Daily Archives: February 9, 2018

February 9 The Joy of God’s Peace

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:2).


Nothing you face today is beyond the purview of God’s grace and peace.

Paul’s wonderful benediction for grace and peace was ever on his heart. He offered it in each of his epistles and expounded on it throughout his writings.

Grace is the outpouring of God’s goodness and mercy on undeserving mankind. Every benefit and provision you receive is by God’s grace. That’s why Peter called it “the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). Just as your trials are manifold or multifaceted, so God’s multifaceted and all-sufficient grace is correspondingly available to sustain you.

Peace, as used in Philippians 1:2, speaks of the calmness and absence of strife characteristic of one in whom God’s grace is at work. The New Testament also links it to mercy, hope, joy, and love. To experience those graces is to experience true peace.

It is said that when Bible translators were seeking a word or phrase for “peace” in the language of the Chol Indians of South Mexico, they discovered that the words for “a quiet heart” gave just the meaning they were looking for. That’s an appropriate parallel because peace guards the soul against anxiety and strife, granting solace and harmony.

Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.” In Philippians 4:6–7 Paul says to “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Although “grace to you and peace” was a common greeting in the early church, it was an uncommon experience in the unbelieving world. The same is true today, because only those who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ receive grace and peace.

Are you experiencing God’s peace? Remember, nothing you face today is beyond the purview of God’s all-sufficient grace and surpassing peace.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Read Ephesians 2:14–18, and praise God for Christ, who is your peace, and for His gracious work on your behalf.

For Further Study: What is the first step to acquiring peace (John 16:33; 1 Peter 5:14)? ✧ What does the God of peace desire to accomplish within you (1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20–21)?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 52). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


According to my earnest expectation and my hope…so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.


Expectation and faith, though alike, are not identical.

An instructed Christian will not confuse the two.

True faith is never found alone; it is always accompanied by expectation. The man who believes the promises of God expects to see them fulfilled. Where there is no expectation there is no faith.

It is, however, quite possible for expectation to be present where no faith is. The mind is quite capable of mistaking strong desire for faith. Indeed faith, as commonly understood, is little more than desire compounded with cheerful optimism.

Real faith is not the stuff dreams are made of; rather it is tough, practical and altogether realistic. Faith sees the invisible but it does not see the nonexistent. Faith engages God, the one great Reality, who gave and gives existence to all things. God’s promises conform to reality, and whoever trusts them enters a world not of fiction but of fact!

Expectation has always been present in the church in the times of her greatest power. When she believed, she expected, and her Lord never disappointed her. His blessings accorded with their expectations, “and blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”[1]

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

CultureWatch: Five More Really Dumb Christian Copouts

Getting a biblically balanced outlook on various issues is often quite difficult to achieve. Usually we have a lot of muddled and misguided thinking in our churches when it comes to so many contentious social and moral issues of the day. I was reminded of this again when I penned a piece on the case of a public figure and his sex scandal.

The number of rather worrying thoughts that believers offered to this in various places is a concern. It seems many believers just are not thinking as straight or as biblically as they should be. Let me focus on five main mistaken notions that too many Christians have offered on this and related matters.

We should not expect non-Christians to be ethical

I think such a notion is not at all biblical or helpful, and I have often written on this. But I need to do it once again. A few quick prefatory remarks:
-Yes, pagans need salvation and need to be prayed for.
-God’s common grace applies to everyone, and as Paul makes clear, we all have a fundamental – if fallen – sense of right and wrong within us (See Romans 1).
-Not all sins should be crimes, and not all crimes are sins.
-Yes, a separation of church and state, properly understood, is vital.

But the idea that we cannot expect non-Christians to act ethically is just silly when we stop to think about it for a moment. If this were true, and we applied it across the board, then we would:
-not expect non-Christians to obey traffic lights (nor expect judges and courts to penalise them for doing so);
-not continue any prolife work – after all, pagans cannot be expected to act ethically here;
-not have sought to stop Hitler – he is just doing what we would expect a pagan to do;
-not seek to stop a rapist in action, since he cannot help it: he does not have the Spirit of God.
On and on it goes.

We should only preach the gospel to non-Christians, and not expect them to do right

The truth is, Christians of course should always do both: present the gospel to others AND be salt and light. It is not one or the other but both – always! If we really believed the church has nothing to say to non-Christians in terms of ethics, then again, consider how this would play out:
-We would have to say that the Old Testament prophets who chewed out pagan nations for their unethical actions were simply wrong.
-We would have to say that John the Baptist was simply wrong to rebuke the unethical actions of Herod – and he did not bother to say a word about Herod’s faith or lack thereof.
-We would have to say that Wilberforce was entirely wrong to stand against the unethical slave trade, and it was all a waste of time. He should have just dealt with the salvation of people and preach the gospel. (He actually rightly did both.)

Hopefully you get my drift. I reject the notion that because a person is not a believer, we must just sit down and shut up when it comes to ethics and morality. I for one just don’t buy it! Right and wrong matters, and we expect all people to some extent to comply. That is why we have police, courts, laws, judges and the like.

We are all sinners, so who am I to judge?

This is such a foolish and unbiblical notion. Sure we are all sinners – tell us something we don’t know. But the whole point of the gospel is to deliver us from our own sin, and then for us to encourage others to do the same. The truth is, we ARE called to judge. We are to be salt and light, and Jesus said we should discern where folks are at.

Jesus said we can judge people by their fruit, so we are to be fruit inspectors. We are to test all things, use biblical discernment, judge between right and wrong, and so on. The idea that we can never call out any sin, whether in another person or in society at large, because we are not yet perfect is as ludicrous as it is unbiblical.

Sure, as it’s been said: we should be hard on ourselves while soft on others. There is some truth to this, but only to a certain extent. Yes, we should deal mercilessly with ourselves when it comes to sin and disobedience, and be gracious – when appropriate – to others as they struggle.

But Paul seems to point us in a somewhat different direction: he was certainly hard on himself (“I am the chief of sinners” – 1 Timothy 1:15), but he could also be very hard on those who were sinning in the congregation (“I have handed such a one over to Satan…” – 1 Corinthians 5:5).

We should not talk about sin – just grace and forgiveness

Um, the simple truth is this: grace and forgiveness make absolutely no sense if we do not first talk about sin. One simply has to look at how the prophets talked, how Jesus talked, and how the disciples talked. They talked about sin all the time, and the need for forgiveness.

Sure, they all extolled the wonderful grace of God, but they knew that receiving it is dependent on repentance. Returning to the particular politician in question in my previous article, some folks pointed out that he said it was a mistake and he felt bad about it. Great, but that is NOT biblical repentance. Let me make this as clear as I can:
-If a murderer says his many murders were a mistake and he feels bad about them, but he continues to keep murdering people, is that biblical repentance?
-If a thief says his many burglaries and robberies were a mistake and he feels bad about them, but he continues to keep stealing from people, is that biblical repentance?
-If an adulterer says his adultery is a mistake and he feels bad about it, but he continues in the adulterous relationship with his young lover, is that biblical repentance?

As far as I know, this politician is separated from, but still married to, his first wife. So in this case real repentance would mean immediately breaking off this adulterous affair, and seeking to make things right with his wife and children – and his God! It seems to me that this would be the bare minimum of true repentance.

To be honest, it bothers and baffles me greatly that so many Christians effectively seem to be defending sin and sinners. That is not how biblical Christians should be operating. Yes, we are all sinners and we all need God’s grace daily. I get that – big time. But trying to excuse sin or minimise it is not how we move forward.

People might change, so we should just cut them some slack

Of course people can change. But it is not our job to speculate about what might be happening in a person’s life twenty years in the future. Our job is to discern where folks are at now, especially when they are running for, or involved in, public office. We are to inspect fruit now, not guess about what a person might possibly become one day in the future.

If we took this train of thought to its logical conclusion, we would:
-not have fought Hitler. After all, people could have said back in 1940, ‘one day he might become a terrific chap, so we better leave him alone now’.
-not seek to work against the abortionists and fight for the unborn, because maybe the abortionists one day will turn a new leaf.
-not speak out against any corruption in politics – or elsewhere. These folks might change in the future, so we need to relax and just hope for the best.

The fact that people can and do change – by God’s grace – is NOT the issue here. The issue is that real evil exists now, and we as believers need to continue to insist that character counts – always. Thus if a person cannot be trusted to stay true to his wedding vows, why should we expect him to stay true to his political vows? For the believer, principle should always trump mere pragmatism.

While we can always hope for better outcomes for folks in the future, we can only deal with where people are at now, especially when it comes to things like leadership. It would do absolutely no good to appoint a hardcore thief to the church treasury job now in the hopes that maybe in twenty years’ time he will get saved, change his ways, and stop pilfering from the church coffers!

There are plenty more such examples of confused thinking that keep arising when someone points out blatant public – and private – sin. It is disturbing that so many Christians seem to be so much in the dark about certain basic biblical truths.

As such, it seems that this particular series of articles may have to continue for some time to come!

[1522 words]

The post And Five More Really Dumb Christian Copouts appeared first on CultureWatch.

