Monday, December 31, 2018

European Trip

I wish I could be more decisive. I have been planning for a European trip for ages. My paper on Malachi was accepted for presentation at the IOSOT's 2007 Congress in Slovenia. My full paper was due for publication if I had presented it at the Congress. It remains unpublished until today and the forthcoming triennial IOSOT's Congress will be held in Aberdeen next Summer. Planning a European trip involves two main things - budget and places to visit. My primary aim is to visit sites of historical significance. One itinerary is to fly to Berlin and then a short trip to Magdeburg where Martin Luther went to school and later preached an impactful sermon that converted the town to Protestantism. From Berlin to Copenhagen if I have the time to visit the birthplace of Soren Kierkegaard, my favourite Christian philosopher. Then fly to Edinburgh to visit Antonine Wall built by the Roman Emperor, Antoninus Pius (my name's sake), being the northern most Roman fortress.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Rome, Marburg or Aberdeen

Barely a month after the AGM had concluded my friend mentioned to me yesterday that it would not be long before I am back in action. He is surely more optimistic than I am. I told him I was planning to take a whole year off to do some serious writing, God willing. Last few days have been busy for me. I have gone way past 91,000 words for my memoirs and I really have to wrap it up so that I can move on to another project which is the continuation of John’s commentary from Chapter 11. I would love to write a commentary on Revelation one day and as far as OT texts are concerned perhaps start with a short book like the Song of Solomon and then Ezekiel. That would occupy me for the next 5 or 7 years. Then speaking of scholarship, as 2019 beckons, I have a choice of three conferences, Rome for SBL, Germany for SNTS or the triennial OT conference in Aberdeen.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Hermit or Monk?

I came across a Russian movie about a monk who lived in a deserted island where he does penance, says his prayers and attends Communion service nightly. He is a hermit monk and he is often totally alone, crying out to God. His past sins appear to haunt him and the prayers from the
Psalms are wonderful as depicted in the movie. I pray the same often. There were two remarkable incidents. One was a divine healing on a boy whose leg was crippled.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Three Horns of Daniel 7

Daniel 7 is one of the most enigmatic chapters in the whole of the Bible. The fourth beast that rises from the sea has ten horns and then just before a little horn rises, it appears that there are three other horns and that these three horns needed to plucked out before the rise of the final horn that is going to persecute God's holy people in the end-time. With the rise of globalism, nations that stride the world stage are to be seen for what they are. As we approach 2020, it is clear the world has become tri-polar as if there are now three great powers in the world.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Memoirs to be published?

After two weeks furiously writing up my final lectures on NT theology I have for the past week begun the final chapter of my memoirs. I wrote some 83,000 words within 2 months from September to October 2014 and then it was halted for more than 4 years. I am going to cramp everything in this final chapter of 7,000 words as I plan not to go beyond 90 thousand words in total. If the font size is right the book should be about 150 pages long. I doubt many within my circle of friends would read a book of more than 200 pages. I used to think any book less than 300 pages is too short and not sufficiently scholarly.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christmas Celebrations

This year for the first time in 5 years I could celebrate Christmas in peace. No sermon preparation and no travelling. Today I listened to a guest preacher, an old friend a few years my senior and when I asked he told me he would be travelling to a village near Mount Kinabalu and preaching for 4 sessions next week. I am glad he was doing it and not me. We watched a short video of the birth of Jesus in church at the start of the service. I am not into this drama or video depiction of the life of Christ but something touched my heart today. The Lord of glory chose to be born into the world in a manger with animals as his companions. There was no room in an inn for his parents.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Numbers 12, 24 and 144 in Revelation

John loves numbers. He uses many numbers in the book of Revelation. The number 7 is most popular not just representing entities like churches but also as a structural device like the series of 7 seals 7 trumpets and 7 bowls. But other numbers are important too and we will look at how John uses the number 12 as multiplication of the said number. In his famous last vision of the new Jerusalem John sees a city with 12 walls on 12 foundations. At the walls are 12 gates. The dimensions of the city are also all in 12 for it is a cube with the same height, width, breadth and length.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Beautiful month of December

There is something special about December. I don’t quite know why and it is certainly not the month long Christmas celebrations within the Christian circles that I move around. It is a combination of factors. It augurs a new start as the year is coming to an end and all failures and disappointments can be put aside and the new year brings new hopes for the future. I have certainly made many life changing decisions in December though months before I have already prayed much and pondered over many things.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Revelation & Phases of Ministry

Paul the apostle mentioned that he went to Jerusalem by revelation which means he felt a deep impression of God’s leading that he should go up to Jerusalem. I have been praying to the Lord for the next step of my ministry and I pray the Lord will reveal to me what He wants me to do and grant me the courage and strength to follow His leading. I have been in a deep reflective mood in the past week. Outwardly I keep myself busy by writing notes in Malay for my last course in New Testament Theology. Deep within I have been trying to sense what God has been saying and would say to me. “Deep calleth to the deep” even as the Spirit speaks and guides the believers in Jesus.

Friday, December 7, 2018

God’s Times

I was asked why God allows the wicked or the less righteous to rule over the ones who are more righteous. I answered that the longest reign was 55 years by King Manasseh who was considered the most wicked king ever to rule Judah. Why did God allow such a long time before Manasseh met his end? There are no simple answers except to say God’s times are inscrutable and His ways are not our ways. Habakkuk complained about this many centuries ago. Elijah thought he was the only one righteous in Israel when King Ahab reigned. Most of the prophets were written in times of great apostasy when the prophets themselves were marginalised if not persecuted out right. They rarely lived to see God’s promised restoration. Even Abraham who lived hundreds of years did not live to see the fulfilment of God’s promise to him but welcomed it as from far. Ezekiel was constantly criticised that his visions were too farsighted and a distinct illusion. But for humans whose years are at most 80 years if healthy we are asked to count our days and present to God a heart of wisdom so that we do not live our lives in vain or let it slide into oblivion and insignificance. I too need to count my days.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

On the 8th Day

On the 8th day is biblically significant because Jesus rose on the eighth day, or the first day of the week, our Sunday. Today on Sunday and the 8th day after the AGM I have had time to reflect on many things. I met with several people normally one or two people almost every day except last Monday and Tuesday I visited a home where I laid hands and prayed for the sick. The heat of the battle is waning fast. Victors taste the fruits of victory and vanquished lick their wounds as some might imagine. But I am mighty relieved in so many ways. Now I could really minister freely as freely you receive freely you give.