Daily Archives: December 12, 2018

Thirty Days of Jesus Redux: Day 16, Two Kingdoms

The Wednesday Word: I know I am Saved Because….. — Reformedontheweb’s Blog

I know I am saved because I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

I know I am saved because the Eternal God became a man for me (1 Timothy 3:16).

I know I am saved because it was promised that Jesus, the God/Man, would save me (Matthew 1:21).

I know I am saved because Jesus lived for me and credited His perfect life to me (1 Corinthians 1:30).

I know I am saved because Jesus became a wrath offeringfor me (Romans 3:25).

I know I am saved because Jesus has given me the gift of eternal life (John 10:28).

I know I am saved because Jesus is the Shepherd who has never lost a sheep (John 18:9).

I know I am saved because Jesus is the Lawyer who has never lost a case (John 10:27-30).

I know I’m saved because Jesus is the Champion who has never lost a battle (Hebrews 2:10).

I know I am saved because I have been justified… declared not guilty and credited as being righteous (Romans 5:1).

I know I am saved because I have been reconciled unto God by the death of His Son (Romans 5:10).

I know I am saved because Jesus redeemed me. He bought and paid for me at the cross. I have redemption in Him (Ephesians 1:7).

I know I am saved because Jesus was buried for me (I Corinthians 15:4).

I know I am saved because Jesus rose from the dead for me (1 Corinthians 15:4).

I know I am saved because Jesus ascended into Heaven for me (Luke 24:50-51).

I know I am saved because Jesus was made a surety of a better testament for me (Hebrews 7:22).

I know I am saved because Jesus sat down in cosmic authority for me (Hebrews 10:12).

I know I am saved because Jesus, my High Priest, ever lives to make intercession for me (Hebrews 7:25).

I know I’m saved because Jesus intercedes to ensure all the benefits of His death are applied to me (Hebrews 7:25).

I know I am saved because the work Jesus finished on earth, He continually presents in heaven on my behalf (Hebrews 9:24).

I know I am saved because Jesus ever lives to save me to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).

I know I’m saved because his intercession for me is always successful (Romans 8:34-39).

I know that I am saved because the Father always hears the Son (John 11:42).

I know I am saved because Jesus is the Author of my faith. He began it (Hebrews 12:12).

I know I am saved because Jesus is also the finisher of my faith. He will finalize it! (Hebrews 12:12).

I know I am saved because nothing can separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39).

I know I am saved because the Bible declares; “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8: 33-34).

I know I am saved because by one offering He (Christ) has perfected forever them that are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14).

I know I am saved because Jesus has purged my sins (Hebrews 1:3).

I know I am saved because my sins are forgotten (Hebrews 8:12).

I know I am saved because my sins are put away (Psalm 103:12).

I know I am saved because my sins are behind God’s back (Isaiah 38:17).

I know I am saved because my sins are cast into the depth of the sea (Micah 7:19).

I know I am saved because the Lord Yahweh has said, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

I know I am saved because Jesus has promised to come back for me (John 14:3).

I know I’m saved because Jesus never lies (Numbers 23:19).

I know I am saved because;

“My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness

I dare not trust the sweetest frame

But wholly lean on Jesus name.

On Christ the solid rock I stand

All other ground is sinking sand.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: I know I am Saved Because….. — Reformedontheweb’s Blog

December 12, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Preeminence of Christ

(1:2–3)

In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (1:2–3)

Someone has said that Jesus Christ came from the bosom of the Father to the bosom of a woman. He put on humanity that we might put on divinity. He became Son of Man that we might become sons of God. He was born contrary to the laws of nature, lived in poverty, was reared in obscurity, and only once crossed the boundary of the land in which He was born—and that in His childhood. He had no wealth or influence and had neither training nor education in the world’s schools. His relatives were inconspicuous and uninfluencial. In infancy He startled a king. In boyhood He puzzled the learned doctors. In manhood He ruled the course of nature. He walked upon the billows and hushed the sea to sleep. He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His services. He never wrote a book and yet all the libraries of the world could not hold the books about Him. He never wrote a song, yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all songwriters together. He never founded a college, yet all the schools together cannot boast of as many students as He has. He never practiced medicine and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors have healed broken bodies. This Jesus Christ is the star of astronomy, the rock of geology, the lion and the lamb of zoology, the harmonizer of all discords, and the healer of all diseases. Throughout history great men have come and gone, yet He lives on. Herod could not kill Him. Satan could not seduce Him. Death could not destroy Him and the grave could not hold Him.

Fulfillment of Promises

The Old Testament tells us in at least two places (Jer. 23:18, 22 and Amos 3:7) that the prophets were let in on the secrets of God. Yet at times they wrote those secrets without understanding them (1 Pet. 1:10–11). In Jesus Christ they are both fulfilled and understood. He is God’s final word. “For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20). Every promise of God resolves itself in Christ. All the promises become yes—verified and fulfilled. Jesus Christ is the supreme and the final revelation.

In these last days. The last days are days of fulfillment. In the Old Testament the Jew saw the last days as the time when all the promises would be fulfilled. In these days Messiah would come and the Kingdom would come and salvation would come and Israel would no longer be under bondage. In the last days promises would stop and fulfillments begin. That is exactly what Jesus came to do. He came to fulfill the promises. Even though the millennial, earthly aspect of the promised Kingdom is yet future, the age of kingdom fulfillment began when Jesus arrived, and it will not finally be completed until we enter into the eternal heavens. The Old Testament age of promise ended when Jesus arrived.

Has spoken to us in His Son. Jesus Christ is the revelation of God climaxed. God fully expressed Himself in His Son. That affirms Christ as being more than just human. It makes Him infinitely superior to any created being, for He is God manifest in the flesh. He is the final and last revelation of God, in whom all God’s promises are fulfilled.

We have looked at the preparation for Christ and the presentation of Christ. Now we will look at His preeminence. In this brief but potent section (1:2–3) the Holy Spirit exalts Christ as the full and final expression of God—superior to and exalted above anyone or anything. In these verses we see Christ as the end of all things (Heir), the beginning of all things (Creator), and the middle of all things (Sustainer and Purifier).

When the question is brought up as to who Jesus Christ really was, some people will say He was a good teacher, some will say He was a religious fanatic, some will say He was a fake, and some will claim He was a criminal, a phantom, or a political revolutionary. Others are likely to believe that He was the highest form of humankind, who had a spark of divinity which He fanned into flame—a spark, they claim, that all of us have but seldom fan. There are countless human explanations as to who Jesus was. In this chapter we are going to look at what God says about who Jesus was, and is. In just half of verse 2 and in verse 3 is a sevenfold presentation of the excellencies of Jesus Christ. In all these excellencies He is clearly much more than a man.

His Heirship

Jesus’ first excellency mentioned here is His heirship: In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things. If Jesus is the Son of God, then He is the heir of all that God possesses. Everything that exists will find its true meaning only when it comes under the final control of Jesus Christ.

Even the Psalms predicted that He would one day be the heir to all that God possesses. “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee’ ” (Ps. 2:6–7). Again we read, “ ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware’ ” (Ps. 2:8–9). And still again, “ ‘I also shall make him My first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth’ ” (Ps. 89:27). “First-born” does not mean that Christ did not exist before He was born as Jesus in Bethlehem. It is not primarily a chronological term at all, but has to do with legal rights—especially those of inheritance and authority (which will be discussed in more detail in chapter 3). God’s destined kingdom will in the last days be given finally and eternally to Jesus Christ.

Paul explains that all things not only were created by Christ but for Him (Col. 1:16) and that “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36). Everything that exists exists for Jesus Christ. What truth better proves His equality with God?

In Revelation 5, God is pictured sitting on a throne, with a scroll in His hand. “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals” (v. 1). The scroll is the title deed to the earth and all that is in it. It is the deed for the Heir, the One who has the right to take the earth. In New Testament times Roman law required that a will had to be sealed seven times, to protect it from tampering. As you rolled it up, you sealed it every turn or so for seven times. The seals were not to be broken until after the person whose will it was had died.

John continues his vision: “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?’ ” (v. 2). Who, the angel wondered, is the rightful heir to the earth? Who has the right to possess it? “And no one in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look into it” (v. 3). Perplexed and saddened, John “began to weep greatly, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look into it; and one of the elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals’ ” (vv. 4–5). As he continued to watch, he “saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (v. 6). Jesus Christ, the Lamb, came and took the scroll out of the right hand of God. Why? Because He, and He alone, had a right to take it. He is Heir to the earth.

Chapter 6 of Revelation begins the description of the Tribulation, the first step in Christ’s taking back the earth, which is rightfully His. One by one Christ unrolls the seals. As each seal is broken, He takes further possession and control of His inheritance. Finally, “the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever’ ” (11:15). When He unrolls the seventh seal and the seventh trumpet blows, the earth is His.

In his first sermon, at Pentecost, Peter told his Jewish audience, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). This carpenter who died nailed to a cross is, in fact, the King of kings and Lord of lords. He will rule the world. Satan knew this truth when he approached Jesus in the wilderness and tempted Him to take control of the world in the wrong way, by bowing down to Satan. As the temporary usurper of God’s rule over the earth, Satan continually tries every means of preventing the true Heir from receiving His inheritance.

When Christ first came to earth He became poor for our sakes, that we, through His poverty, might be made rich. He had nothing for Himself. He had “nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). Even His clothes were taken from Him when He died. He was buried in a grave that belonged to someone else. But when Christ comes to earth again, He will completely and eternally inherit all things. And, wonder of wonders, because we have trusted in Him, we are to be “fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16–17). When we enter into His eternal kingdom we will jointly possess all that He possesses. We will not be joint Christs or joint Lords, but we will be joint heirs. His marvelous inheritance will be ours as well.

Some Still Reject Him

Amazingly, though Christ is the Heir of all God possesses, and though He offers to share His inheritance with anyone who will trust in Him, some still reject Him. Many rejected God as He revealed Himself in the Old Testament. Now God has perfectly revealed Himself in the New Testament of His Son, and people continue to reject Him.

Jesus illustrated this tragedy in a parable.

There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey. And when the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. And the vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them. But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and seize his inheritance.” And they took him, and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers? They said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” Matt. 21:33–44)

That parable needs no explanation.

To willfully reject Jesus Christ brings on the utter damnation and destruction of a vengeful God. To Israel that parable says, “Since what you have done was so blatant, not only rejecting and killing the prophets but rejecting and killing the Son, the promise has been taken away from you and given to a new nation, the church.” Israel was set aside until the time of her restoration.

His Creatorship

The second excellency of Christ mentioned in Hebrews 1 is His creatorship: through whom also He made the world. Christ is the agent through whom God created the world. “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3). One of the greatest proofs of Jesus’ divinity is His ability to create. Except for His complete sinlessness, His total righteousness, nothing more sets Him apart from us than His creatorship. Ability to create belongs to God alone and the fact that Jesus creates indicates that He is God. He created everything material and everything spiritual. Though man has stained His work with sin, Christ originally made it good, and the very creation itself longs to be restored to what it was in the beginning (Rom. 8:22).

The common Greek word for world is kosmos, but that is not the word used in Hebrews 1:2. The word here is aiōnas, which does not mean the material world but “the ages,” as it is often translated. Jesus Christ is responsible not only for the physical earth; He is also responsible for creating time, space, energy, and matter. Christ created the whole universe and everything that makes it function, and He did it all without effort.

Sir John C. Eccles, nobel laureate in neurophysiology, said that the odds against the right combination of circumstances occurring to have evolved intelligent life on earth are highly improbable, but he went on to say he believed that such did occur but could never happen again on any planet or in any other solar system (“Evolution and the Conscious Self,” in The Human Mind: A Discussion at the Nobel Conference, John D. Rolansky, ed. [Amsterdam: North Holland, 1967]). If you do not recognize a Creator you have quite a problem explaining how this marvelous, intricate, immeasurable universe came into being.

Yet thousands upon thousands of men believe that man emerged out of primeval slime. Man just evolved—that wondrous creature whose heart beats 800 million times in a normal lifetime and pumps enough blood to fill a string of tank cars running from Boston to New York; that same man whose tiny cubic half-inch section of brain cells contains all the memories of a lifetime; that same man whose ear transfers sound waves from air to liquid without losing any sound.

A.K. Morrison, another brilliant scientist, tells us that conditions for life on earth demand so many billions of minute interrelated circumstances appearing simultaneously, in the same infinitesimal moment, that such a prospect becomes beyond belief and beyond possibility.

