Daily Archives: April 11, 2017

April 11, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


Apr. 11, 2017 |


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.

South Korean presidential hopeful Moon Jae-in told a local newspaper that he would deal with North Korea’s nuclear ambitions through direct talks with dictator Kim Jong Un.

Fighting terrorism must involve preventing Muslim communities from imposing their way of life in France and requires more than just repression, presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said on Monday. “A multicultural society is a multiconflict society,” she said

The Reserve Bank of India is proposing Asia’s third-largest economy offer licenses to private companies to set up infrastructure banks. That could help finance $1.5 trillion in roads, ports, power and other projects over the next 10 years and bridge a gap that ratings agency Standard & Poor’s says is shaving off almost 5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

The world’s top global economic organizations urged nations to consider policies that would cushion the blow to workers of trade shocks, such as by compensating employees for lost wages.

BMW, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover are among the winners of $136 million from the U.K. for the development of low-carbon vehicles and driverless cars.

United Continental Holdings Inc. fell early Tuesday as outrage on social media over a passenger’s forcible removal from a flight spread across the globe.

Toshiba, the 142-year-old conglomerate, warned it may not continue as a going concern as it grapples with billions of dollars in losses from its Westinghouse Electric nuclear business.

Gold and Treasuries strengthened with the Japanese yen on lingering investor concern about global security risks and the path of U.S. interest rates.

Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. surpassed General Motors to become America’s most valuable carmaker, eclipsing a company whose well-being was once viewed as interdependent with the nation’s.

Last week’s mass sarin attack in Syria, as well as February’s assassination of North Korea’s Kim Jong Nam with VX poison, served as grim reminders that the threat hasn’t gone away. The standard therapy for both of those poisons is the same three-drug cocktail that’s been available since the 1990s. Now the first new nerve gas treatment developed through Project BioShield is at the final stages of a long testing and approval process.

AP Top Stories

An earthquake measuring 6.1 magnitude struck in the ocean off the southeast of the Philippines on Monday,. There were no immediate reports of damage.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley resigned rather than face impeachment and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor campaign violations that arose during an investigation of his alleged affair with a top aide.

Top Trump administration officials are warning that Russia could be held accountable for the Syrian government’s chemical attacks against its own civilians – with the U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accusing the Kremlin of “covering up” for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The American show of force is being met with a defiant vow from North Korea to boost its defenses. North Korea says the U.S. airstrikes on Syria is justification for its arsenal.

An Illinois judge was shot multiple times and killed outside his Chicago home on Monday morning and a woman was injured in the incident, police said.

Efforts to confront a heroin problem in Central Florida have gone viral after a local police department released a commercial featuring officers dressed in gear that resembled that if the Islamic State group. The new anti-drug ad from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office includes the department’s top officer delivering a stern message to drug dealers while he is flanked by ski mask-clad officers, similar to many of videos that have been released by ISIS over the years.

On Monday, CIA hackers were outed by an American security firm who linked their work to recent WikiLeaks dumps. And over the weekend, a shadowy group of hackers calling themselves the Shadow Brokers spilled NSA hacking tools onto the internet.

An apparent murder-suicide inside an elementary school classroom in San Bernardino, CA left two adults dead, including a teacher, and two students wounded, police and school officials said.

A 3,800-year-old pyramid found with an alabaster block bearing the name of pharaoh Ameny Qemau has been discovered at the site of Dahshur in Egypt.


G7 nations have failed to agree on a proposal by Britain for sanctions against Russia in the wake of a deadly chemical attack they say was carried out by Moscow’s ally, Syria.

Africans trying to reach Europe are being sold by their captors in “slave markets” in Libya, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

An investigation into Donald Trump’s pledges to charitable causes during the presidential election campaign has won a Pulitzer Prize. Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold’s articles “created a model for transparent journalism” and cast doubt on Mr. Trump’s assertions of generosity, the Pulitzer board said.

The Trump administration plans to sell military planes to Nigeria despite concerns over rights abuses and a botched air strike that killed scores of civilians in January, US media said.


A Yale School of Medicine research fellow is under fire for promoting “pure evil” after calling for American doctors to prescribe puberty-blocking hormones to young children who identify as transgender.

New York will be the only state in the country to cover four-year public college tuition for residents after the program was included in the budget package approved Sunday night. The state’s Excelsior Scholarship program will start with full coverage of four-year college tuition this fall for students whose families make less than $100,000.

Top News – 4/11/2017

MIT Press Publishes ‘Communism for Kids’ Book
Communism for Kids, written by a German author who specializes in political theory and “queer politics,” was released last month. The thesis of the children’s book is that communism is “not that hard,” but has not been implemented in the right way.

A 1,389 Year-Old ‘Phobia’?
A direct correlation exists between Western ignorance of history and Western ignorance of Islam’s “troublesome” doctrines. It is this connection that allows Islam’s apologists to get away with so many distortions and outright lies meant to shield Islam.

Solar eclipse across U.S. called ‘a sign from God’
Pastor Mark Biltz, the man who discovered the “Blood Moons” phenomenon and a Christian who urges careful attention to heavenly signs, suggests it may be something that needs more attention. Such as a direct warning to the United States.

Tillerson: Russia must choose between US and West or Assad, Iran and Hezbollah
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday that Russia must choose between the United States and like-minded western countries or Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iran and Hezbollah. “It is clear to us the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end,” he told reporters at a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers shortly before leaving for Moscow.

The New York Times is Promoting Child Abuse
On Sunday, The New York Times published an opinion piece called Hannah Is a Girl. Doctors Finally Treat Her Like One. The author is a research fellow named Jack Turban who works at the Yale School of Medicine. It is downright revolting to hear someone in the medical community approve and promote transgenderism among children. Ten years ago most doctors would have called this malpractice. New data has now made it the protocol for thousands of American children.

Monitor says Syrian forces use barrel bombs despite US warning
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian government warplanes dropped barrel bombs on rebel-held areas of Hama province on Tuesday, a day after the United States said their use could lead to further US strikes in Syria. A Syrian military source denied the Observatory report and said the army did not use barrel bombs – drums or cylinders packed with explosives and shrapnel that cause indiscriminate destruction on the ground.

Iran envoy to Jordan summoned after Tehran calls king’s statement ‘foolish and irresponsible’
The Jordanian Foreign Ministry on Monday demanded that Iran’s ambassador to Amman explain comments attributed to the Islamic Republic’s Foreign Ministry after a spokesperson described a statement from King Abdullah II of Jordan as “foolish and irresponsible.” In an interview published by The Washington Post on April 6, Abdullah said that Iran has created “strategic problems” in the Middle East, while noting that Tehran is attempting to “forge a geographic link between…Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

Syria war: Russian officers ‘could face sanctions’
G7 foreign ministers will attempt to agree a common position on the Syrian conflict, before the US secretary of state flies to Russia to try to persuade it to abandon its Syrian ally. Rex Tillerson will also meet officials from allied Middle Eastern countries before heading to Moscow. The UK has suggested threatening tightly focused sanctions on Russian and Syrian military officers.

North Korea lashes out at US Navy strike group move
North Korea has said it will defend itself “by powerful force of arms” in response to the US deployment of a Navy strike group to the Korean peninsula. The foreign ministry, quoted by state news agency KCNA, said the deployment showed “reckless moves for invading” had “reached a serious phase”. The US Pacific Command says it is aimed at maintaining readiness in the region.

France migrants: Huge fire guts Grande-Synthe Dunkirk camp
A camp housing 1,500 migrants in northern France has been destroyed in a fire that officials said began during a fight between Afghans and Kurds. At least 10 people were injured when the fire tore through closely-packed huts at the Grande-Synthe camp, near the port of Dunkirk. Last month officials said the camp would be dismantled because of unrest.

Blast rocks mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in Turkey
A large explosion has struck a police headquarters in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey. Reports speak of at least four people injured. The city is at the heart of the conflict between the Turkish government and Kurdish separatists. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the blast happened while vehicles were being repaired. The cause is not clear.

Microsoft patches serious Word bug ‘targeted by scammers’
A bug in Word apparently targeted by scammers trying to steal banking logins will be patched, Microsoft has said. The previously undetected, or “zero-day”, vulnerability had been reported over the weekend. Then, on 10 April, cybersecurity firm Proofpoint announced it had discovered an email campaign targeting the bug that aimed to distributed Dridex malware.

U.S. lawmakers raise doubts on sale of smart bombs to Saudi Arabia
A group of U.S. lawmakers said on Monday they had requested more information from President Donald Trump’s administration about the potential sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, expressing concern about civilian casualties in Riyadh’s campaign in Yemen that delayed the deal last year. Thirty mostly Democratic lawmakers signed the letter to U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, citing expectations that the administration plans to go ahead with the sale.

White House Reveals New “Red Lines”: Assad’s Use Of Barrell Bombs Could Lead To More Strikes
In a surprising statement by White House spokesman Sean Spicer, Donald Trump is allegedly open to authorizing additional strikes on Syria if its government uses something as mundane as barrel bombs in the country, a weapon that has seen constant use during the 6 year Syrian civil war.

Ex-CIA Agent: The Official Story of Syria Govt “Gassing Innocent Civilians is a Sham
President Donald Trump’s fraught and highly illegal attack on Syria this week in retaliation for an equally disputed chemical ‘attack,’ in which as many as 86 people perished at the alleged hands of the Syrian Arab Army on the literal eve of peace talks is being criticized by experts and cagey politicians at every level of government — including former CIA officer Philip Giraldi.

Report: China Sends 150,000 Troops to North Korean Border
Stocks were cautiously higher before Monday’s open amid geopolitical pressures and jitters ahead of Q1 earnings from the country’s largest banks. As the morning progressed, the averages gained altitude before running into a wall of resistance that was exacerbated by reports of troop deployments on the Chinese border with North Korea by a Korean news agency.

Rep. Gabbard under fire after refusing to accept ‘Assad did chemical attack’ without proof
Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has provoked a backlash from senior Democrats after refusing to take Syrian President Bashar Assad’s complicity in the Idlib chemical attack at face value and demanding proof.

Fmr UK Ambassador: ‘Trump Has Just Given Jihadis a Thousand Reasons to Stage Fake Flag Operations
Former British Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, told the BBC on Friday chemical weapons are now “more likely” to be used in Syria because jihadis know a “fake flag” attack will trigger the US to attack Assad.

Not Prepared: Will Most Americans Be Absolutely Blindsided By Multiple Wars And Economic Collapse?
According to CBS News, an astounding three-fourths of all Americans have to “scramble to cover their living costs” each month.  In other words, most of the country is either living paycheck to paycheck or very close to it.  But instead of tightening their belts and trying to put something away for the very hard times that are coming, most Americans are completely and utterly unprepared for what is ahead because the people that they trust on television keep telling them that everything is going to be okay.

The Briefing 04-11-17

“Evil” and modernity: Horrors like Syrian chemical attacks force secularists to ponder reality of evil

“Christianity is literally dying in Europe”: What birth trends tell us about future of global religion

Secular humanist clergy? The religion-shaped movement for the non-religious

The post The Briefing 04-11-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.

ON THE BRINK: Gen. McMaster Confirms President Trump Has Ordered Strike On North Korea

President Trump has ordered his military advisers to be ready with a list of options to smash North Korea’s nuclear threat.

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Matthew 24:6 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have not been following the news for the past few days, you are way behind. Over the past 72 hours, the United States carried out a cruise missile strike on Syria because of their chemical attack on their own civilians. Shortly after that, both Russia and Iran stood up to declare that “real war” was coming. Then today China moved 150,000 troops to the North Korean border. Why? Because President Trump has declared that the nuclear buildup happening in North Korea will be addressed shortly. The powder keg is fully packed, with the fuse dangling prominently upward. All it needs is the match. Are YOU ready for what comes next?

One of the advisers, Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster, confirmed his Commander-in-Chief has made the order as a U.S. carrier strike group heads for the region. It is believed that among the options are combined special forces raids and pre-emptive missile strikes.

One of the problems facing an American-led operation to hit Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong-Un is the intricate tunnel network under the capital.

McMaster: Trump Has Asked For ‘Full Range Of Options To Remove’ North Korean Threat To U.S., Allies

War-planners have had difficulty mapping out the subterranean complex and believe there are hundreds of underground artillery and airplane sites.

McMaster described the decision to redeploy the USS Carl Vinson to the Sea of Japan as ‘prudent’ given North Korea’s ‘pattern of provocative behavior.’ Speaking to Fox News, McMaster said: “It’s prudent to do it, isn’t it?

Jim Mattis warns North Korea over nuclear attack

“Presidents before and President Trump agreed that that is unacceptable, that what must happen is the denuclearization of the peninsula.

“The president has asked us to be prepared to give us a full range of options to remove that threat.”

The news comes after Trump launched cruise missiles against Assad in Syria last week, the first time the US has directly targeted the regime during the conflict. North Korea denounced Trump’s attack as an act of ‘intolerable aggression’ and one that justified ‘a million times over’ its push toward a nuclear deterrent. source

China Moves 150,000 Troops To North Korea Border In Event Of Pre-Emptive Strike By United States

While the catalyst is unclear, it appears the market dropped as headlines of further sanctions against Russia appeared and reports of China deploying 150,000 troops to its North Korea border.

According to Korean news agency Chosun, the “Chinese army has deployed about 150,000 troops to the North Korean border in two groups to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.” The reason: the prospect of “military options”, such as preemptive attacks on North Korea, like the one the United States launched on Syria.

Translated into English via Google Translate:

As the United States announced its independent North Korean behavior and moved the United States Navy’s nuclear-powered Calvinus (CVN-70) carrier class to Singapore, the Chinese army has deployed about 150,000 troops in two groups to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.

“The report said. It is because of the prospect of taking “military options”, such as preemptive attacks on North Korea, just as the United States has launched an air raid on Syria.

Japan’s Sankei Shimbun reported on the 9th that the Syrian missile strike in the United States shocked China, suggesting that the People’s Liberation Army forces are moving toward the Yalu River, .

The newspaper said the video was also broadcast on the Internet, but the authorities removed the relevant information, saying the move was a medical and aft support unit for the Shenyang bulb (the northern light bulb).

There is an observation that medical and back-up support units will be dispatched to “train for North Korean refugees,” the newspaper added.

On the same day, the Northern Bulb of China’s Tohoku District Defense Command issued the orders for full-scale pre-emptive orders to all the submarine and submarine units on the same day, while the 16th, 23, 39, and 40th group troops in the North Korean border area.

These media assume that the Kiryuolbun and the eagle training of the two countries will end the month of this month when the emergency situation on the Korean peninsula is eradicated and Kim Jong Eun and the North Korean leadership are removed and the weapons of mass destruction of North Korea are destroyed. And that he took the same action.

