Daily Archives: May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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May 2, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

Canada is hosting a round of exploratory negotiations on the future of the Trans Pacific Partnership after the U.S. bowed out. Senior trade officials from every remaining signatory country will convene the so-called TPP-minus-one talks in Toronto on Tuesday and Wednesday. While ministers won’t attend, the event is expected to set the stage for an upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit of trade ministers in Vietnam.

New York City is getting paid back for protecting its most powerful resident. The congressional budget deal announced early Monday will reimburse more than $24 million that the city’s police department spent protecting President Donald Trump’s midtown Manhattan residence and business headquarters between Election Day and Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

A U.S. missile shield deployed in South Korea against China’s objections is now technically ready for operations as tensions grow over North Korea’s nuclear program.

President Donald Trump said he’s willing to raise the U.S. gas tax to fund infrastructure development and called the tax-overhaul plan he released last week the beginning of negotiations.

India’s Infosys Ltd. said it plans to hire 10,000 Americans in the next two years, following criticism from the Trump administration that the company and other outsourcing firms are unfairly taking jobs away from U.S. workers.

AP Top Stories

North Korea warned Monday that it will carry out a nuclear test “at any time and at any location” set by its leadership, in the latest rhetoric to fuel jitters in the region.

Congress extended protections to 44 states that have legalized medical marijuana in its proposed $1 trillion spending bill that funds the government through September.

A major earthquake, magnitude 6.2, in northwest British Columbia shook up communities in nearby Alaska and Yukon Territory but caused no apparent damage.

At least one person has been killed and three more possibly seriously injured following a mass stabbing and assault on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

A U.S. soldier killed in Iraq over the weekend has been identified by the Pentagon as 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. Lee died after an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated during a patrol near Mosul, according to the division.

The head of an Iranian satellite television network who last year was sentenced in absentia to six years in prison by a Tehran court was shot dead in Istanbul together with a business partner.

Two Muslim men were beaten to death by stick-weilding Indian villagers who suspected them of stealing cows, police said Monday, the latest such attack over the animal Hindus consider sacred.

One French police officer was seriously burnt and two others injured in clashes at a May Day demonstration in Paris in which protesters threw Molotov cocktails and other missiles.

A former FBI interpreter reportedly ran away to marry an Isis terror leader before realizing her mistake and coming back to the US to turn herself in.

The Wade quadruplets, who were all accepted into the country’s best colleges, have all decided to attend Yale. The four Ohio brothers became media darlings last month after receiving acceptance letters from Harvard, Yale and a long list of revered institutions, including the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford.

At least 14 people have been killed by tornadoes or flooding in the South and Midwest by a storm that also dumped a rare late-season blizzard in western Kansas on Sunday.

Passengers on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Thailand were slammed into the ceiling after their aircraft hit a patch of severe turbulence injuring 27 people, some of them suffering fractured bones, witnesses and officials said Monday.

Afghan security forces were killed at a “shockingly high” rate during what historically has been a winter lull in fighting against the Taliban, a US watchdog said in a report Monday.

Pakistani troops killed two Indian soldiers in disputed Kashmir on Monday and mutilated their bodies, India’s army said, calling it a “despicable act”.

Israelis stood silent for two minutes while sirens wailed across the country on Monday marking an annual day of remembrance for fallen troops and slain civilians.

Credit Suisse has deployed 20 robots within the bank, some of which are helping employees answer basic compliance questions, the Swiss bank’s global markets chief executive said.

BBC

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to help protect gay rights in Chechnya.

Amid continuing anti-government protests, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has called for a new constitution. Speaking at a May Day rally, Mr. Maduro said a new constitution was needed “to restore peace” and stop the opposition from carrying out a “coup d’état”.

An “extremely lucky” surfer has been found by a Belfast Coastguard helicopter after 32 hours in the sea.

WND

Historians know the biggest cause of crime. J. Edgar Hoover stated: “The criminal is the product of spiritual starvation. Someone failed miserably to bring him to know God, love Him and serve Him.”

Sweden used to be a peaceful country, home to beautiful tall blonde-haired blue-eyed women. Now, because of the massive invasion of 3rd world Muslim migrants, it has turned into the rape capital of the world. Women in Islamic clothing wander around Sweden and violent Muslim men beat and rape the Swedish natives. McDonald’s is also doing their part to make sure that Sweden loses their language and identity by catering to their new demographic, Arabs.


Rogue journalist stuns White House reporters with surprise grilling
documentary filmmaker Mike Cernovich addressed reporters and loudly asked, “Why will nobody here cover the violence against Trump supporters?” A confused hush fell over the room as reporters, unaccustomed to being on the receiving end of shouted questions, tried to figure out what was going on. But Cernocivh immediately continued, “And why won’t you demand that leaders of the Democrats disavow the violence by Antifa the way you demanded Trump disavow violence from his supporters?” He then answered his own question by telling the room: “This has been completely covered up. You have no answer.”

New Hamas Policy Lays Claim to Holy Places in Jerusalem, “The Muslim Birthplace of Jesus”
Hamas’ new policy paper, perceived by the world as softening of their position, calls for ethnically cleansing the region by force in order to create a Muslim state. Israel claims it is an attempt to fool the world, and fix Hamas’ image as a terror organization. The paper also lay claim to Jerusalem as a Muslim city, rewriting history by referring to Israel’s capital as the “birthplace of Jesus”. While making these exclusive Muslim claims to all of Israel, Hamas makes other claims that most people would disagree with.

Islamic State seeks to impose religious rules in Egypt’s North Sinai
As the militant group steps up attacks on Coptic Christians, it is also trying to assert hardline religious authority in the remote area near Egypt’s border with Gaza

7 Photos of Snowy and Flooded Fields From Texas to Illinois
Winter Storm Ursa swept across the High Plains this past weekend, dumping snow from Texas to Nebraska in one of the strongest snowstorms to hit the region this late in the spring, according to the Weather Channel. This weekend’s storm has also caused flooding in eastern Oklahoma, northern Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, according to the National Weather Service, which is slowing down planting progress in certain states and may require replanting in others.

‘We Lost the Western Kansas Wheat Crop This Weekend’
Blizzard conditions and heavy snow swept western Kansas, including 14 to 20 inches in Colby in the northwestern quadrant of the No. 1 winter wheat state in the nation, said the Weather Channel. “We lost the western Kansas wheat crop this weekend. Just terrible,” tweeted Justin Gilpin, chief executive of the grower-funded Kansas Wheat Commission.

Quake near Canada border jolts Yukon, southeast Alaska
A major earthquake in northwest British Columbia shook up communities in nearby Alaska and Yukon Territory but caused no apparent damage….a teacher in the Alaska village of Klukwan about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from the epicenter, said the magnitude 6.2 quake shook her awake at 4:30 a.m. A series of aftershocks, including a magnitude 6.3 quake at 6:18 a.m., kept Carl from getting a restful night’s sleep.

Italy first EU country to publicly reject UNESCO’s anti-Israel resolution
Italy on Tuesday became the first European state to publicly state that it planned to reject a Palestinian backed resolution disavowing Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. Late this afternoon, while Israelis celebrate Independence Day, UNESCO’s 58-member Executive Board is set to approve the text.

Swiss govt says threat of extremist attacks ‘remains at heightened level’
The risk of extremist attacks in Switzerland remains elevated, the Swiss spy agency said on Tuesday, and more attacks by the Islamic State militant group and its sympathizers were expected across Europe.

OPEC deal backfires: Saudis lose market share to Iran, Iraq
Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer and de facto leader, is losing market share, while Iran and Iraq have so far emerged as winners of the cuts with in the cartel in a battle for market share, according to Christof Ruehl, former chief economist at BP who is currently Global Head of Research at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).

Netanyahu wants to stop PA funding for terrorists, but how is another matter
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office would not say whether the premier supports Israeli legislation in the Knesset to block funding to the Palestinian Authority that goes to paying terrorists and their families, just hours after he condemned the payments on Monday. “How can you speak about peace with Israel and at the same time pay murderers who spill the blood of innocent Israelis?” Netanyahu asked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his speech at a Memorial Day ceremony…“Fund peace, not murder.”

As Israel marks Independence Day, Hamas issues new and threatening charter
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Monday dropped its longstanding call for Israel’s destruction, but said it still rejected the country’s right to exist and backs “armed struggle” against it. Hamas supports the establishment of a transitional Palestinian state along the borders from 1967, its leader Khaled Meshaal said on Monday in Doha while announcing the group’s new policy document.

Israel to UNESCO: Reject fake history on Jerusalem
Israel urged UNESCO’s 58-member Executive Board not to promote “fake” history by approving on Tuesday a Palestinian-backed resolution that rejects Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. “Tomorrow, even as we celebrate, UNESCO will be voting against Israel’s right to sovereignty in its capital city, Jerusalem,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovel…”This is absurd. We have become used to the concept of ‘fake news’. Well, welcome to ‘fake history,” Hotovely said.

US anti-missile system operational in South Korea
The US military says its controversial Thaad missile defence system is now operational in South Korea. The system can intercept North Korean missiles although full operational capability is still some months away. Tensions have been rising around the Korean peninsula, with repeated threats from North Korea and the presence of a group of US warships and a submarine.

Indian anger over soldiers’ bodies ‘mutilated by Pakistan’
Indians have taken to social media to demand revenge after the army accused Pakistani troops of killing two Indian security personnel in disputed Kashmir. The army accused Pakistan of mutilating the bodies in Monday’s clash on the Line of Control – claims the Pakistani army denied. But Indians, including the mourning families of the soldiers, feel Pakistan “should be taught a lesson”.

Merkel to meet Putin to discuss crises in Syria and Ukraine
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet Vladimir Putin in Russia for the first time since 2015. The meeting, at Mr Putin’s summer residence in Sochi, comes with bilateral relations in a trough over the war in Syria and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. They are expected to discuss both issues during their meeting, but no breakthroughs are expected.

U.S. issues travel alert for Europe, citing threat of terrorist attacks
The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Europe on Monday, saying U.S. citizens should be aware of a continued threat of terrorist attacks throughout the continent. In the alert, the State Department cited recent incidents in France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom and said Islamic State and al Qaeda “have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe.”

No money for Trump’s wall, plus 6 other GOP issues missing from $1T spending bill
Congressional negotiators have come up with a $1.07 trillion plan to keep the government running through the end of September – but there’s a lot missing from the 1,665-page bill. And much of it involves items that President Donald Trump promised during his campaign and the early days of his presidency.

Budget deal may map U.S. Congress road ahead, via Trump bypass
The U.S. Congress…may be mapping a bipartisan path forward that skirts around President Donald Trump…Democrats and some lobbyists said on Monday. The path was discernible in a nearly $1.2 trillion federal spending deal carved out over the weekend to avert a government shutdown. It had Democratic fingerprints all over it, even though Republicans control Congress and the White House.

Islamic State seeks to impose religious rules in Egypt’s North Sinai
…Interviews with residents of North Sinai and reviews of Islamic State videos suggest the group…is seeking to impose its hardline interpretation of Islam on the local populace…the group has created a morality police force…to enforce strict rules against such behaviour…Coupled with a sharp increase in attacks on Christians inside and outside its predominant area of operations in North Sinai, the developments mark a significant change of tactics for Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate.

Student penalized for using word ‘man’ on his essay
At the University of Florida, a student was recently penalized for writing “man” instead of “humankind” in a class paper. History major Martin Poirier wrote “Water is a thing prior to man” on a paper for a history class called “History of Water.”

“That’s Enough” – Angry Trump Kicks CBS Reporter Out Of Oval Office
Having been pestered by CBS reporter John Dickerson over what great advice President Obama had given him (and his wiretapping accusations); President Trump’s frustration briefly boiled over as he turned his back and remarked “ok, that’s enough, thank you, goodbye,” gesturing for the reporter to leave The Oval Office…

51% Of Murders In The U.S. Come From Just 2% Of The Counties
In 2014, 54% of the counties in the U.S. had no murders whatsoever while the worst 1% of counties had 37% of the murders and the worst 5% of counties accounted for 68% of murders.

