus and could also see the bodies of some of those welcoming Him as they lay silent in death. This was a momentous, tragic moment that was being recognized only by the Lord and the thought of what was going to befall Jerusalem and His people reduced Him to wracking sobs. I suspect His disciples were totally confused by His reaction to the sight of Jerusalem and the excited crowds.

From the Shephard’s Notes.com

There is another extremely touching aspect of our Lord’s entering Jerusalem on Nisan 10. If we examine Exodus 12:3 we read,

“Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month (Nisan) each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.”

This was part of the instructions given to Israel on the occasion of the first Passover in Egypt. Traditionally, the family would select a perfect lamb and place it on display in front of their dwelling so all could see they were offering the Lord their very best.

God’s Passover Lamb put on display

On March 30, AD 33, the 10th of Nisan, the Father put His Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world on display for all Jerusalem to see that the Father was offering them His very best. (In 2021 we are in year 5781 according to the Jewish calendar and the 10th of Nisan will be Tuesday, March 23rd.)

After the passing of that day, Israel had been set aside for an undetermined number of years. Today we are at year 1,988 and still counting as Israel continues to suffer judgments until the return of the Lord they rejected.

The countdown clock on Israel’s last 490 years will recommence when Israel signs a covenant agreement with the Antichrist; this event and not the rapture of the church will be the trigger that starts their final countdown and the beginning of the Tribulation.

While this was an amazing week, filled with suffering and anguish for our Lord and judgment for Israel, it was the reason our Lord took on human form; that was necessary that He might die for our sins. The moment of triumph was coming soon, the following week our Lord would rise from the dead having perfectly paid the price of our redemption.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-4

(First published March 28, 2015, updated and revised)

Next time, we will consider Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | March 15, 2021

Death and Resurrection, Part 2, the First Resurrection to God and Heaven

The First Resurrection

The resurrection from the dead will occur in two resurrections which will have four stages and five groups; a plan which was devised by God in eternity past. The first resurrection, which includes three stages and four groups is initiated by the resurrection of the Lord, later joined by the justified to join with God in heaven. The second resurrection has one stage and one group and is the resurrection to condemnation and the Lake of Fire.

Stage One, Group 1, the First Fruits of Them that Slept

On April 5, AD 33, the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the grave and became the first human to be resurrected from the dead; the First Fruits of them that slept. This was in fulfillment of God’s promise of a redeemer and the ancient Feast of First Fruits which was established by God in Leviticus 23:9-14. This vitally important beginning of the resurrections God had planned was completed, and opened the door for the resurrections that would follow.

Let me clarify one point; in Matthew 27:52-53 it is written:

52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

These saints were resuscitated, not resurrected; resuscitation restores the mortal life to the individual who will then later die a normal death. Resuscitation was the process used to raise people from the dead found in both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus Christ was the first to be resurrected from the dead and receive a heavenly body which would never die again.

This completes stage one, group one of the resurrections.

Stage 2, Group 2, the Church

The next stage planned by God is still future, the resurrection of the Church; all born-again believers who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior during the Age of the Church will be resurrected together. The Church Age began at Pentecost, May 25, AD 33 and will end when the Lord calls the church home at the Rapture of the Church. This is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 where it is written:

1But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

The return of the Lord Jesus Christ for his church is done in the air, not on the ground; this is not the Second Advent but actually takes place a minimum of seven years before the Second Advent. I am personally of the opinion this takes place closer to ten to twelve years before the Second Advent. I have commented on the timing in some detail in other essays.

This completes stage 2, group 2 of the resurrections.

Stage 3, Groups 3 and 4, Israel and the Tribulation Saints

The Age of Israel was interrupted by Israel’s rejection of its Messiah; on March 30, AD 33, Israel was set aside seven years short of the final period of 490 years given to it by God. Those last seven years are still somewhere in the future and will be completed after the removal of the church; I have written more on this in a three-part series that begins with “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel

The Age of Israel recommences when Israel signs a treaty with the Antichrist; the church is gone, world events focus on the tiny state of Israel. This time of terrible judgment by God is brought to a close by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the armies of heaven which will include you and me in our resurrected bodies.

In Revelation 19:11-16 it is written:

1Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.

This is the Second Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ where he, as our Kinsman/Redeemer, will reclaim the earth from Satan and establish his rule over all the earth!

At some point, after the return of our Lord at his Second Advent, both Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints will be resurrected as groups 3 and 4. We have references to this in Daniel 12:13 and Isaiah 26:19 for Old Testament saint s and Revelation 20:4 for Tribulation saints.

We find some rather cryptic language in Daniel 12:11-12 where it is written:

11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.