The core units that respond immediately to the drastic changes in North Korea are the 39th group and the 40th group, each of which has its headquarters in Yingkou and Jinzhou in Liaoning Province. The 39th group is a heavy army mechanized unit and the 40th group is the rapid reaction group. (translated from South Korean site chosun.com)

SHOCK CLAIM: Putin Now Says That Syrian Chemical Attack Was False Flag Staged By United States

At a Tuesday press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed last week’s chemical weapons attack in the Idlib province of Syria was a “false flag” – a phony operation staged by enemies of Russia and Syria to discredit them. He said more such false flag operations were on the way.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are taking notes, please mark down that today, April 11, 2017, is the day that conspiracy theory and real world global news and events have officially merged. The idea of ‘false flag’ events has long been the realm of conspiracy jockeys like Alex Jones and others, but it is not without merit. There is plenty of evidence of false flag events, most notably the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania, and more recently the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. But the idea that Vladimir Putin would take the narrative to this degree is actually shocking, considering that the New World Order is not usually this candid. Things are about to get crazy. Really crazy. 

“We have reports from multiple sources that false flags like this one – and I cannot call it otherwise – are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus. They plan to plant some chemical there and accuse the Syrian government of an attack,” said Putin, as reported by Russia’s RT.com.

“President Mattarella and I discussed it, and I told him that this reminds me strongly of the events in 2003, when the US representatives demonstrated at the UN Security Council session the presumed chemical weapons found in Iraq,” Putin continued, referring to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who appeared with him at the press conference in Moscow.

BREAKING: Idlib ‘chemical attack’ was a false flag, more false flags to come!

“The military campaign was subsequently launched in Iraq and it ended with the devastation of the country, the growth of the terrorist threat and the appearance of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] on the world stage,” Putin declared.

According to RT.com, the Russian General Staff has prepared a report that claims “militants” among the Syrian rebellion are “transporting toxic agents into several parts of Syria.”

“These actions are aimed at creating a new pretext for accusing the government of Syria of more chemical weapons attacks and provoking more strikes by the US,” said Colonel-General Sergey Rudskoy, head of operations for the General Staff.

Conspiracy Theory abounds on the Armed Services Committee:

The Associated Press reports that Russia’s General Staff has expressed a willingness to allow international inspectors to examine the Sharyat airbase in Syria for traces of chemical weapons, and offered to provide military security for the inspectors. Putin said he would appeal to the United Nations to investigate the incident.

The UK Independent reports that Putin more specifically accused the United States of planning to drop chemical weapons on Damascus and then blame the incident on Assad, although it does not provide a translation of the Russian president’s precise words to that effect.

On Monday, Russia and Iran declared the United States “crossed red lines” by attacking Sharyat airbase, borrowing a phrase made infamous by former President Barack Obama. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has accused the Russians of either being “complicit” in the Syrian chemical weapons deployment, or “incompetent” for allowing it to happen. The Pentagon is investigating the possibility that Russia actually participated in the chemical weapons attack, and/or the bombing of a hospital where victims were receiving treatment afterward. source

Trump Must Designate Muslim Brotherhood to Defeat Radical Islam | Smith at National Review Online

by Clifford Smith
National Review Online
April 6, 2017


Originally published under the title “Sisi, Trump, and the Politics of Designating the Muslim Brotherhood.”

President Trump must designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization to win the fight against radical Islam.

Hopes that the Trump administration will designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization have hit rough waters, with anonymous officials citing concerns about diplomatic blowback and frayed relationships with Muslims at home and abroad. The leaks came on the eve of a historic visit to Washington by Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a key Arab ally and devoted Muslim who is locked in a life-or-death struggle with the Brotherhood.

The irony is hard to miss, particularly given that Egypt and several other Arab countries have already designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

Whatever the truth behind the leaks, they underscore that the inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom — that the Brotherhood is “moderate” and so popular that designation would be seen as “a declaration of war against . . . Islam itself” — will not die as easily as many hoped.

This thinking is rooted in a failure to understand the difference between Islamists — a sizable but distinct minority of Muslims who adhere to a radical utopian ideology — and the majority of Muslims, among whom are found friends and allies. President el-Sisi, who has publicly called out extremism to clerics in Egypt, understands this. After all, Egypt is not the only state in which the Brotherhood engaged in attempts to kill its way to power. It did the same in Syria in the early 1980s.

Despite the Brotherhood’s long history of bloodshed, claims that it is “moderate,” or opposes violence, are still prominent. While above-ground Brotherhood organizations use peaceful means when effective, they are “prepared to countenance violence . . . where gradualism is ineffective,” as a 2015 report by the British government noted with significant understatement.

Claims that designation will complicate U.S. relationships with certain Arab allies are overblown.

Claims that designation will complicate U.S. relationships with certain Arab allies are overblown. While it is true that some allies, such as Jordan, have Muslim Brotherhood–affiliated parties represented in their parliaments, this is easy enough to finesse. Members of Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, have long served in Lebanon’s parliament, but American diplomats manage to avoid contact with them and still do business with the Lebanese.

Moreover, failure to designate the Brotherhood complicates some alliances. The Egyptian public has grown deeply suspicious of the U.S. government precisely because under Obama the U.S. came to be seen as overly sympathetic to the Brotherhood. When Senator Ted Cruz introduced the Muslim Brotherhood Terror Designation Act, many Egyptians saw it as a sign the U.S. may be waking from its long slumber. A tweet introducing the bill was the subject of a segment by popular Egyptian talk-show host Amr Adib and was retweeted 17,000+ times.

Domestically, in the wake of Trump’s admittedly troubling comments suggesting a “Muslim ban” during his presidential campaign last year, some fear that designation will fuel anti-Muslim bigotry and pave the way for “a legal assault on the institutions of American Muslim life.” After all, several organizations claiming to represent U.S. Muslims, particularly the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR), have deep Muslim Brotherhood ties.

Groups like CAIR aren’t ‘institutions of American Muslim life’ – they’re just pretending to be.

But groups such as CAIR are hardly “institutions of American Muslim life” — they’re just pretending to be. A 2011 Gallup poll found support for CAIR among U.S. Muslims to be just under 12 percent. Britain’s inquiry into the Brotherhood found that its activists in the U.K. “appear to be unable to generate any grassroots support.”

Frankly, however, if public support for CAIR were higher, that would be all the more reason to be concerned. Notwithstanding its carefully crafted public image, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007–09 Holy Land Foundation terror-finance case, and was blacklisted by the FBI as a result. Unfortunately, the Obama administration failed to aggressively continue an FBI investigation into CAIR after it conspired to fund terrorist-designated organization Hamas, the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, the United Arab Emirates has declared CAIR itself a terrorist organization.

Trump’s rhetorical excesses cannot be understood without recalling the Obama administration’s refusal to name the problem. Using euphemisms such as “violent extremism” and feigning puzzlement as to the motives of obvious jihadists made the administration’s rhetoric concerning terrorism a national joke. In both the U.S. and Europe, when elites insist that voters must believe them, rather than their own “lying eyes,” the voters turn sharply in the opposite direction.

Trump should follow up designating the Brotherhood by forming a commission on radical Islam.

The cure for Trump’s rhetorical excesses is increased security, not denial.

Trump laid out a number of smart proposals on radical Islam during his campaign. His administration should now use President el-Sisi’s visit to move forward with these ideas.

In particular, it should follow up designation of the Brotherhood with the formation of a congressionally authorized commission on radical Islam tasked with developing a strategy for winning the war against Islamic extremists and explaining the threat of Islamism to the American people. Both are badly needed. Wrongheaded conventional wisdom won’t keep Americans, or our Muslim allies, safe.

Clifford Smith is director of the Middle East Forum’s Washington Project.

Schools Forcing Islamic Lessons on All Students

In a Unified School District, all public school students will be forced to endure religious classes about Islam while Muslim students are protected from bullying with designated safe spaces.

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Wars And Rumours Of Wars – Foreign Sub Off The CA Coast And China Massing Troops

According to Korean news agency Chosun, the “Chinese army has deployed about 150,000 troops to the North Korean border to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.”

The reason: the prospect of “military options”, such as preemptive attacks on North Korea, like the one the United States launched on Syria.

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Congressman Ken Buck’s ‘Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think’

The real partisanship in Washington isn’t between political parties or about political principle; it is within parties, where leaders punish members who don’t play the game. In Congress, the consensus has been, it’s better to sink the nation with debt than rock the boat with reform. If we’re going to drain the swamp, we need to change that.

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Syrian Survivor Thanks Trump on CNN – Not What She Wanted to Hear

Syrian attack survivor thanks Donald Trump; says Syrians want to stay in Syria in a “safe zone”, not come to America. CNN host squirms.

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‘I Have Deep Regrets’: Graphic Artist Who Designed ‘Shack’ Novel Renounces Book

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 project out of his concern that it contains false doctrine.

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Why Do Leftists Hate America?

Trump is swiftly dismantling many of Obama’s anti-America agenda items.

It dawned on me: this guy is simply implementing commonsense policies in the best interest of America and her citizens who elected him. So why is the American left responding with such unprecedented vitriol and bold, treasonous obstructionism? The simple answer is that leftists hate America and her biblical values.

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April 10, 2017
ALAN KEYES — “The Trump administration rewarded Border Patrol agents for their support of Trump as president by picking an Obama holdover whom they despise to be their boss…. Many expressed regret for having supported Trump in the first place and for having believed he would actually listen to them and care about what they experienced while risking their lives for other Americans……. (more)

April 10, 2017

CLIFF KINCAID — The mainstream media have not challenged the claim that chemical weapons were used by Syrian and/or Russian forces. Hence, they have been forced to explain how they were used when Obama officials previously claimed they had been removed from Syria. It’s another new low for a press corps that was eager to regurgitate whatever the Obama administration had claimed as a success in foreign policy…. (more)

April 10, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — The Supreme Court still has 13 cases it will hear this term, including a significant religious liberty case looming next week. This gives newly minted Justice Neil Gorsuch a chance to make his mark…. (more)

April 10, 2017
ROBERT KNIGHT — Less than three months into the Trump administration, the grand battle over the size, scope and purpose of the federal government is beginning. The seating of Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch will return the U.S. Supreme Court to a full complement and, it is hoped, respect for constitutional limitations on power – – including its own…. (more)

April 10, 2017
REP. KEN BUCK — In this exclusive excerpt from his new book, “Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think,” Rep. Ken Buck explains what really goes on behind closed doors in Congress…. (more)

April 10, 2017

NEWSMAX — National Security Advisor Gen. H.R. McMaster on Sunday said the U.S. seeks a regime change in Syria, the Washington Times reported. In his first televised interview, McMaster pointed to dual U.S. goals of defeating the Islamic State group and removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But he suggested that Trump was seeking a global political response for regime change from U.S. allies as well as Russia, which he said needed to reevaluate its support of Syria…. (more)

April 10, 2017

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said Sunday that the Trump administration does not see a solution to the conflict in Syria with President Bashar Assad in power, but suggested his removal should be the collective responsiblity of the international community – – not just the duty of the U.S…. (more)

April 10, 2017

NEWSMAX — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency and created a powerful new anti-terrorism body after Palm Sunday church bombings claimed by Islamic State left at least 43 dead…. (more)

April 9, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — A Pulitzer-Prize winning author says he discovered material in an unpublished manuscript Barack Obama wrote while in law school that was so damning it may have derailed his candidacy for the presidency in 2008. R… (more)

April 8, 2017
GARTH KANT — It’s another GOP civil war. Two weeks ago, it was over health care. Now it’s Syria. President Trump’s first significant military action as commander in chief has divided prominent conservatives, some hailing the airstrikes on Syria, others condemning it. That’s because the division isn’t really over the attack. The big question is what comes next? Is the president leading America into war?… (more)

April 8, 2017
JOSEPH FARAH — I strongly disagree with President Trump’s decision to attack Syria. For starters, I don’t see any proof that Syrian President Bashar Assad was responsible for the sarin gas weapons detonation that prompted it…. (more)

April 8, 2017
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — When it came to foreign policy, I was worried that the 2016 election would be a case of Clinton delivering the third Obama term. Instead, we have Trump giving us the third Clinton term…. (more)

April 8, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said Friday that she is “skeptical” of the claim that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime is behind a deadly chemical attack earlier this week that killed dozens of Syrian civilians, including children…. (more)

April 8, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Russia and Iran expressed outrage and U.N. officials responded with caution to President Trump’s punitive missile strike against Syria Thursday evening over its suspected use of chemical weapons, but Mr. Trump’s first use of U.S. military force also was met with expressions of support for the action from around the world…. (more)

April 8, 2017
PHILIP KLEIN — A lot of the news coverage of President Trump’s decision to attack a Syrian airfield focused on how this represented a huge about-face on Syria policy, but I think there is a way to square the attack with his broader campaign rhetoric…. (more)

April 8, 2017
WESLEY PRUDEN — Just about the time the fever on the nut left seems to be subsiding there’s another outbreak of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Normal-looking folk who sound like they escaped a Marx Bros. movie fall into a relapse. The bombshell that Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s chief source of intelligence, was guilty of “unmasking” Trump campaigners identified in intelligence findings, unhinged several commentators on the television networks. Colleagues and bystanders couldn’t decide whether to call security or medics…. (more)

April 8, 2017
CHERYL K. CHUMLEY — President Donald Trump scored a big win Friday when Republicans in the Senate, despite the desperate wailings and push-back of Democrats, confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court This is Trump’s biggest victory to date – – one that sends Democrats, tails tucked, back to their base for, no doubt, some panic-fueled fundraising…. (more)

April 7, 2017
FOX NEWS — The Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on Friday, filling the critical ninth seat that has been vacant for over a year and capping a tumultuous debate that saw Republicans overhaul the way the chamber operates in order to overcome what they described as an unprecedented Democratic filibuster. The 54-45 vote, in which three Democrats crossed party lines to support the appeals court justice, is expected to restore a 5-4 conservative tilt on the bench…. (more)

April 7, 2017

NBC NEWS — The United States fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria overnight in response to what it believes was a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 100 people…. (more)

April 7, 2017
DAILY MAIL — Donald Trump unleashed his Tomahawk barrage on one of al-Assad’s key bases from the sea to avoid upsetting allies and using the huge US military arsenal built up off the coast of Syria. The US President last night fired 59 missiles at al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs overnight in retaliation for the Syrian leader’s horrific chemical weapons attack on Idlib…. (more)

April 7, 2017

THE HILL — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Thursday night that President Trump needs congressional authorization for military action in Syria after Trump ordered an airstrike in retaliation for a deadly chemical attack earlier this week…. (more)

April 7, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The fact-check website PolitiFact is reversing course on a 2014 ruling that said then-Secretary of State John Kerry was “mostly true” in stating that “100 percent” of chemical weapons had been removed in Syria…. (more)

April 7, 2017

POLITICO — In the weeks following her father’s inauguration, Ivanka Trump quietly reached out to the president of Planned Parenthood seeking common ground on the contentious issue of abortion…. (more)

April 7, 2017
CHELSEA SCHILLING — A stunning Vogue cover model has been murdered by Muslim extremists in Bangladesh because she didn’t wear Islamic clothing, her family says…. (more)

April 7, 2017
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER — For euphemism, dissimulation, and outright hypocrisy, there is nothing quite as entertaining as the periodic Senate dust-ups over Supreme Court appointments and the filibuster. The arguments for and against the filibuster are so well known to both parties as to be practically memorized. Both nonetheless argue their case with great shows of passion and conviction. Then shamelessly switch sides – – and scripts – – depending on the ideology of the nominee…. (more)

Mid-Day Snapshot

Apr. 11, 2017

The Authority for Striking Syria

Trump should make his case for any further involvement and get congressional authorization before moving.

