Daily Archives: April 10, 2017

April 10, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Apr. 10, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

Members of Congress are back home for a two-week recess after one of the most bitterly divided and least productive starts in recent history. A new, urgent challenge is waiting for them when they return: finding a way to set aside their anger and mistrust long enough to keep the federal government open.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. wasn’t interested in “regime change” in North Korea as American warships were diverted to waters near the country amid heightened tensions over its nuclear weapons program.

Toronto’s mayor won’t rule out selling some of the city’s prime downtown real estate as he looks to make better use of assets amid an unprecedented property boom.

For the March U.S. employment report, with its ugly headline payrolls number, it’s what’s inside that counts. While the gain of 98,000 jobs in a survey of businesses and government agencies was the weakest since May and below all analysts’ forecasts, many accompanying details showed a solid labor market. The jobless rate, derived from a separate survey of households, fell to the lowest in almost a decade even as workforce participation was unchanged, while a measure of underemployment reached a fresh post-recession low, boding well for further wage increases.

Hungarian anti-government organizers vowed to continue protests after one of the largest mass demonstrations against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s rule as the deadline approaches for the country’s president to sign a law that may force a university founded by billionaire George Soros to shut down.

Neil Gorsuch took the first of two required oaths Monday to fill a 14-month-old vacancy and become the newest U.S. Supreme Court justice.Gorsuch will take the second oath later Monday at the White House from Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom Gorsuch worked as a law clerk in the court’s 1993-94 term. All of the justices attended the ceremony at the court and are expected to go to the White House for the second swearing-in.

President Donald Trump took credit for Toyota investing $1.33 billion in an existing U.S. factory, championing spending by a Japanese automaker he’s blasted for building a plant in Mexico.

After all of President Donald Trump’s bluster about building more cars in the U.S., the one new plant he can count on will come from a once American-owned Swedish brand flourishing under a Chinese parent. Volvo Car Group opens its $500 million factory late next year and will employ 2,000 workers initially near Charleston, South Carolina.

AT&T agreed to buy embattled spectrum-license holder Straight Path Communications in an all-stock deal valued at $1.6 billion as the phone giant seeks to take the lead in the 5G race.

AP Top Stories

A joint command center made up of the forces of Russia, Iran and militias supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the U.S. strike on a Syrian air base on Friday crossed “red lines” and it would respond to any new aggression and increase its support for its ally.

A 17-year-old asylum-seeker from Russia was arrested Sunday in connection with an explosive device found near a busy subway station in Norway’s capital and defused before it detonated, authorities said.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Saturday the Tibetan people should decide if they wanted to continue with his institution, adding that he wanted to convene a meeting of senior monks this year to start discussing his succession.

Indonesia’s police shot dead six suspected IS-linked militants in a gunfight on Java island over the weekend, a police spokesman said on Sunday.

The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft carrying the three Expedition 50 astronauts from the International Space Station landed safely in Kazakhstan

Ford, which sells more police cars in the U.S. than any other automaker, says it will offer a police pursuit version of the hybrid Fusion midsize sedan, in response to requests from cities nationwide. The new car, with its 2-Liter four-cylinder engine and 1.4 kilowatt lithium-ion battery, is expected to get 38 miles per gallon of gas in combined city-highway driving. That’s 20 mpg more than Ford’s current police car, the Taurus police interceptor.

Twenty states already offer cheaper in-state college tuition to students who are in the United States illegally. Legislation making its way through the Tennessee Legislature would make that state the 21st.

BBC

Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has announced a three-month state of emergency after attacks on two Coptic churches that left at least 44 dead.

Unprecedented coral bleaching in consecutive years has damaged two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, aerial surveys have shown. The bleaching – or loss of algae – affects a 900 mile stretch of the reef, according to scientists.

Spanish police have arrested a Russian programmer for alleged involvement in “hacking” the US election, Spanish press reports have said.

A hacker has been blamed for setting off more than 150 warning sirens in the US city of Dallas over the weekend. The sirens are usually used to warn of extreme weather events such as tornadoes.

WND

The Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging at Harvard will hold a contest inviting the entire Harvard community to revise the last line of their 181-year-old alma mater song, “Fair Harvard”, which reads, “Till the stock of the Puritans die,” because they think, “it’s time for a change.” The song was already revised in 1998 to make it “more gender-inclusive,” but the last line was left as-is.

The Texas state dish is chili, its tree is the pecan and its fish is the Guadalupe bass. And soon, Texas may have an explosive addition to its set of official symbols: plans are afoot for a state gun. But a resolution to make the cannon the official state gun passed through a senate committee hearing on Thursday, the first step to the plan becoming law.


The Briefing 04-10-17

Is the Cold War back? Considering the aftermath of the US strike in Syria

Suicide bombings in Coptic churches on Palm Sunday underscore threat to Christianity in Middle East

Judge Neil Gorsuch to be sworn in today after being confirmed by Senate in 54-45 vote

Great British controversy: Church of England outraged over removal of “Easter” from egg hunt on Easter

The post The Briefing 04-10-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top News – 4/10/2017

California lawmakers approve fuel tax hike for $52 billion road plan
Jerry Brown and legislative leaders passed without a vote to spare and will raise gas taxes by 43 percent, or 12 cents a gallon, while also increasing diesel taxes. That Republicans felt obliged to step in ought to cause Californians to worry. They also complain that the state’s cap-and-trade system, created to battle climate change, will soon drive fuel prices up even further.

U.S. disasters in first 3 months of 2017 cost record $5B
The National Centers for Environmental Information said there were five weather disasters from January to March, which cost more than $5 billion, a record for the first quarter of the year.

Data in! Sanctuary cities have higher crime rates
An August 2016 study of the relationship between “sanctuary city” policies and crime rates shows that cities refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities consistently have significantly higher violent crimes rates than do non-sanctuary cities with similar populations and demographics…

ISIS Attacks US-Led Base In Southern Syria, As Assad Said To Use White Phosphorus
The Islamic State attack comes as the U.S. military is deepening its presence in Syria as part of an intensifying campaign to drive the extremist group from its de facto capital in Raqqa. For weeks, the U.S. military has been strengthening its presence along the Jordan-Syria border, according to U.S. and Jordanian officials.

RED LINE: Putin Says Russia And Iran Will Respond With ‘Real War’ To Any Further US Strikes In Syria
4 days after a US missile strikes on Syria in retaliation for Assad’s chemical attack on his own people, Putin has issued a statement and it’s quite the doozy. In short, he said that if President Trump strikes again anywhere in Syria for any reason, that both Russia and Iran would ‘respond with real war’. Wha…?? How did Iran just get in the picture?

Sweden will ‘NEVER GO BACK’ to mass immigration after Stockholm terror, says shocked PM
SWEDEN’S prime minister vowed his country would “never go back” to the days of mass immigration after it emerged the Stockholm attacker was a failed asylum seeker. It comes after migrant Rakhmat Akilov from Uzbekistan drove a stolen 30-tonne truck into pedestrians at a busy department store in Stockholm on Friday.

Web needs rethink to stop ‘nasty’ ideas spreading, says its creator
The World Wide Web needs a complete rethink to prevent spying and the spread of “nasty, mean ideas” on social media websites, its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, said on Monday.

Tillerson, G7 ministers look to pressure Russia to reconsider Assad support
Tillerson, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and the other ministers aim to pressure Russia to end its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after a tumultuous week, which included the nerve gas attack and the U.S.’ airstrikes on a Syrian air base.

Jewish Priests Offer Paschal Lamb Just Hundreds of Meters From Temple Mount
After a court battle to gain police permission, the Sanhedrin held a full reenactment of the Passover sacrifice and Temple service Thursday evening in a manner reminiscent of the glory that was once the Temple. This year, the ceremony was closer to the Temple Mount, where the service would take place if the Temple were standing, than ever before.

Rocket fired from Egypt’s Sinai strikes southern Israel
A rocket fired at Israel landed in a greenhouse in the southern Eshkol Regional Council on Monday, the IDF confirmed. According to the military, the projectile was launched from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. One person suffered from shock as the result of the strike, however no other injuries were reported.

Israel closes border with Egypt amid Sinai terror concerns
Israel on Monday decided to close its side of the Taba Border Crossing between Eilat and Egypt in light of concerns of terrorist attacks targeting tourists, including Israelis, in the volatile Sinai Peninsula. Following security assessments, as of Monday and at least until April 18, Israel will not allow its citizens to enter Egypt through the crossing, however Israeli citizens will be permitted to return to the country via the Taba crossing.