The second half of the Tribulation is 1,260 days, so we see an additional 30 and an additional 45 days added to the total for a grand total of 75 days. No explanation is given for this time span but it has been suggested this is the time when the Lord will restore the earth to its original condition.

It may well be the Old Testament and Tribulation saints are resurrected after the earth has been fully restored. Perhaps the blessed ones who wait and come to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days are those saints of the Lord.

This concludes Stage 3, groups 3 and 4 and the First Resurrection. “This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:5b-6

Next week we will cover Palm Sunday and the following week we will cover Good Friday and Easter Sunday; the Second Resurrection to the Lake of Fire will follow after our observance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ which makes all the rest possible.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | March 8, 2021

Death and Resurrection, Part 1, Death, Your Great Leap into Eternity!

There Seems to be Some Confusion on What Happens and When it Happens!

I cannot recall having ever heard a sermon in church on the subject of this essay. I would like to examine, in some detail, the Bible’s message to all born-again believers in Jesus Christ as to what happens when we die, where do we go and how do we look. Death is a distinctly different experience from resurrection and will happen at a different time.

This is written as a three-part essay which covers, Death, the First Resurrection, and the Second Resurrection.

Death

Death is the common description given to the time we depart our mortal bodies; while death is a common subject, rarely, if ever, is our emergence into the eternal state a topic of discussion.

When, for some reason, age, illness or accident, our bodies can no longer support our eternal essence and must be left behind; exactly what happens to us then, we leave but where are we going? We know we are eternal so where do we go and what do we look like?

Eternity can be a really wonderful place or a truly horrible place; all depending on your position concerning the Lord Jesus Christ at the time you take that great leap into eternity!

The Problem of Death

Death was part of the Adamic curse pronounced by God on Adam and his descendants in Genesis 2:16-17 where it is written:

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Adam deliberately disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and died spiritually at that instant, killing himself, Eve, and all of his physical descendants including you and me! In Genesis 3:6-7 we are told:

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

It was only when Adam ate that God’s command was disobeyed, it is in Adam that all die! Romans 5:12

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

While spiritual death came instantly, physical death was delayed, we do not know Adam’s age when he disobeyed God, but we know Adam lived to be 930 years old.

(Since the death of Adam, physical death has been the destiny of every human body with the exception of Enoch and Elijah which is why some believe the two prophets of Revelation 11 will be Enoch and Elijah. In Hebrews 9:27 it is written: “27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” Enoch and Elijah are the only Old Testament saints who have not yet died once.)

Where do Adam’s Descendants Go When They Die?

The Bible omits a great deal of detailed information that would be of great interest to many of us; those who have heard me teach know of my interest in trying to connect the dots of “information bits” provided in the Bible. The following parable was used by Jesus to refute the notion, popular at the time, that wealth was a sign of God’s approval of an individual while poverty was a sign of God’s disapproval.

While telling this parable, Jesus made some references to the hereafter that may give some guidance to us regarding life after death. While it is clear that death is the destiny of all descendants of Adam because of Adam’s sin, the question before us now is where do they go? The Bible gives us some clues about that in Luke 16:19-23 where it is written:

19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

We learn certain facts from these verses; there is one place for the redeemed; referred to here as Abraham’s bosom, it is a place of peace and blessings for the redeemed, and another place for the lost. The lost go to a place of torments in Hades where there is suffering and torment.

After the First Advent and the Lord’s ascension to heaven, we are told the redeemed join him in heaven and are with the Lord Jesus Christ. I noted last time the reference in 2 Corinthians 5:8 where it is written:

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Since there is no reference, of which I’m aware, to any change; it would appear the lost still go to a place of torments in Hades.

How will we Look?

To the best of my knowledge, we will not have a body immediately after our departure from our mortal bodies; we are spiritual beings and will exist in spiritual form until the time of our resurrection.

I think it possible that time, in heaven, does not exist as does time on earth. We are told in Scripture,

For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night. Psalm 90:4

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8

I would not be surprised if the Old Testament saints, who had died in faith, would be totally unaware of the passage of thousands of years on earth. It may seem to them that only a few days had passed since their deaths; someday we’ll know for sure.

The Near Future?

There are several verses that tell us our resurrection will take place near the end of the age; at that time the spiritual essences of those who have died will be rejoined with their transformed, heavenly bodies and those of us of the terminal generation will join them in our transformed heavenly bodies without ever experiencing death!

13 “But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” Daniel 12-13

40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Our resurrected bodies will be our mortal bodies that have been transformed into eternal, heavenly bodies. The best example of this is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostles knew and recognized the resurrected Jesus as the one with whom they had ministered to Israel.

Next time we will consider the first resurrection to God and Heaven.

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