Today on ChristianHeadlines
At Least 2 Dead in San Bernardino Elementary School Shooting
At Least 2 Dead in San Bernardino Elementary School Shooting
by Veronica Neffinger
Four people are reportedly dead in a school shooting that took place in a San Bernardino, California school district.
Obama Administration Official Reveals They Knew Assad Had Chemical Weapons
Obama Administration Official Reveals They Knew Assad Had Chemical Weapons
by Veronica Neffinger
An official who served in the Obama administration has revealed that the administration was aware that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had access to chemical weapons.
Study: Increasing Number of Americans ‘Love Jesus but Not the Church’
Study: Increasing Number of Americans ‘Love Jesus but Not the Church’
by Veronica Neffinger
A new Barna Group study has revealed a rift between Christians who say their faith is important to them and Christians who regularly attend church.
Target Transgender Policy Causes Retail Chain to Take Major Financial Hit
Target Transgender Policy Causes Retail Chain to Take Major Financial Hit
by Amanda Casanova
Target’s 2016 blog post about a policy regarding transgender customers started a boycott that has cost the company millions, and it was a post that wasn’t even approved by Target CEO Brian Cornell.
'The Case for Christ' in Top 10 at Box Office
‘The Case for Christ’ in Top 10 at Box Office
by Veronica Neffinger
Christian film The Case for Christ made it into the top 10 at the box office over the weekend. The film tells the story of atheist-turned-Christian-apologist Lee Strobel.
The Foundation

“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate — look to his character.” —Noah Webster (1789)

Did God Forbid us to Critique or Criticize Church Leaders?

High profile Church leaders who teach doctrines of demons actually have the temerity to warn their critics to back off or face danger of divine judgment. Well, Cameron Buettel’s not backing off. In a blog post he wrote for Grace to You, Buettel names names and includes a video of one wolf in sheep’s clothing […]

Leaving the NAR Church: Rene’s story

“When I asked her why she wouldn’t be concerned that maybe this teaching is not of God, she got very upset and told me I was trying to intimidate her with the “spirit of fear.” Rene has been trying to contend for the truth with a friend who has been posting N.A.R. theology on her […]

Rick Warren: Thinking Like A Pagan & A Theology-dissing Jesus

Before you get started on Bud Ahlheim’s blog post, head over to our White Paper on Rick Warren, quickly browse our list of concerns, then return to Bud’s piece because you’ll want to know what this man is currently up to. Because Rick Warren has been dubbed “America’s Pastor” and is held in high esteem by […]

The Irrelevant Christine Caine … A Dingo Ate My Legacy?

Ed Stetzer is a prominent evangelical with considerable credibility.  But when it comes to spiritual things Stetzer has shown time and time again that he lacks discernment.  If he had an ounce of spiritual discernment would he spend his valuable time interviewing Word of Faith pastrix Christine Caine regarding her new partnership with Wheaton College, […]

Leaving the NAR Church: Catrina’s story

“We ladies had a morning of being taught how to prophesy. We were told to tell ourselves, ‘I’m going to start prophesying, even if I have to start in the flesh.’” Catrina has moved from church to church between Australia and New Zealand, always having to leave as the N.A.R. infection spread. In this series, […]

Leaving the NAR Church: Jack’s story

“They revel in false prophecies and the greedy liars who give them. They have rejected the Word and me as the giver of the loving truth to them.” Jack’s friends are lost to a counterfeit movement that goes by many names. But by God’s Grace, Jack and his wife have found freedom in the Word […]

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: April 11

  • Tillerson: Russia Should Give Up ‘Unreliable Partner’ Assad (Read More)
  • U.S. tries to line up West, Mideast against Assad (Read More)
  • United Airlines under fire after passenger dragged from plane; officer put on leave (Read More)
  • Tillerson carries Syria stance to Moscow as Trump assumes West’s leadership (Read More)
  • Investors Dump French Assets as Presidential Race Opens Up (Read More)
  • Why Bond Bears Look Poised to Come Out of Hibernation…Again (Read More)
  • North Korean ships head home after China orders coal returned (Read More)
  • 142-Year-Old Japanese Giant Toshiba Warns It May Not Survive (Read More)
  • Commercial-Property Lending Falls as Investors Pull Back (Read More)
  • Qualcomm hits back at Apple’s lawsuit, accuses iPhone maker of false statements (Read More)
  • U.K. Grocers Secretly Squeeze Customers as Brexit Bites (Read More)
  • Chinese cities restrict home sales by buyers to fight speculation (Read More)
  • Pipeline Built to Survive Extremes Can’t Bear Slow Oil Flow (Read More)
  • Secret Recordings Play Role in SEC Probe of Insurer AmTrust (Read More)
  • Yuan firms as dollar retreats; Macquarie forecasts no depreciation this year (Read More)
  • U.S. judge finds Texas voter ID law was intended to discriminate (Read More)
  • Sorry America, Your Taxes Aren’t That High (Read More)
  • Banks scramble to fix old systems as IT ‘cowboys’ ride into sunset (Read More)
  • London Police Acted Illegally in Russia Cash Seizure, Court Says (Read More)
  • Toshiba files earnings without auditor endorsement, delisting risk rises (Read More)
  • Grains piled on runways, parking lots, fields amid global glut (Read More)

Top Headlines – 4/11/2017

US envoy to UN to shift Security Council’s focus away from Israel

Hamas says it arrested Palestinian suspect in assassination of terror chief

Palestinian teen shot by Israeli troops dies of wounds

Clashes rock Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

Police detain 17 over suspected attempts to ‘sacrifice’ goats in Jerusalem

Israel closes border with Egypt amid Sinai terror concerns

Pope to show solidarity with Egypt’s Coptic Christians in wake of church bombings

Drone strike in southern Sinai said to kill one person

Egyptian police kill 7 suspected Islamic State militants in shootout

Minister says prospect of Syrian chemical strike on Israel ‘unrealistic’

White House says US holds open possibility of more strikes in Syria

Russia, Iran Warn U.S. They Will “Respond With Force” If Syria “Red Lines” Crossed Again

White House warns of potential US ‘red line’ over Syria barrel bomb attacks

Liberal support for Trump’s Syria strikes

Top Syrian Army defector not surprised by chemical attacks, says toxins still hidden despite Russia agreement

ISIS Attacks US-Led Base In Southern Syria, As Assad Said To Use White Phosphorus

Assad is Worse Than Hitler: Syrian Chemical Weapon Survivor

Report in Syria: number of casualties rises to 9 following US attack

Syria war: US missiles ‘took out 20% of aircraft’

Donald Trump’s action in Syria proves he is not in league with Putin, says his son Eric

Rice claim on Syria chemical weapons gets ‘four Pinocchios’

Russia knew of Syrian chemical attack in advance, US official says

McCain: Russia cooperated with Syria in chemical attack

Trump, May aim to convince Moscow to end Assad support

‘Syria will implode if Assad goes’, says Peter Ford

Why Vladimir Putin won’t back out of Syria

Russia decries cancelled Boris Johnson visit and warns on further Syria attacks

Boris Johnson asks G7 to consider fresh sanctions against Russia and Syria

Boris Johnson has ‘cold war mentality’ over Syria, says Corbyn

North Korea, Syria and decades of chemical weapons

Syrian teen convicted in Germany for IS bomb plot

Glum EU braces for Turkey vote on Erdogan’s powers

Suicide bomber explodes in military academy in Somalia’s capital, killing 5

2 female suicide bombers explode near Nigerian university

Trump to sell attack planes to Nigeria for Boko Haram fight

Migrants from west Africa being ‘sold in Libyan slave markets’

Stockholm terror: Sweden will ‘never go back’ to mass immigration, PM reacts

Le Pen Calls Multiculturalism a Weapon for Islamic Extremists

South Korean Paper Reports China Has Deployed 150,000 Troops To North Korea Border

Reports Of 150,000 Troops Moving On The Korean Border Are ‘Pure Fiction’

China, South Korea discuss more sanctions on North Korea amid talk of Trump action

San Bernardino School Shooting: Man Kills Wife Then Himself; 1 of 2 Students Wounded Has Died

SEC targets fake stock news on financial websites

The mainstream and conservative media are living in different worlds. So are those who read them

Web needs rethink to stop “nasty” ideas spreading, says its creator

Spain detains Russian over US vote ‘hacking’

Walmart plans fly drones in it stores to assist you in your shopping

United CEO apologizes after video of O’Hare passenger dragged from flight goes viral

Man’s body stranded for two days during Delta flight cancellations

Nasa image of Jupiter shows planet in unprecedented detail

U.S. disasters in first 3 months of 2017 cost record $5B

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Cabodiongan, Philippines

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Pondaguitan, Philippines

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Pondaguitan, Philippines

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near We, New Caledonia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Chichi-shima, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Visokoi Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 22,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,500ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Kambalny volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 13,000ft

Dangerous heat wave to build in New Delhi, northern India this week

Pepsi mops up ‘unusual’ Mountain Dew spill – 7,200 gallons of syrup created a “huge foaming event” and generated environmental concerns

VA, veterans fighting opioid epidemic

Bizarro World: Some Republicans Now Defending “Failing” ObamaCare

Facial-recognition software finds a new use: diagnosing genetic disorders

Gender Expert: Teens Are Trying to Be Transgender Because It’s Trendy

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley resigns amid sex scandal

OOPS! GOP Governor Called For Trump To “Step Aside” After Taped Sexual Remarks

Man gets divorce after claiming his wife is possessed by the devil

The Isaiah 17 Damascus Bible prophecy has been fulfilled

Evangelical Apologist Hank Hanegraaff Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy

‘I Have Deep Regrets’: Graphic Artist Who Designed ‘Shack’ Novel Renounces Book

Pastor Saeed Abedini Claims Franklin Graham Used Him, Offered Little Help

One in Four British Christians Say Resurrection of Jesus Didn’t Occur: Survey

Italian man granted divorce after claiming wife ‘possessed by devil’

Teacher Fired for Assigning 6th Graders Questionnaire on Going to Gay Bar

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 12:43 PM PDT

A Florida middle school teacher has been fired after she assigned her students a questionnaire that asked a number of “inappropriate” questions about race, sexuality,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

WAR DRUMS: North Korea warns of nuclear strike if provoked as U.S. warships approach

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 12:35 PM PDT

North Korean state media on Tuesday warned of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of U.S. aggression as a U.S. Navy…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

WAR DRUMS: Secretary of State Warns “Reign of the Assad family is coming to an end”

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 12:30 PM PDT

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Moscow on Tuesday to face what might be his toughest test yet as chief diplomat as he seeks…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

WAR DRUMS: White House Accuses Russia of Cover-Up in Syria Chemical Attack

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 12:26 PM PDT

The White House accused the Russian government on Tuesday of engaging in a cover-up of the chemical weapons attack last week by Syrian forces that…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: Being Transgender Now Becoming Popular Among Teens

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 12:21 PM PDT

In a world that is fascinated with Caitlyn Jenner, are teens trying to be transgender because it’s popular? An Australian expert who works with transgender…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Has Hell Frozen Over? Top UN Official Calls Jerusalem the Ancient Capital of Israel

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 12:09 PM PDT

Irina Bokova, the director-general of UNESCO, which last year passed a motion denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, shocked many last week when she publicly…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Huge Fireball Seen Spotted Over San Diego, California

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 12:03 PM PDT

A very bright fireball was seen and recorded streaking through the night sky over San Diego, California around 04:00 UTC on April 11, 2017 (21:00…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

How a Passover Seder Became the Last Supper

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 11:58 AM PDT

Monday evening, Israelis (and Jews around the world) began the week-long Passover celebration, recounting their ancestors’ deliverance from Egyptian slavery. Their homes have undergone deep…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Atheist Group Claims “Unconstitutional for College Football Coach to Tweet About God”

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 11:55 AM PDT

The nation’s leading secularist legal organization is pressuring the University of Mississippi to ban its head football coach, Hugh Freeze, from using his Twitter account…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

FALSE FLAG? Putin Expects ‘Fake’ gas attacks to discredit Syria’s Assad

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 08:35 AM PDT

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had information that the United States was planning to launch new missile strikes on Syria, and that…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

PROPHECY ALERT: Putin Warns US is preparing to Bomb Syrian Capital of Damascus!

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 08:32 AM PDT

Vladimir Putin has sensationally claimed that the US is preparing airstrikes on the Syrian capital – and will pin the blame on Bashar-al Assad’s forces….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Is Porn America’s Next Biggest Public Health Crisis?

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 06:36 AM PDT

Utah, South Dakota, and Arkansas have officially declared pornography a public health crisis, but they aren’t the only ones who think so. More states are…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

1,000 Aftershocks Continue to Shake Up the Philippines

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 06:27 AM PDT

An “earthquake swarm” continued to hit Batangas yesterday as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) advised people to stay calm but remain vigilant…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Brain-invading parasite carried by rats, slugs spreading in Hawaii

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 06:21 AM PDT

Maui health officials said six cases of rat lungworm disease have been reported on the island over the past three months, while the island has…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

How Trump, Russia and North Korea Fit Into End-Times Prophecy

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 06:13 AM PDT

Tensions continue to climb internationally as all eyes rest on the Middle East and beyond. With the advent of nuclear and chemical warfare, even more…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Students Fear Chick-Fil-A Might Spark Microaggressions!

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 06:06 AM PDT

(Reported By Todd Starnes) A gay student group at Duquesne University fears that a proposed Chick-fil-A outpost could jeopardize the school’s safe spaces. “Chick-fil-A has…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

With Us or Against Us! Tillerson issues Ultimatum to Russia!

