Luke Wilson | 09th August 2017 | General Articles, My Books | 0 comments
9 August
Aug 9
9th August 2017

40 Days with the Fathers: Available to order now! 40 Days with the Father: a daily reading plan by Luke J. Wilson   The time has finally arrived: my new book is now available to order!I'm so excited to share this with you after many months of work, research and editing. I hope that you enjoy reading the book as much as I did writing it! Order your copy now from my new website: fortydays.co.uk to get it at a reduced rate. If you order today then it should arrive just in time for Christmas!If you do enjoy it, don't forget to leave a review on Good Reads or on Amazon.Keep in touch and receive updates about me or the book at my new Facebook page: Luke J. Wilson  Order Your Copy Today ↣       _________#outlook a { padding: 0; } body { width: 100% !important; min-width: 100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%; -ms-text-size-adjust: 100%; margin: 0; Margin: 0; padding: 0; -moz-box-sizing: border-box; -webkit-box-sizing: border-box; box-sizing: border-box; } .ExternalClass { width: 100%; } .ExternalClass, .ExternalClass p, .ExternalClass span, .ExternalClass font, .ExternalClass td, .ExternalClass div { line-height: 100%; } #backgroundTable { margin: 0; Margin: 0; padding: 0; width: 100% !important; line-height: 100% !important; } img { outline: none; text-decoration: none; -ms-interpolation-mode: bicubic; width: auto; max-width: 100%; clear: both; display: block; } center { width: 100%; min-width: 580px; } a img { border: none; } p { margin: 0 0 0 10px; Margin: 0 0 0 10px; } table { border-spacing: 0; border-collapse: collapse; } td { word-wrap: break-word; -webkit-hyphens: auto; -moz-hyphens: auto; hyphens: auto; border-collapse: collapse !important; } table, tr, td { padding: 0; vertical-align: top; text-align: left; } html { min-height: 100%; background: #F3F3F3; } table.body { background: #F3F3F3; height: 100%; width: 100%; } table.container { background: #FEFEFE; width: 580px; margin: 0 auto; Margin: 0 auto; text-align: inherit; } table.row { padding: 0; width: 100%; position: relative; } table.container table.row { display: table; } td.columns, td.column, th.columns, th.column { margin: 0 auto; Margin: 0 auto; padding-left: 16px; padding-bottom: 16px; } td.columns.last, td.column.last, th.columns.last, th.column.last { padding-right: 16px; } td.columns table, td.column table, th.columns table, th.column table { width: 100%; } td.large-1, th.large-1 { width: 32.33333px; padding-left: 8px; padding-right: 8px; } td.large-1.first, th.large-1.first { padding-left: 16px; } td.large-1.last, th.large-1.last { padding-right: 16px; } .collapse > tbody > tr > td.large-1, .collapse > tbody > tr > th.large-1 { padding-right: 0; padding-left: 0; width: 48.33333px; } .collapse td.large-1.first, .collapse th.large-1.first, .collapse td.large-1.last, .collapse th.large-1.last { width: 56.33333px; } td.large-2, th.large-2 { width: 80.66667px; padding-left: 8px; padding-right: 8px; } td.large-2.first, th.large-2.first { padding-left: 16px; } td.large-2.last, th.large-2.last { padding-right: 16px; } .collapse > tbody > tr > td.large-2, .collapse > tbody > tr > th.large-2 { padding-right: 0; padding-left: 0; width: 96.66667px; } .collapse td.large-2.first, .collapse th.large-2.first, .collaps...