Trump Destroys Michelle O’s Legacy; Makes School Lunches Great Again
“If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition – thus undermining the intent of the program.”

Ethiopia drought creates food crisis for 7.7 million
The number of people in need of food aid in Ethiopia’s drought-hit regions has surged to 7.7 million, over two million more than an estimate earlier this year, state media reported Friday.

The Mark of the Beast
…The world is a blink of an eye from being under total domination to Satan’s best representatives on the planet. A total in-your-face economic dictatorship is within the grasp of the New World Order crowd.


ALAN KEYES — Last week the Vermont socialist, Democrat Bernie Sanders, endorsed a reputedly pro-life Democrat running for mayor of Omaha, Nebraska. The president of NARAL ProChoice America called the endorsement a betrayal of women…. (more)

May 1, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — Sexual harassment and now racial discrimination complaints are providing the excuses James Murdoch may need to purge the conservative news personalities who have made the Fox News Channel a success…. (more)

May 1, 2017
BYRON YORK — In the hour before the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner began at what used to be called the “Hinckley Hilton” in Washington, I asked attendees – – journalists, politicians, opinion-makers, advertising & PR types – – what they expected of an evening without the president…. (more)

May 1, 2017
CBS NEWS — On his 100th day in office Saturday, President Trump spoke to CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent and host of “Face the Nation,” John Dickerson, about his accomplishments at the traditional milestone and beyond, before flying to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to give a speech at a rally…. (more)

May 1, 2017
WALL STREET JOURNAL — Congressional leaders reached a bipartisan deal late Sunday to fund the government until October, while Republicans scrambled to pull off an even more significant legislative achievement that has eluded them this year: an overhaul of the health-care system…. (more)

May 1, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — The theory of human-caused global warming is straightforward. The level of the so-called “pollutant” carbon dioxide, or CO2, is rising in the atmosphere, causing a worldwide increase in temperatures that ultimately will have a catastrophic effect on the planet…. (more)

May 1, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — “Disliking Trump is getting very boring,” writes Kathleen Parker, a Washington Post columnist. “Disliking Trump, even for all the right reasons, is exhausting and unsustainable. It’s also boring.” Funny she should mention that. Weary Democratic voters may agree as they witness a strident new culture within their party which calls upon them to “resist” President Trump and his administration – – and includes strong language, ramped-up drama and a new “war room” mentality. The strategy may be losing its charm, however…. (more)

May 1, 2017
ROBERT KNIGHT — Many years ago, I witnessed what happens when people who prevent others from speaking are not dealt with promptly. During a “Firing Line” taping with William F. Buckley at Bard College in New York state on the topic of “Resolved: The ACLU is full of baloney” (the short answer is “yes”), two female activists stood up and started chanting “women of color have no voice.”… (more)

April 30, 2017
CHERYL CHUMLEY — Headlines rocked in recent days about the latest Berkeley episode of snowflake teardropping, the one where conservative bigwig Ann Coulter was supposed to come to campus to speak, but threats of violence from offended students waylaid her plans…. (more)

April 30, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — As President Trump’s top advisers prepare to hash out a final policy on the Paris climate agreement dumped onto their laps by President Obama, another option has hit the table: Declare the deal a treaty and send it to the Senate to be killed…. (more)

April 30, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said Saturday that press access under President Trump had “been very good” before delving into tensions that exist between the media and the administration…. (more)

April 30, 2017
POLITICO — The nation’s conspiracy-theorist-in-chief is facing a momentous decision. Will President Donald Trump allow the public to see a trove of thousands of long-secret government files about the event that, more than any other in modern American history, has fueled conspiracy theories – – the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy?… (more)

April 29, 2017
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump has signed a short-term, stopgap spending bill keeping the government functioning and avoiding a shutdown on his 100th day in office. Trump signed the bill in private Friday night after he returned to the White House from a daytrip to Atlanta…. (more)

April 29, 2017

NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump promised the National Rifle Association on Friday that “the eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.”… (more)


April 29, 2017

WORLDNETDAILY — The Heritage Foundation, which, under the leadership of former Sen. Jim DeMint, became a strongly conservative think tank that embraced the Trump revolution and anti-establishment Republicanism, just threw it in reverse. DeMint is out. Former president Ed Fuelner, 75, who earlier retired, is back…. (more)


April 29, 2017
BYRON YORK — “We’re going to go when we have the votes,” Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday when asked when the House will pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Lawmakers will not be constrained by any “artificial deadline,” Ryan declared…. (more)

April 29, 2017
BOB UNRUH — There’s been a growing movement urging the United States to leave the United Nations – – including a petition drive – – ever since the global body passed a resolution condemning Israel for building housing in areas it reclaimed in a defensive war…. (more)

April 29, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Reversing yet another of his predecessor’s actions on energy and the environment, President Trump on Friday signed an executive order that paves the way for a massive increase in offshore oil-and-gas drilling…. (more)

April 29, 2017
NEWSMAX — First lady Melania Trump has dedicated a new garden for patients at one of America’s leading children’s hospitals. Patients will be able to feel the sun, breathe fresh air and see the Washington Monument from the new rooftop garden at Children’s National Medical Center…. (more)

April 29, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to start pulling the federal government out of K-12 education, following through on a campaign promise to return school control to state and local officials…. (more)

April 29, 2017

NEWSMAX — An organization funded in part by liberal billionaire George Soros plans to mark the 100th day of President Donald Trump’s time in office with a march in Washington, The Washington Times reported Friday…. (more)


April 29, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Let the marching begin. On the heels of the March for Science – – which really ought to have been called the March Against Science – – now come the People’s Climate March people. And boy, are they ready to engage. Their motto, according to a video posted on their Facebook event page? “People’s Climate March: We resist. We build. We rise.”… (more)

April 29, 2017
THE FEDERALIST — Bill Nye, who has been recently spending time yelling at people that gender is fluid and has nothing to do with DNA, used to tell everyone that science says chromosomes determine if a person is a boy or a girl…. (more)

April 29, 2017

EMILY ZANOTTI — I have a confession: I never liked Bill Nye the Science Guy. I like science and consider it a creative pursuit, but Nye always seemed cloying and condescending, as if, somehow, his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering were enough to give anyone an expanded view of the scientific universe. I was a cynical child, what can I say?… (more)


April 28, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — Brightly colored baby socks flooded the halls of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, representing the hundreds of thousands of lives lost annually to Planned Parenthood, and sending the unmistakable message to Congress to defund the nation’s largest abortion provider…. (more)


Mid-Day Snapshot

May 2, 2017

Trump’s Message to Kim

He offers North Korea a conditional olive branch, while the U.S. military announces the missile shield is now operational.

The Foundation

“We are firmly convinced, and we act on that conviction, that with nations as with individuals our interests soundly calculated will ever be found inseparable from our moral duties, and history bears witness to the fact that a just nation is trusted on its word when recourse is had to armaments and wars to bridle others.” —Thomas Jefferson (1805)


Why There Will NEVER Be A Political Solution To America’s Problems

Why do things never seem to change no matter who we send to Washington?  It seems like for decades many of us have been trying to change the direction of this country by engaging in the political process.  But no matter how hard we try, the downward spiral of our nation just continues to accelerate.  Just look at this latest spending deal.  Even though the American people gave the Republicans control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, this deal very closely resembles “an Obama administration-era budget”.  It increases spending even though we have already been adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt, it specifically forbids the building of a border wall, it fully funds Planned Parenthood, and there are dozens of other concessions to the Democrats in it.  As I previously warned, these “negotiations” were a political rout of epic proportions. (Read More…)


Leaving the NAR Church: Candice’s story

“How lonely and devastating it is to find out that something you believe in so strongly can be so wrong, and that cognitive dissonance disorder is very real to all of us who share this journey.” Candice is one of many Christians who has watched helplessly as the New Apostolic Reformation infected the church and […]


The Heart of the Hanegraaff Hubbub: Dethroning the God of Your Personal Experiences

Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley weighs in on the recent controversy that arose when the announcement came that the president of evangelical apologetics ministry Christian Research Institute (CRI), founded by the late Dr. Walter Martin, had been chrismated into the apostate Greek Orthodox Church.  Lesley writes: Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man. […]


Leaving the NAR Church: Chrissy’s story

“I would always look up to these people getting “words from God” and wished that I could have this special relationship with Him as they did. I desired it – so why wasn’t God speaking to me the way He spoke to them?” Chrissy has allowed me to include her story in this series about […]


Featured Blogs


Top Headlines – 5/2/2017

UK warned it needs new Middle East policy that does not rely on Trump

Palestinians see Abbas’s weakness ahead of Trump meeting

Support for two-state solution slipping – among Arabs?

Trump to continue talking to Netanyahu about settlements – W.House

White House refrains from commenting on new E. Jerusalem homes

Netanyahu criticizes Abu Mazen: ‘How can you talk about peace when you finance murderers?’

Mashaal: No negotiations with the ‘occupation’

Sources: Hamas document to support ’67 borders and reject Israel’s existence

Hamas remains bent on ‘liberating Palestine’ in new document

Hamas to soften stance on Israel, Muslim Brotherhood in policy document

Israel says Hamas trying to fool the world with new policy paper

‘Hamas invests all its resources in destroying Israel’

Palestinian infighting is exacerbating Gaza crisis – UN report

870 Palestinians remain on hunger strike

Palestinian man stabbed outside Jerusalem

Danon: US likely to support Israel’s seat on UN Security Council

Israel, Palestinians battle for votes over Jerusalem resolution at UNESCO

Italy says it will vote against UNESCO Jerusalem resolution

A UN birthday slap at Israel

UNESCO to fire another volley at Israel – on Independence Day

Israelis move from mourning to feting 69 years of independence

50 years of reunification: Western Wall exhibition on Six-Day War opens

April Nerve Gas Attack in Syria Appears to Be One in a Series

Exclusive drone footage captures west Mosul in the throes of war

Al-Qaida leader says group fought alongside US-backed forces

Ever-closer ties between US and Kurds stoke Turkish border tensions

UN rights chief warns against Saudi-led attack on Yemen port

Indonesians Seek to Export a Modernized Vision of Islam

U.S. issues travel alert for Europe, citing threat of terrorist attacks

CIA chief visits South Korea amid heightened tension

THAAD missile defense system initially capable in S.Korea – sources

Japan destroyer leaves port reportedly to escort US warships

North Korea Threatens To Sink “Doomed” US Nuclear Submarine

North Korea threatens to strengthen nuclear force ‘to the maximum’

N. Korea warns of nuclear test ‘at any time’

Trump mum on North Korea red line, says: ‘I act if I have to act’

Trump floats Kim Jong Un sit-down: ‘Absolutely’ would meet with North Korean leader

Democrats confident they can block Trump’s agenda after spending-bill win

1,665 Pages: GOP Spending Bill Longer Than Obama’s Stimulus

No money for Trump’s wall, plus 6 other GOP issues missing from $1T spending bill

Trump’s ‘big beautiful wall’ is not in the spending plan. Will it ever get built?

Spicer: ‘Make No Mistake,’ the Border Wall Will Be Built

As Trump budget plans fade, Republicans brace for war – with each other

GOP on verge of losing health care vote

Conservatives prepare for Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement

New Mexico’s REAL ID rules have forced court caseloads ‘to go off the charts’

Puerto Ricans protest on May Day as debt deadline nears

Maduro Calls for New Venezuelan Constitution Amid Street Battles

Several hundred neo-Nazis march in Swedish town

Leaked document reveals Facebook conducted research to target emotionally vulnerable and insecure youth

SpaceX launches top-secret spy satellite for US government

6.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Skagway, Alaska

6.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Skagway, Alaska

5.2 mangitude earthquake hits near Skagway, Alaska

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 25,000ft

Klyuchevksoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 23,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 16,000ft

Monster snowstorm in Colorado forces postponement of climate change & global warming rally

Lab-Grown Meat Coming to Supermarket Shelves Soon?