February 9, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Escape to Egypt

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise and take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” And he arose and took the Child and His mother by night, and departed for Egypt; and was there until the death of Herod, that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “Out of Egypt did I call My Son.” (2:13–15)

The coming of the magi no doubt was a time of great encouragement and assurance to Joseph and Mary, confirming the wondrous words of the angels to them (Matt. 1:20–23; Luke 1:26–38), to Zacharias (Luke 1:11–20), and to the shepherds (Luke 2:8–14). It also confirmed the testimonies of Elizabeth (Luke 1:39–45) and of Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25–38) about the Child to whom Mary gave birth. Even these wise men from far-off Parthia had been told the news by God and came to worship Jesus and give Him gifts.

But the rejoicing was short-lived. No sooner had the magi departed than an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, giving him a warning from God. This news was not of joy and hope, but of danger and urgency. Arise and take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him. Just as the magi had been warned by God to disobey Herod (v. 12), Joseph was now warned by God to flee the evil, murderous king.

From pheugō (to flee) we get our word fugitive, one who escapes from something or someone. The word is here in the present imperative, indicating the beginning of action that is to be continued. Joseph and his family were immediately to begin fleeing, and were not to stop until they were safely within Egypt and beyond the reach of Herod. The distance from Bethlehem to the border of Egypt was about 75 miles, and another 100 miles or so would have been required to get to a place of safety in that country. Traveling with a baby made the trip both slower and more difficult.

Egypt was a natural asylum for the young Jewish family. During the period of Greek rule of the Mediterranean world, which occurred during the intertestamental period, Alexander the Great established a sanctuary for Jews in Alexandria, the Egyptian city he named for himself. Throughout the Roman rule that followed, that city was still considered a special place of safety and opportunity for Jews. The Jewish philosopher and historian Philo, himself a prominent resident of Alexandria, reported that by a.d. 40, a few years after the death of Christ, the city’s population included at least one million Jews. In the third century b.c. a group of Jewish scholars in Alexandria had produced the Septuagint, a translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek. The Septuagint was used by much of the early church, and it was from that version of the Old Testament that many New Testament writers quote.

As mentioned in the previous chapter, it seems reasonable that Joseph used the valuable gifts of the magi (the gold, frankincense, and myrrh) to pay for the trip to Egypt and the stay there, where the Lord instructed Joseph to keep his family until I tell you.

Obviously God could have protected His Son in many other ways and in many other places, even in Bethlehem or Jerusalem, under Herod’s very nose. He could have blinded Herod’s soldiers, destroyed them by an angel, or simply have miraculously hidden the family. But God chose to protect Him by the very ordinary and unmiraculous means of flight to a foreign country. The commands to go to Egypt and then to leave were given supernaturally, but the trip itself and the stay there were, as far as we are told, marked by no special divine intervention or provision. The family was not instantly transported to Egypt, but had to make the long, tiresome journey on their own, just as hundreds of other Jewish families had done during the previous several centuries. To decrease the chance of being noticed, Joseph took the common precaution of leaving by night, probably telling no one of his plans.

We know nothing of the stay in Egypt except the bare fact that Jesus and His family were there. Countless speculations have been made about the sojourn. Some ancient writers, supposing perhaps to enhance and improve on the biblical account, manufactured stories of the baby Jesus healing a demon-possessed child by placing His swaddling clothes on the afflicted child’s head, of causing robbers to flee into the desert, and of causing idols to disintegrate as He walked by them. Others, such as the second-century pagan philosopher Celsus, sought to discredit Jesus by claiming that He spent His childhood and early manhood in Egypt learning the occultic practices for which that country had long been famous. Like many Jewish opponents of Christianity during his day, Celsus maintained that Jesus then returned to Palestine to impress the people with miracles and deceive them into thinking He was the Messiah.

It is likely that the stay in Egypt until the death of Herod lasted no more than a few months. It is now that we are told the primary reason for the family’s going to Egypt: that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “Out of Egypt did I call My Son.” The Old Testament writers were the Lord’s spokesmen. Just as they had no way of knowing, apart from divine revelation, that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, they had no other way of knowing that He would live awhile in Egypt. The flight to Egypt was one more piece of divine evidence that Jesus was God’s Son, the promised Messiah.

Seven centuries earlier God had told Hosea that “out of Egypt I called My son” (Hos. 11:1). Herod’s threat was no surprise to the Lord, who, long before Herod was born, had made plans to foil that wicked king’s plans against the true King. The reference to “My son” in the book of Hosea is to the nation Israel. It was a historical statement about what God had done in delivering His people from bondage under Pharaoh, calling them out from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Why, then, did Matthew interpret as predictive an event that occurred perhaps 700 years before Hosea and an additional 700 years before Matthew quoted Hosea?

The setting of the book of Hosea is failure, decadence, and spiritual tragedy. Through the unfaithfulness of his own wife, Gomer, Hosea vividly portrays the unfaithfulness of Israel to the Lord. Gomer was a physical prostitute, and Israel was a spiritual prostitute. God’s chosen people had chased after false gods as unashamedly as Gomer had chased after her lovers. Though Hosea’s heart was grieved and broken, he continued to love his wife and sought to win her back. She wound up in a brothel, having lost all sense of decency and shame. The Lord then commanded Hosea to redeem her: “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods” (Hos. 3:1). The prophet then bought Gomer’s freedom “for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley” (v. 2). He brought her home, gave her back her place of honor as his wife, and continued to love her as he had before. She was his wife, and he maintained his covenant. Hosea 11:3–4 tells how God taught the Israelites, carried them, healed them, led them, loved them, eased their burdens, and fed them. He called them from Egypt in order to be faithful to them, in spite of their unfaithfulness to Him.

Despite everything, God promised to bring Israel back to Himself. Israel would suffer His rebuke and His judgment, but one day that people would return to their God, because He had called Israel to be His son. Thus God reminded His people of His great and long-lasting love for them. “When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son” (Hos. 11:1). He would not go back on that calling. When Matthew quotes the last part of that verse from Hosea, he applies it to Christ. Though Hosea was not knowingly predicting that the Messiah would also one day be brought out of Egypt, Matthew shows that Jesus’ return from Egypt was pictured by Israel’s calling from that same country many centuries earlier. The Exodus, therefore, was a type of Jesus’ return from Egypt with Joseph and Mary. As God had once brought the people of Israel out of Egypt to be His chosen nation, He now had brought out His greater Son to be the Messiah.

A type is a nonverbal prediction, an Old Testament person or event that illustrates some aspect of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ in the future but does not specifically describe it; the writer has no way to see the future antitype. God’s nonverbal predictions are as true and vivid as His verbal ones. But we cannot legitimately call a person or event a true Old Testament type except as the Bible itself tells us of it. The only certain Old Testament types are those given as such in the New Testament. No type is in itself visibly a type; such reality awaits the New Testament identification. When the New Testament uses something in the Old as a prefigurement of something that has occurred or will occur later, we can safely refer to the Old Testament something as a type. Ignoring such limits results in the freedom to allegorize, spiritualize, and typify the Old Testament by whimsy. Because types are veiled revelation, divine testimony to their identity must be given by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament text. Therefore, because of the specific association that Matthew gives here, we know that the Exodus of Israel from Egypt is a type of Jesus’ return from Egypt as a young child.

In a still deeper sense Jesus came out of Egypt with Israel under Moses. As Matthew has already shown, Jesus descended from Abraham and from the royal line of David. Had Israel perished in Egypt, or in the wilderness, or in any other way, the Messiah could not Himself have come out of Egypt or even have been born.[1]

15 The death of Herod brought relief to many. Only then, for instance, did the Qumran covenanters return to their center, destroyed in 31 BC, and rebuild it. In Egypt, Herod’s death made possible the return of the child, Mary, and Joseph, who awaited a word from the Lord. The Greek could be rendered “And so was fulfilled” (NIV) or “[This came about] in order that the word of the Lord … might be fulfilled.” Either way, the notion of fulfillment preserves some telic force in the sentence: Jesus’ exodus from Egypt fulfilled Scripture written long before.

The OT quotation almost certainly (see Notes) comes from Hosea 11:1 and exactly renders the Hebrew, not the LXX, which has “his children,” not “my son.” (In this Matthew agrees with Aq., Symm., and Theod., but only because all four rely on the Hebrew.) Some commentators (e.g., Bengel, Gnomon; Gundry, Use of the Old Testament, 93–94) argue that the preposition ek (NIV, “out of”) should be taken temporally, i.e., “since Egypt” or, better, “from the time [he dwelt] in Egypt.” The preposition can have that force; and it is argued that Matthew 2:15 means God “called” Jesus, in the sense that he specially acknowledged and preserved him from the time of his Egyptian sojourn on, protecting him against Herod. After all, the exodus itself is not mentioned until vv. 21–22.