| | Theology, Easter | 0 comments
18 April
Apr 18
18th April 2014

I remember when I was growing up, this was a question I would often wonder about and ask. People would say "because Jesus died on the cross!", which was of little help to me as I would then think, why was Jesus dying a good thing?  But this is a question I'm sure many people will have asked themselves when they consider the name of their Bank Holiday, and probably a question they got an unsatisfactory answer to - if they got one at all! Really though, this holiday time should be more well-known and recognised than Christmas. While the birth of Jesus is important, it isn't actually central to the Faith, nor is it really emphasised much in the New Testament. The more complete birth narratives appears in Matthew and Luke's Gospels only; Mark skips it and John only alludes to it in John 1:14 ("And the Word became flesh and lived among us..."); and Paul too, only mentions Jesus's birth very briefly in Galatians 4:4-5 and Romans 1:3. Basically, the early Christians didn't care about this event in the same way we do today. And history would tell us this as well, as celebrating birthdays were a pagan/Roman tradition, the Christians had nothing to do with it. It wasn't until around the 4th Century when Pope Julius declared December 25th as the date in order to corresponded with the Roman feast of Saturnalia. But the real celebration, and the main thrust and focus in the New Testament is the death of Jesus and his subsequent resurrection. While there does seem to be some evidence to suggest that by the 2nd Century, early Christians were celebrating Easter, it sometimes feels like the Modern Church has placed more emphasis on Jesus's birth in terms of celebrations and events, than it does for his resurrection. Though that's probably partly due to Western culture and the so-called "War on Christmas" making some churches push Christmas harder. I digress. Paul makes his view on the resurrection, and thus the whole point of Christianity, quite clear in 1 Cor 15:12-19 (emphasis mine) — Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.  Verse 17 spells out quite clearly just why Good Friday is so good! If Christ was not raised, then our faith is pointless. If Christ was not raised, then there is no forgiveness for our sins. If Christ did not die, then he could not be raised. If Christ did not die, then there was no atonement for our sins (1 Jn 2:2; 1 Jn 4:10). And that is why Good Friday is good. Because without the death of Jesus, there is no redemptive forgiveness from God and thus no hope for ourselves. Eph 1:7-8a In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. Happy Easter everyone :)...

| | Current Events, Christianity | 0 comments
16 April
Apr 16
16th April 2014

According to NASA, there are about two lunar eclipses per year. This time there happens to be four all within 18 months - something astronomers call a tetrad. I'm slightly surprised I've not seen much about this yet (maybe a good thing?), but it does seem as though this is an event certain Christians have been waiting for - and writing books about! I came across this on a recent Huffington Post article which gives this story also about church leaders saying these moons are "an omen of Armageddon and Second Coming of Christ", but I'm not so sure about that. I did recognise one of the names mentioned, though: John Hagee, a Texas megachurch pastor. It was probably something I read about him and these so-called "blood moon prophecies" before, which happens to be what his book is about ("Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change"). Apparently, since this upcoming tetrad involved the "blood moons" landing on or during Jewish holidays, that means something drastic will happen (see diagram, right), which history also apparently shows. The Jewish Talmud (book of tradition / Interpretation) says; "When the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel. If its face is as red as blood, (it is a sign that) the sword is coming to the world." ... Every time a blood moon pattern has appeared on Jewish feast days a big event affects the nation of Israel. The event affectingIsrael begins just before the actual years of the blood moons. To understand what will happen in the 2014 - 2015 "blood moons" you must understand the pattern of blood moons in the past. It was confirmed by NASA that we have had "blood-red moons" on the first day of Passover and the first day of Sukkoth on back-to-back years seven times since 1 A.D. Three of these occurrences were connected to 1492 (the year the Jews were expelled from Spain by Queen Isabella) , 1948 (statehood for Israel and the War of Independence), and 1967 (the Six-Day War) — some of the most significant days in Jewish history. According to NASA - Four 'blood-red' TOTAL lunar eclipses WILL fall again on Passover and Sukkoth in 2014 and 2015… the same back-to-back occurrences at the time of 1492, 1948 and 1967. (Source: Pray4Zion, emphasis theirs) The so-called "Blood Moons" prophecy While it does seem quite coincidental that certain major events in Jewish history have happened during these lunar eclipses, I won't completely discount that this might be more than just coincidental timing, as Gen 1:14-15 does state that the celestial bodies are made by God for "signs and for seasons" and as ways to track time, but I won't hold my breath for "Armageddon" or the Second Coming, as Hagee expects. This time, Hagee suggests that a Rapture will occur where Christians will be taken to heaven, Israel will go to war in a great battle called Armageddon, and Jesus will return to earth. Hagee planned a special televised event on Tuesday (April 15) on the Global Evangelism Television channel. But NASA does not consider tetrads as especially rare, saying in a statement that there will be eight sets of tetrads before the year 2100. The most unique thing about the upcoming tetrad is that they are visible from all or parts of the United States, NASA stated. (HuffPost) Harold Camping's (failed) billboard predictions If these are a sign for the Jewish nation - shouldn't it be visible in Israel, Jerusalem and the surrounding area? Or is it, as often these self-proclaimed prophets will have it, only an American-centric event, just for American Jews? Maybe I'm just being facetious and cynical now after hearing of, and seeing, so many of these false prophecies (anyone remember Harold Camping's billboard campaign in 2011?). Here's a prediction I will make though, and one I'm sure will come to pass: Hagee, and others like him, will no doubt reap in oodles of books sales and be yet another man getting rich off of the gullibility of Christians. It just se...