Fox News Co-President Bill Shine resigns amid criticism of his handling of sexual harassment claims

Baltimore Mayor Begs For FBI Help As 2017 Murders Soar To 20-Year High

Mike Ratliff – Regeneration is the New Birth

Jury Trial for Carra Crouch vs TBN Begins May 1st

Larry DeBruyn – Truths We Believe about God: A Biblical & Theological Refutation of Wm. Paul Young’s book, “Lies We Believe About God

Beth Moore’s strangely disappearing tweet: a discernment lesson

Letter to the Editor: AWANA Now Teaching Children to Hear the Voice of God

Fired Pennsylvania Youth Leader Pleads Guilty to Impregnating Teenager

Adventist Pastor Comes Out as Bisexual, Resigns Over Church’s Biblical Teachings on Homosexuality

Christian University Students Call School’s Biblical Views on Sex, Gender Identity ‘UnChrist-Like’

Miami Mayor: Scientology Is “Legitimate Religion,” Just Like Catholicism

Donald Trump Says America needs a good ‘shutdown,’

Posted: 02 May 2017 08:33 AM PDT

President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that the country needs a “good ‘shutdown,’” as well advocated for changing Senate rules, in a pair of tweets where…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

‘Passion of the Christ’ Actor Jim Caviezel Wants to Work With Mel Gibson for Sequel on the Gospels

Posted: 02 May 2017 08:30 AM PDT

Actor Jim Caviezel, best known for playing Jesus in Mel Gibson’s 2004 epic “The Passion of the Christ,” has said that only atheists believe in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pastor Greg Laurie Praying America Isn’t Destroyed By North Korea, Potentially Fulfilling Bible Prophecy

Posted: 02 May 2017 08:26 AM PDT

Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, has spoken out about the threat of nuclear war between the United States and North…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mobile and Wearable Biometric Authentication to Reach 3.3 Billion Users by 2022

Posted: 02 May 2017 08:22 AM PDT

The mobile and wearable biometric authentication markets will reach a combined value exceeding $6.2 billion by the year 2022, according to a new report from…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

COMING DECEPTION: Will Discovery of Alien Life Shake Religions to their Core?

Posted: 02 May 2017 08:13 AM PDT

About two decades ago, it was quite uncertain whether stars other than our own sun even hosted their own planets. However, according to Nasa, the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

UPDATE: Texas Parents Meet Hero Who Risked His Life to Save Their Children From Raging Flood

Posted: 02 May 2017 08:07 AM PDT

Yesterday Faithwire reported the miraculous rescue that took place over the weekend as floodwaters and tornadoes ravaged Texas. A father traveling with his wife and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Ohio Man Arrested for Attempting to Join ISIS

Posted: 02 May 2017 08:02 AM PDT

An Ohio man has been arrested for attempting to travel to Syria to provide material support to the barbaric Islamic group ISIS, which identifies itself…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Is the UK about to recognize a Palestinian Statehood?

Posted: 02 May 2017 07:59 AM PDT

A new report by the British Parliament’s upper chamber declared President Donald Trump unfit to lead the West’s foreign policy in the Middle East, and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

T.D. Jakes Claims Churches Have Become ‘Prostitutes to Politics’

Posted: 02 May 2017 07:55 AM PDT

The invisible wall separating church and state came crumbling down at an international gathering of pastors and ministry leaders. It was the underlying theme of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Huffington Post Humanist Urges the Church to Stop Using the Bible as a Moral Guide

Posted: 02 May 2017 07:48 AM PDT

(By Dr. Michael Brown) It’s one thing when a humanist attacks the Bible. That’s expected. It’s another thing when a humanist attacks a Christian denomination…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

‘The Church Doesn’t Need Any More Coffee Bars’

Posted: 02 May 2017 06:34 AM PDT

(By Michael Snyder) Have we lost sight of who we are supposed to be? In December 2014, Kimberli Lira’s husband was diagnosed with cancer. Melchor…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea claims Japan trying to Invade, Threatens Obliteration in World War 3

Posted: 02 May 2017 06:25 AM PDT

North Korea has blamed Japan for rising tensions in the Korean peninsula – as the hermit kingdom threatened the Land of the Rising Sun would…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Firestorm brewing as scientists work to create Synthetic Human DNA…

Posted: 02 May 2017 06:18 AM PDT

Last May a seemingly commonplace meeting kicked off a firestorm of controversy. More than 100 experts in genetics and bioengineering convened at Harvard Medical School…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Satellite images reveal North Korea poised to test submarine missiles capable of striking US

Posted: 02 May 2017 06:14 AM PDT

Satellite images show that North Korea is preparing to trial a deadly new arsenal of submarines which could be capable of launching nuclear missiles towards…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea threatens the ‘final doom of the US’ after Trump sends supersonic nuclear bombers over the Korean peninsula

Posted: 02 May 2017 06:11 AM PDT

North Korea has said it is ready for a “total war” threatening the “final doom of the US” as Donald Trump continues to stage military drills with…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

One Day, a Machine Will Smell Whether You’re Sick

Posted: 02 May 2017 06:04 AM PDT

Blindfolded, would you know the smell of your mom, a lover or a co-worker? Not the smells of their colognes or perfumes, not of the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Scientists carry out full head transplant on rats

Posted: 02 May 2017 06:00 AM PDT

Scientists have carried out a successful head transplant on rats ahead of plans to attempt a similar operation on a human later this year.  During…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Lightning kills 32 cows in Missouri leaving them ‘piled on top of each other’

Posted: 02 May 2017 05:54 AM PDT

As he does every morning, Texas County dairy farmer Jared Blackwelder started milking his cows around 4 a.m. Saturday. He finished up just before daylight…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR: North Korea Warns US drills “Push Koreas Closer to Brink Of Nuclear War”

Posted: 02 May 2017 05:43 AM PDT

The US activities in the vicinity of the Korean Peninsula – namely, US strategic bomber joint flights with South Korean and Japanese forces – may…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China demands ‘immediate’ halt to THAAD deployment in South Korea

Posted: 02 May 2017 05:40 AM PDT

Beijing has called for an immediate stop to the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to South Korea and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Adventist Pastor Comes Out as Bisexual, Resigns Over Church’s Biblical Teachings on Homosexuality

Posted: 02 May 2017 05:30 AM PDT

A female pastor at a Seventh-day Adventist church in Arizona has come out as bisexual and resigned from her position, saying that she has “come…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

16-Y-O Daughter of Nigerian Church Leader Forced Into Islamic Marriage by Sharia Court

Posted: 02 May 2017 05:24 AM PDT

The 16-year-old daughter of a Nigerian church leader was forcibly converted to Islam and married off to her Muslim boss by a Sharia court in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Purging Continues at Fox News

Posted: 02 May 2017 05:20 AM PDT

Fox News on Monday announced the resignation of co-President Bill Shine, who had been the right-hand man to founding chairman Roger Ailes until Ailes’ departure…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Texans cry out to God in miraculous rescue of 2 babies

Posted: 02 May 2017 05:15 AM PDT

“In the name of Jesus, let him breathe, Lord! Give that baby breath, Lord! Dear Jesus, please let this baby breathe,” a woman desperately prayed…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Over 2,000 Report Earthquake Near Santa Monica, CA

Posted: 02 May 2017 05:12 AM PDT

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake shook the Santa Monica area Monday night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor hit near the Santa Monica fault at…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Ongoing Earthquake Swarm Continues In Skagway, Alaska

Posted: 01 May 2017 01:47 PM PDT

An ongoing swarm of earthquakes, with the largest quakes measuring M6.3, M6.2 and M5.2, is currently rattling near Skagway, Alaska. The two earthquake >M6.0 are…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US Air Force to Conduct 2nd Missile Test amid Rising North Korea Tensions

Posted: 01 May 2017 01:41 PM PDT

As tensions continue to rise with North Korea, the U.S. Air Force is set to conduct another long-range missile test on Wednesday. The new launch,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Knife-Wielding Attacker Kills One, Injures 3 at University of Texas

Posted: 01 May 2017 01:37 PM PDT

At least one person was killed and three people were transported to hospitals with potentially serious injuries after a stabbing incident near a gym at…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

State Dept issues Travel Alert amid terrorism threats ‘throughout Europe’

Posted: 01 May 2017 01:33 PM PDT

The US State Department is warning Americans that traveling to Europe risks being caught in a terrorist attack. The ‘Travel Alert’ is set to remain…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Trump Could Soon Have Meeting With Kim Jong-Un

Posted: 01 May 2017 01:27 PM PDT

President Trump said in an interview Monday that he “absolutely” would meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un under the right circumstances. “If it would…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Russia reportedly planting deep-sea ‘mole nukes’ near US capable of causing Tsunami

Posted: 01 May 2017 01:16 PM PDT

A former Russian colonel and defense ministry spokesman claims Putin is burying ‘sleeper’ nukes off the coast of America. Viktor Baranetz said that in the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Student penalized for using word ‘Man’ on his essay

Posted: 01 May 2017 11:33 AM PDT

At the University of Florida, a student was recently penalized for writing “man” instead of “humankind” in a class paper. History major Martin Poirier wrote…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Tornado Rips Apart Texas Church — 45 People Inside Left Totally Unscathed

Posted: 01 May 2017 11:27 AM PDT

A deadly series of tornadoes swept through Texas, Arkansas and Missouri over the weekend, killing more than a dozen people and leaving destruction in their paths,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Are you ready for “Lab-Grown Meat” Coming to Supermarket Shelves Soon?

Posted: 01 May 2017 11:22 AM PDT

If this Silicon Valley food-tech startup has its way, its lab-grown meat—which includes chicken, duck and beef—will be on a supermarket shelf near you within…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

THAAD Missile Defense System in South Korea Ready For Potential Conflict.

Posted: 01 May 2017 11:17 AM PDT

The U.S. military’s THAAD missile defense system in South Korea has reached an initial operating capability to defend against North Korean missiles, U.S. officials said…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS HOLY

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

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

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

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

JESUS IS LORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

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

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

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

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

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


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

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LifeWay Research: Americans Are Fond of the Bible, Don’t Actually Read It

LifeWay Research surveyed 1,000 Americans about their views of the Bible and found significant splits in how familiar they are with the Christian scripture. One in five Americans, LifeWay Research found, has read through the Bible at least once. That includes 11 percent who’ve read the entire Bible once, and 9 percent who’ve read it through multiple times. Another 12 percent say they have read almost all of the Bible, while 15 percent have read at least half.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— Americans have a positive view of the Bible. And many say the Christian scriptures are filled with moral lessons for today.

However, more than half of Americans have read little or none of the Bible.

Less than a quarter of those who have ever read a Bible have a systematic plan for reading the Christian scriptures each day. And a third of Americans never pick it up on their own, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

Small wonder many church leaders worry about biblical illiteracy, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

“Most Americans don’t know first-hand the overall story of the Bible—because they rarely pick it up,” McConnell said. “Even among worship attendees less than half read the Bible daily. The only time most Americans hear from the Bible is when someone else is reading it.”

Many unfamiliar with biblical text

Almost nine out of 10 households (87 percent) own a Bible, according to the American Bible Society, and the average household has three.

But Bible reading remains spotty.