Egypt’s Sisi says three-month state of emergency to be declared
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said a three-month state of emergency would be imposed after two deadly bombings hit Coptic churches on Sunday, killing at least 44 people. “A series of steps will be taken, most importantly, the announcement of a state of emergency for three months after legal and constitution steps are taken,” Sisi said in a speech aired on state television.

U.S. Strike in Syria Raises Tensions With Iran
The U.S. airstrikes on Syria stoked new tensions with Iran and generated calls in Tehran for increased military support for President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Iranian officials said on Friday the U.S. attack violated international law and accused President Donald Trump of siding with Islamic State and al Qaeda in Syria.

Russian naval activity in Europe exceeds Cold War levels: U.S. admiral
Recent Russian naval activity in Europe exceeds levels seen during the Cold War, a top U.S. and NATO military officer said, voicing concern that the distributed nature of the deployments could end up “splitting and distracting” the transatlantic alliance. Navy Admiral Michelle Howard…said Russia had clearly stepped up its naval actions in recent years although the size of its navy was smaller now than during the Cold War era.

China offers concessions to avert trade war with U.S.
China will offer the Trump administration better market access for financial sector investments and U.S. beef exports to help avert a trade war, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing officials familiar with the matter. China is prepared to raise the investment ceiling in the Bilateral Investment treaty and is also willing to end the ban on U.S. beef imports, the newspaper also reported.

Gorsuch’s impact on divided Supreme Court will begin immediately
Neil M. Gorsuch joins the Supreme Court just in time to cast potentially significant votes in cases that pit religious liberty against gay rights, test limits on funding for church schools and challenge California’s restrictions on carrying a concealed gun in public. Such issues arise either in appeals filed by conservative groups that have been pending before the justices for weeks or in cases to be heard later this month.

China, South Korea discuss more sanctions on North Korea amid talk of Trump action
China and South Korea agreed on Monday to slap tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carries out nuclear or long-range missile tests, a senior official in Seoul said, as a U.S. Navy strike group headed to the region in a show of force. North Korea marks several major anniversaries this month and often marks the occasions with major tests of military hardware.

Glum EU braces for Turkey vote on Erdogan’s powers
A referendum in Turkey on granting President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers is unlikely to ease strained relations with the EU and risks killing off Ankara’s stalled bid for membership of the bloc, officials in Brussels say. Even if voters do not give Erdogan the executive presidency he seeks on Sunday, Turkey’s democracy and judiciary will suffer damage and he is likely to put even more pressure on critics, they say.

Russia, Iran Warn U.S. They Will “Respond With Force” If Syria “Red Lines” Crossed Again
“What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well.”

Palm Sunday bombings of Egyptian Coptic churches kill 44
At least 44 people were killed in Egypt in bomb attacks at the cathedral of the Coptic Pope and another church on Palm Sunday, prompting anger and fear among Christians and leading to troop deployments and the declaration of a three-month state of emergency.

Bizarro World: Some Republicans Now Defending “Failing” ObamaCare
Last month, former House Speaker John Boehnor warned that the idea of a quick repeal and replace of Obamacare was just “happy talk” because “Republicans never ever agree on health care”…it’s looking increasingly like he was absolutely right.

ISIS Attacks US-Led Base In Southern Syria, As Assad Said To Use White Phosphorus
Islamic State militants attacked a US-led coalition base in southern Syria on Saturday, “triggering a fierce fight that required coalition airstrikes to repel, U.S. military officials said Sunday.” Meanwhile,  on Sunday the Qatar-owned Al Jazeera reported that Syrian jets have bombed the town of Idlib using White Phosphorus.

Judge won’t protect doctors fighting assisted-suicide rule
A federal judge threw out a lawsuit by two alliances of doctors opposing state rules that require them to advise terminally ill patients to consider doctor-assisted suicide.

Why Are Chinese Troops In Mexico?(video)
It is well documented that the Chinese have a strong military presence in Mexico. Isn’t it interesting that when the producers of Red Dawn #2 needed an invading force, they chose the Chinese. However, the Obama administration had a fit and the movie producers chose North Korea instead.


The Debt Crisis Of 2017: Once Their Vacation Ends, Congress Will Have 4 Days To Avoid A Government Shutdown On April 29

April 2017 could turn out to be one of the most important months in U.S. history that we have seen in a very long time.  On April 6th, Donald Trump attacked Syria on the 100th anniversary of the day that the U.S. officially entered World War I, and now at the end of this month we could be facing an unprecedented political crisis in Washington.  On Friday, members of Congress left town for their two week “Easter vacation”, and they won’t resume work until April 25th.  What this means is that Congress will have precisely four days when they get back to pass a bill to fund government operations or there will be a government shutdown starting on April 29th. (Read More…)


Israel Closes Southern Border With Egypt After Warning Of Imminent Passover Terror Attack From ISIS

Israel closed its Taba border crossing to the Sinai peninsula on Monday following warnings by its anti-terrorism office of an “imminent” militant attack there and urged its citizens to leave Egypt hours before the start of the Passover holiday, when Sinai is a popular destination for many secular Israelis.

Soon after the announcement, sirens wailed in parts of southern Israel alerting residents to a rocket attack. The military said a rocket fired from Sinai exploded in southern Israel, hitting a greenhouse but causing no injuries. The Islamic State group later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Yisrael Katz, Israel’s transportation and intelligence minister, said in a statement Monday there was intel regarding a potential “terror attack” against tourists in the Sinai peninsula. The crossing remains open for those wanting to return from Egypt.

The border closure comes a day after militants in Egypt bombed two churches, killing dozens of Christian worshippers during Palm Sunday ceremonies. In the wake of those attacks, Israel’s anti-terrorism office called on all Israeli tourists in Sinai to return home immediately and asked Israelis planning trips to the Sinai to cancel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement Monday sending Israel’s “condolences to the families of those who were murdered in yesterday’s terrorist attacks in Egypt” and wishing a “quick and full recovery to the wounded.”

He said “the world must unite and fight terrorism everywhere.”

The Israeli government statement says that intelligence information shows “increased activity by Islamic State” militants in Sinai. It adds that with the Islamic State group losing ground in Iraq and Syria, there is renewed “motivation to carry out terror attacks in different arenas at this time.”

Israel called on its citizens to leave Egypt on the eve of the Passover holiday that commemorates the biblical Exodus story of the Israelites’ escape from slavery in Egypt.

The weeklong festival is widely celebrated in Israel even among otherwise nonreligious Jews. But southern Sinai, with its pristine beaches and Red Sea coral reefs, has traditionally been a popular Israeli tourist destination — especially for secular Israelis during the Passover holiday.

Israel mostly shuts down after sundown for the holiday, as families and friends gather for Seder, the ritual multi-course meal where the story of the exodus from Egypt is discussed in detail so that the tradition is preserved throughout the generations.

Leavened goods like bread and items made from yeast such as beer are banned during the holiday. Instead, Jews eat matzo — unleavened bread — to illustrate how the Israelites had no time to let their bread rise as they fled from bondage in the land of the Pharaohs.

Despite the relaxing draw of Sinai, tourism there has declined since 2013, when the Egyptian military overthrew an elected Islamist president and an Islamic insurgency based in northern Sinai intensified. Rocket attacks on Israel from Sinai are relatively rare but Islamic militants there have been behind a few attacks in recent years. Egypt has been battling the militants, many linked to the Islamic State group.

Israel issues travel recommendations from time to time based on intelligence reports. Monday’s travel warning was unusual in its urgency and it is rare for the Taba crossing to be shut down. Israel signed a peace treaty with neighboring Egypt in 1979 and the two countries maintain close security cooperation. source


The War on Christians in the Middle East

“In effect, the world is witnessing the rise of an entire new generation of Christian martyrs. The carnage is occurring on such a vast scale that it represents not only the most dramatic Christian story of our time, but arguably the premier human rights challenge of this era as well.” (See also Egypt’s Copts Don’t Have Any (Benedict) Options.)


Mid-Day Snapshot

Apr. 10, 2017

Syria: Conspiracy Theories and False Claims

The Leftmedia grabs the tin foil hats, while Obama’s claim to have removed Assad’s chemical weapons proves false.