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 06:01 AM PDT

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a stern ultimatum to Russia Tuesday: side with America and its allies on Syria, or stand alongside Syrian…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US Weather Disasters Double Average Resulting in Record-Breaking $5 Billion

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 05:54 AM PDT

The U.S. has endured a destructive start to 2017 from the multiple severe weather outbreaks since January. There have been 5,372 preliminary reports of severe weather across the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Unprecedented swarm of 130 earthquakes kills at least 1 in El Salvador – Yellow alert issued for entire country

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 05:49 AM PDT

Authorities in El Salvador have issued a yellow alert for the entire region after the country was struck by an unprecedented swarm of 130 moderately strong…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

WAR DRUMS: Trump warns NK is ‘looking for trouble’, Says US ‘will solve problem with or without China’

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 05:43 AM PDT

Donald Trump has warned North Korea is “looking for trouble” after the country declared it was “ready for war”. The US President ramped up his…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

N.K vows retaliation against deployment of US strike group, Vows “Catastrophic Consequences”

Posted: 11 Apr 2017 05:33 AM PDT

North Korea has denounced the deployment of the US naval strike group to the peninsula, warning that it is ready for war and Washington will…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR: Ex-MI6 chief fears Trump will launch catastrophic war on North Korea

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 07:42 PM PDT

US President Donald Trump could lead the world into a catastrophic war with North Korea because of his inexperience and temperament, former British spy boss…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Solar eclipse across U.S. called ‘a sign from God’

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 07:17 PM PDT

A total solar eclipse will cross the continental United States this summer, an event that hasn’t happened in roughly a century. Everyone will experience on…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The world’s five deadliest volcanoes … and why they’re so dangerous

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 05:14 PM PDT

An eruption of Mount Etna recently caught out some BBC journalists who were filming there. The footage was extraordinary and highlighted the hazards volcanoes pose…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

FALLING AWAY: America Now Divided Over Bible Verses

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 04:56 PM PDT

The population of the United States is split now over Syria, political parties, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, abortion, “gay marriage,” Russia, Putin, the Supreme Court,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump’s Son Warns that Putin Won’t Push America Around!

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 04:47 PM PDT

Donald Trump’s decision to launch a cruise missile attack on Syria proved he is not in league with Russia and will not be “pushed around”…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

BREAKING NEWS: Trump orders military advisers to prepare plans to strike North Korea

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 04:42 PM PDT

President Trump has ordered his military advisers to be ready with a list of options to smash North Korea’s nuclear threat. One of the advisers,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

President Trump to Host Passover Seder Tonight

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 04:38 PM PDT

US President Donald Trump will host a White House Passover seder Monday night, an administration official told The Times of Israel on Sunday, confirming that…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Could We Be in Phase 2 of This Ezekiel Prophecy?

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 03:18 PM PDT

(By Grant Berry) Recently, when Hali and I were in Israel with one of our dear pastor friends, Pastor Hatim Jiryus, He asked me to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

“Pink Moon” Coming On Tuesday Night

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 02:59 PM PDT

A pink moon is heading our way Tuesday – but those expecting to see a literal pink sphere sailing above us in the sky may…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New Mexico Bans Therapy for Minors Who Don’t Want Same-Sex Attraction

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 02:00 PM PDT

New Mexico has become the latest state to sign into law a ban on sexual orientation change efforts therapy for minors, becoming the sixth state…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

YWAM Founder Claims ‘Spiritual Awakening’ Coming; by 2033, Bible Will Be in Every Language

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 01:53 PM PDT

The founder of a major youth missions movement believes that the “greatest spiritual awakening the world has ever known” is about to happen and by…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Russia Knew In Advance Of Syrian Chemical Attack

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 01:43 PM PDT

A senior U.S. official says the United States has concluded that Russia knew in advance of Syria’s chemical weapons attack last week. The official says…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Facial-recognition software diagnosing genetic disorders

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 01:36 PM PDT

Dr. Maximilian Muenke has a superpower: He can diagnose disease just by looking at a person’s face. Specifically, he can spot certain genetic disorders that…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

GREAT AGAIN: Toyota to Invest $1.3 Billion in Kentucky Plant…

Posted: 10 Apr 2017 01:32 PM PDT

Toyota said Monday it is investing $1.33 billion to retool its sprawling factory in Georgetown, Kentucky, where the company’s flagship Camry sedans are built. No…

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:


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!


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.”


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).


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.


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.


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.”


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

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Grace that is Greater than All our Sin

Unfathomable Grace

As believers,wehave all the forgivenesswe will ever need. Christ’s gracious and sacrificialwork on the cross is one and done. He paid for all the sins of all the elect for all of their lives.There remains nomore sin for which to pay. No more blood is needed from Christ. No penance or probation or partnership is needed from us. Upon Calvary’s cross he cried,”It is finished,” and he did not over-estimate the scope of his success.

As believers, we have all thepositional righteousness we will ever need.Jesus was a perfect saint. He obeyed all the Law; perfectly he did so, both inwardly and externally. Christcommitted not one sin of commission or omission; he was the flawless worshiper. Consequently, he became our gracious substitute, surrogate, or proxy. His obedience was credited to our account. His robe of righteousness was permanently draped about our shoulders. Therefore, because of Jesus Christ and only because…

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Mainstream conservative news site reviews The Case for Christ movie


This review is from Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, a major conservative news and commentary web site.


[T]he pursuit of evidence forms the core of the film’s narrative. In 1980, Lee Strobel (Mike Vogel) finds his marriage and professional life turned upside-down when his wife Leslie (Erika Christiansen) converts from their shared atheism to Christianity. Convinced that his wife has been brainwashed by a cult — being just a couple of years removed from the Jonestown massacre — Strobel decides to apply his journalistic expertise to debunk the central core of the Christian faith: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Can Strobel find an evidence-based argument to refute Christianity, or will he be forced to face his own biases and assumptions?

Given that this is explicitly a conversion story (and that Strobel’s book sold 14 million copies over the last two decades), that outcome isn’t exactly a mystery, but the film isn’t…

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Graphic Artist Who Designed Novel ‘The Shack’ Renounces Book Says: “I Have Deep Regrets”

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Even though this graphic artist is now renouncing his part in designing “The Shack” (book) I believe that most of the damage is already done.  If you know Christians who have been drawn into this heretical book, and now heretical movie about the Trinity, please send them this article. At least this person had the courage to come forward and speak against “The Shack.”

from christiannews.net

‘I Have Deep Regrets’: Graphic Artist Who Designed ‘Shack’ Novel Renounces Book

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 project out of his concern that it contains false doctrine.

“Over 10 years ago, I was captivated by the story and felt honored to be part of the graphic creation of the book. I was so drawn into it, wanting to know the God it portrayed,”…

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Did God Forbid us to Critique or Criticize Church Leaders?

High profile Church leaders who teach doctrines of demons actually have the temerity to warn their critics to back off or face danger of divine judgment. Well, Cameron Buettel’s not backing off. In a blog post he wrote for Grace to You, Buettel names names and includes a video of one wolf in sheep’s clothing you won’t want to miss. The man’s heretical teaching is breathtaking!  Even so, he has a gazillion adoring fans who financially support his sham of a ministry and they’ve made him a wealthy man. Why would any serious Christian support mangy wolves? Because many believers simply are unable to discern a wolf from a terrier, the reason being that they don’t have a firm grasp of Church doctrine — what they believe and why they believe it.

Someone once said that the Church is a mile wide and an inch deep. In other words, when it comes to understanding the things of God, His people have very little understanding. As a result of their shallowness, spiritual discernment is pretty much non-existent in the visible Church.  And therein lies the problem.

So with all of this in mind, here’s Cameron Buettel’s excellent post:

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.

View article →

Source: Did God Forbid us to Critique or Criticize Church Leaders?

Bible Answer Man Hank Hanegraaff Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy

Hank Hanegraaff addressed his conversion to the Orthodox faith on his radio show The Bible Answer Man in response to a caller who expressed concern that in becoming Eastern Orthodox, Hank had left the Christian faith. Following is his response:

I am now a member of an Orthodox Church, but nothing has changed in my faith. I have been attending an Orthodox church for a long time—for over two years, really, as a result of what happened when I went to China, many years ago. I saw Chinese Christians who were deeply in love with the Lord, and I learned that while they may not have had as much intellectual acumen or knowledge as I did, they had life. And so I learned that while truth matters, life matters more, and I remember flying back from China after spending time with just common people who had adeep, intense love for the Lord, and wondering, “Was I even a Christian?”

I was comparing my ability to communicate truth with their deep and abiding love for the Lord Jesus Christ… One man, by the way, said to me, truth matters but life matters more. In other words, it is not just knowing about Jesus Christ, it is experiencing the Resurrected Christ. As a result of that I started studying what was communicated by the progeny of Watchman Nee with respect to theosis and that drove me back to the early Christian Church.

And I suppose over that period of time I have fallen ever more in love with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s sort of like my wife—I have never been more in love with my wife than I am today, and I’ve never been more in love with my Lord Jesus Christ than I am today. I’ve been impacted by the whole idea of knowing Jesus Christ, experiencing Jesus Christ, and partaking of the graces of Jesus Christ through the Eucharist or the Lord’s Table. And that has become so central in my life, but as far as the statement that you mentioned, that I’ve left the Christian faith—nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact I believe what I have always believed, as codified in the Nicene Creed, and as championed by mere Christianity.

Hanegraaff recited the Nicene Creed and then concluded:

In other words, I am as deeply committed to championing mere Christianity and the essentials of the historic Christian faith, as I have ever been.

Articles that come from different perspectives:

Evangelical Apologist Hank Hanegraaff Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy

“Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff Joins Orthodox Church

The Bible Answer Man, Hank Hanegraaff, Leaves the Christian Faith?


Why Write About the Orthodox Church?

“We need to write about the Orthodox Church because it has a membership of over 200 million people worldwide and because it claims to be the only true Church on earth. When any such claim is made involving so many people, it is necessary to  research and write about such a group and compare it to scripture.”

What is the Eastern Orthodox Church and what are the beliefs of Orthodox Christians

“The Orthodox Church claims to be the one true church of Christ, and seeks to trace its origin back to the original apostles through an unbroken chain of apostolic succession. Orthodox thinkers debate the spiritual status of Roman Catholics and Protestants, and a few still consider them heretics. Like Catholics and Protestants, however, Orthodox believers affirm the Trinity, the Bible as the Word of God, Jesus as God the Son, and many other biblical doctrines. However, in doctrine, they have much more in common with Roman Catholics than they do with Protestant Christians.”

Source: Bible Answer Man Hank Hanegraaff Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy

April 11, 2017: Verse of the day


The Source of Understanding

And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (24:25–27)

The two disciples’ confusion and unbelief clearly defined their need to understand the reality of what had happened. They needed to know not only that Jesus rose from the dead, but also that His death and resurrection are essential features of His messiahship. They needed to understand that what had taken place was God’s plan for the redemption of Israel and the world. The risen Lord’s questions and their responses had put Him in position to provide them with the answers they needed. Good expositions of Scripture are set up with questions.

Before instructing the men, Jesus first rebuked them for being foolish men and slow of heart (i.e., “dull,” or “stupid”) to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. Their confusion stemmed from their failure to understand and believe all that the Old Testament taught regarding the Messiah. They were right to expect Him to reign and rule; to establish His kingdom over Israel and the world.

But that was only part of the truth, as Jesus’ question, “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” indicates. They, like all the Jewish people, were looking for a Messiah who would vanquish their oppressors, not be killed by them, and missed the truth that He first had to suffer before establishing His kingdom. There was no excuse for their lack of understanding, since the Old Testament was clear and understandable. Jesus repeatedly challenged His opponents, “Have you not read?” (Matt. 12:3, 5; 19:4; 22:31; Mark 12:10), and said that their errant theology stemmed from a failure to understand the Scripture (Matt. 22:29).

There was no excuse for failing to recognize the necessity for Messiah to suffer death. They knew that sin must be paid for by the death of a substitute. After Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God killed an animal to provide coverings for them, picturing the death of an innocent substitute to cover the sin of a guilty sinner (Gen. 3:21). He accepted Abel’s sacrifice because it was a blood sacrifice, and rejected Cain’s because it was not (Gen. 4:3–5). After the flood, Noah built an altar and offered sacrifices (Gen. 8:20). The sacrificial system laid out in the Pentateuch, including the Day of Atonement and Passover, involved the deaths of countless thousands of innocent animals. It was self-evident, however, that those sacrifices did not ultimately satisfy God’s justice, otherwise they would not have been constantly repeated, as the writer of Hebrews explains:

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? (Heb. 10:1–2)

Having rebuked them for failing to know the significance of the Old Testament’s teaching regarding Messiah’s suffering, Jesus—the one to whom that teaching pointed (John 5:39)—personally tutored them in a true understanding of it. Beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. That teaching would undoubtedly have included such things as the Protoevangelium (Gen. 3:15); Abel’s and Noah’s sacrifices; the ark, which pictures Him as the true ark into which sinners enter and sail safely through the waters of divine judgment; the ram offered as a substitute in place of Isaac (Gen. 22:13); the Passover lambs, which pictured Him as the final sacrifice (Ex. 12; cf. 1 Cor. 5:7); the manna (Ex. 16), which pictured Him as the true bread from heaven (John 6:32–35); the five main offerings in Leviticus (burnt, grain, peace, sin, and trespass), of which He is the fulfillment; the Day of Atonement, where He is pictured by both the sacrifice on the altar and the scapegoat that bore away sin; the rocks that provided water in the wilderness (Ex. 17; Num. 20), which pictured Him as the source of spiritual provision for His people (1 Cor. 10:4); the prophet of whom Moses wrote (Deut. 18:18–22; cf. Acts 3:22), who was the Messiah; the one hanged on a tree, cursed by God and taken down before sunset (Deut. 21:22–23), and hated without a cause (Ps. 69:4). He might have taken them to Psalm 40:7, which the writer of Hebrews applied to Him (Heb. 10:7). He would surely have pointed out the details of His crucifixion given in the Old Testament (Pss. 22; 41:9; 69:21; Isa. 50:6; Zech. 11:12–13; 12:10; and especially Isa. 53); and Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks (Dan. 9:24–26), which predicted the exact day of His triumphal entry. Jesus also would have explained the prediction of His resurrection given in Psalm 16:8–10 (cf. Acts 13:34–37).[1]

25–27 Jesus’ response begins with a note on the ignorance of the two disciples—a theme that will reappear in the speeches of Acts (cf. Jacques Dupont, Le discours de Milet: Testament pastoral de Paul Actes 20:18–36 [Paris: Cerf, 1962], 339). The reader of the Greek text will immediately observe the pronoun auton (“him”) in an emphatic position in v. 24 and kai autos (“and he”; NIV, “he”) in v. 25 (referring, still emphatically, to the same person, though he remains unrecognized). As Dillon, 132, notes, “The Stranger seizes the platform from the confused disciple.”