Some commentators interpret the calling of Israel in Hosea 11:1 in a similar way. But there are convincing arguments against this. The context of Hosea 11:1 mentions Israel’s return to Egypt (11:5), which presupposes that 11:1 refers to the exodus. To preserve the temporal force of ek in Matthew 2:15, Gundry is reduced to the unconvincing assertion that the preposition in Hosea is both temporal and locative. In support of this view, it is pointed out that Jesus’ actual departure out of Egypt is not mentioned until v. 21. But, although this is so, it is nevertheless implied by vv. 13–14. The reason Matthew has introduced the Hosea quotation at this point, instead of after v. 21, is probably that he wishes to use the return journey itself to set up the reference to the destination, Nazareth (v. 23), rather than the starting point, Egypt (cf. Brown, Birth of the Messiah, 220).

If Hosea 11:1 refers to Israel’s exodus from Egypt, in what sense can Matthew mean that Jesus’ return to the land of Israel “fulfilled” this text? Four observations clarify the issue.

  1. Many have noticed that Jesus is often presented in the NT as the antitype of Israel or, better, the typological recapitulation of Israel. Jesus’ temptation after forty days of fasting recapitulated the forty years’ trial of Israel (see comments at 4:1–11). Elsewhere, if Israel is the vine that does not bring forth the expected fruit, Jesus, by contrast, is the True Vine (Isa 5; Jn 15). The reason Pharaoh must let the people of Israel go is that Israel is the Lord’s son (Ex 4:22–23), a theme picked up by Jeremiah (31:9) as well as Hosea (11:1, 3; cf. Ps 2:6–7, 12). The “son” theme (cf. T. de Kruijf, Der Sohn des lebendigen Gottes: Ein Beitrag zur Christologie des Matthäusevangeliums [Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1962], 56–58, 109)—already present since Jesus is messianic “son of David” and, by the virginal conception, Son of God—becomes extraordinarily prominent in Matthew (see comments at 3:17): “This is my Son, whom I love.”
  2. The verb “fulfill” has broader significance than mere one-to-one prediction (see Introduction, section 11.b; comments at 5:17). Not only in Matthew but elsewhere in the NT, the history and laws of the OT are perceived to have prophetic significance (see comments at 5:17–20). The letter to the Hebrews argues that the laws regarding the tabernacle and the sacrificial system were from the beginning designed to point toward the only Sacrifice that could really remove sin and the only Priest who could serve once and for all as the effective Mediator between God and man. Likewise, Paul insists that the Messiah sums up his people in himself. When David was anointed king, the tribes acknowledged him as their bone and flesh (2 Sa 5:1); i.e., David as anointed king summed up Israel, with the result that his sin brought disaster on the people (2 Sa 12, 24). Just as Israel is God’s son, so the promised Davidic son is also Son of God (2 Sa 7:13–14; cf. N. T. Wright, “The Paul of History,” TynBul 29 [1978]: esp. 66–67). “Fulfillment” must be understood against the background of these interlocking themes and their typological connections.
  3. It follows, therefore, that the NT writers do not think they are reading back into the OT things that are not already there germinally. This does not mean that Hosea had the Messiah in mind when he penned Hosea 11:1. This admission prompts W. L. LaSor (“Prophecy, Inspiration, and Sensus Plenior,” TynBul 29 [1978]: 49–60) to see in Matthew’s use of Hosea 11:1 an example of sensus plenior, by which he means a “fuller sense” than what was in Hosea’s mind but something nevertheless in the mind of God. But so blunt an appeal to what God has absolutely hidden seems a strange background for Matthew’s insisting that Jesus’ exodus from Egypt in any sense fulfills the Hosea passage. This observation is not trivial. Matthew is reasoning with Jews who could say, “You are not playing fair with the text!” A mediating position is therefore necessary.

Hosea 11 pictures God’s love for Israel. Although God threatens judgment and disaster, yet because he is God and not man (11:9), he looks to a time when in compassion he will roar like a lion and his children will return to him (11:10–11). In short Hosea himself looks forward to a saving visitation by the Lord. Therefore his prophecy fits into the larger pattern of OT revelation up to that point, revelation that both explicitly and implicitly points to the Seed of the woman, the Elect Son of Abraham, the Prophet like Moses, the Davidic King, the Messiah.

The “son” language is part of this messianic matrix (cf. Willis J. Beecher, The Prophets and the Promise [New York: Crowell, 1905], 331–35); insofar as that matrix points to Jesus the Messiah and insofar as Israel’s history looks forward to one who sums it up, then so far also does Hosea 11:1 look forward. To ask whether Hosea thought of Messiah is to ask the wrong question, akin to using a hacksaw when a scalpel is needed. It is better to say that Hosea, building on existing revelation, grasped the messianic nuances of the “son” language already applied to Israel and David’s promised heir in previous revelation so that had he been able to see Matthew’s use of 11:1, he would not have disapproved, even if messianic nuances were not in his mind when he wrote that verse. He provided one small part of the revelation unfolded during salvation history; but that part he himself understood to be a pictorial representative of divine, redeeming love.

The NT writers insist that the OT can be rightly interpreted only if the entire revelation is kept in perspective as it is historically unfolded (e.g., Gal 3:6–14). Hermeneutically, this is not an innovation. OT writers drew lessons out of earlier salvation history, lessons difficult to perceive while that history was being lived, but lessons that retrospect would clarify (e.g., Asaph in Ps 78; see comments at 13:35). Matthew does the same in the context of the fulfillment of OT hopes in Jesus Christ. We may therefore legitimately speak of a “fuller meaning” than any one text provides. But the appeal should be made, not to some hidden divine knowledge, but to the pattern of revelation up to that time—a pattern not yet adequately discerned. The new revelation may therefore be truly new, yet at the same time capable of being checked against the old.

  1. If this interpretation of v. 15 is correct, it follows that for Matthew, Jesus himself is the locus of true Israel. This does not necessarily mean that God has no further purpose for racial Israel; but it does mean that the position of God’s people in the messianic age is determined by reference to Jesus, not race.[2]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 1, pp. 40–43). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, pp. 118–120). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

February 9, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump signed a two-year budget agreement that will boost federal spending by almost $300 billion and suspend the debt ceiling for a year, ending a brief partial government shutdown that began at midnight when lawmakers missed a funding deadline.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced a tightening of immigration controls as thousands of Venezuelans continue to pour over the border to escape a dire economic crisis and an increasingly authoritarian government.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet for lunch on Saturday with Kim Jong Un’s sister after the pair enthusiastically cheered on a unified Korean team at the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics.

A Democratic group backed by former President Barack Obama said this week it plans to invest millions of dollars in state-level elections in 11 states this year, with its heaviest focus on Ohio.

Global economies and asset markets are more connected today than ever before. While stocks from Sydney to Hong Kong are selling off Friday, gold has barely budged and the yen is actually weaker. Treasuries, too, have moved relatively little over the past 24 hours.

The diamond industry has a size problem. Instead of splashing out on a ring or necklace featuring one big, bright diamond, shoppers are increasingly choosing pieces with several, smaller gems, which are often lower quality. And selling jewelry with smaller stones has been a good way for retailers to save money.

AP Top Stories

Mexican authorities have found a tiger cub in a plastic container, due to be express mailed to another address. The Office for Environmental Protection found the Bengal cub when a sniffer dog looking for contraband detected it in the plastic container, sedated.

After days of excavation, Toronto police on Thursday said they have recovered the remains of at least six different people on property that was landscaped by suspected serial killer Bruce McArthur, who has been charged with the murder of five men connected to the city’s gay village.

A renewed onslaught of bombing in Syria’s besieged Eastern Ghouta enclave has wreaked havoc in the region, killing nearly 200 people in a matter of days and shattering cease-fire negotiations.

Defense Secretary James Mattis assured military service members who had been brought to the U.S. illegally as children that they will not face deportation, even if legal protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program expire.

Eight North Koreans rescued from a boat adrift near an island in northern Japan last year were deported home via China on Friday, an immigration official told AFP.

Taiwan begins demolishing three dangerously damaged buildings as rescue workers continue their search for those missing after a deadly quake.

Winning an Olympic medal is a dream come true, and this year’s winners will have one extra perk their predecessors didn’t- they won’t have to pay the victory tax.

According to jobs site Hired.com’s latest State of Salaries report released Thursday, tech companies offer African American and Hispanic job candidates about $6,000 less on average than their white counterparts, $130,000 and $131,000, respectively, compared with $136,000.

Amazon.com said on Thursday it would start delivering Whole Foods groceries via its fast-shipping Prime Now service in select U.S. cities, and plans to expand it across the country this year. The online retailing behemoth will add Whole Foods to its one-hour and two-hour delivery service in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach, it said in a statement.

Amazon is preparing to launch a delivery service to compete directly with shipping stalwarts UPS and FedEx. The service will pick up packages from businesses and ship them to consumers, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.


An asteroid up to 40m in size and only discovered five days ago, is due to skim past the Earth on Friday. Asteroid 2018 CB will pass by at just less than one-fifth the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

US Vice-President Mike Pence has skipped a dinner at which he was due to share a table with North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam. Mr. Pence briefly encountered Mr. Kim but they tried to avoid directly facing each other, Yonhap news agency reports. Meanwhile South Korean President Moon Jae-in has shaken hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

Russian security officers have arrested several scientists working at a top-secret Russian nuclear warhead facility for allegedly mining crypto-currencies. The suspects had tried to use one of Russia’s most powerful supercomputers to mine Bitcoins, media reports said.