The Foundation

“But if we are to be told by a foreign Power … what we shall do, and what we shall not do, we have Independence yet to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little.” —George Washington (1796)

 Today on ChristianHeadlines
Two Christian Churches Bombed in Egypt on Palm Sunday, ISIS Takes Credit
Two Christian Churches Bombed in Egypt on Palm Sunday, ISIS Takes Credit
by
Christians in Egypt request our prayers after two churches in Northern Egypt suffered bomb attacks during Palm Sunday services on 9th April.
READ FULL ARTICLE   >>
NC Church Bans Boy Scouts Due to Transgender Policy
NC Church Bans Boy Scouts Due to Transgender Policy
by Veronica Neffinger
A North Carolina church has told a Boy Scout troop that they cannot use the church’s facilities after the Boy Scouts decided last January to allow transgender boys.
READ FULL ARTICLE
Trump Chooses Pro-Life Conservative Christian as Army Secretary
Trump Chooses Pro-Life Conservative Christian as Army Secretary
by Amanda Casanova
President Donald Trump has reportedly chosen Tennessee Sen. Mark Green (R-Clarksville) to be secretary of the Army.
READ FULL ARTICLE
Marriage is Still the Gold Standard of Family Stability
Marriage is Still the Gold Standard of Family Stability
by Kiley Crossland
Despite pushback, research shows that cohabitation is globally less stable for kids
READ FULL ARTICLE
Senate Confirms Gorsuch to Supreme Court
Senate Confirms Gorsuch to Supreme Court
by Evan Wilt
The highest court in the land has nine justices again.
READ FULL ARTICLE


ZeroHedge Frontrunning: April 10

  • Euro hovers above one-month low as French election nerves grow (Read More)
  • French Election Risk Reawakens as Bonds Drop, Volatility Jumps (Read More)
  • Hopes fade for U.S. bank earnings despite rally in financial shares (Read More)
  • Skepticism Grows About Higher Fed Rates Helping Banks’ Margins (Read More)
  • Record Bond Issuance Signals Doubts About Economy (Read More)
  • Price for Tax Overhaul Makes Bipartisan Deal Unlikely (Read More)
  • Congress Sinks Into Partisan Morass as Shutdown Threat Looms (Read More)
  • Trump considers trade order that could lead to duties (Read More)
  • Amazon.com’s Third-Party Sellers Hit By Hackers (Read More)
  • Nothing Normal About America’s Freakish Winter Weather (Read More)
  • Hedge fund wants to unify BHP’s corporate structure, split off U.S. oil (Read More)
  • U.S. to hold accountable those who commit crimes against ‘innocents’ (Read More)
  • Kremlin says Tillerson not meeting Putin (Read More)
  • South Carolina church shooter to plead guilty to murder in state court (Read More)
  • Corporate Pension Funds About to Become Huge Players in Bond Markets (Read More)
  • Scarcity effects of QE: A transaction-level analysis in the Bund market (Read More)
  • Rage at abandonment by the state as Egypt’s Christians dig graves after bombing (Read More)
  • Pakistani court sentences accused Indian spy to death (Read More)
  • Wall Street Cop Said to Purge Contractors as Budget Fight Looms (Read More)
  • Two Indonesians face 100 strokes of cane if found guilty of gay sex (Read More)
  • What Do You Do With Half a Million Rigged VWs? (Read More)

Top Headlines – 4/10/2017

41 killed in onslaught on Egyptian Copts on Palm Sunday

Egypt decries church blasts as ‘failed attempt against our unity’

Reeling from bombs, Egypt deploys guards, declares 3 months ’emergency’

ISIS claims responsibility for Egypt churches blasts

After bombings, Israel again urges citizens to leave Sinai

In bid for survival, archaeologists point to ‘Egyptian’ finger from Temple Mount

IDF to impose week-long closure of West Bank, Gaza ahead of Passover holiday

Police arrest activists planning Temple Mount sacrifice

Le Pen says France not responsible for WWII round up of Jews

Fierce clashes rock Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

Israel treating thousands of Syrians injured in war

Netanyahu doubles down on support for ‘moral’ US strike on Syria

Top Trump adviser: US seeks both to oust Assad and fight IS

No peace in Syria until Assad is ousted, says Nikki Haley

Trump aides differ over Assad’s future after Syria attack

Paul: Trump Must ‘Ask Permission’ Before Committing Acts of War

US Navy aircraft carrier reverses course, heads back toward Korean peninsula

North Korea vows to bolster its defenses, says Syria airstrikes prove its nukes justified

Abe praises Trump’s security commitment after call on Syria, North Korea

Assad allies say U.S. attack on Syria air base crosses ‘red lines’

Khamenei on the American attack in Syria: ‘a strategic mistake’

U.S. Strike in Syria Raises Tensions With Iran

Assad backers Iran, Russia threaten US after missile strike

Syria, Russia Would Be ‘Insane’ to Retaliate Over US Airstrikes, Former US Ambassador Says

Tillerson: Russia ‘failure allowed Syria chemical attack’

Trump officials tell Russia to drop its support for Syria’s Assad

Russian naval activity in Europe exceeds Cold War levels: U.S. admiral

Russia unveils Kazan nuclear sub, a powerful new weapon in its naval arsenal

ISIS massacres civilians fleeing Mosul

IS in Afghanistan: US special forces soldier is killed

Somalia’s New Army Chief Survives Car Bomb That Kills 13

Russian ‘Islamist’ asylum-seeker ID’d as Norway bomb suspect

‘Extreme Vetting’ Also Threatens Privacy of Americans

Hacker Group Releases Password To NSA’s “Top Secret Arsenal” In Protest Of Trump Betrayal

In a consequential week, Trump leans on the Washington establishment he vowed to disrupt

Battle over sanctuary cities escalating

Venezuela Protests As Maduro Blocks ‘Opposition’ For 15 Years

The number of reluctant part-time workers is still higher than before the Great Recession

How upgrading humans will become the next billion-dollar industry

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Punta de Burica, Panama

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,500ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 15,000ft

Kambalny volcano in the Kuril Islands, Russia erupts to 15,000ft

New Caledonia to face direct hit from Tropical Cyclone Cook

Why one day of thunderstorms turned into a five-day Delta meltdown

Hawaii LGBT couples seek equal access to fertility treatment

James Jacob Prasch – Evidence for the Resurrection

Anna LeBaron – How God Rescued Me from the ‘Mormon Charles Manson’

Sandy Simpson – An anatomy of a false prophecy

TD Jakes Conference Quietly Nixes Potter’s House Denver’s Chris Hill Amid Affair Allegations

Online Pastor in Iran Leads Drug Addict—And His Mother—to Jesus

Two pastors arrested for sex crimes against children

North Carolina Church Boots Boy Scouts as Allowing Girls Who Identify as Boys

Atheist Mocks Bible, Praises ‘Trinity of Science’ in Invocation Before Iowa Legislature

150 Christians Forced to Stop Church Prayers in India Amid Accusations of Conversions

Palm Sunday attacks: 44 dead, more than 100 injured in church bombings carried out by ISIS in Egypt

Hours before Passover, ISIS fires missile from Sinai into Israel

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 09:52 AM PDT

ISIS claims responsibility for rocket attack on Monday; Israel increases security, closes border crossing into Egypt. Just hours before Israelis begin celebrating Passover, ISIS fired…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Giant Sinkhole Swallows Bus and Car in India

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 09:47 AM PDT

A giant sinkhole reportedly opened in the middle of a crowded road in Chennai, India swallowing a car and it’s passenger bus on April 9,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Graphic Artist Who Designed ‘Shack’ Novel Renounces Book

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 09:38 AM PDT

The graphic artist who helped design the controversial best-selling novel “The Shack” has come forward to express his regret for being a part of the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Israelis Being Warned to Leave Egyptian Sinai after Church Bombings

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 09:34 AM PDT

On the eve of the Passover, the Israeli government sent condolences to Egypt and called on Israelis visiting the Egyptian Sinai Desert to return home…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Israel shuts border after terror warning Passover eve…

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 09:26 AM PDT

Israel closed its Taba border crossing to the Sinai peninsula on Monday following warnings by its anti-terrorism office of an “imminent” militant attack there and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn Unlocks the Mystery of Nisan

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 09:24 AM PDT

(By Rabbi Jonathan Cahn) Editor’s Note: This mystery is taken from The Book of Mysteries, Jonathan Cahn’s national best-seller that takes you on a one-year journey…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR: Fears grow over mystery Russian compound in Nicaragua…

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 09:20 AM PDT

US officials are keeping a keen eye on a Russian complex nestled on the edge of a volcanic crater in Nicaragua. The center, which is…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Oarfish washes ashore in Philippines 3 days before series of earthquakes hits Luzon

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 07:07 PM PDT

Another sign comes true! On April 4, 2017. a giant oarfish – 14.4-feet long – washed ashore in Southern Leyte, Philippines 4 days before a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New species of baseball-sized spider discovered in Baja California mine

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 06:50 PM PDT

While traipsing through the a mine in the hills of Baja California, Michael Wall and Jim Berrian struck gold. Skittering across the abandoned mine shaft…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

37 Percent of Men Don’t Think Using Dating Apps is Cheating

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 06:38 PM PDT

37 percent of men don’t think using dating apps while in a relationship is cheating, according to a new survey of over 3,500 college students…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Christians Worldwide Celebrate Palm Sunday

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 06:33 PM PDT

Christians worldwide celebrate Palm Sunday, commemorating the Triumphal Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week, a week that would end…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

HHGregg to close all 220 stores and Layoff 5000 Across the United States

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 06:26 PM PDT

The going-out-of-business sales start this weekend at HHGregg. The bankrupt retailer is planning to begin liquidating its assets Saturday after failing to find a buyer…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RETAIL APOCALYPSE: America’s Retailers Are Closing Stores Faster Than Ever

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 06:22 PM PDT

The battered American retail industry took a few more lumps this week, with stores at both ends of the price spectrum preparing to close their…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The Power of the Cross Will Triumph Over Evil

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 06:11 PM PDT

(Reported By Stephen Little) The Palm Sunday attacks that killed at least 43 people at two churches in Egypt are expected to spur religious freedom…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

NC Church Severs Ties With Boy Scouts of America Over Transgender Policy

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 06:08 PM PDT

Another church is severing its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America over its controversial decision to allow transgender scouts.  Coddle Creek Associate Reformed Presbyterian…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Would Most Americans Be Absolutely Blindsided By Multiple Wars And A Simultaneous Economic Collapse?