Consider the vastness of our universe. If you could somehow put 1.2 million earths inside the sun, you would have room left for 4.3 million moons. The sun is 865,000 miles in diameter and is 93 million miles from the earth. Our next nearest star, Alpha Centauri, is 5 times larger than our sun. The moon is only 211,463 miles away, and you could walk to it in 27 years. A ray of light travels at 186 thousand miles per second, so a beam of light would reach the moon in only 1 ½ seconds. If we could travel at that speed, it would take 2 minutes and 18 seconds to reach Venus, 4 ½ minutes to reach Mercury, 1 hour and 11 seconds to reach Saturn, and so on. To reach Pluto, 2.7 billion miles from earth, would take nearly 4 hours. Having got that far, we would still be well inside our own solar system. The North Star is 400 trillion miles away, but is still nearby in relation even to known space. The star Betelgeuse is 880 quadrillion miles (880 followed by fifteen zeroes) from us. It has a diameter of 250 million miles, which is greater than that of the earth’s orbit.

Where did it all come from? Who conceived it? Who made it? It cannot be an accident. Somebody had to make it, and the Bible tells us the Maker was Jesus Christ.

His Radiance

Third, we see Christ’s radiance, the brightness of the glory of God. And He is the radiance of His glory. Radiance (apaugasma, “to send forth light”) represents Jesus as the manifestation of God. He expresses God to us. No one can see God; no one ever will. The only radiance that reaches us from God is mediated to us from Jesus Christ. Just as the rays of the sun light and warm the earth, so Jesus Christ is the glorious light of God shining into the hearts of men. Just as the sun was never without and cannot be separated from its brightness, so God was never without and cannot be separated from the glory of Christ. Never was God without Him or He without God, and never in any way can He be separated from God. Yet the brightness of the sun is not the sun. Neither is Christ God in that sense. He is fully and absolutely God, yet is a distinct Person.

We would never be able to see or enjoy God’s light if we did not have Jesus to look at. Standing one day before the Temple, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). Jesus Christ is the radiance of God’s glory, and He can transmit that light into your life and my life, so that we, in turn, can radiate the glory of God. We live in a dark world. There is the darkness of injustice, of failure, privation, separation, disease, death, and of much else. There is the moral darkness of men blinded by their godless appetites and passions. Into this dark world God sent His glorious Light. Without the Son of God, there is only darkness.

The great tragedy, of course, is that most men do not want even to see, much less accept and live in, God’s light. Paul explains that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). God sent His light in the Person of Jesus Christ, that man might behold, accept, and radiate that light. But Satan has moved through this world to blind the minds of men and prevent the light of the glorious gospel from shining on them.

Those, however, who receive His light can say, “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). That is what happens when God comes into your life.

The hymn writer said, “Come to the light. ’Tis shining for thee. / Sweetly the light has dawned upon me.” What a wonderful thing to realize that Jesus Christ, who is the full expression of God in human history, can come into our lives and give us light to see and to know God. His light, in fact, gives us life itself, spiritual life. And, His light gives us purpose, meaning, happiness, peace, joy, fellowship, everything—for all eternity.

His Being

Christ’s next excellency is His being. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature. Jesus Christ is the express image of God. Christ not only was God manifest, He was God in substance.

Exact representation translates the Greek term used for the impression made by a die or stamp on a seal. The design on the die is reproduced on the wax. Jesus Christ is the reproduction of God. He is the perfect, personal imprint of God in time and space. Colossians 1:15 gives a similar illustration of this incomprehensible truth: “He is the image of the invisible God.” The word “image” here is eikōn, from which we get icon. Eikōn means a precise copy, an exact reproduction, as in a fine sculpture or portrait. To call Christ the Eikōn of God means He is the exact reproduction of God. “For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).

His Administration

Also in Hebrews 1:3 is given the fifth of Christ’s excellencies, His administration, or sustenance. He upholds all things by the word of His power. Christ not only made all things and will someday inherit all things, but He holds them all together in the meanwhile. The Greek word for upholds means “to support, to maintain,” and it is used here in the present tense, implying continuous action. Everything in the universe is sustained right now by Jesus Christ.

We base our entire lives on the continuance, the constancy, of laws. When something such as an earthquake comes along and disrupts the normal condition or operation of things even a little, the consequences are often disastrous. Can you imagine what would happen if Jesus Christ relinquished His sustaining power over the laws of the universe? We would go out of existence. If He suspended the law of gravity only for a brief moment, we would all perish, in unimaginable ways.

If the physical laws varied, we would have an unbelievable mess. We could not exist. What we ate could turn to poison. We could not stay on the earth; we would drift out into space. We would get flooded by the oceans periodically. Countless other horrible things would happen, many of which we could not even guess.

Consider, for example, what instant destruction would happen if the earth’s rotation slowed down just a little. The sun has a surface temperature of 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit. If it were any closer to us we would burn up; if it were any farther away we would freeze. Our globe is tilted on an exact angle of 23 degrees, providing us with four seasons. If it were not so tilted, vapors from the oceans would move north and south and develop into monstrous continents of ice. If the moon did not retain its exact distance from the earth the ocean tides would inundate the land completely, twice a day. After the first flooding, of course, the others would not matter as far as we would be concerned. If the ocean floors were merely a few feet deeper than they are, the carbon dioxide and oxygen balance of the earth’s atmosphere would be completely upset, and no animal or plant life could exist. If the atmosphere did not remain at its present density, but thinned out even a little, many of the meteors which now harmlessly burn up when they hit the atmosphere would constantly bombard us. We would have to live underground or in meteor-proof buildings.

How does the universe stay in this kind of fantastically delicate balance? Jesus Christ sustains and monitors all its movements and inter-workings. Christ, the preeminent Power, maintains it all.

Things do not happen in our universe by accident. They did not happen that way in the beginning. They are not going to happen that way in the end, and they are not happening that way now. Jesus Christ is sustaining the universe. He is Himself the principle of cohesion. He is not like the deist’s “watchmaker” creator, who made the world, set it in motion, and has not bothered with it since. The universe is a cosmos instead of chaos, an ordered and reliable system instead of an erratic and unpredictable muddle, only because Jesus Christ upholds it.

Scientists who discover great and amazing truths are doing nothing but discovering a few of the laws that Jesus Christ designed and uses to control the world. No scientist or mathematician, no astronomer or nuclear physicist, could do anything without the upholding power of Jesus Christ. The whole universe hangs on the arm of Jesus. His unsearchable wisdom and boundless power are manifested in governing the universe. And He does it by the word of His power, without effort. The key to the creation story in Genesis is in two words, “God said.” God spoke and it happened.

When I think about Christ’s power to uphold the universe, that truth goes right to my heart. We read in Philippians 1:6 the wonderful promise, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” When Christ begins a work in your heart, He holds onto it and sustains it all the way through. We can imagine Jude’s excitement when he wrote, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24–25). When your life is given to Jesus Christ, He holds it and sustains it and one day will take it into God’s very presence. A life, just as a universe, that is not sustained by Christ is chaos.

His Sacrifice

The sixth excellency of Christ is His sacrifice: When He had made purification of sins. What a tremendous statement!

The Bible says the wages of sin is death. Jesus Christ went to the cross, died our deserved death for us, and thereby took the penalty for our sin on Himself. If we will accept His death and believe that He died for us, He will free us from the penalty of sin and purify us from the stain of sin.

It was a wondrous work when Jesus Christ created the world. It is wondrous that He sustains the world. But a greater work than making and upholding the world is that of purging men of sin. In Hebrews 7:27 we are told that Jesus “does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” In the Old Testament the priests had to make sacrifice after sacrifice, for themselves and for the people. Jesus made but one sacrifice. He not only was the Priest, but also the Sacrifice. And because His sacrifice was pure, He can purify our sins—something that all the Old Testament sacrifices together could not do.

And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?… but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Heb. 9:12–14, 26b)

Jesus Christ dealt with the sin problem once and for all. It had to be done. We could not communicate with God or enter into fellowship with Him unless sin was dealt with. So Christ went to the cross and bore the penalty of sin for all who would accept His sacrifice, believe in Him, and receive Him. Sin was purged, wiped out.

This truth must have seemed especially remarkable to those to whom the book of Hebrews was first written. The cross was a stumbling block to Jews, but the writer does not apologize for it. Instead, he shows it to be one of the seven excellent glories of Christ. His words are as straightforward as those of Peter: “[You know] that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18–19).

We are all sinners. And either we pay the penalty for our own sin, which is eternal death, or we accept Jesus Christ’s payment for it in sacrificing Himself, for which we receive eternal life. If the desire of our heart is to receive Him as Savior, to believe in and to accept His sacrifice, our sins are washed away at that point. The Bible says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin (Heb. 9:22) and that “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Jesus came as the perfect Sacrifice. The man whose sins are forgiven has them forgiven only because of Jesus Christ. But the blood of Jesus Christ will never be applied to us unless by faith we receive Him into our lives.

Yet again, there are people who reject Him! Hebrews 10:26 warns, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” If we reject Jesus Christ there is nothing in the universe that can take away our sin, and we will die in it. Jesus said to such persons, “[You] shall die in your sin; where I am going you can never come” (John 8:21).

His Exaltation

The last of Christ’s excellencies mentioned in this passage is His exaltation. He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. The Majesty on high is God. The right hand is the power side. Jesus took His place at the right hand of God. The marvelous thing about this statement is that Jesus, the perfect High Priest, sat down. This is in great contrast to the priestly procedure under the Old Covenant. There were no seats in the Tabernacle or the Temple sanctuaries. The priest had no place to sit because God knew it would never be appropriate for him to sit. His responsibility was to sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, over and over again. So the priests offered sacrifices daily—and never sat down. But Jesus offered one sacrifice, and said, “It is finished.” He then went and sat down with the Father. It was done. What could not be accomplished under the Old Covenant, even after centuries of sacrifices, was accomplished once by Jesus Christ for all time.

Jesus’ sitting down at His Father’s right hand signifies at least four things. They are, briefly:

First, He sat down as a sign of honor, “that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11). To be seated at the right hand of the Father is honor indeed.

Second, He sat down as a sign of authority. “[He] is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him” (1 Pet. 3:22). He sat down as a ruler.

Third, He sat down to rest. His work was done. “But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12).

Fourth, He sat down to intercede for us. “Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:34). He is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for all of us who belong to Him.

Here we have God’s portrait of Jesus Christ. We have seen the preeminent Christ in all His offices. We have seen Him as prophet, the final spokesman for God. We have seen Him as priest, atoning and interceding. We have seen Him as King, controlling, sustaining, and seated on a throne. This is our Lord Jesus Christ.

A man who says that Jesus Christ is anything less than this is a fool and makes God out a liar. God says that His Son is preeminent in all things.

What does this mean to us? It means everything. To reject Him is to be shut out from His presence into an eternal hell. But to receive Jesus Christ is to enter into all that He is and has. There are no other choices.[1]


2b–3a Seven arresting statements now fill out the unique status of “the Son” and make it unmistakably clear he is much more than a passing historical figure like the prophets. The first five statements focus on his relationship to God and to the created universe in such a way as to place him outside the natural order as its originator and sustainer. Two further clauses in v. 3b will then bring his historical work of redemption into focus, but first we are invited to contemplate the eternal glory of the Son since before the world was made.

Three clauses trace the role of the Son in relation to the universe, covering respectively its past, present, and future. It was “through” the Son that God made the universe in the past; in the present that same Son upholds everything “by his powerful word”; and the future destiny of the universe is understood also in relation to him who has been made the “heir of all things” (perhaps echoing Ps 2:8; cf. the quotation of Ps 2:7 that follows in v. 5). This is the same threefold relation to the creation, embracing all eternity, which is succinctly expressed in Paul’s formula in Romans 11:36: “from him and through him and to him are all things”; Paul was speaking there of God, not of Christ, but in Colossians 1:16–17 he says the same of Christ: “all things were created by him and for him …, and in him all things hold together.” The author of Hebrews, like Paul (and John in 1:1–3), has no hesitation in saying of Jesus what in Jewish orthodoxy was reserved for God the Creator.

The double clause that opens v. 3 describes the Son’s relation to God more directly and even more unequivocally, not now in his creative role but in his essential nature: he is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” He is, in other words, as in John 1:14, 18, God made visible. To see what God is like we must look at the Son. “Radiance” (apaugasma, GK 575) means literally the “outshining” (though it is sometimes also used of a “reflection”) of the glory that is God’s essential character, while “exact representation” translates the vivid Greek metaphor charaktēr, “imprint, stamp” (GK 5917), used, for instance, of the impression made on a coin, which exactly reproduces the design on the die. (The idea is the same as the more familiar phrase “the image of God.”) Again there is a close echo of Colossians 1:15, 19: “He is the image of the invisible God.… God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.”