Jesus, who in his transfiguration was superior to Moses and Elijah (9:28–36), now invokes Moses and the Prophets to substantiate the divine plan of his path from suffering to glory (v. 27). The word “all” (v. 25) is a warning not to treat the Scriptures selectively and also points to the unique position of Jesus as the One who represents the goal of salvation history. In this plan of God, one cannot ignore the role of the Messiah’s suffering (v. 26). “The Christ” (Messiah) did “have to” (edei) suffer. The verb dei (GK 1256), meaning “it is necessary,” is one of Luke’s key words (cf. 2:49; 4:43; 13:16, 33; 15:32; 18:1; 19:5; 21:9; 22:7, 37; 24:7, 44, along with the basic passion prediction of 9:22 that occurs also in Matthew and Mark). The future “glory” of the Christ (v. 26) was mentioned in the context of the passion prediction, ascribed there to the “Son of Man” (9:26; cf. 21:27). Some have argued that “glory” here is to be understood as a substitute expression for “was raised from the dead” (cf. Dillon, 141ff.). More likely it refers to the honor anticipated in the OT for the Messiah and attributed to the Son of Man in the verses just referred to. The unexpected element in Christ’s messiahship was his suffering. On the other hand, one could hardly argue that Christ’s glory excludes the resurrection. Paul quoted the OT to prove the necessity of both the suffering and resurrection of the Messiah (Ac 17:2–3). In any case, the connection between glory and suffering/death as found in Scripture is a constant emphasis of Luke’s (Lk 9:26, 32; 21:27; 24:26; Ac 3:13; 7:55; cf. John J. Kilgallen, “Jesus, Savior, the Glory of Your People Israel,” Bib 75 [1994]: 305–28). “Beginning with” (v. 27) probably implies that Jesus drew on all the Scriptures but principally on the Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and the Prophets (cf. Marshall, 897). The central subject of these OT passages is “himself.”

For several reasons vv. 25–27 are vitally important. With great clarity they show that the sufferings of Jesus, as well as his glory, were predicted in the OT and that all the OT Scriptures are important. They also show that the way the writers of the NT used the OT had its origin not in their own creativity but in the postresurrection teachings of Jesus, of which this passage is a paradigm. The passage also exemplifies the role of the OT in Luke’s theology. Though he does not directly quote the OT Scriptures as many times as Matthew does, nevertheless, he alludes frequently to the OT, demonstrating that what God has promised must take place and employing a “proof from prophecy” apologetic for the truth of the gospel (cf. Bock, Proclamation from Prophecy and Pattern). In this particular statement by Jesus, one can also find the critical hermeneutical role of the OT, when contemporary events (in the time of Jesus) have to be interpreted in the light of OT promises.[2]

24:25–27 Jesus then lovingly chided them for not realizing that this was exactly the pathway which the prophets of the OT had foretold for the Messiah. First, He must suffer, then he would be glorified. Beginning at Genesis and continuing through all the books of the Prophets the Lord reviewed all the Scriptures which referred to Himself, the Messiah. It was a wonderful Bible study, and how we would love to have been with Him then! But we have the same OT, and we have the Holy Spirit to teach us, so we too can discover in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.[3]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2014). Luke 18–24 (pp. 423–425). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 347–348). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1457–1458). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

April 11 – How’s Your Spiritual Appetite?

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


Your appetite for righteousness should equal your appetite for food and water.

David was a man after God’s own heart. In Psalm 63:1 he writes, “O God, Thou art my God; 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.” He communed with God and knew the blessings of His sufficiency: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. … He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness. … Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23:1–4). He endured unjust persecution for the Lord’s sake: “Zeal for Thy house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me” (Ps. 69:9).

David’s zeal for God illustrates what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matt. 5:6). The words translated “hunger” and “thirst” speak of intense desire. They are present participles, which imply continuous action. The idea is paradoxical: the believer’s continuous and intense desire for righteousness is continually satisfied by Christ.

  1. N. Darby, an early leader of the Plymouth Brethren movement, said, “To be hungry is not enough; I must be really starving to know what is in [God’s] heart towards me. When the prodigal son was hungry he went to feed upon husks, but when he was starving, he turned to his father” (quoted in Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Vol. 1, p. 81). When you have that kind of desperation, only God can satisfy it.

Does your desire for righteousness drive you to Christ for satisfaction? I pray that the words of the psalmist will be yours as well: “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Ps. 17:15, kjv).


Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to use today’s events to increase your hunger and thirst for righteousness. Look to Him in all things, knowing that He alone can satisfy.

For Further Study: Read Philippians 3:1–14. ✧ What does it mean to place confidence in the flesh? ✧ How did Paul define true righteousness?[1]

Happy Are the Hungry



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]

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (v. 6). At this point it is natural to think of righteousness as the divine, imputed righteousness that those who have humbled themselves before God and mourn for sin desire. But this is probably not what Jesus is saying. The problem with this view is that righteousness is not used this way in Matthew; the idea of imputed righteousness is Pauline. In Matthew’s Gospel, righteousness refers to actual righteousness, expressing itself in right deeds (see Matt. 6:1, for instance). The people described in this verse are those who want to be righteous, to do what is right, and also long to see upright actions by other people and in other places. Jesus says they will experience this upright way of life through himself and the power of his gospel.[5]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 114). 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.

[5] Boice, J. M. (2001). The Gospel of Matthew (p. 75). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.


Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

James 1:15


Some of you will object to my saying this—but it is my opinion that in Christianity we have overemphasized the psychology of the lost sinner’s condition.

We spend time describing the sinner’s woes and the great burden he carries until we almost forget the principal fact that the sinner is actually a rebel against properly constituted authority!

That is what makes sin sin! We are rebels, we are sons of disobedience. Sin is the breaking of the Law and we are fugitives from the just laws of God while we are sinners. We are fugitives from divine judgment.

But thankfully, the plan of salvation reverses that and restores the original relationship, so that the first thing the returning sinner does is confess: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in Thy sight, and I am no more worthy to be called Thy son. Make me as one of Thy hired servants!” (see Luke 15:21).

Thus, in repentance, we reverse that relationship and we fully submit to the Word of God and the will of God, as obedient children!


Dear Lord, You didn’t come to this world to condemn but to save sinners. I pray that Your Spirit will do His convicting work in the hearts of many seekers today.[1]

The Nature of Lust

Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. (1:15–16)

A third proof that God is not the source of temptation is seen in the nature of lust. Having identified lust in the nature of man, James then discusses it in practical terms. Here is the heart of his teaching about temptation.

Shifting from the metaphors of hunting and fishing, he now uses the process of childbirth to illustrate his point. Lust is depicted as a mother conceiving and bearing a child, which is sin and whose ultimate destiny is death. Through James, the Lord here makes clear that sin is not an isolated act or even a series of isolated acts, but rather the result of a specific process, which is succinctly explained.

To better help us remember the process, we can identify the four basic steps with words that each begin with the letter “d.” The first is desire, an alternate translation for lust. Before salvation all people are slaves to lust (Eph. 2:1–3; 4:17–19; 1 Thess. 4:5). As noted above, epithumia (lust) is itself morally and spiritually neutral, its rightness or wrongness being determined partly by the object that is desired and partly by how and for what purposes it is desired. It begins primarily as an emotion, a feeling, a longing for something that, at first, may be largely subconscious. It develops from somewhere deep within us, expressing a want to acquire, achieve, or possess something that we do not have. It can be sparked by any number of things and types of things. Looking in a jewelry store window can spark an immediate and strong desire for a ring, a watch, a bracelet, or crystal vase. Driving past a model home, we may suddenly feel an intense longing to have one like it. Passing an automobile dealership may just as suddenly spark a desire for a new car, perhaps even a make and model we had never thought much about before. The desire may develop and gain our full attention. Lust to sin comes much in the same way. Something we see or hear about suddenly grabs our attention and draws out a strong desire, or lust, to have it or to do it.

The next step is deception, which is more closely related to the mind than to the emotions. When we think about a desired object, our mind begins to rationalize a justification for getting it. That is virtually an automatic part of the process of temptation. We don’t have to tell our minds to rationalize our lusts, because they are already so predisposed by our fallenness. Like the animal or fish that goes after the bait, the desire to have what we want is so strong that we are inclined to discount possible dangers or harm. Simply wanting it justifies the effort to have it. It is at that point, James says, that lust has conceived. The “life of sin,” as it were, has started to form and grow.

The third step is that of design, when plans start to be made to fulfill the emotional desire that we have rationalized and justified with our minds. This stage involves our will, our conscious decision to pursue the lust until it is satisfied. And because the will is involved, this is the stage where the most guilt lies. What has been longed for and rationalized is now consciously pursued as a matter of choice.

The fourth and final stage is disobedience. If we allow the process to continue, the design inevitably produces disobedience to God’s law, by which it gives birth to sin. That which is desired, rationalized, and willed is actually done, committed, and accomplished. Desire leads to deception, deception to design, and design to disobedience, which is sin.

It should go without saying that the earlier in the process we determine to resist, the greater the likelihood we will avoid the sin. Conversely, the longer we delay resisting, the more likely the actual sin becomes. It is only the Christian who is able to control his emotional responses to temptations when they first appear who will effectively deal with sin in his life. The principle of “nipping it in the bud” has no better application than here. The battle must be fought in the mind, where sin is conceived. The truth of God which activates the conscience, the soul’s warning system, must be heard and not ignored. No one can fight the battle in the mind or imagination except the individual believer. To lose it there moves one into the design stage, in which the actual execution of the sin is planned. (The New Testament has much to say about the importance of the mind.)

But since none of us is successful in resisting every temptation by immediately rejecting wrong desire, we need to understand ways for dealing with sin at every stage. Obviously, we can avoid many temptations simply by avoiding places and situations where we know they are most likely to occur. We don’t read magazines or books, watch movies or TV programs, associate with friends, or go places where we know our emotions will be aroused to any sort of enticement to sin. Instead, we make sure that we are exposed to things that feed our emotions in godly ways. We not only gain positively and directly from the spiritual benefit of those things, but the godly joy we receive from them makes the ungodly things less attractive and even repulsive. For example, sound, uplifting, God-honoring music is one of the greatest emotional blessings—and protections—the Lord provides.

We must also be on guard at the level of our minds. We train our minds to keep watch over our emotional desires. Instead of rationalizing temptations, we prepare in advance to oppose them with God’s Word, just as Jesus did in the wilderness. Paul therefore admonishes, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). Especially helpful in this regard is the apostle’s advice to the church at Philippi: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8; cf. Col. 3:2). It is not incidental that the first and greatest commandment includes loving God not only with our hearts and souls but also with our minds (Matt. 22:37). The writer of Psalm 119 memorized the truth of Scripture to strengthen his mind against temptation (vv. 9–11).

If the cycle of temptation is completed, sin is accomplished, and it brings forth death. The “child” conceived by lust is born a murderer, a killer. To use another figure, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Sin … brings forth physical death, separating the soul from the body; spiritual death, separating the soul from God; and eternal death, separating both body and soul from God forever.

Through his faith in Jesus Christ, a Christian is saved from spiritual and eternal death. But if he persists in sin, he may pay the penalty of physical death. Because some believers in Corinth were partaking of the Lord’s Supper unworthily, they brought judgment on themselves and “for this reason,” Paul says, “many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep” (1 Cor. 11:30), that is, had died. John also reminds us that, even for believers, “there is a sin leading to death” (1 John 5:16).

In light of those sobering truths, James implores: Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Stop blaming other people, circumstances, or Satan for your temptations and sins, he is saying. Above all, do not blame God. Take full blame on yourselves, where it belongs. Realize that your enemy—your fallenness, your lusts, your weaknesses, your rationalizations, and your sins—are within and have to be dealt with from within. When a believer wins the battle on the inside, he can say with Paul: “For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you” (2 Cor. 1:12).[2]

15 Once lust is embraced, destructive, progressive dynamics are set in motion. Perhaps playing off the sexual associations with “lust,” James focuses his figurative imagery on the processes inherent to pregnancy and birth in order to describe that progression. The two parts of this verse are perfectly balanced. First, James personifies the wicked temptress, lust, as becoming pregnant (Johnson, 194). In her perversion of desire, she draws a person into her embrace, and the result is tragic. As a physical pregnancy ends with the mother giving birth to a baby, so lust, once conception has taken place, ultimately gives birth to her child, sin. The second part of the verse focuses on the effect of sin. Having been born of lust, sin, “when it is full-grown” (NIV) or “accomplished” (NASB), itself gives birth to death. Thus the ultimate result of giving in to temptation is death, the “grandchild” of lust.

16 Now comes the exhortation warning of self-deception: “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.” The peril of getting off track theologically, and therefore morally, is of paramount importance in the NT (e.g., 1 Co 6:9; Gal 6:7; 1 Jn 1:8). So James strongly warns against wrong thinking that ultimately would result in wrong living. Again he puts this exhortation to his hearers, calling them “brothers”—an address James likes to use (1:2, 19; 2:1, 5, 14; 3:1, 10, 12; 4:11; 5:7, 9–10, 12, 19) and one commonly used in the ancient world of both men and women in a religious group. Moreover, here, as in 1:19 and 2:5, he adds the affectionate “dear” or “beloved” (agapētos, GK 28). Thus he exhorts them from the standpoint of community relationships.[3]

1:15 If that is so, why then do we sin? Here is the answer: Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. Instead of expelling the vile thought, we may encourage, nourish, and enjoy it. This act of acquiescence is likened to sexual intercourse. Lust conceives and a hideous baby named SIN is born. Which is another way of saying that if we think about a forbidden act long enough, we will eventually do it. The whole process of lust conceiving and bringing forth sin is vividly illustrated in the incident of David and Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:1–27).

And sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death, says James. Sin is not a barren, sterile thing; it produces a brood of its own. The statement that sin produces death may be understood in several ways. First of all, the sin of Adam brought physical death on himself and on all his posterity (Gen. 2:17). But sin also leads to eternal, spiritual death—the final separation of the person from God and from blessing (Rom. 6:23a). There is a sense also in which sin results in death for a believer. For instance, in 1 Timothy 5:6 we read that a believing widow who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. This means that she is wasting her life and utterly failing to fulfill the purpose for which God saved her. To be out of fellowship with God is for a Christian a form of living death.[4]

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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 51–54). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 222–223). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2221). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.


And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image….

GENESIS 1:26, 27

The one mark which forever distinguishes man from all other forms of life on earth is that he is a worshiper: he has a bent toward and a capacity for worship.

Apart from his position as a worshiper of God, man has no sure key to his own being; he is but a higher animal, being born much as any other animal, going through the cycle of his life here on earth and dying at last without knowing what the whole thing is about.

If that is all for him, if he has no more reason than the beast for living, then it is an odd thing indeed that he is the only one of the animals that worries about himself, that wonders, that asks questions of the universe.

The very fact that he does these things tells the wise man that somewhere there is One to whom he owes allegiance, One before whom he should kneel and do homage.