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 06:00 PM PDT

(by Michael Snyder) According to CBS News, an astounding three-fourths of all Americans have to “scramble to cover their living costs” each month.  In other…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Once Vacation Ends, Congress Will Have 4 Days To Avoid Government Shutdown On April 29

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 05:57 PM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) April 2017 could turn out to be one of the most important months in U.S. history that we have seen in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

WAR DRUMS: Russia and Iran threaten US with War if “Red Lines Are Crossed”

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 05:49 PM PDT

Russia and Iran have said they will respond to further American military actions following the air strike in Syria last week. In a joint statement,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

WAR DRUMS: Russian Naval activity in Europe Exceeds Cold War levels…

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 05:45 PM PDT

Recent Russian naval activity in Europe exceeds levels seen during the Cold War, a top U.S. and NATO military officer said, voicing concern that the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

4 Powerful Insights for this Passover Season

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 03:23 PM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) In this segment, we will discuss four powerful insights that were seen manifested in the lives of the children of Israel when…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

37 dead, over 100 injured in Palm Sunday Attacks at Packed Churches in Egypt

Posted: 09 Apr 2017 05:32 AM PDT

At least 37 people were killed and more than 100 injured in two separate Palm Sunday bombing attacks at Coptic Christian churches in Egypt. The…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

San Diego school district to create Muslim safe spaces, boost Islam lessons to combat bullying

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 08:47 PM PDT

Muslim safe spaces, increased lessons on Islam during social studies classes, and other measures will be adopted by San Diego Unified School District to combat…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Japanese scientists to use giant undersea drill to reach Earth’s mantle

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 08:21 PM PDT

Earth’s elusive mantle is too much to resist for a team of Japanese scientists who plan to be the first to reach it. The team…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U.S. Ambassador to UN Warns That Trump is Prepared to Take Further Action Against Syria

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 08:05 PM PDT

The day after the United States launched a missile attack against a Syrian air base, U.S. Ambasador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Navy strike group to move toward Korean peninsula

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 07:53 PM PDT

A U.S. Navy strike group will be moving toward the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula as a show of force, a U.S. official…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Expert Prepper Warns “U.S. Church Not Prepared For What’s Coming”

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 05:47 PM PDT

The American church is weak. It’s an unfortunate truth says Jake McCandless, the head of Prophecy Simplified and the author of the new book “Spiritual Prepper:…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U.S. Military Preparing to Deploy Laser Weapons on Vehicles

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 05:41 PM PDT

Laser weapons for planes, ships, and other vehicles are being readied to deploy after decades of development. Companies in the defense industry — including Boeing,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Top Vatican and U.S. Cardinal Support Gay-Friendly Book

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 05:37 PM PDT

The Vatican’s point man on family issues and a U.S. Cardinal are supporting a new book by a Jesuit priest that urges the Catholic Church…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Is Chaos in Syria Fulfilling Bible Prophecy?

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 05:34 PM PDT

The Syrian conflict — and the U.S. decision to strike a base inside the embattled country — is leading to increased concerns about the future of the nation’s…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Revival Strikes North Carolina Again!

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 01:53 PM PDT

Revival has once again come to the state of North Carolina as thousands are meeting at First Free Will Baptist Church in Hayesville, North Carolina….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Transgender Texas Boy Gets New Birth Certificate

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 01:39 PM PDT

Born Mary Grace, a nine-year-old North Texas child is now officially named Max. His parents petitioned a court to change all of his legal documents,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Large Asteroid to Buzz Past Earth This Month

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 01:34 PM PDT

A large asteroid is hurtling toward Earth — but there’s no need to duck and cover. The space rock, known by the very dull name…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Multiple Earthquakes Strike near Manila, Philippines within minutes – Evacuations, landslides and damages reported

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 01:11 PM PDT

Three earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 5.0 to 5.9 hit the main island of Luzon, Philippines within 20 minutes on Saturday, April 8, 2017. An…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Nearly 1,000 Evacuated as Volcanic Activity Increases in Indonesia

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 01:04 PM PDT

The number of earthquakes under Indonesian Banda Api volcano has sharply increased over the past couple of days prompting authorities to raise the volcanic alert…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Apocalyptic Flooding Destroys 80% of City in Argentina

Posted: 08 Apr 2017 12:50 PM PDT

One of the most important cities of Patagonia in terms of population, Comodoro Rivadavia, is being literally destroyed by flooding and strong winds since the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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:

JESUS IS GOD

While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.

JESUS IS LORD

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to YouYou may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/connect/copyright).


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(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

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Frequently Abused Verses: Did God Forbid us to Critique or Criticize Church Leaders? (Psalm 105:15; 1 Samuel 24:10)

1 Samuel 24:10; 1 Chronicles 16:22; Psalm 105:15

Code: B170410

False teaching thrives in environments where it is unlikely to be questioned. Charlatans and heretics prey on uncritical minds, and work tirelessly to protect and preserve that gullibility. Their success depends on dismantling every challenge to their authority and accuracy.

John MacArthur describes why that problem is rampant in the modern church:

In a time like this of tolerance, listen, false teaching will always cry intolerance; it will always say you’re being divisive, you’re being unloving, you’re being ungracious, because it can only survive when it doesn’t get scrutinized. And so it cries against any intolerance. It cries against any examination, any scrutiny.

In recent decades, some of the most notorious charismatic church leaders have been doing just that. They continually warn their critics to back off or face the imminent danger of divine judgment. Claiming God’s stamp of approval, they wield Psalm 105:15 like a loaded gun: “Touch not [the Lord’s] anointed” (KJV).

And lest you think such a description to be hyperbole, the following clip from Benny Hinn is a spectacular example.

Hinn’s handling of Psalm 105:15, as well as the story of Saul and David, is hopelessly wrong on too many levels to address in one blog post.

For example we could discuss how Hinn utterly fails to understand Judas’s role in God’s sovereign plan for the crucifixion, while woefully underestimating the deity of Christ. We could invalidate Hinn’s warnings against criticism by pointing out the time Paul rebuked Peter—or when Hinn has publicly rebuked Joel Osteen, among others. Then there’s the problem of Hinn basing his threats upon the extra-biblical revelation of another false teacher (Kenneth Copeland).

What does it mean to “touch”?

But there is one simple, glaring error that explains all the other problems and exposes Hinn as the incompetent and unqualified Bible teacher that he is. When David says, “I will not stretch out my hand against [Saul], for he is the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 24:10), he is explaining why he didn’t kill Saul, not why he didn’t criticize Saul. In fact, David was openly critical of Saul on numerous occasions. Moreover, 1 Samuel 24:10 is part of a larger discourse where David rebukes Saul face-to-face over his murderous scheming: “I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life to take it. May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you” (1 Samuel 24:11–13). Even if Benny Hinn was “the Lord’s anointed”—he’s not—none of his critics are attempting to “touch” him in the sense described in 1 Samuel 24:10 (or Psalm 105:15; or 1 Chronicles 16:22).

Who are the anointed?

There is another fatal flaw in Hinn’s interpretation. He—and all those who follow this teaching—assume that only certain persons are “anointed.” They claim that pastors and self-appointed prophets and apostles have a unique anointing from God that immunizes them from criticism. But such a concept is foreign to Scripture. In short, the Bible teaches that all believers have an anointing from God.

