The Comings of Christ

It is common for Christians to confuse the various comings of Christ mentioned in the New Testament.

I have frequently preached on different aspects of the different comings of Christ.

His first coming or Advent was predicted in the Old Testament and took place when He was born of the virgin Mary in Bethlehem.

He came to do the will of His Father Who sent Him Jn 6:38, ‘to fulfil the law’ Mat 5:17, ‘to seek and to save the lost’ Lk 19:10, ‘to call sinners to repentance’ Lk 5:32, ‘that they might have more abundant life’ Jn 10:10. As a result, He came ‘to send a sword’ of division on Earth Mat 10:34 because of the different attitudes towards Him and His message of salvation.

He left Earth to go to Heaven with the promise that He would come again at the Last Day to raise the dead Jn 6:39-40,44-45, Jn 11:24 for the final judgment of the world Jn 12:48 and Rev 22:12.

However there are various ways in which Christ comes between this First and Second Advent.

God visits regularly to see if people bear fruit and Jesus visits these same people to encourage fruit-bearing Lk 13:6-8.

Jesus comes for His people at their death. When going to Heaven He said: ‘If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also’ Jn 14:3.

Every time a person dies, ‘the dust returns to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God Who gave it’ Ecc 12:7.

In 2Th 2:1-2 Paul deals specifically with the mistake that the Thessalonians thought that he had said in 1Th 5:2-3 that Christ would come soon whereas he had said He would come suddenly. Many people, even academics, continue to make the same mistake. The academics in David Suchet’s two-part documentary In the Footsteps of St Paul in 2012 made the same mistake repeatedly. I emailed Suchet’s agent about this, but I received no acknowledgement.

Paul asserts that there are a series of events which must happen before the Second Advent of Christ 2Th 2:3 so that Paul did not expect Christ’s Second Advent to be any moment. If Paul did not think so, then neither should we. However Christ may come for us personally by death at any moment, for which we are to be always ready Mat 24:44, Lk 12:40 and Jn 7:6.

He will also come by His Word and Spirit to bind Satan and usher in the biblical millennium Rev 20:1-7 predicted in Old and New Testament Scripture.

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Denial and post-truth – the real problem with faith

The film Denial has been recently released in British cinemas after its premier at the Toronto film festival on ‘9/11’ last year and its UK premier on Holocaust Memorial Day 27th January 2017.  It gives the outline of the libel trial brought by notorious Holocaust denier David Irving against the American historian Deborah Lipstadt for her calling him a falsifier of history in her book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.

Denial (2016 film).jpg

The UK judge found Irving to be a Holocaust denier, an antisemite and a racist who had deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence, and ordered him to pay more than £2m in legal costs.

There are many issues raised by the libel case, and many have commented on the timely recollection of it in view of false-truth and its spread through social media.  Historian Richard Evans, president of Wolfson College in Cambridge and involved in the research behind the trial, draws parallels between Nazi propaganda and our era of ‘alternative facts’.

False-truth is the end result of a generation of spin and of acceptance of lies in public life, particularly in the political process.  Eventually it reached a tipping-point and it is now the norm.

One can understand people changing their mind when circumstances change, but this has developed into saying one thing and doing another in public life.  The backlash against the ready acceptance of this behaviour has resulted in the popular revolt against ‘the establishment’ in its various forms.

However Denial finishes by raising another question which is not addressed and needs to be addressed.  It ends with David Irving continuing to deny the Holocaust when interviewed by Jeremy Paxman on BBC Newsnight.

Why do people not change their beliefs, or rather hold on to their beliefs?  This is the real issue raised both in Denial and in much current public debate.  Richard Dawkins frames the issue the wrong way round.  He says that people adopt their beliefs when they are young from their parents and teachers.  There is nothing surprising about this, although he uses this to buffet religion and to accuse parents of child abuse.  Rather, the really surprising thing is, not that children adopt the religion of their parents but, why they rarely change it.

This psychological prejudice is so common to the human condition that it merits more study and comment in public life.

However it is A-B-C to those Christian preachers who spend much of their time explaining the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who taught the need and difficulty in changing people’s beliefs.  He taught that it was so difficult that when it came to true religion it needed nothing short of the powerful conviction of the Holy Spirit of God – this is what Jesus meant by ‘you must be born again’.  Human prejudice is too strong to change from the outside; it must come from personal awakening, personal conviction.

Government tries strong arm tactics using the law and sanctions to force conformity to its secular morality, but ‘he that complies against his will is of his own opinion still’.  In addition, there are not enough law enforcement officers to be effective, as the police are discovering with paedophiles now numbering in the hundreds of thousands, more than the immigrants coming into the UK, and the justice system cannot cope with the number of law-breakers of the growing number of laws.

Law enforces conformity through sanctions, but the Christian Gospel of love gives motivation to keep the law, is cheap and effective through self-policing by the Christian conscience, as well as giving peace of conscience for daily living.  Try it – it begins with changing your beliefs about Jesus Christ.