Four Ugandan government officials have been suspended amid allegations of inflating refugee figures. Uganda is said to host some 1.4 million refugees – welcoming more than any other country in 2016 – mostly from South Sudan and DR Congo.

A woman has been killed while taking a selfie with a friend on a train track in Thailand. A friend said they had been drinking and decided “to take a photo with the train” but did not see an approaching train on the other track, police said. The woman, 24, had her leg severed and died later in hospital. Her male friend sustained severe injuries.


The British territory of Bermuda has become the first jurisdiction to roll back same-sex marriage, less than one year after the unions were legalized by the socially conservative island’s Supreme Court. Governor John Rankin signed the Domestic Partnership Act into law Wednesday reversing the rights of same-sex partners to wed. The legislation allows any couple to enter into a domestic partnership and gives same-sex couples similar rights to those enjoyed by opposite-sex couples. But such partnerships will not be legally recognized as “marriage.”

The Briefing — Friday, February 9, 2018

1) As Pyeongchang Olympics begin, politics is never far from the front line

Wall Street Journal (Betsy McKay) –
Ice Dancing Has a Problem: Not Enough Men

New York Times (Choe Sang-Hun) –
South Korean Leader to Meet Kim Jong-un’s Sister in Highest-Level Contact in Years

2) Bermuda makes history becoming the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, then abolish it

Washington Post (Lindsey Bever) –
Bermuda legalized same-sex marriage a year ago. This week it abolished it.

3) International assessors are now coming for American kindergarteners

Wall Street Journal (Leslie Brody) –
A New Global Ranking for U.S. Parents to Obsess Over

4) Why the new Gerber baby is a cause for celebration and a reminder of the work we have to do

Washington Post (Allison Klein) –
Lucas was just named 2018 Gerber baby. He has Down syndrome.

The Dow Falls 1,032 Points! Has The Financial Crisis Of 2018 Officially Arrived?

We haven’t seen this kind of a bloodbath on Wall Street since the great financial crisis of 2008.  Prior to this week, the largest single day decline for the Dow Jones industrial average that we had ever seen was 777 points.  That record was absolutely shattered on Monday when the Dow fell 1,175 points, and on Thursday the Dow dropped another 1,032 points.  This was the third decline greater than 500 points within the last five trading days, and the Dow is poised to post its worst week since the dark days of October 2008.  So is this just a “correction”, or has the financial crisis of 2018 officially arrived? (Read More…)

February 9, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — The government careened Friday morning into its second partial shutdown in less than three weeks – – though this one appeared likely to be short-lived. Sen. Rand Paul forced the government to go beyond the midnight deadline when current funding expired, staging a protest against the potentially $2.1 trillion budget bill required to keep the cash spigot flowing…. (more)

February 9, 2018
GREG COROMBOS — Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., is slamming Republican congressional leaders for caving to spending demands by Democrats in a two-year budget bill that he anticipates will spark trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see while Republicans unilaterally surrender their greatest weapon for passing meaningful entitlement, welfare, or health care reforms…. (more)

February 9, 2018
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — The Watergate scandal of 1972 – -74 was uncovered largely because of outraged Democratic politicians and a bulldog media. They both claimed that they had saved American democracy from the Nixon administration’s attempt to warp the CIA and FBI to cover up an otherwise minor, though illegal, political break-in…. (more)

February 9, 2018
THE GATEWAY PUNDIT — On Tuesday, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) released a “much-less redacted,” version of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s criminal referral of dossier author Christopher Steele. Comey is in hot water. The unredacted memo reveals the FBI misled the FISA court about Christopher Steele’s contacts with media outlets…. (more)

February 8, 2018
SHOWBIZ 411 — Don’t believe the mixed or bad reviews coming in early for Clint Eastwood’s “15:17 to Paris.” I saw it tonight, and like A.O. Scott in the New York Times, I found it fascinating and much more complicated than a snarky dismissal…. (more)

February 8, 2018
Wait . . . what?
DAILY WIRE — A group of DREAMers, young illegal immigrants fighting to stay in the country following the Trump Administration’s refusal to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order, say they’ll leave the country if a deal isn’t reached . . . err . . . to keep them in the country…. (more)

February 8, 2018
THE GUARDIAN — Bermuda has become the first jurisdiction to legalise and then repeal same-sex marriage, in what critics have called an unprecedented rollback of civil rights by the British territory…. (more)

February 8, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, released Wednesday, raised serious questions about whether President Obama kept tabs on the bureau’s 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton, despite his assurances otherwise. In a Sept. 2, 2016, message to Mr. Strzok, a senior FBI agent, Ms. Page, a bureau lawyer, said they were preparing reports on the Clinton investigation for FBI Director James B. Comey because “potus wants to know everything we are doing.” “POTUS” is the common Washington acronym for President of the United States…. (more)

February 8, 2018
WORLDNETDAILY — Just when you thought the Democratic National Committee’s funding of the dossier used to spy on Trump’s campaign was scandalous, WikiLeaks has revealed another DNC connection to the FISA spying warrant…. (more)

February 8, 2018
FOX NEWS — Left-wing billionaire George Soros is pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into a campaign looking to sabotage British voters’ 2016 decision to leave the European Union. The U.K. Daily Telegraph first reported late Wednesday that Soros has delivered £400,000 ($560,000) to the anti-Brexit “Best for Britain” campaign via his Open Society Foundations. He also hosted big-money donors at his London home as part of the group’s goal to raise support to nix the implementation of the Brexit referendum…. (more)

February 8, 2018
NEWSMAX — A top White House aide is stepping down following allegations of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives. Staff secretary Rob Porter says in a statement the allegations are “outrageous” and “simply false.” He says photos published were taken nearly 15 years ago and the “reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described.” Porter adds that he has been transparent and truthful, but will leave the White House after a transition period…. (more)

February 8, 2018
SALT LAKE TRIBUNE — The LDS Church declared Thursday that it has “zero tolerance” for abuse of any kind but couldn’t speak directly to allegations by the ex-wives of a former White House official who reported they received no help from their Mormon clergy when they were being abused. Jennifer Willoughby and Colbie Holderness – – former wives of Rob Porter, who resigned as White House staff secretary this week – – said their LDS bishops either didn’t believe them or didn’t step in to help when they alleged Porter had physically abused them. Porter has denied the charges…. (more)

February 8, 2018
DAILY WIRE — The FBI’s informant in the Uranium One scandal involving the Obama administration gave written testimony to three congressional committees this week in which he accused the Obama administration of making decisions that directly benefited the Russian government and their goals of gaining geopolitical advantages over the United States…. (more)

February 6, 2018
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — Some things still do not add up about the so-called Steele dossier, FISA warrants, the Nunes memo, and the hysterical Democratic reaction to it…. (more)

February 6, 2018
CONRAD BLACK — Donald Trump’s critics never imagined that more than a year into his presidency, his approval rating would be rising and just under 50 percent, the economy would be cranking up to a 4 percent growth rate, North Korea would have quieted down temporarily, U.S. oil production would be rising sharply and imports steadily declining, ISIS dispersed, over $6 trillion added to Dow-Jones Industrial stock values (despite Monday’s slide), and the Clintons as well as Trump’s official investigators facing far more serious legal questions than he is…. (more)

February 6, 2018
BYRON YORK — This time last week, there was growing tumult in Washington over the memo produced by House Intelligence Committee Republicans alleging “FISA abuse” in the Trump-Russia investigation. There were dire warnings that the release of the GOP memo would endanger national security, that doing so would be “extraordinarily reckless” without proper FBI and Justice Department review, and that the FBI had “grave concerns” about “material omissions of fact” that would “fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”… (more)

February 6, 2018
BOB UNRUH — The New York Stock Exchange has been leaving mouths agape and investors pinching themselves ever since Donald Trump was elected president. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has surged on a virtually vertical line, from about 18,000 points to a peak of 26,616.71 on Jan. 26, before dropping a couple of thousand points and then regaining 500 on Tuesday…. (more)

February 6, 2018
PAUL BEDARD — Attorney General Jeff Sessions celebrated President Reagan’s 107th birthday by demonstrating how President Trump has taken up Reagan’s campaign to restore the rule of law. In a Tuesday evening speech at the Heritage Foundation to the Reagan Alumni Association, Sessions, who was a Reagan-appointed federal prosecutor, said, “Under President Trump, we are determined to advance President Reagan’s work of restoring the rule of law.”… (more)

February 6, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — A California judge refused this week to order a baker to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, ruling that to do otherwise would be to trample on the baker’s free speech rights. Superior Court Judge David R. Lampe said in his Monday ruling that wedding cakes run to the core of the First Amendment…. (more)

February 6, 2018
ALAN KEYES — Last week, I wrote a column reflecting on the assertion that Christians who support Donald Trump have, in effect, surrendered to moral relativism. In that column, I noted that – – in the very same week President Trump addressed the Right to Life March, live and in person from the Rose Garden – -… (more)