3b The glory of the Son consists not only in his eternal nature but also in his role in bringing salvation to human beings. The two clauses that conclude the description of the Son take up this theme and thus introduce two of the most prominent themes of the letter as a whole. First, he has “provided purification for sins.” The theme of the sacrificial work of Christ will come into focus especially in chs. 9–10 as the outworking of his office as our great high priest, where the author will emphasize that this work of purification is now fully complete. While at this point he does not yet spell out the means by which this “purification” has been achieved, his readers would be well aware that it must be through the shedding of blood (9:14, 22, etc.). The way is thus prepared for the paradoxical argument of ch. 2 that it is in his humiliation and death that the superior glory of the Son, as our perfect redeemer, is revealed.

But humiliation is followed by exaltation, and the author’s first allusion to Psalm 110:1 introduces the language of “sitting at the right hand,” which will echo through the letter (cf. 1:13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2). The Son, his earthly work complete, now occupies in heaven the place of highest authority next to God himself.

Such is the nature of the Son, who has now added to his unique creative work by coming into the world he made in order to bring the final and perfect revelation of God by making the true nature of the invisible God visible on the canvas of a human life, and by his redeeming work has fulfilled God’s purpose of salvation. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory” (Jn 1:14). Here is a work of God on a different level altogether from what the prophets could offer.[2]


1:3 / The third and fourth phrases in this characterization of Christ turn to the manner in which the Son is a true expression of the father. The Son (lit., “who”) is the radiance of God’s glory. The word radiance or “radiant light” means intense “brightness.” Barclay effectively paraphrases: “The Son is the radiance of his glory just as the ray is the light of the sun.” Again a parallel exists between the personification of wisdom, this time in the apocryphal book the Wisdom of Solomon (7:25f.): “For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; … she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness” (rsv). Other nt writers hold a similar view of Christ. In the prologue of the Gospel of John, Christ is designated “the true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world” (John 1:9), in whom “we have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father” (John 1:14). For John, as for our author, Jesus expresses the brilliant glory of God. Paul, too, speaks of the light that Christ brought, referring to “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6; cf. 4:4).

The next phrase, he is the exact representation of his being, is simply a more explicit way of expressing what the author has just said. The Son is a perfect representation of God’s being “just as the mark is the exact impression of the seal” (Barclay). The thought is again reminiscent of Christology elsewhere in the nt, for example in Paul’s statements that Christ is “the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4) and “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15); although in these two instances, the Greek word (eikōn, from which comes the English word “icon”) is different from that used here. John expressed the same idea in the words “anyone who has seen me [Jesus] has seen the Father” (John 14:9). It is to be noted further that it is God’s own being that is expressed so accurately, the word being here to be understood as “substance” or “essence.” These two parallel phrases at the beginning of verse 3 obviously speak of the uniqueness of the Son. They also point to the extraordinary connection between the Father and Son. In order for the Son to be the kind of direct, authentic, and compelling expression of the Father described in these phrases—for him to be the radiance of God’s glory and the impress of his very essence—he must participate somehow in the being of God itself, that is, he must himself be deity to accomplish the wonderful mission described here. Our author would have us conclude, without denying the distinction between Father and Son, that the Son is of the same order of existence as God, and so with God over against all else that exists.

As the Son was instrumental in the creation of the universe (v. 2), so the continuing significance of the Son is seen, in the fifth phrase, in his sustaining all things by his powerful word. Philosophers of every age are prone to ask what it is that underlies reality—that is, what dynamic sustains and makes coherent all that exists. Our author, further revealing his christocentric perspective, finds the answer in the mighty word of the Son. This view also finds parallels in Paul and John. When John uses “Word” (logos) to describe Jesus, he uses a term that has both Jewish and Greek associations. For the Greek Stoic philosophers logos was the underlying principle of rationality that made the world orderly, coherent, and intelligible. Without using the technical term logos, Paul argues in similar fashion: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). Although the author of Hebrews does not use the specific term logos in this passage, the idea that Christ sustains the universe, is behind it all, and keeps it all going (as the present participle sustaining indicates), is parallel.

Our author, however, is not content simply to mark off the incomparable character of the Son against all others and all else, as he has done in the first five phrases. He wants also to get to one of the main points of the epistle, the atoning work of the Son, for this, too, is vitally a part of and dependent upon the Son’s uniqueness. What makes these the last days is that “once-and-for-all” (to borrow language that will be encountered later in the epistle) he … provided purification for sins. This indeed is the preeminent work of the Son. The “cleansing of sins” (a literal translation) may seem strange in the midst of glorious clauses pointing to the deity of the Son. This phrase, after all, describes the work of the high priest and, though impressive in itself, would seem familiar enough to a Jewish reader. With the insertion of this clause, however, the author anticipates a main argument of the book (cf. chaps. 9 and 10): the work of the high priest is not efficacious in itself but rather foreshadows the priestly work of the one who alone can make atonement for sins. Only God in the Son can accomplish the sacrifice that makes possible the cleansing and the forgiveness of sins (see Rom. 3:24–26). Thus the cleansing of sins rightly belongs with phrases that describe the uniqueness of the Son in his relationship to God.

When he had thus accomplished the purpose of his incarnation, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. The words of this final and climactic clause convey a sense of completion and fulfillment of God’s purpose. They are drawn from a messianic psalm of the ot (Ps. 110) that is exceptionally important to our author’s argument. Psalm 110:1 is cited or alluded to here and in 1:13 (more fully); 8:1; 10:12–13, and 12:2. Psalm 110:4, the Melchizedek passage, is cited or alluded to in 5:6, 10; 6:20; and throughout chapter 7 (vv. 3, 11, 15, 17, 21, 24, 28). Why is this psalm so important to our author? Two main arguments of the epistle can be supported by Psalm 110: the incomparable superiority of Christ (as revealed in his exaltation to the right hand of God) and the extraordinary high priesthood of Christ (as paralleled and prefigured by Melchizedek). The ascension of Christ to the position of power and authority at the side of the Father is the vindication of the true identity of the one who suffered and died in accomplishing the forgiveness of sins. This view is found often in the nt and is regularly associated with the ascension of Christ. “He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe” (Eph. 4:10); Christ, “who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him” (1 Pet. 3:22). Jesus alludes to Psalm 110:1 in the synoptic tradition (see Mark 12:36 and 14:62, both with parallels in Matthew and Luke). What the psalmist promised now had come to pass—hence the note of completion and finality. That he has sat down signifies the completion of his atoning work (cf. 10:11–12).[3]


1:2–3. What God announced through the prophets was important. What he spoke through his Son was climactic, definitive, and superlative. We are living in the last days, not in a chronological sense but in a theological sense. Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension showed that we have entered new territory in God’s plans. In these final days God has spoken through his Son. God wants us to hear him. We had better listen. Anyone neglecting what Jesus says faces the spiritual danger of a driver crashing through road signs announcing, “Bridge out ahead!”

The overwhelming superiority of the Son is described with seven majestic phrases. The first two show the relationship of the Son to creation. Jesus is the heir of all things in that he will ultimately have control over all creation (Heb. 2:8). God worked through his Son to make the universe of time and space (Col. 1:16). The Son was God’s intermediate agent in creation.

The next two phrases show the Son’s relationship to the Father. As the radiance of God’s glory, the Son reflects God’s spotless purity; he shined into human hearts (John 1:9). As the exact representation of God’s being, the Son has the divine substance of the Father. This was a bold proclamation of Jesus’ deity. Jesus is God.

The fifth phrase shows something the Son is now doing in the world. God’s creative word formed the world of time and space (Heb. 11:3). The sustaining word of the Son maintains it. As the sustainer of the world, the Son carries God’s plan to its conclusion. With Jesus in charge we know that the world will not fall into utter chaos. God’s plans will triumph.

The sixth and seventh phrases focus on the redemptive work of Christ. The Son brought us God’s grace because his death removed the stain of sin. Jesus has provided purification for sins as an act of supreme grace without any merit on our part. After dealing with our sins, Jesus ascended the throne. In his resurrection and ascension he assumed a place of honor at God’s right hand. Today we proclaim him as Lord.

The Son is a Prophet through whom God spoke his final word to human beings. The Son is a Priest who has removed the blot of sin from our ledger. He is a King exalted by God to a supreme place of honor.[4]


3. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

  • “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory.” The word radiance is to be preferred to variations of the word reflection, which many translations provide. The moon receives its light from the sun and simply reflects these light beams to the earth. The moon itself does not possess nor emanate light, because it does not produce light. The sun as a heavenly body radiates its light in all its brightness and power to the earth. By way of comparison, we may see Christ as the radiant light coming from the Father as sunlight emanates from the sun.7

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12); he is light, and in him there is no darkness. He radiates the light of God’s glory, perfection, and majesty. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes observes that Jesus’ radiance “is not so much … the glory of the Son’s deity shining through his humanity, but … the glory of God being manifested in the perfection of his manhood completely attuned as it was to the will of the Father.”

Jesus’ radiance is derived from the Father, even though he himself is the light. The Son causes the radiance of the Father to shine forth. As John writes in the prologue to his Gospel, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14). The Son’s radiance, therefore, is an extension of God’s glory.

  • “And the exact representation of his being.” The Son is the perfect representation of God’s being. That is, God himself stamped upon his Son the divine imprint of his being. The word translated as “exact representation” refers to minted coins that bear the image of a sovereign or president. It refers to a precise reproduction of the original. The Son, then, is completely the same in his being as the Father. Nevertheless, even though an imprint is the same as the stamp that makes the impression, both exist separately. The Son, who bears “the very stamp” (R.S.V.) of God’s nature, is not the Father but proceeds from the Father and has a separate existence. Yet he who sees the Son has seen the Father, as Jesus explained to Philip (John 14:9).

The word being is really a parallel of the word glory, for both terms describe the essence of God. Although existing separately, the Son, as the exact representation of the Father’s being, is a perfect copy of God’s nature. The Son is the mediator who possessed God’s glory by nature before he assumed his mediatorial role. The Son bears the exact imprint of the Father’s being from eternity.

  • “Sustaining all things by his powerful word.” The Son is not only the Creator of the universe (1:2); he is the upholder of all things as well (1:3). The two passages complement each other and reveal the divine power of the Son. He speaks, and by his word all things are sustained, preserved, upheld.

This part of the verse in the original is closely connected to the preceding portion by means of the particle and, which unfortunately many translations omit. It directly ties the participial phrase to the verb is in the first part of the sentence.

The first part of the verse stresses the person of Christ; the second, the work of Christ. From a discussion about the being of the Son, the writer proceeds to an explanation of the Son’s activity, which involves caring for all things. In fact, the word that has been translated as “sustaining” basically means carrying. That word in itself signifies a forward motion, although not in the sense of an Atlas whose movement is torturously slow because the weight of the globe nearly crushes him.

The Son carries “all things” to bring them to their destined end. And he does this by a mere utterance (“by his powerful word”). Christ, the ruler of the universe, utters a word, and all things listen in obedience to his voice. No other motions are necessary, for the spoken word is sufficient.

  • “After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” This sentence indicates a sequence in the redemptive deeds of Christ.

He performed his mediatorial work by completing and yielding his earthly life as a sacrifice on the cross for the removal of sins. In a rather pithy phrase the high-priestly work of Christ is summarized: Christ himself “provided purification for sins.” According to the Mosaic law the high priest had to make atonement on the Day of Atonement to cleanse the people of Israel of all their sins (Lev. 16:29–34). The Aaronic high priest was a sinner and therefore did his work imperfectly, whereas Christ as the sinless One and the true High Priest completed the work of purification perfectly. The high priest in the Old Testament era needed animal sacrifices, first to cleanse himself and afterward to remove the sins of the people. Christ was simultaneously the High Priest and the sacrifice when he offered himself for the purification of the sins of his people. The Son once for all offered himself up on the cross in order to atone for our sins. The plural is used for the concept sin (see Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 2 Peter 1:9).

After his mediatorial work was completed, the Son ascended to heaven and took his rightful place of honor next to God the Father. In typical Hebraic style, perhaps to avoid offending any of his Jewish readers, the author refers to God as the Majesty in heaven. Of course, elsewhere in the epistle he freely uses God’s name.

  • “He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (cf. Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:2; Col. 3:1). The expressions sat down and the right hand must not be taken literally, but rather symbolically. The idea of sitting at the right hand of someone signifies a privilege granted to a highly honored person. In this instance it means that the Son now has authority to rule his worldwide kingdom on earth and is enthroned above all spiritual powers “in heavenly places.” The kingdom belongs to him and God has given him “the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9–11).[5]

2. Who being the brightness of his glory, &c. These things are said of Christ partly as to his divine essence, and partly as a partaker of our flesh. When he is called the brightness of his glory and the impress of his substance, his divinity is referred to; the other things appertain in a measure to his human nature. The whole, however, is stated in order to set forth the dignity of Christ.