| | Theology, Death | 0 comments
15 April
Apr 15
15th April 2014

It is often said and believed by many that our souls are immortal - that God gave us a spirit/soul that cannot die when he created us, and that death was not even a concept or reality before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Despite this idea being a fairly "recent" concept (in terms of history and theology), and it stemming from Greek philosophy, it's also not supported by the Biblical text - especially in Genesis. Lets look at the creation account in Gen 2:7— then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. The word "being" in that verse, or "soul" in older translation, comes from the Hebrew word "nephesh". This is defined in Strong's lexicon as: "soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion" - but never as inherently immortal. We should also note that verse seven in Genesis 2 also states that man became a living being/soul once God had breathed life into the newly created body; as far as the Hebrew language used in Genesis allows, it only shows that God created people as mortal beings, and that a "soul" is nothing more than a living, breathing creature (I say "creature" instead of "human being", as the same nephesh word is used of animals too in the Creation account - but that's another topic!). To the Hebrews, the body and soul were one 'unit' that worked together, rather than two separate entities; there was "no idea of an immortal soul living a full and vital life beyond death" and many Psalms and older Biblical texts reflect this idea too (cf. Psalm 6:5; Psalm 88:3-12; Psalm 146:4; Psalm 115:17; Job 14:10-12; Job 3:11-19). The fall depicted in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo With that in mind, the threat of death by God makes more sense since Adam and Eve would actually be able to comprehend such a concept if it was already a reality. They obviously appear to have been created with unlearned knowledge since they can speak and talk about things (either that, or Gen 2 skips a bunch of narrative of them growing up and learning everything), so if physical death didn't exist until they sinned, what good would it be to say "you will die" in Genesis 2:16-17? The trick of the serpent was to convince Eve that she wouldn't die by eating from the Tree of Knowledge - except that they did indeed die because they could no longer attain immortality; they stayed mortal as punishment. After they ate the forbidden fruit, God 'evicted' them from the Garden in case they "might reach out [their] hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" (Gen 3:22) - but if they were already immortal then this would surely be of no concern to God. Their sin separated them from God as they would now not live forever with him (Ez 18:4; Ez 18:20). The concept of a spiritual aspect to people that is separate from the physical body seems to come in later, or is mixed into the concept of Sheol. Was Sheol was simply a euphemism, or caricature, for the grave and death which developed over time; or did the ancient Hebrews think of a literal life-after-death scenario (as Luke 20:38 would suggest in retrospect)? Either way, from reading through the Old Testament, you begin to see it as "a place of darkness to which all the dead go, both the righteous and the unrighteous, regardless of the moral choices made in life, a place of stillness and darkness cut off from God" (Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, p. 819).  Only in Dan 12:2 do we find any idea of people coming back from the place of the dead: Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. The concept of the Resurrection is a relatively late concept, as Daniel is the latest book of the Hebrew Bible, and as we get to the 1st Century onwards, all were agreed that there "was no resurrection" - except for the J...

| | Current Events, General Interest | 0 comments
10 April
Apr 10
10th April 2014

