Daily Archives: May 30, 2017

May 30, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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May 30, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test involved a new rocket with a precision guidance system that landed within seven meters of its target, its state-controlled news agency said Tuesday.

A Catholic priest who was taken hostage by militants linked to the Islamic State group says he’s being held alongside 200 other captives, including children, in what appeared to be a battle-scarred part of a southern Philippine city.

The Canada-EU trade agreement is “a blueprint for future ambitious trade deals” in an age of automation where job security is threatened, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hailed a new period of close relations at talks in Moscow after the world’s biggest oil exporters reached a deal to prolong supply cuts for another nine months.

French President Emmanuel Macron will give Russia’s Vladimir Putin a tour of the royal palace at Versailles near Paris, following up his debut at the Group of Seven meeting last week.

The Egyptian government approved a social spending plan to support lower and middle income families after inflation surged to the highest levels in decades following the flotation of the pound. The government plans to spend 45 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.48 billion) on income tax discounts, bonuses for public employees, and increased pension payments and cash subsidies during the fiscal year beginning July 1, Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy told reporters in Cairo. The package, excluding the cash subsidy raise, requires parliament approval.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has a tough task when he visits the White House this week: Convince President Donald Trump to advance trade ties that blossomed under the Obama administration.

With Vladimir Putin in the east and Donald Trump to the west, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is now telling Europe it has to stand up for itself. It’s a call that’s already being answered by the continent’s richest region. Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway have over the past two years been deepening their military cooperation to counter a deteriorating security situation in the Baltic and the Arctic.

As U.S. unemployment falls to lowest level in a decade, driving it beneath what Federal Reserve officials consider is the lowest sustainable rate, people with blemishes on their resumes are getting second looks by employers trying to fill vacancies currently at a near-record 5.7 million.

AP Top Stories

A shallow, 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit inland on the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi Monday, US seismologists said, causing people to panic but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

NBC News gained rare access to Taiwanese military exercises, including testing of American-made firepower – all against the threat of a Chinese invasion.

Somali Islamist insurgents stoned a man to death on Sunday as punishment for alleged adultery, they said, a reminder that the militia is still strong enough to carry out public executions despite losing its grip on most towns and cities.

At least 166 people are dead and more than 100 others missing due to flooding and mudslides from monsoon rains across southwestern portions of Sri Lanka during the weekend, according to the state-run Disaster Management Center.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday held talks in Cairo with Russia’s foreign and defense ministers on ways to battle “terrorism”, his office said.

Donald Trump’s Defense Secretary has said that any military conflict with North Korea would be “catastrophic”.

Federal authorities are investigating 36 criminal cases of possible opioid and other drug theft by employees at Veterans Affairs hospitals, a sign the problem isn’t going away as more prescriptions disappear.

The Ogrydcziak brothers graduated in the same West Point class on Saturday, the first time that has happened at the famed military academy in more than 30 years.

Shares of Amazon crossed $1,000 per share on Tuesday, the first time ever, and a long way from the company’s 52-week low of $682.12.

BBC

General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the former military leader of Panama, has died aged 83, officials have announced.

The authorities in the US are still considering banning laptops from cabin baggage on all international flights, the head of Homeland Security said.

Convicted pedophiles would be denied passports in Australia under a “world-first” plan proposed by the government.

Australia will increase its troop presence in Afghanistan following a formal request from the US, Canberra has said. The 30 new military advisers will raise Australia’s total deployment to 300.

WND

The California Senate Appropriations Committee passed a $400 billion universal health care bill Thursday with no plan to pay for it.

The mayor of Portland, Oregon, on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a “Trump Free Speech Rally” and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

An administration plagued with leaks is now trying to determine whether recent damaging claims may have been fanned from within the West Wing.

Seismologist and earthquake expert Lucy Jones says the San Andreas Fault is capable of a magnitude 8.2 earthquake.


The Briefing 05-30-17

NPR asks Richard Dawkins: Why do more religious people give their lives for human good than atheists?

Study shows fathers and mothers parent boys and girls differently. But secularists want this to change.

Why is the left unhappy with Trump’s proposal for paid family leave? It isn’t “free” for employers.

The post The Briefing 05-30-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top News – 5/30/2017

CRISPR gene-editing tool causes unintended genetic mutations
It’s not hyperbolic to say that the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique has been a revolutionary breakthrough, allowing scientists the ability to quickly, easily and precisely edit sections of DNA. But questions over how precise the CRISPR tool is have been raised in a new study from Columbia University Medical Center, which shows this gene-editing technology can introduce hundreds of unintended mutations into the genome.

Trump Completely Un-enamored With Abbas
Reports have emerged that the closed door meeting between Trump and Abbas was definitely not friendly when Abbas reiterated that his Fatah faction was not involved in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement.

Japan urges China to do more to pressure North Korea
Japan has urged China to do more to influence North Korea to help pressure the country to stop its nuclear and missile development. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida says that during talks in Tokyo on Tuesday, he urged Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi to have China play a greater role in dealing with Pyongyang.

Turkey Attempting to Take Over Jordanian Control of Temple Mount
The Jerusalem municipality’s eastern Jerusalem experts have revealed in recent days that Turkey has been competing with Jordan over influence among Arab residents as well as over control of the Temple Mount, Hashiloach—an Israeli journal for thought and policy, created by the Tikvah Fund—reported last week. The city’s experts, David Koren and Ben Avrahami, also revealed that Turkey has begun pouring millions of dollars into non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in eastern Jerusalem, in order to strengthen Ankara’s status among the Arab residents, at the expense of Jordan and Israel.

US May Tacitly Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Report Says
The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday that President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence may participate in the event, hosted by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and that the broadcast could be perceived as the White House’s tacit recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

North Korea promises ‘gifts’ to the Americans
Kim Jong-Un says latest ballistic missile test is a step towards sending bigger “gift package” to the U.S.

Philippines urges Islamist rebels to surrender as battle enters 8th day
The Philippine military urged Islamist militants occupying a southern city to turn themselves in on Tuesday, the eighth day of a push by security forces using armored vehicles and firing rockets from helicopters to eliminate the gunmen. The government says it is close to retaking Marawi from the Islamic State-linked Maute group, which seized parts of the city after a failed attempt by security forces to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the militants’ so-called emir of Southeast Asia.

Netanyahu: Israeli land swaps with Palestinians won’t bring peace
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on Tuesday that any future peace agreement…must include an Israeli military presence in the West Bank and offered insight on security concerns the government may have following a prospective deal…Netanyahu said that “In any peace agreement we [Israel] will have to maintain military control of all the territory west of the Jordan River. This is the truth and I will continue saying this truth.”

Report: After Iranian elections, Tehran-Hamas ties warming up
Iran has allegedly decided to resume financial backing for Hamas, Palestinian sources said on Tuesday. The move came after representatives from the Islamic Republic and the Palestinian terror group conducted intensive discussions in Lebanon over the last two weeks, according to London-based Arab language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

Report: China open to ‘active role’ in advancing Mideast peace process
China is willing to play an active role in pushing forward the frozen peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported Tuesday. The report cited remarks made by Chinese special envoy to the Middle East, Gong Xiaosheng, during a meeting on Monday night with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

White House faces deadline for clarity on Israel embassy move
Twice a year…presidents have issued a “suspension of limitations”…provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act– a waiver that allows them to delay moving the US Embassy…from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem “…to protect the national security interests of the United States.”…every December and June since 1998, the White House…waive[d] an appropriations requirement that would suspend 50% of the State Department’s buildings maintenance budget until the secretary of state verifies he has opened a Jerusalem embassy.

Deadly Cyclone Mora hits Bangladesh with high winds and rain
At least five people have been killed in Bangladesh after Cyclone Mora hit the country’s south-eastern coast. Most of them were killed by falling trees in the districts of Cox’s Bazar and Rangamati, officials told the BBC. Hundreds of houses were fully or partly damaged, the officials said. Significant damage is reported in refugee camps housing Rohingya Muslims from neighbouring Myanmar.

Moscow threat as Moldova expels five Russian diplomats
Russia has condemned Moldova’s decision to expel five of its diplomats, calling it a move against the country’s pro-Russian president. Russia’s response will be “quite harsh”, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said. Moldova’s pro-EU government announced the expulsions on Monday, without giving a reason. It is one of Europe’s poorest countries and gets EU funding.

Moscow storm: 16 killed in Russian capital and region
Sixteen people were killed when a severe thunderstorm hit Moscow and the region around the Russian capital on Monday, officials say. Hundreds of trees were toppled, and about 150 people needed medical help. It was the deadliest storm in the city for more than 100 years, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

Ultra-tough antibiotic to fight superbugs
US scientists have re-engineered a vital antibiotic in a bid to wipe out one of the world’s most threatening superbugs. Their new version of vancomycin is designed to be ultra-tough and appears to be a thousand times more potent than the old drug, PNAS journal reports. It fights bacteria in three different ways, making it much less likely that the bugs can dodge the attack.

Islam on Track to Overtake Christianity as World’s No. 1 Religion
Muslims will double their share of the population in the United States by 2050 and surpass Christianity as the world’s dominant religion by the end of the century, according to a Pew Research Center report released last week. The Pew study comes the same week that saw two acts of mass murder perpetrated by Muslim extremists — a suicide bombing outside a concert in Manchester, England, and a gun attack on a bus filled with Coptic Christians in Egypt.

‘Shocked’ South Korea leader Moon orders probe into U.S. THAAD additions
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has ordered a probe after the Defence Ministry failed to inform him that four more launchers for the controversial U.S. THAAD anti-missile system had been brought into the country…The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system battery was initially deployed in March in the southeastern region of Seongju with just two of its maximum load of six launchers to counter a growing North Korean missile threat.

LEAKED DOCS: OBAMA ADMIN “LOST TRACK” OF $1B WORTH OF WEAPONS SENT TO THE MIDDLE EAST
Documents reportedly obtained by Amnesty International reveal that under Obama, the Pentagon lost track of nearly $1 billion worth of weapons sent to the Iraqi Security Forces.

Hillary Aide Charged with Violations of Espionage Act and Conspiracy with Hostile Foreign Agents
Buried in the news of everything important by the Mainstream Media that is still protecting Hillary and Obama even after Donald Trump became president: Report what we need to report and cover up what we need to cover up.

“The Technology Is Getting Real” – Laser Weapons Edge Closer To Battlefield Use
“The technology is getting real. It’s the dawn of a new era where the tech can be made

Trump SMASHES another Obama legacy; liberals WEEP
…Barack Obama deserved plenty of credit for gutting welfare reform during his administration, granting the states the option to waive their work for welfare requirements, which led to skyrocketing usage. States that have re-implemented their work requirements have seen precipitous drop-offs in welfare use among their able bodied residents. President Donald Trump is going to make sure it’s all states that end up re-implementing those work requirements.

Three Leakers Of Classified White House Information Said To Be Identified, Expected To Be Fired
Three leakers of classified information at the White House have been identified and are expected to be fired, according to CBS which adds that leaks of Trump’s conversation with Lavrov are by officials who are holdovers from President Obama’s administration.

Heineken Campaign Calls For “World Without Borders”
A new ad campaign for Heineken beer promotes “a world without borders or barriers,” in another nod to the vacuous virtue-signaling that is being embraced by many top companies.

Arch of Ba’al, Erected for G7, Is Portal for Messiah – or New World Order, Warns Rabbi
A pagan arch erected in Italy one month before the meeting of the world’s most powerful leaders in the same country may be the portal whose opening could usher in the age of the Messiah – or a sinister World Order, a prominent rabbi has claimed. The rabbi believes that the two events – the unveiling last month of a replica of the Palmyra Arch, a symbol of paganism and idol worship, and the recent G7 summit, representing the coming together of world powers – are deeply and troublingly connected.

Country-rock superstar warns Schumer of Democrat scandals
Country music superstar Charlie Daniels…has issued a warning to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.  Daniels challenges Schumer to “lay your hand on a Holy Bible and tell America that you believe in your heart that Donald Trump has actually colluded with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government to the detriment of the United States of America.”

Philippine authorities seize 605 kilos of meth from China
Philippine authorities said Monday that they have seized 605 kilograms (1,334 pounds) of high-grade methamphetamine shipped from China following a tip from the Chinese government.

Trump says North Korea shows ‘great disrespect’ to China with missile
U.S. President Donald Trump said North Korea showed disrespect to its major ally China after it fired a short-range ballistic missile on Monday that landed in the sea off its east coast.

PM Abe: Japan will take steps with US to deter North Korea
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch and vowed action along with other nations to deter Pyongyang’s repeated provocations. “As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community,” Abe told reporters in brief televised remarks. “Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea.”

Abbas is being told to shape up – or else
Trump pointedly told Abbas: “Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded. We must be resolute in condemning such acts in a single, unified voice.

Israel conducts ‘experimental’ rocket test over heart of the country
The Defense Ministry said Monday that it conducted a successful experimental test of its rocket propulsion system from a military base located in the center of Israel. Images shared on social media showed a projectile streaking through the sky…Rocket propulsion systems are designed to launch large systems such as satellites, ballistic missiles and large ground to air missiles.

Pro-peace group leverages Six Day War anniversary for global Jewish action
New peace organization “Save Israel, Stop the Occupation” (SISO) is appealing to Jews both in Israel and around the world to join their call for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, running events throughout June to mark 50 years since the Six Day War when Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem…Internationally, SISO is coordinating with Jewish communities on five continents, appealing to them to partner with Israelis to end military rule over the Palestinians.

Australia to send 30 additional troops to Afghanistan
Australia will increase its troop presence in Afghanistan following a formal request from the US, Canberra has said. The 30 new military advisers will raise Australia’s total deployment to 300, Defence Minister Marise Payne said. Earlier this month, US authorities recommended sending at least 3,000 more soldiers to fight the Taliban.

France’s Macron set for ‘tough’ talks with Putin near Paris
French President Emmanuel Macron will shortly hold talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin near Paris, amid tensions over the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. They will meet at the ornate Grand Trianon Palace at Versailles. Mr Macron says he expects some tough words. It could be an awkward meeting, the BBC’s Lucy Williamson in Paris reports.

N. Korea fires ‘Scud-type’ ballistic missile
North Korea fired a ballistic missile from its eastern coast early Monday morning, dealing another blow to efforts by South Korea’s new government to improve inter-Korean ties. The missile, presumed to be a Scud type, was launched eastward from the vicinity of Wonsan, Gangwon Province, at around 5:39 a.m., according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). “The flight distance is around 450 kilometers,” it said.

Israeli govt meeting near Jerusalem site angers Palestinians
The Palestinians sharply condemned Israel on Sunday for holding a government meeting near a sensitive Jerusalem holy site at the core of their conflict. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet met Sunday in tunnels near the site for a special session marking the 50th anniversary of Israel’s capture of east Jerusalem in the 1967 war, an event it celebrates as the “unification” of its eternal capital.

Iran leader slams Saudis as America’s ‘milking cow’
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei launched a fierce attack against regional rival Saudi Arabia, saying it was being pumped “like a milking cow” by “infidel” Americans. “These people (the Saudis) appear to believe in the Koran… but in practice they act against its teachings,” Khamenei said at a meeting on Saturday to mark the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

Japan’s growing concern over China’s naval might
The Izumo is the largest vessel built by Japan since the end of World War Two – and she looks very much like an aircraft carrier…There is growing support in Japan for a more strident response to Chinese military assertiveness around Japanese waters and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force has been increasingly active in the region.

Philippines military says close to defeating Islamist rebels
The Philippines military said on Monday it was close to retaking a southern city held for a seventh day by Islamist militants, as helicopters unleashed more rockets on positions held by the rebels aligned with Islamic State. The clashes…the Maute militia…has become the biggest security challenge of Rodrigo Duterte’s 11-month presidency, with gunmen resisting air and ground assaults and still in control of central parts of a city of 200,000 people.

Cyclone churns towards Bangladesh as storm toll reaches almost 200 in Sri Lanka, India
An intensifying cyclone churned north towards Bangladesh on Monday after heavy rain in Sri Lanka and thunderstorms in eastern India killed almost 200 people, with more torrential downpours forecast. Impoverished Bangladesh, hit by cyclones every year, warned that some low-lying coastal areas were “likely to be inundated by a storm surge of four to five feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters)” above normal and raised the storm danger signal, on a scale of one to 10, to seven.

In “Watershed Moment” Merkel Says Germany Can No Longer Rely On America
In what has been dubbed a “watershed moment” Angela Merkel speaking at a rally in Bavaria, said that Europe “must take its fate into its own hands” as it can no longer rely on the US and UK. “The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days.”

Hypocrisy alert: Lebanon almost finished building a wall, with 4 watchtowers, Around 100,000 ‘Palestinians’, World Says Nothing
You know how “human rights” groups and “pro-Palestinian” groups love to say that Israel puts Palestinians in Gaza as well as the West Bank in an “open-air prison”? You know how the media will exhaustively cover any defensive measures Israel does to protect itself from terrorists that live among the Palestinians as “collective punishment”?

California Ready for Single-Payer Insurance … But Who’s Going to Pay for It?
In California, after the state robs the taxpayers of their last pennies, apparently more money just falls out of the sky.

Senator: Regs not protecting kids from spying toys
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has written to the Federal Trade Commission expressing concern that the regulations for toys and related products are not keeping pace with “consumer and technology trends.” He said toys that spy on kids by automatically connecting to the Internet through WiFi can deliver tantalizing tidbits of information about their lives to marketers.

“You Tricked Me” – Trump Reportedly Rages At Palestine’s Abbas For ‘Lying To Him’
“You tricked me in Washington… You talked to me about peace, but the Israelis showed me that you are personally supporting incitement…”

Homeland’s Kelly Lashes Out At “Treasonous” Intelligence Leakers
“I believe when you leak the kind of information that seems to be routinely leaked – high, high level of classification – I think it’s darn close to treason.”

Judge dismisses lawsuit against Clinton by Benghazi families
A federal judge threw out a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton by the parents of two Americans killed in the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, ruling the former secretary of state didn’t defame them when disputing allegations that she had lied.


FAKE NEWS: CNN Pushes The Outrageous Claim That Islam Helped To Create The United States

CNN’s W. Kamau Bell devoted a recent episode of his series United Shades of America to exploring Muslim and Arab communities.

Aside from some interesting vignettes, the program is left-wing, anti-Trump propaganda that firmly establishes the network’s political bias. Bell also serves up some historical distortions of the sort spoonfed to undergraduates on politically-correct campuses, such as the claim that Islam has always been present in the U.S.

“Islam has always been part of the American fabric,” one Muslim man in Detroit tells Bell at an anti-Trump event. “A lot of people think that Islam is from a foreign country, or is a foreign religion. It’s not — it’s very American.” He goes on to criticize “those more violent voices in our society” — and he does not mean radical Islamists. Bell is so impressed that he asks the man, “When are you running for mayor?”, comparing him to a “young Barack Obama.”

It was Obama who told the Muslim world in his Cairo speech in 2009: “Islam has always been a part of America’s story.” He offered a dubious proof: “The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco.” He also cited the Treaty of Tripoli, which was essentially an agreement to pay a bribe to Muslim pirates who had made a practice of kidnapping Americans.

For CNN, the argument that Islam has “always” been present in the U.S. rests largely on the claim that a significant minority of black slaves were Muslim.

On Saturday, CNN correspondent Dean Obeidallah claimed that “Islam has been here since the time of slavery, because ten to fifteen percent of the African slaves brought were Muslim. So Islam was here before the creation of the United States. It was actually part of the creation of the United States of America.” Bell’s interviewee raises the estimate, claiming that “during the slave trade, up to about 25 to 30% of the slaves came from areas where there were predominantly Muslim populations.”(Note that these claims leave out the role of Muslims in the slave trade itself, casting Muslims purely as victims.)

This is what our founding fathers actually thought about Islam:

There is some basis for some of the claims CNN cites. As Daniel Pipes noted in 2000, “Muslims constituted a significant percentage of the Africans brought to the Americas in servitude; and that, as the most educated and resistant of the captive peoples, they exerted a disproportionate influence on slave life in the Americas.” But the faith did not survive among these populations; few of their descendants knew their forefathers’ Muslim origins.

While Muslims were present at America’s founding, Islam — as a coherent, self-conscious religious and political civilization — was not. Had it been present, one would have expected the Founding Fathers to be more aware of it, and one would have expected to see an American version of the faith emerge, one more comfortable with ideas of tolerance and individual liberty, much as different reformist versions of Judaism flourished in the United States.

To the extent that Islam was a part of early American history, it was a negative force, an external enemy.

The predations of the Barbary pirates prompted the U.S. to build a world-class navy and deploy the fledgling Marines. As Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger recall in Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History, Jefferson was shocked when, at a meeting in London with the Tripolitan ambassador and John Adams in 1786, the Muslim envoy declared that American Christians were fair game for piracy: “… all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of faithful persons to plunder and enslave.”

There are echoes of that Islamic supremacism in the public statements of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), whom Bell interviews jovially on CNN. After the San Bernardino terror attack in December 2015, CAIR not only ensured an Islamic burial for the terrorists and represented their family in court, but blamed the murder of 14 Americans and the wounding of 22 more at a Christmas party on U.S. foreign policy.

CAIR has been declared a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates, and was named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror-funding operation — none of which Bell mentions.

Bell offers one additional argument to defend the idea that Islam is intrinsically American: “America has always had heroes who were Muslims.” He cites Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Malcolm X — none of whom were active in public life before the 1960s. Amazingly, he also praises the Nation of Islam and its leader, Louis Farrakhan. Bell cites Farrakhan’s “Million Man March” — and ignores his vicious racism and antisemitism.

Brigitte Gabriel Reads the Muslim Brotherhood Plan for America:

CNN’s effort at historical revisionism is not just aimed at encouraging Americans to adopt more tolerant attitudes toward Muslims, but to discourage awareness or criticism of aspects of contemporary Islamic political thought that clash with liberal democratic principles and that, in extremis, pose an active terrorist threat.

Islam need not be seen as a foreign presence. But to claim that it predates, or was part of, the Founding, is fake history and “fake news.”

Americans are certainly tolerant enough to accept law-abiding and tolerant Muslim communities into the fabric of American social and political life without being taught lies about the role Islam played in our history, or being made to feel that Islam’s claims on this country precede almost anyone else’s. source


Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Brother Steven Wasserman Accused of Burying Seth Rich Case

Former Head of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz,  lost her position during the DNC Convention due to WikiLeaks emails being released that showed her efforts to enable Hillary Clinton to win the DNC nomination and steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders.  Now Wasserman Schultz is back in the news.  This time it is because of her close ties with the Assistant US Attorney at the Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.

Wasserman Schultz’s brother, Steven Wasserman, is the Assistant US Attorney at the Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.  Questions are arising whether Steven has played a part in burying the Seth Rich case in DC.  No one has yet been charged in spite of the many unanswered questions related to the murder case.  Because Rich reportedly provided emails to WikiLeaks there are many who believe Rich was murdered as a result.

There are too many questions and coincidences for the Seth Rich case not to be investigated at the highest levels of the government.

The post Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Brother Steven Wasserman Accused of Burying Seth Rich Case appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.


