Daily Archives: December 20, 2016

December 20, 2016 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Dec. 20, 2016 |

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Russia’s ambassador was shot dead in the Turkish capital on Monday in an assassination apparently linked to Syria’s civil war, heightening tensions over a conflict that’s drawn in almost all the region’s main powers.

China returned an underwater U.S. drone seized in the South China Sea last week, a move that could diffuse tensions after protests from the White House and critical tweets from President-elect Donald Trump.

Chancellor Angela Merkel got an early taste of the kind of reception she can expect from her populist opponents after a truck careened into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people in what her government said was probably a terror attack.

A federal judge in New York Monday said he’ll release the FBI’s warrant and application that enabled the agency to search for e-mails linked to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on a laptop computer used by Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband Anthony Weiner.

After reinventing itself as a major power in the Middle East by force in Syria, Russia is now using its other strong suit, energy, to expand its influence across the region.

Vincent Viola, the billionaire founder and executive chairman of the Virtu Financial Inc. high-speed trading firm, has been picked by President-elect Donald Trump to be the next U.S. Army secretary.

President Obama is preparing to block the sale of new offshore drilling rights in much of the U.S. Arctic and parts of the Atlantic, a move that could indefinitely restrict oil production there, according to two people familiar with the decision. Obama will invoke a provision in a 1953 law that gives him wide latitude to withdraw U.S. waters from future oil and gas leasing.

AP Top Stories

A gunman who shot three worshippers in a Zurich mosque on Monday evening was a 24-year-old Swiss man with Ghanaian roots and no apparent links to Islamist radicalism, police said on Tuesday.

Regardless of what President-elect Donald Trump’s plans are for immigration, President Obama says there will be “inevitable” changes to the demographics of the United States. “If you stopped all immigration today, just by virtue of birth rates, this is going to be a browner country.”

General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck facility will cease production for three weeks at the beginning of 2017. The Detroit company reportedly has stock to support an 87-day supply, a large excess that surpasses the 60-70 day regular.

US prosecutors Monday charged seven executives with the Platinum Partners hedge fund in an alleged $1 billion fraud built on overvalued assets.

President B Obama shortened the prison sentences for 153 convicts, mainly low-level drug offenders, and pardoned 78 others, the White House said on Monday. Obama has commuted the sentences of 1,176 federal prisoners, the White House said, as part of a push to reduce the number of people serving long sentences for non-violent drug offenses.

California is installing nearly 1,000 sophisticated metal detectors, scanners and secret security cameras at its prisons in its latest attempt to thwart the smuggling of cellphones, thousands of which continue to flood the prisons despite previous efforts.

A stone slab found off the coast of Israel has finally revealed the name of the ruler during one of the most iconic moments in Jewish history: the Bar Kokhba revolt.

Hospital visits spiked, roads were closed and flights cancelled Monday as China choked under a vast cloud of toxic smog, with forecasters warning worse was yet to come. At least 23 cities in the world’s most populous nation have issued red alerts for air pollution since Friday.

A 5.7-magnitude earthquake followed by 37 aftershocks rattled Ecuador’s Pacific coast before dawn Monday, causing three deaths and heavy damage to hotels and homes in resort towns.

The U.N. human rights chief asked Philippine authorities Tuesday to investigate President Rodrigo Duterte for murder after he claimed to have killed people in the past and also to examine the “appalling epidemic of extra-judicial killings” committed during his anti-drug crackdown.

BBC

Pakistan’s Senate has recommended scrapping the country’s 5,000 rupee ($48) banknote, despite government opposition.

The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) has claimed it was behind an attack in Jordan on Sunday that killed 10 people, including a Canadian tourist.

North Carolina lawmakers will repeal a controversial HB2 law which limits protections offered to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says his decision to scrap the nation’s most-used banknote has allowed it to triumph over its enemies. The withdrawal of the 100-bolivar note has prompted protests and looting in several states as the supply of ready cash rapidly ran out. But Mr. Maduro said taking millions of notes out of circulation had smashed the black market.

Japan’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the government’s plan to relocate a US airbase to a remote part of the island of Okinawa.

Ukraine’s biggest commercial bank, PrivatBank, has been nationalized in a move aimed at protecting 20 million customers and “preserving financial stability in the country”.

WND

ArsTechnica reports Republican South Carolina state Rep. Bill Chumley of Spartanburg has a plan that lawmakers will review in the coming session. His Human Trafficking Prevention Act would have manufacturers or sellers of computers – or anything that accesses the Internet – install “digital blocks” to prevent the viewing of obscene content.

Call it a strange sign of the times. Some doctors are noticing more and more millennials coming in because their ears have become deformed from overpiercing and need reconstructive surgery.


Top News – 12/20/2016

Ephemeral antimatter atoms pinned down in milestone laser test
..physicists have made the first measurements of how antimatter atoms absorb light. Researchers at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory outside Geneva, trained an ultraviolet laser on antihydrogen, the antimatter counterpart of hydrogen. They measured the frequency of light needed to jolt a positron — an antielectron — from its lowest energy level to the next level up, and found no discrepancy with the corresponding energy transition in ordinary hydrogen.

Strong quake strikes near Solomon Islands; no tsunami threat
A strong earthquake struck near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on Tuesday, but there were no initial reports of injuries or damage and it did not trigger a tsunami warning. The magnitude-6.7 quake was likely an aftershock of a powerful earthquake that hit the Solomon Islands on Dec. 9.

CNN Uses Germany Attack To Bash The Right
The attack in Berlin killed at least 12 people and injured dozens more, but on CNN’s website, the network’s top story warned about “the fallout of fear” and said that “attacks fuel [the] far right’s assault on democracy.”

Putin VOWS to OBLITERATE ISIS after assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey
He said the assassination of his country’s ambassador to Turkey was “clearly a provocation” and vowed vowed to make those responsible “feel the heat”. “The only response we should offer to this murder is stepping up our fight against terror.

Trump condemns Berlin attack, says things ‘only getting worse’
U.S. President….Donald Trump on Monday condemned an attack at a Christmas market in Berlin that killed nine people and injured dozens more, linking the attack to “Islamist terrorists” before German police officials had said who was responsible.

German state minister: “We are in a state of war”
“We must say that we are in a state of war, although some people, who always only want to see good, do not want to see this,” the minister, Klaus Bouillon, told German broadcaster SR.

First test of rival to Einstein’s gravity kills off dark matter
A controversial approach to gravity that challenges Albert Einstein and suggests dark matter doesn’t exist has passed its first test. astronomers studying the distribution of matter in more than 30,000 galaxies say their observations can be explained by an alternative theory that does away with dark matter. If this “modified gravity” is correct, it would up-end hundreds of years of fundamental physics.

