Daily Archives: April 12, 2019

April 12 What the Cross Represents

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:25–35

Key Verses: Luke 2:34–35

Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

We loosely toss around the phrase “the cross” like everyone understands the validity and weight of the object to which we are referring. But many people do not understand at all what the cross represents—even some Christians.

The cross is the place where Jesus died a sinner’s death for us, the place where all shame, guilt, and sin are laid bare, the place where life begins. Despite the wrong choices we have made in life, the heaviness of our sins, or the inconsistency of our faith, we can all find common ground at the foot of the cross—the place where we can cast aside the troubles of our mind and receive the benefits of salvation. It is there that God redeems our lives into something truly valuable and beautiful, just as He has always planned for us.

Upon seeing Jesus as a baby, Simeon exclaimed, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34–35).

The cross, though thick and dull, is the place where hearts are seared before God and true freedom begins. Despite what we may perceive about God, He desires the best for our lives and wants us to receive the freedom He has so readily made available to those who are willing to accept it.

Lord, my life, my eternal life, began at Your cross. Thank You for setting me free by yielding to death by crucifixion.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 107). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

April 12 No Wonder They Call Him Savior

Scripture Reading: John 19

Key Verse: Philippians 2:8

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Of all forms of execution devised by man through the millennia, crucifixion ranks among the cruelest and most abhorrent. Although crucifixion was first practiced by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, the Roman Empire adopted the notorious practice as a universal form of death among its enslaved states. Even secular writers of the time shrank from giving detailed accounts of the cruel and degrading punishment.

Jesus, our Savior, died in such a manner, impaled on crude timber, in full view of a mostly hate-satiated crowd. It was an excruciatingly painful way to die. Yet Christ’s physical agony on the cross, as horrid as it was, should never obscure the reason Jesus hung on display. He died for our sins so that we could receive His gift of eternal life.

There God the Son experienced spiritual death—separation from God the Father. Christ’s forlorn cry, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46 nasb), was the most dreadful utterance of history. For an awful moment in time, God the Father forsook His Only begotten Son.

Jesus “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8 nasb) so that we could enjoy the splendor of resurrection life and everlasting communion with God the Father. Author Max Lucado writes, “No wonder they call Him Savior.”

Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. Because of You, I can enjoy resurrection life and everlasting communion with God. No wonder they call You Savior![1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 107). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

April 12 The Good Things in Life

Scripture reading: Psalm 34:1–10

Key verse: Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

For they shall be filled.

Everyone wants the good things in life. But God’s idea of the good things is much different from most people’s. Where some may pursue material gain or satisfaction in relationships, God knows real contentment comes elsewhere. In His eyes, sometimes even trial, heartache, and suffering are good things in our lives.

The best things in life are the things that fit within the purpose and plan God has for your life. They may include wealth or prestige. But they may also include tribulation that God uses to mold you into the servant He has long envisioned.

“Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Ps. 34:10). What does it mean to seek the Lord? Believers already have His Spirit living within us, right? Yes, but Jesus said in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Seeking the Lord means longing and thirsting for Him, for a daily intimate relationship with Him.

This process is fascinating. In seeking worldly gain, many people find that the more they get, the more they want. The same is true with Jesus Christ. The more you understand your wonderful Savior and Lord, the more you long to know Him better still. The good things in life come when you seek Him and know you shall be filled.

My heart cries out for You, dear Lord. I hunger and thirst for your righteousness. I long for an intimate relationship with You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 107). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

AGT International – The Clinton Foundation Scandal Worse Than Uranium One – Covered Up by FBI/DOJ Before 2016 Election – Part XII — The Gateway Pundit

In 2016 the DOJ/FBI suppressed and buried a criminal investigation involving the Clintons, the Clinton Foundation and donors to the Foundation.  The investigation revolved around the illegal sale of controlled US Homeland Security technology to Russia and China in the years before the 2016 election by a company named AGT International. 

The DOJ terminated its internal investigation in 2016 despite clear and irrefutable evidence of criminal activity and hid this investigation from the public!

This Clinton Foundation scandal is similar to the Foundation’s Uranium One scandal.  AGT International’s actions of providing super high tech defense technology to Russia are in line with the Rosenberg’s providing atomic bomb technology to the Russians. 