But it is for the same reason that the Son is said to be “the brightness of his glory,” and “the impress of his substance:” they are words borrowed from nature. For nothing can be said of things so great and so profound, but by similitudes taken from created things. There is therefore no need refinedly to discuss the question how the Son, who has the same essence with the Father, is a brightness emanating from his light. We must allow that there is a degree of impropriety in the language when what is borrowed from created things is transferred to the hidden majesty of God. But still the things which are evident to our senses are fitly applied to God, and for this end, that we may know what is to be found in Christ, and what benefits he brings to us.

It ought also to be observed that frivolous speculations are not here taught, but an important doctrine of faith. We ought therefore to apply these high titles given to Christ for our own benefit, for they bear a relation to us. When, therefore, thou hearest that the Son is the brightness of the Father’s glory, think thus with thyself, that the glory of the Father is invisible until it shines forth in Christ, and that he is called the impress of his substance, because the majesty of the Father is hidden until it shews itself impressed as it were on his image. They who overlook this connection and carry their philosophy higher, weary themselves to no purpose, for they do not understand the design of the Apostle; for it was not his object to shew what likeness the Father bears to the Son; but, as I have said, his purpose was really to build up our faith, so that we may learn that God is made known to us in no other way than in Christ: for as to the essence of God, so immense is the brightness that it dazzles our eyes, except it shines on us in Christ. It hence follows, that we are blind as to the light of God, until in Christ it beams on us. It is indeed a profitable philosophy to learn Christ by the real understanding of faith and experience. The same view, as I have said, is to be taken of “the impress;” for as God is in himself to us incomprehensible, his form appears to us only in his Son.2

The word ἀπαύγασμα means here nothing else but visible light or refulgence, such as our eyes can bear; and χαρακτὴρ is the vivid form of a hidden substance. By the first word we are reminded that without Christ there is no light, but only darkness; for as God is the only true light by which it behoves us all to be illuminated, this light sheds itself upon us, so to speak, only by irradiation. By the second word we are reminded that God is truly and really known in Christ; for he is not his obscure or shadowy image, but his impress which resembles him, as money the impress of the die with which it is stamped. But the Apostle indeed says what is more than this, even that the substance of the Father is in a manner engraven on the Son.

The word ὑποστάσις, which, by following others, I have rendered substance, denotes not, as I think, the being or essence of the Father, but his person; for it would be strange to say that the essence of God is impressed on Christ, as the essence of both is simply the same. But it may truly and fitly be said that whatever peculiarly belongs to the Father is exhibited in Christ, so that he who knows him knows what is in the Father. And in this sense do the orthodox fathers take this term, hypostasis, considering it to be threefold in God, while the essence (οὐσία) is simply one. Hilary everywhere takes the Latin word substance for person. But though it be not the Apostle’s object in this place to speak of what Christ is in himself, but of what he is really to us, yet he sufficiently confutes the Arians and Sabellians; for he claims for Christ what belongs to God alone, and also refers to two distinct persons, as to the Father and the Son. For we hence learn that the Son is one God with the Father, and that he is yet in a sense distinct from him, so that a subsistence or person belongs to both.

And upholding (or bearing) all things, &c. To uphold or to bear here means to preserve or to continue all that is created in its own state; for he intimates that all things would instantly come to nothing, were they not sustained by his power. Though the pronoun his may be referred to the Father as well as to the Son, as it may be rendered “his own,” yet as the other exposition is more commonly received, and well suits the context, I am disposed to embrace it. Literally it is, “by the word of his power;” but the genitive, after the Hebrew manner, is used instead of an adjective; for the perverted explanation of some, that Christ sustains all things by the word of the Father, that is, by himself who is the word, has nothing in its favour: besides, there is no need of such forced explanation; for Christ is not wont to be called ῥῆμα, saying, but λόγος, word. Hence the “word” here means simply a nod; and the sense is, that Christ who preserves the whole world by a nod only, did not yet refuse the office of effecting our purgation.

Now this is the second part of the doctrine handled in this Epistle; for a statement of the whole question is to be found in these two chapters, and that is, that Christ, endued with supreme authority, ought to be head above all others, and that as he hath reconciled us to his Father by his own death, he hath put an end to the ancient sacrifices. And so the first point, though a general proposition, is yet a twofold clause.

When he further says, by himself, there is to be understood here a contrast, that he had not been aided in this by the shadows of the Mosaic Law. He shews besides a difference between him and the Levitical priests; for they also were said to expiate sins, but they derived this power from another. In short, he intended to exclude all other means or helps by stating that the price and the power of purgation were found only in Christ.

Sat down on the right hand, &c.; as though he had said, that having in the world procured salvation for men, he was received into celestial glory, in order that he might govern all things. And he added this in order to shew that it was not a temporary salvation he has obtained for us; for we should otherwise be too apt to measure his power by what now appears to us. He then reminds us that Christ is not to be less esteemed because he is not seen by our eyes; but, on the contrary, that this was the height of his glory, that he has been taken and conveyed to the highest seat of his empire. The right hand is by a similitude applied to God, though he is not confined to any place, and has not a right side nor left. The session then of Christ means nothing else but the kingdom given to him by the Father, and that authority which Paul mentions, when he says that in his name every knee should bow. (Phil. 2:10.) Hence to sit at the right hand of the Father is no other thing than to govern in the place of the Father, as deputies of princes are wont to do to whom a full power over all things is granted. And the word majesty is added, and also on high, and for this purpose, to intimate that Christ is seated on the supreme throne whence the majesty of God shines forth. As, then, he ought to be loved on account of his redemption, so he ought to be adored on account of his royal magnificence.[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 9–20). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 38–39). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (pp. 23–26). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 9). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 29–31). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[6] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (pp. 35–39). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

‘Foreign agent’ Butina has no ties to Russian intel, was jailed for nothing – Putin — RT World News

Maria Butina, a Russian national arrested in the US on charges of failing to register as a foreign lobbyist, has no ties to Russian intelligence services and the whole case against her was thin, President Vladimir Putin has said. Read Full Article at RT.com
— Read on www.rt.com/news/446222-putin-butina-ties-intelligence/

‘Shocking for democracy’: 4,500+ put into custody since start of Yellow Vest protests in France — RT World News

The number of people arrested since the beginning of the massive popular protests that have gripped France for weeks has surpassed a staggering 4,500, with critics calling the actions of the authorities crackdown on democracy. Read Full Article at RT.com
— Read on www.rt.com/news/446207-france-thousands-arrested-yellow-vests/

U.S. Debt Poised To Hit The $22 Trillion Mark As “Storm Clouds” Indicate “We Could Have Another Financial Crisis”

The rapidly exploding U.S. national debt is about to cross another critical threshold.  According to the U.S. Treasury, the debt of the federal government is currently sitting at $21,854,296,172,540.94, and at our current pace we will likely hit the $22 trillion mark next month.  This is a horrifying national crisis, and yet nothing is being done about it.  When Barack Obama entered the White House in January 2008, the U.S. was $10.6 trillion in debt, and so that means that we have added 11.2 trillion dollars of new debt to that total in less than 11 years.  Needless to say, it doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that we have been adding an average of more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt for more than a decade.  But instead of getting our insatiable appetite for debt under control, Congress is actually accelerating our spending.  At this point, there is no possible scenario in which this story ends well.

Meanwhile, the global financial elite are really starting to talk up the possibility of a new financial crisis.

For example, the deputy head of the IMF just said that he sees “storm clouds building”

The storm clouds of the next global financial crisis are gathering despite the world financial system being unprepared for another downturn, the deputy head of the International Monetary Fund has warned.

David Lipton, the first deputy managing director of the IMF, said that “crisis prevention is incomplete” more than a decade on from the last meltdown in the global banking system.

“As we have put it, ‘fix the roof while the sun shines’. But, like many of you, I see storm clouds building and fear the work on crisis prevention is incomplete.”

And according to CNBC, Janet Yellen is warning that “we could have another financial crisis”…

“I think things have improved, but then I think there are gigantic holes in the system,” Yellen said Monday night in a discussion moderated by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman at CUNY. “The tools that are available to deal with emerging problems are not great in the United States.”

Yellen cited leverage loans as an area of concern, something also mentioned by the current Fed leadership. She said regulators can only address such problems at individual banks not throughout the financial system. The former fed chair, now a scholar at the Brookings Institution, said there remains an agenda of unfinished regulation. “I’m not sure we’re working on those things in the way we should, and then there remain holes, and then there’s regulatory pushback. So I do worry that we could have another financial crisis.”

It almost sounds as if they have been reading The Economic Collapse Blog.  Of course they probably aren’t, and the truth is that at this point the next crisis is so close that just about everybody should be able to see it.

So what can be done?

Well, Texas hedge fund manager Kyle Bass wants a trillion dollars in new infrastructure spending.

That sounds nice, but we are already adding more than a trillion dollars to our national debt every year.  If we want to spend a trillion dollars fixing up our crumbling infrastructure, where is that money going to come from?

We have been spending far, far more money than we have been bringing in, and that has been propping up our economy for quite some time now.  But we are progressively making our long-term problems much worse, and there is no way that we can sustain this Ponzi scheme for much longer.

And it isn’t just the national debt that is a massive problem.  U.S. consumers are more than 13 trillion dollars in debt, and a new report has discovered that credit card debt continues to surge to new heights

Americans are carrying a record amount of credit card debt, according to a new study.  The average American family has about $7000 in revolving debt compared to $6081 this time last year. And as interest rates rise, so will those monthly payments to service these debts.

This year’s report focused on revolving debt (debt that is carried over month after month) because it is a “more accurate indicator” of financial hardship, said NerdWallet, who compiled the report.  “Credit card debt is the stain on millions of Americans’ finances that doesn’t scrub off easily, if ever,” says NerdWallet credit card expert Kimberly Palmer. “High interest rates combined with expenses that continue to outweigh income mean that some households are unable to fully rid themselves of debt and, in fact, continue to take on more.”

We are a society that is absolutely addicted to cheap debt, but now interest rates are going up, and that is going to cause some enormous financial problems.

Our world has never seen anything like the debt bubble that we are facing right now, and most of that debt was accumulated when interest rates were low.  The system simply cannot handle higher rates at this point, and according to Michael Pento “a worldwide depression is coming like we have never seen before”…

“Unfortunately, a worldwide depression is coming like we have never seen before because we have never before had so much debt sit on top of artificially depressed interest rates,” said Pento in an interview with USA Watchdog‘s Greg Hunter back in May.“The hubris and arrogance of central banks to take that away, they are way too late in doing so, and they think they can do this with impunity.  They are dead wrong.  They (central banks) have always caused recessions.  We are heading into a global depression.”

Whenever you go into debt in order to enjoy a higher standard of living than you currently deserve, there are short-term benefits but long-term pain.

For decades, America has been stealing from the future in order to make the present more pleasant, but now we have painted ourselves into a corner.

If we had made wiser choices, things could have turned out differently, but that didn’t happen.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.
— Read on theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/u-s-debt-poised-to-hit-the-22-trillion-mark-as-storm-clouds-indicate-we-could-have-another-financial-crisis

Reveal the Congressional Hush Fund Hypocrites

How many of Trump’s accusers are guilty of the very infraction they accuse him of?

Which is worse: candidate, businessman, and then still private citizen Donald Trump using his own money to make what Hillary Clinton might call “bimbo eruptions” go away to protect his brand and himself from personal embarrassment, or Congress using taxpayer money in a slush fund to pay off those sexually harassed by sitting officeholders?
— Read on www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/12/reveal_the_congressional_hush_fund_hypocrites.html

Dershowitz: Media, Dems Would Call Investigation ‘Witch Hunt’ if Clinton Paid Off Paula Jones | Breitbart

Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz argued if the circumstances were that the current controversy involving President Donald Trump was “President” Bill Clinton instead of Trump, the tack of the media and Democrats would be different regarding the issue of impeachment.

Dershowitz said Democrats and the aligned media would refer to the current situation as a “witch hunt” if Clinton were involved and that Republicans would take the current position of Democrats and call for Clinton’s impeachment.

“I want everyone out there to imagine the following scenario,” he said. “Let’s assume that when Bill Clinton was running for president, Paula Jones came up to him and said, ‘Unless you pay me $130,000, I’ll reveal our affair.’ And let’s assume that Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton together did exactly what is alleged that Donald Trump and [Michael] Cohen did together. I guarantee you The New York Times, NBC, MSNBC would be railing against any prosecutor who dared to suggest that this was a violation of the campaign finance law. Everybody would be on the other side of this issue. There would be Republicans out there saying strip him of the presidency, impeach him, indict him. Every Democrat would be saying this is a witch hunt, this is terrible.”