The Christian revelation tells us that that One is God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, who is to be worshiped in the Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

That is enough for us. Without trying to reason it out we may proceed from there. All our doubts we meet with faith’s wondering affirmation: “O Lord God, Thou knowest,” an utterance which Samuel Taylor Coleridge declared to be the profoundest in human speech.

Bible Christianity needs to recapture the spirit of worship, with a fresh revelation of the greatness of God and the beauty of Jesus![1]

26–27 The creation of humankind is set apart from the previous acts of creation by a series of subtle contrasts with the earlier accounts of God’s acts. First, in v. 26, the beginning of the creation of humans is marked by the usual, “And God said.” However, God’s word that follows is not an impersonal (third person) “Let there be”; rather, what is used is the personal (first person) “Let us make.”

Second, throughout the previous narrative each creature is made “according to its own kind” (lemînāh). But the account of the creation of humankind specifically notes that the man and the woman were not made “according to their own kind.” Rather, they were made “in [God’s] image” (beṣalmēnû). They are not merely like themselves, they are also like God; they share a likeness to their Creator.

Third, the creation of humankind is specifically noted as a creation as “male and female” (v. 27). The author has not considered gender an important feature in his account of the creation of the other forms of life, but for humanity it is clearly of considerable importance. Thus the narrative puts heavy stress on the fact that God created man as “male and female.”

Fourth, only humanity has been given dominion in God’s creation. Humankind’s dominion is expressly stated to be over all other living creatures: those of the sky, sea, and land.

Why the author has singled out the creation of humankind in this way? One answer is that the author intends to portray him as a special creature marked off from the rest of God’s works. But the author’s purpose seems to go beyond merely marking humankind as different from the rest of the creatures; the narrative is also intent on showing that humans are like God. As much as they are not like the other creatures, they are to that extent also like God.

Behind the account of the creation of humans in this narrative lies the purpose of the author of Genesis and the Pentateuch. In this broader picture of humankind’s creation, the reader is given a perspective on certain facts that are to serve as the starting point for the larger purposes of the Pentateuch. Humans are creatures. But more than that, they are special creatures. They are made in the image and likeness of God.

There have been many attempts to explain the plural forms: “Let us make [naʿaśeh] man in our image [beṣalmēnû], in our likeness [kidmûtēnû].” Westermann, 1:144–45, summarizes the explanations given for the use of plurals under four headings: (1) the plural is a reference to the Trinity; (2) the plural is a reference to God and the heavenly court of angels; (3) the plural is an attempt to avoid the idea of an immediate resemblance of humans to God; (4) the plural is an expression of deliberation on God’s part while setting out to create humankind.

The singulars in v. 27 (beṣalmō, “in his own image,” and beṣelem ʾelōhîm, “in the image of God”; cf. 5:1) rule out the second explanation (i.e., that the plural refers to a heavenly court of angels), since in the immediate context humans are said to be created “in his image,” with no mention made of humans’ being made in the image of the angels. To this the author adds a further qualification that God made humankind “in the image of God.” This seems to be an intentional refutation of the notion that the plurals in v. 26 refer to the angels.

The third and fourth explanations are both possible within the context, but neither explanation is specifically supported by the context. It is not convincing to point to 11:7 in support of the notion of deliberation, since the use of the plural in that passage is motivated by the chiastic wordplay between the words nabelâh (“let us confuse,” 11:7) and nilbe (“let us make,” 11:3; see J. P. Fokklemann, Narrative Art in Genesis [Assen: Van Gorcum, 1975]). Where we do find unequivocal deliberation (as in 18:17), it is not the plural that is used but the singular: “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” As Westermann has stated, the first explanation is “a dogmatic judgment,” though we could add that it is not a judgment that runs counter to the passage itself. However, if we seek an answer from the immediate context, we should turn to the following verse(s) for additional clues.

In v. 27 it is stated twice that humankind was created (bārāʾ) in God’s image, and a third time that humans were created (bārāʾ) “male and female.” The same pattern is found in Genesis 5:1–2a: “When God created [bārāʾ] man … he created [bārāʾ] them male and female.” The singular “man” (ʾādām) is created as a plurality, “male and female” (zākār ûneqēbâ). In a similar way the one God (wayyōʾmer ʾelōhîm, “And God said”) created humanity through an expression of plurality (naʿaśeh ʾādām beṣalmēnû, “Let us make man in our image”). Following this clue, the divine plurality of persons expressed in v. 26 can be seen as an anticipation of the human plurality of persons reflected in man and woman, thus casting human personal relationships in the role of reflecting God’s own personhood.

Could anything be more obvious than to conclude from this clear indication that the image and likeness of the being created by God signifies existence in confrontation, i.e., in this confrontation, in the juxtaposition and conjunction of man and man which is that of male and female, and then to go on to ask against this background in what the original and prototype of the divine existence of the Creator consists? (K. Barth, Church Dogmatics, 3/1 [New York: Scribner, 1956], 195).[2]

1:26–28 The crown of God’s work was the creation of man in His image and according to His likeness. This means that man was placed on earth as God’s representative, and that He resembles God in certain ways. Just as God is a Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), so man is a tripartite being (spirit, soul, and body). Like God, man has intellect, a moral nature, the power to communicate with others, and an emotional nature that transcends instinct. There is no thought of physical likeness here. In contrast to animals, man is a worshiper, an articulate communicator, and a creator.

There is an allowance for or even an intimation of the Trinity in verse 26: Then God [Elohim, plural] said [singular verb in Hebrew], “Let Us [plural] make man in Our image.…”

The Bible describes the origin of the sexes as a creative act of God. Evolution has never been able to explain how the sexes began. Humanity was commanded to be fruitful and multiply.

God gave man a mandate to subdue creation and have dominion over it—to use it but not abuse it. The modern crises in the earth’s environment are due to man’s greed, selfishness, and carelessness.[3]

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

[2] Sailhamer, J. H. (2008). Genesis. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis–Leviticus (Revised Edition) (Vol. 1, pp. 69–70). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 33). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

April 11 – Beware of Redefined, Self-centered Righteousness

For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.—Matt. 5:20

Many people today—and sadly, more and more within the church—have redefined biblical concepts to fit their own human perspectives. Like the scribes and Pharisees, religionists know they can’t match God’s righteousness, so they simply change the definition of holiness. A prime example from Old Testament times is how the Jews reinterpreted God’s command, “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44). They turned this from a call for inner holiness into a requirement to perform certain rituals.

The godly person will never rely on self-centered, redefined righteousness. Instead, he will focus on the kind of holiness Jesus taught. He will be broken about sin and mourn over the evil propensity of his heart. Such people long only for the righteousness God can give through His Spirit. They will never rely on their own strength or wisdom for what they can do spiritually.

God has always been focused on inner righteousness. When Samuel was ready to anoint David’s oldest brother, Eliab, to succeed King Saul, God told him, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). And that inner righteousness must be perfect: “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). To be truly qualified for entrance into Christ’s kingdom we must be as holy as God Himself.

Being broken over sin is certainly a crucial part of dealing with its incessant appeal and presence in our lives. But be sure you’re not choosing to remain in perpetual inactivity and introspection. How well is your grieving over sin being translated into renewed obedience?[1]

Christ and the Law—Part 4: The Purpose of Scripture



For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. (5:20)

It is the false teaching of salvation by self-effort that Jesus confronts head-on in this verse and which all of Scripture, from beginning to end, contradicts. As Paul makes clear in the Book of Romans, even Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, was saved by his faith, not by his works (Rom. 4:3; cf. Gen. 15:6). In Galatians the apostle explains that “the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (Gal. 3:22). Outside of sin itself, the Bible opposes nothing more vehemently than the religion of human achievement.

Jesus told a “parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and viewed others with contempt” (Luke 18:9). In that well-known story a Pharisee and a tax-gatherer went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee prayed self-righteously, “ ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax-gatherer, 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!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other,” Jesus said, “for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (vv. 10–14).

The least-esteemed and most-hated man in Jewish society was the tax-gatherer, a fellow Jew who had sold out to Rome for the purpose of collecting taxes from his brethren. He extorted all he could get from the people, keeping for himself everything he purloined above what Rome required. He had forsaken both national, social, family, and religious loyalty for the sake of money. The Pharisee, on the other hand, was the model Jew, highly religious, moral, and respectable. Yet Jesus said that, despite the tax-gatherer’s treachery and sin, he would be justified by God because of his penitent faith, whereas the Pharisee, despite his high morals and religiousness, would be condemned, because he trusted in his own righteousness and good works.

In the present passage Jesus teaches that the sort of righteousness exemplified by the Pharisees was not sufficient to gain entrance into His kingdom. To Jesus’ legalistic, works-oriented hearers, this was doubtlessly the most radical thing He had yet taught. If the meticulously religious and moral Pharisees could not get into heaven, who could?

After showing the preeminence (v. 17), permanence (v. 18), and pertinence (v. 19) of Scripture, Jesus now shows its purpose. From the context of those preceding three verses it is clear that He is still speaking of “the Law and the Prophets,” the Old Testament Scriptures. In saying that true righteousness exceeds the kind displayed by the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said that, whatever they did with man-made tradition, they did not live up to the standards of Scripture.

The implied truth of Matthew 5:20 is this: The purpose of God’s law was to show that, to please God and to be worthy of citizenship in His kingdom, more righteousness is required than anyone can possibly have or accomplish in himself. The purpose of the law was not to show what to do in order to make oneself acceptable, much less to show how good one already is, but to show how utterly sinful and helpless all men are in themselves. (That is one of Paul’s themes in Romans and Galatians.) As the Lord pointed out to the Jews in the first beatitude, the initial step toward kingdom citizenship is poverty of spirit, recognizing one’s total wretchedness and inadequacy before God.

The Identity of the Scribes and Pharisees

Like Ezra (Ezra 7:12), the earliest gramraateōn (scribes) were found only among the priests and Levites. They recorded, studied, interpreted, and often taught Jewish law. Although there were scribes among the Sadducees, most were associated with the Pharisees.

Israel had two kinds of scribes, civil and ecclesiastical. The civil scribes functioned somewhat like notaries, and were involved in various governmental duties. Shimshai (Ezra 4:8) was such a scribe. The ecclesiastical scribes devoted their time to study of the Scriptures, and came to be its primary interpreters and articulators.

Yet, as Jesus repeatedly made plain, they failed to understand what they studied and taught. With all their exposure to God’s Word, being superficially immersed in it continually, they missed its profound spiritual intent.

The influential, rigid Pharisees were particularly confident in their system of righteousness. The Jews had a saying, “If only two people go to heaven, one will be a scribe and the other a Pharisee.” Those men were completely convinced that God was obligated to honor their devoted and demanding works. In comparing themselves with the standards they had established-and especially in comparing themselves with the average Jew, not to mention Gentile-they could not imagine God was not favorably impressed with their goodness.

Yet, like many serious and capable scholars throughout the history of the church, the Pharisees of Judaism were also blind to the meaning of the words they diligently studied and discussed.

The Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees

The standard of righteousness that the scribes and Pharisees taught and practiced differed from God’s righteousness in several important ways. It was external, partial, redefined, and self-centered.


First of all the scribes and Pharisees concerned themselves entirely with external observance of the law and tradition. They took little consideration of motives or attitudes. No matter how much they may have hated a person, if they did not kill him they were not guilty of breaking the commandment. No matter how much they may have lusted, they did not consider themselves guilty of adultery or fornication as long as they did not commit the physical act.

In Matthew 23 our Lord gives a graphic picture of the external character of that religion. “You clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence” (v. 25). The Lord prefaced those words with, “Woe to you, … hypocrites,” labeling those leaders with their sin. They saw nothing wrong with having evil thoughts as long as they did not carry out those thoughts externally. They did not think God would judge them for what they thought but only for what they did.

Yet that is precisely the sort of righteousness Jesus declared to be the worst sort. He condemned such externalism because those who practiced it were really thieves, self-indulgent, unclean, lawless, murderous, and enemies of God’s true spokesmen (Matt. 23:25–31). Jesus’ next teachings in the Sermon on the Mount show that God’s first concern is with the heart-with such things as anger, hatred, and lust-not just with their outward manifestations in murder or adultery (Matt. 5:22, 27–28). Hypocrisy cannot substitute for holiness.

God’s concern about religious ceremony is the same. Jesus is soon to teach that if, for example, our giving, our prayer, and our fasting are not done out of a humble, loving spirit, they count for nothing with Him (6:5–18). Ritual cannot substitute for righteousness.

The scribes and Pharisees were proud that they had “seated themselves in the chair of Moses” (Matt. 23:2), that is, that they were the custodians and teachers of the law God gave to Moses. “All that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them” (v. 3). By their ungodly system of works righteousness, Jesus told them, “You shut off the kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in” (v. 13). On another occasion He told the Pharisees, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).


The righteousness practiced by the scribes and Pharisees also fell short of God’s righteousness because it was partial, woefully incomplete. Again Matthew 23 gives an example: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weigh tier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness” (v. 23). Those religious leaders were meticulous in tithing the smallest plants and seeds from their gardens, though that was not specifically commanded in the law. Yet they had total disregard for showing justice and mercy to other people and for being faithful in their hearts to God. They were much concerned about making long, pretentious prayers in public, but had no compunction about taking a widow’s house away from her (v. 14).

To some extent this second evil was caused by the first. They disregarded such things as justice, mercy, and faithfulness because those things are essentially the reflections of a transformed heart. It is impossible to be merciful, just, and faithful without a divinely wrought change. No external formality can produce that.

Quoting God’s scathing words to their forefathers, Jesus told them, “In vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men” (Mark 7:7–8). Yet they considered themselves to be Israel’s religious elite and the objects of God’s special affection.


In many ways the scribes and Pharisees were like neoorthodox and liberal theologians of our own day. They took biblical terms and redefined them to suit their own human perspectives and philosophy. They reworked biblical teachings, commands, and standards to produce variations in keeping with their own desires and capabilities.

Even such commands as “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44) they interpreted not as a call to pure attitude of heart but as a requirement to perform certain rituals. They knew they could not be holy in the same way God is holy-and had no desire to be-so they simply changed the meaning of holiness.


Not only was the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees external, partial, and redefined, but it was also completely self-centered. It was produced by self for the purposes of self-glory. Above all else, those leaders sought to be self-satisfied, and their system of religion was designed to enhance that self-satisfaction by providing ways to accomplish external, showy things about which they could boast and be proud. Their satisfaction came when they received approval and commendation from men.

In stark contrast, the godly person is broken about his sin and mourns over the wicked condition of his inner life, the unrighteousness he sees in his heart and mind. He has absolutely no confidence in what he is or in what he can do, but longs for the righteousness only God can give out of His mercy and grace.

But the person who is righteous in his own eyes sees no need for any other righteousness, no need for salvation, mercy, forgiveness, or grace. Just as their self-righteous forefathers had not wanted the grace God offered in the Old Testament, the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day did not want the grace the Messiah now offered. They wanted to rule their own lives and determine their own destinies and were not ready to submit to a King who wanted to rule their inner as well as their outward lives. “Not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3).