In his first epistle, the apostle John explained what it means to be anointed as a New Testament believer. After warning his readers about antichrists who were coming to deceive them, John reminded them of their security because of Christ’s anointing:

These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. (1 John 2:26–27)

The anointing John refers to is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit—a reality for all true Christians. John MacArthur explains the context and meaning of “anointing” as it appears in 1 John:

The false teachers who threatened John’s readers employed the terms for knowledge and anointing to describe their religious experience. They arrogantly saw themselves as possessing an elevated and esoteric form of divine knowledge, and as the recipients of a special, secret, transcendent anointing. That led them to believe they were privy to truth that the uninitiated lacked. John’s response, which was both a rebuttal to the antichrists and a reassurance to the believers, was to assert that, in reality, all true Christians have an anointing from the Holy One.

Because believers have received that anointing, they have the true understanding of God that comes exclusively through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6), “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). They do not need any secret, special, or transcendent understanding or esoteric insight. Anointing (chrisma) literally means “ointment” or “oil” (cf. Hebrews 1:9). In this text it refers figuratively to the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:21–22), who has taken up residency in believers at the behest of Jesus Christ, the Holy One (cf. Luke 4:34; Acts 3:14), and reveals through Scripture all they need to know (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:9–10). [1]

The anointing we have as believers reveals the truth and therefore exposes the lies of false teachers. How ironic that the “anointing” Benny Hinn evokes to extort and manipulate churchgoers is actually our warning system to expose the self-serving deception of wolves like him.

Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170410
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to You

You may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/about#copyright).

Christ Justifies No One Whom He Does Not also Sanctify – John Calvin

Two amazing quotes by Calvin on the relationship of justification and sanctification.

by John Calvin

:Justification and sanctification, gifts of grace, go together as if tied by an inseparable bond, so that if anyone tries to separate them, he is, in a sense, tearing Christ to pieces. Sanctification doesn’t just flow from justification, so that one produces the other. Both come from the same Source. Christ justifies no one whom He does not also sanctify. By virtue of our union with Christ, He bestows both gifts, the one never without the other.”
Calvin’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:30, Volume XX, Baker, 1993, p. 93.

Source: Christ Justifies No One Whom He Does Not also Sanctify

Media archive on CHC Verdict saga

churchwatch central

The results of the latest verdict of City Harvest’s accused six were presented on Friday 7 April, 2017.

Media articles about the appeal are listed below:

City Harvest appeal: Kong Hee’s sentence reduced to 3.5 years
Channel News Asia, April 07 Apr 2017

All 6 City Harvest Church leaders get reduced sentences
Mother Ship, April 07 2017

Singapore High Court cuts jail terms for Kong Hee and 5 City Harvest Church leaders
The Business Times, April 07 2017

Internet reacts with outrage & disillusionment to reduced sentences for 6 CHC Kongvicts
Mother Ship, April 07 2017

One of the City Harvest leaders saddened by sentencing, because “ultimately we did it for the church”
Mother Ship, April 07 2017

Kong Hee could be out of jail in 2 years 4 months due to S’pore’s two-third remission system
Mother Ship, April 07 2017

City Harvest Church issues statement on appeal: ‘We thank God for the shorter sentences’

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AGC seeks Court of Appeal to reinstate original convictions for City Harvest Church leaders.

churchwatch central

Mother Ship reports,

“The Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) has filed a Criminal Reference on April 10 with the Court of Appeal, seeking it to exercise its powers to reinstate the original convictions for City Harvest Church co-founder Kong Hee and five of his fellow church leaders.”

Read more here:

AGC seeks Court of Appeal to reinstate original convictions for City Harvest Church leaders

View original post

Kong Hee & City Harvest Church saga may not be over yet.

churchwatch central

Mother Ship has suggested that the criminal case involving Kong Hee and the City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders might not be over just yet:

“Perhaps this hasn’t been made clear, but it looks like the criminal case involving Kong Hee and the City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders might not be over just yet.”

Read more here:

Here’s why Minister Shanmugam is right that the City Harvest case is not over yet

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ISIS targets Egypt, vows to “liberate” Cairo, slaughter Christians. Palm Sunday attacks on two Egyptian churches latest salvo in dangerous new offensive. Here’s the latest.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Cairo2

(Central Israel) — Having just landed back in Israel last night to rejoin my family and celebrate Passover, I was heart-broken to hear the news out of Cairo.

But let’s be clear: the savage attacks by the Islamic State yesterday against Christians in two Egyptian churches packed for Palm Sunday are not isolated incidents. They are the latest salvos in a dangerous new ISIS offensive to destabilize Egypt, and they underscore the urgency of close Egyptian security cooperation with both the U.S. and Israel to neutralize this jihadist threat.

Consider the context of the two church attacks.

In May 2016, ISIS released a blizzard of videos and social media statements in support of “Sinai Province,” one of their jihadist affiliates. Since then, ISIS in the Sinai has ramped up its terrorist attacks against Egyptian citizens and military forces in Sinai and rocket attacks against civilians in southern Israel.

“The series warns Egyptians against adopting the ‘new religion’ of democracy, and urge…

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Faith does not determine salvation; grace determines salvation

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ Luke 18:13 (NASB) 

In our day it is not unusual to hear a man-centered version of the Gospel message that has everything turned around backward and is presented in such a way that is meant to appeal emotionally to unbelievers with a statement such as, “Christ’s crucifixion is proof of our worth to God!” The appeal is meant to show that if Christ was willing to go to the Cross to save sinners like us then that proves we are of value to God. I have even heard one version of this that says that Jesus would have gone to that Cross even if it was for just one unrepentant sinner. Is that found anywhere in…

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Why Should I Believe that Jesus Rose from the Dead?

The following is adapted from Michael Horton, “Risen Indeed.”

In answering this question, it’s helpful for us to return to the “facts of the case.” Here, speculation is useless. It does not matter what we thought reality was like: whether we believed in thirty gods or none. It doesn’t matter what we find helpful, meaningful, or fulfilling. This is not about spirituality or moral uplift. Something has happened in history and we cannot wish it away. It either happened or it did not happen, but the claim itself is hardly meaningless or beyond investigation. Let’s look at the facts of the case.

The earliest Christians testified to the following elements of the resurrection claim, even to the point of martyrdom:

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April 10, 2017: Verse of the day

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Seemingly with one voice, the whole multitude was crying out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest!” The Hebrew word hosanna is an exclamatory plea meaning “save now.” But the crowd on that day was not interested in Jesus’ saving their souls but only in His saving their nation. Like the Twelve, they had long wondered why, if Jesus were truly the Messiah, He had not used His supernatural powers against the Romans. Now at last, they thought, He will manifest Himself as Conqueror. They were about to celebrate Passover, which commemorated the Lord’s miraculous deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. What better occasion could there be for the Lord’s Anointed, the Messiah, to make the ultimate and final deliverance of His people from tyranny?

The people wanted a conquering, reigning Messiah who would come in great military power to throw off the brutal yoke of Rome and establish a kingdom of justice and righteousness where God’s chosen people would have special favor. But Jesus did not come to conquer Rome but to conquer sin and death. He did not come to make war with Rome but to make peace with God for men.

Although the shouts of the multitude were entirely appropriate and were, in fact, fulfillment of prophecy, the people had no idea of the true significance of what they were doing, much less of what Jesus would soon do on the cross in their behalf. They neither understood the Lord nor themselves. He intentionally did not enter Jerusalem with a powerful retinue of soldiers who would fight for Him to the death. He entered instead with a ragtag multitude of ordinary people, most of whom, despite their loud proclamation of His greatness, would soon turn against Him, and none of whom would stand by Him.

The multitude acknowledged Jesus as the Son of David, which was the most common messianic title. They were crying out for Messiah’s deliverance, pleading, in effect, “Save us now, great Messiah! Save us now!” They were quoting from a popular praise psalm from the Hallel (Psalms 113–118), in particular Psalm 118, which was also a psalm of deliverance, sometimes called the conqueror’s psalm. More than a hundred years earlier, the Jews had hailed Jonathan Maccabeus with the same psalm after he delivered the Acra from Syrian domination.

The multitude knew who Jesus was, but they did not understand or truly believe what they knew. They were right in their belief that He was the Messiah, the Son of David, and that He had come in the name of the Lord. But they were wrong in their belief about the sort of Deliverer He was. They knew He was a king, but they did not understand the nature of His kingship or His kingdom. They did not realize any more than Pilate that the kingdom He came then to bring was not of this world (John 18:36). That is why, when it dawned on them a few days later that Jesus had not come to deliver them from the Romans, they turned against Him. When they clamored before Pilate for the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus (John 18:40), they shouted, in effect, the words Jesus had predicted in the parable of the nobleman: “We do not want this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14).

