Friday, June 28, 2013

Seminar on the Book of Hebrews

From 21st June to 23rd June 2013, our church had the privilege to host Rev.Dr.King Long She from Melbourne Theological School to teach us on the Book of Hebrews.  In fact, it was the sponsorship of one of our church brothers that we had the chance to learn from expert like Rev. She.

Rev. Dr. She graduated from Dallas Theology School with Master and Phd.  He is an expert on the Book of Hebrews.  During his studies his thesis was on this Book.  He has also written several books on subjects in the Book of Hebrews.

The seminar was intensive because of the length as well as the dept of the Book that Rev She has to cover.  He said he was only able to cover pretty much the surface but good enough for our purposes.  Indeed, it is a difficult book with many theological issues that many would like to know.

One of the many issues that most Christians would like to know is whether a Christian is saved once, and he or she is always saved.  From Rev She's opinion he took both positions, that is it all depends on the situation of the believers.  There are two schools of thoughts, one said once saved always saved and the other salvation is not guaranteed. It was scary to learn about the many warnings to Christians in this book. Perhaps it is timely at least for me to learn about these warnings as a Christian trying to follow Jesus my Savior.

On Sunday 23rd June 2013, Rev.She also preached in our church.  His sermon was "The Test of Love".  He said all Christian will be tested.  There are 7 components to this test:
1. Tester
2. Time
3. Target
4. Tasks
5. Trial
6. Turnout
7. Telesis
For detail check here:

The seminar was opened to churches in Kuching.  Thank God that the turnout was very good.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land 5 - The Dead Sea

As part of the Holy Land pilgrimage we also had the chance to spend a night at a hotel by the Dead Sea.  This mystical lake is beautiful.  The lake is located at the lowest land point on earth, about 1338 ft below sea level.  We could see that the bus had to drive lower and lower near to the lake towards the hotel we were staying.  The Dead Sea is 34 miles long and 11 miles wide, so it is very large.

In terms of the Bible there were few references to the Dead Sea.  In the Bible this sea was called,  "Sea of Arabah", and "Salt Sea".  Pre-Biblical times, it was also called "Sea of Sodom" or "Sea of Lot".  The Ammonites and Moabites when advancing to attack King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicle 20 ) of Judah had to cross over from a shallow section of the Dead Sea.  King David was known to have hidden in the caves at Ein Gedi near the Dead Sea.  Ezekiel prophesied that the sea will become fresh Ezekiel 47:8-9.  Zechariah had a similar prophesy Zechariah 14:8.

The now famous Dead Sea scrolls were discovered at Qumran near to the Dead Sea.  We had the chance to visit Qumran.

To the modern visitors to the Dead Sea one of the most sort after experience was floating on the Dead Sea.  Personally, I felt that if I did not try this out, I cannot say I have been to the Dead Sea.  We were staying overnight at a hotel next to the Dead Sea, so we tried swimming in the Dead Sea.  In fact one need not swim, one can float in it!  It was an amazing experience. Thank God for this experience.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pilgrimage to Holy Land 4 - Petra Jordan

Prior to visiting the Holy Land, I did not realize that the Holy Land also includes territories outside of Israel.  If you examine the map of the Old Testament you will realized that the Holy Land was indeed a wide territory including the present country of Jordan.  Therefore in Jordan of today there are many Biblical sites like Mt. Nebo, Petra and others.

One of these places we visited was Petra, Jordan.

Background of Petra 

Petra is the Greek word for “rock”.  In biblical times it was known as Sela or Selah or Seir.  Between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba there is a valley surrounded by rocky cliffs, with a few narrow gorges leading inside.  Access to Petra is by a narrow crevice called the Siq.  The city of Petra was built inside this valley.  This was a natural protection for Petra as it was in a valley surrounded by high cliffs, with limited access via the Siq.  Petra is located about 170 miles from modern Amman.
Petra was extensively mentioned in the Bible especially as it concerned Job, Esau and Isaac.  Jacob tricked Esau of his birthday rights ( Gen 25-27 ), angry because of the betrayal he and his family left to settle in the new land of Seir or Petra.  From Esau came his descendants the Edomites.  The Edomites lived in this land when the Israelite came out of Egypt during the Exodus about 1445 BC.  The Edomites became the enemies of the ancient Hebrew together with the Amalekites, Moabites and Ammonites.

About 400 BC the Edomites were driven out by the Arabian Nabateans.  The Nabateans made Petra their capital and controlled the important trade routes between the East and the West.  Caravans passing through these routes had to pay taxes to the Nabateans who became very wealthy enabling them to build beautiful palaces, temples, theatres and tombs hewn out of solid rock in the valley.
In later centuries trade dried up as trade routes were conducted between the Orients and Europe.  Petra was forgotten for centuries and it became a legend.  Ancient people claimed that references to Petra were figment of imagination as this city was just a legend.  They claimed the non existence of Petra was the proof of unreliability of the Bible.  They were wrong.  God is never wrong!  In 1812, Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt disguised as an Arab Sheik discovered the lost city.  It was incredible that such a picturesque place existed just about 161 Kilometres south of Jerusalem! Due to unstable Middle Eastern political situations, visit to Petra was near impossible only in recent years this city is readily available to tourist visits.