Federal judge orders release of search warrant from Clinton email case
U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel ruled Monday morning that the public had a right to see the warrant, which he said was secretly filed with the court on Oct. 30. “The search warrant, the application for the search warrant, the affidavit in support of the application for the search warrant, and the search warrant return will be unsealed and posted on the Court’s electronic case filing system” subject to redactions, Castel said in his order.

US shuts its missions in Turkey after gunfire on Ankara embassy
A man in his 40s aimed automatic gunfire at the US embassy in Ankara Tuesday morning and was taken into custody. No one was hurt.

Trump Wins Electoral College Vote, Officially Elected 45th President
Donald Trump easily won the nationwide Electoral College vote on Monday, surpassing the minimum 270 votes needed to officially become the president-elect of the United States. The billionaire businessman became America’s 45th president after electors in Texas put him over the 270-vote threshold, despite anti-Trump protests and multiple campaigns to try to flip electors to support other candidates.

Europe’s Far-Right Anger Is Moving Mainstream
In the wake of the Brexit vote in Britain and the recent Italian referendum, and with national elections looming in 2017 in the Netherlands, France, and Germany, there is concern that Europe may be inundated by a populist wave, driven in large part by right-wing parties exploiting anti-globalization, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim sentiments.

HB2 law: North Carolina to repeal ‘bathroom bill’
North Carolina lawmakers will repeal a controversial HB2 law which limits protections offered to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Democratic Governor-elect Roy Cooper announced the repeal after Charlotte City Council voted to strike down a local law that prompted HB2. The law requires transgender people to use toilets that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates.

China returns seized underwater US drone
A US underwater drone seized by the Chinese navy in the contentious South China Sea has now been returned. The drone was handed over some 92km north-west of Subic Bay in the Philippines, officials said. China seized the vehicle in international waters, in one of the most serious confrontations between the powers in decades.

Russian official in Israel: Envoy’s murder in Turkey will up Moscow’s strikes in Syria
The assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey in Ankara on Monday will lead to Moscow to increased its military involvement in the Syrian civil war, said Russian Deputy Ambassador to Israel Alexy Drobinin. The Russian diplomat made the remarks in an interview with Israel’s Channel 10 TV on Monday night. His comments came after an off-duty Turkish police officer shot and killed Russian envoy Andrei Karlov at an art gallery…

Global Jewish leaders send condolences to Berlin Christmas market victims
“Europe once again finds itself in shock,” a top European rabbi said Tuesday, the morning after a deadly attack at a Christmas market in Berlin, which killed 12 people and wounded 48 others. “This was a cowardly attack on people preparing for their religious holidays in a joyful environment,” said Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis.

Twice As Many “Faithless” Electors Dump Clinton As Trump
While there was a lot of buzz about faithless Republican electors dumping Trump, it turns out that more Democratic electors dumped Clinton. Specifically, two Republican Texas electors voted for candidates other than Trump: one voted for John Kasich and one voted for Ron Paul. But four Democratic electors voted for candidates other than Hillary Clinton:

Italian Muslim convert found guilty of helping Islamic State
An Italian woman who traveled to Syria two years ago proclaiming her support for Islamic State was sentenced in absentia on Monday to nine years in jail on terrorism-related charges, a court ruled.

Suspect in Berlin Christmas market attack came to Germany as refugee, reports say
The man believed to have driven a truck into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin Monday evening had come to Germany as a refugee from Pakistan this past February, multiple German media outlets reported.

I.M.F. Stands by Christine Lagarde, Convicted of Negligence
The International Monetary Fund threw its support behind its leader, Christine Lagarde, on Monday despite her conviction in a French court on charges of misusing public funds.

Saddam Hussein had no clue what he was doing
The revelations are contained in the upcoming John Nixon book “Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein.” Nixon was a CIA analyst in Iraq who had been assigned the task of finding Saddam and then getting information out of him. But he quickly found that “Saddam seemed clueless.”

Donald Trump Seals Electoral College Victory, Officially Becomes 45th US President
It’s finally over: Donald Trump has secured 304 Electoral Votes following the Texas vote (with 2 faithless electors), officially securing the presidency of the United States. Of course, the now official President-Elect Trump took to twitter to confirm the victory:


December 20, 2016
Hamilton argued for ‘consumption-based’ system
ALAN KEYES — Imposts, excises, and, in general, all duties upon articles of consumption, may be compared to a fluid, which will, in time, find its level with the means of paying them. The amount contributed by each citizen will in a degree be at his own option, and can be relegated by an attention to his resources. The rich may be extravagant, the poor can be frugal; and private oppression may always be avoided by a judicious selection of objects proper for such impositions……. (more)

December 19, 2016

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Members of the Electoral College cast the final votes in the 2016 presidential election on Monday, affirming Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Despite reports of GOP electors receiving harassing phone calls and emails for weeks leading up to Monday’s vote, nearly all of the 538 men and women who were chosen by state parties to participate in the constitutional rite abided by the people’s vote in their state…. (more)


December 19, 2016
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Obama is dishing out a much rockier transfer of power to Donald Trump than he received from his predecessor eight years ago, from accusing the president-elect of being aided by Russian hackers to first lady Michelle Obama’s complaint that the nation has lost hope. Despite pledging a “smooth and efficient” transition on the day after Mr. Trump’s victory, Mr. Obama has presided over an increasingly acrimonious war of words between the White House and the president-elect’s team…. (more)

December 19, 2016
CLIFF KINCAID — There is an easy way to determine who is a faithful Democratic Party hack in the media and who on the left maintains at least some independence from the party line. Long-time Democrat Bill Moyers thinks it’s an open-and-shut case that Russia’s Vladimir Putin intervened in the election to help Trump and that our democracy is in peril. The Intercept thinks the evidence is weak, and that the CIA may have some other reason for “squaring off directly against Trump.” What could that possibly be?… (more)

December 19, 2016

THE HILL — Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is accusing CIA Director John Brennan of leaking Russian hacking information to the press and is calling for an investigation into “the hit job” that King says Brennan is conducting against President-elect Donald Trump…. (more)


December 18, 2016

MIRROR — Russia’s ambassador to Turkey has been assassinated by an off-duty police officer in front of terrified witnesses allegedly in retaliation for the crisis in Aleppo. The gunman – smartly dressed in a black suit and tie – reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” and said in Turkish “We die in Aleppo, you die here” after shooting Ambassador Andrei Karlov in the back…. (more)