If You Don’t Think Progressivism is a Disease, Check This Out

He’s a liberal progressive college professor, on a liberal progressive campus, in the liberal progressive state of Washington, in the liberal progressive region
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5 Highly Respected Financial Experts That Are Warning That A Market Crash Is Imminent

If everything is going to be “just fine”, why are so many big names in the financial community warning about an imminent meltdown?  I don’t think that I have seen so many simultaneous warnings about a market crash since just before the great financial crisis of 2008.  And at this point, you would have to be quite blind not to see that stocks are absurdly overvalued and that a correction is going to happen at some point.  And when stocks do start crashing, lots of fingers are going to start pointing at President Trump, but it won’t be his fault.  The Federal Reserve and other central banks are primarily responsible for creating this bubble, and they should definitely get the blame for what is about to happen to global financial markets. (Read More…)


The Next Stock Market Crash Will Be Blamed On Donald Trump But It Will Be The Federal Reserve’s Fault Instead

A stock market crash is coming, and the Democrats and the mainstream media are going to blame Donald Trump for it even though it won’t be his fault.  The truth is that we were headed for a major financial crisis no matter who won the election.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up a staggering 230 percent since the lows of 2009, and no stock market rally in our history has ever reached the 10 year mark without at least a 20 percent downturn.  At this point stocks are about as overvalued as they have ever been, and every other time we have seen a bubble of this magnitude a historic stock market crash has always followed.  Those that are hoping that this time will somehow be different are simply being delusional. (Read More…)


How Bono And the Emergent Church Are Leading Millions Away From Biblical Christianity

Have you been fooled by this rocker, who talks about his love for Jesus, but in reality shows his love for Satan during his performances?

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The Christian Exodus From The Middle East

Threatened with discrimination, enslavement and death at the hands of Islamic radicals, millions of families are forced to make a desperate choice to leave behind everything they know and seek safety in the West.

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The Left’s Misguided Love Affair With Islam

Why do so many liberals praise a religion that, at its root, is quite conservative, if not fundamentalist?

Why do they defend a faith that would not defend them? Worse still, why do they defend a faith that, in some cases, would do violence to them?

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Americans Love Jesus But Struggle With The Church

A new study by Barna raises another interesting possibility however: “Americans who love Jesus but not the Church.” Foregoing church attendance for more personal and individual expressions of faith, this group poses several interesting questions to researchers.

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NTEB EXCLUSIVE: Sources Tell Us President Trump Will Sign Waiver Postponing The US Embassy Move To Jerusalem

On Thursday, President Barack Obama’s last waiver pursuant to the Jerusalem Embassy Act will expire. Absent a new waiver by President Trump, the provisions of the law will go into full effect. Trump promised during his campaign to move the embassy, a policy embodied both in federal law and the Republican Party platform. But since he came into office, Trump’s promise seems to have lost some momentum.

“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” Zechariah 12:3 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: We were able to confirm through contact with Rep. Ron DeSantis’ office in Washington that the event mentioned below is scheduled to take place on June 7th, 2017, and that it is by invitation only. And sadly, we were also able to confirm that it is “highly likely” and a “very safe bet” that President Trump will follow in the footsteps of Obama, Bush and Clinton and sign the waiver on Thursday June 2nd delaying the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. This is one story that I hope and pray we have to issue a retraction on. Keep your promise, President Trump, and move that embassy to Jerusalem now! 

The Knesset and the Congress will jointly mark 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem in an event scheduled to be broadcast on live video link between the two legislatures next Tuesday. The move could be viewed as tacit recognition by the White House of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and spark controversy.

Sources told The Jerusalem Post that either President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence will participate in the event on Capitol Hill, alongside Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, its host. In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein will take part from the Knesset. All members of Knesset and both houses of Congress have been invited to the event, which was organized by Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer.

Celebrating 50 Years of Jerusalem’s Reunification in Congress:

While the US does not officially recognize Israeli sovereignty in the parts of Jerusalem that Israel liberated in 1967, White House participation in the event could be viewed as tacit acknowledgment of Israel’s position regarding Jerusalem. The event comes after Trump became the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall during his trip here last week but held back from making any mention of Jerusalem Day, celebrated the day after he left the country.

The event comes along with a strong push from Jerusalem to recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

Netanyahu called on the US and all other countries to move their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem. Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin both asked Trump to recognize the capital during his visit to Israel last week.

While Trump did neither of those things, he mentioned the millennia of Jewish history in Jerusalem during his address at the Israel Museum. source

Mid-Day Snapshot

May 30, 2017

Merkel Bemoans U.S. Leadership Under Trump

The German chancellor comments imply that Trump has abandoned Europe — ironic since Trump is reasserting U.S. leadership.

The Foundation

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government.” —George Washington (1796)


May 29, 2017
ALAN KEYES — “I wonder, though, whether as I come to the end of my exploration, I have changed my mind about declaring myself an atheist. With my definition of God as that which we cannot know, to declare myself an atheist would mean that I believe there is nothing we cannot know…. In some sense I think I have proved that this God does exist. The challenge now is to explore what quality this God has.”… (more)

May 29, 2017

CLIFF KINCAID — Josh Gerstein’s Politico story about the owners of a Russian bank suing BuzzFeed for publishing the “Trump Dossier” containing “unproven claims” doesn’t go far enough. These “unproven” and even disproven claims that have guided the FBI’s dead-end investigation of President Donald Trump are one reason that former Director James Comey deserved to be fired…. (more)


May 29, 2017
BILL FEDERER — Southern women scattered spring flowers on graves of both northern Union and southern Confederate soldiers of the Civil War in which over a half-million died. Many places claimed to have held the original Memorial Day, such as:… (more)

May 29, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Americans across the country will be attending parades and firing up their barbecue grills for the long Memorial Day weekend, but 21 U.S. service members won’t be around to mark the holiday…. (more)

May 29, 2017
NATIONAL REVIEW — Memorial Day is of course when we remember those who died serving their country in our armed services. There was a time when America’s movie industry took pride in honoring American servicemen, both the living and the dead; there are a few actors and directors in Hollywood who still do. But since movies about Americans at war have largely gone in the opposite direction since Vietnam, this weekend it might be worthwhile going back to see seven movies that deal with war in an honest but not defeatist way. These works portray serving one’s country in uniform as something to be revered and respected, not dismissed or derided…. (more)

May 29, 2017

DAILY MAIL — A teenager has become the latest suspect to be arrested in connection with the Manchester terror attack. The 19-year-old was detained in the Gorton area of the city on suspicion of terror offences by officers, who have been conducting raids throughout the day, as police continue to close in on Salman Abedi’s terrorist ring…. (more)


Top Headlines – 5/30/2017

Netanyahu: A Trump-endorsed peace deal will come at a price

Netanyahu: Trump is ‘determined to get a deal’ with the Palestinians

Ex-UN envoy Bolton to JPost: Trump has no chance at ultimate peace deal

Netanyahu on US relations: ‘we don’t have a blank check in regards to our policies’

‘Netanyahu no longer supports two-state solution’

Palestinians: Abbas Immediately Breaks Promises to Trump

White House faces deadline for clarity on Israel embassy move

PA asks UN to act against Israeli ‘Judaization’

Abbas appoints jailed Israeli Arab terrorist to Fatah Central Committee

Palestinians paid terrorists $1b in past 4 years, Knesset panel hears

Former Top Israeli Diplomatic Official: Palestinian Authority Terror Payments Must Stop, We Should Support Taylor Force Act

PA admits: Gaza now an independent entity run by Hamas

Report: Iran will resume financial aid to Hamas

Norway demands Palestinians return misused donor funds

Israeli government admits: UN has broken the law in Jerusalem

Congress to celebrate belated Jerusalem Day

Pro-peace group leverages Six Day War anniversary for global Jewish action

6-day war begets 50 years of strife for Israel

Arab leaders did plan to eliminate Israel in Six-Day War

‘Israel is the biggest threat to humanity’

Israel conducts ‘experimental’ rocket test over heart of the country

Lapid: Entire Israeli security establishment is worried by Trump’s Saudi arms deal

Netanyahu praises Norway for defunding from terrorist-named women’s center

North Miami Beach Jewish school evacuated over bomb threat

Arrested cousin of Manchester bomber posted anti-Semitic messages on Facebook

UK received early warnings about Manchester terrorist

Manchester attack transforms Britain’s election campaign

German FM: Trump has ‘weakened’ the West, hurt EU interests

Iran denies Trump’s claims it sponsors terrorism

In the belly of the beast: On Mosul sidelines, Iran gains Nineveh foothold

Chemical weapons a red line in Syria, France’s Macron says

US Lost Track Of Nearly A Billion Dollars Of Arms Sent To Iraq Under Obama

Suicide bomber kills eight at Baghdad ice cream shop

ISIS Sympathizers Celebrate Deadly Terror Attacks in Egypt: ‘Bless Pure Hands That Kill Christians’

‘Bomb violence with mercy’: anti-terror ad goes viral in Middle East

29 Slaughtered Coptic Christians, Including Children, Were Asked by IS to Deny Faith in Jesus but Refused

Islam on Track to Overtake Christianity as World’s No. 1 Religion

Bible Answer Man Says Islam Is Not Religion of Peace, Warns of Ramadan: Muslims Fast, They Also Blast

Syria war becomes backdrop of Ramadan TV dramas

White House refuses to hold Ramadan event for first time in 20 years

President Trump proclaims Memorial Day 2017 as a day of ‘Prayer for Permanent Peace’

“The Technology Is Getting Real” – Laser Weapons Edge Closer To Battlefield Use

North Korean Tests Add Urgency for U.S. to Fix Defense Flaws

North Korea Claims Breakthrough in Missile Technology

North Korea warns of ‘bigger gift package’ for U.S. after latest test

Japan vows to take action with US after North Korea missile test

South Korea says conducted joint drills with U.S. B-1B strategic bomber

Pentagon to test new anti-missile system in wake of North Korea threat

Trump says North Korea shows “great disrespect” to China with missile

China urges N.Korea to create conditions for talks after missile test

France’s Macron holding ‘tough’ talks with Putin near Paris

Inside Obama’s Secret Outreach to Russia

Putin spurns allegations that Russia meddled in foreign elections

Vladimir Putin a bigger threat than Islamic State, John McCain says

Jared Kushner didn’t suggest Russian communications channel in meeting, source says

Three Leakers Of Classified White House Information Said To Be Identified, Expected To Be Fired

‘Sanctuary Cities’ protests interrupt Texas House session

‘I’ll put a bullet in your head’: Fistfight nearly erupts on final day of contentious legislative session in Texas

Baltimore Mayor Considers Removal Of Confederate Monuments

Kentucky town welcomes Confederate memorial moved from Louisville

Portland mayor aims to nix free-speech rally, fears ‘hatred’

Venezuela opposition accuses Goldman Sachs of financing dictatorship

Venezuelan opposition threatens country won’t pay Goldman Sachs’ $2.8 billion bond deal

Egypt announces $2.49 billion package to cope with inflation

A nation’s millstone: It’s not just national debt; household debt is huge

As Americans take on more debt, some pockets of concern

Credit Scores Hit Record High as Recession Wounds Heal

Route to Air Travel Discomfort Starts on Wall Street

British Airways could face 100m Euro compensation bill over IT meltdown

British Airways flights are facing chaos for days after computer meltdown leaves more than 100k stranded

‘Judy’ Malware Potentially Hits Up to 36.5M Android Users

How to Save Your Digital Soul

Nasa to hold major press conference on first mission ‘to touch the sun’

Magnitude 6.9 earthquake hits Sulawesi island in Indonesia, no threat of tsunami

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Los Angeles, Chile

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Nikiski, Alaska

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Kasiguncu, Indonesia

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

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kasiguncu, Indonesia

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Bangladesh raises highest danger warning as cyclone takes aim

1 million in nature’s crosshairs as Cyclone Mora makes landfall in Bangladesh

More than 120,000 people still without power after severe storms rip through Memphis

Pakistan protesters demand electricity as temperatures soar

Drought damage: 30% rise in salinity of the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee)

Lab-created moths with a ‘self-destruct’ gene to be released onto U.S. farmland

New Ebola cases may show effect of improved alerts, global official says

Democratic Republic of Congo authorizes trial of experimental Ebola vaccine

Antibiotic of last resort re-engineered to kill resistant bacteria

Philippine authorities seize 605 kilos of meth from China

White House Closes International Abortion Funding Loophole

Australia to strip convicted paedophiles of passports

Popular Chinese lesbian dating app removed from internet

Demand for sex changes jumped dramatically last year

Emmanuel Macron Challenges Putin on Syria and Gay Rights

Baby boomers are divorcing at a stunning rate

Since election, yoga rises off the mat to take on Donald Trump

Jesus, big money and the GOP: Before Fox News, there was “The 700 Club”

‘America’s Pastor’ Max Lucado in Tulsa to film new TBN series titled ‘Unshakable Hope’ – Matt Crouch Wants to Change the Face Of Christian TV

Josh Duggar Faces $25K Lawsuit for Using California Man’s Photo as Ashley Madison Profile

Saddleback Church Statement Appears to Downplay Role of Alleged Molester Ruben Meulenberg

To counter Leah Remini’s return to A&E, Scientology recruits her father in smear attack

Shocking 911 Call: Baby Born Alive After Abortion, “The Fetus is Breathing, We Can’t Provide Care”

Video: Planned Parenthood Encourages Woman to Get Sex-Selection Abortion

Her Husband Wanted A Boy, So She Had 18 Abortions Until She Was Pregnant With a Son

ISIS Sympathizers Celebrate Deadly Terror Attacks in Egypt: ‘Bless Pure Hands That Kill Christians’

Abbas rejects Trump’s peace proposal

Trump furious with Abbas: You lied to me

Bloomberg reports that Palestinians close to Abbas have disputed the report of discord, saying that the meeting with Trump was good

Trump’s message: No Mideast peace without Israeli concession

The Trump effect: Slight uptick in Palestinian support for peace talks

Construction okayed on new settlement for Amona evacuees

Netanyahu Returns to the Western Wall Tunnels, the Bedrock of His Political Existence

Erekat: Israeli cabinet meeting in Western Wall tunnels a ‘provocation’

Netanyahu wishes ‘Ramadan Kareem’ to Muslim world

Israeli President Rivlin Pronounces – We All Worship the Same God

UN chief pulls support for Palestinian women’s center named after terrorist

Derelict economy could sink ‘Titanic’ Israel, experts warn

Tower of David plans renovation, connecting east and west

MKs move to boost development of east Jerusalem’s infrastructure

If Russia recognizes Jerusalem, why can’t other countries do so?

‘We will become a minority in Israel’: Six-Day War cabinet minutes released

Biafran Jews mark 50 years since failed bid for independence

Can ‘Jewishness’ be proven with a simple saliva test?

Israel conducts missile test launch

Israel preparing partial evacuation in case of conflict with Lebanon

Pope says Egyptian Copts killed by ISIS were ‘martyrs’

Coptic Christians accuse Egyptian government of failing to protect them

Egypt blocks financial newspaper website, widening media blackout

Iran’s supreme leader: Saudis face ‘certain downfall’

Iraq’s Iran-backed paramilitary advances towards Syria border

Turkish military says kills 13 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq

UN braces for up to 200,000 Iraqis to flee Mosul

Defense secretary Mattis says US policy against Isis is now ‘annihilation’

Islamic State spreads tentacles to gain hold of territory in Southeast Asia

Bodies of civilians dumped near Philippines city besieged by Islamists

Christians caught up in Philippines’ urban battle with Islamists

India imposes security lockdown in Kashmir to stop protests

Russian Lawmaker: We Would Use Nukes if US or NATO Enters Crimea

North Korea leader Kim guides test of new anti-aircraft weapon

North Korea test-fires another ballistic missile, US and South Korea say

Suspected ballistic missile fired from North Korea lands in Japan waters

PM Abe: Japan will take steps with US to deter N.Korea

Pentagon chief: War with North Korea would be ‘catastrophic’

3rd US Naval Strike Force Deployed to Deter North Korea

Japan’s growing concern over China’s naval might

2 killed, 18 injured in knife attack in southwest China

In “Watershed Moment” Merkel Says Germany Can No Longer Rely On America

Merkel: Europe ‘can no longer rely on allies’ after Trump and Brexit

Merkel: Europe must stay united in face of ally uncertainty

More arrests in Manchester attack; UK remains on high alert

Report reveals number of jihadists in UK – and the total is horrifying

Homeland Security head battles immigrant-rights groups

Rahm Emanuel: Dreamers Are ‘Part of the Chicago Family’ – Illegal Immigrants Are ‘Welcome Here’

Mississippi shooting: 8 dead, including deputy; suspect says ‘I ain’t fit to live’

Homeland’s Kelly Lashes Out At “Treasonous” Intelligence Leakers

Trump Takes Aim at White House Leaks

Trump attacks ‘fake news’ amid Russia controversy that now includes Kushner

Kushner reportedly encouraged to take hiatus as FBI probes Russia contacts

Assange: ‘Kushner correct to create channels with everyone’

Circa: FBI Illegally Shared Espionage Data On Americans With Unauthorized Actors

US weighs banning laptop computers on international flights

British Airways Faces Second Day of Disruption After Computer Failure

UC Berkeley and Google want to create an eclipse ‘megamovie’ with help from citizens

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

Bogoslof volcano in Alaska erupts to 35,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 14,000ft

Cyclonic Storm Mora threatens to flood Bangladesh, northeastern India

Sri Lanka floods: Residents afraid as more rain forecast

Sri Lanka steps up monsoon relief as toll hits 113

Parts of Missouri pounded by softball-sized hail

Climate change: Trump keeps world waiting on Paris deal

Trump tells ‘confidants’ U.S. will leave Paris climate deal: Axios

Merkel urges EU to control their own destiny, after Trump visit, climate change decision

Merkel vows to convince climate change ‘doubters’

Number 1 Enemy Of Bees: This Parasite Transmits Viruses That Kill Honeybee Colonies

India reports its first 3 cases of the Zika virus

NYC Mayor De Blasio Staffer Arrested On Child Pornography Charges

To many Americans, Memorial Day has lost its meaning

Jacob Prasch – A Review of Randy White’s Article Delegitimizing Discernment Ministries

Bethel Church peddling New Breed heresy (Part 1)

Prophetic Teasing? – Jennifer LeClaire Jazzes Up the “Oracles of God”

Pastor Steve Breaks Free of Beth Moore: A Testimony

Heresy Hunters Open letter to Michael Brown…

Saddleback Church youth mentor arrested on suspicion of lewd acts with 2 boys

Men Allege Willow Creek Community Church Counselor Sexually Abused Them 300 Times

Pastor Faces Third Lawsuit Alleging ‘Sexual Exploitation’

29 Slaughtered Coptic Christians, Including Children, Were Asked by IS to Deny Faith in Jesus but Refused

Judge Censors Video Exposing Planned Parenthood Doc Laughing About Aborted Baby’s Eyes Popping Out

New York Considering Legalizing Late-Term Abortions, Allowing Abortion Up to Birth

Planned Parenthood Dresses Turn Killing Babies in Abortions Into a Fashion Statement

Tillerson declines to host Ramadan event at State Department

North Korea warns of ‘Bigger Gift Package’ for U.S. after latest test

Posted: 30 May 2017 06:05 AM PDT

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test of a new ballistic missile controlled by a precision guidance system and ordered the development of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Dozen killed, Over 120 injured in Moscow as severe storm causes havoc

Posted: 30 May 2017 06:01 AM PDT

Twelve people were killed and at least 125 injured in Moscow and the Moscow Region, including 17 children, as result of Monday’s storm, according to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Texas Takes a Step to Keep Sharia Law Out of American Courts

Posted: 30 May 2017 05:49 AM PDT

Texas lawmakers are taking serious measures to protect Americans from sharia law.  The Texas state Senate passed HB45, the Texas Foreign Law Procedural Protection Act….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

8 dead, more than 30,000 evacuated as severe floods and landslides hit Brazil

Posted: 30 May 2017 05:44 AM PDT

Extreme rainfall has caused severe flooding and deadly landslides in the northeastern and southern Brazil over the weekend, claiming the lives of at least 8…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The five safest countries if World War 3 breaks out

Posted: 30 May 2017 05:40 AM PDT

World War 3 is becoming an increasingly alarming possibility as international conflict intensifies. These are the safest countries to hide out in.  Tensions are boiling…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Church of Scotland to Allow Gay Marriage?

Posted: 30 May 2017 05:36 AM PDT

A leader of the Church of Scotland, who convenes the church’s Theological Forum, told the General Assembly there is no theological reason to oppose same-sex…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

200 people dead or missing after extreme rainfall hits Sri Lanka

Posted: 30 May 2017 05:31 AM PDT

Nearly 200 people are dead or missing after very heavy monsoon rains caused severe floods and mudslides in several southern and western areas of drought-stricken…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

City Refuses Atheist Group’s Request to Remove Cross From Public Park

Posted: 30 May 2017 05:28 AM PDT

Officials at a city in Missouri have decided to refuse a prominent professing atheist organization’s request to remove a cross display from a public park.  The…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Fears Grow Of Increasing ISIS Foothold In Southern Philippines

Posted: 29 May 2017 06:35 PM PDT

Inside this lakeside city dotted with hundreds of mosques, a powerful militant designated by the Islamic State group as its leader in the Philippines has…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Nasa attempting first mission ‘to touch the sun’

Posted: 29 May 2017 06:21 PM PDT

Nasa is set to make a major announcement about its first mission “to touch the sun”.  The agency wants to send a spacecraft closer to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump lashes out at leaks, considers staff upheaval

Posted: 29 May 2017 06:15 PM PDT

President Donald Trump is assailing internal leaks as he considers an overhaul of his White House staff and grapples with a burgeoning crisis involving alleged…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Teens Promote Planned Parenthood with Dresses Made of Condoms and Stickers

Posted: 29 May 2017 06:07 PM PDT

Two teens from a private progressive New York high school showed their support for Planned Parenthood by creating dresses for their school’s fashion show out…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Murdered Coptic Christians, Including Children, Were Asked to Deny Faith in Jesus but Refused

Posted: 29 May 2017 06:00 PM PDT

According to a chaplain, Friday’s massacre of 29 Coptic Christians who were on their way to a monastery in Egypt occurred after Islamic radicals marched them…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

5 Highly Respected Financial Experts That Are Warning That A Market Crash Is Imminent

Posted: 29 May 2017 05:51 PM PDT

(By Michael Snyder) If everything is going to be “just fine”, why are so many big names in the financial community warning about an imminent…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

FALLING AWAY: Americans Love Jesus But Struggle With The Church

Posted: 29 May 2017 05:45 PM PDT

Decline in church attendance has been the focus of dire predictions for decades now, often attributed to a rise in secularism in American culture that…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US lawmakers seek to reverse Trump’s $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia

Posted: 29 May 2017 05:39 PM PDT

Top Republicans and Democrats in Congress have called for the $110-billion arms deal Donald Trump signed with Saudi Arabia last week to be reversed. Their…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Bitcoin sees $4 billion in value wiped out as price of cryptocurrency falls 20%

Posted: 29 May 2017 05:34 PM PDT

The price of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency bitcoin has lost over a fifth of its value from the record high of last week.  On…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump furious with Abbas, Claimed “You lied to me”

Posted: 29 May 2017 05:30 PM PDT

President Donald Trump lambasted Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, after the president claims the PA leader deceived him regarding his party’s involvement in anti-Israel incitement….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

College Freshmen Abandon Religion at ‘Skyrocketing’ Rate

Posted: 29 May 2017 01:55 PM PDT

Analysis of religious affiliation trends among American college first-year students has found that the number of those who do not belong to a religion, or…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mystery Booms Baffle Residents Of Nottingham, Has Continued Last 48 Hours

Posted: 29 May 2017 01:48 PM PDT

A loud “booming” noise has been heard above Nottingham and people are desperate to find out what it was.  The unexplained noise has been described…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Parents Sue San Diego School District Over ‘Initiative to Combat Islamophobia’

Posted: 29 May 2017 01:44 PM PDT

Six parents and two non-profit organizations have filed a lawsuit against the San Diego Unified School District to challenge the implementation of a new “initiative to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Ontario gov’t announces bill to ban pro-life speech outside abortion facilities

Posted: 29 May 2017 01:37 PM PDT

Ontario’s Attorney General announced plans for “bubble zone” legislation this morning that would ban pro-life demonstrators and sidewalk counselors from being in front of any…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Israel conducts ‘experimental’ rocket test over heart of the country

Posted: 29 May 2017 01:32 PM PDT

The Defense Ministry said Monday that it conducted a successful experimental test of its rocket propulsion system from a military base located in the center…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Hawaii finalizing plans to defend population from nuclear strike and radiation aftermath.