The Righteousness God Requires

The righteousness God requires of His kingdom citizens far surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees. The term surpasses is used of a river overflowing its banks, emphasizing that which is far in excess of the normal. The Lord requires genuine righteousness, real holiness that far exceeds anything human and that exists only in the redeemed heart. The psalmist wrote, “The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is interwoven with gold” (Ps. 45:13). When the inside is beautiful, outward beauty is appropriate; but without inner beauty, outward adornment is pretense and sham.

God has always been concerned first of all with inner righteousness. When Samuel was ready to anoint Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab, to be Saul’s successor, the Lord said, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).

God not only requires inner righteousness but perfect righteousness.

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). To be qualified for God’s kingdom we must be as holy as the King Himself. That standard is so infinitely high that even the most self-righteous person would not dare claim to possess it or be able to attain it.

The Righteousness God Gives

That impossibility leads the sincere person to wonder how such a holy heart is obtained, to ask the question Jesus’ disciples one day asked Him, “Then who can be saved?” (Matt. 19:25). And the only answer is the one Jesus gave on that occasion: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (v. 26).

The One who demands perfect righteousness gives perfect righteousness. The One who tells us of the way into the kingdom is Himself that way. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6), Jesus said. The King not only sets the standard of perfect righteousness, but will Himself bring anyone up to that standard who is willing to enter the kingdom on the King’s terms.

“A man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, … since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16). To be justified is to be made righteous, and to be made righteous by Christ is the only way to become righteous.

“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe” (Rom. 3:21–22). Faith had always been God’s way to righteousness, a truth that the scribes and Pharisees, the experts on the Old Testament, should have known above all other people. As Paul reminded his Jewish readers in Rome, “For what does the Scripture say? ‘And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’ ” (Rom. 4:3). He quoted from the Book of Genesis (15:6), the earliest book of the Old Testament. The first patriarch, the first Jew, was saved by faith, not by works (Rom. 4:2) or the act of circumcision (v. 10). Abraham “received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned to them” (v. 11).

The uncircumcised includes those before as well as after Abraham. He was the father of the faithful, but he was not the first of the faithful. “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous” and “by faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God” (Heb. 11:4–5). It was also only by faith that Noah found salvation (v. 7).

“For if by the transgression of the one [that is, Adam], death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

“As sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (v. 21).

The righteousness God requires, God also gives. It cannot be deserved, earned, or accomplished, but only accepted. By offering Himself for sin, Christ “condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us” (Rom. 8:4–5). God gave the impossible standard and then Himself provided its fulfillment.

The writer of Romans had considerably more claim to man-made righteousness than most of the scribes and Pharisees to whom Jesus spoke. “If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more,” wrote Paul; “circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless” (Phil. 3:4–6).

But when the apostle was confronted by Christ’s righteousness, he was also confronted by his own sinfulness. When he saw what God had done for him, he saw that what he had done for God was worthless. “Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (vv. 7–9).

For those who trust in Him, Christ has become “to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). When God looks at imperfect, sinful believers, He sees His perfect, sinless Son. We have become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4) and possess in ourselves the very righteous life of the holy, eternal God. Admittedly, until our flesh is also redeemed (Rom. 8:23) that new righteous self is in a battle with sin. Even so, we are righteous in our standing before God in Christ, and have the new capacity to act righteously.

If even God’s own law alone cannot make a person righteous, how much less can man-made traditions do so? Those who insist on coming to God in their own way and in their own power will never reach Him; they shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. No church, no ritual, no works, no philosophy, no system can bring a person to God. Those who, through a church, through a cult, or simply through their own personal standards, try to work their way into God’s grace know nothing of what His grace is about.

It is tragic that many people today, like the scribes and Pharisees, will try any way to God but His way. They will pay any price, but will not accept the price He paid. They will do any work for Him, but they will not accept the finished work of His Son for them. They will accept any gift from God except the gift of His free salvation. Such people are religious but not regenerated, and they shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“I am not setting God’s law aside,” Jesus said. “I will uphold God’s law, and I will strip it of all the barnacles of man-made tradition with which it has been encrusted. I will reestablish its preeminence, its permanence, and its pertinence. I will reaffirm the purpose God had for it from the beginning: to show that every person is a sinner and is incapable of fulfilling the law. The one who lowers the standards to a level he can fulfill will be judged by God’s law and excluded from God’s grace.”[2]

20 And that teaching, far from being more lenient, is nothing less than perfection (see comments at v. 48). The Pharisees and teachers of the law (see comments at 2:4; 3:7; Introduction, section 11.f) were among the most punctilious in the land. Jesus’ criticism is “not that they were not good, but that they were not good enough” (Hill). While their multiplicity of regulations could engender a “good” society, it domesticated the law and lost the radical demand for absolute holiness demanded by the Scriptures.

What Jesus demanded is the righteousness to which the law truly points, exemplified in the antitheses that follow (vv. 21–48). The law, for instance, forbids adultery. Someone might truthfully say that he has kept that law. But if that law points forward to such righteousness as prohibits adultery in one’s heart, the stakes are higher than can be met by even the most law-abiding Pharisee. Contrary to Helmut Flender (Die Botschaft Jesu, 45f.), v. 3 (poverty of spirit) and v. 20 (demand for radical righteousness) do not stand opposite each other in flat contradiction. Verse 20 does not establish how the righteousness is to be gained, developed, or empowered; it simply lays out the demand. Messiah will develop a people who will be called “oaks of righteousness … for the display of [Yahweh’s] splendor” (Isa 61:3). The verb “surpasses” suggests that the new righteousness outstrips the old both qualitatively and quantitatively (Bonnard; see comments at 25:31–46). Anything less does not enter the kingdom.[3]

5:20 To gain entrance into the kingdom, our righteousness must surpass the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (who were content with religious ceremonies which gave them an outward, ritual cleansing, but which never changed their hearts). Jesus uses hyperbole (exaggeration) to drive home the truth that external righteousness without internal reality will not gain entrance into the kingdom. The only righteousness that God will accept is the perfection that He imputes to those who accept His Son as Savior (2 Cor. 5:21). Of course, where there is true faith in Christ, there will also be the practical righteousness that Jesus describes in the remainder of the Sermon.[4]

Faith, Justification, and Good Works

Verse 19 is mostly negative, addressing the failure to practice and teach what is right. In the last verse of this section, we come to what is positive. But strikingly, the positive is no more encouraging than the negative. It is stunning, sobering, even frightening in its rigor. “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (v. 20). More even than the Pharisees and teachers of the law? Aren’t they the most upright and moral of all people? Aren’t they known everywhere for their good works?

Jesus’ statement is especially sobering in contrast to what he has just said. In the preceding verse he said that failing to practice the law or teaching others to break it would result in a dishonorable place in God’s kingdom. But here he says that without a righteousness surpassing even that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, the alleged disciple will have no place in God’s kingdom at all.

Here I have to correct the way I wrote about this verse a quarter of a century ago. When I handled this verse for the first time in a series of messages that eventually appeared in my book The Sermon on the Mount: An Exposition, I taught that the righteousness referred to in verse 20 is the divine righteousness that comes to us by God imputing it to us on the basis of Jesus’ death. Nothing I said about the need for imputed righteousness was wrong in itself. We do need that righteousness. Without it we are lost. But as I have indicated several times earlier in this series, this is not the way “righteousness” is used in Matthew’s Gospel.

In Matthew, “righteousness” means an actual conformity to God’s demands in Scripture, both externally and also internally, as the next verses in the Sermon on the Mount will show. But how are we to match that to what we have heard about justification through Christ’s work on our behalf?

The answer is that although justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ is the core of the gospel and utterly essential—Luther called it “the doctrine by which the church stands or falls”—it is not the whole of the gospel, and it is not what Jesus is talking about here. It is true that God justifies the ungodly on the basis of Christ’s work, but that is not all God does. God also regenerates the one who is being justified. Thus, there is no justification without regeneration, just as there is no regeneration without justification. The important point is that the re-created person will actually live a moral life superior to that of the Pharisees.

Regeneration is what Jesus was talking about when he told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). It is what Paul was writing about when he told the Ephesians, “God … made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (Eph. 2:4–5). On the basis of this distinction, Paul then speaks of two kinds of works, those we are capable of by ourselves (like the righteousness of the Pharisees) and those that are produced in us by the new life of Christ within. Paul wrote, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:8–10). As D. A. Carson rightly observes, “Verse 20 does not establish how the righteousness is to be gained, developed or empowered; it simply lays out the demand.”

How then is this superior, practical righteousness to be gained, developed, and empowered? It is by coming to Christ, finding both justification and new life in him, and then by obeying and serving God by God’s own power. We are not capable of obeying and serving God by our own strength. We will be able to do it only because “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13).

The wonderful thing about this is that when we find ourselves doing good works, we will not take credit for ourselves (which is what the Pharisees did, judging themselves to be persons who were morally superior to other people). Instead, we will give all the glory to God by whom this righteousness is attained and by whose power alone these good works can be done. Moreover, we will marvel at the wisdom of God, which made such a great salvation possible, and we will say, as Paul did in Romans, “To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Rom. 11:36).[5]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 110). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 274–282). 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. 179). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1219). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Boice, J. M. (2001). The Gospel of Matthew (pp. 84–85). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.


Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

—Psalm 103:1-2

Increasing knowledge of God’s ways and works, especially His wise and tender treatment of His redeemed children, fills me with ever-mounting degrees of admiration and praise. It is becoming every day easier to understand experientially the hosannas and hallelujahs which make up such a large portion of the sacred Scriptures. They are the normal response of the heart to the manifold goodness of God, and it would, in fact, be hard to understand their omission if they were not found there.

While I have no doubt that the grace which has followed me since my boyhood will continue with me while I live on earth and for an eternity after, I have enjoyed already enough of God’s benefits to supply me with matter for constant praise for at least a thousand years to come. If God were to close my account tomorrow and refuse any longer to honor me with His favors, the circumstances of His grace to me so far would require that I should still thank Him unceasingly with tears of honest gratitude. TET071-072

Lord, don’t ever let me take for granted the many blessings You send my way. Give me a thankful heart today and be pleased with my offering of praise. Amen. [1]

1–2 Praise of God begins with the self. As the psalmist exhorts himself to praise the Lord with his “soul” (nepeš, GK 5883; vv. 1–2) and “inmost being,” he has nothing else in mind than a full commitment to the act of giving thanks. There is no thought of a separation between “soul” and “inmost being” (lit., “my inner parts”) or between “soul” and “body,” because in Hebraic thought the worshiper praises the Lord with his or her entire being.

The praise of God is focused on “his holy name.” The “name” of the Lord calls to remembrance all of his perfections and acts of deliverance (“all his benefits,” v. 2; see Reflections, p. 271, The Perfections of Yahweh; p. 603, The Mighty Acts of Yahweh). The Lord had revealed to Israel his name, “Yahweh” (Ex 6:6–8; cf. 3:18), so that they might witness his benefits in the redemption from Egypt, the giving of the land, and the fulfillment of his promises. The psalmist recites many of the Lord’s blessings to the covenantal community (vv. 3–22). Praise is the response of awe for God while reflecting on what the Lord has done for the people of God throughout the history of redemption, for creation at large, for the community, and for oneself.

Praise also has an eschatological dimension, as the psalmist reflects on the ultimate righteousness that the Lord will establish (vv. 6, 15–19; cf. 2 Pe 3:13). In and through the divine acts in history the Lord reveals his holiness on earth (v. 1). Far from separating himself from the evil in this world, God’s acts of redemption are significant steps in reclaiming the world by and for “his holy name” and in fulfilling the ultimate plan of dwelling in the midst of his holy people (cf. Eze 48:35; Rev 22:3). The opposite of “praise” is “forgetfulness.” To “forget” (v. 2) the “benefits” (gemûl; cf. v. 10) of the Lord is to disregard his covenantal lordship (cf. Dt 4:9, 23; 6:12; 8:11; 32:18).[2]

103:1 One of the reasons we love the Psalms so much is that they verbalize so beautifully what we often feel but cannot find words to express. Nowhere is this more true than in the case of the 103rd. In its majestic cadences of thanksgiving, we read sentiments that mirror our own deepest emotions of gratitude. Here we call on our soul to bless the Lord—and by our soul we mean not just the non-material part of our nature but the entire person. Spirit, soul, and body are cued in to bless the holy name of Jehovah.

103:2 The call to worship rings out a second time, with the significant added reminder that we should forget not all His benefits. It is a needed reminder because all too often we do forget. We forget to thank Him for soundness of body, soundness of mind, sight, hearing, speech, appetite, and a host of other mercies. We take them too much for granted.[3]

How Should a Person Praise God?

I want to address a number of questions to this psalm, arranging them in such a way that the successive verses of the psalm give the answers. First, How should a person praise God? The answer of this psalm is in verses 1–2. It is with “all my inmost being” or with all my soul.

Praise the Lord, O my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits.

In these verses David is rousing himself to remember God’s benefits, and he does not want to do it superficially. He wants to do it with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his strength (cf. Deut. 6:5). This is the place to begin noticing the “alls” in this psalm: “all my inmost being” (v. 1) and for “all his benefits” (v. 2), which include forgiveness for “all your sins” and the healing of “all your diseases” (v. 3). Later David will call on “all [God’s] heavenly hosts” and “all his works” to join him in his praise (vv. 21–22).

What a rebuke to much of what passes for praise in our assemblies. We come to church, but we leave our minds at home. We hear of God’s grace, but our hearts have been hardened by a critical and carping spirit. Jonathan Edwards believed that there is no true worship that does not touch the “affections.” We often are strangely unaffected, honoring God “with our lips” while our hearts are “far from him” (cf. Matt. 15:8; Isa. 29:13).[4]

103:1 Bless the Lord. Cf. 103:2, 22; 104:1, 35

103:2 forget none of His benefits. These earthly gifts from God included: 1) forgiveness of sin (v. 3), 2) recovery from sickness (v. 3), 3) deliverance from death (v. 4), 4) abundant lovingkindness and mercy (v. 4), and 5) food to sustain life (v. 5).[5]

103:1–2 Bless the Lord, O My Soul, and Do Not Forget His Benefits. Each member of the worshiping congregation urges himself to bless the Lord, i.e., to speak well of him for his abundant generosity. Thus forget not all his benefits is a crucial step in blessing the Lord, and the body of the psalm lists these benefits in order to bring each singer to an admiring gratitude.[6]

103:1 Bless Yahweh The psalmist repeats this command six times (vv. 1, 2, 20, 21, 22). The Hebrew word used here, barakh (which may be literally rendered as “to bless”), describes bestowing someone with special power or declaring Yahweh to be the source of special power. In that regard, it means praising Yahweh for who He is. Compare 106:48 and note.

bless his holy name This refers primarily to the essential character and nature of Yahweh. See 94:14 and note.[7]

103:1–2. David told himself (O my soul) to praise the Lord with all his being, that is, to put his whole heart in his praise of God’s holy name (cf. 33:21). This was certainly warranted in view of the Lord’s many benefits.[8]

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

[2] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 756). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 703). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 42–106: An Expositional Commentary (pp. 832–833). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 103:1–2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1067). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 103:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[8] Ross, A. P. (1985). Psalms. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 867). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

April 11 – A Passion for Goodness

Who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?