December 18, 2016
WORLDNETDAILY — While the Council on American-Islamic Relations likes to bill itself as a Muslim “civil-rights organization,” it downplays its direct ties to the terrorist group Hamas, its lineage to the Muslim Brotherhood and its extremist history that includes dozens of its executives, board members’ and staffers’ indictments, convictions and prison sentences for terror-related crimes…. (more)

December 18, 2016
PAUL BREMMER — Plenty of Americans are wary of violent Islamic jihad – – the bloody physical struggle of Muslims against the enemies of Islam. But there also exists another, much craftier form of jihad: civilization jihad. Veteran journalist and WND news editor Leo Hohmann, during a recent appearance on “The Larry Elder Show,” said civilization jihad is a strategy initially devised by the Muslim Brotherhood…. (more)

December 18, 2016
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dispatched the Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and a security delegation to meet secretly with President-elect Trump, according to a report. Trump has been criticized for failing to take enough briefings from U.S. intelligence officials. The Israelis briefed Trump on issues like the Iranian nuclear deal, the war in Syria, terrorism, and the conflict with the Palestinians…. (more)

December 18, 2016
BILL FEDERER — Washington lost the battle of Brandywine on Sept. 11, 1777, and was forced to retreat toward Philadelphia. British General Burgoyne’s troops marched down from Canada through New York, but were amazingly forced to surrender to the Americans at the battle of Saratoga, Oct. 7, 1777. British General Howe struck back in a fury, driving the patriots out of Philadelphia. In a panic, the Continental Congress evacuated Philadelphia, even taking the Liberty Bell with them so the British could not melt it into musket balls…. (more)

December 18, 2016
THE HILL — Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Sunday that the fallout from her tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton was “painful” for her. “I do regret sitting down and having a conversation with him, because it did give people concern. And as I said, my greatest concern has always been making sure that people understand that the Department of Justice works in a way that is independent and looks at everybody equally,” Lynch said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”… (more)

December 18, 2016

NEW YORK TIMES — Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was found guilty on Monday of criminal charges linked to the misuse of public funds during her time as France’s finance minister, a case that has clouded her I.M.F. leadership at a time of growing uncertainty for the group…. (more)


December 18, 2016
THOMAS SOWELL — Nothing so epitomizes the politically correct gullibility of our times as the magic word “diversity.” The wonders of diversity are proclaimed from the media, extolled in the academy, and confirmed in the august chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States. But have you ever seen one speck of hard evidence to support the lofty claims?… (more)

December 18, 2016
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — It’s the “dumbest” deal he’s ever seen. On the hustings, that was Donald Trump’s constant refrain about President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal – – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). And given that he pegs NAFTA as the “worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country,” that must make the JCPOA pretty, pretty dumb…. (more)

December 17, 2016
BYRON YORK — On Thursday afternoon, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, “Have you seen any direct evidence that the Russians were trying to tip the election to Donald Trump? Or what do you think the motive was based on any briefing you have attended?”… (more)

December 17, 2016
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Obama cast doubt on the continued need for the Electoral College on Friday, seizing on a popular Democratic argument that has emerged since Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by millions of ballots but lost the Electoral College handily…. (more)

December 17, 2016
THE HILL — Donald Trump’s former White House rival Rick Santorum says he has doubts over the president-elect’s pick to lead the State Department. Santorum, a former GOP senator from Pennsylvania, told WABC Radio late Thursday that he’s concerned about Rex Tillerson being nominated to be secretary of State because of the direction Exxon Mobil Corp. went on climate change during Tillerson’s time as CEO…. (more)

December 17, 2016
NEW YORK TIMES — For the first time, women make up a majority of law students, holding just over 50 percent of the seats at accredited law schools in the United States. The number of men and women enrolled in juris doctorate programs has been nearly equal for a number of years, but this is the first time women have moved past the 50 percent mark, according to data released Thursday by the American Bar Association…. (more)

December 16, 2016
CLIFF KINCAID — It’s amazing how CNN’s talking heads can devote so much time to the “scandal” of Donald J. Trump’s sons participating in interviews of cabinet picks, but can’t connect the dots between the bloody tragedy in Aleppo and President Barack Obama’s pro-terrorist policy in the Middle East…. (more)

December 16, 2016

NEWSMAX — President-elect Donald Trump is considering Richard Haass, who heads the Council on Foreign Relations, as deputy secretary of state, according to news reports. Haass, 65, worked in both Bush administrations, Politico reports. He also has served as director of policy planning at the State Department and as a senior director on the National Security Council…. (more)


December 15, 2016

CLIFF KINCAID — Isn’t it strange how the left suddenly finds the CIA to be a worthwhile organization now that it has been turned into a weapon against Trump? We need congressional investigations into the politicization of the CIA under John Brennan, whose claim to fame has been bringing sexual “diversity” to the agency. Perhaps he should have been doing his job, which is to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…. (more)


December 15, 2016
NEWSMAX — In telephone conversations with Donald Trump, FBI Director James Comey assured the president-elect there was no credible evidence that Russia influenced the outcome of the recent U.S. presidential election by hacking the Democratic National Committee and the emails of John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign…. (more)

December 15, 2016
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — The hypocrisy oozing from the peddling of this week’s narrative about Russian “meddling” in the U.S. presidential election is thick even by the sorry standards of modern American politics…. (more)

December 15, 2016
WASHINGTON TIMES — A WikiLeaks figure is claiming that he received leaked Clinton campaign emails from a “disgusted” Democratic whistleblower, while the White House continued to blame Russian hackers Wednesday for meddling in the presidential election and asserted that Donald Trump was “obviously aware” of Moscow’s efforts on his behalf…. (more)

December 15, 2016
BYRON YORK — The Electoral College meets one week from today in what will be the final step in Donald Trump’s improbable rise to the presidency. But it will also be the last chance for #NeverTrump dead-enders to keep Trump out of the White House. And now, the anti-Trump effort has been given new fuel by allegations of Russian attempts to interfere with the presidential election…. (more)