In Part I of our series we discussed the Clinton Foundation and the donations to the Foundation from the COB (Martin L. Edelman) and CEO (Mati Kochavi) of AGT International as well as from Sheikhs in the UAE. These donations in the millions of dollars were for favors from the Clintons, in return the Clintons helped promote AGT International.

In Part II of our series we discussed the illegal actions that AGT International took to generate revenues around the globe. Highly sensitive US defense technology and ITAR controlled products were provided and sold to China, Russia and other countries in the name of sales growth. These actions were beyond criminal, they were treasonous.

Below is an AGT International article about its premier defense software from its company 4D Security Solutions.

In Part III of our series we discussed the investigation that the FBI/DOJ started into AGT International and the Clinton Foundation but then terminated and covered up before the 2016 Presidential election despite irrefutable crimes!

We provided a copy of the letter to the DOJ that lists the criminal and corrupt actions taken by AGT International:


In Part IV of our series we discussed the activities by individuals associated with AGT International in obtaining entrance to a highly sensitive US Intel facility circumventing the access controls in place that prevent illegal entries to the site.

In Part V of our series we discussed the efforts by AGT International to obtain top secret US Intel for the sole purpose of sharing/selling it to the Russians. AGT International personnel used the information as a means to entice sales from US adversaries. AGT International offered Russians the ability to conduct counter-Intel operations (e.g. cell phone intercepts, object and vehicle tracking, etc.). All of this information provided to the Russians was highly classified and never should have been placed in their hands.

The image below shows an AGT International C4I system deployed in Liaoyuan China. The system among other things was designed to automatically track and create a detailed pattern of motion of vehicles belonging to western embassies.

In Part VI of our series we showed the shady efforts AGT International took to obtain contracts in the US and abroad. AGT International utilized its COB (Martin Edelman) and the Clintons to gain access to highly placed state and Federal Law Enforcement Agents (LEA’s) and former Federal and political figures in the US and used bribes around the world to initiate contracts.

In Part VII of our series we provided evidence that AGT International hid its employees identities in the US market by using aliases for all its employees at 3i-MIND and other subsidiaries.

AGT International management sent an email to the employees at 3i-MIND and other subsidiaries and noted that “since the blog is planned to be used in the US as well, we are and we will not be allowed identifying ourselves using our real names.” This poorly written comment provides evidence that the company encouraged its employees to hide their identities in the US.

In Part VIII of our series we provided evidence that AGT International assisted a group of Chinese officials to inconspicuously enter the US without properly identifying their purpose, which was to obtain highly sensitive and classified US Homeland security information and products from AGT International.

In Part IX of our series we discussed more on AGT International’s ‘lubrication’ activities (paying off individuals and entities to initiate sales and open doors).

In Part X of our Series we discussed AGT International’s sudden exit from its market in Singapore due to its corrupt actions. (The company was kicked out of Singapore!)

AGT had a presence in Singapore in 2013 as was acknowledged at that time on the company’s website but then AGT International was kicked out of Singapore after it was notified from the government that they had committed a breach –


In Part XI of our series we showed that AGT International CEO Mati Kochavi was so close to the Clintons that on September 23, 2010, he addressed the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. 

Kochavi discussed the Clinton efforts in Haiti and how AGT International could assist in crisis like the one in Haiti.  President Bill Clinton was on stage with Kochavi.  Also in attendance at the event was then Democrat President Barack Obama –

As noted in the first post of this series, candidate Trump noted that the people of Haiti don’t want the Clintons back.  There are numerous accusations of the Clintons stealing from the people of Haiti while impersonating as philanthropists with their Clinton Foundation.  The Clintons and AGT International were close.  The actions by both parties before and after the event in New York were criminal as noted in our prior posts.

Today in Part XII of our series we show evidence of cyber-attacks that AGT executed against two international targets as part of a closed sales demonstration to high valued customers. 

This all took place at the Athens Astir Resort Hotel on February 27th – March 2nd, 2012.   See the program below –

The agenda for this event of top AGT International executives included presentations by its CEO Mati Kochavi and its COB Martin Edelman, both donors to the Clinton Foundation.  Geoffrey Baird, Neo Burton and Garry Lenz, all noted in prior posts, were also noted in the list of presenters.  Also, 4D Security Solutions, represented by Bob Paski, and Advanced Integrity Systems, represented by CEO,Khalfan aI Shamsi, from Abu Dhabi, were also on the list of AGT companies at the event.