February 5, 2018
JOAN SWIRSKY — Once upon a time, a seasoned political operative ran for President of the United States against a candidate who had virtually no political experience. She – Democrat Hillary Clinton – former First Lady of Arkansas, former First Lady of the United States, former U.S. Senator from New York, former Secretary of State under the faux “president” Barack Obama, was clearly the favorite…. (more)

February 5, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — The House’s top investigator on Sunday said the FBI failed to notify a surveillance court that it was relying on material backed by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign when it asked to snoop on a former adviser to the Trump campaign…. (more)

February 5, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — A top Republican senator on Monday released an unpublished portion of the infamous Trump-Russia dossier that showed Hillary Clinton associates fed information to the author, former British spy Christopher Steele. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairmen Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, posted the heavily redacted referral he sent to the Justice Department asking for a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Steele lied to the FBI…. (more)

February 5, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump said Friday the leaders at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department have a political bias against Republicans. “The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank & File are great people!” Mr. Trumptweeted…. (more)

February 5, 2018
FOX NEWS — Now that we know what the declassified House memo says about government misconduct, we also know what it means: The Washington swamp – – the deep state – – is bigger, more vicious and more dangerous to American liberty than even a cynic could have imagined…. (more)


Mid-Day Snapshot

Feb. 9, 2018

Fiscal Hawks Go on Leave

Early this morning, the House and Senate managed to pass yet another spending spree.

The Foundation

“The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


News – 2/9/2018

Trump tells Israel peace means compromise; US envoy under fire
In an interview with an Israeli newspaper that was excerpted ahead of its full publication on Sunday, Trump described his Jerusalem move as a “high point” of his first year in office. The Palestinians were outraged by Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, a move overturning decades of US reticence on the city’s status, and say they are looking at additional world powers as potential mediators.

Army spokesperson: Egypt begins security operation against ‘terrorists’
Egypt on Friday launched a major security operation involving the army and police against “terrorist and criminal elements and organizations” across the country, the army spokesman said. The army spokesman said the operation covers areas in Sinai, the Delta and the Western Desert and it follows a three-month deadline set by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to crush a years-long Islamist insurgency.

Greenblatt criticizes Abbas’ statement on Jerusalem’s holy status
For the first time since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, Jason Greenblatt, his chief envoy to the Middle East peace process, called out Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by name on Wednesday night. “Pres. Abbas states about Jerusalem: ‘It is Arab, Muslim and Christian,’” Greenblatt wrote, “and makes no mention of any Jewish ties. Nothing peaceful or productive can come from statements like this.” “Lasting peace will not be achieved by denying Judaism’s thousands of years of ties to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews,”

German shipyard starts work on state-of-the-art warships for Israel
The first of four corvettes are scheduled to arrive next year. Construction of Israel’s four newest warships that will be used to defend the country’s natural gas fields and territorial waters has begun in Germany.

Government shutdown showdown over budget deal; Top Dem offered contact with dossier author
An overnight government shutdown has come to an end after the House approved a budget deal that funds the government through March 23 … The House vote was 240 to 186. The bill now goes to President Trump to sign.
Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee who has been leading a congressional investigation into President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, had extensive contact last year with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch who was offering Warner access to former British spy and dossier author Christopher Steele,

As Kim Jong-un stages a purge within his ‘unruly’ military, could the North Korean leader face a coup threat?
As sanctions feed public disillusionment and Kim Jong-un battles a growing resentment within the military, cracks may be appearing in the North Korean leader’s footing. The head of the North Korean army’s politburo has been purged and three other senior officers have been either removed from office and are undergoing “re-revolutionisation education”, with analysts suggesting that such a wide-ranging clear-out of its top ranks could harden the army’s resistance to Kim’s leadership.

US Jewish leaders to visit United Arab Emirates
In yet another sign of rapprochement with the Persian Gulf states, a group of prominent US Jewish organizational leaders led by Malcolm Hoenlein will travel in the coming days to the United Arab Emirates. Members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which Hoenlein leads as its executive vice chairman, will travel to Abu Dhabi and Dubai as part of their annual leadership mission before coming to Israel.

Pence skips Olympic dinner with N Koreans in Pyeongchang
US Vice-President Mike Pence has skipped a dinner at which he was due to share a table with North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam. Mr Pence briefly encountered Mr Kim but they tried to avoid directly facing each other, Yonhap news agency reports. Meanwhile South Korean President Moon Jae-in has shaken hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

Asia stock markets drop sharply after US falls
Major Asian markets suffered sharp losses on Friday, following another day of steep falls on Wall Street. In a volatile week for global investors, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slid 2.3%, while China’s Shanghai Composite slumped by 4.1%. Earlier, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 1,000 points for the second time this week.

US Congress votes to end brief shutdown
US lawmakers have voted to pass a two-year budget, meaning the country’s second shutdown in three weeks could end before the working day begins. The measures have passed the Senate and the House but still need to be signed off by President Donald Trump. Federal funding for government services expired at midnight (05:00 GMT), after the Senate missed a voting deadline.

First human eggs grown in laboratory
Human eggs have been grown in the laboratory for the first time, say researchers at the University of Edinburgh. The team say the technique could lead to new ways of preserving the fertility of children having cancer treatment. It is also an opportunity to explore how human eggs develop, much of which remains a mystery to science.

Trump tells Israel peace means compromise; U.S. envoy under fire
U.S. President Donald Trump told Israel on Friday that it too would need to make “significant compromises” for peace with the Palestinians, even as they accused one of his Middle East envoys of bogging down diplomacy with what they see as pro-Israel bias…“I think that both sides will have to make significant compromises in order for achieving a peace deal to be possible,” Trump added, without elaborating.

Inside the Ring: Obama-era cash traced to Iran-backed terrorists
The U.S. government has traced some of the $1.7 billion released to Iran by the Obama administration to Iranian-backed terrorists in the two years since the cash was transferred.

Egypt Warns of Muslim Brotherhood Organizations in U.S.
An Egyptian government website features a warning that the Muslim Brotherhood has a lobby in the U.S. disguised as civil society organizations. The United Arab Emirates has made similar statements and the U.S. Justice Department has confirmed the existence of a Muslim Brotherhood branch in America.

Uranium One Scandal: Moscow Routed $3 Million To Clinton Global Initiative
An informant has come forward with evidence that the Clinton Global Initiative received $3 million from Moscow in lobbying fees in exchange for nuclear support. But it gets worse for Democrats as more evidence that the media covered up this scandal surfaces as well.

Norovirus SPREAD Quickly At 2018 Winter Olympics
As we previously reported, the norovirus is spreading quickly among security guards at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Determined not to let the Olympics spiral into a widespread gastrointestinal nightmare, organizers of the Games seemed intent on carrying out a scorched-earth assault on every last germ in a 40-mile radius.

Melania Had White House Spiritually Cleansed Before Moving In, Pastor Claims
First Lady Melania Trump demanded the White House be spiritually cleansed prior to moving in, a pastor recently stated. In a February 2 interview on The Weekend Vigilante with Sheila Zilinsky, Pastor Paul Begley claimed Melania’s desire to “completely exorcise” the White House may have sparked Trump’s own religious fervor.

ACLU Sues Alabama to Force Sex Change on Driver’s Licenses of ‘Transgender’ Residents
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alabama has filed a lawsuit against a number of state officials in an effort to force the Licensing Bureau of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to allow residents with gender dysphoria to be able to change their driver’s license to the opposite sex without having a “sex-change” operation.

Chinese police are using facial-recognition glasses to scan travelers
Chinese railway police are using facial-recognition sunglasses to catch suspects at train stations in Zhengzhou, the capital of central Henan province. The eyewear, which looks similar to the original Google Glass, was unveiled earlier this year and has already helped identify seven alleged criminals, according to the Communist Party’s official newspaper People’s Daily.

‘Consumer Reports’: Samsung, Roku Smart TVs may be vulnerable to hackers
Buyer beware. If you’ve snapped up a smart TV, with built-in Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and other Web connections, heads up on this warning — your smart TV could make you vulnerable to hackers and is probably monitoring more of your viewing than you realize.

400 Muslim, Christian, Jewish Leaders Sign ‘Washington Declaration’ for Religious Tolerance
Over 400 Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders from all over the world affirmed on Wednesday a new declaration calling for the global protection of religious minorities and marginalized communities.

The Obama Administration is Directly Responsible for the Latest Gas Attacks on Syrian Civilians
A few days ago, Secretary of Defense James Mattis hinted that Syria might have used more Sarin nerve agent on civilian populations and warned them of the consequences should that be proven true:

Trans Pastor Celebrates Her New Gender
Pastor Rose Beeson, who is in transition from woman to man, will take on the name “Peter” Sunday in a public ceremony at St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church in Hoboken, N.J.

Trump Speech National Prayer Breakfast
…“Our currency declares ‘In god we trust,’ and we place our hands on our hearts as we recite the pledge of allegiance and proclaim we are one nation under God,” The president declared in a common refrain. He continued, “That is why the words ‘Praise be to god’ are etched atop the Washington monument, and those same words are etched into the hearts of our people. So today we praise God for how truly blessed we are to be American.”