The people wanted Jesus on their own terms, and they would not bow to a King who was not of their liking, even though He were the Son of God. They wanted Jesus to destroy Rome but not their cherished sins or their hypocritical, superficial religion. But He would not deliver them on their terms, and they would not be delivered on His. He was not a Messiah who came to offer a panacea of external peace in the world but to offer the infinitely greater blessing of internal peace with God.

Many people today are open to a Jesus who they think will give them wealth, health, success, happiness, and the other worldly things they want. Like the multitude at the triumphal entry, they will loudly acclaim Jesus as long as they believe He will satisfy their selfish desires. But like the same multitude a few days later, they will reject and denounce Him when He does not deliver as expected. When His Word confronts them with their sin and their need of a Savior, they curse Him and turn away

The Romans were godless and cruel oppressors, and the Lord would not allow them to survive indefinitely. But they were not His people’s greatest enemy. Their greatest enemy was sin, and from that they refused to be delivered. God would allow the holy Temple of His chosen people to be destroyed long before He allowed their pagan oppressors to be destroyed. He would, in fact, allow those very pagans to destroy the holy Temple.

On the day after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem Jesus “entered the temple and cast out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer;” but you are making it a robbers’ den’ ”(Matt. 21:12–13). That cleansing of the Temple was purely symbolic and had little lasting effect. The mercenary moneychangers and sacrifice sellers were doubtlessly back in business the next day. But less than forty years later, in a.d. 70, the Romans would utterly destroy the Temple, after which, just as Jesus foretold, not one stone of it was left upon another that was not torn down (Matt. 24:2). Not until modern times, nearly two thousand years hater, could even its ruins be identified.

As far as the true intent of the people was concerned, Jesus’ coronation was a hollow, empty pretense. The words of the multitude were right, but their hearts were not. In any case, He had not come at that time to be crowned but to be crucified.

He will be crowned one day in a way that is perfectly befitting. The times of rejection will be over, and at His name “every knee [will] bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and … every tongue [will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10–11). The first time He came, He came to provide men’s salvation. But when He comes again, He will come to display His sovereignty His great and ultimate coronation in that day is described by John:

And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped. (Rev. 5:8–14)[1]


9 Crowds ahead and behind may be incidental confirmation of two other details. First, John 12:12 speaks of crowds coming out of Jerusalem to meet Jesus. Apparently the Galilean pilgrims accompanying Jesus and the Jerusalem crowd coming out to greet him formed a procession of praise. Second, the fact that the Jerusalem crowds knew he was approaching supports the stopover in Bethany, which allows time for the news to spread. Messianic fervor was high, and perhaps this contributed to Jesus’ desire to present himself as the Prince of Peace.

The words of praise come primarily from Psalm 118:25–26. “Hosanna” transliterates the Hebrew expression that originally was a cry for help: “Save!” (cf. 2 Sa 14:4; 2 Ki 6:26). In time, it became an invocation of blessing and even an acclamation, the latter being the meaning here (cf. Gundry, Use of the Old Testament, 41–43). “Son of David” is messianic and stresses the kingly role Messiah was to play (cf. Mark, Luke, and John for explicit references to “kingdom” or “king”). “He who comes in the name of the Lord” is cited by Jesus himself a little later (23:39; cf. 3:11; 11:3), but some scholars object that if this phrase had been a messianic acclamation by the people, the authorities would have stepped in. The words, they say, must be a formula of greeting to pilgrims on the way to the temple.

Such an assessment betrays too stark an “either-or” mentality to weigh the evidence plausibly. “Son of David” in the previous line is unavoidably messianic, and the authorities do raise objections (v. 16). But crowd sentiments are fickle. On the one hand, acclamation can rapidly dissipate, so instant action by the authorities was scarcely necessary; on the other hand, it is foolish to antagonize the crowd at the height of excitement (cf. 26:4–5, 16). “Hosanna in the highest” is probably equivalent to “Glory to God in the highest” (Lk 2:14). The people praise God in the highest heavens for sending the Messiah and, if “Hosanna” retains some of its original force, also cry to him for deliverance.

Two final reflections on this verse are necessary. First, Psalm 118 was not only used at the Feast of Tabernacles (m. Sukkah 4:5) but also at the other two major feasts, Dedication and Passover—at the latter as part of “the great Hallel” (Pss 113–18). The use of Psalm 118 is, therefore, no support for Manson’s suggestion (see Overview, 21:1–11). Second, Walvoord’s interpretation stumbles badly: “They recognized that he was in the kingly line, although they do not seem to have entered into the concept that he was coming into Jerusalem as its King.” On the contrary, it is hard to think of the crowd’s making fine distinctions between “kingly line” and “king.” Moreover, one growing thrust of this gospel is, as we have seen, that even where Jesus was perceived, however dimly, as King Messiah, he was not perceived as Suffering Servant. In the expectations of the day, it was fairly easy for the crowd, after hearing Jesus’ preaching and seeing his miracles, to ascribe messiahship to him as much in their hope as in conviction. But it was far harder for them to grasp the inevitability of his suffering and death and the expansion of the “people of God” beyond the Jewish race.[2]

21:9 The multitudes shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” This quotation from Psalm 118:25, 26 obviously applies to the Messiah’s advent. Hosanna originally meant “save now”; perhaps the people meant, “Save us from our Roman oppressors.” Later the term became an exclamation of praise. The phrases, “Son of David” and, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” both clearly indicate that Jesus was being recognized as the Messiah. He is the Blessed One who comes by Jehovah’s authority to do His will.

Mark’s account records as part of the crowd’s shouts the phrase, “Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord” (Mark 11:10). This indicates that the people thought the kingdom was about to be set up with Christ sitting on the throne of David. In shouting, “Hosanna in the highest,” the crowd was calling on the heavens to join the earth in praising the Messiah, and perhaps calling on Him to save from the highest heavens.

Mark 11:11 records that, once in Jerusalem, Jesus went to the temple—not inside the temple but into the courtyard. Presumably it was the house of God, but He was not at home in this temple because the priests and people refused to give Him His rightful place. After looking around briefly, the Savior withdrew to Bethany with the twelve. It was Sunday evening.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 21:8). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, pp. 495–496). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1281–1282). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

April 10 – Rejecting Worldly Ambitions

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6).

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Only Christ can satisfy your deepest needs.

Within every man and woman is a hunger and thirst only God can satisfy. That’s why Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).

Sadly, most people search for happiness in the wrong places. The prodigal son in Luke 15 is one example. He turned from God to pursue sinful pleasures, but he soon discovered that sin cannot satisfy a hungering soul. That’s when he returned to his father’s house, where he was given a great feast—a picture of salvation.

The rich fool in Luke 12 thought that amassing possessions was the key to happiness, saying to himself, “‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops? … This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (vv. 17–21). Unlike the prodigal son, the rich fool never turned to God in repentance. Consequently he lost everything.

The rich fool is typical of many people today who ignore Christ and attempt to fill the void with worldly pleasures. Most are oblivious to the eternal peril that awaits them if they don’t repent.

Those who love God shun worldliness, pursue righteousness, and know the satisfaction that comes from pleasing Him. That’s the essence of the Sermon on the Mount: “Seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all [you need] shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). Keep that goal uppermost in your mind as you face the challenge of each new day.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God that He satisfies the deepest desires of your heart.

For Further Study: Read Daniel 4:28–37. ✧ What was Nebuchadnezzar’s sin? ✧ How did God punish Him? ✧ How did Nebuchadnezzar respond after being punished?[1]


Happy Are the Hungry

(5:6)

16

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (5:6)

This beatitude speaks of strong desire, of driving pursuit, of a passionate force inside the soul. It has to do with ambition-ambition of the right sort-whose object is to honor, obey, and glorify God by partaking of His righteousness. This holy ambition is in great contrast to the common ambitions of men to gratify their own lusts, accomplish their own goals, and satisfy their own egos.

As no other creature, Lucifer basked in the splendor and radiance of God’s glory. The name Lucifer means “star of the morning” or, more literally, “the bright one.” But he was not satisfied with living in God’s glory, and he said in his heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa. 14:13–14). His ambition was not to reflect God’s glory but to usurp God’s sovereign power-while forsaking righteousness. Therefore when Satan declared his intention to make himself like the Most High, the Most High responded by declaring to His adversary, “You will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit” (v. 15).

As king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar ruled over the greatest of all world empires. One day as he walked on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, “the king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?”’ (Dan. 4:29–30). Nebuchadnezzar lusted after praise just as Lucifer lusted after power. God’s reaction was immediate: “While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes’ ” (vv. 31–32).

Jesus told a parable about a rich farmer whose crops were so abundant that he did not have enough space to store them. After planning to tear down his old barns and build bigger ones, he said, “ ‘I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16–21).