Ancient and not a fake according to scientists IMAGE: HARVARD UNIVERSITY, KAREN L. KING/ASSOCIATED PRESS A little while ago, there was some hoopla in the news about a newly discovered fragment of papyrus from ancient times which contained the phrase "Jesus said to them, 'my wife...,'". Obviously, and not surprisingly, the media made a big deal out of this. Atheists and the like, saw it as a blow to Christianity and conspiracy theorists everywhere thought it confirmed their views that the Vatican and the Catholic Church were part of some big cover-up to hide the "truth" about Jesus: that he married Mary Magdalene and had children. But before we all get too carried away at the so-called implications of this, lets now forget one thing: Jesus being a bridegroom and having a bride (ie. a wife) is in the Gospels and New Testament all along. In his parables, Jesus often referred to, or implied himself as the bridegroom (Matthew 9:15; Mk 2:19; Lk 5:34), whilst the people of the Kingdom of God were a part of the bridal or wedding party (Matthew 25:1-13; Jn 3:29). In Paul's second letter to the Corinthian church, he speaks of them as a bride to be presented to Christ, the husband (2 Cor 11:2), and also to the Ephesian church, Paul draws a parallel between the love of a husband and wife being the same kind of love and commitment as Jesus had for his church: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph 5:25) This theme of husband and wife with Jesus as the groom and husband even follows through into John's apocalyptic Revelation, probably in a more vivid depiction than the previous examples: And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. (Revelation 21:2; Rev 21:9-10) The New Jerusalem here is the bride "adorned for her husband" who is the "wife of the Lamb" - and who is the Lamb? Yep, Jesus (Jn 1:29). Then also, Jesus is linked as the one who has a bride again in Rev 22:17, when John writes: The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”And let everyone who is thirsty come.Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. It's interesting here that "the Spirit" is synonymous with Jesus as having the bride, since he is the one who gives the water of life, which we can see in John 4:14 when Jesus says "those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty". So what's the point here? There's lots of references made about Jesus being the bridegroom and as one who has a bride and, later in the book of Revelation, has a marriage supper (Rev 19:9) so it presumably married by this point too (or at least, will be), so it's really not that unusual for a reference of Jesus speaking of a "wife". Despite all this though, the fragment has been dated to be "between the sixth and ninth centuries CE" which means it was written long after the rest of the New Testament, which already has a rich narrative about Christ and his Bride, and so the small fragment of text could simply be a later interpolation by Christians writing about Jesus and his wife, the Church. Alternatively, it could also be a genuine saying of Jesus which had been preserved in other texts not included in the Canon, in which Jesus was saying "my wife... the Church". We don't know, and unless the rest of this document is found, we will never know. But I think it is pretty clear and likely that Jesus never had a "real" wife, as you would think that would have been mentioned by someone in all the hundreds of texts written about ...

| | Theology, Judgement | 0 comments
10 April
Apr 10
10th April 2014

On judgement ...there is only the Spiritual realm, ...and to which one either serves God in heaven or resides in hell awaiting Judgment. Is it as simple as that? This is an actual quote from someone during an online discussion on the subject, but this is not anything against who ever said it, but rather a response to the prevailing view behind it that people generally seem to adhere to. The topic of Hell in itself is a rather large subject that is much more complex that you might initially think, and is a topic I intend to cover here soon as a series. Anyway, back to the subject at hand. A lot of Christians would say that hell is the 'final destination' of the dead who are not "in Christ". But if the dead already reside in hell then surely they have already been judged? If not, then why are they there? What use is the final judgement if God has already pre-decided what most people's fate is? That isn't judgement, that's a decision with no consideration. Look at the definition of judgement in the Oxford dictionary: The ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions. Or in another definition: "The capacity to assess situations or circumstances and draw sound conclusions". If its already been decided that the dead without Christ are going to hell, then they haven't been judged in the way the Scriptures portray - and definitely not with "considered decisions" about the "situations or circumstances" of the people involved. So how does Scripture portray God's judgement on people? Let's look at the Great White Throne judgement: Revelation 20:12-13And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done. This judgement sounds a bit different to simply being condemned to hell automatically. At least here it appears as though God is considering his judgement on the people before deciding, else what is the point to this process? Another thing to consider is what Paul writes about the Law being written on our hearts so that we are without excuse - another verses often bandied about, but we must consider the full statement made by Paul and not stop short of it: Romans 2:14-16When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all. This is in line with Revelation's depiction of judgment as God looks at their deeds in his books, he sees everything we've ever said and done, and even then some deeds and thoughts may "excuse them" on the day of judgement. I feel confident in God's justice here that those who didn't know Christ "personally" but still lived as though they did, or still lived as though they followed his commands, will have that taken into account by God. But before you quote John 14:6 at me and cry out "but none come to the Father except through Christ!" - remember who is the one judging: Jesus. If he accepts them as righteous on the day of judgement, then they have indeed still come to the Father through Jesus, even if it's not in the way we would have expected....

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