Top Headlines – 12/20/2016

  • Trump wins Electoral College vote; a few electors break ranks (Read More)
  • European Stocks Head for a One-Year High (Read More)
  • Japan’s Central Bank Keeps Policy Unchanged, Upgrades Economic Outlook (Read More)
  • Russia and Turkey vow to keep detente on track after murder (Read More)
  • The Political Implications of Events in Ankara and Berlin (Read More)
  • Trump condemns Berlin attack, says things ‘only getting worse’ (Read More)
  • Merkel: “No Doubt Berlin Crash Was a Terror Attack” (Read More)
  • Gunman in Zurich mosque shooting is dead (Read More)
  • China Throws Out South China Sea Rule Book (Read More)
  • The U.S. Government Is Collecting Student Loans It Promised to Forgive (Read More)
  • Air Force: Cost Overruns on F-35, Decried by Donald Trump, Are ‘in the Past (Read More)
  • Euronext in talks to buy French clearing business from LSE (Read More)
  • Scotland Threatens to Leave U.K. If Forced Out of Single Market (Read More)
  • EU accuses Facebook of giving misleading information during WhatsApp takeover (Read More)
  • Obama Said to Use 1953 Law to Block Drilling in Arctic, Atlantic (Read More)
  • 2016’s biggest one-day market wobbles (Read More)
  • Cyrus Mistry Resigns From Five Tata Company Boards (Read More)
  • The Tesla Advantage: 1.3 Billion Miles of Data (Read More)
  • Japan’s top court deals blow to opponents of U.S. base on Okinawa (Read More)
  • Uber’s Loss Exceeds $800 Million in Third Quarter on $1.7 Billion in Net Revenue (Read More)
  • China’s Bright Food hires Goldman to sell UK firm Weetabix (Read More)
  • China’s ‘airpocalypse’ hits half a billion people (Read More)
  • Retailers to drop on-call scheduling amid state probes (Read More)

Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov shot dead by police officer in Ankara who shouted ‘Aleppo, revenge’

Turkey: Envoy assassination won’t ‘cast shadow’ on Russia ties

Netanyahu admonishes assasination of Russian ambasdor to Turkey, calls on world to unite against terrorism

Berlin terror attack: Twelve dead and 48 injured as truck ploughs into crowd at Christmas market

Suspect in Berlin Christmas market attack came to Germany as refugee, reports say

Trump blames ‘Islamist terrorists’ for ‘slaughter’ of Christians in Berlin

Liberty University to Open First On-Campus Shooting Range in Nation to Help Students Fend Off Terrorists

Three people wounded in Zurich Islamic center shooting

ISIS suicide bomber kills 8 Libyan troops near Benghazi

Suicide bomber kills more than 50 in Yemen, ISIS claims responsibility

Saudis confirm use of British cluster bombs in Yemen

More Journalists Killed In Syria This Year Than Anywhere Else In The World

With the fall of Aleppo, the West has lost control in the Middle East – and it will haunt us for decades

Russia, Iran and Turkey to hold Syria talks in Moscow on Tuesday

Putin tells Rouhani he wants Syria conflict resolved soon: Kremlin

ISIS remains strong in Iraq as battle of Mosul enters 3rd month

Italian Muslim convert found guilty of helping Islamic State

IDF uncovers ‘largest weapons factory ever discovered’ under Hebron home

IDF tanks fire at Hamas targets in response to Gaza border shooting

PLO will revoke Israel recognition if US moves embassy, top official warns

UN ambassadors visit Israeli settlement

Farmers from all over Israel converge on Jerusalem to protest

Holy Land’s top Catholic cleric decries Mideast destruction

Mossad chief gives secret intelligence briefing to Trump staff

Netanyahu planning unprecedented new construction during Trump reign

China returns seized US underwater drone

China to Trump: We don’t like the word ‘steal’

Ukraine army ‘repulsed rebel attack’ near Debaltseve in east

Italy Paves Way for a $21 Billion Rescue Plan for Ailing Banks

Three dead in Venezuela cash unrest

Looting leaves stores in ruins in Venezuela’s Ciudad Bolivar

Cuba’s Rum-for-Debt Offer to Czechs Isn’t as Weird as It Sounds

Trump secures victory in Electoral College, as bid to flip electors flops

Twice As Many “Faithless” Electors Dump Clinton As Trump

Bill Clinton bashes Trump, blames ‘angry white men’ and Comey for wife’s loss

Pentagon Faces ‘Significant’ Cyber Security Challenges

Families of Orlando nightclub shooting victims sue Facebook, Twitter and Google

Virtual butler ‘Jarvis’ takes up residence in Facebook founder’s home

Federal agencies can spy on phones with 400 cell-site simulators

Massive solar flare explosion brings spectacular view of northern lights in Canada

Ecuador earthquake: At least two killed by 5.8 magnitude tremor

6.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Namie, Japan

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Kefalos, Greece

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Taron, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Taron, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Santa Monica, Philippines

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Port-Olry, Vanuatu

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Taron, Papua New Guinea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 24,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 22,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 14,500ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

Kids turn violent as parents battle ‘digital heroin’ addiction

Agency records reportedly show West Virginia flooded with painkillers

Siberian region declares state of emergency as 48 die from drinking poisonous bath oil

Hong Kong confirms first case of bird flu this season

El Nino fueled Zika outbreak, new study suggests

Paedophile aged 101 becomes Britain’s oldest convict as he is given 13-year sentence for historic child abuse

North Carolina Limits on Transgender Rights Appear Headed for Repeal

Pagan priest granted right to wear horns in Maine driver’s license photo

About That Girl With the Violin On The Subway Platform …

Christmas: It’s Time To Pander to the Crowds Again

Catholic Idolatry: Ancient vial of ‘miracle’ blood failed to liquefy, and that’s a bad omen for 2017

Choosing Between Growing a Church or Contending for Revival

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 08:58 AM PST

(By John Burton) God’s world-changers always favor being idealistic ahead of being realistic. They are dreamers, visionaries and supernatural theorists instead of analysts driven by…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Merry Apocalypse: False Prophetic Voice Predicts World Will End Before 2017

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 08:41 AM PST

(Reported By Jennifer Leclaire) It’s the end of the world as we know it. Or at least that’s what one Christian scientist is insisting. Her…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Experiencing The Fire. Settling For Smoke.

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 08:24 AM PST

(By Kaitlyn Baker) Last Thursday night I woke up with this phrase in my Spirit. Experiencing The Fire. Settling For Smoke. A quote that’s famous…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Powerful Magnitude 6.7 earthquake strikes off Solomon islands

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 08:18 AM PST

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 struck off the Solomon Islands on Tuesday, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the second powerful…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Underwater Hebrew tablet reveals Biblical-era ruler of Judea

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 08:14 AM PST

A stone slab found off the coast of Israel has finally revealed the name of the ruler during one of the most iconic moments in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Russia, Turkey & Iran ready to be guarantors in resolving Syrian crisis

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 07:11 AM PST

A text of the Moscow declaration on immediate steps in resolving the Syrian crisis is being prepared. Moscow, Ankara and Tehran are ready to be…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Millennials Ditching Marriage and Church

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 07:00 AM PST

Fewer Millennials go to church than any generation before them. And fewer are marrying. Because of that lack of matrimony, for the first time in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: ‘Third Gender’ Movement Says Growth Is ‘Exploding’

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 06:53 AM PST

It’s boom times for the “third gender” movement! Organizers of the group trying to persuade local, state and federal governments to give people a box…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Terror Strikes in Germany, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Switzerland