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To see ourselves as others see us

I have just received this birthday card from one of my younger sisters:

Gaelic proverb: A friend’s eye is a good mirror

Or to use the language of our Scottish bard, Robert ‘Rabbi’ Burns, in his poem To A Louse:
On Seeing One On A Lady’s Bonnet, At Church, 1786

“O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion.”

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Obama gives a lead to Trump

There has been much media coverage of Donald Trump’s use of social media and mis-calling main stream media.

Let us remember that it was Obama who used social media to galvanise support for his successful campaign to reach the White House. It looks like sour grapes to complain that Donald Trump did the same.

“President Barack Obama is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House,” wrote Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen in February 2013.

The Week 2/3/2013 carries an article How Obama keeps the press at bay that states: “the White House has strongly cut back reporters’ access to the president, while exploiting social media and other new technologies to ruthlessly control its message.  The White House press corps is now denied direct access to Obama, his cabinet or other top officials.  Months go by without a real press conference.  The administration, meanwhile, churns out plenty of flattering ‘content’ of its own – photos, social media messages and interviews with naive journalists – feeding hungry TV stations and websites.”

Feb 2013 Obama the puppet master

30 Nov 2013 Editorial – Obama administration works hard to keep press at bay

29 Mar 2016 Obama’s hypocritical journalism lecture


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What is Islamic Reformation?

Tonight, 14 Feb 2017, BBC Newsnight’s Viewsnight carried an opinion that Islamic State is a Reformation in islam.

Canadian author Graeme Wood compared the similarities of the rise of Islamic State (ISIS) with the Protestant Reformation under Martin Luther, pointing to 1. the call to return to the original sources (the Bible and Quran) to read it for oneself, bypassing the priestly class and mainstream clerics, giving back power to the people, and 2. using the latest technology to appeal to the masses against officialdom (the printing press in the 16th century and the internet and social media in the 21st century).

Thus Islamic State (ISIS) was compared to the Protestant Reformation, an intellectual convulsion that is re-making the muslim world, calling muslims back to the original sources in the Quran. He called them Islamic Protestants.

However, Wood makes an important mistake. He pointed out that the Protestant Reformation led to a bloodbath, and so has ISIS, as if there was not only moral equivalence but causative equivalence between the two. He failed to point out that the bloodbath at the Protestant Reformation was at the hands of officialdom, but the bloodbath by ISIS is at the hands of the islamic reformers – an important difference.

It is astonishing that this mistaken historical perspective is so easily publicised on national television.

Rather, Islamic State is the death-throes of koranic islam as it feels threatened by more rational islamic voices interacting with the love and toleration of Christianity. The islamic reformation is on the other foot and began many decades ago. Salman Rushdie’s Islamic Verses was a challenge to the authenticity of certain verses in the Quran. This led to a fatwah against him. Interaction with western civilisation over several decades has diminished islamic attachment to the details of koranic teaching, so that westernised islam distances itself from the blood-thirsty teaching in the koran.

ISIS is actually a bloody Counter-Reformation to moderating and reforming muslim teachers, comparable to the 16th century Roman Catholic bloody Counter-Reformation with its Inquisition and manipulation of the authorities to do its dirty work for it, rather than to the liberating Protestant Reformers who gave to the world modern Parliamentary democracy, the right of private judgment and the freedom of thought and religion.

15/2/2017: Tariq Ramadan gave another perspective on Viewsnight tonight in which he contradicted Wood’s view and claimed that quiet reform is already happening among muslims, who “are trying to liberate themselves from both Arab and Asian patriarchy and Western cultural imperialism.” At least it confirms to some extent what I have written above.

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Seven Testimonies to the Person, life and work of the Lord Jesus Christ

The three Synoptic Gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke give us three independent accounts of the Person, life and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are called synoptic because they are so similar to each other. Why does God’s Holy Spirit give us three similar accounts? There are many reasons, but not least is to demonstrate that the story of the life of Christ is not simply one man’s fantasy story about an imaginary miracle worker, but being separately documented by three independent writers the reality of His Person and work is demonstrated.

The fourth account of the life of Christ is a more theological treatment of His Person and teaching, explaining the meaning of His death and resurrection by His close friend and acquaintance, the apostle John. John continues the story after His resurrection with the glorious scenes in the book of Revelation. In his three epistles he gives us the ethos of Christianity – love – as he learned it directly from the lips of Jesus Christ.

The fifth testimony to Christ is by the apostle Paul, who bore testimony to the risen, exalted and glorified Christ by his remarkable conversion on the road to Damascus, recorded by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, both historically and from the lips of Paul himself. Paul’s remarkable conversion from persecutor of Christians to the foremost apostle of Christ confounded his critics, and his faithful and zealous life of Christian service testifies to the reality of the risen Lord. If anyone would know if Christ’s dead body had been stolen, it would be Paul. Instead he preached boldly the resurrection of Christ and the doctrines which flow naturally from so important a fact.

The sixth account is by the prophet Isaiah whose prophecy, written hundreds of years before Jesus was born, describes most vividly and theologically the meaning of Christ’s atoning death – to such an extent that it has been called the fifth Gospel. The account in Isaiah 52:14-53:12 is a graphic account of Christ’s death with a theological explanation of its atoning purpose and achievement.