Posted: 29 May 2017 01:29 PM PDT

Hawaii is drawing up plans to protect its population from a North Korean nuclear strike and its radiated aftermath. Officials have produced a doomsday survival…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Alaska volcano erupts triggering highest aviation warning

Posted: 29 May 2017 01:24 PM PDT

Alaska’s Bogoslof Volcano erupted Sunday, sending a plume of ash at least 35,000 feet into the air and temporarily triggering the highest aviation alert, scientists…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Strong 6.6 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Indonesia

Posted: 29 May 2017 01:19 PM PDT

The earthquake struck at around 3.35pm BST (9.35pm local time) and registered 6.6 magnitude.  It hit the Sulawesi region in the north of the country at…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


May 29, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Most Americans, including Democrats, think voter fraud is a real problem and don’t mind voter ID laws as a solution, according to academic research that suggests Republicans are winning the argument over voting rights and suppression…. (more)

May 29, 2017
PAUL BEDARD — The public’s view of former President Bill Clinton as one of America’s most admired has taken a huge hit, and now just 6 percent want him as their “next president,” according to a new survey…. (more)

May 29, 2017
ALAN DERSHOWITZ — Special Counsel Robert Mueller was commissioned to investigate not only crime, but also the entire Russian “matter.” That is an ominous development that endangers the civil liberties of all Americans…. (more)

May 28, 2017
BILL FEDERER — The earliest human records appeared about 3,000 or 4,000 B.C. – – Sumerian cuneiform on clay tablets in the Mesopotamian Valley. This was followed by Egyptian hieroglyphics on papyrus, and Chinese characters in bamboo books…. (more)

May 28, 2017
GEORGE WILL — When in the Senate chamber, Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, sits by choice at the desk used by the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. New York’s scholar-senator would have recognized that Sasse has published a book of political philosophy in the form of a guide to parenting…. (more)

May 28, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — A new video about Memorial Day has been released by Bill Heid, an entrepreneur and the executive producer of Heirloom Audio Productions, that not only explains why the holiday is important, but connects it to the biblical heritage of America…. (more)

May 28, 2017
LIFEZETTE — Another Washington Post anonymously sourced hit job dropped on the Trump White House – – this one about Jared Kushner asking the Russian ambassador for a “secret channel.” It landed just in time to greet the president upon his return from his first international trip and shortly after Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged to “put an end to” the rampant leaks coming from within the government…. (more)

May 28, 2017

BREITBART — White House National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs banking executive, has reopened the U.S. government’s war on coal in direct contravention of directions from President Donald Trump…. (more)


May 28, 2017
BREITBART — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a Democratic U.S. Senator from the heart of coal country in West Virginia, told Breitbart News exclusively that he was shocked and disappointed in White House National Economic Council director Gary Cohn’s anti-coal comments in Europe this week…. (more)

May 28, 2017
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling against President Trump’s so-called travel ban empowers both radical Islam and judicial imperialism. The combination portends lasting damage to the United States…. (more)

May 28, 2017
JOSEPH FARAH — I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of unaccountable federal judges overruling lawful executive orders by the president of the United States. I’m also sick and tired of unaccountable federal judges overruling the First Amendment! Let me name names: U.S. District Judge William Orrick…. (more)

May 28, 2017
NATIONAL REVIEW — Yesterday evening, the Center for Medical Progress undercover footage – – recorded at the 2014 and 2015 National Abortion Federation conventions – – was removed from YouTube, supposedly for a violation of the site’s Terms of Service agreement…. (more)

May 28, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Planned Parenthood executives joked about decapitated fetuses, admitted to altering abortion procedures to preserve fetal organs and said clinics have a financial incentive to sell human tissue in a new undercover video released Thursday…. (more)

May 28, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit brought against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by relatives of two Americans killed during the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya…. (more)

May 28, 2017
CHERYL CHUMLEY — Hillary Clinton, during delivery of a Wellesley College commencement speech, may have inadvertently made Hillary history – – by telling a truth that quite possibly nobody will dispute. What was it she said? That she hit the bottle a bit hard in the days following her lost bid for the White House to Donald Trump…. (more)

May 27, 2017

MIAMI HERALD — U.S. intelligence agencies conducted illegal surveillance on American citizens over a five-year period, a practice that earned them a sharp rebuke from a secret court that called the matter a “very serious” constitutional issue. The criticism is in a lengthy secret ruling that lays bare some of the frictions between the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and U.S. intelligence agencies obligated to obtain the court’s approval for surveillance activities…. (more)


May 27, 2017
WESLEY PRUDEN — The government in exile – – the real one, according to the media – – has had a busy week at home and abroad. “President Obama” has given up leading from behind and presumes now to lead from overseas. His secretary of state has a new mission, as missionary to the safe places where snowflakes fall…. (more)

May 27, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump resisted some intense lobbying by leaders of other industrialized nations Friday to back the Paris climate-change agreement at a G-7 summit in Sicily, Italy. After hours of discussions, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni told reporters that the U.S. position on the Paris accord remains an “open question.”… (more)

May 26, 2017
WES VERNON — The mainstream media apparently have decided the bungling Democrat Party (and some scared rabbits in the GOP) are doing an inadequate job of getting President Trump booted from the White House. Therefore, they themselves (those same media types) want to be the de facto engine to bring forth the charges (i.e., new “facts”) that will bring our 45th president to his supposedly deserved doom…. (more)

When the Devil Lures a Generation to Sleep!

Posted: 29 May 2017 07:53 AM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) In this segment, we will show you how the enemy is systematically luring an entire generation into a deep sleep and the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Is Chaos in Syria Fulfilling Bible Prophecy?

Posted: 28 May 2017 05:09 PM PDT

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

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Rabbi Claims DNA Holds Secret to Rebuilding Temple in Jerusalem

Posted: 28 May 2017 05:02 PM PDT

An Israeli rabbi is making the case the Hebrew priesthood can be re-established through genetics, making it time to rebuild the Temple. “Genetics connects modern…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea Fires short-range ballistic missile flies 450 km, lands in Sea of Japan

Posted: 28 May 2017 04:48 PM PDT

North Korea has launched an unidentified projectile which appears to be a short-range ballistic missile, Yonhap news reports, citing South Korea’s military.  South Korea’s Joint…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Zika Cases Have Been Detected In India For The First Time

Posted: 28 May 2017 01:45 PM PDT

India has reported three cases of the Zika virus for the first time, including two pregnant women who delivered healthy babies.  Health Ministry officials said…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

19 Year-Old Among 13 Arrested In Connection With Manchester Bombing

Posted: 28 May 2017 01:39 PM PDT

As the Manchester Arena bombing investigation unfolds, police raid houses and arrest suspects at different locations in the city. Locals say they heard an “explosion”…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Homeland Security weighs banning laptop computers on ALL international flights…

Posted: 28 May 2017 01:36 PM PDT

US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Sunday said he was considering banning laptop computers on international flights into and out of the country amid…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Russian Lawmaker Warns, Russia Will Use Nukes if US or NATO Enters Crimea

Posted: 28 May 2017 01:30 PM PDT

Russia would be forced to use nuclear weapons in any conflict in which U.S. or NATO forces entered eastern Ukraine, a member of Russia’s parliament…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Big White House Shake-Up Coming?

Posted: 28 May 2017 12:57 PM PDT

President Donald Trump is actively discussing major changes in the White House, including having lawyers vet his tweets and shaking up his top staff, as…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Great White Sharks Surface Near Jersey Shore and Delaware Beaches…

Posted: 28 May 2017 12:52 PM PDT

Two great white sharks are hanging out at the Jersey Shore and Delaware beaches this Memorial Day weekend.  Mary Lee, a 16-foot, 3,456-pound great white…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pentagon Chief Warns that War with North Korea would be ‘catastrophic’

Posted: 28 May 2017 12:47 PM PDT

Defense Secretary James Mattis warned on Sunday that a war with North Korea would be “catastrophic,” and would place United States allies in the region…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR: 3rd US Naval Strike Force Deployed to Deter North Korea

Posted: 28 May 2017 12:42 PM PDT

The United States is sending a third aircraft carrier strike force to the western Pacific region in an apparent warning to North Korea to deter…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Israel preparing partial evacuation in case of war with Lebanon

Posted: 28 May 2017 12:39 PM PDT

A senior Israeli military official told The Media Line that Israel has prepared a partial evacuation plan for areas close to the border with Lebanon…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS HOLY

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

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

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

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

JESUS IS LORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

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

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

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

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

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


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


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The Good News for All Time

Jesus. If he isn’t the epitome of good news for all humanity, hope is undoubtedly lost. Thankfully, our hope in the Savior is not misplaced or misguided, as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John record the life, death, and resurrection of the risen King of Kings so we, like those throughout the course of history, would believe in and receive this glorious truth with a childlike faith (Hebrews 11:1).

Good News in the Beginning

God starts this story—though he has no beginning (Revelation 1:8). Since we think in a linear manner, it seems fitting to think about the good news in the context of the first humans. God created man and woman in the hopes that they would dwell with him forever, but their decision to disobey his kind provision led to spiritual and physical death (Genesis 2).

In his great mercy, however, the Lord continued to provide for the man and woman and their offspring. In the course of time, he showed the people how to atone for their recurring sins by way of a sacrifice (see Leviticus 4).

The blood of animals sprinkled on the altar was not enough for complete and total redemption. Accordingly, the son of God willingly laid down his life—once and for all—that we would be restored to God for good. And after tasting death for every man, Jesus was crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9), an unrivaled glory that will endure for all time.

Good News for Today

The good news started at the beginning of time, when God set in motion a mighty plan to draw all people to him like chicks to a hen (Matthew 23:27). The good news exists today too, in the here and now.

Two verses speak to this, and the first concerns an ongoing process noted in Philippians 2:12: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” What’s Paul alluding to? Holiness. In the words of author Matthew Henry, “The doctrine and example of consistent believers will enlighten others, and direct their way to Christ and holiness.” Holiness is the daily process of becoming more like Jesus (John 3:30). Going after godliness with all our regenerated hearts, in the power of God’s Spirit, is good news for our spiritual growth.

The second passage that alludes to the daily reminder of the good news of God is tucked into Lamentations 3:22-23: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” What a thought, to deeply know a faithful God who dispenses fresh mercy with each new sunrise. Every day begins with good news, a mercy that covers our worst sins and leads us toward confession, forgiveness, and repentance.

Good News for the Future

While we know that tomorrow will be greeted with mercy anew like today, what does the larger picture look like? What does the future look like?

If we backpedal to the resurrection of Jesus the Savior some 2,000 years ago, this translates into a different tomorrow for everyone who witnessed that unbelievable moment in time as the stone was beside the tomb. The twelve disciples for example, once stubborn and timid, were boldly proclaiming that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 5:29-32) to all who would listen to their message.

What does this mean for us as 21st century followers of Jesus? We are called to be ambassadors for Christ: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).


Jesus is the epitome of good news for all humanity, hope for the lost.


Matthew 28 closes with a comforting view for tomorrow and for the future: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Many of us interpret “end of the age” to mean “end of days” or “the end of time.” Regardless of your interpretation, what’s striking about this verse is that Jesus is likely referencing our end. Since he too is fully God, there is no end for him. He will endure forever.

Lastly, the good news reveals that the enemy will be defeated at the end of the age. The thief who comes to “steal and kill and destroy” will meet his well-deserved demise. “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur” (Revelation 20:10).

The future is one of hope, as what was started will surely be finished. “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12: 1-2).

That’s good news.

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The post The Good News for All Time appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Are You Reading or Feeding on God’s Word?

Jeremiah 15:16; 1 Peter 2:1-3

Code: B170530

Newborn babies are not ambivalent about their need for milk. It’s not simply one of their dietary options or preferences. They desperately need it and can’t possibly survive without it.

The apostle Peter likened that urgent craving to the kind of hunger Christians should have for God’s Word: “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow” (1 Peter 2:2).

Clearly, that kind of desperate hunger and passionate longing cannot be satisfied by a cursory reading of God’s Word. Christians obviously cannot get the nourishment they need or crave by simply flopping open their Bibles and reading a few random verses.

We recently asked John MacArthur to clarify the difference between feeding on God’s Word and merely reading it. Here’s what he had to say:

Watch this one-minute video clip:

Do you fervently study God’s Word because it is the only source of the spiritual sustenance you crave? Or are you simply checking a box in your daily devotional routine?

We need to go beyond Bible reading as a mechanical ritual. Approaching God’s Word with a pure heart—no longer clinging to the pet sins we once loved—opens our eyes to the profound depth and meaning of Scripture. When we come to God’s Word with purity of heart, and the ability to rightly interpret it, then we can truly meditate—feed—on the rich and deeply satisfying truths of Scripture.


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170530
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to YouYou may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/about#copyright).

When Prayer Is Difficult

I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf. (Romans 15:30)

In my Christian life, I have found that prayer is a difficult discipline. And I concur with others that praying moves through different seasons. My posture may change, my prayers may change.

But whatever season I am currently facing, my specific prayers are often marked by experiences. If I am doubting, I pray for faith. If I’m hurting, I pray for healing. If I lack wisdom, I ask God to give me discernment. If this true for you, we are together in the difficult discipline of prayer, for I am no saint when it comes to fervency of prayer. Prayer is a lagging discipline that needs constant shoring up.

The Difficulty of Prayer

Prayer is a spiritual discipline that needs cultivation. The ground needs to be turned over. Seeds need to be planted and watered. We wait like the farmer, trusting the seed will sprout and multiply its blessing.

Prayer takes effort and constant fine-tuning. We learn to pray. We learn what not to say. At one point, Paul commended Epaphras on his fervent prayer life, calling him a struggler in prayer: “Epaphras greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers” (Colossians 4:12). I like this descriptor that the apostle uses—prayer is indeed a struggle.

The great theologian and pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones once commented on the struggle of prayer. He said,

When a man is speaking to God he is at his very acme. It is the highest activity of the human soul, and therefore it is at the same time the ultimate test of a man’s true spiritual condition. There is nothing that tells the truth about us as Christian people so much as our prayer life.¹

Paul, likewise, shared his personal struggle. He said, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). Paul’s intense passion for lost people is evident here, and the struggle to pray evangelistically is clearly identified by his words.

Three Reasons Prayer Is Difficult

I believe there are at least three main culprits that inhibit true fervency in prayer.

1. Our flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).

We have difficulty suppressing physical tiredness and challenges. Perhaps there are days when our mind grows tired. Or we’re physically exhausted from work, from our children, and possibly from weakness due to an illness.

I find that physical weakness is often connected to spiritual weakness (though not always connected). For when the body is weak, our minds can think wrong thoughts about God, and our hearts can begin to believe these thoughts. Prayer time can become ineffective because our minds are distracted and wander to different themes.

I’ve caught myself falling asleep like the disciples. In these moments of lapse, I awake and find myself embarrassed or troubled in spirit that I did not labor in prayer. So I pray, “Lord strengthen my body and mind to pray.” Remember that even simple prayers can be launching pads for effective, fervent prayers to the Lord. 

2. Our faith is weary (Mark 9:24).

We sometimes encounter seasons where faith is diminished. Seasons of pain and trials can be factors in a diminished faith. Unanswered prayer can be difficult to understand. When God’s promises go unanswered, we wonder if he is even listening to our requests.

Believer, during seasons of unanswered prayer, remember that God hears you. He is at work. We must fight to believe and trust the Lord, even when we cannot see him at work. “God, help my unbelief” is a simple prayer to say. Sometimes, we have no ornate or theological verbiage to pray. Simple and sweet. Straightforward and honest. So we fight weariness with prayer. 


Believer, during seasons of unanswered prayer, remember that God hears you.


Spiritual challenges in other people also keep us from praying effectively. People’s burdens can be difficult to manage alone. I’ve found that small groups, Bible study groups, and other discipleship groups are great opportunities for believers to pray together. Burden-sharing builds unity and lightens the load. Still, the burdens can be unbearable, and we need the Lord’s help. I’m thankful for Romans 8 that says the “Spirit bears witness with my spirit,” for he speaks on behalf of our inability (Romans 8:26-27).

3. Our pattern is wrong (Matthew 6:7).

Sometimes, we approach prayer with the wrong pattern. We spend more time focusing on personal needs than addressing “our Father who is in heaven.” God is to be glorified. He is to be adorned, and he is to be worshiped. 

Following a pattern for prayer is helpful and keeps us from becoming distracted by a personal wish list. Patterns direct our thoughts back to God. For the disciples, prayer was a difficult discipline that needed refinement. They grasped their need to pattern their prayers, so they watched Jesus pray. The Teacher provides them (and us) a helpful pattern to be modeled and exercised. Read through The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 and notice how God is exalted, sins are confessed, and needs expressed.

There are contemporary models that can serve as tools for your prayer life, like Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication (ACTS). Or you can simply walk through the Lord’s Prayer by reflecting line-by-line on its main features and applying them specifically to your prayers.

How to Pray Effective Prayers

Why not start with praying Scripture as a simple way to cultivate fervency and effectiveness in prayer? While reading through my Bible, my motivation to pray earnestly grows. Maybe read one verse or passage each day, respond in prayer, and repeat as needed. Here are several starting places:

  • Nehemiah 1:5-8
  • John 17:9, 11, 17, 23
  • Ephesians 1:16-19
  • Philippians 1:9-11
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Praying for needs is also effective when a person knows exactly what to pray for. Churches can manage and store prayers, develop a prayer list in their bulletins, and send prayer requests through emails. Individuals can collect prayer needs on a list, praying through it and updating it regularly. (It’s important for us to keep our lists up-to-date and to follow up with people.)

There will be seasons when prayer lacks intensity or fervency. It may be right now that you are experiencing prayer’s greatest fight. How about returning to prayer today, by the strength God supplies? He helps you, and he hears you.

[1] Martin Lloyd-Jones, Sermon on the Mount, 2 vols., pp. 2: 46. Photo Credit: Lightstock]

RELATED POSTS:

The post When Prayer Is Difficult appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Zero Hedge: DNC Lawsuit Exposes Corruption, Data Breaches, Raises Questions About Death Of Shawn Lucas

Via Disobedient Media

In June of last year, attorneys Jared Beck and Elizabeth Beck of law firm Beck and Lee filed a class action law suit against the DNC and former chairwomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The suit claims that the DNC acted against its charter when it showed demonstrable favoritism towards  Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary, and failed to secure the data of DNC donors. The suit could have massive significance for the Democratic Party and could have an even wider impact if the origin of the DNC leaks are disclosed in the proceedings.

Attorney Elizabeth Beck described the lawsuit to US Uncut:“We think that the DNC has been running absolutely out of control and completely disregarding their responsibilities, rights, and duties to the public.”

The DNC lawsuit has so far received very little press coverage, despite revealing blatant corruption in the Democratic establishment. The death of Shawn Lucas, a process server who would have been a federal witness for the Becks, added further fuel to speculations of corruption surrounding the case. Jared Beck has also stated that Seth Rich would have been a potential witness in their case.

The lawsuit has so far revealed an absolutely unabashed level of corruption in the Democratic Party establishment. Attorney Bruce Spiva stunningly argued in defense of the DNC during the latest April 25th hearing on the case: “There’s no right to not have your candidate disadvantaged or have another candidate advantaged. There’s no contractual obligation here,” Spiva further stated that the party had the right to select its candidate in any way it chooses and was “not bound by pledges of fairness.”

Spiva’s defense has proved controversial, as it effectively admits the DNC primary process was rigged, but argues that this was not illegal. Jared Beck told US Uncut that he believed their suit would prove successful based on Article 5, Section 4 of the DNC charter which explicitly requires the chair of the DNC to remain impartial during the primary.

The New York Times reported that the DNC leaks  that formed the impetus for the DNC lawsuit had suggested the DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, and other officials “favored Hillary Clinton over Mr. Sanders.” The DNC leaks have also raised serious questions regarding DNC funding methods.

Disobedient Media spoke with Jared Beck, who said that the initial momentum for the case stemmed from the rigging of the primary, but added: “There’s another aspect to this case that deals with why information leaked into the public domain, and that’s also part of this very intense mystery… that a lot of us are very concerned about right now.”

Beck told Disobedient Media that in addition to the claims based on donations made to the Bernie Sanders campaign, and to the DNC, he also believed that there is a claim based on the DNC’s negligent failure to secure the data of its donors. This may be an important claim in terms of establishing why that data was released into the public (due to DNC negligence, in Beck’s view). Beck stated that he thought his team might be able to get discovery on this issue and specifically how it came to be that the data was released. Beck said that he believed the topic to currently be a very important issue right now given public interest about who leaked the DNC documents.

Beck also discussed how the DNC lawsuit’s claims regarding DNC negligence with donor data may be especially important as it relates to the unsolved murder of Seth Rich. Rich was a staffer for the DNC who died in an unsolved murder last July. In August last year Fox News reported that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had strongly hinted that Seth Rich was the source for the DNC leaks. The Washington Post also reported that Wikileaks  had offered a reward for information leading to a conviction in Seth Rich’s murder. Jared Beck has stated via twitter that Seth Rich would have been a potential witness in the DNC lawsuit.


If the Becks successfully gain the right to discovery on the origin of the DNC documents, the mystery regarding whether Seth Rich leaked the information might potentially be resolved. If Rich did indeed leak the DNC emails to Wikileaks, the ‘Russian hacking’ narrative would be utterly negated.

The Becks based their lawsuit on Guccifer2.0’s release of the information, which occurred in June last year, before Wikileaks had announced they would be releasing DNC documents. Guccifer2.0’s role in the DNC leaks was discussed in a previous report by Disobedient Media. There has been speculation that Guccifer2.0’s early release of the information was intended to smear Wikileaks and potentially Seth Rich as the leaker, by intentionally fabricating evidence of ‘Russian hacking’ in the earliest available version of the data.