Lucifer hungered for power; Nebuchadnezzar hungered for praise; and the rich fool hungered for pleasure. Because they hungered for wrong things and rejected God’s good things, they forfeited both.

Jesus declares that the deepest desire of every person ought to be to hunger and thirst for righteousness. That is the Spirit-prompted desire that will lead a person to salvation and keep him strong and faithful once he is in the kingdom. It is also the only ambition that, when fulfilled, brings enduring happiness.

The American Declaration of Independence asserts that citizens have the right to the pursuit of happiness. The founding fathers did not presume to guarantee that all who pursue it would find it, because that is beyond the power of any government to provide. Each person is free to seek whatever kind of happiness he wants in the way he wants within the law. Sadly, most US citizens, like most people throughout all of history, have chosen to pursue the wrong kind of happiness in ways that provide no kind of happiness.

Jesus says that the way to happiness, the way to being truly blessed, is the way of spiritual hunger and thirst.

The Necessity for Spiritual Hunger

Hunger and thirst represent the necessities of physical life. Jesus’ analogy demonstrates that righteousness is required for spiritual life just as food and water are required for physical life. Righteousness is not an optional spiritual supplement but a spiritual necessity. We can no more live spiritually without righteousness than we can live physically without food and water.

Since the great famine in Egypt during the time of Joseph, and probably long before then, the world has been periodically plagued by famines. Rome experienced a famine in 436 b.c., which was so severe that thousands of people threw themselves into the Tiber River to drown rather than starve to death. Famine struck England in a.d. 1005, and all of Europe suffered great famines in 879, 1016, and 1162. In our own century, despite the advances in agriculture, many parts of the world still experience periodic famines. In recent years Africa has seen some of the most devastating famines in the world’s history. In the last 100 years tens of millions throughout the world have died from starvation or from the many diseases that accompany severe malnutrition.

A starving person has a single, all-consuming passion for food and water. Nothing else has the slightest attraction or appeal; nothing else can even get his attention.

Those who are without God’s righteousness are starved for spiritual life. But tragically they do not have the natural desire for spiritual life that they do for physical. The tendency of fallen mankind is to turn to itself and to the world for meaning and life, just as “ ‘a dog returns to its own vomit,’ and ‘a sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire’ ” (2 Pet. 2:22; cf. Prov. 26:11).

The heart of every person in the world was created with a sense of inner emptiness and need. Yet apart from God’s revelation men do not recognize what the need is or know what will satisfy it. Like the prodigal son, they will eat pigs’ food, because they have nothing else. “Why,” God asks, “do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?” (Isa. 55:2). The reason is that men have forsaken God, “the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13). Though God has created men with a need for Himself, they try to satisfy that need through lifeless gods of their own making.

Again like the prodigal son, men are prone to take good things God has given-such as possessions, health, freedom, opportunities, and knowledge-and spend them on pleasure, power, popularity, fame, and every other form of self-satisfaction. But unlike the prodigal, they are often content to stay in the far country, away from God and away from His blessings.

People are warned not to “love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15–17).

Seeking satisfaction only in God and in His provision is a mark of those who come into His kingdom. Those who belong to the King hunger and thirst for the King’s righteousness. They desire sin to be replaced with virtue and disobedience to be replaced by obedience. They are eager to serve the Word and will of God.

Jesus’ call to spiritual hunger and thirst also follows logically in the progression of the Beatitudes. The first three are essentially negative, commands to forsake evil things that are barriers to the kingdom. In poverty of spirit we turn away from self-seeking; in mourning we turn away from self-satisfaction; and in meekness we turn away from self-serving.

The first three beatitudes are also costly and painful. Becoming poor in spirit involves death to self. Mourning over sin involves facing up to our sinfulness. Becoming meek involves surrendering our power to God’s control.

The fourth beatitude is more positive and is a consequence of the other three. When we put aside self, sins, and power and turn to the Lord, we are given a great desire for righteousness. The more we put aside what we have, the more we long for what God has.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, “This Beatitude again follows logically from the previous ones; it is a statement to which all the others lead. It is the logical conclusion to which they come, and it is something for which we should all be profoundly thankful and grateful to God. I do not know of a better test that anyone can apply to himself or herself in this whole matter of the Christian profession than a verse like this. If this verse is to you one of the most blessed statements of the whole of Scripture, you can be quite certain you are a Christian. If it is not, then you had better examine the foundations again” (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971], 1:73–74).

The person who has no hunger and thirst for righteousness has no part in God’s kingdom. To have God’s life within us through the new birth in Jesus Christ is to desire more of His likeness within us by growing in righteousness. This is readily clear from David’s confession in Psalm 119:97, “O how I love Thy law.” Paul echoes David’s passion for righteousness in Romans 7:22, where he testifies, “I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man.” The true believer desires to obey, even though he struggles with unredeemed flesh (cf. Rom. 8:23).

The Meaning of Spiritual Hunger

Most of us have never faced life-threatening hunger and thirst. We think of hunger as missing a meal or two in a row, and of thirst as having to wait an hour on a hot day to get a cold drink. But the hunger and thirst of which Jesus speaks here is of a much more intense sort.

During the liberation of Palestine in World War I, a combined force of British, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers was closely pursuing the Turks as they retreated from the desert. As the allied troops moved northward past Beersheba they began to outdistance their water-carrying camel train. When the water ran out, their mouths got dry, their heads ached, and they became dizzy and faint. Eyes became bloodshot, lips swelled and turned purple, and mirages became common. They knew that if they did not make the wells of Sheriah by nightfall, thousands of them would die-as hundreds already had done. Literally fighting for their lives, they managed to drive the Turks from Sheriah.

As water was distributed from the great stone cisterns, the more able-bodied were required to stand at attention and wait for the wounded and those who would take guard duty to drink first It was four hours before the last man had his drink. During that time the men stood no more than twenty feet from thousands of gallons of water, to drink of which had been their consuming passion for many agonizing days. It is said that one of the officers who was present reported, “I believe that we all learned our first real Bible lesson on the march from Beersheba to Sheriah Wells. If such were our thirst for God, for righteousness and for His will in our lives, a consuming, all-embracing, preoccupying desire, how rich in the fruit of the Spirit would we be?” (E.M. Blaiklock, “Water,” Eternity (August 1966), p. 27).

That is the kind of hunger and thirst of which Jesus speaks in this beatitude. The strongest and deepest impulses in the natural realm are used to represent the depth of desire the called of God and redeemed have for righteousness. The present participle is used in each case and signifies continuous longing, continuous seeking. Those who truly come to Jesus Christ come hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and those who are in Him continue to know that deep longing for holiness.

The parallel passage in Luke says, “Blessed are you who hunger now” (6:21). Desire for righteousness is to characterize our life now and in the rest of our earthly existence.

When Moses was in the wilderness, God appeared to him in a burning bush. When he went back to Egypt to deliver his people, he saw God’s might and power in the miracles and the ten plagues. He saw God part the Dead Sea and swallow up their Egyptian pursuers. He saw God’s glory in the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire which led Israel in the wilderness. He built a Tabernacle for God and saw the Lord’s glory shining over the Holy of Holies. Over and over Moses had sought and had seen God’s glory. “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11). But Moses was never satisfied and always wanted to see more. He continued to plead, “I pray Thee, show Thy glory” (v. 18).

Moses never had enough of the Lord. Yet from that dissatisfaction came satisfaction. Because of his continual longing for God, Moses found favor in His sight (v. 17), and God promised him, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you” (v. 19).

David declared, “O God, Thou art my God,” but continued, “I shall seek Thee earnestly; my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Ps. 63:1).

Paul had great visions of God and great revelations from God, yet he was not satisfied. He had given up his own righteousness “derived from the law” and was growing in “the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” But still he longed to “know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:9–10). Peter expressed his own great desire and hunger when he counseled those to whom he wrote to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).

John Darby wrote, “To be hungry is not enough; I must be really starving to know what is in God’s heart toward me. When the prodigal son was hungry, he went to feed on the husks, but when he was starving, he turned to his father.” That is the hunger of which the fourth beatitude speaks, the hunger for righteousness that only the Father can satisfy.

Several years ago someone told me of a friend who had begun coming to a Bible study but soon gave it up, explaining that she wanted to be religious but did not want to make the commitment that Scripture demands. She had little hunger for the things of God. She wanted to pick and choose, to nibble at whatever suited her fancy-because basically she was satisfied with the way she was. In her own eyes she had enough, and thereby became one of the self-adjudged rich whom the Lord sends away empty-handed. It is only the hungry that He fills with good things (Luke 1:53).