LifeWay Research surveyed 1,000 Americans about their views of the Bible and found significant splits in how familiar they are with the Christian scripture. One in five Americans, LifeWay Research found, has read through the Bible at least once. That includes 11 percent who’ve read the entire Bible once, and 9 percent who’ve read it through multiple times. Another 12 percent say they have read almost all of the Bible, while 15 percent have read at least half.

About half of Americans (53 percent) have read relatively little of the Bible. One in 10 has read none of it, while 13 percent have read a few sentences. Thirty percent say they have read several passages or stories.

Americans also differ in how they approach reading the Bible. Twenty-two percent read a little bit each day, in a systematic approach. A third (35 percent) never pick it up at all, while 30 percent look up things in the Bible when they need to. Nineteen percent re-read their favorite parts, while 17 percent flip open the Bible and read a passage at random. A quarter (27 percent) read sections suggested by others, while 16 percent say they look things up to help others.

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The post LifeWay Research: Americans Are Fond of the Bible, Don’t Actually Read It appeared first on The Aquila Report.

A Three-Part Formula for Fear

Israel refused to enter the land.

After nearly 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, God’s people should have been thrilled to reach the land flowing with milk and honey, the land God had promised them. Finally home! Finally settled. After four long decades.

Instead, they were afraid. Between them and the promised land stood the Amorites, an enemy God commanded them to defeat, and promised they would defeat, with his help. The Israelites couldn’t see a vibrant, good land for their possession, but only the obstacles. Nor would they take God’s words to heart: “Do not fear or be dismayed.” I will be with you.

In looking at Deuteronomy 1, where Moses recounts the story to his people, we see a three-part formula for fear that’s most likely at the root of our fears today.

A Three-Part Formula for Fear

Ingredient #1: Disobedience

See, the Lord your God has set the land before you. Go up, take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has told you. Do not fear or be dismayed.…Yet you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. (vv. 21, 26)

Fear compels disobedience, but disobedience also causes fear. The more God’s people refused to obey him, the heavier their fears weighed. When God is small in our eyes, and we deem him unworthy of our obedience, everything else seems bigger than it should be. But when God is worshiped as God, everything on the periphery is put in its rightful place.

Fear looms when we attempt to enthrone ourselves as little lords. Why? Because we don’t actually have any control, and our circumstances only magnify this fact. But when we acknowledge God as Lord of all, fear must take a backseat; he’s never out of control, he holds all things together, and every circumstance bends to his will and purposes.

Ingredient #2: Unbelief

And you murmured in your tents and said, “Because the Lord hated us he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.” (v. 27)

The Israelites defamed God’s name and character, accusing him of evil. But this accusation was evil in itself and dishonored God because God is only and ever good.


God sent Christ before us to wage war against our strong enemy, Death.
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Their accusation twists what God intended when he delivered them from slavery in Egypt, a delusion to the extreme. We might label it “insanity” that God’s people, who were being destroyed in Egypt, would accuse God of bringing them out only to destroy them later.

Yet, after balking at the Israelites, I’m humbled and convicted. Isn’t this what I do when I fear tomorrow? Aren’t I accusing God of not being good, of lacking trustworthiness? Aren’t I charging him with leading me down a path to slaughter, when he’s saved me from slavery to sin and death? Unbelief in God’s character—believing lies about him—only leads to fear.

Ingredient #3: Doubt

“Where are we going up? Our brothers have made our hearts melt, saying, ‘The people are greater and taller than we. The cities are great and fortified up to heaven. And besides, we have seen the sons of the Anakim there.”’ (v. 28)

The doubt in the Israelites’ words is palpable. So is their pride. No God—we refuse to trust that your command is worth obeying and that your promise is any good. We’ve seen the land, and its people and cities, and there’s no way we’re doing this. No earthly way.

Doubt refuses to acknowledge God’s deeds: what God has done, what he’s doing, and what he promises to do. It’s the dangerous fruit of forgetfulness and breeds fear. Doubt makes us myopic, and when all we can see is what’s directly in front of us, we’ve lost sight of God’s big-picture wisdom and confined him to what we can grasp and anticipate. This limited vision leads to doubt and fear.

We’re not all-knowing and all-powerful, but God is. The obstacle before us might seem greater and taller than we, but it’s miniature and insignificant compared to him. We need to view our temporary circumstances through God’s eternal lens; otherwise doubt will drive us and fear will consume us.

A Formula for Faith

“Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’” (vv. 29-31)

So how do we break from this formula for fear, and proceed in faith? How do we move from disobedience, unbelief, and doubt to obedience, belief, and trust in God?

We rejoice that our most fearful battle has been fought and won already: “[God] disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in [Jesus]” (Colossians 2:15).

When the way to God was impossible for us, and the promised land of eternity blocked because of our sin, God sent Christ before us to wage war against our strong enemy, Death. Jesus’ weapons were his body and blood, nailed to and spilled from a wooden cross. His was the perfect sacrifice to deal with Death’s greatest weapon: unforgiveness of our sin leading to our eternal destruction.

But when God raised Jesus from the dead, our record of sin was cancelled, and God made us alive together with him. Death was defeated by Life,  the head of all rule and authority, the One in perfect control over every moving detail of our days, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

And if he’s dealt with our greatest enemy, can’t he also deal with the barriers before us? Can he not transform seeming-obstacles into opportunities of faith, where his grace triumphs over our fear?

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The post A Three-Part Formula for Fear appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Bill Johnson: If you’re not healed, you’re not saved – and it’s all your fault.

The reason why the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) can not even be remotely treated as a Christian movement is the abusive theology it forces on people. Especially those who are sick, poor and vulnerable.

A good example of this abusive theology comes from Bethel Redding’s Bill Johnson, who links healing and salvation together with Christ’s death on the cross. This bible twisting stems back to the foundations of the New Apostolic Reformation when it was known as the New Order of the Latter Rain in 1948. This movement popularized the teachings of Franklin Hall and William Branham, which gave rise to the Voice of Healing Movement (VHM). Both TL and Daisy Osborne were influenced by the teaching that healing came from the death of Jesus. And since then, the NAR have promoted this lie by twisting Isaiah 53.

Bill Johnson promotes this dangerous teaching to this day. The article below is…

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Are there really ancient prophecies in the Bible that promised the rebirth of Israel in the “last days”? As modern Israel turns 69, it’s an important question to consider.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

israelUPDATED: (Central Israel) — Today marks 69 years since the dramatic rebirth of the modern State of Israel in May of 1948. Israelis are joyfully celebrating independence, security and growing prosperity, but not everyone is happy. Sadly, there are many people in this region and around the world who despise Israel and seek her isolation, demise, and even annihilation.

Rather than address these (very important) geopolitical issues today, however, I’d like to address a question that many people ask me when I travel and speak around the world: Are there really ancient prophecies in the Bible that promised the rebirth of Israel in the last days, despite all the wars and rumors of wars and controversy this would ignite?

Yes, there are — I’ll walk you through a number of the Biblical passages in a moment.

But first some context: according to studies by Pew Research, only 40 percent of American Jews believe…

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As Their 70th Anniversary Of Being Regathered Approaches, Is The LORD Preparing To Visit Israel?

On May 14, 1948, two minutes after midnight, the nation of Israel was officially regathered according to Bible prophecy. The fig tree of Matthew 24 was blooming after two millennia of dormancy

“For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” Jeremiah 29:10 (KJV)

On May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv, Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion proclaims the State of Israel, establishing the first Jewish state in 2,000 years. In an afternoon ceremony at the Tel Aviv Art Museum, Ben-Gurion pronounced the words “We hereby proclaim the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine, to be called Israel,” prompting applause and tears from the crowd gathered at the museum. Ben-Gurion became Israel’s first premier.

In Matthew 24, a chapter devoted almost exclusively to the Jews in the time of Jacob’s trouble, Jesus gives a really important time clue. He says that when we would see the “fig tree in bloom”, a reference to the nation of Israel, that that would be the official start of the end times, or last days mentioned throughout Bible prophecy.

“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Matthew 24:32, 33 (KJV)

We believe that the blooming of the fig tree officially began when Israel was regathered back in their own land after nearly 2,000 years of dispersion. This was the first formal regathering but it will not be the last. The one that the Bible has in view ultimately is the final regathering of Israel at the end of the time of Jacob’s trouble when Jesus returns to vanquish the Antichrist and his evil hordes at the Battle of Armageddon.

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THE BIBLE BELIEVERS GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE RAPTURE AND THE SECOND COMING

When the fig tree bloomed again in 1948, is started a minimum 70 year time period that, when finished, will have included the great falling away of the Church, the end of the Church Age in the Rapture, and the start of the time of Jacob’s trouble. As I write this article on the 23rd day of April, 2017, we are roughly 13 months away from the 70th anniversary of the regathering of Israel. 70 is a very important number in the Bible, and in Bible prophecy in particular.

We have already shown you that it is no coincidence of any kind that Donald Trump was 70 years, 7 months and 7 days old on his first full day in office. Not only that, we also showed you the importance of Trump’s campaign promise to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and how that could possibly trigger the war mentioned in Psalm 83.

But before we continue, it’s important to remind ourselves first of the following:

  • THE JEWS WERE REGATHERED IN UNBELIEF: At the time, in 1948, newspaper headlines made many references and allusions to Old Testament scriptures about God regathering His chosen people, and for a brief period the people who were fresh off of Hitler’s Holocaust gave the God of Abraham the glory. But it didn’t last long. Today, hospitals in Israel perform late-term third trimester abortions, and Tel Aviv is considered the premier LGBTQP capital of the world, eclipsing that of San Francisco and Greenwich Village in New York City. The Boston Globe calls Tel Aviv “the gayest city on Earth“. Israel celebrates what God destroyed both Sodom and Gomorrah for, let that sink in for a moment.
  • THE JEWS STILL REJECT THEIR MESSIAH: In the book of Romans, Paul weeps over the lost condition of his Jewish brethren, and wishes he could somehow get them to see that Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Scriptures. In Israel today, there is a growing number of Messianic believers, but the overwhelming majority reject the claims of Jesus.
  • THE JEWS WILL FOLLOW THE ANTICHRIST AND BUILD HIM A TEMPLE: In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, Paul shows us that after the Rapture of the Church, the Antichrist is revealed in what is called the “strong delusion”. Not only that, Jesus in Matthew 24 directs us to Daniel 9:27 (KJV) and shows us the Antichrist sitting in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple.
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WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE COMING THIRD JEWISH TEMPLE WILL SHOCK YOU TO YOUR CORE

All that now leads us to May 14, 2018, the 70th anniversary of regathered Israel:

Please note that this article is in no way setting a date for the Rapture of the Church, or a date for the start of the time of Jacob’s trouble. But it is presented to show you some very real possibilities for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in the very near future.

The prophet Jeremiah in chapter 30 and verse 7 makes a reference to something he calls the “time of Jacob’s trouble”, which is the same thing Jesus mentions in Matthew 24 when He talks about the coming time of “great tribulation”.

“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:7 (KJV)

But just one chapter before that, Jeremiah mentions something that immediately preceded that, a visitation from the Lord after 70 years. Historically this is talking about the Jews in Babylonian captivity, but is also a prophecy of the Jews in the time of Jacob’s trouble in the end times.

“For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” Jeremiah 29:10 (KJV)

It is interesting to note that in the book of Revelation, Jesus says that in the time of Jacob’s trouble Israel will be like “Sodom and Egypt”. (Remember the Boston Globe article calling Tel Aviv the “gayest city on Earth”?)  They have turned so far away from the LORD that this is how God now views them.

“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” Revelation 11:8 (KJV)

But Revelation also directs our attention to spiritual Babylon that has now trapped the Jews just like physical Babylon did in Jeremiah’s day.

“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:4,5 (KJV)

So I ask you, those of you who are Bible believers and understand that there is much prophecy yet to be fulfilled, is it possible that sometime around the 70th anniversary of the regathering of the nation of Israel, could the LORD be planning to once again visit Israel and His chosen people the Jews?