Adding further questions surrounding the lawsuit was the unexpected death of Shawn Lucas, who was filmed serving defendants in the suit last July. Police reports describe how Luca’s girlfriend found him unconcious on the bathroom floor  in early August. Paramedics were unable to revive him. The Becks have indicated Shawn Lucas was to be a Federal witness in the proceedings.

Jared Beck told Disobedient Media that Lucas would have served as a witness in order to rebut the defendant’s contention that process was incorrectly served. This would have included a sworn declaration from Lucas; Beck stated that footage of Lucas serving process had been introduced as evidence in the case in his stead, due to the unexpected death.

 

 

The Becks have provided Disobedient Media with copies of their communications with Washington D.C. police that include discussion regarding the body cameras worn by police as well as Shawn Lucas’ death report. Lucas’ cause of death was described by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of Washington D.C as “Combined adverse effects of fentanyl, cyclobenzaprine, and mitragynine,” with the manner of death listed as “accident.” Fentanyl is a strong opioid pain medication, sometimes used as part of anaesthesia. Cyclobenzaprine is a muscle relaxant, while mitradynine is a substance found in Kratom.

As the case continues to be a developing story, Disobedient Media will provide further coverage of the DNC lawsuit should new facts emerge.

Source: Visit Website

CultureWatch: Understanding Cultural Marxism

Throughout the West we see leftist activists ever at work. They seem relentless in their drive to destroy everything that has made the West great. They are ever agitating against all that we hold near and dear, and seem hell-bent on relentlessly attacking the core values of faith, family and freedom.

How do we explain all this? Of course the Judeo-Christian worldview posits a malevolent spiritual being who hates everything of God and goodness, and is fomenting rebellion at every turn. That is certainly the spiritual answer to this, and one we dare not dismiss.

But let me look at some recent intellectual, political and historical background to all this. What we see happening all around us can largely be put down to a dangerous movement which we know as cultural Marxism. I have already discussed cultural Marxism in various articles, including here: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/06/28/cultural-marxism/

cultural marxism 2In that piece I looked at five key players: the Fabians; Antonio Gramsci; the Frankfurt School; Saul Alinsky; and Barack Obama. Here I want to spend a bit more time explaining this nefarious movement, relying primarily on two commentators. The first is author Michael Walsh.

His 2015 book, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West (Encounter Books) is an in-depth look at the movement, examining how Critical Theory results in a war on everything – at least everything of value.

In what he calls the ‘cabal of the Unholy left,’ the aggressors include “the Frankfurt School of (mostly German) Marxist philosophers, theoreticians, and writers, as well as their intellectual descendants and acolytes in the U.S., including the followers of Saul Alinsky, the Marxist ‘community organizer’,” who had such a huge impact on Obama.

He says that these folks are not “garden-variety liberals” but those of the hard left, “the radicals, many of whom are now in power, who would remake (‘fundamentally transform’) – wreck – the United States of America and, by extension, the civilization of the West.”

The cultural Marxists indeed seek to radically transform society into their own image. They seek to erect “a modern Devil’s Pleasure Palace, a Potemkin village built on the promises of ‘social justice’ and equality for all … a world without want or cold or fear or racism or sexism.”

But it is a coercive utopianism they are implementing. They promise us heaven on earth, but as the empirical evidence demonstrates, they have given us hell instead: “The world sought by the Frankfurt School and its Critical Theory disciples is all an illusion … The corpses of the untold millions who have died in the attempts of the literally Unholy Left to found the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, divorced from God, surely testify.”

He reminds us that this is of course the same ambition as Satan’s: to create heaven, but a godless one. Just as Satan seeks to destroy, deconstruct and decimate everything that is worthwhile and of value, the same too with the cultural Marxists. Says Walsh:

The Frankfurt School thinkers were the cream of German philosophical society – which is to say the cream of the restive European intellectual society of the period – who had made international reputations for themselves at the University of Frankfurt and then received a warm welcome into the American Ivy League.
The work of the Frankfurt scholars —among them, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, and Wilhelm Reich—was grounded in an ideology that demanded (as Marx would say), for philosophical reasons, an unremitting assault on Western values and institutions, including Christianity, the family, conventional sexual morality, nationalistic patriotism, and adherence in general to any institution or set of beliefs that blocked the path of revolution. Literally nothing was sacred.

For those without the time or patience to wade through this important 200-page volume, a seven-minute video by Joseph T. Salerno is something you may be able to digest instead. It is short and sweet analysis entitled “Cultural Marxism Explained in 7 Minutes”.

Let me present some transcription of the video. He begins with a brief description of the group:

Their work came to be referred to as Critical Theory. Defining or categorising Critical Theory is exceptionally difficult, for it pertains to a broad, almost disparate set of ideas, individuals, and approaches. The underlying and enduring aspect of Critical Theory common to all its offshoots, nonetheless, is the creation of interdisciplinary theories that might serve as instruments of social transformation.
During the 1960s, the Frankfurt School critical theory gained traction with some segments of the left wing and leftist thought in both Europe and North America. Today, its influence is felt throughout Western academia, dominating the social sciences and humanities – gender studies and whiteness studies being two such examples.
One of the most influential Critical Theorists and an original member of the Frankfurt School was Herbert Marcuse. A cursory glance at any paragraph written by Marcuse will set alarm bells ringing for anyone even remotely familiar with the current culture of intolerance on college and university campuses.

The ongoing culture wars in the West has not been happening by accident. All the various isms that we find today at war with the West have had deliberate backing, agitating and fomenting by the cultural Marxists. Says Salerno:

Social Justice, Feminism, Neo-Progressivism, and Post-colonialism, to name but a few, are all movements inspired by or born out of Critical Theory, and thus all come under the umbrella of Cultural Marxism. Be it gender, sexual orientation, family, race, culture, or religion, every aspect of a person’s identity is to be questioned, every norm or standard in society challenged – and ideally altered – in order to benefit supposedly oppressed groups.
Classical Marxism saw class conflict as occurring between the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat; between the haves and the have-nots. Cultural Marxism views such a conflict as existing between the oppressed and the oppressors; between those with privilege, and those without it.
The working class has been replaced by “minorities”. Majority groups are typically defined as privileged and oppressive, with minority groups accordingly labelled under-privileged and oppressed. Heterosexuals are oppressive. Cis-gender people are oppressive. Whites are oppressive. Especially white men. Christians are oppressive. Those that do not fit into these groups are thus considered “oppressed”.
It stands to reason, therefore, that:
If heterosexuals are oppressors, the solution is to encourage other forms of sexuality.
If whites are oppressors, the solution is racial diversity.
If cis-gender people are oppressors, the solution is to encourage transgenderism.
If Christians are oppressors, the solution is to propagate Islam.

If all of this is ringing bells, it should. We see this being played out every day in the West. This is intentional revolution, not accidental chaos. The militants are hard at work, while most of the West is asleep at the wheel. This is the war we are in.

Salerno concludes:

A popular and propagandist manifestation of Cultural Marxism is political correctness, in which media channels and social scientists make it a mandatory exercise to do the following:
-Question common language. Illegal immigrants, for example, are to be referred to as “undocumented migrants”, while ethnic discrimination is referred to as “affirmative action”. Their ambition to define and redefine words can be seen as a means of controlling the discourse and altering cultural norms. Racism and sexism have been redefined as a product of prejudice plus power, which leads to such ridiculous statements as:
“There’s no such thing as sexism against men.” And: “I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men.”
-Maintain an unwaveringly favourable view of groups which are marked as being ‘oppressed’. Islam is a religion of peace; Black Lives Matter is a peaceful, legitimate protest movement; Feminism is only about equality, and so forth.
No deviation from the aforementioned narrative will be entertained. Ever. Nor will criticism.
While Communism, as Marx envisioned it, offered the resolution of class conflict in a utopian social system, all that Cultural Marxism offers is a desolate form of eternal warfare between ever more narrowly defined groups of offended minorities.
The only meaningful consequence that its wide application could possibly have is the marginalisation of traditional European culture.

Yep, that is the end game: the destruction of the West and all its values. That includes Christianity, family, freedom and even human sexuality. Everything must be smashed and destroyed. And if the older Marxists could not achieve all this with bullets and tanks, the cultural Marxists are pulling it off easily in their long march through the institutions.

It is all nicely going according to plan. Marx and Gramsci and Marcuse would be so pleased. They would especially be pleased with how most folks in the West are not even aware that this revolution is taking place – or worse yet, that they don’t even care.

mises.org/blog/cultural-marxism-explained-7-minutes

[1467 words]

The post Understanding Cultural Marxism appeared first on CultureWatch.

Black Professor Exposes Dems’ Horrific Past With Viral Video

Note: Are you surprised by the popularity of this video? It has reached nearly 5 million people in less than a week.

The real power of the Democrats is their ability to tell straight-faced lies and get away with it.

Carol Swain, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, attacks the lie that the Republican party is the racist party. “Democrats falsely claim that the Republican party is the villain, when in reality it is the failed policies of the Democratic party that have kept blacks down.”

Carol Swain offers a short history lesson explaining that the Democrats opposed equal rights at every turn.

The Democrats derive their power through rhetoric. They lie through their teeth and have been able to convince half of the American people that they have their best interests at heart.

In reality, the Democrats are the party of corruption and power. The Democrats have no underlying principles and are willing to say and do anything to gain more control.

Through their domination of Hollywood and the school system, Democrats have convinced the unthinking masses that they are the good guys while their policies do the exact opposite of their stated intentions.

The Republican party is the party of principle — but we fail at effective messaging. The Democrats have been able to embed their arguments with moral language about equality and social justice despite their corrupt intentions.

Even today, many leading Democrats harbor racist resentments. Hillary Clinton, the most prominent Democrat, is well-known for her hatred of black people. She infamously referred to black youths as “super predators” before comparing them to wild dogs.

Hillary Clinton has referred to the deceased Senator Robert Byrd as her mentor. Byrd was a Klansman and once said, “The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia. It is necessary that the order be promoted immediately and in every state in the union.”

Carol Swain goes into extensive detail to expose the racist roots of the Democrats. However, their racism is not stuck in the past, but still continues today.

If we on the Right want to win the war of ideas we need to adopt the moral language of the Democrats, and prove that personal responsibility and small government are the ethical choices.

Source: WATCH: Black Professor Exposes Dems’ Horrific Past With THIS Viral Video

May 30, 2017: Verse of the day

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31:34 No more shall every man teach: No longer would intermediaries like priests or prophets be needed to show the people how to know the Lord. From youngest to oldest, from peasant farmer to kings and princes, all would know God. Knowledge of God is a major theme of Jeremiah (2:8; 4:22; 5:4; 8:7) as well as of other prophets (Hos. 5:4). This knowledge is an intimate relationship with God evidenced by faith, obedience, and devotion. God will forgive and will purposefully not remember the sin and iniquity of His people who come to Him in repentance and faith. Jesus the Messiah fulfilled this promised New Covenant through His work on the Cross (Matt. 26:26–28; Mark 14:22–24; 1 Cor. 11:25).

31:35 sun … moon … stars: God, the Creator of all things, entered into covenant with His people. sea … waves: The Hebrew people learned from their Canaanite neighbors to fear the sea (Ps. 93). But God is Master of the sea, as He is Master of all things (Is. 51:15).[1]


31:34 The word translated “forgive” (salah, Heb.) can mean “send away” or “let go,” and is one of several O.T. words for forgiveness (v. 34; 36:3; cf. Is. 55:7, note). Another term is kaphar (Heb.), basically meaning “to cover” (Prov. 17:9; Is. 1:18) and most often associated with the various aspects of the atonement, which is impossible without God’s forgiveness. A third word is nasa˒ (Heb.), meaning “lift up or away” (Gen. 50:17; Ex. 10:17). In the N.T. there are four Greek words rendered “forgive”: (1) aphiēgmi, meaning “send away” or “let off” (Mark 3:29; Acts 5:31; 13:38; 26:18; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14) and also rendered “liberty” (Luke 4:18) or “remission,” which indicates a permanent removal of deserved punishment and condemnation (Matt. 26:28; Mark 1:4; Luke 1:77; 3:3; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 10:43; Heb. 9:22; 10:18); (2) paresis, meaning “remission” (Rom. 3:25); (3) apoluōg, literally “to loose away from” or “away from destruction” (Luke 6:37); and (4) charizomai, meaning literally “be gracious to” (Luke 7:43; 2 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13). The latter word is enhanced by its relation to the noun charis, meaning “grace.” Forgiveness is the demonstration of God’s mercy and grace (Ps. 86:5; 103:10, 11), the sovereign act of God which reflects His very nature. Sin breaks the fellowship between God and man just as it breaks the harmony among men. Fellowship is restored only through forgiveness. If God is willing to forgive man, how much more should man forgive man (cf. Matt. 6:12). Those who have been forgiven should then become the forgiving (Luke 7:40–47; 17:3, 4). Divine forgiveness is marked by its unlimited scope (cf. Ps. 78:38; Luke 17:3, 4), its absolute erasure of sins (cf. Ps. 103:12; Mic. 7:19; Heb. 10:17), its abundant and gracious pardon (cf. Is. 55:7), and its automatic forgetting simultaneous with forgiveness (cf. Is. 43:25; 44:22). Though human forgiveness is inferior to divine forgiveness, the pattern is available and worthy of imitation (Eph. 5:1). The fruits of forgiveness include (1) peace (Gal. 5:22), (2) healing (2 Chr. 30:18–20), (3) restoration (2 Cor. 2:7–10), and (4) cleansing (James 5:15, 16). The forgiveness of their sin will assure a personal relationship with Yahweh. Likewise the law will not be relegated to written material only, but also will be known by the indwelling of the living Word in individual believers. In the new covenant it is God Himself that initiates and executes His blessings toward Israel. The people of God have hope in: (1) a coming day of restoration (v. 31); (2) personal fellowship with the living God (vv. 32, 33); and (3) the forgiveness of their sins (v. 34).[2]


31:34 There will be no need for a faithful remnant within the covenant people to teach the unfaithful majority to know God, for all covenant partners will know him. This covenant will include only those who know him, and he will remember their sin no more.[3]


31:31–34 a new covenant. In contrast to the Mosaic Covenant under which Israel failed, God promised a New Covenant with a spiritual, divine dynamic by which those who know Him would participate in the blessings of salvation. The fulfillment was to individuals, yet also to Israel as a nation (v. 36; Ro 11:16–27). It is set 1) in the framework of a reestablishment in their land (e.g., chaps. 30–33 and in vv. 38–40) and 2) in the time after the ultimate difficulty (30:7). In principle, this covenant, also announced by Jesus Christ (Lk 22:20), begins to be exercised with spiritual aspects realized for Jewish and Gentile believers in the church era (1Co 11:25; Heb 8:7–13; 9:15; 10:14–17; 12:24; 13:20). It has already begun to take effect with “a remnant according to God’s gracious choice” (Ro 11:5). It will be also realized by the people of Israel in the last days, including the regathering to their ancient land, Palestine (chaps. 30–33). The streams of the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New Covenants find their confluence in the millennial kingdom ruled over by the Messiah.[4]

A new covenant (31:31–34)

Commentary

31–32 It is only fitting that the weeping prophet from Anathoth, who spoke of death and destruction for more than forty years, would be the one entrusted with the glorious new covenant oracle—an oracle whose words were surely in Yeshua’s mind at the Last Supper (cf. Lk 22:20), an oracle repeated in Hebrews 8:8–13; 9:15–22; 10:16–17, and an oracle whose theme ultimately became the primary name given to the Greek Scriptures as a whole. (Though Lundbom, 2:474, claims that “it comes as somewhat of a surprise … to find so little said in the NT about a new covenant,” it cannot be denied that the entire NT is permeated with the understanding of the new realities of the new covenant God has made with his people.) The significance of these verses cannot be overstated. (According to Carson, “Matthew,” EBC, 8:538, “It appears, then, that Jesus understands the covenant he is introducing to be the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecies and the antitype of the Sinai covenant,” with earlier reference to Ex 24:8. As to the word “new” in this context in some NT manuscripts, cf. Luke 22:20.)

As in v. 27, both the houses of Israel and Judah are addressed in v. 31, and the divine announcement to them is momentous: Yahweh will make a new covenant with his people! It was Jeremiah who witnessed the valiant efforts of Josiah to renew the Sinaitic covenant—efforts that ultimately failed and the last such efforts of a Judean king—and it was Jeremiah whose calling as a prophet received undeniable confirmation by the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of Judah (cf., similarly, Eze 33:21–33). It will receive even more confirmation with the return of the exiles after seventy years.

This man had the credibility to deliver such an oracle and declare (v. 31): This covenant will not be like the covenant made at Sinai! The new exodus—also combining a demonstration of the Lord’s power and his tender care—will have a new covenant (compare the description of the first exodus here, “when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,” with descriptions of the second exodus [31:7–9]), since God’s people broke the Sinaitic covenant (prr, “break, annul,” occurring with berît, “covenant,” as early as Ge 17:14; see also Lev 26:15, 44; Dt 31:16, 20; Isa 24:5; Eze 16:59; 17:16, 18; 44:7; in Jeremiah, see esp. 11:10, “Both the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken the covenant I made with their forefathers”). They did this despite the fact that Yahweh had been a husband to them (bāʿaltî bām; cf. 3:14; for other renderings, see Notes).

On his end, Yahweh did everything he could; yet the people violated the covenant to the point of making it null and void (cf. Clemens; Brueggemann states, “The old covenant from Sinai was resisted until it was broken and abrogated”). Without a new covenant the same pattern of disobedience, judgment, and transitory repentance followed again by disobedience and judgment would be endlessly repeated. God’s only redemptive recourse, then, was to change the nature of the covenant and thereby change the nature of his people.

33 The character of this new covenant is described as one that will be made “after those days” (NASB), referring back to v. 31a and possibly back to v. 27 or even earlier and apparently meaning after they have been planted again in the land (cf. Metsudat David, “after they return from exile”). Interestingly, reference is made here only to the house of Israel, but this must certainly be understood inclusively as referring to both Israel and Judah (mentioned in vv. 29, 31); it may also reflect the fact that the Sinaitic covenant was made with one people, Israel, before there was such a thing as the northern and southern kingdoms. In the same way this new covenant will be made with one people, Israel (cf. esp. 1 Ki 18:31; see also Holladay with reference to Eze 39:15–17).

In this new covenant God’s tôrâ (“teaching, law”) will be put within his people (beqirbām, lit., “in their midst/interior”; the NIV’s “in their minds” is too interpretive) and will be written on their hearts, in obvious contradistinction to the Sinaitic covenant, which was written on tablets of stone (Ex 24:12; 34:1, 4, 28; Dt 4:13; 5:22; 9:9–11; 10:1, 3; see Eze 36:26–27; 2 Co 3:3; cf. further Pss 40:8[9]; 51:6, 10; note Dt 10:16; Jer 4:3–4). Thus it will become Israel’s very nature to keep the commandments of the Lord as their automatic, natural response; this is expressed more fully in the (clearly parallel) new heart passage in Ezekiel 36:26–27, as well as in Jeremiah 32:37–42 (see discussion there; cf. also Eze 11:17–20).

On a practical level, this means that what the psalmist experienced on a temporary and individual level in Psalm 40—delighting in God’s will and having the Torah in his heart before being overwhelmed by the consciousness of his still-present sins—will become Israel’s experience on a corporate and permanent level. Because there will be harmony between Yahweh and his people, the covenantal promise expressed first in Jeremiah in 7:23 and repeated again in 11:1–4 will finally become the reality. As Keil notes, “the essential element of the new covenant, ‘I will be their God, and they shall be my people,’ was set forth as the object of the old; cf. Lev 26:12 with Ex 29:45,” but it is only through the new covenant that it will be realized. As Heschel, 1:128–29, observes, “Prophecy is not God’s only instrument. What prophecy fails to bring about, the new covenant will accomplish: the complete transformation of every individual.” For a thorough interpretive study, see Fẹmi Adeyẹmi, The New Covenant Torah in Jeremiah and the Law of Christ in Paul (Studies in Biblical Literature 94; New York: Peter Lang, 2008).

34 The impact of all of this will be so great that the knowledge of God will become completely pervasive (cf. esp. Isa 11:9), eliminating the need for ongoing instruction and exhortation to know Yahweh—the foundation for obedience, worship, and blessing (cf., e.g., 9:24; contrast 2:8; 4:22)—since everyone will know him (according to Metsudat David with reference to 22:16b, to know the Lord means “to fear him and to walk in his ways”). In contrast with Judah’s preexilic state, as expressed in 6:13; 8:10 (“from the least of them to the greatest all are greedy for gain”), in the new state of things “they will all know me, from the least to the greatest.”

This will come about because Yahweh will utterly and completely forgive and forget his people’s sins and wickedness—an unprecedented gesture on his part toward his chronically disobedient people (cf. 33:8; 50:20, for a reiteration of this; contrast 5:1, 7). This, of course, does not mean that he will forgive them so that they can continue to sin; rather, it speaks of: (1) a cleaning of the slate and a complete removal of the guilt of the past; and (2) the internalized nature of the new covenant, in which Israel will no longer seek to disobey—the byproduct of being forgiven (cf. Lk 7:47). As Brueggemann notes, “All the newness is possible because Yahweh has forgiven.” Compare also Radak, who explains that God will forgive them for the sins “they committed while still in exile,” adding, “and I will give them a new heart so that they will know me.”

While these verses do not state categorically that God’s people will never sin again (though Malbim says the possibility of sinning will not even exist), they do strongly imply that they will no longer be characterized by disobedience and wickedness but rather by obedience and righteousness. For further discussion of what is “new” in the new covenant, compare Bertrand Pinçon, Du nouveau dans l’ancien: Essai sur la notion d’alliance nouvelle dans le livre Jérémie et dans quelques relectures au cours d’exil (Lyons: Profac, 2000; conveniently summarized in OTA 23 [2000]: 2084). For the usage of tôrâ in this passage, compare Untermann, 98–102, who renders tôrâ as “divine legal instruction.” Huey lists Isaiah 41:18–20; 42:6–13; 43:18–21, 25; 44:3–5, 21–23; 45:14–17; 49:8–13; 51:3–8; 54:9–10; 55:3; 60:15–22; 61:1–9; 65:17–25; Jeremiah 50:4–5; Ezekiel 16:60–63; 34:11–31; 36:8–15, 22–38; 37:11–14, 21–28; Joel 2:18–32 as containing new covenant ideas, with reference to Walter C. Kaiser, “The Old Promise and the New Covenant: Jeremiah 31:31–34,” JETS 15 (1972): 11–23. For additional references, see http://www.askdrbrown.org/bibliography/jeremiah.[5]


[1] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 923–924). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[2] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Je 31:34). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1431). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Je 31:31–34). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Brown, M. L. (2010). Jeremiah. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah–Ezekiel (Revised Edition) (Vol. 7, pp. 395–398). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 30 – Learning from Judas (Judas Iscariot)

The twelve apostles included “Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matt. 10:4).

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God can use even an apostate like Judas to teach us some important lessons.

Judas is history’s greatest human tragedy. He had opportunities and privileges known only to the other disciples, but he turned from them to pursue a course of destruction. Yet even from his foolishness we can learn some important lessons.