“We need a single standard. If you wouldn’t go after Bill Clinton, don’t go after Donald Trump,” he added. “If you’re going after Donald Trump, then you have to go after Hillary Clinton for everything she allegedly did.”
Dershowitz went on to call for the “shoe-on-the-other-foot test” for this and other similar potential investigations.

(h/t RCP Video)
— Read on www.breitbart.com/video/2018/12/10/dershowitz-media-dems-would-call-investigation-witch-hunt-if-clinton-paid-off-paula-jones/

Schooling a Scholar — Grace to You Blog

It’s easy to be intimidated by the intellectual giants and academic elite of this world. But the gospel message profoundly levels that playing field. The conversation between Christ and Nicodemus illustrates that human accolades and prestige don’t diminish a person’s need for the blunt truth of the gospel.

When Nicodemus first approached Jesus in John 3, the Pharisee was not yet truly a believer (his future conversion is confirmed by John 19:38–39). But he was clearly intrigued by Christ. He showed Him the utmost respect. In fact, Nicodemus’s greeting was an unqualified acknowledgment of Christ’s prophetic authority—an affirmation given by no other Council member either before or after this. He said, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2).

The title “Rabbi” was an expression of honor. Coming from a ruling Pharisee like this, it was a signal that Nicodemus regarded Jesus as an equal. Of course Nicodemus intended that as a great compliment.

Jesus’ reply was abrupt and to the point, a demonstration of the prophetic authority Nicodemus had just acknowledged: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Ignoring the verbal honor Nicodemus had paid Him, changing the subject away from His own ability to do miracles, Jesus made a statement that was plainly intended as a remark about Nicodemus’s spiritual inabilityand blindness.

It was a breathtaking reply, especially given Nicodemus’s stature as a religious leader. Nicodemus was no doubt accustomed to being shown great honor and deference. Jesus’ first recorded words to him instead conveyed the clear and deliberate implication that this leading Pharisee was still so far from the kingdom of heaven that he was unable to see it at all. If Nicodemus had been motivated solely by pride, or merely looking for affirmation, he would certainly have been offended by Jesus’ reply.

But Nicodemus was clearly being drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit, because his answer to Jesus was surprisingly unruffled. There’s no hint of resentment, no insults directed at Jesus, no iciness. He continues to show Jesus the respect due an eminent rabbi by asking a series of questions designed to draw the meaning out of Jesus’ words—words that must have hit him like a hard slap in the face.

Nicodemus had devoted his life to a rigid observance of the Pharisees’ traditions, which he no doubt firmly believed were fully in accord with the law of God. He might have expected commendation from Jesus for his personal piety. He might have hoped he could help reconcile Jesus and the Sanhedrin after the Temple-cleansing incident. That was, after all, Jesus’ only public conflict with Israel’s religious leaders so far. Nicodemus may well have heard about John the Baptist’s advocacy of Jesus. He had obviously heard about—possibly even witnessed—the miracles. In fact, the language Nicodemus used (“we know that You have come from God as a teacher”) suggested that he had discussed Jesus’ prophetic credentials with others who agreed that He must be from God. Clearly, Nicodemus approached Jesus with high hopes and eager expectations.

How Jesus’ reply must have stunned him! Nicodemus had honored Christ by calling Him Rabbi; Jesus suggested in return that Nicodemus was not even a spiritual beginner yet. He had no part in the kingdom whatsoever. Jesus wasn’t being unkind or merely insulting; He was being truthful with a man who desperately needed to hear the truth. Nicodemus’s soul was at stake.

“Born again?” Nicodemus did not instantly seem to grasp that Jesus was talking about regeneration—the new birth, the spiritual awakening of a dead soul. But it was clear enough that Jesus was calling him to make a whole new start. That was a lot to ask of someone like Nicodemus, who (like any good Pharisee) believed he was accumulating merit with God by a lifetime of careful attention to the law’s tiniest ceremonial details. What did Jesus want him to do—cast all that aside like garbage?

That, of course, is precisely how the apostle Paul would later describe his own conversion from Pharisaism in Philippians 3:7–9:

Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.

Jesus chose the perfect language to convey all that to Nicodemus: “You must be born again” (John 3:7). With that simple expression, Jesus demolished Nicodemus’s entire worldview and value system. His Jewish birth and upbringing; his attainments as a leading Pharisee; the care with which he kept himself from ceremonial defilement; the respect he had earned in the eyes of his countrymen; all the merit he thought he had stored up for himself—Jesus reduced it all at once to utter worthlessness. Whatever else Jesus meant, this much was plain: Jesus was demanding that Nicodemus forsake everything he stood for, walk away from everything he had ever done as a Pharisee, abandon hope in everything he ever trusted, and start all over from the beginning.

Nicodemus’s reply has often been misunderstood: “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (John 3:4). Don’t imagine that Nicodemus was so naive as to think Jesus was telling him he literally needed to be physically reborn. Nicodemus must have been a highly skilled teacher himself, or he would not have attained his position. He was clearly a perceptive man—perhaps the most discerning of all the Sanhedrin. So we must give him credit for a modicum of intelligence. His question to Jesus should no more be interpreted as a literal reference to physical birth than Jesus’ original remark to him. How well Nicodemus understood Jesus’ point isn’t spelled out for us in detail, but it is clear that he got the gist of the idea that he needed a whole new start.

Thus his rejoinder to Jesus merely picked up on Jesus’ imagery and employed it to show Jesus that he understood the impossibility of what Jesus had prescribed for him. He was a mature man—patriarchal enough in both age and wisdom to serve as one of Israel’s chief elders. Membership in the Sanhedrin was an honor not often bestowed on young men. So when Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old?” he was pointing out that men his age don’t simply decide to start over at the beginning. And when he asked, “He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” it’s only reasonable to assume he was remarking about the utter impossibility of causing himself to be “reborn” in any sense. Nicodemus had that much right. And as he was about to find out, the rebirth he needed was nothing less than a regenerative work by almighty God.

(Adapted from The Jesus You Can’t Ignore)

Schooling a Scholar — Grace to You Blog

Prosperity gospel is a ‘damning heresy that paves the road to Hell’, says Benny Hinn’s nephew | Christian News on Christian Today

Costi Hinn, the nephew of televangelist Benny Hinn, has listed five reasons why he hates the prosperity gospel, which he has condemned as a “damning heresy that paves the road to Hell.”
— Read on www.christiantoday.com/article/prosperity-gospel-is-a-damning-heresy-that-paves-the-road-to-hell-says-benny-hinns-nephew/131184.htm

The War Against “Conversion Therapy” – CultureWatch

The endgame of the militant homosexual lobby has always been this: the complete and final elimination of any and all opposition and criticism. Not only that, but the compulsory promotion and celebration of this lifestyle has also been actively sought after and worked for.

And the biggest obstacle to all this has always been the Christian faith. The radicals have long known that the full acceptance and enforcement of their agenda can only take place when the Christian church is completely silenced. When it is muzzled by the heavy hand of the law, then the final triumph of homosexual activism will be complete.

Christianity insists that we are all born sinners, but that Christ came to deal with the sin question, as well as provide a way out of our chains. Christianity is a transformative religion in which people really can become new creatures in Christ. And that means even homosexuals can be transformed if they want to be. 

But that threatens the very core of the homosexual narrative, depending as it does on the myth that homosexuals are born that way and can never change. Never mind all the honest homosexuals who have disagreed with this, and all those ex-homosexuals who prove this to be a lie.

So without question there is a massive conflict between the homosexual gospel and the Christian gospel. They both cannot be true at the same time, and only one can prevail. The homosexual militants know this full well, which is why everywhere they are seeking to make “conversion therapy” illegal and turn it into a major crime.

The term itself is a pejorative term, invented by the activists. Also called reparative therapy, all that it really involves is the offer of genuine assistance for those who want it. It has nothing to do with forcing anyone to do anything. If a person does not like his unwanted same-sex attraction and wants to get some help or counsel, they should be able to.

And that usually can take several forms: some just want the ability to stay celibate in this area, while others want to have some help with the actual attractions. And there are plenty of walking, talking examples of this very thing: many ex-homosexuals speak about how even their attractions have diminished, or disappeared altogether.

I happen to know many of these people personally. They were fully into the homosexual lifestyle for many years, but then they found a way out, and are so glad they did. Yet the activists want to make it a crime for anyone to offer this much needed help.

Imagine denying any sex addict the help they need and want. Should people struggling with various compulsive sexual behaviours be told they CANNOT seek any help, and they must remain exactly where they are – for life? I thought the other side was all about choice and freedom?

Here they are denying choice and saying people cannot be freed – even if they desperately want to be. But sadly one government after another has bowed down to the radical homosexual agenda, and is passing laws making it illegal for anyone to offer such help – even to those who really do seek it.

A number of countries and a number of American states have already banned such help, and in Australia Victoria has as well. If a federal Labor government is voted in this coming May, they will bring this in as well. So all over the West a war has been declared on those who are struggling with unwanted homosexual attractions, and those wanting to help them. 

This is a direct threat to Christianity and it strikes at the core of Christian truth claims: that individuals can have their lives radically transformed by the power of Christ. And we have so many former homosexuals who have found new life in Christ.

But these laws banning this will mean Christians can NOT do what they were sent out to do: to preach the gospel and see people freed from the chains of sin, self, and Satan. All that is becoming a crime in many jurisdictions. Thus if you are a pastor or a counsellor or a therapist, and a person wants help in this area, you will NOT be allowed to give him that help.

And if you do seek to provide it, you WILL face the heavy hand of the law. Make no mistake about this: this IS a direct attack on the Christian faith, and it is all-out war declared on the ability of Christians to share the gospel and see lives transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Let me offer some thoughts on this matter by two authorities. One very recent piece is well worth quoting from. In it Dr Carys Moseley looks at the scene in the UK. She begins her very important piece this way:

The LGBT movement worldwide – as well as inside the UK government – has made banning so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for homosexuality its number one goal. It is a top priority for Victor Madrigal-Borlaz, the UN LGBT czar, who told the ILGA Europe annual conference in Brussels on 27 October that he is determined to collect evidence worldwide to prove that ‘conversion therapy’ can be categorised as ‘torture’.

Taking therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction can include two goals, depending on what the client wants: some people want to diminish their same-sex attraction and remain celibate; others also wish to see a development in their natural potential for opposite-sex attraction. As this work is likely more common among Christians, the campaign to ban such therapy has anti-Christian and anti-social implications that reach well beyond this kind of pastoral care….

The real target is Christian teaching and pastoral care based on it, and the spiritual duty to repudiate sin after spiritual conversion. Conversion in the real spiritual sense does demand moving away from homosexual behaviour. This is clear from the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Corinth….

As has become evident in California and Malta, laws aimed at banning ‘conversion therapy’ are really being used to attack the religious freedom of Christians, specifically the right to uphold publicly the nature of marriage, sexual ethics, and as such traditional orthodox interpretation of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In Malta, gay rights activists and even government ministers were complicit in stretching the meaning of ‘conversion therapy’ (as ‘healing’) to include Christian testimony and thus spinning tall tales on the matter. In California therapists managed to alert church leaders to the fact that a ban would constitute the thin edge of the wedge as regards state control of Christian pastoral care.

When we consider that Jesus Christ upheld the teaching of Genesis 1-2 we must reckon with the fact that this is an attack on the mind of Christ about the Old Testament and its fulfilment in the times of the New Testament. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark record Christ’s teaching on marriage which is explicitly based on the book of Genesis. Thus an attack on Christians’ freedom to teach about this and to organise churches and groups based on this is among other things an attack on the interpretation of Holy Scripture.

She concludes:

It is impossible to have a Christian church and outreach without Christian sexual ethics rooted in the doctrines of creation and fall. Defending people’s right to treatment is not just an individual matter, it now involves the need to defend people’s right to have small groups and to keep matters confidential within those groups. It should be obvious that this extends to entire churches and therefore comes under freedom of assembly as well as the right to privacy (freedom from surveillance) and the right to respect for private and family life.