The Object of Spiritual Hunger

As with the other beatitudes, the goal of hungering and thirsting for righteousness is twofold. For the unbeliever the goal is salvation; for the believer it is sanctification.

For Salvation

When a person initially hungers and thirsts for righteousness he seeks salvation, the righteousness that comes when one turns from sin to submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ. In poverty of spirit he sees his sin; in mourning he laments and turns from his sin; in meekness he submits his own sinful way and power to God; and in hunger and thirst he seeks God’s righteousness in Christ to replace his sin.

In many Old Testament passages righteousness is used as a synonym for salvation. “My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth,” the Lord said through Isaiah (51:5). Daniel wrote of the time when “those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Dan. 12:3).

When a person abandons all hope of saving himself, all confidence in self-righteousness, and begins to hunger for the salvation that brings God’s righteousness and the obedience that God requires, he will be blessed, be made divinely happy.

The Jews’ greatest obstacle to receiving the gospel was their self-righteousness, their confidence in their own purity and holiness, which they imagined was created by good works. Because they were God’s chosen race, and as keepers of the law-or, more often, keepers of men’s interpretations of the law-they felt heaven was assured.

The Messiah told them, however, that the only way to salvation was by hungering and thirsting for God’s righteousness to replace their own self-righteousness, which was really unrighteousness.

For Sanctification

For believers, the object of hungering and thirsting is to grow in the righteousness received from trusting in Christ. That growth is sanctification, which more than anything else is the mark of a Christian.

No believer “arrives” in his spiritual life until he reaches heaven, and to claim perfection of any sort before then is the ultimate presumption. Children of the kingdom never stop needing or hungering for more of God’s righteousness and holiness to be manifest in them through their obedience. Paul prayed for believers in Philippi that their love might “abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:9–10).

In the Greek language, verbs such as hunger and thirst normally have objects that are in the partitive genitive, a case that indicates incompleteness, or partialness. A literal English rendering would be: “I hunger for of food” or “I thirst for of water.” The idea is that a person only hungers for some food and some water, not for all the food and water in the world.

But Jesus does not here use the partitive genitive but the accusative, and righteousness is therefore the unqualified and unlimited object of hunger and thirst. The Lord identifies those who desire all the righteousness there is (cf. Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 1:15–16).

Jesus also uses the definite article (tēn), indicating that He is not speaking of just any righteousness, but the righteousness, the only true righteousness-that which comes from God and, in fact, is God’s very own righteousness which He has in Himself.

It becomes obvious, then, that we cannot possibly have our longing for godliness satisfied in this life, so we are left to continually hunger and thirst until the day we are clothed entirely in Christ’s righteousness.

The Result of Spiritual Hunger

The result of hungering and thirsting for righteousness is being satisfied. Chortazō was frequently used of the feeding of animals until they wanted nothing more. They were allowed to eat until they were completely satisfied.

Jesus’ divine pronouncement is that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be given total satisfaction. The giving of satisfaction is God’s work, as the future passive tense indicates: they shall be satisfied. Our part is to seek; His part is to satisfy.

Again there is a marvelous paradox, because though saints continually seek God’s righteousness, always wanting more and never getting all, they nevertheless will be satisfied. We may eat steak or our favorite pie until we can eat no more, yet our taste for those things continues and even increases. It is the very satisfaction that makes us want more. We want to eat more of those things because they are so satisfying. The person who genuinely hungers and thirsts for God’s righteousness finds it so satisfying that he wants more and more.

God’s satisfying those who seek and love Him is a repeated theme in the Psalms. “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good” (Ps. 107:9). “The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing” (34:10). The best-loved of all psalms begins, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” and later declares, “Thou dost prepare a table before me … my cup overflows” (23:1, 5).

Predicting the great blessings of Christ’s millennial kingdom, Jeremiah assured Israel that in that day, “ ‘My people shall be satisfied with My goodness,’ declares the Lord” (Jer. 31:14). Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar that “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14). To the crowds near Capernaum, many of whom had been among the five thousand He fed with the five barley loaves and the two fish, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).

The Testing Of Spiritual Hunger

There are several marks of genuine hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness. First is dissatisfaction with self. The person who is pleased with his own righteousness will see no need for God’s. The great Puritan Thomas Watson wrote, “He has most need of righteousness that least wants it,” No matter how rich his spiritual experience or how advanced his spiritual maturity, the hungering Christian will always say, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24).

Second is freedom from dependence on external things for satisfaction. A hungry man cannot be satisfied by an arrangement of lovely flowers, or beautiful music, or pleasant conversation. All of those things are good, but they have no ability to satisfy hunger. Neither can anything but God’s own righteousness satisfy the person who has true spiritual hunger and thirst.

Third is craving for the Word of God, the basic spiritual food lie provides His children. A hungry man does not have to be begged to eat. Jeremiah rejoiced, “Thy words were found and I ate them, and Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jer. 15:16). The more we seek God’s righteousness, the more we will want to devour Scripture. Feeding on God’s Word increases our appetite for it.

Fourth is the pleasantness of the things of God. “To a famished man any bitter thing is sweet” (Prov. 27:7). The believer who seeks God’s righteousness above all other things will find fulfillment and satisfaction even in those things that humanly are disastrous. Thomas Watson comments that “the one who hungers and thirsts after righteousness can feed on the myrrh of the gospel as well as the honey.” Even the Lord’s reproofs and discipline bring satisfaction, because they are signs of our Father’s love. “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6).

A final mark of true spiritual hunger is unconditionality. When our spiritual hunger and thirst are genuine they will make no conditions; they will seek and accept God’s righteousness in whatever way He chooses to provide it and will obey His commands no matter how demanding they may be. The least of God’s righteousness is more valuable than the greatest of anything we possess in ourselves or that the world can offer. The rich young ruler wanted only the part of God’s kingdom that fit his own plans and desires, and he was therefore unfit for the kingdom. He thirsted more for other things than for the things of God. His conditions for God’s blessings barred him from them.

The spiritually hungry do not ask for Christ and economic success, Christ and personal satisfaction, Christ and popularity, or Christ and anything else. They want only Christ and what God in His wisdom and love sovereignly provides through Christ-whatever that may or may not be.

The spiritually hungry cry, “My soul is crushed with longing after Thine ordinances at all times” (Ps. 119:20), and they confess, “At night my soul longs for Thee, indeed, my spirit within me seeks Thee diligently” (Isa. 26:9).[2]


6 “Hunger and thirst” vividly express desire. The sons of Korah cried, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Ps 42:2; cf. 63:1). The deepest spiritual famine is hunger for the word of God (Am 8:11–14).

The precise nature of the righteousness for which the blessed hunger and thirst is disputed. Some argue that it is the imputed righteousness of God—eschatological salvation or, more narrowly, justification: the blessed hunger for it and receive it (e.g., Grundmann; McNeile; Zahn; Barth [“Matthew’s Understanding of the Law,” 123–24]; Bultmann [Theology of the New Testament, 1:273]; Schrenk [TDNT, 2:198]). This is certainly plausible, since the immediate context does arouse hopes for God’s eschatological action, and hungering suggests that the righteousness that satisfies will be given as a gift.

The chief objection is that dikaiosynē (“righteousness,” GK 1466) in Matthew does not have that sense anywhere else (cf. Przybylski, Righteousness in Matthew, 96–98). So it is better to take this righteousness as simultaneously personal righteousness (cf. Hill, Greek Words, 127–28.; Strecker, Weg der Gerechtigkeit, 156–58) and justice in the broadest sense (cf. Ridderbos, Coming of the Kingdom, 190–91; Turner). These people hunger and thirst, not only that they may be righteous (i.e., that they may wholly do God’s will from the heart), but that justice may be done everywhere. All unrighteousness grieves them and makes them homesick for the new heaven and new earth—the home of righteousness (2 Pe 3:13). Satisfied with neither personal righteousness alone nor social justice alone, they cry for both. In short, they long for the advent of the messianic kingdom. What they taste now whets their appetites for more. Ultimately they will be satisfied (same verb as in 14:20; Php 4:12; Rev 19:21) without qualification only when the kingdom is consummated (see discussion in Gundry).[3]


5:6 Next, a blessing is pronounced on those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: they are promised satisfaction. These people have a passion for righteousness in their own lives; they long to see honesty, integrity, and justice in society; they look for practical holiness in the church. Like the people of whom Gamaliel Bradford wrote, they have “a thirst no earthly stream can satisfy, a hunger that must feed on Christ or die.” These people will be abundantly satisfied in Christ’s coming kingdom: they shall be filled, for righteousness will reign and corruption will give way to the highest moral standards.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 113). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 177–185). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 164). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1216). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.