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 06:49 AM PST

Fatal attacks by apparent terrorists occurred Sunday and Monday in Germany, Turkey, Libya, and Jordan. An attack in Switzerland resulted in three persons wounded by…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US Dollar nears 14-year peak…

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 06:40 AM PST

The dollar hit a fresh 14-year high on Tuesday, boosted by upbeat comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that kept alive market expectations for…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Sahara Desert Sees Snow For First Time In 37 Years

Posted: 20 Dec 2016 06:36 AM PST

Amateur photographer Karim Bouchetata took incredible pictures of snow covering the sand in the small Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, yesterday afternoon. He…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Atheists Say “No God Allowed in City Park”

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 06:02 PM PST

An atheist group is demanding Oil City, Pennsylvania, remove a bench from a war memorial set up by two veterans. The reason is one specific…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Saudi Arabia Switches From Islamic Calendar to Jesus Birth Date-Based Gregorian

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 05:32 PM PST

The Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has switched from the lunar-based Islamic calendar, which starts with the emigration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Franklin Graham ‘So Instrumental’ In My Victory, Says Trump

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 05:22 PM PST

US president-elect Donald Trump addressed a rally in Mobile, Alabama on Saturday and paid generous tribute to one of the other speakers for his help…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Jesus Heals Muslim Woman Bitten By Deadly Snake After Angel Appears in Her Dream, Telling Her to Seek His Help

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 05:17 PM PST

Jesus has once again miraculously saved someone—a Muslim woman—from certain death. The woman named Hajira told Bibles4Mideast that she was recently bitten by a Sahara…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: For the first time since Yom Kippur War, Syria to call up army reserves

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 05:13 PM PST

Syria’s president Bashar Assad has issued a nationwide call-up of army reserves for the first time since the Yom Kippur War, Iran-owned Al-Alam news reported Monday….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pagan ‘Priest of Pan’ Granted Right to Wear Horns in ID Photo for Religious Reasons

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 05:00 PM PST

A Maine man who identifies himself as a “priest of Pan” has been granted the right to wear horns on his head for his identification…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Godless Grinches try to take Christ out of Christmas

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 04:48 PM PST

(Reported By Todd Starnes) The War on Christmas rages across the fruited plain as godless Grinches try to take Christ out of Christmas. The latest…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

IT’S OFFICIAL! Electoral College Vote Seals Trump White House Victory

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 03:16 PM PST

The Electoral College formalized Donald Trump’s election victory on Monday despite protests around the country to encourage GOP electors to abandon the Republican. The president-elect…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Terror strikes Berlin as crowd of shoppers killed and injured at Christmas market

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 03:12 PM PST

At least nine people have been killed and more than 50 injured after a lorry ploughed through a crowd of shoppers at 40mph in a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Russian Ambassador Assasinated In Turkey

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 03:02 PM PST

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an Ankara art exhibit on Monday evening by a lone Turkish gunman shouting “God is great!” and “don’t…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.


Do You Know Him?


What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.


The Gospel In A Nutshell

Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.

Tertullian, “On Prescription Against Heretics,” Chapter XIIl


What Is the Gospel?

This post is adapted from the tract “What Is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert.


A Message from God

What exactly do Christians mean when they talk about the “gospel of Jesus Christ”? Since the word “gospel” means “good news,” when Christians talk about the gospel, they’re simply telling the good news about Jesus! It’s a message from God saying, “Good news! Here is how you can be saved from my judgment!” That’s an announcement you can’t afford to ignore.

Why Is the Gospel Good News?

So, what is the good news about Jesus Christ?

Since the earliest Christians announced the good news about Jesus, it has been organized around these questions:

  1. Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?
  2. What is our problem?
  3. What is God’s solution to our problem?
  4. How can I be included in his solution?

Christians through the centuries since Christ have answered those questions with the same truth from the Bible.

  1. We are accountable to God.
  2. Our problem is our sin against him.
  3. God’s solution is salvation through Jesus Christ.
  4. We come to be included in that salvation by faith and repentance.

Let’s summarize those points like this: God, Mankind, Jesus Christ, and Our Response.

God

The first thing to know about the good news of Jesus is that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Everything starts from that point, so if you get that point wrong then everything else that follows will be wrong. Because God created everything—including us—he has the right to tell us how to live. You have to understand that in order to understand the good news about Jesus. To understand just how glorious and life-giving the gospel of Jesus Christ is, we have to understand that God is also holy and righteous. He is determined never to ignore or tolerate sin. Including ours!

Mankind

When God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, he intended for them to live under his righteous rule in perfect joy—obeying him and living in fellowship with him. When Adam disobeyed God, though, and ate the one fruit that God had told him not to eat, that fellowship with God was broken. Moreover, Adam and Eve had declared rebellion against God. They were denying his authority over their lives.

It’s not just Adam and Eve who are guilty of sin. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is the rejection of God himself and his authority over those to whom he gives life.

Once you understand sin in that light, you begin to understand why “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). That’s not just physical death, but spiritual death, a forceful separating of our sinful, rebellious selves from the presence of God forever. The Bible teaches that the final destiny for unbelieving sinners is eternal, active judgment in a place called “hell.”

But . . .

Jesus Christ

The word “Christ” means “anointed one,” referring to anointing a king with oil when he is crowned. So, when we say “Jesus Christ,” we’re saying that Jesus is a King!

When Jesus began his public ministry, he told the people, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus died on a cross, the awful weight of all our sins fell on his shoulders. The sentence of death God had pronounced against rebellious sinners struck. And Jesus died. For you and me!

But the story doesn’t end there. Jesus the Crucified is no longer dead. The Bible tells us that he rose from the grave. Jesus’s rising from the grave was God’s way of saying, “What Jesus claimed about who he is and what he came to do is true!”

Our Response

What does God expect us to do with the information that Jesus died in our place so we can be saved from God’s righteous wrath against our sins? He expects us to respond with repentance and faith.

To repent of our sins means to turn away from our rebellion against God. Repentance doesn’t mean we’ll bring an immediate end to our sinning. It does mean, though, that we’ll never again live at peace with our sins.

Not only that, but we also turn to God in faith. Faith is reliance. It’s a promise-founded trust in the risen Jesus to save you from your sins. If God is ever to count us righteous, he’ll have to do it on the basis of someone else’s record, someone who’s qualified to stand in as our substitute. And that’s what happens when a person is saved by Jesus: All our sins are credited to Jesus who took the punishment for them, and the perfect righteousness of Jesus is then credited to us when we place our trust in what he has done for us! That’s what faith means—to rely on Jesus, to trust in him alone to stand in our place and win a righteous verdict from God!