Judas, for example, is the world’s greatest example of lost opportunity. He ministered for three years with Jesus Himself but was content merely to associate with Him, never submitting to Him in saving faith. Millions of others have followed his example by hearing the gospel and associating with Christians, yet rejecting Christ. Tragically, like Judas, once death comes, they too are damned for all eternity.

Judas is also the world’s greatest example of wasted privileges. He could have had the riches of an eternal inheritance but instead chose thirty pieces of silver. In that respect he is also the greatest illustration of the destructiveness and damnation greed can bring. He did an unthinkable thing, and yet he has many contemporary counterparts in those who place wealth and pleasure above godliness.

On the positive side, Judas is the world’s greatest illustration of the forbearing, patient love of God. Knowing what Judas would do, Jesus tolerated him for three years. Beyond that, He constantly reached out to him and even called him “friend” after his kiss of betrayal (Matt. 26:50).

If you’ve ever been betrayed by a friend, you know the pain it can bring. But the Lord’s pain was compounded many times over because He knew ahead of time that He would be betrayed and because the consequences were so serious. Yet He endured the pain, because He loved Judas and knew that His own betrayal was a necessary part of the redemptive plan.

The sins that destroyed Judas are common sins that you must avoid at all costs! Use every opportunity and privilege God gives you, and never take advantage of His patience.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank Jesus for the pain He endured at the hands of Judas. ✧ Pray that you will never cause Him such pain.

For Further Study: Read 1 Timothy 6:6–19. ✧ What perils await those who desire wealth? ✧ Rather than pursuing wealth, what should you pursue? ✧ What attitude should wealthy people have toward their money?[1]


The Master’s Men—Part 6: Judas

and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him. (10:4b)

Among the twelve apostles, one stands out against the backdrop of the others as a lonely, tragic misfit, the epitome of human disaster. He is the vilest, most wicked man in Scripture. In the lists of apostles he is always named last and, with the exception of Acts 1:13, is always identified as Jesus’ betrayer. For 2,000 years the name Judas Iscariot has been a byword for treachery.

Forty verses in the New Testament mention the betrayal of Jesus, and each of them is a reminder of Judas’s incredible sin. After the description of his death and his replacement among the twelve in Acts 1, his name is never again mentioned in Scripture. In Dante’s Inferno Judas occupies the lowest level of hell, which he shares with Lucifer, Satan himself.

His Name

Judas was a common name in New Testament times and was a second name for one of the other apostles, Thaddaeus. It is a personalized form of Judah, the southern kingdom during the Jewish monarchy and the Roman province of Judea during the time of Christ. Some scholars believe the name means “Yahweh (or Jehovah) leads,” and others believe it refers to one who is the object of praise. With either meaning, it was a tragic misnomer in the case of Judas Iscariot. No human being has ever been less directed by the Lord or less worthy of praise.

Iscariot means “man of Kerioth,” a small town in Judea, about twenty-three miles south of Jerusalem and some seven miles from Hebron. Judas is the only apostle whose name includes a geographical identification, possibly because he was the only Judean among the twelve. All the others, including Jesus, were from Galilee in the north. Judean Jews generally felt superior to the Jews of Galilee; and although Judas himself was from a rural village, he probably did not fit well into the apostolic band.

His Call

Judas is always listed among the twelve apostles, but his specific call is not recorded in the gospels. He first appears in Matthew’s listing, with no indication as to where or how Jesus called him. Obviously he was attracted to Jesus, and he stayed with Him until the end of His ministry, far past the time when many of the other false disciples had left Him (see John 6:66).

There is no evidence that Judas ever had a spiritual interest in Jesus. It is likely that, from the beginning, he expected Jesus to become a powerful religious and political leader and wanted to use the association with Him for selfish reasons. He recognized Jesus’ obvious miracle-working power as well as His great influence over the multitudes. But he was not interested in the coming of the kingdom for Christ’s sake, or even for the sake of his fellow Jews, but only for the sake of whatever personal gain he might derive from being in the Messiah’s inner circle of leadership. Although he was motivated totally by selfishness, he nevertheless followed the Lord in a half-hearted way-until he was finally convinced that Jesus’ plans for the kingdom were diametrically opposed to his own.

Christ chose Judas intentionally and specifically, “for Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him” (John 6:64). Although the disciples did not at the time understand what He meant, Jesus alluded to His betrayal a year or more before it occurred. “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” Jesus told them soon after the false disciples at Capernaum turned away from Him. John explains that “He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him” (vv. 70–71).

David predicted Christ’s betrayal a thousand years before the fact. “Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread,” he wrote, “has lifted up his heel against me” (Ps. 41:9; cf. 55:12–15, 20–21). Although that passage primarily referred to David, its greater significance applied to Jesus Christ, as He Himself declared (John 13:18).

Zechariah even predicted the exact price of betrayal. “And I said to them, ‘If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!’ So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.’ So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord” (Zech. 11:12–13). At the Lord’s command, the prophet had shepherded the Lord’s people (vv. 4–11), and the wages they paid Zechariah represented the “magnificent price” at which their descendants would value the Messiah Himself.

In His high priestly prayer, Jesus said to His Father, speaking of the twelve, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12). Luther translated “son of perdition” as “lost child,” that is, a child whose nature and intention is to be continually wayward and lost. Jesus lost none of the twelve except the one who was confirmed in his sin and refused to be saved. He chose Judas in order to fulfill Scripture, knowing that Judas would reject that choice.

At the Last Supper Jesus said, “Behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Me on the table. For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” (Luke 22:21–22). Although our finite human minds cannot understand it, God had predetermined the betrayal, though, at the same time, Judas was held fully responsible for it, because it was by his own choice.

In Judas’s rejection of Christ there is the same apparent paradox of divine sovereignty and human will that exists in the process of salvation. Although a person must receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior with an act of his will (John 1:12; 3:16; Rom. 1:16), every believer who does so was chosen to be saved even before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; cf. Acts 13:48). In the same way, Judas had the opportunity to accept or reject Christ in regard to salvation, although Christ planned from the beginning for the disbelief and rejection that would characterize this disciple. Those seemingly conflicting truths-just as others found in Scripture-are resolved only in the mind of God. The Bible is clear that Jesus extended to Judas the opportunity for salvation to the extent that his unbelief was his own choice and fault (cf. Matt. 23:37; John 5:40). Judas chose to reject and betray Christ. That is why Christ did not label him as a victim of sovereign decree but “a devil” (John 6:70) and made clear that he did what he did not because God made him do it but rather Satan (John 13:27).

God also predetermined Judas’s successor among the twelve from the beginning. Just before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit led Peter to explain to the apostles who remained, “It is therefore necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us-begnning with the baptism of John, until the day that He was taken up from us-one of these should become a witness with us of His resurrection” (Acts 1:21–22). Out of the disciples who met that qualification, the eleven then chose “two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, ‘Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two Thou hast chosen to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (vv. 23–26). Both God’s sovereign, predetermined choice and the human choice of the apostles were involved in the selection of Matthias.

A few days later, on the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the crowd in Jerusalem, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” (2:22–23). God sovereignly predetermined Jesus’ crucifixion, but the unbelieving Jews were responsible for sending Him to the cross. It was God’s predetermined will to send His Son to die, and it was rebellious man’s determined will to put Him to death.

His Character

Judas’s outward personality must have been commendable or at least acceptable. Before the actual betrayal, none of the other disciples accused Judas of any wrongdoing or criticized him for any deficiency. When after three years of training them Jesus predicted that one of the twelve would betray Him, the other eleven had no idea who it might be. At first, “being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, ‘Surely not I, Lord?’ ” (Matt. 26:22). Then “they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.” But they soon lost sight of the betrayal and began to discuss not who was the worst among them but rather “which one of them was regarded to be greatest” (Luke 22:23–24). In any case, Judas was no more suspect than any of the others. In answer to John’s question “Lord, who is it?” Jesus replied, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him” (John 13:25–26). Jesus then gave the morsel to Judas, saying, “What you do, do quickly.” Still the others had no idea the traitor was Judas. “No one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him,” that is, to Judas (vv. 27–28).

Because he was never suspected by the other disciples, Judas must have been a remarkable hypocrite. He had even been selected treasurer of the group and was perfectly trusted (John 13:29). It is probable that, like most of the other disciples, he had led a respectable, religious life before Jesus called him. Perhaps he had not been an extortioner and traitor to his own people like Matthew or a hot-blooded revolutionary and possible assassin like Simon the Zealot, although his coming from Kerioth of Judea might have obscured his background to the other disciples, who were Galileans.

Judas apparently guarded what he said. His only recorded words were spoken near the end of Jesus’ ministry, when he objected to Mary’s anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive ointment. “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?” he asked (John 12:5). “Now he said this,” John explains, “not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it” (v. 6). Under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, John was given that insight which he recorded when writing the gospel decades later; but at the time of the incident he had no awareness of Judas’s ulterior motive.

Judas was no more naturally sinful than any other person ever born. He was made of the same stuff as the other apostles, with no less common goodness and no more innate sinfulness. But the same sun that melts the wax hardens the clay, and Judas’s choice not to trust in Jesus became more and more hardened and fixed as he continued to resist the Lord’s love and Word.

Judas was probably one of the youngest disciples and likely an outwardly devout and patriotic Jew Though not as radical as Simon the Zealot, he was anxious for the Roman yoke to be thrown off and expected Jesus to usher in the messianic kingdom that would accomplish that. Rome would be overthrown, and God’s people would be reestablished in peace and prosperity.

But Judas was first of all a materialist, as his stealing bears witness. He wanted the earthly benefits of a restored Jewish kingdom but had no interest in personal righteousness or regeneration. He was perfectly satisfied with himself and came to Jesus solely for material advantage, not for spiritual blessing. Jesus gave him every opportunity to renounce his self-life and seek God’s forgiveness and salvation, but Judas refused. The Lord gave the parables of the unjust sinward and the wedding garments, but Judas did not apply the truths to himself. The Lord taught much about the dangers of greed and love of money and even warned the twelve that one of them was a devil, but Judas would not listen. He did not argue with Christ, as Peter and some of the others did and, in fact, probably openly acted as if he agreed with Him. But the response of his heart was continual rejection. Jesus chose Judas because the betrayal was in God’s plan and was prophesied in the Old Testament; yet Jesus gave Judas every opportunity not to fulfill that prophecy.

Judas was in the third group of four disciples-with James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot-indicating he was among the disciples who were least intimate with Jesus. It is likely he was on the fringe even of his own subgroup, participating no more than necessary, and that from the sidelines. It is doubtful he was close to any of the others. He was thought to be honest, but he developed no close friendships or intimate relationships. He was a loner.

In the Orient, a host would always offer an honored guest the first sop, which consisted of a morsel of bread dipped in a syrup-like mixture of fruit and nuts. At the Last Supper Jesus offered the first sop to Judas. Yet at the very moment the Lord extended special honor to Judas, “Satan then entered into him” (John 13:27). To the very end Jesus loved Judas, but he would have none of what He offered him.

His Progressive Rejection

Judas did not begin his discipleship intending to betray Jesus. He was in full sympathy with what he thought was Jesus’ purpose and plan and was ready to support Him. After each miracle Judas may have expected Jesus to announce His kingship and begin a campaign against Rome, whose vast army, great as it was, would have been no match for Jesus’ supernatural power. Judas kept hanging on and hanging on, expecting Jesus to fulfill his dreams of defeating the despised oppressor. Like a gambler who thinks every loss puts him that much closer to winning, Judas perhaps thought that every failure of Jesus to use His power against Rome brought that ultimate and inevitable goal a bit closer.

For three years Judas hoped, and at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem he must have thought the time had finally come. Obviously, Judas reasoned, Jesus had been building up to a grand climax, waiting for the crowds to fully recognize His messiahship and His right to the throne of David. He would ascend His throne by popular demand, and the Lion of Judah would at Last expel and destroy the eagle of Rome.

But when Jesus rejected the crowd’s crown and instead began to teach even more earnestly about His imminent arrest and death, it was Judas’s hopes and expectations that were expelled and destroyed. He was devastated that Jesus could build up to such a perfect opportunity and intentionally let it slip through His hands. He must have thought Jesus mad to willingly allow Himself to be mistreated and even killed, when with one word He could destroy any opponent. Now he knew beyond doubt that, whatever Jesus intended to do, it had no relationship to his own motives and plans.

Judas started at the same place as the other disciples. But they trusted in Jesus and were saved, and as they surrendered more and more to His control, they grew away from their old ways. They, too, were sinful, worldly, selfish, unloving, and materialistic. But they submitted to Jesus, and He changed them. Judas, however, never advanced beyond crass materialism. He refused to trust Jesus anti more and more resisted His lordship. Eventually he was confirmed in his own way to the point that he permanently closed the door to God’s grace. Like Faust, he irretrievably sold his soul to the devil.

When Jesus turned His back on the crown offered by the multitude, Judas turned his back on Jesus. He could no longer restrain his vile, wretched motives for self-glory and gain. He had given a glimpse of his true self when he showed more concern for the money “wasted” on perfume to anoint Jesus than concern for the Lord’s imminent arrest and death, which the disciples by now knew awaited Him in Jerusalem (John 1l:16).

Judas’s fascination with Jesus had turned first to disappointment and finally to hatred. He had never loved Jesus but only sought to use Him. He had never loved his fellow disciples but rather stole for himself from what small resources they had. Now he turned completely against them.

On the last night Jesus was together with the disciples, He washed their feet with His own hands, to teach them humility and service. As He began He said, “You are clean, but not all of you,” referring to Judas (John 13:10–11). After the object lesson He gave another warning that Judas could have heeded: “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me’ ” (John 13:18). Jesus grieved over Judas, being unwilling that even this vile man should perish (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9). As the time for the betrayal came closer, Jesus “became troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me’ ” (v. 21). He did not grieve over the loss of His own life, which He willingly laid down. He grieved over the spiritual death of Judas and, it seems, made one last appeal before it became forever too late. He knew Judas’s unbelief, greed, ingratitude, treachery, duplicity, hypocrisy, and hatred. Still He loved him. The death He was about to die was as much for Judas’s sin as for the sins of any person ever born, and it was for Judas that the Lord grieved as only He can grieve. He lamented over Judas in the same way He had lamented over Jerusalem: “How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matt. 23:37).

Throughout church history, in the name of love and compassion, some people have tried to attribute a good motive to Judas’s betrayal or at least to minimize its evil. But such an attempt flies in the face of Scripture, including Jesus’ own specific words. The Lord called Judas a devil and the son of perdition. To make Judas appear better than that is to make God a liar. Every unsaved person is under Satan’s control and serves Satan’s will. But when Judas accepted the morsel from Jesus’ hands without repentance or regret, Satan took possession of him in a way that is frightening to contemplate (John 13:27).

His Betrayal

Judas did not betray Jesus in a sudden fit of anger. We are not told when the idea first came to him, but apparently the incident of Mary’s anointing Jesus with the perfume prompted him to pursue it. It was right after this that “one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, and said, ‘What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?’ ” After accepting the thirty pieces of silver, “from then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Him” (Matt. 26:14–16). Luke adds that he sought “a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the multitude” (22:6). Judas was a coward, and at that time he assumed the crowds who acclaimed Jesus during the triumphal entry would remain loyal to Him. He wanted no one to know of his treachery, certainly not a hostile multitude. Like the chief priests and scribes who paid him, he was “afraid of the people” (Luke 22:2).

It is difficult to determine the equivalent modern buying power of the thirty pieces of silver Judas received, especially since the specific silver coin is not identified. But at the most generous reckoning, it was a trifling sum for betraying any person to his death, much less the Son of God. The relatively small amount suggests that, in his greed and hatred, Judas was willing to settle for any price. It also suggests the disdain the chief priests and scribes had for Judas. Their hatred for Jesus was public and well known; but Judas was one of Jesus’ disciples and friends, and the Jewish leaders doubtlessly had contempt for his treachery even though they used it to their own ends. The small price further suggests the low value all of them placed on Jesus’ life.

So that His enemies could recognize Jesus in the darkness of Gethsemane, Judas “had given them a signal, saying, ‘Whomever I shall kiss, He is the one’ ” (Mark 14:44). His contempt for Jesus was such that he used that cherished mark of love and friendship as his sign of betrayal.

Judas not only profaned the Passover by receiving blood money but he also profaned Gethsemane, the private place of worship and solace that He knew Jesus loved. “Judas then, having received the Roman cohort, and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons” (John 18:3). Unaware that Jesus knew of his wicked plan, Judas thought to deceive Him by the kiss, reigning love and loyalty. But Jesus already knew the soldiers were coming and “went forth, and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ ” (v. 4). When they said, “Jesus the Nazarene,” He replied, “I am He” (v. 5). As if to reinforce his hateful determination to betray Jesus, Judas proceeded to kiss Him, although it was no longer necessary to identify Him. His supreme act of hypocrisy was to pretend love for Jesus while giving Him over to His enemies. The Greek text of Matthew 26:49 uses an intensive form that suggests Judas kissed Jesus fervently and repeatedly. Yet even in face of this diabolical sham, Jesus called Judas “friend” as He told him, “Do what you have come for” (v. 50). Jesus’ love extended even beyond Judas’s point of no return.

The degree of Judas’s betrayal was unique but not its nature. Through Ezekiel, God rebuked His people for profaning Him “for handfuls of barley and fragments of bread” (Ezek. 13:19), and through Amos He charged them with selling “the righteous for money and the needy for a pair of sandals” (Amos 2:6). Still today men and women will sell out the Lord for whatever they think is worth more.

It may not be for silver,

It may not be for gold;

But yet by tens of thousands,

The Prince of life is sold.

Sold for a godless friendship;

Sold for a selfish aim;

Sold for a fleeting trifle;

Sold for an empty name.

Sold in the mart of science;

Sold in the seat of power.

Sold at the shrine of fortune;

Sold in pleasure’s hour.

Sold for your awful bargain,

None but God’s eye can see.

Ponder my soul the question,

How shall He be sold by thee?

Sold, O God. What a moment

Stilled his conscience’s voice?

Sold, unto weeping angels

Record the fatal choice.

Sold, but the price accepted

To a living coal shall turn;

With the pangs of a late repentance

Deep in a soul to burn.

(Author unknown. Cited in Herbert Lockyer, All the Apostles of the Bible [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1972], p. 110.)

Judas sold Jesus for greed. He was malicious, vengeful, ambitious, and hateful of everything good and righteous. But above all, he was avaricious.

No man could be more like the devil than a perverted apostle. And for the same reason, every false teacher who holds the name of Christ stands in special guilt and is worthy of special disdain.

His Death

“When lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin,” James says, “and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:15). Judas’s sin caused him to sell out Christ, his fellow apostles, and his own soul. When Jesus had been found guilty by the mock trial in the Sanhedrin and was turned over to Pilate, Judas “felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood’ ” (Matt. 27:3–4). But remorse is not repentance. Judas regretted what he had done and recognized something of its horrible sinfulness. But he did not have a change of mind, and he did not ask God to change his heart. He knew he could not undo the damage he had done, but he tried to mollify his conscience by returning the money he had been paid for his wickedness. Because he lived only on the material level, he somehow thought he could resolve his problem by the physical act of giving back the blood money. Then his unforgiven heart turned from vengeance against Christ to vengeance against himself, and he “went away and hanged himself” (v. 5). That did not end the misery of his conscience, however, for his guilt and anguish will last through all eternity.

Apparently Judas failed in his hanging attempt, and Luke reports the consummation of his death. It may have been that the branch to which the rope was tied broke and he fell over a precipice or down a hill, “and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out” (Acts 1:18).

Although they had no compunction about making false charges against Jesus and of unlawfully condemning Him to death, the chief priests’ consciences would not let them put the thirty pieces of silver back into the Temple treasury after Judas threw the money at their feet, “since it is the price of blood” (Matt. 27:6). In perfect fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy (Zech. 11:12–13), “they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day” (Matt. 27:7–8).

God overruled the wickedness of Jesus’ betrayer and executioners and used it to fulfill His own Word. Even those who bitterly opposed the Lord’s will found themselves unwittingly fulfilling His Word.

Lessons Learned from the Life of Judas

Even wickedness and tragedy can teach valuable lessons, and there is great profit from studying the life of Judas. First of all he is the world’s greatest example of lost opportunity. Judas was among the original twelve men Jesus called to be His apostles, His gospel ambassadors to the world. He lived and talked and ministered with Jesus for three years, hearing God’s Word from the mouth of His own Son and seeing God’s power manifested as never before on earth. No human being has every heard a more complete and perfect declaration of the gospel or seen more perfect obedience to it. Judas heard the perfect gospel and saw the perfect life. To none of the apostles did Jesus give more specific warning about sin-and more repeated opportunity to repent of it and to believe-than He did to Judas. Yet Judas turned his back on grace incarnate.

Today many people have heard the gospel clearly and seen genuine though imperfect examples of its transforming power. Yet they, too, reject it and, like Judas, choose instead to stay in the way that leads to destruction.

Second, Judas’s life provides the world’s greatest example of wasted privilege. He lusted for temporary material possessions and riches when he could have inherited the universe forever. It is a tragically foolish bargain to exchange the riches of God’s kingdom for the pittances the world can offer.

Third, Judas’s life serves as the clearest illustration of love of money being the root of all kinds of evil (see 1 Tim. 6:10). In the unbelievable extreme of greed, he loved money so much that he sold the Son of God for a trifling amount of it.

Fourth, Judas’s life is the supreme object in history of the forbearing, patient love of God. Only God could have known the utter evil of Judas’s heart from the beginning and yet never have withdrawn His offer of grace. At the Last Supper Christ presented Judas the dipped morsel as a gesture of love and honor; and even as He was being betrayed by the kiss, He called Judas “friend.”

The life of Judas provided an essential qualification in preparing Christ for His high priestly role. Judas’s betrayal brought great anguish to Jesus’ heart, and through that and other such torment the Son of God was perfected through His suffering (Heb. 2:10). Christ can understand and sympathize with our suffenngs partly because Judas helped make Christ’s own suffering complete.

Judas was the consummate hypocrite of all time, the supreme illustration of an ungodly life that hides behind Christ while he serves Satan.

Someone has well said,

Still as of old,

Man by himself is priced.

For thirty pieces of silver

Judas sold himself, not Christ.

(Author unknown)[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 163). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 10:4). Chicago: Moody Press.

MAY 30 – SPIRIT LED, WE WILL OBEY THE WORD OF GOD

And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

1 JOHN 5:6

When the Holy Spirit is in full control of our lives, He will expect our obedience to the written Word of God.

But it is part of our human problem that we would like to be full of the Spirit and yet go on and do as we please! The Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures will expect obedience to the Scriptures, and if we do not give that obedience, we will quench Him. This Spirit will have obedience—but people do not want to obey the Lord. Everyone of us is as full as he wants to be. Everyone has as much of God as he desires to have. We do not want to meet the conditions.

Let’s use an expensive Cadillac automobile for an illustration. Here is Brother Jones, who would love to drive a Cadillac. But he is not going to buy one, and I will tell you why. He does not want a Cadillac badly enough to be willing to pay the price for it. Certainly he wants it—but he does not want it with that kind of desire—so he is going to continue to drive his old Chevrolet!