Christian Teacher Fired, Reported to Counter-Terror Unit After Telling Lesbian ‘God Loves You’
A Christian teacher in Bristol was fired and reported as a “radicalisation threat” after she answered questions from pupils about her beliefs, an employment tribunal has heard.

Food Stamp Enrollment Drops by Four Million in One Month
Four million people dropped off the food stamp rolls in one month, according to the latest numbers on food stamp enrollment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Bermuda Governor Approves Bill Reversing Same-Sex Marriage
Bermuda’s governor on Wednesday approved a bill reversing the right of gay couples to marry in the British overseas territory, despite a Supreme Court ruling authorising same-sex marriage last year.

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: February 9

  • Global Stocks Set for Biggest Weekly Fall in Years (Read More)
  • What Just Happened? Six Views on the Correction (Read More)
  • Euro set for worst week since 2016 as dollar extends rally (Read More)
  • Congress votes to end brief government shutdown (Read More)
  • U.S. budget deal sets up wider fight over deficits, immigration (Read More)
  • Trump budget to include $3 billion for border wall (Read More)
  • Jim Rogers Says Next Bear Market Will Be Worst in His Life (Read More)
  • Trump Jr. Escalates Twitter War Against Probe and Father’s Foes (Read More)
  • Pence avoids encounter with North Korean official as Olympics begin (Read More)
  • Ex-Credit Suisse adviser sentenced to five years for “clever fraud” (Read More)
  • AT&T, Walmart Bolster Their Tax Savings in Paying Worker Bonuses (Read More)
  • Rising Costs for Wages and Ingredients Pose New Challenge (Read More)
  • The Corporate Giant Lurking Behind the Winter Olympics (Read More)
  • Gulfstream, Cessna, Other Business Jet Makers Are Finally Feeling Some Lift (Read More)
  • Mad Max violence stalks Venezuela’s lawless roads (Read More)
  • Amazon to Launch Delivery Service That Would Vie With FedEx, UPS (Read More)
  • Japan to let Coincheck resume yen withdrawals Tuesday (Read More)
  • Ten Years After the Crisis, Banks Win Big in Trump’s Washington (Read More)
  • Trump tells Israel peace means compromise; U.S. envoy under fire (Read More)
  • Trump administration may target immigrants who use food aid, other benefits (Read More)

Headlines – 2/9/2018

PM blocks settlement annexation bill from coming to vote

‘We will convince Netanyahu to convince the US’ – Minister Elkin undeterred by PM’s reported delay of Judea and Samaria sovereignty bill

IDF boosts Judea and Samaria deployment over spike in terrorism

Israel Seeks to Divert Palestinian Funds for Terrorists to Jewish Settlers

Qatar working closely with Israel to channel aid to Gaza, says Doha official

Qatari envoy urges world to aid Gaza

Modi to become first Indian PM to visit West Bank

India can play a role in Middle East peace process: Palestine President Abbas

Palestinian UN Envoy: Several Options to Kick-Start Peace Talks With Israel

Palestinian envoy: Collective approach required for peace process

Abbas spokesman blames US envoy for ‘crisis’ in US-Palestinian relations

Greenblatt criticizes Abbas’ statement on Jerusalem’s holy status

Trump thanks Guatemalan president for his support on Jerusalem embassy move

Israel reportedly halts medical cannabis export plan to avoid upsetting Trump

Time for Western aliyah

Coalition chairman: Israel Police attempting to overthrow Netanyahu

Police said mulling charges against billionaire in Netanyahu graft probe

Thousands of Palestinians jam Gaza border, temporarily opened by Egypt

5 reasons why Israel is ready for war with Hezbollah in Lebanon

US envoy relays Israeli de-escalation messages to Lebanon

Lebanon’s President: Talks Underway to ‘Prevent Israeli Greed’ in Building Border Wall

Iranian Ayatollah’s visit to Israel-Lebanon border with Hezbollah causes uproar

Syrian Soldiers Fire at Israeli Drone in Golan Heights; Building Hit

Analysts: Israel’s headed to a war in Syria, and only Russia can stop it

US dismisses fears of wider war after deadly Syria clashes

Syria war: Assad’s government accuses US of massacre

Syria calls rare US strike an effort ‘to support terrorism’

U.S. Attack on Assad Allies in Syria Was ‘Unprecedented Act of Aggression,’ Russia Senator Says

Russia slams ‘criminal’ US-led strikes in Syria, Pentagon calls it self-defense

Russian army says U.S. goal in Syria is to capture economic assets

Russia to raise US coalition airstrike at UN

UN official calls for 30-day Syria cease-fire

East Ghouta ‘drowning in blood’ after third day of bombing

Ghouta death toll soars above 220 as Syrian regime bombards rebel enclave

Putin, Erdogan discuss military coordination in Syria

Syria war: Last of British IS ‘Beatles’ gang captured by Kurds

Defying Turkey, Top U.S. General in Syria Vows to Continue Support for the Kurds

Iraqi Kurds accused of carrying out ‘mass executions’ of ISIS members

Tillerson plans Middle East swing to boost anti-IS fight

Egypt Launches Major Offensive Against ISIS ‘Terrorists’ in Sinai

Turkey Sentences 64 Military Academy Officers, Trainees to Life in Prison Over Failed Coup Attempt

Saudi Arabia Still Building World’s Tallest Tower Despite Complications From Corruption Crackdown

Obama-era cash traced to Iran-backed terrorists

Canceling Iran deal may lead to war in Israel’s north

Iran says its regional influence not linked to nuclear deal

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister says 2015 nuclear deal must succeed before other issues can be discussed

Britain says wants to save Iran deal, working to address US concerns

France pushing Iran business ties despite nuclear deal limbo

Iran furious as athletes miss out on Winter Olympics smartphones because of sanctions

Pence will use Olympics to push tougher stance on N. Korea

US, China reaffirm commitment to pressure North Korea

Kim Jong Un Hosts Lavish Military Parade in Snub of Donald Trump – Wife Makes Rare Appearance

Pence bashes North Korea’s military parade, endorses Trump’s parade

Uranium One informant says Moscow paid millions in bid to influence Clinton

George W. Bush says Russia meddled in 2016 US election

Google fined by India watchdog for ‘unfair search bias’

Scam hijacks Google Chrome browser, tries to get your personal data

Trudeau to Facebook: Fix your fake news problem or face stricter regulations

In Blow to Trump, U.S. Government Shutdown Begins, the Second of 2018

NYPD ignored more than 1,500 federal requests to detain immigrants last year, official says

Trump administration may target immigrants who use food aid, other benefits

Mattis vows ‘Dreamers’ serving in military will not be deported

Dow plunges 1,033 points and sinks into correction

Dow posts second biggest points fall as inflation fears spook investors

Global markets slide after Dow dips into correction territory

Jim Cramer blames a ‘group of complete morons’ for blowing up the market

Is Jim Rogers’ prediction of ‘biggest crash in our lifetimes’ finally coming true?

Oil falls for sixth day as supply fears mount

Texas flood: U.S. oil exports pour into markets worldwide

Venezuela’s capital Caracas hit by power cut during rush hour

Asteroid set to make rare close pass by Earth on Friday

Why the sun will soon get dimmer

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Lebu, Chile

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Semisopochnoi Island, Alaska

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Reuleuet, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 28,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 13,000ft

Mayon volcano in the Philippines erupts to 11,000ft

Latest Chicago Snow Forecast: Total Of 20 Inches By Saturday Possible

Miami releases millions of modified mosquitoes to stop Zika outbreak

As Gonorrhea Approaches Superbug Status, Scientists Scramble to Find a Vaccine

Trifecta of opioids, alcohol and suicide are blamed for the drop in U.S. life expectancy

Clergy gather to bless one of the only U.S. clinics performing late-term abortions

Pelosi Invokes Catholic Faith to Defend Illegals, But Not to Protect Unborn, Nuns

#MeToo movement lawmaker investigated for sexual misconduct allegations

ACLU Sues Alabama to Force Sex Change on Driver’s Licenses of ‘Transgender’ Residents

Transgender Pastor Celebrates Transition With Religious Ceremony

First Openly Gay U.S. Olympians Reportedly Snub Mike Pence in South Korea

Book Review: Defining Deception by Costi Hinn and Anthony Wood

Sid’s Holy Ghost Hebrew Spell Promises Perfect Life for Donation of $39

Charismatic Makes Up “Gold Dust” (Glitter) Claim

Dr. Michael Brown Another Spiritual Snake Oil Pitchman for Sid Roth

Christian Apologist Larry Taunton Resigns After Inappropriate Extramarital Behavior

Meditation does not make you a better person, study finds

Who Brought the Gospel to Korea? Koreans Did.

Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian) footnote (Rev B)

MBI Administrators Fail to Uphold Doctrine (Part 1): Hire, Then Fire Female Pastor/Oppose Profs Who Report Drift

Moody Bible Institute Drifting?

“Administrators – from vice presidents to the provost and president – regularly looked the other way when faculty members reported that a colleague was straying from the doctrinal statement.”