Ravi Zacharias explains the gospel in two minutes:


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:

1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension

Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:

1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.

2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.

3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.

4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).

5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.

That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.


Please take the time to watch this clip, so that you might understand the authentic Gospel


This is the Gospel:

Friend, God is holy. There is a God in heaven who has created you and me, and He is the authority over both of us. He is perfectly holy. “In Him is Light, and there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). And the problem with that is that if we want to have fellowship with God, we have to be light and no darkness at all. And yet here’s the problem: we are darkness. We are sinful. We’ve all broken His law. We’ve all lied, stolen, we’ve all looked with lust, we’ve all been angry with our brothers in our hearts. We’ve all fallen short of the glorious standard of perfection that God requires (Rom 3:23). And there’s nothing we can do about it. No amount of works, no amount of contrition, no amount of bad feelings, no amount of church attendance, no amount of Bible reading, no amount of evangelism can earn forgiveness of our sins and the righteousness which God requires (Titus 3:5; cf. Isa 64:6).

And yet God is gracious, and He loves us, and as His creatures He wants to display His glory in us by rescuing us from that. And so He sent His Son—God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ—to be born as a helpless little baby (John 1:14; 3:16; Col 2:9). God of the universe, Sustainer of the universe, Himself being sustained in the womb of a teenage Hebrew girl, and upholding the world by the word of His power (Heb 1:3) while He is upheld by the nutrients from her own body! Unspeakable! And in great humility, He grows up with the growing pains of life in a fallen world, though He Himself never being with any sin—without sin entirely (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26). And He lives a perfectly righteous life. The way that you and I have failed to live before God—the way that we have failed in thought, word, and deed, and fallen short of God’s glory—Christ never did. Not even a thought. He loved God, His Father, perfectly. He always walked in perfect righteousness. He lived the life that you were commanded to live, that I was commanded to live, that we failed to live. He lived that perfect life that God is worthy of.

And not only did He live for us, He died for us. He went to the cross. Our sin demanded death. Our sin demanded eternal punishment. Our sin demanded wrath—just wrath exercised on us for eternity (Rom 6:23). But because of the infinite worth of Christ’s person, He was on that cross. And on that cross, God exercised upon Him the full fury of His own anger (Rom 3:24–26; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:10–14), that was rightly due to me and rightly due to you, and that you will experience if you don’t turn from your sin and trust in this Messiah. Christ was born, lived, died, and was raised (1 Cor 15:3–4). And He rose from the grave after being dead, demonstrating His victory over sin and death.

And now God promises that if you turn from your sin, if you repudiate all that you are and all that you were and all that you love, and you turn away from a life of pursuing sin—and if you repudiate not only your bad works but your good works, if you turn from trying to earn your salvation by all the good deeds that you might want to do as a moral person—if you turn away from all of that (Acts 17:30–31), and you trust in Christ alone for righteousness (Phil 3:7–8; cf. Rom 3:28; 10:4), God promises that He will forgive you. He will have treated Christ on the cross as if Christ lived your life. And He will then treat you, justly and legally and righteously, as if you lived Christ’s perfect life of righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). And you can be saved to know the God you were created to love and enjoy. You can have the fullness of joy, the eternal pleasures that are at the Father’s right hand in heaven (Ps 16:11), and begin even now, because eternal life is to know God (John 17:3).

Friend, would you repent? Would you turn from your sin and trust in this perfect Savior to avail for you before God, to pay for your sin and to provide your righteousness?


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.

Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


The Perseverance (Security) of the Saints

Notice all the Scripture references!

It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11; Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30). Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:6, 12) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28).

The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16–18; 13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31–32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10; 10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:4–5).

In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:11, 20), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), that their sins will be forgiven them (1 John 2:1), and that they may all be where he is to behold his glory (John 17:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, volume 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), 270.


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The Incarnate Image of God

The Incarnate Image of God

Hebrews 1:1-3

Code: B161220
by John MacArthur

At Christmas most of the world sees Jesus as a baby in a manger—nothing more. But considering its innate love for sin and hatred for God, we should not be surprised by that shallow perspective.

What ought to concern us is that many believers fall into the same myopic trap around this time of year. Caught up in the trappings and traditions of the season, they quickly lose sight of why we’re celebrating Christ’s birth in the first place. In simple terms, their emphasis on Christ’s infancy blinds them to His supremacy.

The writer of Hebrews opens his epistle with a vivid reminder of the One who took on flesh for our sake.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:1–3)

The writer of Hebrews begins His epistle by describing the incarnation as the supreme revelation of God. And although the writer may have personally known the Lord as a man who walked this earth, he was also acutely aware of Christ’s eternal superiority over all things. The preeminence of Christ forms the central theme of his letter and he begins by pointing out seven key aspects. We’ll examine four of them today.

Christ Is the Heir of All Things

The first aspect of Jesus Christ’s preeminence concerns His inheritance: “whom He appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2). That is an unqualified statement asserting that God has planned for Jesus ultimately to inherit absolutely everything. It adheres to Jewish inheritance laws that said the firstborn child received the wealth of the family’s estate.

Because Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, He is logically the firstborn Son as well. Therefore, Christ is the heir of all that God has. The psalmist predicted this very reality, “I [God] will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession” (Psalm 2:8). Everything in the created order, whether the material or spiritual world—everything God has ever created—belongs to Jesus Christ.

It’s amazing to think that a Galilean carpenter, crucified on a cross outside Jerusalem, is actually the heir to the universe. Admittedly, when Jesus was on earth He owned little or nothing. One thing He did own was His cloak, and the Roman soldiers gambled for ownership of that while He was on the cross. He was even buried in a borrowed grave. But some day, all that exists will belong to Christ, and everyone—people, angels, and all powers in the universe—will bow before Him. “At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10).

It’s also incredible to realize that believers will be joint heirs with Christ: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16–17). If you know Christ, you are a part of His bride, the church, and He, the Bridegroom, allows you to share His inheritance. And someday you will see Him return as King of kings and Lord of lords to make final claim of His inheritance and exercise sovereign, everlasting rule over all that exists. Therefore, once you say Jesus is Lord, you also say He is the heir of all things.

Christ Is the Creator of All Things

The second aspect of Christ’s preeminence listed in Hebrews 1 is His power in creation: “through whom also He made the world” (Hebrews 1:2). That statement is perfectly consistent with John 1:3, “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (cf. Colossians 1:16). Jesus created everything, both the material and nonmaterial parts of the universe. And His creatorship is a characteristic of our Lord—second only to His sinlessness—that really sets Him apart from us.