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WHAT IS THE POINT OF PUTTING THE BODY OF CHRIST INTO THE TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE?

If so, then wouldn’t that of necessity place the Rapture of the Church before that visit? Yes, it would. The Church has no place in the time of JACOB’S trouble, it is Israel’s final refinement according to the Bible.

“Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” Amos 3:1,2 (KJV)

The 70th anniversary of regathered Israel is 13 months away, and there are only 3 possibilities for what is mentioned in this article. It is possible that 1). some of it could happen, 2). none of it could happen, or 3). all of it could happen.

Are YOU ready for what comes next?

Source: As Their 70th Anniversary Of Being Regathered Approaches, Is The LORD Preparing To Visit Israel?

May 2, 2017: Verse of the day

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To bolster the disciples’ wavering faith, vocalized by Thomas (v. 5), Jesus pointed them back to the truth that He is God incarnate. “If you had known Me,” He chided them (the verbs in v. 7 are plurals, indicating that the Lord was no longer addressing Thomas alone as in v. 6, but all the disciples), “you would have known My Father also.” If the disciples had fully grasped who Jesus was, they would have known the Father as well.

The Lord’s statement was nothing less than a claim to full deity and equality with the Father. He is the way to God (v. 6) because He is God. He is not merely a manifestation of God; He is God manifested. That truth, a constant theme in John’s gospel (e.g., 1:1–3, 14, 17, 18; 5:18; 8:58; 10:30–33; 19:7; 20:28–29), is the watershed that divides true from false views of Christ. Many throughout history and today have regarded Jesus as nothing more than a good man; an exemplary, virtuous moral or religious teacher. But that is impossible. No one who claimed to be God incarnate, if his claim were false, could be a good man. If he knew his claim was false, he would be an evil deceiver; if he sincerely believed it was true when it was not, he would be a raving lunatic. But the evidence conclusively shows that Christ was neither a liar nor insane. Rather He was God, exactly as He claimed to be. (For a further defense of this truth, see John MacArthur, John 1–11, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 2006], chapters 7, 15, 24.) How each person reacts to Christ’s claim determines his or her eternal destiny (John 8:24).

It is possible to interpret the phrase from now on you know Him, and have seen Him as referring to that very moment in the upper room. However Philip’s question in verse 8, suggesting that the disciples still did not understand Jesus’ point, argues against an immediate fulfillment of His words. It was only after Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension, and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost (John 14:17, 26; 15:26; 16:13) that the disciples would finally understand Jesus’ deity and relationship to the Father (John 20:28; Acts 2:22ff.; 3:12ff.; 4:8–12; 5:29–32). Because that understanding would certainly come in the future, Jesus spoke of it as if it were a present reality.[1]


14:7 Once more the Lord taught the mysterious union that exists between the Father and Himself. If the disciples had recognized who Jesus really was, they would have known the Father also, because the Lord revealed the Father to men. From now on, and especially after Christ’s resurrection, the disciples would understand that Jesus was God the Son. Then they would realize that to know Christ was to know the Father, and to see the Lord Jesus was to see God. This verse does not teach that God and the Lord Jesus are the same Person. There are three distinct Persons in the Godhead, but there is only one God.[2]


7 Jesus recognized that the ideas held by the disciples about him were less than adequate, so he added, “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” Throughout his ministry, Jesus had taught his followers that he had come to do the will of his Father and to carry out what the Father had planned. So perfect was the correspondence between the life of Jesus and the will of God that to know Jesus was to know his Father too. As a perfect Son, Jesus revealed with total accuracy the person of the Father. Anticipating the events about to take place, Jesus can say, “From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2008). John 12–21 (p. 104). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1546). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 561). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 2 – Exemplary Living

“Having summoned His twelve disciples . . .” (Matt. 10:1).

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A good example is the best form of teaching.

Matthew 10:1 is Christ’s official commissioning of the twelve men He handpicked to serve beside Him during His earthly ministry. Mark 3:13 says He “summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him.” In John 15:16 He tells them, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit.” This is not their call to salvation but to service. With the exception of Judas, they were already saved. Before the foundation of the world God chose them to be redeemed in Christ, and they had responded accordingly. Now Jesus was calling them to a specific ministry.

God always chooses those who will be saved and serve within His church. But between salvation and service there must be a time of training. For the disciples it was a period of three years in which Jesus Himself trained them as they experienced life together from day to day. That’s the best form of discipleship. Classrooms and lectures are helpful, but there’s no substitute for having a living pattern to follow—someone who models Christian virtue and shows you how to apply Biblical principles to your life.

Paul understood the importance of such an example. In Philippians 4:9 he says, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things.” He said to Timothy, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe” (1 Tim. 4:12). Peter followed suit, admonishing the church elders not to lord their authority over those in their charge but to be godly examples (1 Peter 5:3).

Whether you’ve been a Christian for many years or just a short time, you are an example to someone. People hear what you say and observe how you live. They look for a glimpse of Christ in your life. What do they see? How would they do spiritually if they followed your example perfectly?

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank the Lord for those who are examples of godliness to you.

For Further Study: What do the following verses indicate about your salvation? John 15:16; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:4; and 2 Thessalonians 2:13. ✧ According to Ephesians 2:10, why were you saved?[1]


10:1 In the last verse of chapter 9, the Lord instructed His disciples to pray for more laborers. To make that request sincerely, believers must be willing to go themselves. So here we find the Lord calling His twelve disciples. He had previously chosen them, but now He calls them to a special evangelistic mission to the nation of Israel. With the call went authority to cast out unclean spirits and to heal all kinds of diseases. The uniqueness of Jesus is seen here. Other men had performed miracles, but no other man ever conferred the power on others.[2]


1 He whose word (chs. 5–7) and deed (chs. 8–9) were characterized by authority now delegates something of that authority to twelve men. This is the first time Matthew has explicitly mentioned the Twelve (cf. v. 2; 11:1; 20:17; 26:14, 20, 47), who are introduced a little earlier in Mark (3:16–19). This commission appears to be the culmination of several previous steps (Jn 1:35–51; see comments at 4:18–22). Indeed, Matthew’s language suggests that the Twelve became a recognized group somewhat earlier. At the same time, this commission was a stage in the training and preparation of those who, after Pentecost, would lead the earliest thrust of the fledgling church. Twelve were chosen, probably on an analogy to the twelve tribes of Israel (cf. the council of twelve at Qumran, 1QS 8:1 ff.), and they point to the eschatological renewal of the people of God (see comments at 19:28–30).

The authority the Twelve received enabled them to heal and drive out “evil [akathartos, lit., ‘unclean,’ GK 176] spirits”—spirits in rebellion against God, hostile to man, and capable of inflicting mental, moral, and physical harm, directly or indirectly. This is the first time in Matthew that demons are so described, and only again at 12:43 (but see comments at 8:16). “Every kind of disease and sickness” is exactly the expression in 4:23; 9:35. The authority granted the Twelve is in sharp contrast to the charismatic “gifts [plural] of healing” at Corinth (1 Co 12:9, 28), which apparently were individually more restricted in what diseases each could cure.[3]


10:1, 2 disciples … apostles. “Disciple” means “student,” one who is being taught by another. “Apostle” refers to a qualified representative who is sent on a mission. The two terms emphasize different aspects of their calling.

10:1 gave them authority. See note on 2Co 12:12. Jesus delegated His power and authority to the apostles to show clearly that He and His kingdom were sovereign over the physical and spiritual realms, the effects of sin, and the efforts of Satan. This was an unheard of display of power, never before seen in all redemptive history, to announce Messiah’s arrival and authenticate Him plus His apostles who preached His gospel. This power was a preview of the power Christ will exhibit in His earthly kingdom, when Satan will be bound (Rev 20) and the curse on physical life curtailed (Is 65:20–25).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 135). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1238). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[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. 276). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Mt 10:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

MAY 2 – PRACTICING THE TRUTH

Cleanse your hands…and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

James 4:8

Christians habitually weep and pray over beautiful truth, only to draw back from that same truth when it comes to the difficult job of putting it into practice!

Actually, the average church simply does not dare to check its practices against biblical precepts. It tolerates things that are diametrically opposed to the will of God, and if the matter is pointed out to its leaders, they will defend its unscriptural practices with a casuistry equal to the verbal dodgings of the Roman moralists.

Can it be that there is no vital connection between the emotional and the volitional departments of life? Since Christ makes His appeal directly to the will, are we justified in wondering whether or not these divided souls have ever made a true commitment to the Lord? Or whether they have been inwardly renewed?

It does appear that too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right but are not willing to endure the inconvenience of being right! Jesus Himself left a warning: “Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” (Revelation 3:1).

Lord, help me to do more than pay lip service to the teaching of Your Word. I invite Your Holy Spirit to point out any shortcomings I may be developing.[1]


Fellowship

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (4:8a)

The third command is to draw near in intimate fellowship and communion with the living, eternal, almighty God. Salvation involves submitting to God as Lord and Savior, but also brings the desire for a true relationship with Him. Seeking salvation is seeking God (cf. Ps. 42:1; Matt. 7:7–11).

One of the primary functions of Old Testament priests was to “come near to the Lord [and] consecrate themselves” (Ex. 19:22; cf. Lev. 10:3; Ezek. 43:9; 44:13). Our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, who brings us to God, prayed to His Father, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3), and later affirmed and defined those who believe in Him, praying that they “may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (v. 21). Above all else, the apostle Paul sought to “know Him [Christ] and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:10).

“Drawing near to God” was in the Old Testament a general expression for the one who sincerely approached God in penitence and humility. Through Isaiah, the Lord said of those who came near Him hypocritically and superficially, “This people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote” (Isa. 29:13). But the psalmist declared, “As for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works” (Ps. 73:28).

David assures us that “the Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Ps. 145:18). He counseled his own son Solomon, “Know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him” (1 Chron. 28:9; cf. 2 Chron. 15:1–2; Zech. 1:3). Through Jeremiah, the Lord promised, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).

Because they are prompted by God’s own Spirit and accepted by the Lord Jesus (John 6:44, 65), those who seek to know, worship, and commune with God will be satisfied. As noted above, that was the Father’s will long before it was theirs (Rom. 8:29: Eph. 1:4–5). When they come to him like the prodigal son—in humility, penitence, and brokenness over their sin—the heavenly Father says to them, in effect, what that earthly father said to his son: “Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found” (Luke 15:22–24).

Jesus told the Samaritan woman from Sychar, “An hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23–24; cf. Phil. 3:3). The writer of Hebrews admonishes believers, “Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. … Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 4:16; 10:22).

In his message to the pagan philosophers on Mars Hill, Paul said,

While I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist. (Acts 17:23–28)

The redeemed heart longs for communion with God (Pss. 27:8; 63:1–2; 84:2; 143:6; Matt. 22:37).

Cleansing

Cleanse your hands, you sinners; (4:8b)

The fourth command in this invitation to salvation is Cleanse your hands, you sinners. The origin of this idea was in the Jewish ceremonial prescription for priests before they came before the Lord to offer sacrifices in the tabernacle or temple. God commanded Moses,

You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it. Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it; when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they may not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the Lord. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they may not die; and it shall be a perpetual statute for them, for Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations. (Ex. 30:18–21; cf. Lev. 16:4)

The same figure was used by Isaiah to represent unrepented sin in those who presumed to worship God. Through that prophet the Lord warned His people: “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil” (Isa. 1:15–16; cf. 59:2). David rejoiced thankfully that “the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me” (Ps. 18:20).