In the wake of allegations that Moody Bible Institute (MBI) is drifting theologically, the institute has consistently maintained that there is no drift, and that all its faculty are faithful to “Moody’s stated beliefs and mission.” Yet according to a lawsuit filed last week, Moody knowingly hired a woman who’s an ordained minister to teach

The post MBI Administrators Fail to Uphold Doctrine (Part 1): Hire, Then Fire Female Pastor/Oppose Profs Who Report Drift appeared first on Julie Roys.

Visit Julie Roys for the full post.

Turning schoolkids into Marxists

American Thinker

BLM’s thirteen principles are a hodgepodge of black power dictums, Marxist-based collectivism, and identity politics. One of the more disturbing principles listed is the group’s commitment to “disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.” “Our children” are part of the “collective who care for one another,” it states.

View Article

CARM: The Gospel and Roman Catholicism

The Finished Work of Christ and the Catholic Church

I have been interacting with a lot of Roman Catholics lately. Generally, I try to take the conversation straight to the gospel of grace alone in Christ alone, the complete sufficiency of His sacrifice and the fact that it is all of Him and nothing of us.

However, Roman Catholics rarely want to remain on the subject of the finished work of Jesus for very long. They want to talk about authority and tradition, debates over the sufficiency of Scripture, or claims about the supposed ancient pedigree of the Roman Catholic Church. Most of the “conversion stories” you see touted by many Roman Catholics are not stories of unbelievers coming to Jesus but rather stories of Protestants converting to the Catholic Church! If someone spends more time testifying about their church instead of Christ, that is a tell-tale sign of where their loyalty lies. As our Lord said, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” (Matthew 12:34). If your heart is filled with Christ, you will speak of the things of Christ.

This ought to be a reminder to biblical Christians as well. If Christ is indeed our all in all, then that should show itself in our words! We ought to be speaking of the things of Christ above all else! If we spend more time lauding the greatness of our favorite sports team, for example, than praising Christ, that tells us something about our priorities. Let’s keep Jesus first in our hearts and thus keep Him foremost on our lips and the center of all that we say and do!

“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence,” (1 Peter 3:15).


Scripture and Tradition

Speaking of Roman Catholic claims to authority and sacred tradition, if you struggle to answer those issues and defend the infallible authority of Scripture, here are some recent articles I’ve posted on that topic:

If any of these articles strike you as interesting or useful, please help us get the word out by sharing them on Facebook, Twitter, or through other social media formats. It is a free and easy way to help us reach more people with biblical answers and gospel truth.


The philosophical contradictions of the transgender worldview

(Ryan T. Anderson – Public Discourse) People say that we live in a postmodern age that has rejected metaphysics. That’s not quite true. We live in a postmodern age that promotes an alternative metaphysics. As I explain in When Harry Became Sally, at the heart of the transgender moment are radical ideas about the human person—in particular, that people are what they claim to be, regardless of contrary evidence. A transgender boy is a boy, not merely a girl who identifies as a boy. It’s understandable why activists make these claims. An argument about transgender identities will be much more persuasive if it concerns who someone is, not merely how someone identifies. And so the rhetoric of the transgender moment drips with ontological assertions: people are the gender they prefer to be. That’s the claim.

Transgender activists don’t admit that this is a metaphysical claim. They don’t want to have the debate on the level of philosophy, so they dress it up as a scientific and medical claim. And they’ve co-opted many professional associations for their cause. Thus the American Psychological Association, in a pamphlet titled “Answers to Your Questions about Transgender People, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression,” tells us, “Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identitygender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.” Notice the politicized language: a person’s sex is “assigned at birth.” Back in 2005, even the Human Rights Campaign referred instead to “birth sex” and “physical sex.”

The phrase “sex assigned at birth” is now favored because it makes room for “gender identity” as the real basis of a person’s sex. In an expert declaration to a federal district court in North Carolina concerning H.B. 2, Dr. Deanna Adkins stated, “From a medical perspective, the appropriate determinant of sex is gender identity.” Dr. Adkins is a professor at Duke University School of Medicine and the director of the Duke Center for Child and Adolescent Gender Care (which opened in 2015). Adkins argues that gender identity is not only the preferred basis for determining sex, but “the only medically supported determinant of sex.”  Every other method is bad science, she claims: “It is counter to medical science to use chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, external genitalia, or secondary sex characteristics to override gender identity for purposes of classifying someone as male or female.”

This is a remarkable claim, not least because the argument recently was that gender is only a social construct, while sex is a biological reality. Now, activists claim that gender identity is destiny, while biological sex is the social construct.

Adkins doesn’t say whether she would apply this rule to all mammalian species. But why should sex be determined differently in humans than in other mammals? And if medical science holds that gender identity determines sex in humans, what does this mean for the use of medicinal agents that have different effects on males and females? Does the proper dosage of medicine depend on the patient’s sex, or on his or her gender identity?

But what exactly is this “gender identity” that is supposed to be the true medical determinant of sex? Adkins defines it as “a person’s inner sense of belonging to a particular gender, such as male or female.” Note that little phrase “such as,” implying that the options are not necessarily limited to male or female. Other activists are more forthcoming in admitting that gender identity need not be restricted to the binary choice of male or female, but can include both or neither. The American Psychological Association, for example, defines “gender identity” as “a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else.”

Adkins asserts that being transgender is not a mental disorder, but simply “a normal developmental variation.” And she claims, further, that medical and mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of gender dysphoria are in agreement with this view.  View article →


Conversation with Phil Johnson re Michael Brown & His NAR ‘Truth’.

Latest episode from Chris Rosebrough’s YouTube channel. In this episode Ps. Chris Rosebrough and Phil Johnson, (executive director of Grace to You and ordained elder and pastor at Grace Community Church) – address the ongoing problems with the ‘apostle of obfuscation’, Dr Michael Brown.

Chris’ previous episode ‘Response to Michael Brown’s ‘Truth’ about NAR’, can be viewed here:

Email all comments and questions to c3churchwatch@hotmail.com

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Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:17

God’s invitation to men is broad but not unqualified. The words “whosoever will may come” throw the door open, indeed, but the church is carrying the gospel invitation far beyond its proper bounds, turning it into something more human and less divine than that found in the sacred Scriptures.

What we tend to overlook is that the word “whosoever” never stands by itself. Always its meaning is modified by the word “believe” or “will” or “come.”

According to the teachings of Christ no one will or can come and believe unless there has been done within him a prevenient work of God enabling him to do so.

In the sixth chapter of John, Jesus teaches us that no one can come of himself; he must first be drawn by the Father. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing,” Jesus said (6:63).

Before any man or woman can be saved, he or she must feel a consuming spiritual hunger. Where a hungry heart is found, we may be sure that God was there first—“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16).

Heavenly Father, I pray today for evangelists and missionaries around the world who are representing You in teeming cities and remote areas. Through them, I ask that You will draw many people to Yourself who have never heard the gospel message. Amen.[1]

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

February 9 This Sermon Is for Today

He opened His mouth and began to teach them.—Matt. 5:2

Because of the Sermon on the Mount’s seemingly impossible demands and behavioral standards that are counter to everything the world practices and holds dear, many Christians have taught that the Sermon applies only to the millennial age. If it were not just for a future kingdom era, the argument goes, Jesus would not have commanded believers to be perfect, just as their “heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).

But such an argument is invalid, for a number of reasons. First, and most obvious, the body of Jesus’ sermon nowhere indicates or even implies that its message should be set aside for a future age. Second, Jesus was delivering these instructions to people of the present age—His original hearers and us—not those living in the Millennium. Furthermore, many of the teachings become meaningless if we apply them to the Millennium. (For instance, there will be no persecution of Christians at that time; see Matt. 5:10–12, 44.)

The fourth reason these teachings have to apply now is that every principle and command Jesus sets forth is further applied by the writers of the New Testament epistles, directed to believers both then and now. And fifth, many other New Testament passages teach us standards that are equally unattainable as those in the Sermon on the Mount. Only with aid of the indwelling Spirit can these be done, even part of the time (cf. Phil. 1:9–10; Col. 3:1–2; 1 Peter 1:15–16).

Jesus’ sermon certainly does apply to us, marking out the distinctive lifestyle we should display to all those around us.


Which of the individual teachings from the Sermon on the Mount have you basically dismissed as being unattainable? Why have you classified one or more in this way? What could this deliberate refusal to obey tell you about the condition of your heart?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 48). Chicago: Moody Publishers.


Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Romans 14:8

I remember one young woman who learned to feel pain when God was dishonored. She left a little town in West Virginia to live with a guy who was a student at UCLA. After a while, he kicked her out. She wandered around and tried to take her life several times, but each time she survived. My sister and I met her and had the opportunity to lead her to Christ. Soon after that she decided to go back to her hometown so she could tell her mother and friends about Christ.

Several months later, she wrote me a letter. This is some of what she wrote:

“I can almost feel the unbearable sadness that God feels when someone rejects and doesn’t glorify Him. He’s God! He made us. He gave us everything. We continue to doubt and reject Him. It’s awful! When I think of how I hurt Him, I hope I can someday make it up.