The seventh testimony is the whole Old Testament record, which foretells and explains the Person, life and work of Christ, showing that the Saviour Whom God would send into this world is both divine and human – the Son of God and the Son of man.

‘Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift’ 2Cor 9:15.

‘For the wages due to sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ Rom 6:23.

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Another pioneer dies – leaving an honourable, global and on-going legacy

On the day of John Glenn’s funeral, another pioneer died.

John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth, restored American prestige in 1962 when it seemed that the Soviet Union was moving ahead in the space race.

A lesser known pioneer died today, aged 96 years old. However, his name is known to every medical doctor in the world, and by most health service personnel. He is US doctor Henry J.Heimlich, who popularised the manoeuvre used to help victims of choking. Countless numbers of people have been saved from unnecessary death by his pioneering technique, co-developed with Dr. Edward A.Patrick, whose name is not as celebrated.

Rather than describing the technique, you may be able to see it in action in this extraordinary video recorded on a US motor cop’s dashcam (a camera mounted on the dashboard of a car) – if restore the link! The picture shows the traffic policeman doing the manoeuvre on the choking woman, which dislodged the food from her throat.

Heimlich used the technique himself this year in his retirement home.

Henry Heimlich: wikipedia entry

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Morality and women in politics

The Women’s Equality Party is the new lassie on the block. It does not like Donald Trump’s victory in the USA. Its spokeswoman on the Daily Politics today complains that his election means that one can demean woman and ‘it doesn’t matter’. Secular morality is offended.

The secular elite is now discovering how Christians have felt for decades about the absence of morality in politics. We have complained for long enough that successful politicians can support abortion ‘and it doesn’t matter’.

The creation of the Women’s Equality Party is the latest stage in feminist politics and the feminist agenda.

It is another example of single issue politics – like the SNP, the Greens, UKIP, etc.

It reminds Christians that our ‘single issue’ is worth making the basis for the Christian Party.

The difference is that Christianity is not going away any time soon – but single issue parties either attain their aim (as UKIP) and lose their purpose, or their issues are taken on by other parties (the Tories took on UKIP issues and various political parties have taken on Green issues).

How does the Women’s Equality Party become a majority concern? Look at how many cows are in the field compared to the bulls – and think – IVF, feminism, redefining the family, and imagine their future.

We look forward to Christian Party issues and policies being further adopted by other political parties.

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Patrick’s Places – the difference between Law and Gospel

Patrick’s Places – the difference between Law and Gospel
by Patrick Hamilton, 1527.

Patrick Hamilton was Scotland’s first Reformer and martyr, burned at the stake by Roman Catholic cardinal Beaton at St Andrews in 1528 for preaching the Gospel. Of noble birth, he graduated MA from the College of Montaigu, Paris, in 1520 and enrolled in the University of St Andrews on the same day that John Major was received as Principal of St Mary’s College on 9/6/1523. In 1527 he was one of the first students in the new University of Marburg founded in 1527 by Landgrave Philip I of Hesse. The same year he wrote Patrick’s Places in Latin, translated by John Frith into English who named it Patrick’s Places ‘for it treateth exactly of certain commonplaces, which known, ye have the pith of all divinity.’

The nature and office of the law and of the gospel

The law showeth us our sin, Rom. iii. 9-20.
The gospel showeth us remedy for it, John i. 29.
The law showeth us our condemnation, Rom. vii. 23, 24.
The gospel showeth us our redemption, Eph. i.
The law is the word of ire, Rom. iv. 15.
The gospel is the word of grace, Acts xx. 24.
The law is the word of despair, Deut. xxvii. 15-26.
The gospel is the word of comfort, Luke ii. 10.
The law is the word of unrest, Rom. vii. 24.
The gospel is the word of peace, Eph. vi. 15.

A disputation between the law and the gospel; where is shown the difference or contrariety between them both.

The law saith, Pay thy debt.
The gospel saith, Christ hath paid it.
The law saith, Thou art a sinner; despair, and thou shalt be damned.
The gospel saith, Thy sins are forgiven thee, be of good comfort, thou shalt be saved!
The law saith, Make amends for thy sins.
The gospel saith, Christ hath made it for thee.
The law saith, The Father of heaven is angry with thee.
The gospel saith, Christ hath pacified him with his blood.
The law saith, Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction?
The gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, thy goodness, thy satisfaction.
The law saith, Thou art bound and obliged to me, to the devil, and to hell.
The gospel saith, Christ hath delivered thee from them all.

Dr Donald M. Boyd

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Missing the Wood for the Trees

The Labour Party Conference begins tomorrow for four days.

But…its website doesn’t tell us the agenda nor timetable.

Its conference page tells us a host of activities and details but not its agenda nor timetable!


I hope those who booked to attend this conference know what they have signed up for.

Yes – it is not available if you search around the site and if you google it…which simply takes you to this page.

I suppose in the interests of balance I should post the link for the Tory Party Conference agenda which begins a week later. This is not an endorsement!

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