Now, it is plain that many people want to be filled with the Spirit, but it is not with that kind of extreme desire that will not be denied. So, we settle for something less! We do say, “Lord, I would like to be full—it would be wonderful!” but we are not willing to proceed to meet His terms. We do not want to pay the price: the Holy Spirit will expect loving obedience to the Word of God![1]


5:6 He says, “This is He who came by water and blood.” A great deal of discussion has arisen over the meaning of these words. Some feel that the water and blood refer to that which flowed from the Savior’s side (John 19:34). Others feel that the water refers to the Spirit of God and that the blood refers to the blood shed on Calvary. Still others believe it is a reference to natural birth, where water and blood are present. We would like to suggest a fourth interpretation that takes particular account of the Gnostic heresy which the apostle is seeking to combat in this Epistle.

As mentioned earlier, the Gnostics believed that Christ came upon Jesus at His baptism and left Him before His passion, namely in the Garden of Gethsemane. In other words, they would say, “The Christ did not die on the cross, but Jesus the man died.” This, of course, robs His work of any atoning value for the sins of others. We suggest that John is using water as an emblem of Jesus’ baptism and blood as a symbol of His atoning death. These were the two terminals of His public ministry. John is saying that Jesus was just as much the Christ when He died on the cross as when He was baptized in the Jordan. This is He who came by water and by blood—not only by water (which the Gnostics would concede), but by water and by blood. It seems that the human heart is perpetually trying to rid itself of the doctrine of the atonement. Men would like to have the Lord Jesus as a perfect Man, the ideal Example, who has given us a marvelous code of morals. But John here insists that the Lord Jesus is not only Perfect Man, but Perfect God also, and that the same One who was baptized in the Jordan River gave His life as a sacrifice for sinners. Men say to Christ, “Come down from the cross and we will believe on You.” If they can just eliminate the cross from their thinking, they will be happy. But John says, “No. You cannot have the Lord Jesus Christ apart from His perfect redemptive work at Calvary.”

It is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. This means that the Holy Spirit of God always testifies to the truth concerning the Lord Jesus which John has been unfolding. He bears witness that Christ came not with water only, but with water and with blood, because this is the truth of God.[2]


6 John now turns from love to proper Christology. Verse 6 opens with the masculine form of houtos, “this one,” which here refers to “Jesus” in the creed at v. 5. The remarks that follow are an attempt to prove John 20:30–31, as restated at 1 John 5:1 and 5, through a series of ad hominem arguments based on the beliefs and traditions of the Johannine community. John’s thesis appears in the phrase “[Jesus] came by water and blood.” The emphasis that Jesus “did not come by water only, but by water and blood” suggests that the Antichrists took the position that “Jesus came by water.” Unfortunately, the historical background of this conflict is far from clear, and 1 John 5:6 has been one of the more controversial NT verses from the very early days of biblical scholarship. Careful consideration will be given to this issue, as its resolution is essential to one’s understanding of 5:6–12.

At least since the days of Ambrose and Augustine (early 4th century AD), some scholars have argued that “water” and “blood” are veiled references to the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist. From this perspective, dia and en (both “by” in the NIV) should both be translated “with”: Jesus came “with water and blood,” bringing these sacraments to the church through his incarnation. Support for this position is garnered from John 3:5 (“born of water”) and John 6:56 (“eat my flesh and drink my blood”), both of which are also interpreted as references to the sacraments. This was the dominant interpretation until the 1800s, but very few scholars today find this position convincing. Brown, 575, points out that dia and en do not normally mean “with,” and Culpepper, 101, observes that John uses “water and blood” to “validate the manner of Jesus’ coming,” not to describe something effected or instituted by his ministry. The traditional view would also suggest that the Antichrists accepted baptism (“water only”) but not the Lord’s Supper, a position difficult to comprehend. Further, it is hard to see why John would suddenly make a veiled reference to the sacraments in the midst of a discussion of orthodox Christology. For all of these reasons, modern scholars have largely rejected the sacramental reading of 5:6.

As a second possibility, some scholars suggest that “water” and “blood” together represent a single entity. Perhaps John is stressing the physical incarnation of Jesus, so that “water and blood” is synonymous with “flesh” in 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 7. On the other hand, “water and blood” might refer more specifically to Jesus’ death, for John 19:34 reports that these fluids flowed from the body of the crucified Jesus. Proponents of both versions of this view would argue that the Antichrists denied the physicality of Jesus’ existence, perhaps insisting that his human body was only an apparition.

Most modern commentators resolve the problems of v. 6 by highlighting the connection between water, blood, and Jesus’ “coming” in the first line of the verse. The identification of Christ as “the one who came” (ho elthōn) suggests that “water” and “blood” refer to significant events from the life of the historical Jesus. From this perspective, “water” refers to Jesus’ baptism, the moment when he was first revealed to the world as the “Lamb of God” (Jn 1:29–34), and “blood” refers to Jesus’ sacrificial death (so Dodd, 130; Barker, 350; Marshall, 231; Brown, 578, 596–97; Schnackenburg, 233; Culpepper, 101–2; Rensberger, 132). This would mean that the Antichrists emphasized Jesus’ baptism over his death (“water only”), and a variety of hypotheses have been offered as to how this would fit their theology. Many commentators suggest that the Antichrists subscribed to the doctrines of Cerinthus, a Gnostic teacher who argued that the divine spirit of Christ came on the human Jesus at baptism but abandoned him on the cross (Dodd, 130; Marshall, 232–33; Schnackenburg, 233). The Antichrists, then, would argue that the whole of the incarnation was accomplished at Jesus’ baptism and would deny that his death was of any salvific significance. John counters this claim by stressing that Jesus’ salvific work was completed “in the blood,” i.e., through his death as a sacrifice for sins.

Given John’s usage elsewhere of the term “blood” (haima) exclusively in reference to the physical aspect of human existence and when discussing Jesus in reference to the human physicality of the incarnate Christ (Jn 1:13; 6:54–56; 19:34; see Notes, 1 Jn 5:6), it appears that “blood” is used at 1 John 5:6 to emphasize the physical nature of Jesus, perhaps highlighting his sacrificial death. In John’s view, any confession of Jesus as “Christ” that does not understand his death in this way is inadequate. The Antichrists’ denial of this principle (“water only”) probably reflects their view that Jesus’ death was of little significance, because salvation is granted through some other aspect of his ministry.

What, then, is implied by the phrase “he did not come by water only” (see note)? Could water in the most literal sense be the intended reference here? This possibility may be supported by John 3:5. There Jesus tells Nicodemus that he cannot enter the kingdom unless he is “born of water and spirit.” Birth “of spirit” is apparently equivalent to birth “from above” (anōthen; Jn 3:3, NIV footnote). The opposite state is described in 3:6—“born of flesh” (gegennēmenon ek tēs sarkos, NIV, “flesh gives birth to flesh; GK 4922). It may be that John is suggesting that believers experience two “births,” one of water/flesh and the other of spirit (“from above”). Similar imagery is used at John 1:12–13 to distinguish normal human birth from rebirth as a child of God. The “water” at John 3:5 could thus refer to the flow of water associated with physical childbirth. If “water” is used in the same way at 1 John 5:6, the notion that Jesus “came by water” would emphasize that Jesus experienced normal physical birth. This reading would support the theory that “water and blood” refers to Jesus’ birth and death, the totality of his human incarnation.

While this interpretation is reasonable, it is unlikely for three reasons. First, while there is no doubt that 1 John 5:6 is intended to support John’s incarnational Christology, the language of the verse itself suggests that “water” and “blood” are separate entities. The NIV translates the second sentence in v. 6 as “he did not come by water only, but by water and blood.” The distinction between “water” and “blood” that this reading indicates is even sharper in the Greek text, where John includes the preposition (“in”) and the article (“the”) before both terms: Jesus came not only en tō hydati (“in the water”) but also en tō haimati (“in the blood”). It seems that the Antichrists accepted the proposition that Christ came “by water,” but John finds this confession insufficient. He therefore finds it necessary to distinguish “water” from “blood” in order to highlight the importance of each. Second, John shows very little interest in the birth of Jesus, and the fourth gospel does not include a Christmas story. It seems unlikely, then, that he would allude to Jesus’ birth in such a vague way, or even that Jesus’ birth would play an important part in his Christology. Third, it is difficult to understand why the Antichrists would accept that Jesus came “by water only,” i.e., that he was born a physical human being, while rejecting the notion of his physical death (“by blood”).

Most scholars today believe that 1 John 5:6 uses the term “water” to refer to Jesus’ baptism by John. While this view is reasonable, its primary weakness is evident in Barker’s admission, 350, that “John’s Gospel does not describe the water baptism of Jesus.” While the fourth gospel does include the Baptist’s testimony that the Spirit fell upon Jesus in the form of a dove (Jn 1:29–34), this event is not directly associated with Jesus’ baptism. Indeed, the Johannine Jesus is never specifically baptized at all. Of course, one could argue that the gospel of John avoids direct reference to Jesus’ baptism in response to the Antichrists’ overemphasis on that event or to avoid the implication that John was greater than Jesus. But since there is no clear evidence that baptism was practiced by the Johannine community, it is difficult to conclude that “by water” at 1 John 5:6 refers to Jesus’ baptism.

This third use of “water,” as a symbol of the Spirit, is the most likely reference point for v. 6, for it highlights the essential difference between John and the Antichrists. It has already been observed that the Antichrists apparently claimed that their teachings were inspired by the Spirit (see Introduction; comments at 2:20–21; 4:1–6). These claims were likely based on sayings such as John 14:26 and 16:13, which specifically indicate that the Spirit will lead and guide the church in Jesus’ absence. The Spirit is, in fact, Jesus himself, who continues to be present to the community in the form of the Paraclete (Jn 14:17–18). In the light of these doctrines, the Antichrists could argue, via John 19:34, that the Christ “came through water” to his people in the form of the Spirit after Jesus’ death. Since they also apparently denigrated the physical aspect of Jesus’ existence (see Introduction), they could further assert that Jesus came “through water only,” i.e., that everything significant about Jesus is revealed in the present through the Spirit.

Against this background 1 John 5:6–12 would represent a brief summary of and response to the Antichrists’ doctrine. Notably, the absence of hoti in v. 6 suggests that John does not intend to quote the Antichrists or to counter their teaching with a specific creed. While not denying the presence and power of the Spirit, John insists that Jesus also came “in the blood,” referring to his human physicality. In John’s view, the Spirit only reminds the community of what the human Jesus has already taught, without revealing new information (Jn 14:26; see comment at 1 Jn 4:2–3). Throughout the epistle John has pitted himself against the Antichrists on the basis that his teachings are based on an actual observation of Jesus’ earthly ministry (see comments at 1:1–3; 4:6, 14–15). John therefore asserts that no teaching can proceed directly from the Spirit (“water”) unless it also takes into account the community’s Jesus tradition, which supports John’s own orthodox views about Jesus’ humanity (“blood”). Christ, then, came to the community not only “by water,” i.e., not only through individual revelations of the Spirit; Christ also came to the community “by blood,” i.e., through the established traditions about Jesus’ life and death, which are based on John’s “witness.”

The reading that “water” represents the Spirit while “blood” represents Jesus’ human life and death explains John’s sudden introduction of the Spirit in the last phrase of v. 6, which the NIV translates, “And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.” The NIV is correct to suggest that pneuma here refers specifically to the Paraclete and is therefore to be capitalized. At the same time, however, this translation obscures the logic of the phrase by reading hoti causally: the Spirit testifies because the Spirit is truth. Marshall, 234 n.12, who also supports the causal reading, recognizes this problem and attempts to account for it by explaining that “John must mean that the Spirit is able to bear (true) witness because the Spirit is truth.” If this is correct, however, it is more likely that hoti should be taken as the introduction to a creed or community slogan about the Paraclete: “The Spirit is the one who witnesses; ‘the Spirit is the truth.’ ” The second phrase thus supports the value of the Spirit’s witness by insisting that the Spirit supports the truth, so that the community slogan would serve to strengthen the significance of the Spirit’s witness. In John’s mind this means that, even if Christ continues to come to the community via the Spirit, the teachings of the Spirit will be in complete harmony with the “truth,” the orthodox Jesus tradition that the community has supported all along.

Commentators are divided on the means by which the Spirit gives this “testimony” to the church. Marshall, 234, highlighting John’s use of the present tense (“the Spirit testifies”), suggests that “the Spirit presently testifies to us, in our inward hearts or through the preaching of the Word.” Dodd, 129, extending the theory that “water” refers to Jesus’ baptism, suggests that the Spirit’s “witness” represents the descent of the Spirit on Jesus at baptism as a “divine sign.” This witness continues into the present life of the church, where the activity of the Spirit primarily takes the form of “inspired or prophetic utterance … by which the Church proclaimed and confirmed the truth of the Gospel.” The Spirit thus “witnesses” to Jesus’ sonship by preserving the church’s traditions about his life and baptism. Rensberger, 132–33, believes that the Spirit’s “witness” consists of nothing more than the community’s tradition about Jesus’ death, specifically passages such as John 19:34–35 that stress the “blood.” Since “water” seems to represent the Spirit here, and since John generally appeals to community tradition when making Christological points, Rensberger’s reading is the most accurate. John has already established that every person speaking by God’s Spirit will confess that “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” (1 Jn 4:2), and now he simply reaffirms that assertion in the context of the debate over “water and blood.” This counters the Antichrists on their own ground, for the very Spirit they claim as their inspiration supports John’s view rather than their own.[3]


5:6 water and blood. Water and the blood constitute external, objective witnesses to who Jesus Christ is. They refer to Jesus’ baptism (water) and death (blood). John combats the dualism of false teachers who asserted that “Christ-spirit” departed from the man Jesus just prior to His death on the cross (see Introduction: Background and Setting). John writes to show that God has given testimony to the deity of Jesus through both His baptism and death. testifies. Both the verb “testifies” and the noun “testimony” come from the same Gr. word and are used a total of 9 times in this section. The basic meaning is “someone who has personal and immediate knowledge of something.” the Spirit is the truth. John no longer stresses apostolic testimony (1:1–4; 4:14) but writes of the testimony of God that comes through the Holy Spirit. Since the Spirit of God cannot lie, His testimony is sure.[4]


5:6 Water most likely refers to Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist. Blood signifies Christ’s atoning death on the cross. the Spirit is the one who testifies. The structure of the verse emphasizes that it is the characteristic work of the Holy Spirit to bear witness to the fact that Christ came (see v. 6a). It is the inward work of the Spirit in the heart of the believers to convict of sin and to open their eyes to see the truth of who Christ is and to understand the meaning of his atoning death for their sins (cf. 5:10). Likewise, the indwelling presence of the Spirit is given to teach believers the truth of God’s Word and to abide in them (2:27; 4:13).[5]


5:6 water and blood The reference to water possibly is meant to allude to Jesus’ baptism, or perhaps to the anointing of God’s Spirit (Matt 3:13–17; John 1:32–34). The mention of blood might allude to Jesus’ death (John 19:28–34).

The purpose of John’s symbolism here is debated, but most likely he wanted to assert that Jesus was genuinely human—not human in appearance only. Taken together, the references to water and blood encapsulate the ministry of Jesus, from its beginning at His baptism to His sacrificial death on the cross. For John, confessing that Jesus is the Son of God meant confessing Him as the anointed one of God—the Christ, who truly suffered and died on the cross.[6]


5:6 by water and blood. Some suggest that “water” refers to the baptism of Jesus and “blood” to the crucifixion. This is unlikely, since John in his gospel does not directly recount the baptism of Jesus. Others suggest that “water and blood” refers to the two sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. This is also unlikely, since John does not recount the institution of the sacraments in his gospel. The difficult saying of this verse probably reflects John 19:34. In John’s gospel, the testimony God bears to Jesus His Son is a key theme. The blood and water that flowed from Jesus’ side after His death attested to the reality of His death; the wound later confirmed the reality of His bodily resurrection (John 20:20, 25–27). Both the death and the resurrection were denied by the Docetists, who denied the humanity of Christ (4:2). The Spirit “testifies” to the truth of Jesus’ incarnation as the divine Christ.[7]


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

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2323). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Thatcher, T. (2006). 1 John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 491–494). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (1 Jn 5:6). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2436). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (1 Jn 5:6). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 2274). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

MAY 30 – ASTONISHED REVERENCE

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.

Psalm 66:16

In my own being, I could not exist very long as a Christian without the inner consciousness of the presence and nearness of God! I can only keep right by keeping the fear of God on my soul and delighting in the fascinating rapture of worship.

I am sorry that the powerful sense of godly fear is a missing quality in churches today.

The fear of God is that “astonished reverence” of which the saintly Faber wrote. I would say that it may grade anywhere from its basic element—the terror of the guilty soul before a holy God—to the fascinated rapture of the worshiping saint.

There are few unqualified things in our lives, but I believe that the reverential fear of God, mixed with love and fascination and astonishment and adoration, is the most enjoyable state and the most purifying emotion the human soul can know. A true fear of God is a beautiful thing, for it is worship, it is love, it is veneration. It is a high moral happiness because God is!

Lord, our world in general has lost any sense of the fear of God. Even some of our churches hold a small view of Your greatness. I pray for a spiritual revival in our country, Lord.[1]


66:16 Come and hear The psalmist invites the faithful to listen as he recounts how God heard him when he cried out for help. Compare Psa 66:5.[2]


66:16 Come and hear. Often, the fulfilling of the vow leads to public praise, witnessing to God’s salvation.[3]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. 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 (Ps 66:16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 905). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

May 30 – Avoiding Temptation

And do not lead us into temptation.—Matt. 6:13a

By itself, the word rendered “temptation” here has a neutral connotation, unlike the English that usually indicates an inducement to sin. But in this context, with its parallel to the term “evil” at the end of the verse, Jesus likely used the word to mean an enticement to sin. Yet elsewhere Scripture tells us that God does not tempt believers to evil, while at the same time we should be thankful for various trials (James 1:2–3, 13). So why did Jesus give us this expression as a pattern for prayer?

The answer to this paradox is not as difficult as it may seem. Jesus is concerned that we truly desire to avoid the danger and trouble sin creates. Saints should so despise sin and want to escape it at all costs that they pray in advance to avoid sin rather than waiting to defeat it when tempted.

Further, we know trials can promote our spiritual growth, yet we do not want to be in a place where we experience an increased possibility of sin. Like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, we should pray, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39). The prospect of taking sin upon Himself repulsed our Savior, but He was willing to do so to fulfill His Father’s will and secure the salvation of sinners. Whatever testing we might have to endure is nothing by comparison.

ASK YOURSELF
In addition to asking God not to “lead us into temptation,” we must be aware of instances in which we walk headlong into it ourselves. Ask God for the spiritual strength to avoid those very familiar forms of sin that we too often approach without fear. Aren’t you ready to start gaining victory over them?[1]

God’s Protection

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (6:13a)

Peirasmos (temptation) is basically a neutral word in the Greek, having no necessary connotation either of good or evil, as does our English temptation, which refers to inducement to evil. The root meaning has to do with a testing or proving, and from that meaning are derived the related meanings of trial and temptation. Here it seems to parallel the term evil, indicating that it has in view enticement to sin.

God’s holiness and goodness will not allow His leading anyone, certainly not one of His children, into a place or experience in which they would purposely be induced to commit sin. “Let no one say when he is tempted,” says James, “ ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone” (James 1:13).

Yet James had just said, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials (peirasmos), knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (vv. 2–3). There is an interpretive problem, therefore, as to whether peirasmos in Matthew 6:13 is translated temptation or trial. As James tells us, God does not tempt. So why ask Him not to do what He would never do anyway? Yet James also tells us we should rejoice when trials come and not seek to avoid them. So why should we pray, do not lead us into temptation?

I affirm with Chrysostom, the early church Father, that the solution to this issue is that Jesus is here not speaking of logic or theology but of a heart desire and inclination that cause a believer to want to avoid the danger and trouble sin creates. It is the expression of the redeemed soul that so despises and fears sin that it wants to escape all prospects of falling into it, choosing to avoid rather than having to defeat temptation.

Here is another paradox of Scripture. We know that trials are a means for our growing spiritually, morally, and emotionally. Yet we have no desire to be in a place where even the possibility of sin is increased. Even Jesus, when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, first asked, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me,” before He said, “yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). He was horrified at the prospect of taking sin upon Himself, yet He was willing to endure it in order to fulfill the will of His Father to make possible the redemption of man.

Our proper reaction to times of temptation is similar to Christ’s, but for us it is primarily a matter of self-distrust. When we honestly look at the power of sin and at our own weakness and sinful propensities, we shudder at the danger of temptation or even trial. This petition is another plea for God to provide what we in ourselves do not have. It is an appeal to God to place a watch over our eyes, our ears, our mouth, our feet, and our hands-that in whatever we see, hear, or say, and in any place we go and in anything we do, He will protect us from sin.

Like Joseph we know that what men and Satan mean for evil God will turn to the good of His children (see Gen. 50:20); but we are not certain that, like Joseph, we will be completely submissive to and dependent on God in our trials. The implication of this part of the prayer seems to be: “Lord, don’t ever lead us into a trial that will present such a temptation that we will not be able to resist it.” It is laying claim to the promise that “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

This petition is a safeguard against presumption and a false sense of security and self-sufficiency. We know that we will never have arrived spiritually, and that we will never be free of the danger of sin, until we are with the Lord. With Martin Luther we say, “We cannot help being exposed to the assaults, but we pray that we may not fall and perish under them.” As our dear Lord prayed for us in His great intercessory prayer, we want, at all costs, to be kept from the evil one (John 17:15).

When we sincerely pray, do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil, we also declare that we submit to His Word, which is our protection from sin. “submit therefore to God,”James says. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Submitting to God is submitting to His Word. “Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee” (Ps. 119:11). So the believer prays to be kept from overwhelming solicitation to sin, and if he falls into it, to be rescued from it. Deliver is actually in the form of a command.

In a cursed world where we are battered by evil all around us, we confess our inadequacy to deal with evil. We confess the weakness of our flesh and the absolute impotency of human resources to combat sin and rescue us from its clutches. Above all we confess our need for the protection and deliverance of our loving heavenly Father.[2]


The Sixth Petition

13a. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. Probable meaning: “If it be thy will do not permit us, weak as we are by nature and prone to sin, to enter into situations which in the natural course of events would expose us to temptation and fall (cf. 26:41), but, whatever be thy way with us, deliver us from the evil one.” Though it is true that here as before (5:37) both the neuter “from evil” and the masculine “from the evil one” are possible, and, as Calvin points out, “There is no necessity of raising a debate on this point, for the meaning remains nearly the same,” nevertheless, both because in the consciousness of Christ the devil was very real (see proof on p. 309), and because one naturally associates temptation, mentioned in this petition, with the tempter (see especially 4:1), I, along with many others, give the preference to the rendering “the evil one.” Though it is true that God himself never tempts man to sin (James 1:13), it is also true that there is good reason to ask him not even to permit us voluntarily to run into temptation; for example, by establishing a dangerously close alliance with the world, becoming “unequally yoked” with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14–16); or by going into the opposite extreme and withdrawing ourselves entirely from society (contrary to Matt. 5:14; Phil. 2:15); by becoming so absorbed in our daily affairs that the spiritual atmosphere which should characterize our home is neglected, by serving on so many good-cause committees that matters even more important are not attended to; etc. It is God alone who knows how many tests of faith, and how severe, each saved sinner can endure, as he is constantly being assaulted by the devil (Eph. 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8), the world (John 15:19), and his own “flesh” (that is, whatever in himself is not a fruit of redeeming grace, Rom. 7:23; Gal. 5:17). Instead of going down to defeat in this struggle, may he remain watchful at all times, and in any event, may he triumph completely over the evil one (Rom. 16:20; 1 Thess. 5:23).—For more with respect to Satan and his crafty methods see N.T.C. on Ephesians 2:2 and 6:11, 12.