“It’s all so clear to me that God must be glorified. He deserves it, and it’s long overdue. I can’t wait to just tell Jesus, and thus God indirectly, that I love Him. I want God to be God and to take His rightful place. I’m tired of the way people put Him down.”[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 52). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

February 9, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

73:3 the well-being of the wicked Though many passages in the ot depict God punishing evildoers, ot writers often struggle when they see the wicked experience good things.[1]

73:3 Being envious of the prosperity of the wicked occurs elsewhere in the psalms. This is a common temptation when God’s justice on the wicked is delayed (see note at 37:1).[2]

[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 73:3). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 880). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

—Genesis 12:7

I happen to believe that Abraham’s encounters with the living God nearly 4,000 years ago leave modern men and women without excuse.

Abraham stands for every believer. His eager and willing faith becomes every Christian’s condemnation. On the other hand, his fellowship with God becomes every believer’s encouragement.

If there is a desire in your heart for more of God’s blessing in your life, turn your attention to the details of Abraham’s encounters with God. You will find yourself back at the center, at the beating heart of living religion….

Remember, too, that at that point in history, almost 2,000 years before the coming of Jesus Christ into our world, Abraham had no Bible and no hymnal. He had no church and no godly religious traditions for guidance. He could not turn to a minister or an evangelist for spiritual help.

Abraham had only his own empty, hungry heart. That and the manifestation of the God who reveals Himself to men and women who desire to find Him and know Him! MMG019-020

Like Abraham, Lord, I come to You today with an empty, hungry heart, ready to listen for Your voice. Amen.[1]

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

February 9 God Doesn’t Change

“Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end.”

Psalm 102:27


God never changes, so He can be trusted to do what He says.

God alone is unchanging (or as the theologians say, immutable). The psalmist says, “Even [the heavens and earth] will perish, but Thou dost endure…. Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end” (Ps. 102:26–27). Though Israel deserved destruction for its sin, God was faithful to His covenant with Abraham, saying, “I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed” (Mal. 3:6). James calls God “the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow” (1:17).

What about those verses that say God changed His mind (e.g., Amos 7:3, 6; Jonah 3:10)? Let’s look at an example. Jonah warned the wicked city of Nineveh of impending judgment. The city immediately repented, and “when God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it” (3:10). Who changed? The people of Nineveh! God’s nature to punish evil and reward good remained the same, but the object changed.

You can’t blame the sun for melting the wax and hardening the clay. The problem is in the substance of the wax and clay, not in the sun. In a similar way, our standing before God determines how God acts toward us.

What does God’s unchanging character mean? To unbelievers, it means judgment. When God says, “The person who sins will die” (Ezek. 18:20) and “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), He means it. When He says Hell is eternal (Matt. 25:46; Rev. 20:10, 13–15), then it is.

To Christians, His immutability means comfort. If He loved me in the past, He loves me now and forever. If He forgave and saved me, He did so forever. If He promised me anything, His promise stands forever. If the Bible says, “My God shall supply all your needs” (Phil. 4:19), we know the power that supplied Paul’s needs is the same power that will supply ours. God told Israel, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3), and His love for us is the same.


Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God for His immutability, and thank Him for the comfort that brings you.

For Further Study: Find some promises God makes to His children in Scripture, and ask for faith to believe them, even when belief is difficult.[1]

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

February 8 Daily Help

SOME persons say they cannot bear to be an hour in solitude; they have got nothing to do, nothing to think about. No Christian will ever talk so, surely; for if I can but give him one word to think of—Christ—let him spell that over forever; let me give him the word Jesus, and only let him try to think it over, and he shall find that an hour is naught, and that eternity is not half enough to utter our glorious Saviour’s praise.

From a sweet fountain of thought we shall have sweet waters of talk. It is sweet to live in the thoughts of those we love.[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 43). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

February 8, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

Perfect Love and the Coming of Christ

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (4:9–11)

Jesus Christ is the preeminent manifestation of God’s love (John 1:14; cf. Rom. 5:8); He is God’s only begotten (unique) Son (Heb. 1:5), who came to earth in the flesh (Luke 2:7–14; John 1:14, 18; Heb. 5:5). The incarnation was the supreme demonstration of a divine love that was and is sovereign and seeking; it was not that [believers] loved God, but that He loved [them] and sent His Son to be the propitiation for [their] sins. The term propitiation refers to a covering for sin (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 2:17), and is a form of the same word (hilasmos) used in 2:2 (for a more detailed explanation of this important word and its background, see chapter 4 of this volume). Hundreds of years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah foresaw His propitiatory sacrifice:

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. (Isa. 53:4–6; cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1 Peter 3:18)

By this the perfect love of God was manifested in [believers], John wrote, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that [believers] might live through Him. The apostle’s point is that since God, in sovereign mercy, graciously displayed His love in sending Christ, the saints should surely follow His example and love others with sacrificial, Christlike love (Eph. 4:32). The Father not only gave His children a perfect love when He redeemed them (Rom. 5:5), but He also gave them the ultimate model in Christ of how that love functions in selfless sacrifice. The cross of Christ compels believers to such love. Thus John exhorted his readers: Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (cf. John 15:13). The apostle really just restated his admonition from 3:16, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” No one who has ever savingly believed in Christ’s atoning sacrifice, and thus been granted eternal life, can return permanently to a self-centered lifestyle. Instead such persons will obey Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians to “be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph. 5:1–2; cf. 1 Peter 1:15–16).[1]

11 With this verse, John begins to develop the ethical implications of the incarnation. Those who, unlike the Antichrists, accept God’s love as expressed in the sending of the Son ought to love one another (cf. 1 Jn 3:16). The logic of this conclusion is similar to that underlying John 13:12–17. After washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus instructs them that they should do the same for one another because, if “I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet” (13:14). If Jesus served the disciples in a sacrificial way, they should follow his example by serving one another sacrificially. Similarly, if God has defined perfect love by sending his Son as a sacrifice, we should love other believers the way God does.[2]

4:11 / Now the Elder draws the ethical consequences from God’s great act of love, of which he has been writing since v. 7. Dear friends (lit., “Beloved,” agapētoi) reminds the readers that they are loved, not just by the author but by God. Since is the correct translation of ei, not “if”; the case has been demonstrated in vv. 9–10. God loved: the aorist tense indicates the absolute and definitive quality of God’s love. As above, us is, for the Elder, primarily “we” who have come to know God’s love, without forgetting that God does love the whole world. The little word so (houtōs) deserves special attention. It can mean both “in this way” (as seen in God’s love in the previous verses) or “so much, excessively.” Both are true and make good sense in the present context. God’s love, not human love, is the model of authentic love (v. 10), and God’s gift of his only Son is an extreme act of love. God so loved us, both as to manner and as to intensity. This verse closely resembles John 3:16, and the entire passage (vv. 7–11) may be read as a commentary on it (Brown, Epistles, p. 519).

With God’s manifested (v. 9) love as the model and motivation, the community’s mandate is clear: we also ought to love one another. This resumes the thought of v. 7 and applies the lesson of vv. 7–10 to the relationships expected among God’s people. While those who have not experienced God’s love in Christ cannot be expected to love, we, the believing community, can and are. The verb ought (opheilomen) emphasizes love as our Christian obligation; we owe it as a debt (Rom. 13:8).[3]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 167–168). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] 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. 479–480). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Johnson, T. F. (2011). 1, 2, and 3 John (pp. 104–105). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

February 8: It’s Standing between You and God

Exodus 19–20; John 4:1–26; Song of Solomon 2:14–17

There is nothing more frustrating than being ordered around. Few people take to a drill sergeant. Although we like to cite the Ten Commandments (Exod 20) because they’re the norm, the rebellious part of our spirits has trouble with them. If we’re honest with ourselves and take them the way Jesus did (Matt 5–7), we’re confronted with the fact that we’ve all violated them at some point or another. (I don’t know anyone who has always honored their father and mother.)

If everyone lived by the Ten Commandments, the world would be a peaceful place. But again, we’re rebellious. The Ten Commandments reveal something about us: we’re weaker than we would like to believe. They also reveal something about our place before God: it’s not good—not without Jesus’ saving act that redeems us from our sins.

In John 4:1–26, we see Jesus confront a woman at a well who, like us, is a commandment-breaker. And because, as a Samaritan woman, she worships in a different place and in a different way than Jewish people, she is further frowned upon by the people around her. This makes Jesus’ remark to her all the more startling: “If you had known the gift of God and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me water to drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). Jesus tells her that He is what she is searching for—not rules or justification for her lifestyle as a commandment-breaker.

We commandment-breakers can live as legalists or attempt to justify our own decisions. Or we can do something entirely different and admit our need for the living water: Jesus. We can recognize that our religion or inability to keep commandments is not what matters most—what really matters is what God can do for us. We must acknowledge our weakness and need for Him. We must say, like the woman, “He [being Jesus] told me everything that I have done” (John 4:39).

How is religion, self-deprivation, or legalism standing between you and God?

John D. Barry[1]

[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.