If you are watching from the sidelines and thinking ‘my church does not offer counselling for people to move from homosexual attraction and behaviour to heterosexual attraction and behaviour, therefore I/we won’t be affected by a therapy ban’, think again. As this is all really a worldwide attack on the Bible and Christian ethics in relation to human sexuality and embodiment, it is an all-out attack on Christianity. It is time Christians in the UK stood up to be counted otherwise much vital Christian pastoral work will be forced underground here and internationally.
www.christianconcern.com/our-issues/sexual-orientation/why-christians-must-defeat-the-global-attack-on-conversion-therapy

My second piece comes from another authority on homosexuality, Robert Gagnon. He gave a talk several years ago, addressing some of the concerns that even some Christians may have with this. Sadly, some churches and Christian leaders have fallen for much of the homosexual agenda, and are also condemning “conversion therapy”. Gagnon urges us not to ‘throw it under the bus’. He says:

Reparative Therapy has been mostly attacked from within by psychology, but also by fellow Christians, although from a different angle. In psychology, this attack is coming from the LGBTQ stranglehold which it possesses on that profession. In offering their own critique, the Christian community is giving aid and comfort to their enemies and distress to our friends. This is unintentional, but it is still happening. This is collateral damage.

He quotes the father of Reparative Therapy, Joseph Nicolosi, saying it “involves a collaborative relationship between the therapist and the client in which the therapist agrees to work with the client to reduce his unwanted attractions and explore, his heterosexual potential. No outcome can be guaranteed. Outcomes range along a continuum from complete change to partial change, that is management and reduction of unwanted feelings.” 

Gagnon concludes:

Descriptions of “Reparative Therapy Heresy” and denunciations of Reparative Therapies (there are actually more than one, really) as “non-Christian” or even “anti-Christian” are not helpful. Reparative Therapy should be embraced by Christians, not as a total answer to life, not as an alternative to the Christian faith, but as one valid tool for dealing with same sex attractions. Which again, it does not primarily have in view the altering of the attractions, but the altering of the dissonance between their understanding of their gendered self and their actual gendered self given to them by the Creator.
www.josephnicolosi.com/collection/robert-a-j-gagnon?fbclid=IwAR0bsAjWvUh4wsnyI5pzqmkQ69_STvc-cCsS_pSdvZbJm2yheQh8xV5kbO0

The homosexual war against offering help to homosexuals wanting out, or at least seeking some change, is a full-frontal assault on Christianity and the Christian gospel. If it becomes illegal to tell people that change is possible in their lives, then the entire faith is undermined and muzzled.

And this draconian war on change is really just what we have with militant Islam: conversion out of Islam is considered to be blasphemous and deserving of death. How much longer before the help offered to homosexuals who really want it is not just illegal, but worthy of the death penalty? Serious question folks.
— Read on billmuehlenberg.com/2018/12/11/the-war-against-conversion-therapy/

“Stronghold Of Evil” – Russia Slams America’s Illegal Syrian Occupation | Zero Hedge

Russia identifies American forces as “the basic source of destabilization”…

On Tuesday a top Russian military official slammed the United States for “illegally occupying” a massive zone in southwest Syria surrounding the American garrison of al-Tanf, effectively protecting some 6,000 armed militants that Russia has designated terrorists.

The Head of Russia’s National Defense Control Center, Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, called the US-occupied area “the last stronghold of evil” which continues to fester with militants “on the territory of the independent state”. He identified a 55 km zone surrounding the base in a desert region along the Syrian-Iraq border, which American special forces and US-backed FSA groups have held since 2016 after taking the key crossing from ISIS.

American base in Syria

“Perhaps, only our American partners do not want to see up to date how much has been done to revive peaceful life in Syria. They are holding with incomprehensible stubbornness the occupied 55 km area around al-Tanf where 6,000 armed militants are on the loose and are preventing the disbanding of the Rukban refugee camp,” the general said at a Syrian-Russian inter-departmental coordination headquarters, according to TASS.

The Rukban camp falls withing the US-occupied perimeter and is home to between 50,000 and 60,000 refugees stuck near the desolate Jordanian and Iraqi frontier, especially after Jordan closed its side of the border in 2016. Russia has accused US forces of preventing humanitarian aid from reaching the camp, except through the mediation of armed groups operating in the area, with some militants based in the camp itself.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry asked previously this week: “Why do the US’ partners insist on joining the militants from illegal armed groups to render humanitarian aid and not give their consent to real assistance to those in need in Rukhan?” Recent reports suggest the camp is on the brink of mass starvation, with the US and Damascus trading blame for holding up U.N. aid convoys into the camp, which is also occupied by armed groups fighting the Syrian government.

 Al Rukban camp between the Jordan and Syria borders, via the AP

The Foreign Ministry further laid specific blame for a UN and Syrian Red Crescent convoy being turned away in November from the US-occupied zone by American occupying forces.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Igor Tsarikov said:

There is growing concern related to the dubious activity of the United State and its allies in Syria. The illegal occupation of the 55 km zone around the base in al-Tanf continues to be the basic source of destabilization in that part of Syria.

Meanwhile The New Yorker recently acknowledged the US presence in Syria to be much larger than previously thought, describing the total size of American occupied territory as “about the size of Croatia.” 

According to The New Yorker:

The United States has built a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia

A year ago a Pentagon official let slip that there are about 4,000 American personnel in Syria  a number which has likely climbed since then.

It goes without saying that of course there’s never been a Congressional vote or authorization on this, just the same shoddy post-911 AUMF fig leaf of “legality”.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-11/us-occupies-territory-syria-size-croatia-russia-slams-illegal-stronghold-evil

The EU & The Warning Signs Of Fascism | Zero Hedge

“Of course, the increasing possibility of an EU consensus imposed by force is only one part of the threat…Outside of physical repression, there are warning signs of intellectual repression…”

Authored by Kit Knightly via OffGuardian.com,

Things are spiralling out of control in Europe, faster than many predicted.Outside of Brexit, there is strong anti-EU feeling in Hungary, Spain, Italy, Greece and France. The EU is in danger of crumbling, and people afraid of losing power are prone to extreme acts of dictatorial control.

How long before the EU truly becomes the authoritarian force that people from both ends of the political spectrum have always feared?

THE EU DEFENCE FORCE

Earlier this year, the EU voted to “punish” one of its own members, Hungary, for the internal policies of its elected government. To be clear about this – whatever you think of Viktor Orban, he was elected by the people of Hungary. He is their legally recognised democratic leader. Hungary voted for him – in contrast, Hungary did NOT vote for any of the 448 MEPs who supported the motion, posed by Dutch MEP Judith Sargentini, that:

The Hungarian people deserve better…They deserve freedom of speech, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice and equality, all of which are enshrined in the European treaties.”

Note that “democracy” is not included on that list. “Tolerance”, “justice” and “equality”, but not democracy. A Freudian slip, perhaps.

The European Parliament vote was, itself, a corrupt nonsense – one in which abstentions were disregarded so the 2/3rds majority could be reached. Forcing through a bill that, essentially, calls for a change of regime in Hungary via:

appropriate measures to restore inclusive democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights in Hungary”

One suggested punishment – “The Nuclear Option” – is a loss of voting rights. Hungary would still be a member of the EU, would still have to pay into the EU, would still have to obey all EU laws and regulations, but would no longer have a say in what those laws were.

This would, notionally, be in defence of “inclusive democracy”.

How long before disapproval and punishment of certain leaders turns into outright removal? Can we really say that would never happen?

This month, Paris (and other French cities) have seen the massive Gilets Jaunes protests against the fuel tax, austerity and income inequality. The violent repression of these protests has received no criticism from either individual member states of the EU, or the EU itself. However, an armored vehicle painted with the EU’s insignia was seen on the streets of Paris.

Both Macron and Merkel have talked, recently, of the need for an EU Army – will these protests in France be used as an excuse to implement those plans?

Let’s assume the EU Army is brought about – let us supply the European Union with its coveted “defence force”. 250,000 hypothetical men, drawn from all the member states. What is their purpose? What is their function?

For example, would they have been deployed to Catalonia last year to “keep the peace”? Would an EU army have moved against a peaceful vote to “defend” the integrity of the Union?

Would a possible step in dealing with Viktor Orban’s government be to deploy the EU Defence Force to Budapest and remove the man who is a threat to “equality”? Would that count as “appropriate measures to restore inclusive democracy”?

If Brexit is ruled a “threat to human rights” (or some other collection of buzzwords), would the EU army be rolling armoured vehicles along the streets of London to protect us from ourselves?

There have been, and could be, many situations in the EU’s recent past where military intervention was only avoided because it literally wasn’t an option. An EU Army would make it an option, do we trust Brussels not to avail themselves of it?

Some argue that an EU Army would be a good thing because it would decrease Europe’s reliance on NATO, and remove US influence. I don’t believe that to be the case, and as evidence, I supply the fact that the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a well-known US-backed NGO, is very much in favour of the plan.

THE EU’S MINISTRY OF TRUTH

Of course, the increasing possibility of an EU consensus imposed by force is only one part of the threat.

Outside of physical repression – both by the EU (of national sovereignty), and by the state (of the individual right to protest) – there are warning signs of intellectual repression. A coming crackdown on freedom of expression and opinion.

There is a scary article on The Guardian today: Russia ‘paved way for Ukraine ship seizures with fake news drive’ . It’s not scary because of the headline – it’s scary because of the motivations behind it, and the implications for the future of Europe.

The meat of the article is an unsourced, unlinked, evidence-free claim of Russian malfeasance, and as such, Hitchens’ Razor applies.

The first half of the article is riddled with lies, omissions and mistakes. It’s the Guardian, you expect that. Disregard the babble about cholera and nuclear bombs. Disregard the factual errors – many though they are. In this instance, none of it matters.

All that matters is the second half – the proposed “solution” to the “problem” to which this article is a “reaction”. Namely, online disinformation. Specifically, “Russian” online disinformation.

Julian King, former UK ambassador to France and now EU security commissioner, wants tech companies to take steps to prevent the spread of “fake news”. It’s a war against dissent, with three fronts.

One – establish the “truth”:

Last week the European Commission announced it would set up a rapid alert system to help EU member states recognise disinformation campaigns

Essentially, there will be an EU mandated list of acceptable “news”, and anything which deviates from that in the slightest way will be branded “disinformation”. This will allow people to dismiss, rather than engage with, views that differ from their own.

Two – eliminate dissent:

King said social media platforms needed to identify and close down fake accounts that were spreading disinformation.

By “fake accounts”, they mean accounts which spread “disinformation”. Being a “bot” is not about whether or not you are a real person, it’s about whether or not you have the right opinions. As has been demonstrated, they either do not know or do not care who is real and who is not. Perfectly real people have been labelled Russian bots in the media, when they are proven to be neither Russian nor bots. Whether this is incompetence or corruption does not matter, the point is governments have shown they cannot be trusted on this issue.

Three – control the narrative:

We need to see greater clarity around algorithms, information on how they prioritise what content to display, for example. If you search for anything EU-related on Google, content from Russian propaganda outlets like RT or Sputnik is invariably in the first few results….All of this should be subject to independent oversight and audit.

The Google algorithm is allowing news that either disagrees with the EU, or is directly critical of it, to be shown in their results. This is unacceptable. What the EU security commissioner wants is for Google to “fix” their system, to make sure news that deviates from the EU’s agenda does not show up in their results.

Now, if you think that sounds like censorship, don’t worry because [our emphasis]:

What we are not trying to do is to censor the internet.There is no suggestion that we – or anyone else – should become the arbiter of what content users should or shouldn’t be consuming online. This is about transparency, not censorship.

The EU wants Google to remove certain websites from their algorithm, but it’s about transparency, not censorship. So that’s OK.

CONCLUSION

To sum up:

  • The European Union’s two major figureheads are both in favour of an EU army.

  • The European Union’s flag is painted on armoured vehicles repressing anti-government protests in France.

  • The European Union is putting aside £4.6 millio (5 million Euros) to “help people recognise disinformation”.

  • The European Union wants to pressure social media companies into “shutting down” accounts that spread “fake news”.

  • The European Union wants Google to alter their algorithm, to promote news that praises the EU and demote sites critical of it.

  • The European Union wants us to understand that this is about “transparency” and is definitely NOT censorship.

Does this sound like an organization of which we want to be a part? Are we supposed to like the proposed multi-national EU “defense force” putting down anti-EU marches on the streets of Barcelona or Rome? To cheer on the idea that the EU Army could be sent into non-cooperative member-states to remove “dangerous” elected leaders because they are a threat to “equality”?

We won’t even be able to get to truth of those matters, because the EU will be supplying lists of “fake news” social media accounts to Twitter and Facebook, who will dutifully shut them down. While Google alters and re-alters their algorithm to make sure any news covering EU repression of democracy is pushed so far down the results pages it may as well not exist.

The British press, pundits and talking heads are constantly referring to the “Brexit crisis”, but that’s just hysteria and fear mongering. Re-negotiating your position in a trade bloc is NOT a crisis. A crisis is what happens when an unelected, bureaucratic power structure suddenly senses its grip on power is slipping, and acts accordingly.