The logic of the petition is clear. An analogous request would be, “Lord, grant that I may be so careful in observing the rules of health that I may not become ill, but whatever in thy providence befalls me, keep me close to thy side that my faith may not fail.” Here, too, however, “we,” “our,” and “us” should be substituted for “I,” “my,” and “me.” The supplicant is constantly including others in his prayers.[3]


6:13 And do not lead us into temptation. This request may appear to contradict James 1:13, which states that God would never tempt anyone. However, God does allow His people to be tested and tried. This petition expresses a healthy distrust of one’s own ability to resist temptations or to stand up under trial. It acknowledges complete dependence on the Lord for preservation.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 159). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 395–396). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 336–337). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1224–1225). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

MAY 30 – HE KNOWS EVERYTHING

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

—Hebrews 4:13

God’s understanding is limitless … His knowledge is perfect, and … there isn’t a creature anywhere in the universe that isn’t plainly visible to His sight. Nothing is shut before the eyes of God. That is what is called divine omniscience, one of the attributes of God. An attribute, as I have said before, is something which God has declared to be true about Himself.

God has declared by divine revelation that He is omniscient, that He knows everything. The human mind staggers under this truth when we consider how much there is to know and how little we know….

When I received one of the honorary degrees that have been bestowed on me, I said, “The only thing that is learned about me is this pair of glasses.” If a man has his hair slicked back and a pair of learned-looking glasses, they call him a doctor. We don’t know very much, really, and when we consider the great God who knows all there is to know with perfection of knowledge, we stagger under that. The weight of the truth is too much for our minds. AOGII105-106

I stagger and am challenged, but I take comfort in knowing that You know all things. I rest in Your perfect knowledge today. Amen. [1]


4:13 Second, unbelief is detected by the living Lord. Here the pronoun shifts from the impersonal to the personal: And there is no creature hidden from His sight. Nothing escapes His notice. He is absolutely omniscient. He is constantly aware of all that is going on in the universe. Of course, the important point in the context is that He knows where there is real faith and where there is only an intellectual assent to facts.[2]


13. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

The emphasis in 4:12–13 shifts from the Word of God to God himself. If God’s Word uncovers everything, then it follows that God himself is fully aware of all things. It is therefore impossible for man to hide his sinful motives in the dark corners of his heart. God knows. He sees everything; even darkness is as light to him (Ps. 139:12).

Moreover, the past, the present, and the future are all alike to God. While we are bound to time and place, God dwells in eternity and transcends all that he has made in his great creation. He created the magnificent constellations in outer space and hung the stars in place. He also created the tiny spider that busily weaves its web. If then his eye is on the sparrow, does he not know the hidden motives of man? Before we open our mouths to speak, God already knows. If we remain silent, he discerns.

No creature is hidden from God’s sight, because with God everything is light—there is no darkness. Man, the pinnacle of God’s creation, is invited to walk in that light, so that he may see clearly. Consider these verses:

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. [Ps. 119:105]

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. [John 8:12]

The unbeliever seeks to hide from God but is unable to do so (Jer. 23:24). Secret sins man can hide from his fellow man, but before God sinful man is “uncovered and laid bare.” This latter expression, in the original Greek, refers to the neck. The precise meaning of the word, however, is not clear. Perhaps it indicates that a sinner will have his head pushed up and back so that his face and neck will be exposed to view. Whatever the interpretation may have been, the expression itself is sufficiently clear in context. It is synonymous with the word uncovered and indicates that God’s all-seeing eye rests upon everything.

The clause “to whom we must give account” is rather interesting. The books must be audited, and all the bills, payments, and receipts handed over to be checked. Man must give an account of himself before God, the auditor. The books of man’s conscience are open before God’s eyes. Nothing escapes him.

In the last day sinners may call to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!” (Rev. 6:16). In the final judgment, everyone must give an account of himself. Only those who are in Christ Jesus will hear the liberating word acquitted.[3]


13 The last description of the word of God is now explained in more direct language: we cannot hide from God the Creator, who knows all about everything and everyone that he has made. “Uncovered and laid bare” translates a remarkably vivid phrase (Montefiore, “naked and prostrate”), in which the second term comes from wrestling and originally denoted “taken by the throat” or “with the neck twisted back,” hence at the mercy of your opponent. (An alternative sense that might still reflect the imagery of the sword is that it pictures a sacrificial victim with its neck bared to the knife.) The sense is that of Psalm 139, with its insistent declaration that God knows everything about us and it is no good trying to escape him.[4]


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

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2169). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 118–119). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 68). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 30 – Endurance: Look to the Future

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”

2 Corinthians 4:17

✧✧✧

It is far easier to endure trials when we value the future over the present.

A few years ago the popular Back to the Future movies dealt rather whimsically with the possibility of time travel, which always involved entering the future. The recurring theme was that with all the complications of tampering with the future, it was better to live in the present. Viewers could infer that, ultimately, it is not worth it to dwell a lot on the future.

That is just the opposite of the apostle Paul’s attitude about the future. He dealt with the profound certainties of what awaits all believers in the life to come. For Paul, the value of the future was another important reason he could endure life’s sufferings and trials. The temporal pain for him and us is inconsequential compared to what awaits us in Heaven (Rom. 8:18).

Trials are inevitable, and the pain associated with them can be very intense, but when compared to what we will enjoy in the future, they hardly matter. Paul saw them as light afflictions, or literally “weightless trifles.” He knew that their real significance is only in how they contribute to our eternal glory.

That contribution is anything but trivial. Rather, it produces “an eternal weight of glory.” Concerning this expression, it’s as if Paul envisioned an old–fashioned two–sided scale that was being tipped in favor of the future by the cumulative mass (“eternal weight of glory”) of his individual sufferings. Paul could endure the pain of present trials when he was certain that they contributed positively to his life in Heaven.

The amount of trials and suffering you and I endure now is also directly linked to our eternal rewards. Those rewards are not external bonuses such as fancier crowns, better robes, or bigger heavenly mansions. Instead they refer to our increased capacity to praise, serve, and glorify God. That fulfilled Paul’s greatest desire and enabled him to joyfully persevere in trials, and it should do the same for us.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to give you a perspective that sees every trial as trivial in light of eternal rewards.

For Further Study: Read Romans 8:18–25. How far do the effects of sin and suffering extend? ✧ What does Paul say about hope in this passage?[1]


4:17 After reading the terrible afflictions which the Apostle Paul endured, it may seem hard for us to understand how he could speak of them as light affliction. In one sense, they were not at all light. They were bitter and cruel.

But the explanation lies in the comparison which Paul makes. The afflictions viewed by themselves might be ever so heavy, but when compared with the eternal weight of glory that lies ahead, then they are light. Also the light affliction is but for a moment, whereas the glory is eternal. The lessons we learn through afflictions in this world will yield richest fruit for us in the world to come.

Moorehead observes: “A little joy enters into us while we are in the world; we shall enter into joy when there. A few drops here; a whole ocean there.”

There is a pyramid in this verse which, as F. E. Marsh has pointed out, does not tire the weary climber but brings unspeakable rest and comfort to his soul.

Glory

Weight of glory

Eternal weight of glory

Exceeding and eternal weight of glory

More exceeding and eternal weight of glory

Far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory[2]


17. For our affliction, which is temporary and trifling, is working in us an eternal fullness of glory that exceeds all limits, 18. because we do not look at the things that are seen but at the things that are not seen. For the things that are seen are for the moment, but the things that are not seen are eternal.

“For our affliction, which is temporary and trifling.” Paul is not minimizing his hardships, as is evident from the many times he lists his sufferings (1 Cor. 4:11–13; 2 Cor. 1:8–10; 4:8–9; 6:4–10; 11:23–27; 12:10). Of all Christians, he had his share of afflictions for the sake of Christ and the gospel. However, he is not thinking of himself alone, because his statement is applicable to every believer throughout the centuries.

The term temporary does not relate to a brief duration. By looking at time from the perspective of eternity, Paul considers the duration of our earthly suffering but a fleeting moment (compare 1 Peter 1:6; 5:10).

Paul does not say “our light affliction” but “our affliction is … trifling.” He wants to emphasize that any hardship, whatever it may be, is a trifling thing. It seems incongruous that the apostle who endured being stoned by the Jews in Lystra (Acts 14:19) contends that this affliction was an insignificant experience. But let us not lose sight of the point Paul is making: he contrasts

the temporary and the eternal

the trifling and the weighty

affliction and glory.

  • “[Our affliction] is working in us an eternal fullness of glory that exceeds all limits.” Every word in this sentence is significant. To begin, the verb is in the present tense to indicate continued action. We cannot say that affliction by itself merits glory, for then every believer would greatly desire and even seek hardship. Not believers but God allows affliction to enter their lives and through it God produces eternal glory for them. As Paul and Barnabas told the Christians in Asia Minor, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

Next, the literal translation weight of glory is the reading in most versions. Some have variations, including “glory that far outweighs” (NIV), “load of glory” (Cassirer), and “solid glory” (Moffatt). Back of the Greek text lies a play on words in a Hebrew idiom, for the Hebrew noun kābād means both “weight” and “glory” (see Gen. 18:20; Job 6:3). However, if we translate a Hebrew idiom via the Greek into English, we fail to convey the meaning of the text. The Greek word baros denotes both weight and fullness; this second option, “fullness,” fits the context: “an everlasting fullness of glory.” The idiom itself signifies a great degree of glory (see NCV), which the Syriac Peshitta renders “great glory.” And for a last observation, the descriptive adjective great appears in the clause God’s glory is great (variations in Pss. 21:5; 138:5).

In verse 17, Paul displays Hebrew idioms. The first one, “weight of glory,” and the second, “exceeds all limits,” should be interpreted not literally but in accordance with the sense they convey. That is, the glory that is ours is so great that it is immeasurable.

Should the phrase exceeds all limits be connected with either “weight” or “eternal”? It can even be taken with the verb to work. This particular idiom ought not to be connected with only one word but rather should be interpreted as a qualifier of the entire sentence. It describes for us heavenly glory that is indescribable and beyond measure (see Rom. 8:18).

  • “Because we do not look at the things that are seen but at the things that are not seen.” This sentence describes the cause for the preceding thought about affliction that is temporary and trifling. Paul says that when we focus our attention on things invisible, we minimize hardships and maximize eternal glory.

Paul realizes that Christians often endure painful experiences and ask God the perennial question: Why they are the ones who suffer? He observes that they are not concentrating on the earthly things that they daily see, but instead they are looking heavenward (Col. 3:1–2). They are paying attention to the things that are invisible. Paul differentiates not the material from the spiritual but the earthly from the heavenly and the temporal from the eternal things. Thus, he gives the readers some pastoral advice that also appears elsewhere (Rom. 8:24; Heb. 11:1, 3; Col. 1:16; 1 Peter 1:8).

  • “For the things that are seen are for the moment, but the things that are not seen are eternal.” In relation to eternity time is but a moment. Similarly, earthly treasures are unstable, but heavenly possessions last forever. Therefore, the inner self that is daily being renewed does not lose heart but looks at life from God’s point of view. The invisible things are those that we appropriate by faith in God. We identify with the heroes of faith who saw these things “and welcomed them from a distance” (Heb. 11:13). And we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2).[3]

Value the Future Over the Present

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, (4:17)

Not only did Paul’s physical suffering make him spiritually strong, it also enriched his eternal reward. The apostle towered over his enemies and his troubles; rather than harming him, they actually secured for him a greater heavenly reward.

Like Paul, suffering and persecuted believers must view earth through heaven’s eyes. When weighed in the balance with believers’ eternal reward in heaven, earthly pain amounts to little. Paul expressed the proper perspective on suffering by describing it as momentary, light affliction. Though Paul’s affliction was constant and intense, he viewed it as momentary and light (easy to bear; insignificant) in view of eternity. He knew that his life was “just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14), after which “man goes to his eternal home” (Eccl. 12:5). To the Romans he wrote, “We suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:17–18). Peter also wrote of the relationship between suffering and eternal glory. After describing believers’ heavenly inheritance in 1 Peter 1:3–5 he wrote,

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (vv. 6–7)

The trials, troubles, and difficulties of life have a positive effect, because they are producing for us an eternal weight of glory. Weighed in the balance with the suffering of this life, that weight of glory tips the scales heavily in favor of eternal reward. There is a direct correlation between suffering in this life and glory (capacity to praise and glorify God) in the next. The greatest glory ever given was that given to Jesus for enduring the greatest suffering ever endured. Because “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross … God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:8–9). Jesus confirmed that principle in an incident recorded in Matthew 20:20–23:

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.” He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”

In response to their selfish request for the places of prominence in the kingdom, Jesus pointed out that those places are for those who drink the cup of suffering—a reference to His death on the cross (Matt. 26:39). Thus the greater glory in the kingdom is reserved for those who suffer the most in this life. “To the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ,” wrote Peter, “keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Peter 4:13).

In fact, the eternal weight of glory believers will experience is so much greater than the suffering of this life that Paul described it as beyond all comparison. The Greek text literally reads huperbolē (from which the English word hyperbole derives) eis huperbolē, forming a double expression for strongest emphasis. The phrase means, “out of all proportion.” The weight of glory awaiting believers exceeds all limits; it is beyond the possibility of overstatement or exaggeration. Paul also used the word huperbolē in 2 Corinthians 1:8 to describe the intensity of his sufferings. Though he suffered more in comparison to others on earth, he would be glorified beyond all proportion or comparison in heaven. (In Hebrew, the word “glory” comes from the same root as a word meaning “heavy,” perhaps influencing Paul’s choice of words here.)

It should be noted that the only suffering that produces the eternal weight of glory is suffering for the sake of Christ, or that honors Him. Whether suffering comes from believers’ faithful, loyal, committed testimony about Jesus Christ, or the patient enduring of life’s normal trials, such as disease, divorce, poverty, and loneliness, if endured with a humble, grateful, God-honoring attitude, it will add to the eternal weight of glory. On the other hand, suffering the consequences of sin does not contribute to our heavenly blessing and could remove some of the reward already gained (2 John 8). Peter wrote, “For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God” (1 Peter 2:20), and

If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. (1 Peter 4:14–16)

Through his present tears Paul never lost sight of the future glory that awaited him in heaven.[4]


17 Here Paul supplies another reason for not losing heart—the constant production of solid, lasting glory (lit., “an eternal weight of glory”; see Notes) out of all proportion to the slight, present affliction that causes physical weakness (v. 16); as the NIV renders it, this eternal glory “far outweighs” any “light and momentary troubles” that are being presently experienced (cf. Ro 8:18). Quite naturally, Paul seems to speak of glory as though it were a substantial entity that could be progressively added to. In a similar way in Colossians 1:5, Paul views Christian hope as an inheritance “stored up” in heaven. Doxa (“glory,” GK 1518) here is Pauline shorthand for all the blessings of the age to come, experienced proleptically in the present age. It is the God-ordained outcome of affliction suffered for Jesus’ sake (2 Co 4:11).

Again, as in vv. 12 and 16, the idea of proportion seems to be present. Since it is actually the “troubles” that produce or achieve the glory, the greater the affliction Paul suffered, the greater the glory produced for him.[5]


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

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1836). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 159–161). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 154–156). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] 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, p. 472). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

May 30 – A Foretaste

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

Ephesians 1:3

Presently we don’t live in heaven physically, but in a sense we do live in the heavenly realm. Though we are not in heaven, we are experiencing heavenly life. We have the life of God within us. We are under the rule of a heavenly King, and we obey heaven’s laws.

As a result, we experience “a foretaste of glory divine,” as Fanny Crosby noted in the hymn “Blessed Assurance.” We are living in a new community, enjoying a new fellowship that will fully come to fruition in a place called heaven.[1]


1:3 Following his brief salutation, the apostle lifts his voice in a magnificent hymn of praise, soaring into some of the sublimest heights of NT worship. Here we have the overflow of a heart that adores God for the blessings of grace. In these verses (3–14) Paul traces God’s activity in salvation from eternity past through time and on into eternity future. And this necessarily involves a discussion of the mystery of God’s will—believing Jews and Gentiles as co-sharers of the glorious inheritance.

He begins by calling on all who know God to bless Him, that is, to bring joy to His heart by praise and worshiping love. The blessed One is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. At certain times Jesus addressed God as God (Matt. 27:46). At other times He spoke of Him as Father (John 10:30). The blessed One is also the Blesser. We bless Him by praising Him. He blesses us and makes us glad by showering us with the riches of His grace.

He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Here is a pyramid of grace:

blessing

spiritual blessing

every spiritual blessing

every spiritual blessing in the

heavenly places

every spiritual blessing in the heavenly

places in Christ

Notice first how unstinted are His heart and hand—every spiritual blessing. Notice, too, that these are spiritual blessings. The simplest way to explain this is to contrast them with the blessings of Israel under the law. In the OT, a faithful, obedient Jew was rewarded with long life, a large family, abundant crops, and protection from his enemies (Deut. 28:2–8). The blessings of Christianity, in contrast, are spiritual, that is, they deal with treasures that are nonmaterial, invisible, and imperishable. It is true that the OT saints also enjoyed some spiritual blessings, but as we shall see, the Christian today enjoys blessings that were unknown in previous times.

Our blessings are in the heavenly places, literally “in the heavenlies.” Instead of being material blessings in earthly places, they are spiritual blessings in the heavenly places. The expression, in the heavenly places, is used five times in Ephesians:

1:3       The sphere of our spiritual blessing

1:20     The scene of Christ’s present enthronement

2:6       The scene of our present enthronement in Christ

3:10     The locale from which angels witness God’s wisdom exhibited in the church

6:12     The region which is the source of our present conflict with evil spirits

When we put these passages together, we have a truly scriptural definition of the heavenly places. As Unger put it, they are “the realm of the believer’s position and experience as a result of his being united to Christ by the baptism of the Spirit.” All spiritual blessings are in Christ. It was He who procured them for us through His finished work at Calvary. Now they are available through Him. Everything that God has for the believer is in the Lord Jesus. In order to receive the blessings, we must be united to Christ by faith. The moment a man is in Christ, he becomes the possessor of them all. Chafer writes, “To be in Christ, which is the portion of all who are saved, is to partake of all that Christ has done, all that He is, and all that He ever will be.”

In Christ is one of the key expressions of Ephesians. There are two closely related lines of truth in the NT—the truth of the believer’s position and the truth of his practice.

First, the believer’s position. Everyone in the world is either “in Adam” or “in Christ.” Those who are “in Adam” are in their sins and therefore condemned before God. There is nothing they can do in themselves to please God or gain His favor. They have no claim on God, and if they were to receive what they deserve, they would perish eternally.

When a person is converted, God no longer looks upon him as a condemned child of Adam. Rather He sees him as being in Christ, and He accepts him on that basis. It is important to see this. The believing sinner is not accepted because of what he is in himself, but because he is in Christ. When he is in Christ, he stands before God clothed in all the acceptability of Christ Himself. And he will enjoy God’s favor and acceptance as long as Christ does, namely, forever.

The believer’s position, then, is what he is in Christ. But there is another side to the picture—the believer’s practice. This is what he is in himself. His position is perfect, but his practice is imperfect. Now God’s will is that his practice should increasingly correspond to his position. It never will do so perfectly until he is in heaven. But the process of sanctification, growth, and increasing Christlikeness should be going on continually while he is here on earth.

When we understand the difference between the believer’s standing and his state, it enables us to reconcile such seemingly opposite verses as the following:

Believers are perfect (Heb. 10:14)

 

Believers should be perfect (Matt. 5:48)

 

Believers are dead to sin (Rom. 6:2)

 

Believers should reckon themselves dead to sin (Rom. 6:11)

 

Believers are a holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9)

 

Believers should be holy (1 Pet. 1:15)

 

The first column deals with position, the second with practice.

Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians itself is divided into two halves that parallel this truth: (Chaps. 1–3): Our position—what we are in Christ; (Chaps. 4–6): Our practice—what we should be in ourselves. The first half has to do with doctrine, the second half with duty. In the first three chapters our position is often described by such phrases as “in Christ,” “in Christ Jesus,” “in Him,” “in whom.” In the last three chapters the phrase, “in the Lord,” is often used to express the believer’s responsibility to Christ as Lord. Someone has well said that the first part of the letter pictures the believer in the heavenlies in Christ, whereas the last part views him in the kitchen.

Now we are ready to consider some of the spiritual blessings in the heavenly places which are ours in Christ.[2]


  1. Blessed (be) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Goodness, truth, and beauty are combined in this initial doxology, in which the apostle, in words that are beautiful both in the thoughts they convey and in their artistic arrangement, pours out his soul in true adoration for God’s goodness in action. He ascribes to God the honor due him for spiritual blessings past (election), present (redemption), and future (certification as sons with a view to complete possession of the inheritance reserved for them). The apostle realizes that divine blessings bestowed upon God’s people should be humbly, gratefully, and enthusiastically acknowledged in thought, word, and deed. That response is the only proper way in which these spiritual bounties can be “returned” to the Giver. The circle must be completed: what comes from God must go back to him! That is the meaning of saying, “Blessed (be).…”

The sentence begun by “Blessed (be)” rolls on like a snowball tumbling down a hill, picking up volume as it descends. Its 202 words, and the many modifiers which they form, arranged like shingles on a roof or like steps on a stairway, are like prancing steeds pouring forward with impetuous speed. Says John Calvin, “The lofty terms in which he [Paul] extols the grace of God toward the Ephesians, are intended to rouse their hearts to gratitude, to set them all on flame, to fill them even to overflowing with this disposition.” Paul’s “heart aflame” is bent on setting other hearts aflame also, with sincere, humble, overflowing praise to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Cf. Rom. 15:6; 2 Cor. 1:3; 11:31. Since Jesus was and is not only God but also man, and since he himself addressed the first Person of the Trinity as “my God” (Matt. 27:46), it is evident that the full title “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” is justified. As to the term “Father,” it is evident that if the title “God of our Lord Jesus Christ” places emphasis on Christ’s human nature, that of “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” calls attention to the Son’s divine nature, for not nativistic but trinitarian sonship is referred to in this thoroughly trinitarian epistle, in which the Beloved, by whatever name he is called, is constantly placed on a par with, and mentioned in one breath with, the Father and the Spirit (2:18; 3:14–17; 4:4–6; 5:18–20). Christ is the Son of God by eternal generation. See also N.T.C. on the Gospel according to John, Vol. I, pp. 86–88. Now, calling the first person of the Holy Trinity “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” has a very practical purpose, as the apostle shows plainly in 2 Cor. 1:3. In his capacity as Father of our Lord Jesus Christ he is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” Via Christ every spiritual blessing flows down to us from the Father. And if Christ is “the Son of God’s love” (Col. 1:13), then God must be the Father of love, the loving Father. Note also that beautiful word of appropriating faith, namely, our: “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How close this draws Christ to the believers’ hearts, and not only Christ but the Father also. Truly, Christ and the Father are one! On the title “Lord Jesus Christ” see verse 2 above.