The Greek word rendered “world” in Hebrews 1:2 does not mean the material world but “the ages,” as it is usually translated elsewhere. Christ created not only the physical earth, but also time, space, energy, and every variety of matter. He effortlessly created the entire universe and finished it as something good. For that reason, the creation, which was marred by humanity’s sin, longs to be restored to what it was originally (Romans 8:22)—and one day Christ will create a new and perfect heaven and earth.

Christ Is the Radiance of God’s Glory

The writer of Hebrews further establishes the preeminence of Christ by citing that “He is the radiance of His [God’s] glory.” “Radiance” literally means “to send forth light.” It indicates that Jesus is the manifestation of God to us. Just as the sun’s rays illuminate and warm the earth, Christ is God’s glorious light that shines into the hearts of people. And as the sun cannot be separated from its brightness, so God cannot be separated from the glory of Christ.

Jesus Christ is the radiance of who God is, and He affirmed that fact during His earthly ministry: “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12). Christ can transmit that light into our lives so that we can radiate the glory of God to others. God sent His glorious light, in the person of Jesus Christ, into a morally dark world to call sinners to Himself. No one would ever be able to see or enjoy God’s true radiance if it weren’t for His Son and those who know Him.

It is truly a blessing to know that Jesus Christ can come into your life and give you the spiritual light to see and believe God. Jesus’ brightness points you to salvation, which in turn results in purpose, peace, joy, and genuine fellowship for all eternity.

Christ Is the Essence of God

Hebrews 1:3 goes on to declare a fourth element of the preeminence of Christ, namely, that He is “the exact representation of His nature.” Jesus possesses the essential nature or being of God the Father. That is, He has all the attributes that are indispensable to who and what God is, such as immutability (unchangeableness), omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. He is the exact stamp or replication of God. In the words of the Nicene Creed, Jesus Christ is “very God of very God.”

The apostle Paul teaches us basically the same truth in Colossians 1:15, “He is the image of the invisible God.” Here, unlike Hebrews 1:3, the Greek word translated “image” is eikon, from which we get the English term icon, meaning a precise copy or reproduction. But both verses communicate the same truth. Christ possesses the essential nature of God and manifests the attributes of God. In His being, Jesus is what God is, and in His person He displays that essence to everyone who sees Him.

This season you may find yourself standing with others to admire a manger scene. Perhaps you can ask the person next to you, “Do you know who that baby is—who He really is?”

(Adapted from God in the Manger.)


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COPYRIGHT ©2016 Grace to You

Tis The Season For Credit Card Debt: This Christmas Americans Will Spend An Average Of 422 Dollars Per Child

christmas-gifts-public-domainFor many Americans, the quality of Christmas is determined by the quality of the presents.  This is especially true for our children, and some of them literally spend months anticipating their haul on Christmas morning.  I know that when I was growing up Christmas was all about the presents.  Yes, adults would give lip service to the other elements of Christmas, but all of the other holiday activities could have faded away and it still would have been Christmas as long as presents were under that tree on the morning of December 25th.  Perhaps things are different in your family, but it is undeniable that for our society as a whole gifts are the central feature of the holiday season. (Read More…)

While Christians In America Cry ‘Peace And Safety’, Believers All Over The World Are Being Brutally Persecuted

globe-earth-world-planet-white-background-public-domainThanks to the election of Donald Trump, most Christians in America are feeling really good about the future, but it is another story entirely in much of the rest of the world. A Christian persecution watchdog group called Aid to the Church in Need released its “Religious Freedom in the World” report for 2016 a few weeks ago, and their conclusion was that the persecution of Christians globally is becoming much worse. In fact, there are seven nations where persecution is so bad that they were put into the “it could scarcely get any worse”category. Those nations included Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Syria. (Read More…)

The true side of the Israeli people CNN won’t let you see

Injured Syrians regularly come to Israel for free, top notch medical care. For years, these refugees were brainwashed to think that Jews were horrible people. But after meeting Jews and Israelis firsthand, they saw the truth. They saw the care, compassion and skill that they received in Israel. Hopefully the truth will get out, and the truth is that while Syria kills and the world remains paralyzed to act, Israel is saving hundreds of lives – daily.

‘Gold Is Now Effectively Illegal’ In India – The Consequences Of Creating A Cashless Society

According to Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge, in India gold ownership will be limited to only small amounts of personal jewelry.  “There are clear signs that in a very convoluted way, possession of gold for investment purposes will be made illegal,” writes Durden. Here’s his report:

Jayant Bhandari warns “there are clear signs that in a very convoluted way, possession of gold for investment purposes will be made illegal” as he discusses India’s attempts to create a cashless society (and consequences of it) and why precious metals and geographical diversification are the most viable options investors around the world, not just India, should be taking.

“The situation is getting worse by the day… people are desperate”

Jayant provides the clearest explanation of where India is (and where it is going) in the brief interview with ProvenAndProbable.com’s Maurice Jackson

View article →

December 20, 2016: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

December 20 The Authority of Christ’s Name

“God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Philippians 2:9–11

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Christ’s name shows Him to be sovereign ruler.

The name “Lord” is a New Testament synonym for Old Testament descriptions of Yahweh (the Old Testament name of God), which show God as sovereign ruler. It signifies rulership based on power and authority. Though it was always evident that Christ was the living Lord, it was in His exaltation that He was formally given the name Lord—a title that is His as the God–man. On earth He was known by many names, but now He bears the name that is above every name: Lord.

Philippians 2:10 doesn’t say at the name Jesus every knee should bow, but at the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus immediately bestowed by the Father was “Lord.” It is not the name Jesus that makes people bow—that’s the name of His incarnation—but the name Lord.

That the name mentioned in verse 9 is Lord is confirmed by Paul’s allusion to Isaiah 45:21–23, which says, “Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” God said through Isaiah that He is sovereign—the Lord of all. That is what Paul was referring to when he said that every knee would bow and every tongue confess (or admit) that Jesus Christ is Lord. Only God is Lord.

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Suggestions for Prayer: In his prayer in Ephesians 1:17–23 Paul mentions that Christ’s name is above all other names (vv. 20–21). Use his prayer as a model when you pray for other believers.

For Further Study: Read the following verses: Luke 2:11; John 13:13; Acts 10:36; Romans 14:9–11; 1 Corinthians 8:6. What do they say about Jesus’ lordship?[1]


December 20

The Christmas Tree

The glory of Lebanon will come to you.

Isaiah 60:13

Christmas trees seem to have their origins in the ancient celebrations of Saturnalia. The Romans decorated their temples with greenery and candles. Roman soldiers conquering the British Isles found Druids who worshiped mistletoe and Saxons who used holly and ivy in religious ceremonies. All those things found their way into Christmas customs.