And a crisis could well be on the horizon. The signs are there, if you want to see them.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-11/eu-warning-signs-fascism

Think socialism is a great idea? Read this – WND

Peope who think socialism is a great idea should read a history of Russia. The brutality is unparalleled in world history. “This time” won’t be any better.

Rasputin, described as “The Holy Devil,” moved to St. Petersburg in 1906 and began to gain access to the royal family of Tsar Nicholas II. Posing as a mystic, Rasputin was known for strange prophecies, claims of superstitious healing powers, and sexual excesses. As the Tsar and his family came under Rasputin’s spell, the monarch’s credibility suffered, his authority was undermined, and public distrust spread.

At this time, Tsar Nicholas escalated his father’s policy of restricting Jews and implementing a full anti-Jewish “pogrom” of cruel persecution. More then 2 millions Jews fled, many to the United States. It was a tragedy, which, in a way, spared them from future Russian tragedies.

World War I started in 1914. Fighting raged from Europe to the Middle East.

The Tsar sent three million Russian soldiers west to fight Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II. Unprepared to face German heavy artillery, over 78,000 Russians were killed or wounded and over 90,000 captured at the Battle of Tannenberg, August 26-30, 1914. Within a year, over 1.4 million Russian soldiers were killed and nearly a million captured.

Russian General Denikin described: “The German heavy artillery swept away whole lines of trenches, and their defenders with them. We hardly replied. There was nothing with which we could reply. Our regiments, although completely exhausted, were beating off one attack after another by bayonet. … Blood flowed unendingly, the ranks became thinner and thinner and thinner. The number of graves multiplied.”

Russia’s disillusionment with the Tsar grew. This, together with severe cold weather and food shortages, allowed Vladimir Lenin’s community organizers to agitate and fan unrest, leading to the Bolshevik Revolution – Red October of 1917.

Lenin distributed propaganda, incited class warfare, provoked strikes, staged bank robberies, attacked police and ordered assassinations. Embracing Karl Marx’s socialism, Lenin forced the Tsar from power, seized control of the government, then proceeded to arrest, imprison and execute tens of thousands of Russians in a Red Terror. Tsar Nicholas II and his family were executed.

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Because there were relatively few revolutionaries, they used terror as a tactic to coerce people to hurriedly surrender their freedoms to a totalitarian government.

Lenin wrote: “It is necessary – secretly and urgently – to prepare the terror.”

To his revolutionaries in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, Lenin ordered in a telegram: “to introduce mass terror.”

Lenin instructed on how to treat “kulak” farmers: “Comrades! The kulak uprising in your five districts must be crushed without pity. … You must make example of these people. Hang (I mean hang publicly, so that people see it) at least 100 kulaks, rich bastards, and known bloodsuckers. Publish their names. Seize all their grain. Single out the hostages per my instructions in yesterday’s telegram. Do all this so that for miles around people see it all, understand it, tremble, and tell themselves that we are killing the bloodthirsty kulaks and that we will continue to do so. … Yours, Lenin. P.S. Find tougher people.”

The policy of “dekulakization” – the killing off of millions of independent “kulak” farmers – removed those who could challenge Lenin’s power. It also had the unanticipated consequence of devastating food production, resulting in the horrendous national famine of 1921-22, where an estimated 5 million died.

Bolsheviks replaced the Christian religion with a materialistic atheism. Church property was confiscated or destroyed. Free speech and free press were prohibited. Private property was abolished.

Centralizing power, Vladimir Lenin explained: “The goal of socialism is communism.”

In 1924, as Lenin lay dying, suffering from incessant headaches, Joseph Stalin usurped power, even circulating a fake photo doctored to have him sitting next to Lenin. Stalin then ruled as an absolute dictator of the Soviet Union.

Franklin Roosevelt told the American Youth Congress, Feb. 10, 1940: “The Soviet Union … is run by a dictatorship as absolute as any other dictatorship in the world.”

Stalin’s “Great Purge of 1936-38” executed an estimated 1.2 million Communist Party members, government officials, military leaders and peasants who were accused of being disloyal.

Simply a rumor of holding politically incorrect views or associating with “enemies of the people,” could result in someone losing their job, being arrested and executed, or being one of the 4.5 million sentenced to “gulag” labor camps.

One of those arrested was Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who was born in Russia on Dec. 11, 1918. Solzhenitsyn was detained for writing a letter criticizing Joseph Stalin. He spent 11 years in “gulag” labor camps.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn began secretly compiling horror stories of life in the gulags. For several years of his imprisonment, 1947-52, he was denied pen and paper, so he composed and memorized chapters as poems. He put these accounts into his book “The First Circle,” 1968, and then “The Gulag Archipelago.”

An “archipelago” is a chain of islands in the ocean. Solzhenitsyn used this metaphor to describe a chain of FEMA-style citizen detention camps across Russia.

Similar camps were used in the U.S. as part of Democrat President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830, in which some 13,000 Cherokee were forced off their lands into camps before being marched to Oklahoma.

In 1942, Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 forcibly relocated an estimated 120,000 to Japanese internment camps.

FDR also drove thousands off their lands to establish the Great Smokey Mountain National Park in 1934, condemning and evicting entire communities, forcing them to abandon generational homes, farm buildings, mills, schools and churches.

Accounts of these federal evictions are in Wayne Caldwell’s “Requiem by Fire” (Random House, 2009) and memorialized in Carol Elizabeth Jones’s ballad, “Leaving Cataloochee.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s writings were smuggled out of the Soviet Union and translated. They quickly became internationally popular, leading him to receive the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970.

In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Solzhenitsyn wrote: “During all the years until 1961, not only was I convinced I should never see a single line of mine in print in my lifetime, but, also, I scarcely dared allow any of my close acquaintances to read anything I had written because I feared this would become known.”

International pressure led to Solzhenitsyn being expelled from Russia on Feb. 12, 1974.

Wanting to warn the naive youth of America of horrible realities of socialism, Alexander Solzhenitsyn stated in Washington, D.C., June 30, 1975: “In pre-revolutionary Russia … there were attempts on the Tsar’s life. … During these years about 17 persons a year were executed. … The Cheka (Lenin’s Communist Secret Police) … in 1918 and 1919 … executed, without trial, more than a thousand persons a month! … At the height of Stalin’s terror in 1937-38 … more than 40,000 persons were shot per month! Here are the figures: 17 a year … 1,000 a month, more than 40,000 a month!”

Solzhenitsyn wrote in “The Gulag Archipelago” (1973): “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.”

Solzhenitsyn continued: “Roosevelt, in Tehran, during one of his toasts, said … ‘I do not doubt that the three of us’ (meaning Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin) ‘lead our peoples in accordance with their desires.’ … We were astonished. We thought, ‘when we reach Europe, we will meet the Americans, and we will tell them.’”

Solzhenitsyn continued: “I was among the troops that were marching towards the Elbe (River). … A little bit more and I would have … shaken the hands of your American soldiers. But just before that … I was taken off to prison and my meeting did not take place. … After a delay of 30 years, my Elbe is here today. I am here to tell you … what … we wanted to tell you then.”

Stalin used a tactic called “psychological projection” or blame-shifting, where a politician publicly accuses his opponents of what he himself is privately guilty of.

In “Communism – A History” (Random House, 2001) author Richard Pipes described how Stalin used a government fabricated crisis – which he blamed on his opponents – as an excuse for the government to seize more power: “Stalin’s regime needed another crisis … as Fidel Castro, the leader of Communist Cuba, would explain … ‘The revolution needs the enemy. .. The revolution needs for its development its antithesis.’ … And if enemies were lacking, they had to be fabricated. …”

Pipes continued: “In 1934, a prominent Bolshevik, Sergei Kirov, the party boss of Lenningrad, was assassinated under mysterious conditions … evidence points to Stalin. … Kirov was gaining too much popularity in party ranks for Stalin’s comfort. His assassination brought Stalin two advantages: it rid him of a potential rival and provided a rationale for instigating a vast campaign against alleged anti-Soviet conspirators. …”

Pipes concluded: “Purges of the 1930s were a terror campaign that in indiscriminate ferocity and number of victims had no parallel in world history. … Authorities … beat them until they confess to their crimes they have not committed.”

Solzhenitsyn warned Americans not to trust mainstream media, June 30, 1975: “There is a … Russian proverb: ‘The yes-man is your enemy, but your friend will argue with you.’ … I am the friend. … I have come to tell you. … One of your leading newspapers, after the end of Vietnam, had a full headline: ‘The Blessed Silence.’ I would not wish that kind of ‘blessed silence’ on my worst enemy. … I spent 11 years in the Archipelago (labor camps). …”

As to trusting government, Solzhenitsyn was quoted in the Observer, Dec. 29, 1974, as stating: “In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.”

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Solzhenitsyn explained how government-run healthcare provided a cover for Stalin’s political opponents to be “diagnosed” with psychiatric problems and given compulsory “treatment”: “It is not detente (a lessening of tension) if we here … can spend our time agreeably while over there people are groaning and dying and in psychiatric hospitals. Doctors are making their evening rounds … injecting people with drugs which destroy their brain. … There are tens of thousands of political prisoners in our country … under compulsory psychiatric treatment.”

This is similar to the U.S. government’s 40-year-long Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, where black men infected with syphilis were allowed to die, all the while being regularly examined by government health-care workers who documented how the disease progressed.

Solzhenitsyn went on: “You know the words from the Bible: ‘Build not on sand, but on rock.’ … Lenin’s teachings are that anyone is considered to be a fool who doesn’t take what’s lying in front of him. If you can take it, take it. If you can attack, attack. But if there’s a wall, then go back. … Communist leaders respect only firmness and have contempt and laugh at persons who continually give in to them. …”

This is similar to the Islamic concept of “hudna,” namely, when you are strong, attack; when you are weak, make treaties until you get strong enough to attack.

Solzhenitsyn concluded his speech in Washington, D.C., June 30, 1975, with a warning about the “social justice” movement: “I … call upon America to be more careful with its trust. … Prevent those … who are attempting to establish even finer … legal shades of equality – because of their distorted outlook … short-sightedness and … self-interest – from falsely using the struggle for peace and for social justice to lead you down a false road. … They are trying to weaken you; they are trying to disarm your strong and magnificent country in the face of this fearful threat – one that has never been seen before in the history of the world. … I call upon you: ordinary working men of America … do not let yourselves become weak.”

Solzhenitsyn stated: “If we don’t know our own history, we will simply have to endure all the same mistakes, sacrifices, and absurdities all over again.”

Solzhenitsyn wrote in “The Gulag Archipelago” (1973): “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

Solzhenitsyn stated n an interview with Joseph Pearce (St. Austin Review 2 no. 2, Feb. 2003): “Untouched by the breath of God, unrestricted by human conscience, both capitalism and socialism are repulsive.”

In 1983, Solzhenitsyn received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, stating: “We can only reach with determination for the warm hand of God, which we have so rashly and self-confidently pushed away.”

Brought to you by AmericanMinute.com.
— Read on www.wnd.com/2018/12/think-socialism-is-a-great-idea-read-this/

Brannon Howse: December 11, 2018 | Worldview Weekend

Guest: Dr. Andy Woods. Topic: Brannon starts the program talking about his two days with Billy & Karen Vaughn and why their new TV program with WVW Broadcast Network is important but also heart-breaking. Topic: Dr. Woods answers these questions. Question: What is your position on the New Jerusalem being accessed by the glorified saints during the Millennial Kingdom? Will those who possess glorified bodies be traveling to and from this city?  If so, where do you believe it will be located? Question: Does the Bible reveal any other rewards that the Tribulation saints will be given in addition to their care for the Jews during the Tribulation? Question: Are the rewards presented to the church saints at the Bema Seat Judgement solely represented in the five crowns or will there be other eternal blessings bestowed upon the believer? Question: A recent prophecy program on another station featured a discussion of the end days, which stated that Babylon in the Book of Revelation is definitely the Vatican. He stated that since today Babylon is nothing more than stone and rubble, it would take several decades to build up the area to a world power. Are there are other view about this?

Download File Here

— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-december-11-2018

Watch: The Shouting Match In The Oval Office That Could Change Everything – End Of The American Dream

Thanks to a wild shouting match in the Oval Office on Tuesday, there is a very good chance that there will be a partial government shutdown starting on December 21st.  With the cameras rolling and the room full of reporters, President Trump went at it with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, and it truly was a bizarre scene unlike anything that we have ever witnessed before.  Yes, Republicans and Democrats have always been calling each other names, but watching these leaders rip into one another live on national television inside the Oval Office was truly unprecedented.  The following is how the Washington Post described what took place…

President Trump, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer berated each other on camera Tuesday over Trump’s border wall, an Oval Office spectacle that underscored the distance between the two sides as they confront a fast-approaching deadline for a partial government shutdown.