Paul also used the condition of the hands to represent the external behavior of the life, saying, “I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” (1 Tim. 2:8). “Holy hands” represent a spiritually and morally pure life, apart from which God cannot be approached. It is sin that separates depraved man from the holy God. Therefore, “No one who abides in Him sins,” John declares; “[and] no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him” (1 John 3:6). But although we can resist sin, temptation, and the devil, it is not in any person’s power—even the power of a believer—to cleanse himself spiritually. That is why our gracious Lord promises that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The command to cleanse your hands is therefore a command to submit (see James 4:7a) to God’s divine catharsis.

The fact that this command is specifically addressed to sinners is further evidence that James is speaking to unbelievers, calling them to repentance and a saving relationship with God. Throughout the New Testament, hamartōlos (sinners) is used only of unbelievers (see the texts listed below). Interpreters who insist that this overall passage (4:7–10) is addressed to believers must therefore hold that the use of the plural of hamartōlos in verse 8 is the only exception. But to make such a claim, especially for such a significant and commonly used word, is not justifiable without compelling evidence in the context. Such compelling evidence simply does not exist here.

From their ancient Scriptures, the Jews to whom James was writing would have understood that sinners referred to unbelievers. The perverted, ungodly “men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord” (Gen. 13:13). The book of Psalms begins with these words: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” (1:1). Verse 5 of that psalm makes even clearer that “sinners” refers to the unsaved: “The wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.” David spoke of teaching transgressors the ways of God in order that “sinners will be converted to You” (Ps. 51:13). Isaiah declares that “transgressors and sinners will be crushed together, and those who forsake the Lord shall come to an end” (Isa. 1:28) and that “the day of the Lord is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; and He will exterminate its sinners from it” (Isa. 13:9; cf. Amos 9:10).

Also in New Testament times, as clearly reflected in the gospels, hamartōlos was used of those who were hardened in sin, unrepentant, and blatantly immoral. Jesus admonished His hearers: “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9:13). On another occasion He said, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32; cf. Matt. 9:13; Mark 2:17). Before she was saved, Luke calls Mary of Bethany “a sinner” (Luke 7:37; cf. John 12:3). As he stood contritely in the temple, “the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ ” (Luke 18:13). Paul reminds believers that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8) and that, “As through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous” (5:19). In his first letter to Timothy, the apostle ranks sinners with the “lawless and rebellious, … the ungodly and … the unholy and profane” (1 Tim. 1:9). A few verses later he even more explicitly identifies sinners with the unsaved, saying, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (v. 15).

It therefore seems beyond doubt that, like the Old Testament and the rest of the New, James intended sinners to mean unbelievers, the unsaved.

Purification

and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (4:8c)

In this Hebraic parallelism, purify your hearts corresponds to “cleanse your hands” and you double-minded corresponds to “you sinners,” the second phrases adding a more specific dimension. Like David, James associates the outward sins of the hands with the inner sins of the heart. “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?” David asks. “And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully” (Ps. 24:3–4; cf. 51:10). The unbeliever not only is to turn from outward sin but, even more important, from the inner sin of the heart from which all outward sin springs. “Out of the heart,” Jesus said, “come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matt. 15:19).

“Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem,” Jeremiah proclaimed, “that you may be saved. How long will your wicked thoughts lodge within you?” (Jer. 4:14). “Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed,” Ezekiel implores his fellow Israelites, “and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!” (Ezek. 18:31). When that happens, the Lord promises,

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. (36:25–27)

The eighteenth-century evangelist George Whitefield said, “Every man by his own natural will hates God. But when he is turned to the Lord by evangelical repentance, then his will is changed; then his conscience, now hardened and benumbed, shall be quickened and weakened; then his hard heart shall be melted, and his unruly affections shall be crucified. Thus, by that repentance, the whole soul will be changed, he will have new inclinations, new desires, and new habits.”

Dipsuchos (double-minded) literally means “double-souled,” and is used only by James in the New Testament (see also 1:8). This is the person who lacks integrity, who claims one thing and lives another. This is the hypocrite in the assembly of believers who is commonly confronted in James. Here is further proof that James is speaking of and to unbelievers. The Lord Himself made clear that “no one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24) and that “he who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (12:30). A double-minded person therefore could not possibly be a Christian.

Isaiah was calling on the double-minded sinner to purify his heart when he implored: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6–7). [2]


4:8 Next we should draw near to God. We do this by prayer. We must come before Him in desperate, believing prayer, telling Him all that is on our heart. As we thus approach Him, we find that He will draw near to us. We thought He would be far from us because of our carnality and worldliness, but when we draw near to Him, He forgives us and restores us. The fourth step is: Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Hands speak of our actions and hearts represent our motives and desires. We cleanse our hands and purify our hearts through confession and forsaking sins, both outward and inward. As sinners we need to confess evil acts; as double-minded people we need to confess our mixed motives.[3]


8 By contrast, James exhorts his hearers to “come near to God,” an action that has its own result: “and he will come near to you.” The concept of drawing near to God occurs in relation to approaching God in priestly service (e.g., Ex 19:22; 40:4–6; Lev 10:3), and new covenant believers can draw near because they have a better hope through Christ’s sacrifice (Heb 7:19). To draw near to God means to approach him in prayer, to turn toward him and not away from him. The result will be that God himself will respond by approaching the one who approaches him. In other words, a healthy relationship will be reestablished. As was the case in the old covenant system of worship, part of the process of drawing near to God involves cleansing, which James states in parallel fashion: “Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” The images here, of course, are figurative and represent repentance from sin. The author has already mentioned the “double-minded” person in 1:8, and, as in that context, the double-minded people James has in mind are those with a divided commitment and questionable loyalties and therefore those who are unstable spiritually. These are “sinners” because they have not been committed resolutely to the ways of the Lord. Thus repentance is needed.[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 205–211). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2237). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 256). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

MAY 2 – HOLY, HOLY, HOLY: KNEEL AT JESUS’ FEET

My brethren, have not the faith of our LORD Jesus Christ, the LORD of glory, with respect of persons.

JAMES 2:1

A system of literature has grown up around the notion that Christianity may be proven by the fact that “great men” believe in Christ!

A magazine article carries the caption that “Senator So-and-So Believes in Christ.” The implication is that if the senator believes in Christ, then Christ must be all right.

When did Jesus Christ have to ride in on the coattail of a senator, or a governor, or some other well-known man?

No, no, my brother! Jesus Christ stands alone, unique and supreme, self-validating, and the Holy Ghost declares Him to be God’s eternal Son. Let all the presidents and all the kings and queens, the senators, and the lords and ladies of the world, along with the great athletes and great actors—let them kneel at His feet and cry, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty!”

Only the Holy Ghost can do this, my brethren. For that reason, I don’t bow down to great men. I bow down to the Great Man, and if you have learned to worship the Son of Man, you will not worship other men.

The Holy Spirit is God’s imperative of life. If Christ is to be the Christ of God rather than the Christ of intellect, then we must enter in beyond the veil, until the illumination of the Holy Spirit fills our hearts and we are learning at the feet of Jesus—not at the feet of men![1]


The Principle

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. (2:1)

James prefaces this command by addressing readers as my brethren, indicating that he is speaking out of love and as a fellow believer and brother in Christ. Mostly as a preface to an admonition or warning, James uses this or the expanded phrase “my beloved brethren” some fifteen times in the letter (e.g., 1:2, 16, 19; 2:5, 14; 4:11; 5:7).

The basic principle is succinctly stated in verse 1, indicating that having genuine faith in the gospel of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ while holding an attitude of personal favoritism is contradictory and incompatible.

The phrase our glorious Lord Jesus Christ is, more literally, “our Lord Jesus Christ of the glory,” perhaps referring to God’s Shechinah glory (see Ex. 40:34; 1 Kings 8:11), the history of which James’s Jewish readers would have been very familiar. The idea is that we cannot hold the faith of Jesus Christ, who is the very presence and glory of God, and be partial. Jesus Himself was impartial (Matt. 22:16), as indicated by His humble birth, family, and upbringing in Nazareth, and His willingness to minister in Samaria and Galilee, regions held in contempt by the Jewish leaders.

In the Greek text, the phrase do not … with an attitude of favoritism is in the emphatic position, preceding hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ and thereby giving special force to the imperative admonition, which carries the idea of continuation, of not making a practice of favoritism, which has no place in the life of a faithful Christian. A few verses later (2:9), James makes clear that favoritism is not simply discourteous and disrespectful but is a serious sin.

Being partial is in total conflict with our salvation and with what Scripture teaches (cf. Lev. 19:15; Prov. 24:23; 28:21). If we are saved, we are children of God; and if we are His children, we should emulate Him. Paul declares categorically that “there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:11; cf. Lev. 19:15; Job 34:19; Prov. 24:23; 28:21; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; 1 Pet. 1:17).

There is, of course, a proper special respect and honor that should be shown to the elderly and to those in authority, both in the church and in society in general. Through Moses, the Lord commanded, “You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:32). Paul wrote the Thessalonians to “appreciate” and “esteem … very highly” their pastors (1 Thess. 5:12–13). “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor,” Paul told Timothy, “especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17). Quoting Exodus 22:28, Paul apologized for unknowingly calling the high priest a “whitewashed wall” (Acts 23:3–5). Likewise,

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. (Rom. 13:1–5)

Peter reiterates that admonition, saying, “Fear God, honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:17).

An attitude of personal favoritism translates the single Greek word prosōpolēmpsia, which has the literal meaning of lifting up someone’s face, with the idea of judging by appearance and on that basis giving special favor and respect. It pertains to judging purely on a superficial level, without consideration of a person’s true merits, abilities, or character. It is both interesting and significant that this word, along with the related noun prosōpolēmptēs (see Acts 10:34, “partiality”) and the verb prosōpolēmpteō (see James 2:9, “show partiality”) are found only in Christian writings. Perhaps that is because favoritism was such an accepted part of most ancient societies that it was assumed and not even identified, as it still is in many cultures today.

During His incarnation, Jesus was the glory and image of God in human form (2 Cor. 3:18; 4:4, 6; Phil. 2:6) and, like His Father, He showed no favoritism, a virtue even His enemies acknowledged. It made no difference to Jesus whether the one to whom He spoke or ministered was a wealthy Jewish leader or a common beggar, a virtuous woman or a prostitute, a high priest or a common worshiper, handsome or ugly, educated or ignorant, religious or irreligious, law-abiding citizen or criminal. His overriding concern was the condition of the soul. One day, John assures believers, “we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). And while we are on earth, we should act just as He did when He was on earth.

God’s impartiality is reflected even in the genealogies of His Son, Jesus Christ. In both Matthew and Luke, Jesus’ descendants are shown to include such notable and godly believers as Abraham, David, Solomon, and Hezekiah (Matt. 1:1–2, 5–7, 10; Luke 3:31–32, 34 ). But also included are many otherwise obscure and common people, including the incestuous Tamar, the former prostitute Rahab, and Ruth, from the outcast Moabites (Matt. 1:3, 5). Jesus was not born in the great holy city of Jerusalem but in Bethlehem, of historical importance to Jews as the city of David but not at all comparable to Jerusalem in glory, and of total insignificance to the rest of the world. Jesus grew up in the Galilean town of Nazareth, whose poor reputation among most Jews is reflected in Nathanael’s comment to Philip: “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). On another occasion some people commented about Jesus, “Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He?” (John 7:41). Still others said, “Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee” (John 7:52). Onlookers at Pentecost “were amazed and astonished, saying, ‘Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?’ ” (Acts 2:7).

The landowner who hired workers in Jesus’ parable sent them to begin working at various times throughout the day. At the end of the day the men discovered they were all being paid the same amount. But those who had worked all day complained that those who started work near the end of the day were paid the same as they were. The landowner “answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ ” Clearly recognizing the man’s right to do as he did, Jesus added, “So the last shall be first, and the first last” (Matt. 20:13–16). Those who are saved in the last minutes of their lives will enjoy the same glories in heaven as those who have known and served the Lord faithfully for many years. The time of their salvation, like their wealth, fame, intelligence, social status, and other worldly measurements, will not be factors in their heavenly blessings. This wonderful story shows God’s impartiality in giving all the same eternal life.