Interestingly, however, the first person to have lighted a Christmas tree may have been Martin Luther, father of the Reformation. He introduced the practice of putting candles on trees to celebrate Christmas, citing Isaiah 60:13 as biblical authority for the practice: “The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the box tree, and the cypress together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I shall make the place of My feet glorious.”[2]


DECEMBER 20

THE ART OF TRUE WORSHIP

For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us.

—2 Corinthians 5:13-14

It remains only to be said that worship as we have described it here is almost (though, thank God, not quite) a forgotten art in our day. For whatever we can say of modern Bible-believing Christians, it can hardly be denied that we are not remarkable for our spirit of worship. The gospel as preached by good men in our times may save souls, but it does not create worshipers.

Our meetings are characterized by cordiality, humor, affability, zeal and high animal spirits; but hardly anywhere do we find gatherings marked by the overshadowing presence of God. We manage to get along on correct doctrine, fast tunes, pleasing personalities and religious amusements.

How few, how pitifully few are the enraptured souls who languish for love of Christ….

If Bible Christianity is to survive the present world upheaval, we shall need to recapture the spirit of worship. We shall need to have a fresh revelation of the greatness of God and the beauty of Jesus. We shall need to put away our phobias and our prejudices against the deeper life and seek again to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He alone can raise our cold hearts to rapture and restore again the art of true worship. TIC130-131

Father, help me to recapture the spirit of worship, that passion for Christ of which Paul speaks, through a fresh revelation of Your awesome presence. Amen. [3]


December 20

Parable of the Pearl of Great Value

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.—Matt. 13:45–46

Pearls were the most highly valued gems in the ancient world, often purchased as investments, much like diamonds or precious metals are today. With pearls, a person could keep and conceal a great amount of wealth in a small space. The Jewish Talmud said the pearl was beyond the value of any set price, and that some ancients actually worshiped it.

Elsewhere the New Testament uses the pearl as a representation of something of immense value and worthy of protection. When the Lord warns believers not to throw pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6), He underscores the priceless value of the gospel and its corresponding truths, which unbelievers despise as worthless. The apostle John envisions the New Jerusalem as a glorious city with twelve gates of pearl, and more precisely “each one of the gates was a single pearl” (Rev. 21:21).

In this parable the merchant obviously considered the valuable pearl so precious and worth more than all his other pearls combined, because he no doubt included them in the sale of all his possessions, which he did to buy the one pearl. Jesus again illustrates the immense value of the kingdom of heaven and clearly implies that the merchant’s transaction was one involving his salvation. Purchasing the great pearl—the kingdom—represents obtaining God’s saving knowledge through trust in His Son, the Lord Jesus, and experiencing all the blessings which that relationship brings. It is another example of the greatest transaction any of us can make.

ASK YOURSELF
It’s really all about one thing, isn’t it—giving our hearts to Christ without limitation or restriction. Consider today how the rest of your life is lining up under the one priority of walking boldly with Jesus.[4]


December 20 Throwing out the Anchor

“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Heb. 2:1).

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God’s Word is the anchor that will prevent people from drifting past the harbor of salvation.

When English explorer William Edward Parry and his crew were exploring the Arctic Ocean, they needed to go further north to continue their chartings. So they calculated their location by the stars and began a treacherous march.

After many hours they stopped, exhausted. After taking their bearings, they discovered they were now further south than when they’d started! They had been walking on an ice floe that was traveling faster south than they were walking north.

That is similar to the situation that people who continue rejecting Christ find themselves in. Therefore Hebrews 2:1 says, “We must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

Why would anyone knowingly reject Christ? He came into the world as God incarnate, died on a cross to bring us forgiveness for our sins, paid our penalty, showed us divine love, and gives us blessing and joy beyond imagination.

The Greek words translated “pay much closer attention to” and “drift away from” both have a nautical usage. The first means “to tie up a ship,” and the second can be used of a ship that has been carelessly allowed to drift past the harbor because the sailor forgot to attend to the steerage or to chart the wind, tides, and current. Hebrews 2:1 could be translated: “We must diligently anchor our lives to the things we have been taught, lest the ship of life drift past the harbor of salvation and be lost forever.”

Most people don’t deliberately turn their backs on God; they almost imperceptibly slip past the harbor of salvation and are broken on the rocks of destruction. Be sure you warn those you know who might be slipping past that harbor.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to strengthen your resolve when you know you need to confront someone regarding his or her relationship with the Lord.

For Further Study: Memorize Proverbs 4:20–22 as your own reminder of how important it is to hold on to God’s Word.[5]


DECEMBER 20

DO YOU LOVE BEAUTY?

There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination.

Revelation 21:27

When we look closely at this world system and society, we see the terrible and ugly scars of sin. Sin has obscenely scarred and defaced this world, taking away its harmony and symmetry and beauty.

That is the negative picture. Thank God for the positive promise and prospect that heaven is the place of all loveliness, all harmony and beauty.

These are not idle words. If you love beautiful things, you had better stay out of hell, for hell will be the quintessence of all that is morally ugly and obscene. Hell will be the ugliest place in all of creation!

It is a fact that earth lies between all that is ugly in hell and all that is beautiful in heaven. As long as we are living here, we will have to consider the extreme—much that is good and much that is bad!

As believers, we are held firm in the knowledge that the eternal Son came to save us and deliver us to a beautiful heaven and everlasting fellowship with God!

Dear Lord, thank You for the glimpses of Your grace and beauty that You show us in Your creation—a colorful rainbow, a beautiful sunset, a field of wildflowers. They all remind us of the beauty in store for those who have received eternal life.[6]


DECEMBER 20

OUR GOAL: DO ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD

…Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 CORINTHIANS 6:20

As Christian believers, we must practice living to the glory of God, actually and determinedly, for Paul’s exhortation to “do all to the glory of God” is more than pious idealism!

It is an integral part of the sacred revelation and is to be accepted as the very Word of Truth. It opens before us the possibility of making every act of our lives contribute to the glory of God. Lest we should be too timid to include everything, Paul mentions specifically eating and drinking. This humble privilege we share with the beasts that perish. If these lowly animal acts can be so performed as to honor God, then it becomes difficult to conceive of one that cannot.

The New Testament accepts as a matter of course that in His incarnation our Lord took upon Him a real human body, and no effort is made to steer around the downright implications of such a fact.

The Lord Jesus lived in that body here among men and never once performed a non-sacred act! His presence in human flesh sweeps away forever the evil notion that there is about the human body something innately offensive to the Deity.

God created our bodies, and we do not offend Him by placing the responsibility where it belongs. He is not ashamed of the work of His own hands![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 381). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 363). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 367). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[6] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.