If you have not seen video of this altercation yet, you can watch it right here.

Almost the entire time, the focus of the shouting match was border security.  President Trump wants to build the wall that he promised the American people, and obviously the Democrats are determined to keep him from doing that.  Since the Democrats will be taking control of the House once the new session of Congress begins in January, this is probably Trump’s last best chance to make progress on the wall, and so he is threatening to shut the government down if he doesn’t get the funding that he needs.

In fact, during the shouting match he told Chuck Schumer that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security”

‘I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck, because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. So I will take the mantle,’ he said. ‘I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down, it didn’t work. I will take the mantle of shutting down.’

After the shouting match was over, Nancy Pelosi was visibly disturbed, and she was extremely critical of Trump once she returned to the Capitol

The California congresswoman, who’s vying to become the next House speaker, made the blistering remarks after returning to the Capitol from a tense Oval Office sit down with Trump, during which he repeatedly threatened to shut down the federal government if Congress fails to cough up at least $5 billion for his long-sought border wall with Mexico.

“It’s like a manhood thing for him,” Pelosi told the Dems of Trump’s wall obsession, according to the source. “As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

And subsequently she stated that if you “get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

Needless to say, Tuesday’s “negotiating session” will make it much more difficult for the two sides to come to any sort of an agreement.  Anyone that backs down now is going to look weak, and neither side is going to want to do that.

So how is this going to end?

That all depends on Trump.  The spineless Republican leadership in Congress is more than willing to play ball with the Democrats, and so everything depends on how much Trump wants the wall.

If Trump buckles now, he will never make any progress once Democrats officially take control of the House, and he will go into the 2020 election without being able to deliver on his primary campaign promise from the 2016 election.

So it would make sense for Trump to choose this moment to fight for the wall, but it certainly does not sound like Chuck Schumer has any intention of giving him what he wants.  The following comes from Axios

The president taking ownership of any potential government shutdown hinders Republicans’ ability to pin the blame on Democrats, while also giving a glimpse into what Trump’s negotiating style with a Democrat-controlled House may look like over the next two years.

Trump has demanded $5 billion for the border wall, but Schumer has drawn a red line on providing no more than $1.3 billion — not for a wall, but for border security. “This temper tantrum that [Trump] seems to throw will not get him his wall and it will hurt a lot of people because he will cause a shutdown,” Schumer said in a press conference following the Oval Office altercation.

In the end, this is another perfect example of how broken our government has become.  We are nearly 22 trillion dollars in debt, but there isn’t even any discussion about reducing the size of our deficits.  Instead, the Democrats are trying to paint Trump into a corner on border security, and they probably truly believe that they are going to force his hand.

But a government shutdown this time of the year might not be such a bad thing.  If it happens, it will begin on December 21st

If the president follows through on the threat, about 25 percent of the federal government would begin to run out of money on Dec. 21, putting hundreds of thousands of federal workers at risk of getting furloughed without pay just before Christmas.

Let’s imagine that a government shutdown lasts into early January.  What government worker wouldn’t want to have a couple of weeks off around the holidays?

They all know that they will be returning to work eventually, and not much work usually gets done around the holidays in Washington anyway.

However, if a shutdown stretches beyond a couple of weeks, there will be tremendous pressure on Trump to end it.

Will he stand strong and keep fighting for a wall that the Democrats have pledged to never give him, or will he end up caving?

We don’t have the answer to that question right now, and it will be fascinating to see how this plays out.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.
— Read on endoftheamericandream.com/archives/watch-the-shouting-match-in-the-oval-office-that-could-change-everything

December 12 Parable of the Sower: Worldly Hearers

And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.—Matt. 13:22

Few things obstruct the gospel’s reception in someone’s heart more than the general love of the world and wealth. Note these warnings:

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Tim. 6:10)

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1 John 2:15–16)

The worldly hearer in this parable is oblivious to the deception of money and its inability to give lasting satisfaction. He or she doesn’t notice how worldliness—the worshipful priority of money, possessions, career, and other temporary affairs—can smother the Word. Such a reality shows that the individual has a heart full of sinful weeds that cannot coexist for long with the Word of God. If faith is genuine, it will forsake the world; otherwise, sin will choke out the Word.

Christ’s cleansing is thorough in true conversion. Salvation removes sin’s weeds from the heart and prepares it to receive the seed of the Word. Genuine believers will continually confess sin and allow the Lord to be “faithful and righteous to forgive” (1 John 1:9), freeing them from sin’s domination.

ASK YOURSELF

Does this mean money is a bad thing? Should it be avoided by people who bear the name of Christ? How would you define a proper, biblical perspective on wealth and possessions?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 355). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

Responding to the Deconversion of a Friend or Family Member  — Unlocking the Bible

Deconversion. Falling away. Backsliding. However we phrase it, it means the same thing: someone who once believed in Jesus Christ now doesn’t. Unfortunately, this phenomenon seems to be happening more, especially among millennials and Christian “celebrities.” It is quite baffling and thoroughly disheartening, to say the least.  

But when it hits closer to home—with a spouse, a child, a parent, or sibling—the pain cuts deep. Very deep. We ask ourselves: Why? What caused them to stop believing in God and the inerrant truths of the Bible? Could I have done something to prevent them from walking away? Will they ever return to the faith? 

All of these are good and worthy questions. They may not have any discernable or immediate answers, sadly. But there are certain things we can know and specific things we can do when it happens to a loved one. 

Salvation is Assured 

If this person previously, genuinely confessed belief and put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord by accepting the free gift of grace through faith, their salvation is secured (Ephesians 2:8-9). Here’s what Paul writes in Ephesians about genuine believers:  

“When [they] heard the word of truth, the gospel of [their] salvation, and believed in him, [they] were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance… [and] by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30; see also 2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5).  

The word sealed (arrabón) means “earnest, a large part of the payment, given in advance as a security that the whole will be paid afterward” (Strong’s Concordance). In this sense, the Holy Spirit is given as earnest, a down payment, for our inheritance. His indwelling is our guarantee; we can be assured of salvation. It is true of us and true of prodigals. 

But this leads to the question: What can I do about their deconversion in the meantime? 

For the answer, we look at the lives and examples of the prodigal son and his faithful father in the parable of Luke 15:11-32 

We Pray

We pray that the prodigal will be humbled by their bad choices and their consequences.  

After demanding and receiving his half of the inheritance, the prodigal son speedily took off to spend it on licentious living. His bad choices of cavorting with prostitutes and drinking to excess, however, eventually led to his destitution. This young man, who’d once had everything at his disposal—fine clothes, rich foods, a proper shelter—had sunk to the lowest level possible, finding himself homeless, hungry, hopeless.  

Sometimes—although not always—some prodigals must descend before they look upward. Upward to God and to the restoration he offers through grace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ.  

It may seem mean-spirited, even cruel to pray that our prodigals would “hit rock bottom,” but in reality, it is a kind and gracious prayer. We should pray that they would see their need for God, no matter whatever form that “need” takes. Short of their death, of course. 

We pray that they come to their senses. 

Having found himself penniless, the young man was forced to hire himself out as a pig herdsman. At one point, he found himself envying the pigs their slop and cried:  

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!” (Luke 15:17). 

The scales had finally fallen off; the thrill of his sensual, debauched living had worn off. This young man was awakened to the desperate reality of his situation and the hopelessness of it. His bitter thoughts then turned to the comforts of home, to the goodness of his father, even to the hired servants.  

It is compassionate and wise to pray that those who have wandered away would also “come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26, NIV). 

We pray that they repent from deconversion, and we celebrate when they do. 

Realization of their fallen state often leads to their repentance, as it did for the prodigal:  

I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” (Luke 15:18-19). 

It is a wondrous thing when a prodigal sees their sin and acknowledges it, for it is a sure sign that God’s kindness and mercy are at work in their heart and that they will return to the fold. And we know, and rejoice, that God, who is faithful and just, will forgive them and cleanse them “from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Just as we will forgive them. 

And, like the father, we also will celebrate their repentance and return from deconversion:  

And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:23-24). 

We Wait 

After watching his selfish son saunter off to an unknown kind of life, the father then took up the mantle of waiting. How long he waited, we don’t know. Scripture is silent on this, and maybe rightly so. For there is no time-constraint on waiting.  

But wait the father did. And he waited expectantly, patiently, and hopefully, scanning the horizon every day. And his wait was rewarded when he finally saw this sorry son come slouching home. 

Waiting for a wanderer’s return can take months, years, even decades. In fact, we may never see their return in our own lifetime. But we can trust in God’s sovereignty and timing. In the meantime, we wait, with expectancy, holding them close in our hurting hearts.  

We Hope 

As long as a wanderer has breath in their bodies, hope is still available. We should never give up on the restoration of a wanderer, for we know that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). After all, God does not wish “that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  

Let us cling to this promise—and many, many others—for our own wanderers and prodigals. And when we grow weary and in danger of losing hope—which we do—we know that God does not. And we know that when we do grow faint with waiting, He will renew our strength and our hope (Isaiah 40:31). 

We take comfort, as well, in that even though our wanderers have left God for a time, God won’t leave them. Ever! His love is far-reaching, his grace and forgiveness never-ending, extending to the lost and the wanderer, alike. 

For further encouragement, I recommend Jim Putman’s book, “Hope for the Prodigal: Bringing the Lost, Wandering, and Rebellious Home.” 

[The author adapted this article from her 2016 Desiring God article titled, “Six Ways to Love a Wayward Child“][Photo Credit: Unsplash]

Responding to the Deconversion of a Friend or Family Member  — Unlocking the Bible

12/12/18 Milk, Not Solid Food — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Hebrews 5-8

“But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.”

Hebrews 5:14

I wonder how long I was a baby in Christ. In fact, I sometimes wonder if I’m not still a baby in Christ. No matter how long I’ve been a believer, I continually recognize how much I still need to learn. It seems that the closer one gets to God, the more one’s needs become evident.

From today’s reading, though, I’m reminded of my early years as a believer. I was teaching a Sunday school class within three years of becoming a believer, and I started pastoring just a few years after that. I’m deeply grateful for those opportunities, but I also must admit that I was probably more a baby in Christ than I needed to be then. Frankly, I had not grown like I should have in Christ. I had grown in my interest in ministry, but I simply was not very mature in Christ. And, I have a hunch that my youthful arrogance those days would have made me bow up had anyone said to me what the writer of Hebrews said to his readers: “Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food” (Heb. 5:12). I probably would have assumed I was ready for the solid food.

That’s one reason why disciplemaking means so much to me today. I want to keep growing in Christ, and I want to help others do the same. Perhaps the combination of accountability, spiritual disciplines, and encouragement will keep any of us from getting spiritually lazy.

ACTION STEPS:  

  • Evaluate your own walk with the Lord. Are you at all lazy?
  • Prayerfully enlist someone to push you to keep growing in Christ.

PRAYER: “God, keep me from getting lazy in my relationship with God. Make me long for the meat of the Word.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Hebrews 9-13

via 12/12/18 Milk, Not Solid Food — ChuckLawless.com

December 12: Forgiven and Forgiving

Jeremiah 23:1–24:10; Romans 3:21–31; Proverbs 18:1–24

Idioms are often unhelpful because their overuse has robbed them of meaning. But the idiom “putting up walls” has a twist in Proverbs: “A brother who is offended is worse than a city of strength, and quarrels are like the bars of a fortification” (Prov 18:19).

The writer of this proverb gives us imagery that helps us understand how people react to offenses. Regardless of whether we intend to, we can raise a great structure, like a “city of strength,” in the gulf between ourselves and others. Such barriers make it difficult to reach those we have offended, which may suit us perfectly. But we’re called to live differently.

None of us can live perfectly in this life, so conflict is inevitable. If we have the insight to see that “we all fall short of the glory of God”—and more specifically, how we have fallen—we’ll see we have no right to hold a grudge (Rom 3:23). When rifts develop in relationships, we need to own our sin and bring it to God. His forgiveness and His reconciling work make it possible for us to be vulnerable with others and seek their forgiveness—even if they have also offended us.

When we choose to humbly admit our failings, we break down “the bars of a fortification” and create space for reconciliation. We might be spurned, or we might be forgiven. The other person may take responsibility for their fault, or they may not. But either way, we rest secure in God’s forgiveness.

Have you offended someone? Have you neglected to confess your sin and seek forgiveness? Reconciliation is a picture of what God has done for us—He has returned us to Himself. Be like the peacemaker: Seek and offer forgiveness.

Have you offended someone without asking forgiveness? If so, how can you step forward to confess your offense to God and the offended person?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


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