In another parable, when some of the invited guests did not bother to show up at the wedding banquet given for his son, the king ordered his servants to “ ‘go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests” (Matt. 22:9–10). Jesus impartially calls all people to Himself; and if they have saving faith in Him, their being rich or poor, educated or ignorant, basically moral or grossly immoral, religious or irreligious, Jew or Gentile makes no difference (cf. Gal. 3:28). It was doubtless at least partly for that reason that “the common people heard Him gladly” (Mark 12:37 kjv). Jesus went on to illustrate that it is not the amount of money a person gives to the Lord’s work but the heart intent of the giver by which God judges. As He and the disciples sat down in the temple opposite the treasury, “a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on’ ” (Mark 12:42–44).

The gospel is a great leveler, available with absolute equality to everyone who believes in the Savior it proclaims. Jesus’ promise to all those who trust in Him is: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:29–30).

Tragically, many otherwise biblical and faithful churches today do not treat all their members the same. Frequently, those who are of a different ethnic background, race, or financial standing are not fully welcomed into fellowship. That ought not to be. It not only is a transgression of God’s divine law but is a mockery of His divine character.[2]


2:1 First of all, the practice is distinctly forbidden. Note first that the admonition is addressed to believers; we are assured of this by the salutation “My brethren.” The faith of our Lord Jesus Christ refers to the Christian faith. It is not a question of His trust or dependence, but rather of the body of truth which He gave to us. Putting all these thoughts together, we find that James is saying, “My brethren, in your practice of the Christian faith, do not show partiality.” Snobbery and caste distinctions are utterly inconsistent with true Christianity. Servility to human greatness has no place in the presence of the Lord of Glory. Contempt for others because of birth, race, sex, or poverty is a practical denial of the faith. This commandment does not contradict other portions of the NT where believers are taught to pay proper respect to rulers, masters, elders, and parents. There are certain divinely ordained relationships which must be recognized (Rom. 13:7). In this passage it is a matter of showing obsequious deference to people because of their expensive clothing or other artificial distinctions.[3]


1 Once again James addresses his readers as “brothers” (1:2, 16, 19; 2:5, 14; 3:1, 10, 12; 4:11; 5:7, 9–10, 12, 19; see discussion at 1:2) and exhorts them, as followers of Christ, not to show favoritism. The NIV’s translation “as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism” the NASB renders more literally with “do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.” The idea of “holding the faith” has to do with a public posture of identifying oneself as a follower of Christ, and thus the NIV’s “as believers” serves the author’s intention. That Christ is “glorious” points to his manifestation of the presence of God, as seen in the shekinah glory of the OT (e.g., Ex 14:17–18; Ps 96:3; Isa 60:1–2), and passages in the NT relating to his exaltation and eschatological salvation. Consequently, James may use the qualifier here to point to Christ as the exalted Judge, “whose glory will be fully revealed in eschatological judgment” (so Davids, 107).

Therefore, one must not hold faith in him “with favoritism” (en prosōpolēmpsiais, GK 4721). The word translated “favoritism” speaks of the attitude of partiality by which one person is shown favor, or special consideration, over another. In the OT the concept often refers to unjust judgment against the vulnerable on the part of those in power (e.g., Ps 82:2; Pr 18:5; 24:23; 28:21; Mal 2:9–10; so Martin, 59; Nystrom, 114). Such an attitude is contrary to God’s way of dealing with people when he judges them (Ro 2:11; Eph 6:9; Col 3:25) and, therefore, inappropriate for his people. In the broader context of Leviticus 19:18, to which James turns momentarily (2:8), the law states, “Do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly” (Lev 19:15). By his exhortation in 2:1, James implies that a public commitment to Christ, the Lord of glory, is incompatible with an attitude that degrades a fellow believer or puts the person at a disadvantage, for such an attitude runs contrary to God’s law.[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 97–100). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2224–2225). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] 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. 231–232). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 2 – Jesus on God’s Love: To Show Our Sonship

… so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.—Matt. 5:45

God Himself is love, and the best evidence that we are His children through faith in Jesus Christ is our love for other believers. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35; cf. 1 John 4:20). Our divine sonship is further evidenced when love leads us to pray for our opponents.

Even though the world often has a faulty understanding of what the gospel is, it knows enough about Christ and His teachings to see that believers do not obey all His commands or live consistently as He lived. People in the world who are the furthest from saving faith nevertheless often sense the divine power that underlies the loving and caring Christian life—simply because such a life that goes far enough to love enemies is so uncharacteristic of human nature.

In this way we show our family likeness, an increasing resemblance to our heavenly Father. For example, God provides His general blessings on everyone, with no respect for merit or deserving; otherwise no one could receive them. The psalmist writes, “The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Ps. 145:15–16). If God is so generous, we who claim to know Him ought to show similar love and impartial concern for everyone, even those who don’t like us.

ASK YOURSELF
Though God does possess qualities we can never attain as mortals, He has given us—by virtue of our adoption into His family—the privilege of looking more like Him in our attitudes and behaviors. Why is pursuing this so important?[1]

Manifest Your Sonship

in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (5:45)

To love our enemies and to pray for our persecutors shows that we are sons of [our] Father who is in heaven. The aorist tense of genēsthe (may be) indicates a once and for all established fact. God Himself is love, and the greatest evidence of our divine sonship through Jesus Christ is our love. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). In fact, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (v. 20).

Loving as God loves does not make us sons of the Father, but gives evidence that we already are His children. When a life reflects God’s nature it proves that life now possesses His nature by the new birth.

One of the commonest and most damaging criticisms of Christianity is the charge that Christians do not live up to their faith. Even though the world has a limited and often distorted idea of what the gospel is, they know enough about the teachings of Christ and the life of Christ to realize that most people who go by His name do not do all that He commanded and do not live as He lived.

But even a person who has never heard of Christ or the teachings of the New Testament would suspect there is divine power behind a life that loves and cares even to the point of loving enemies-simply because such a life is so utterly uncharacteristic of human nature. A life of self-giving love gives evidence of sonship of the Father who is in heaven. That phrase emphasizes the heavenly realm in which the Lord dwells, the realm that is the source of this kind of love.

Those who are God’s children should show impartial love and care similar to what God shows. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Those blessings are given without respect to merit or deserving. If they were, no one would receive them. In what theologians traditionally have called common grace, God is indiscriminate in His benevolence. His divine love and providence in some forms benefit everyone, even those who rebel against Him or deny His existence.

An old rabbinic saying tells of the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea. As the story goes, when the Egyptians were destroyed the angels began to rejoice; but God lifted up His hand and said, “The work of My hands are sunk in the sea and you would sing?” (William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, 2 vols. [rev. ed.; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975], 1:176).

“The eyes of all look to Thee, and Thou dost give them their food in due time,” the psalmist testifies. “Thou dost open Thy hand, and dost satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Ps. 145:15–16). There is no good thing-physical, intellectual, emotional, moral, spiritual, or of any other sort-that anyone possesses or experiences that does not come from the hand of God. If God does that for everyone, His children should reflect that same generosity.[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 131). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 347–349). Chicago: Moody Press.

MAY 2 – DIVINE IMMANENCE

And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.

—Genesis 28:16

What does the divine immanence mean in direct Christian experience? It means simply that God is here. Wherever we are, God is here…. There can be no place where He is not….

Jacob had never been for one small division of a moment outside the circle of that all-pervading Presence. But he knew it not. That was his trouble, and it is ours. Men do not know that God is here. What a difference it would make if they knew….

Always, everywhere God is present, and always He seeks to discover Himself to each one. He would reveal not only that He is, but what He is as well. He did not have to be persuaded to reveal Himself to Moses. “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD” (Exodus 34:5). He not only made a verbal proclamation of His nature but He revealed His very Self to Moses so that the skin of Moses’ face shone with the supernatural light. It will be a great moment for some of us when we begin to believe that God’s promise of self-revelation is literally true, that He promised much, but no more than He intends to fulfill.

Our pursuit of God is successful just because He is forever seeking to manifest Himself to us. POG058, 060-061

Lord, You are indeed in this place, even when I am unaware of You. I pray that I might know the reality of that truth and be sensitive to Your presence today. Amen. [1]


28:16 Surely Yahweh is indeed in this place Unlike Abraham’s and Isaac’s divine encounters within the land of promise, Jacob’s encounter was at a location not yet associated with divine appearances. His astonishment highlights the belief in cosmic geography—that certain places were associated with divine appearances.[2]


28:16 I did not know: God takes the initiative in seeking and confronting us.[3]


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

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 28:16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 52). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

May 2 – Opposition to the World Brings Hatred

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

John 15:18–19

✧✧✧

Because they are not part of the world’s system, Christians should expect it to hate and oppose them.

If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you doubtless remember how soon you realized that you were no longer in step with the world’s culture. You were no longer comfortable with its philosophy. You no longer had the world’s desires and yearnings. You no longer felt good about doing some of the things the world takes for granted. In fact, you even felt constrained to speak out against such things and urge unbelievers to turn from their sins and embrace Christ. All that opposition to worldliness, when added up, can and will result in hatred toward us from people in the world.

In John 15, the Greek word translated “world” (kosmos) refers to the world’s system of sin, which is devised by Satan and acted out by sinful people. The Devil and his angels sometimes make it even more difficult for us by subtly presenting their “religion” as if it were true. Such deception can lull us into complacency and leave us spiritually weak when persecution comes.

Because of the world’s relentless opposition to God’s kingdom, it is crucial that we remember Christ’s call to stand for Him in our sinful society. The apostle Paul exhorts us to be “children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (Phil. 2:15).

If we take Scripture seriously and prayerfully spend time in it daily, we will not be caught off guard when our faith is opposed. Instead, we will be heartened by Jesus’ words, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:14).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord to strengthen you today and to remind you that even though you are not of the world, you are to be a light to it.

For Further Study: Read the account of John the Baptist’s death in Mark 6:14–29. How did John suffer before he was killed? ✧ What character differences do you see between John and Herod?[1]


The World Rejects Those Who Are Not Part of It

If the world hates you … If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. (15:18a–19)

Kosmos (world) refers in this context to the evil, fallen world system comprised of unregenerate people and controlled by Satan (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 1 John 5:19; cf. Eph. 2:1–3). Because Satan hates God he also hates the true people of God. They are targets for his wrath as he “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8; cf. Eph. 6:11). Since its ruler hates believers, it is hardly surprising that the world also hates them, because they are not of the world. The world resents believers because their godly lives condemn its evil works; “he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked” (Prov. 29:27). In 1 John 3:12 John illustrated that principle with the story of the first murder in human history: “Cain … was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.” On the other hand, the world applauds those who practice evil (Rom. 1:32).

Though believers live in the world (cf. 1 Cor. 5:9–10), they are to stand apart from it as an indictment of it. Paul charged the Philippians, “Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15). “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness,” he admonished the Ephesians, “but instead even expose them” (Eph. 5:11).

While worldly people hate those who follow Jesus Christ, they love each other. Unbelievers are comfortable with and supportive of other unbelievers. If you were of the world, Jesus said, the world would love its own. The conditional clause in verse 18 (If the world hates you) expresses a condition assumed to be true. This conditional clause, however, expresses a condition assumed to be false; the Lord’s statement might be translated, “If you were of the world (and you are not).…” Had the disciples been part of the world, they would have experienced the imperfect love the world has for its own. Love is from phileō, which refers to “natural affection and passion, and not [agapaō], the high, intelligent, purposeful love of an ethical state” (R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel [repr.; Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1998], 1055).