Paul continues, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. The Father blesses his children when he lavishes gifts upon them in his favor so that these bounties or these experiences, of whatever nature, work together for their good (Rom. 8:28). Together with the gift he imparts himself (Ps. 63:1; cf. Rom. 8:32). While it is not true that the Old Testament regards material goods as being of higher value than spiritual, for the contrary is clearly taught in such passages as Gen. 15:1; 17:7; Ps. 37:16; 73:25; Prov. 3:13, 14; 8:11, 17–19; 17:1; 19:1, 22; 28:6; Isa. 30:15; cf. Heb. 11:9, 10, it is true, nevertheless, that between the two Testaments there is a difference of degree in the fulness of detail with which earthly or physical blessings are described (Exod. 20:12; Deut. 28:1–8; Neh. 9:21–25). God is ever the wise Pedagogue who takes his children by the hand and knows that in the old dispensation, “when Israel is a child” it needs this circumstantial description of earthly values in order that by means of these as symbols (e.g., earthly Canaan is the symbol of the heavenly), it may rise to the appreciation of the spiritual (cf. 1 Cor. 15:46). The New Testament, while by no means deprecating earthly blessings (Matt. 6:11; 1 Tim. 4:3, 4), places all the emphasis on the spiritual (2 Cor. 4:18), and it may well have been that in order to emphasize this difference between the old and the new dispensation it is here stated that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ blessed us with every spiritual blessing. It is best to allow the context to indicate the nature and content of these blessings. Though, to be sure, the very word every clearly proves that it would be wrong to subtract even a single invisible bounty from the list of those “vast benefits divine which we in Christ possess,” yet the context indicates that the apostle is thinking particularly of—or subsuming all these benefits under—those that are mentioned in the present paragraph, namely, election (and its accompaniment, foreordination to adoption), redemption (implying forgiveness and grace overflowing in the form of all wisdom and insight), and certification (“sealing”) as sons and heirs.

The phrase “in the heavenly places” or simply “in the heavenlies” (used in a local sense also in 1:20; 2:6; 3:10, and probably also locally in 6:12) indicates that these spiritual blessings are heavenly in their origin, and that from heaven they descend to the saints and believers on earth (cf. 4:8; and see N.T.C. on Phil. 3:20 and on Col. 3:1).

For the meaning of “in Christ” see on verse 1 above. It or its equivalent occurs more than ten times in this short paragraph (1:3–14), clear evidence of the fact that the apostle regarded Christ as the very foundation of the church, that is, of all its benefits, of its complete salvation. It is in connection with Christ that the saints and believers at Ephesus (and everywhere else) have been blessed with every spiritual blessing: election, redemption, certification as children and heirs, and all the other benefits subsumed under these headings. Apart from him they not only can do nothing but are nothing, that is, amount to nothing spiritually.[3]


The Aspects of Blessing

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, (1:3)

Paul here presents six aspects of the divine blessing he is about to unfold: the blessed One, God; the Blesser, also God; the blessed ones, believers; the blessings, all things spiritual; the blessing location, the heavenly places; and the blessing Agent, Jesus Christ.

The Blessed One—God

Such gracious truth is introduced appropriately by praise to the One who has made such provision: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. From eulogeoō (blessed) we get eulogy, a message of praise and commendation, the declaration of a person’s goodness. Because no one is truly good but God (Matt. 19:17), our supreme eulogy, our supreme praise, is for Him alone.

Goodness is God’s nature. God the Father not only does good things, He is good in a way and to a degree that no human being except His own incarnate Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, can be. Consequently from Genesis to Revelation, godly men, recognizing the surpassing and humanly unattainable goodness of God, have proclaimed blessing upon Him. Melchizedek declared, “Blessed be God Most High” (Gen. 14:20). In the last days,0 “every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them” will be “heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever’ ” (Rev. 5:13).

Nothing is more appropriate for God’s people than to bless Him for His great goodness. In all things—whether pain, struggle, trials, frustration, opposition, or adversity — we are to praise God, because He is good in the midst of it all. For that we praise and bless Him.

The Blesser—God

Consistent with His perfection and praiseworthiness, the One who is to be supremely blessed for His goodness is Himself the supreme Blesser who bestows goodness. It is He who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift,” James reminds us, “is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). Paul assures us “that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). God blesses because He is the source of all blessing, of every good thing. Goodness can only come from God because there is no source of goodness outside of God.

The Blessed Ones—Believers

The us whom God has blessed refers to believers, “the saints … in Christ Jesus” Paul addresses in verse 1. In His wonderful grace, marvelous providence, and sovereign plan God has chosen to bless us. God has eternally ordained that “those who are of faith are blessed” (Gal. 3:9).

When we bless God we speak good of Him. When God blesses us, He communicates good to us. We bless Him with words; He blesses us with deeds. All we can do is to speak well of Him because in ourselves we have nothing good to give, and in Himself He lacks no goodness. But when He blesses us the situation is reversed. He cannot bless us for our goodness, because we have none. Rather, He blesses us with goodness. Our heavenly Father lavishes us with every goodness, every good gift, every blessing. That is His nature, and that is our need.

The Blessings—Everything Spiritual

Our heavenly Father blesses us with every spiritual blessing. In the New Testament pneumatikos (spiritual) is always used in relation to the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore it does not here refer to immaterial blessings as opposed to material ones but to the divine origin of the blessings—whether they help us in our spirits, our minds, our bodies, our daily living, or however else. Spiritual refers to the source, not the extent, of blessing.

Many Christians continually ask God for what He has already given. They pray for Him to give them more love, although they should know that “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). They pray for peace, although Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). They pray for happiness and joy, although Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11). They ask God for strength, although His Word tells them that they “can do all things through Him who strengthens” them (Phil. 4:13).

God’s “divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Pet. 1:3). It is not that God will give us but that He has already given us “everything pertaining to life and godliness.” He has blessed us already with every spiritual blessing. We are complete “in Him” (Col. 2:10).

Our resources in God are not simply promised; they are possessed. Every Christian has what Paul calls “the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:19). God cannot give us more than He has already given us in His Son. There is nothing more to receive. The believer’s need, therefore, is not to receive something more but to do something more with what he has.

Our heavenly position and possession are so certain and secure that Paul speaks of God’s having already “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).

The Location of Blessing—The Heavenly Places

These abundant, unlimited blessings from God are in the heavenly places. More than heaven itself is included. The heavenly places (cf. 1:20; 2:6; 3:10) encompass the entire supernatural realm of God, His complete domain, the full extent of His divine operation.

Christians have a paradoxical, two–level existence—a dual citizenship. While we remain on earth we are citizens of earth. But in Christ our primary and infinitely more important citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). Christ is our Lord and King, and we are citizens of His realm, the heavenly places. That is why we are to pursue “things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).

Because we are members of God’s dominion, unlike the “sons of this age” (Luke 16:8), we are able to understand the supernatural things of God, things which the “natural man does not accept” and “cannot understand … because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Cor. 2:14).

When an American citizen travels to another country, he is every bit as much an American citizen as when he is in the United States. Whether he is in Africa, the Near East, Europe, Antarctica, or anywhere else outside his homeland, he is still completely an American citizen, with all the rights and privileges that such citizenship holds.

As citizens of God’s heavenly dominion, Christians hold all the rights and privileges that citizenship grants, even while they are living in the “foreign” and sometimes hostile land of earth. Our true life is in the supernatural, the heavenly places. Our Father is there, our Savior is there, our family and loved ones are there, our name is there, and our eternal dwelling place and throne are there.

But we are presently trapped in the tension between the earthly and the heavenly. Paul reflected that tension when he said, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed … as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things” (2 Cor. 4:8–9; 6:10).

The key to living as a heavenly citizen while living in an unheavenly situation is walking by the Spirit. “Walk by the Spirit,” Paul says, “and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). When we walk in His power He produces His fruit in us: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self–control” (vv. 22–23). We receive our heavenly blessings by living in the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

The Blessing Agent—Jesus Christ

Christians possess every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places because they are in Christ. When we trust in Him as Lord and Savior, we are placed in a marvelous union with Jesus Christ. “The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Cor. 6:17). Our unity as Christians is more than simply that of common agreement; it is the unity of a commonness of life, the common eternal life of God that pulses through the soul of every believer (cf. Rom. 15:5–7).

All that the Lord has, those in Christ have. “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16–17). Christ’s riches are our riches, His resources are our resources, His righteousness is our righteousness, and His power is our power. His position is our position: where He is, we are. His privilege is our privilege: what He is we are. His possession is our possession: what He has, we have. His practice is our practice: what He does, we do.

We are those things and have those things and do those things by the grace of God, which never fails to work His will in those who trust Him (1 Cor. 15:10).[4]


All Good in Christ

Ephesians 1:3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

I have been a pastor in one place or another for more than two decades, and during that time I have probably put together between 1,300 and 1,400 worship services. These services have had various elements, all important: the sermon, Scripture readings, hymns, prayers, congregational responses, and other items. I value each of these. But as I have reflected on the worship of Christian people over this long period, I have come to believe that one of the most important aspects of all the various parts of worship is hymn singing. Why? Because it is in hymn singing that the congregation itself actively voices praise to God.

The sermon is important. We learn from the sermon. But doctrine, if it is rightly understood, leads to doxology. If we discover who God is and what he has done for us, we will praise him.

Praise to the Father

Paul must have understood this well, for most of his letters begin early on with a hymn of praise (and prayer) to God. We all know that Paul’s letters tend to divide into two sections: teaching and application or, as we could also say, faith and life. Doctrine is followed by duty. But usually, long before he gets to the duty section, Paul revels in what God has done for us by praising him. Romans reviews basic doctrine and praises God for it. Second Corinthians is another example. The same thing occurs in Galatians (briefly), Philippians, Colossians, and other letters. Of all these letters, none is so overflowing with this initial praise to God for his great blessings as Ephesians.

This is a remarkable section of Paul’s letter. To begin with, it is all one sentence—from verse 3 to verse 14. English translations generally break the words up for ease of reading, but in the Greek Paul simply begins with a note of praise to God for “every spiritual blessing” and then keeps going, adding phrase upon phrase and doctrine upon doctrine, as he lists these benefits. One commentator calls this “a magnificent gateway” to the epistle. Another calls it “a golden chain of many links.” A third calls it “a kaleidoscope of dazzling lights and shifting colors.”

John R. W. Stott, who lists these and other descriptions of Paul’s great paragraph of praise, summarizes: “A gateway, a golden chain, a kaleidoscope, a snowball, a racehorse, an operatic overture and the flight of an eagle: all these metaphors in their different ways describe the impression of color, movement and grandeur which the sentence makes on the reader’s mind.”

But it is not just a great panorama of color and movement that we are confronted with in these verses. We also meet with a vast display of doctrines. In fact, they are interconnected, which makes it hard to analyze the paragraph.

Some commentators have noticed that the work of God the Father is chiefly described in verses 3–6, the work of the Lord Jesus Christ in verses 7–10, and the work of the Holy Spirit in verses 11–14. They have divided the paragraph along Trinitarian lines. John Stott provides a temporal outline—the past blessing of election (vv. 4–6), the present blessing of adoption (vv. 5–8), and the future blessing of unification (vv. 9–10)—followed by a section on the “scope” of these blessings. E. K. Simpson lists the blessings: election, adoption, redemption, forgiveness of sins, wisdom and understanding, the unification of things in Christ, and the seal of the Holy Spirit.3 In his very extensive commentary, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones abandons any attempt to provide a neat outline and simply goes through the section significant word or phrase by significant word or phrase.

Probably the Trinitarian framework is most helpful. Paul is saying that the blessings listed come from God the Father, become ours in Jesus Christ, and are applied by the Holy Spirit. We notice, for example, that God the Father is the subject of nearly every verb in the section, and that the phrase “in Christ” or “in him” occurs throughout.

All Spiritual Blessings

I have said that in Greek, Ephesians 1:3–14 is one sentence. But it is appropriate that the New International Version (and some others) make verse 3 a sentence to itself. It states a theme and highlights what is to come. The verse says God “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” and praises him for it.

What are we to make of the word “spiritual” in this sentence? The word could mean either of two things. It could mean that the blessings come to us by means of the Holy Spirit. The last verses of this section (vv. 11–14) certainly teach that. Or it could mean that these are spiritual rather than material blessings. The phrase “in the heavenly realms” which also occurs in this sentence, suggests that Paul is probably thinking of “spiritual” in the second sense. That is, he is thinking of blessings related to heaven rather than earth and is declaring that these blessings are freely given to us.

It is not that God does not give material blessings as well. He does. Jesus promised that his disciples would be provided with all things needful (see Matt. 6:25–34). The apostle Paul said, “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). But these material provisions are relatively unimportant when measured against spiritual riches. Besides, although in this life we may have more or less material possessions, in spiritual terms we have not merely some but all blessings in Christ.

Ephesians 1:4–14 is a listing of these blessings. We will be looking at many of these in greater detail as our study unfolds, but it is worth looking ahead to the entire scope of them now.

  1. Election. Paul says that “he [that is, God] chose us in him [that is, Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (v. 4). This troubles some people, because they suppose that if God elects individuals to salvation, as this verse and others clearly declare he does, then the value of human choices is destroyed and the motivation for a holy life vanishes. This is not what happens. Instead of destroying the value of human choices, election gives us a capacity for choosing that we did not possess previously as unregenerate persons.

Before we were made alive in Christ we had a human will. But it was directed against God, not toward him. We could choose, but we always chose wrongly. When we were made alive in Christ we received a new nature, according to which God, who before was undesirable to us, now became desirable, and we willingly submitted ourselves to him. Again, so far as living a holy life is concerned, we are told in another text that God wills our holiness. So, far from being an excuse for unholiness, election actually guarantees the opposite. The only way we can know whether we are among the elect ultimately is whether we are living a holy life.

Election teaches that “salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). Indeed, Paul makes this clear in this passage. He teaches that God “chose” (v. 4), “predestined” (v. 5), “gave” (v. 6), “forgave” (v. 7), “lavished grace” (vv. 7–8), “made known his will” (v. 9), “purposed” (v. 9), “included” (v. 13), and “marked” us with the seal of the Holy Spirit (v. 13). It is God’s work from beginning to end.

  1. Adoption. The second spiritual blessing in Christ is adoption, for “in love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ” (v. 5). Adoption means becoming God’s sons and daughters with all the privileges implied. On this basis we are said to be “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17) and have the privilege of bringing all things to God in prayer and of being heard by him.
  2. Redemption. Redemption means being delivered from the slavery of sin by the death of Christ, which Paul indicates by saying: “In him [that is, Christ] we have redemption through his blood” (v. 7). In antiquity a person could become a slave in one of three ways. He could be born a slave; children of slaves were automatically slaves too. He could become a slave by conquest; the citizens of a city or nation captured by another city or nation would be enslaved. He could become a slave through debt; a person who could not pay a debt could be enslaved as the last possible resource for payment.

Significantly, the Bible speaks of people being slaves of sin in each of these ways. We are born in sin, receiving a sinful nature from our parents (“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me,” Ps. 51:5). We are conquered by sin (“Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me,” Ps. 19:13). We are also slaves of sin through debt (“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Rom. 6:23).

Redemption means Jesus delivering us from this slavery to sin by his work on the cross. Before, we were held captive and could not break free to do God’s bidding. We did not even want to. Now we are freed to serve God by Jesus’ death. As Peter writes, “It was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18–19).

  1. Forgiveness of sins. Paul links forgiveness of sins to redemption, writing, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (v. 7). But although they are closely linked, forgiveness of sins is something different from redemption. Redemption means being freed from sin’s power, so that it no longer rules over us. Forgiveness means having God wipe the slate clean. The Bible seems to go out of its way to magnify the wonder of this forgiveness. David wrote, God “forgives all my sins” (Ps. 103:3). Jeremiah quotes God as saying, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jer. 31:34). John declared, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
  2. The revelation of God’s purpose in history. Now Paul reaches the greatest heights of wonderment and rapture when he speaks of God’s great purpose in history, namely, “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (vv. 9–10). Paul lived in a very broken world, as we do. He saw Greek pitted against Roman, Jew against Gentile, rich against poor, aristocrat against commoner. He saw people struggling for themselves and, above all, struggling against God. “Is this to go on forever?” he might have asked. Fortunately, Paul knew the answer to that question. The disharmony of the world is not to go on forever, for the same God who has predestined us to salvation in Jesus Christ has also predestined all things to be brought together in submission to him.

Paul wrote to the Philippians: “At the name of Jesus every knee [shall] bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue [shall] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10–11).

  1. Sealing by the Holy Spirit. Seals authenticate documents and declare that the promises contained in them are good. This is what the Holy Spirit does for Christians. So when Paul says, “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (v. 13), he is saying that God’s gift of the Holy Spirit is an authentication that believers are truly God’s and that none of the promises God has made to them will fail.
  2. An inheritance. The Holy Spirit, though a seal on the document, so to speak, is actually more than certification of God’s promises. He is himself a portion of our inheritance. Paul speaks of this when he terms the Holy Spirit “a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession” (v. 14). This is a nice turn of phrase. According to this verse, Christians are God’s inheritance. But the Holy Spirit, who is God, has been given to us as a down payment on the fullness of the inheritance which is already ours in Jesus Christ.

In Jesus Only

The last part of verse 3 tells us that the spiritual blessings given by God are “in Christ,” which means, “in Jesus only.” In the last chapter I alluded to the importance of the phrases “in Christ,” “in him,” or their equivalents, pointing out that they occur, in all, 164 times in Paul’s writings. This is a difficult idea, but there is hardly a more important concept in the New Testament, since it is only by means of our union with Christ that any of these great spiritual blessings come to us. Even our election is in Christ, for God “chose us in him before the creation of the world” (v. 4).

We will be coming back to the phrase again and again as we work through this letter, and we will be looking at some of the more mystical aspects of the phrase then. Here it is more important to stress that these blessings can only be given to us through Jesus.

  1. Martyn Lloyd-Jones puts it well: “If you leave out the ‘in Christ,’ you will never have any blessings at all. … Every blessing we enjoy as Christian people comes to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. God has blessings for all sorts and conditions of men. For instance, the Sermon on the Mount gives our Lord’s teaching that God ‘maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good’ (Matt. 5:45). There are certain common general blessings which are enjoyed by the whole of humanity. There is what is called ‘common grace,’ but that is not what the apostle is dealing with here. Here he is dealing with particular grace, with special grace, the blessings that are enjoyed by Christian people only. The evil as well as the good, the unjust as well as the just, enjoy common blessings, but none but Christians enjoy these special blessings. People often stumble at this truth, but the distinction is drawn very clearly in the Scriptures. The ungodly may enjoy much good in this world, and their blessings come to them from God in a general way, but they know nothing of the blessings mentioned in this verse. Paul is writing here to Christian people, and his concern is that they should understand and grasp the special blessings and privileges possible to them as Christians; and so he emphasizes that all those blessings come in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, and in and through him alone. You cannot be a Christian without being ‘in Christ.’ Christ is the beginning as well as the end. He is Alpha as well as Omega. There are no blessings for Christians apart from him.”

What does anyone have apart from Jesus Christ? Paul answers just a chapter further on in this letter: “Separate from Christ, [you are] excluded from citizenship in Israel and [are] foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12).

What is the situation when we are “in” him? We have “every spiritual blessing” and so praise God the Father, as Paul himself does, exuberantly. We will ask for our daily bread here, and other things besides. But if we suffer want here, in the final analysis it will be all right, because we still possess every spiritual blessing “in the heavenly realms.” John Calvin summed it up wisely: “Whatever happens to us, let us always assure ourselves that we have good cause to praise our God, and that even if we are poor and miserable in this world, the happiness of heaven is enough to appease us, to sweeten all our afflictions and sorrows, and to give us such contentment that we may nevertheless have our mouths open to bless God for showing himself so kindhearted and liberal towards us as even to adopt us as his children, and to show us that the heritage which has been purchased for us by the blood of his only Son is ready for us, and that we cannot miss it, seeing that we go to it with true and invincible constancy of faith.”[5]


3 The doxology begins with eulogētos (GK 2329), a word best translated as “blessed be” or “praise be,” which corresponds to a Jewish berakah—an extended blessing frequent in the OT and in Jewish prayers. Paul also employs this tactic in 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 (cf. Ro 1:25; 9:5; 2 Co 11:31 for his other uses of the Greek term). The one to be praised is both God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The designation “Father” became a Christian way of understanding God after Jesus called God “Abba.” Neither “God” nor “Father” identifies his name: “God” expresses deity, and “Father” specifies his role in relation to Jesus. Again, this Jesus Christ is “Lord.” Paul adds the reason why God is to be blessed: he has “blessed” (from eulogeō) Christians with “blessings” (from eulogia), a Semitic pleonasm (redundancy). The verb “blessed” and the noun “blessing” are cognate to the first verb, translated “praise be.” “Blessings” are the benefits God has bestowed on his people. Paul adds both the location of those blessings and their extent.

The location of those blessings is truly unexpected: he has blessed believers “in the heavenly realms.” Paul uses this spatial expression here and at 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12. In the first three texts, believers enjoy a position in the heavenly realms with God or Christ; in the other two, rulers, authorities, and evil spiritual forces reside in the heavenly realms. Is this a literal location or a metaphor for some reality? While evil forces may well be said to inhabit some literal heavenly realms, and though Christ is literally in heaven somewhere, this can hardly be true for believers now in the same literal sense. So rather than presenting some arcane cosmology or topography of the heavenly spheres, Paul’s reference is more likely soteriological and eschatological. Though believers are not yet literally resurrected and seated with Christ (1:20; 2:6), the spiritual transaction that will eventuate in these realities has occurred. Through what Christ accomplished in his resurrection and exaltation, the “age to come” has overlapped the present so that those “in Christ” in this age experience the spiritual benefits that will be consummated in the next age. And because believers are still in “this age,” they continue to contend with their and God’s enemies until the end. I referred to this earlier as “realized” eschatology.

God’s blessings are boundless. Paul says God has spared nothing when it comes to blessing his people spiritually. The key lies in the addition of “in Christ.” They lack nothing in the spiritual realm because they are in him. The preposition “in” may also have an instrumental sense—the blessings come through Christ, and this certainly is true. The rest of the letter will show, however, that the locative sense of inclusion in Christ is the dominant sense. Lincoln, 22, puts it succinctly: “Believers experience the blessings of the heavenly realms not only through Christ’s agency but also because they are incorporated into the exalted Christ as their representative, who is himself in the heavenly realms.” Paul will unpack the implications of this corporate solidarity in more detail as he proceeds.[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 167). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1906–1907). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Ephesians (Vol. 7, pp. 72–74). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 7–10). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 8–13). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.

[6] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 47–48). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.