1 Peter 3:13


Most people find it difficult to mistreat those who are fervent in doing good. Those who love to do good are often gracious, unselfish, kind, loving, and caring. But frauds who steal from widows and orphans are not tolerated. Even the ungodly condemn those who make themselves rich at the expense of others.

A person who is generous and thoughtful toward others usually isn’t the object of hostility. That’s Peter’s point in today’s verse. Peter wanted all his readers to zealously pursue doing good. A passion for doing good produces a pure life, which should be the goal and delight of every believer. When you are consumed with godly living, you will lose any appetite for the world’s ungodly attractions.[1]

A Passion for Goodness

Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? (3:13)

Peter’s rhetorical question shows that it is unusual for most people, even those hostile to Christianity, to harm believers who prove zealous for what is good. On the other hand, the world has little hesitation attacking with great hostility those charlatans and frauds that enrich themselves at the expense of others. Good refers generally to a life characterized by generosity, unselfishness, kindness, and thoughtfulness toward others (cf. Pss. 37:3; 125:4; Prov. 3:27; 11:23; 2 Cor. 9:8; Gal. 6:9–10; Eph. 2:10; Col. 1:10; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Tim. 6:18; Titus 1:8; 2:7, 14; 3:14; Heb. 13:16; James 3:13, 17; 3 John 11). Such a lifestyle has a way of restraining the hand of even the most ardent foe of the gospel (cf. 2:12; Matt. 5:16; Rom. 12:20–21).

Prove (genēsthe) means “to become” and points to believers’ basic character quality, which should be good and above reproach (cf. Rom. 13:3; Phil. 2:14–16; 2 Tim. 2:20–22). Zealous (zēlōtēs) means “intensity” or “enthusiasm” and describes a person with great ardor for a specific cause. In New Testament times, there was a radical political party of Jewish patriots, called the Zealots (from zēlōtēs), which pledged to free the Jews from all foreign rule by whatever extreme measures (lying, stealing, assassination) were necessary, even if those efforts resulted in their own deaths. Peter was surely familiar with that group—Simon the Zealot, one of his fellow apostles, had likely been a member (Matt. 10:4; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13)—and he wanted his readers to be zealots for what was noble (cf. 1 Cor. 14:12; 2 Cor. 7:11; Titus 2:14; Rev. 3:19).

Of course, being zealous for what is good produces a godly life—the delight and goal of all believers—which leads to pure living and the loss of one’s appetite for the world’s ungodly attractions.[2]

13 Peter opens with a rhetorical question intended to cause reflection: Who among those accosting (ho kakōsōn, in most translations rendered “harming” or “doing evil,” GK 2808) the saints succeeds “if you are eager to do good”? The immediate answer, “No one,” based on Peter’s previous argument of eternal perspective (i.e., the past, present, and future), is that nothing can detract from their inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading (1:3–9). Peter’s focus, however, remains the same as before: doing good. While it is possible to be passionate or misguided about the wrong things, being zealots of the good cannot be faulted. Peter’s admonition has the ring of Paul, who describes Christians as a people “zealous for good deeds” (zēlōtēn kalōn ergōn, Tit 2:14 NASB). Moral integrity, in the end, cannot be impugned.[3]

3:13 Peter resumes his argument with a question: “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?” The answer implied is “No one.” And yet the history of the martyrs seems to prove that enemies of the gospel do harm faithful disciples.

There are at least two possible explanations of this paradox:

  1. Generally speaking, those who follow a path of righteousness are not harmed. A policy of nonresistance disarms the opposition. There may be exceptions, but as a rule, the one who is eager for the right is protected from harm by his very goodness.
  2. The worst that the foe can do to a Christian does not give eternal harm. The enemy can injure his body but he cannot damage his soul.

During World War II a Christian boy of twelve refused to join a certain movement in Europe. “Don’t you know that we have power to kill you?” they said. “Don’t you know,” he replied quietly, “that I have power to die for Christ!” He had the conviction that no one was able to harm him.[4]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 116). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 196–197). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[3] Charles, D. J. (2006). 1 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 334). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2270–2271). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

April 11 – The Unjust Conspiracy

“The chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death.”

Matthew 26:59


The only evidence of guilt against Jesus was man–made and contrived.

The essence of the Jews’ ancient legal system is found in the Lord’s words to Moses and Israel: “You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial” (Deut. 16:19). Therefore, it is truly amazing to consider what twisted measures the Jewish leaders resorted to in their trial of Jesus.

The Council, or Sanhedrin, was authorized to judge only those cases in which charges already had been brought. But in Jesus’ case, with no formal charges yet made and with the Jews’ rush to judgment, the Council had to act illegally as a prosecuting body to keep the chief priests’ murder plot moving forward.

As the sinless Son of God, Jesus was innocent of any wrongdoing. Therefore, the only way for the Jews to convict Him was to obtain false testimony against Him. And to do that, the leaders had to pervert the very heart of their judicial system and endorse the words of liars.

But the Jews quickly found it was not easy even to manipulate and assemble false charges. As is so often the case with liars, what they testified to was not only false but inconsistent. Mark’s Gospel notes that even the two witnesses’ more usable charges about Jesus and the destruction of the temple were not consistent (14:57–59).

It is one of the strongest affirmations in the Bible to Christ’s moral and spiritual perfection that not a single human witness could make an accusation that would convict Him of a crime. After all the desperate maneuvering by the Jews to come up with even the flimsiest testimony against the Lord, He stood innocent of any violation of God’s moral or spiritual law. Instead, it is the unjust, hateful group of men that will one day stand before God condemned for their sinful actions in falsely accusing the Savior.


Suggestions for Prayer: Pray for wisdom and integrity in the judges who make decisions in today’s courtrooms.

For Further Study: Read Deuteronomy 16:18–20 and 19:15–20. How do these passages show that Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin was based on wrong principles (list several factors)?[1]

The chief priests are mentioned separately probably because they were the primary instigators of Jesus’ arrest (see v. 47). But as Matthew makes clear, the whole Council, or Sanhedrin, was present.

The Council was empowered to act only as judge and jury in a legal proceeding. They could not instigate charges but could only adjudicate cases that were brought before them. But because they as yet had no formal charge against Jesus, they were forced to illegally act also as prosecutor in order to carry out their predetermined plan to convict and execute Him. Consequently, they kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death.

Because Jesus was innocent of any wrongdoing, the only possible way to convict Him would be on the basis of false testimony. His accusers would have to be liars. Because the Council was so controlled by satanic hatred of Jesus, they now were willing to do whatever was necessary to condemn Him, even if that meant violating every biblical and rabbinical rule of justice. To accomplish their wicked conspiracy they found themselves perverting the very heart of the Sanhedrin’s purpose, stated earlier in this chapter: “to save, not destroy, life.” Their purpose now, however, was not to discover the truth about Jesus and certainly not to save His life. Their single, compelling desire was to put Him to death.[2]

If there was but one central Sanhedrin (see above), it was composed of three groups: leading priests (see comments at 21:23), teachers of the law, and elders. It had seventy members plus the high priest, but a mere twenty-three made a quorum. The “whole Sanhedrin” need not mean that everyone was present (cf. Lk 23:50–51) but only that the Sanhedrin as a body was involved. We do not know what proportion of the seventy came from constituent groups or whether the proportion had to be preserved in the quorum.

Many equate this meeting of the Sanhedrin with the one at daybreak described by Luke (22:66–71). But Matthew seems to make a distinction between the two (cf. 27:12). Perhaps the later meeting was in the temple precincts (the usual place) and was more fully attended; if so, Luke may well be conflating the proceedings.

Matthew says the Sanhedrin was looking “for false evidence” (pseudomartyria, v. 59, GK 6019) and obtained it from “false witnesses” (pseudomartyres, v. 60). It is unlikely this means that the Sanhedrin sought liars only; if so, why not simply fabricate the evidence? Rather, the Sanhedrin, already convinced of Jesus’ guilt, went through the motions of securing evidence against him. When people hate, they readily accept false witness; and the Sanhedrin eventually heard and believed just about what it wanted. Matthew knew that Jesus was not guilty and could not be, so he describes the evidence as “false.”[3]

26:59 the whole Council. See note on Jn 3:1. The great Sanhedrin was the Supreme Court of Israel, consisting of 71 members, presided over by the High-Priest. They met daily in the temple to hold court, except on the Sabbath and other holy days. Technically, they did not have the power to administer capital punishment (Jn 18:31), but in the case of Stephen, for example, this was no deterrent to his stoning (cf. Ac 6:12–14; 7:58–60). Roman governors evidently sometimes ignored such incidents as a matter of political expediency. In Jesus’ case, the men who were trying Him were the same ones who had conspired against Him (cf. Jn 11:47–50).[4]

26:59 The whole Council (“Sanhedrin”) need not denote all 70 members but may just indicate those hastily assembled in the middle of the night (23 members made a quorum). “Sanhedrin” (Gk. synedrion) could refer either to a local Jewish tribunal (e.g., “council,” 5:22; “courts,” 10:17) or, as here, to the supreme ecclesiastical court (“Council”) of the Jews, centered in Jerusalem. The Romans were ultimately in control of all judicial proceedings but allowed their subjects some freedom to try their own cases.[5]

26:59 Jewish tradition maintains that Ezra established a synod of teachers, known as the hakeneseth hagedolah (Heb.), which functioned to adapt and develop the oral tradition (cf. 15:2) to meet contemporary needs. They constituted the channel through which the knowledge of the Torah was transmitted. On this theory, when the Great Assembly ceased sometime in the third century b.c., the Sanhedrin (sunedrion, Heb.) arose to deliberate community concerns in Judea. According to Josephus, it was known as the gerousia (Gk.), “Council,” during the Seleucid period (198–167 b.c.) and Sanhedrin, “Court,” during the Roman occupation. It consisted of 71 members, including the acting high priest, who presided over the other 70 members from two parties, the Sadducees and Pharisees (26:3, 57; Mark 14:53; 15:1; Luke 22:66). Former high priests, the acting high priest, scribes, possibly members of the more privileged families from which the high priests were selected, and the elders (i.e., tribal and family representatives of the people and the priesthood) also served. During the Roman period, many local courts existed because the Romans permitted the Jews to handle many of their own domestic and religious matters. At least three judges made up the local courts which convened on the second and third days of the week. Courts in large towns had 23 members, the number needed to decide cases of capital punishment. The Sanhedrin constituted the Jewish supreme court and met in the temple area each day, except on holy days and on Sabbaths. Sanhedrins existed in several communities of Judea during the rule of the Roman procurators (a.d. 6–66). The Jerusalem Sanhedrin, however, exercised considerable authority, which varied with different monarchs. Herod the Great tried to limit its powers, but under the Roman procurators its powers extended to free regulation of religious matters and controlled regulation of civil matters. Beginning with the rule of Archelaus (4 b.c.-a.d. 6), the powers of the Sanhedrin were evidently limited to Judea, since it could not exercise authority over Jesus when He was in Galilee. After the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70, the Sanhedrin was abolished. During its existence, it had direct authority over its own police force and could order arrests (26:47; Mark 14:43), and in capital cases had the power of life and death, provided that the Roman governor gave his consent. His judgment, however, usually complied with the Sanhedrin’s demands. The Sanhedrin also heard charges of blasphemy (26:57ff.; John 19:7), transgression of the Law of Moses (Acts 22–24), and false doctrine (Acts 4). Members sat facing one another in a semicircle. Two clerks of the court, one at each end, stood to record votes of condemnation and of acquittal. Condemnation required a two-thirds majority; acquittal, a simple majority. In cases involving capital punishment, arguments for acquittal were presented first, then those for condemnation. Acquittal could be declared on the day of the trial, but condemnation awaited the following day. Disciples of the scribes attended the courts, sat in front, and argued in favor of acquittal, but not for condemnation. Jesus was tried before the Sanhedrin (26:59; John 11:47), but due to His not being granted the benefit of the doubt which usually lay with the accused, the legality of His trial has been the subject of great deliberation.[6]

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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 26:59). 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. 619). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Mt 26:59). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1883). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Mt 26:59). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers (Week Six: Tuesday)


Confession: Psalm 123:1–2

I lift up my eyes to you,

the one enthroned in the heavens.

Behold, as the eyes of servants

look to the hand of their master,

as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,

so our eyes look to Yahweh our God,

until he is gracious to us.

Reading: Mark 15:21–32

And they forced a certain man who was passing by, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), who was coming from the country, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place Golgotha (which is translated “Place of a Skull”). And they attempted to give him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots for them to see who should take what. Now it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him was written, “The king of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross!” In the same way also the chief priests, along with the scribes, were mocking him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he is not able to save himself! Let the Christ, the king of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Even those who were crucified with him were reviling him.


The Passion of Christ was very bitter for three reasons:

  1. The goodness of Him suffering is marked by three circumstances—First, He harmed no one: “He committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:22 nrsv). Second, He most patiently sustained the injuries laid upon Him: “When he was abused, he did not return the abuse” (1 Pet 2:23 nrsv); “I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter” (Jer 11:19 nrsv). Third, He was doing good to all: “He went about doing good” (Acts 10:38 nrsv); “I have shown you many good works from the Father” (John 10:32 nrsv).
  2. The indignity of His death is marked by three things—First, He was judged, which was the most wicked of all: “But they kept shouting, ‘Crucify, crucify him!’ ” (Luke 23:21 nrsv). Second, He suffered many indignities: “They gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head … and they spat on him” (Matt 27:27–30 nrsv). Third, because He was condemned to a most shameful death: “Let us condemn him to a shameful death” (Wisdom of Solomon 2:20 nrsv).
  3. The cruelty of those who crucified Him is seen from three things—First, He was very cruelly flagellated before death: “… after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified” (Matt 27:26 nrsv). Second, at the point of death He was given vinegar and hyssop to drink: “So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth” (John 19:29 nrsv); “For my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psa 69:21 nrsv). Third, He was wounded even after death: “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear” (John 19:34 nrsv).

—Thomas Aquinas

The Lord’s Work and Ours


In His final moments on the cross, Jesus experiences total isolation and rejection. Spend time rereading and quietly reflecting on the details of this passage in Mark.[1]


[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.