Christians are not part of the world because Jesus chose them out of the world (cf. Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13; 2 Tim. 2:26; Heb. 2:14–15). The emphatic use of the pronoun egō (I) and the reflexive sense of the middle voice verb translated chose shows that Jesus chose them for Himself. All credit for the disciples’ salvation belongs to Him (cf. John 15:16).

The doctrine of election silences human pride. Paul reminded the Ephesians that God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.… to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:4, 6). To the Romans he wrote, “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (Rom. 3:27–28). In the next chapter he added, “If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God” (4:2).

The World Hates Believers
Because It Hated Jesus Christ

you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.… Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. (15:18b, 20)

Christians should not be surprised at the world’s hostility toward them, since it hated Jesus (cf. 7:7) before it hated them (cf. 17:14). That hatred has been manifested throughout John’s gospel. In 5:16 “the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath”; in verse 18 “the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God”; in 7:1 “the Jews were seeking to kill Him”; in verse 32 “the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him”; in 8:59 and 10:31 “they picked up stones to throw at Him”; in 11:47–53 they plotted to kill Him; eventually they arrested Him, beat Him, scourged Him, and crucified Him. No wonder, then, that the writer of Hebrews called on his readers to “consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself” (Heb. 12:3).

Jesus’ word that He had earlier said to the disciples, A slave is not greater than his master, refers to His statement in 13:16. There, however, the Lord was speaking of humblest service of a slave. He, “the Lord and the Teacher” (v. 14) had humbly washed their feet, and the disciples were to follow His example (v. 15). Here Christ’s point was that the disciples should expect to follow His example of suffering (cf. 1 Peter 2:21); they had no right to expect better treatment from the world than He had received. If they persecuted Me, Jesus reiterated, they will also persecute you. Earlier in His ministry Jesus had told them, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!” (Matt. 10:24–25). Believers identify with Jesus Christ in the “fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10; cf. 2 Cor. 1:5; Gal. 6:17; Col. 1:24).

But the picture was not entirely bleak; the Lord went on to add, If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. As was the case with Jesus, the majority would reject the disciples’ teaching and persecute them. But there would always be a minority (cf. Matt. 7:14; 22:14; Luke 13:24) who would accept the disciples’ message. The joy of seeing those few come to faith in Christ far outweighs the sorrow caused by the hatred and hostility of the many who reject the gospel.[2]


15:18, 19 The disciples were not to be surprised or disheartened if the world hates them. (The if does not express any doubt that this would happen; it was certain.) The world hated the Lord, and it will hate all who resemble Him.

Men of the world love those who live as they do—those who use vile language and indulge in the lusts of the flesh, or people who are cultured but live only for themselves. Christians condemn them by their holy lives, therefore the world hates them.[3]


18 “If the world hates you” is a conditional clause that assumes the premise to be true. The world does hate the disciple. Lindars speaks of a Semitic use of the love/hate antithesis in which the words lack emotional intensity (493) and “merely express contrasting attitudes” (429). But if “to hate” means no more than “to prefer less,” then it is difficult to see how such a mild emotion could drive people to crucify Jesus. The history of martyrdom is a graphic portrayal of the world’s intense hostility toward those who took their Christian faith with all seriousness. Wherever and whenever the church has spoken with conviction against the injustices in society, it has experienced the wrath of those who benefit from the status quo.

Barclay, 2:184, suggests that the name “Christian” was hated because followers of Christ were rumored to be insurrectionists, cannibals, incendiaries, flagrantly immoral people, and those who tried to divide families. Fraudulent and misinformed charges such as these were in fact leveled at the primitive church, but the actual cause for their being hated was that Christians advocated a set of values that were fundamentally opposed to those of the pagan world. There is nothing quite as upsetting as to have one’s essential value-orientation called into question. Christians were an ethical burr under the saddle of secular society. Hatred was the result. Speaking of the world’s hatred of God, and of man for God’s sake, Reith, 2:107, says rather poetically that the wave that began to rise with the murder of Abel by his brother Cain gathered through the ages until it “broke in fury on the cross, and we are struggling in its broken waters.” When we find ourselves overlooked or opposed by contemporary ideology, we must remember Jesus’ words: “it hated me first.” Hatred for the believer is hatred for the One whose life is being lived out through the believer. It is persecution based on association. It is “enduring what still needs to be endured of Christ’s sorrows” (Col 1:24 Beck).

19 In contrast to the simple condition of v. 18, “if you belonged to the world” of v. 19 is a contrary-to-fact conditional clause. If it were true (and of course it isn’t) that the disciples belonged to this world, then it would love them as its own. It is impossible for the world not to love its own minions. Such love is self-love, and the kosmos is not about to deny itself the mindless adulation of self-approval. The disciple, however, does not belong to this world but has been chosen “out of the world.” The action of Jesus in choosing is emphasized by the presence of the personal pronoun egō (“I”). He himself is the one who has selected out his followers from among those who live without regard for God in the world. To be chosen out of the world does not imply some sort of other-worldly pietism—it simply designates believers as a group that have been removed from the secular mind-set of society and given the new perspective of God’s plan for the human race. Temple, 2:272, notes that the antagonism of the world against Christians stems from the fact that those who began in the world have separated themselves from the world. He writes that the world “would not hate angels for being angelic; but it does hate men for being Christians. It grudges them their new character; it is tormented by their peace; it is infuriated by their joy.” “That is why the world hates you,” says Jesus, because “I have chosen you out of the world.”[4]


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

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2008). John 12–21 (pp. 171–173). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1551). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 580–581). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 2 – Leading Us in Triumph

Thanks be to God who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

2 Corinthians 2:14

There are many possibilities that arise out of unjust suffering for Christ’s sake. God may use your suffering to lead someone to Christ. He may use it to help you triumph over demonic persecution, or it may enable another who sees your godly response to persecution to respond in the same way.

Whatever the triumph of your suffering, you may be sure of one thing: if you suffer for Christ’s sake, God will lift you up and exalt you into His very presence. Christ will always cause us to triumph even though we suffer unjustly. Don’t underestimate the potential of unjust suffering for Christ’s sake. So endure whatever suffering comes your way in the light of your coming triumph in Christ![1]


paul was thankful for the privilege of being led by a sovereign god

But thanks be to God, who always leads us (2:14a)

Recognizing the Lord’s sovereign leading is foundational to a pastor’s (or any believer’s) joy, and it is the undergirding strength of his ministry. Paul’s confident hope was that God … always leads believers, through every circumstance of life. No matter what trials or persecutions he endured in Corinth, Ephesus, or anywhere else he ministered, Paul rejoiced that God was in control.

The apostle never lost his sense of wonder at the privilege of belonging to the ranks of the sovereign Lord, of marching behind the Commander in Chief in His Triumph. To Timothy he wrote,

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. (1 Tim. 1:12–16)

Contemplating the marvelous privilege of being led by God instead of fretting over his circumstances contributed to turning Paul’s discouragement into joy.

paul was thankful for the privilege of promised victory in christ

in triumph in Christ, (2:14b)

In keeping with the imagery of the Roman Triumph, Paul proclaimed that God leads believers in triumph in Christ. They follow the all-conquering Commander in the victory parade, sharing in the triumph of His decisive victory over sin, death, and hell. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus spoke of His ultimate victory over Satan and the forces of hell: “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” His followers share in His victory, as Paul declared in Romans 16:20: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” The writer of Hebrews also spoke of that victory: “Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). In 1 John 3:8 the apostle John wrote, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” Christ won that victory on the cross: “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him” (Col. 2:15). As Paul wrote to the Romans, “In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). Believers are not only coconquerors with Christ, but also “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17; cf. Gal. 3:29; Eph. 3:6; Titus 3:7; James 2:5). They follow behind their Commander in the Triumph, bringing the spoils of war—the souls of men and women “rescued … from the domain of darkness, and transferred … to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13; cf. Rom. 8:18–25, 28–30).

Though they may suffer setbacks and discouragement, believers’ ultimate triumph is certain. They will march victoriously in the Lord Jesus Christ’s Triumph on that glorious day when the heavenly choir cries out, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). Believers will forever reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12; 1 Peter 1:3–5).

paul was thankful for the privilege of having influence for christ

and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. (2:14c)

The sweet aroma of the Triumph arose from the incense-filled censers carried by the priests in the parade and from the garlands of flowers that were thrown into the streets. The fragrance speaks of influence; Paul’s point is that God, in wonderful condescending grace and mercy, manifests through believers the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Christ in every place. He uses human preachers to give off the sweet aroma of the gospel, to influence people with the saving knowledge of Christ. To the Romans Paul wrote, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things’!” (Rom. 10:14–15).

It is not that believers deserve such a high privilege of being influences for the eternal gospel. Paul was keenly aware of his unworthiness for such service to God. In 1 Corinthians 15:9 he wrote, “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” To the Ephesians he added, “I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:7–8). As previously noted, he expressed to Timothy his wonder that Christ chose him, a persecutor of the church, to preach the gospel:

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. (1 Tim. 1:12–16)

No preacher should take lightly his inestimable privilege of proclaiming the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether or not preachers are successful, achieve popularity, or fulfill their ambitions is immaterial. The satisfaction of having an eternal influence for Jesus Christ should be sufficient. The issue is not results, but privilege. The disheartened preacher is disheartened because he focuses on circumstances; the joyful preacher is joyful because he focuses on the eternal worth of his service to God. The disheartened preacher considers his difficulties; the joyful preacher considers his privilege.[2]


2:14 Paul was not defeated. No matter where he went in the service of Christ there was victory. And so he bursts out in thanksgiving: But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ. A.T. Robertson says:

Without a word of explanation, Paul leaps out of the Slough of Despond and sprints like a bird to the heights of joy. He soars aloft like an eagle, with proud scorn of the valley beneath him.

Paul here borrows a figure from the triumphal processions of Roman conquerors. Returning home after glorious victories, they would lead their captives along the streets of the capital. Incense bearers would march along both sides, and the fragrance of the incense would permeate the scene. So Paul pictures the Lord marching as a conqueror from Troas to Macedonia, and leading the apostle in His train. Wherever the Lord goes, through His servants, there is victory. The fragrance of the knowledge of Christ is diffused through the apostle in every place. F. B. Meyer writes:

Wherever they went men knew Jesus better; the loveliness of the Master’s character became more apparent. Men became aware of a subtle fragrance, poured upon the air, which attracted them to the Man of Nazareth.

Thus Paul does not feel that he has suffered a defeat in his warfare with Satan, but the Lord has won a victory and Paul shares it.[3]


14 Paul likens the irresistible advance of the gospel, in spite of temporary frustration, to a Roman triumphus (“triumph”) in which the victorious general, along with his proud soldiers, used to “lead in triumphal procession” (thriambeuō, GK 2581; see Notes) the wretched prisoners of war, who were thus exposed to public ridicule. Paul sees himself and his fellow apostles not as exultant soldiers who share in their general’s victory pageant but as willing, joyful captives who count it a privilege to be part of God’s “triumph” and as vocal witnesses to the General’s victorious strength. Paul’s implied prior “defeat” will be his Damascus encounter when he surrendered to God or Christ (Php 3:12). In this context, “in Christ” will mean “through our union with Christ” or “in the cause of Christ,” though it may possibly mean “in Christ’s triumphal procession” (NEB, REB). The only other NT use of the verb thriambeuō is in Colossians 2:15, where the despoiled powers and authorities are seen as unwilling, sullen captives driven before the triumphal chariot of God, silent witnesses to the General’s power and majesty.

In the reference to the diffusion of “fragrance,” Paul may simply be developing the imagery, for perfumes were sometimes sprinkled or incense burned along the processional route. Through the apostles God was spreading far and wide the fragrant knowledge of Christ (Php 3:8, 10).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 139). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 70–72). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1826). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Harris, M. J. (2008). 2 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 455–456). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.