The Event Welcome Letter was as follows –

“We have gathered over 150 key people from AGT and our partners around the world to spend several days together here in Greece. We have prepared an intense agenda … many opportunities to learn about our offerings. to meet and learn about key people from all parts of the company, and to learn together about how we can take the company to the next level of our potential.

I urge you to be open to absorb new ideas, to share your thoughts in open discussion, to respect the efforts and professionalism of the organizers and presenters by being on time for all sessions, to work hard and to have fun along the way. Wishing you a very fulfilling visit to Greece and a very successful 2012,

Mati Kochavi”

The cyber attacks took place on Thursday March 1st, 2012, during the 15:00-15:45 cyber security session. The purpose of the demo was to showcase AGT’s cyber-attack capabilities. The two targets that were attacked were:

  1. South African Reserve Bank
  2. Qatar Electricity & Water Co.

Both targets were breached, the first resulted in access to the bank customer database, the second resulted in administrative access to the SCADA control dashboard.  The attacks were executed on stage in front 150 people with CEO Kochavi’s authorization while COB Martin Edelman watched from the front row.

The executive that supervised the whole operation was Ronen Hammer (bald guy in the middle of the image below).

Below is a screenshot from Ronen Hammer’s LinkedIn account

These breaches at the AGT International conference were obviously illegal. 

The AGT International family of companies participated in numerous corrupt and criminal activities. The leaders of the company were Clinton friends and major donors to the Clinton Foundation. The Clintons in turn helped promote AGT.

AGT International then participated in numerous shady and criminal activities, the worst of which were selling US ITAR regulated products and information to the Russians and Chinese which makes this scandal as horrendous as the Uranium One scandal.

The DOJ/FBI started an investigation of AGT International but then ended it and covered it up. The investigation into the Clinton Foundation and AGT International was material to the 2016 US election and yet the FBI and DOJ concealed it from the American public.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. AGT International, the Clinton Foundation, the DOJ and the FBI must be investigated and the crimes committed by these entities must be brought to justice!

via AGT International – The Clinton Foundation Scandal Worse Than Uranium One – Covered Up by FBI/DOJ Before 2016 Election – Part XII — The Gateway Pundit

Comey: ‘We Did Not Spy—We Just Observed And Reported Secretly Without The Subject’s Knowledge Or Consent’ — The Babylon Bee

Comey: ‘We Did Not Spy—We Just Observed And Reported Secretly Without The Subject’s Knowledge Or Consent’

WASHINGTON, D.C.—After Attorney General Barr suggested that the FBI and other agencies spied on Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, former FBI director James Comey fired back.

“We did not spy,” he told reporters as he stretched for his morning yoga class. “We just observed and reported secretly without the subject’s knowledge or consent.”

“See, I’ve never considered that spying,” he added as he formed the “downward dog” pose. “That’s just kind of secret watching. It’s definitely not the same thing. When you spy, you watch someone without their knowledge. When you secret-watch, you just kind of secretly watch them.”

“If we redefined spying to include all secret watching, we would have to include all the watching of American citizens on a daily basis as spying, and that probably wouldn’t be good for our public image.”

He then asked reporters if they would take a picture of him looking pensively up at the trees.

via Comey: ‘We Did Not Spy—We Just Observed And Reported Secretly Without The Subject’s Knowledge Or Consent’ — The Babylon Bee

Weekly Watchman for 04/12/2019

Great Questions and Comments

As Solomon once said, there is nothing new under the sun.  Today, we read your comments and answer your questions by going to God’s Word. A few new believers emailed us this week as well as new listeners to our podcast. Some of the topics we tackle today include:How to pray according to God’s willChristians struggling with depressionThe importance of biblical prophecy and Israel.Pastors waking up to the deception infiltrating culture and churchJesus being presented as a social justice warrior?  Atheism, Gnosticism, and liberal Christianity

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Exposing the Fallacy of Progressive Christianity

A deadly fall down a mountain usually begins with a single careless step.  And once we take that wrong step, the fall can be swift and lead to serious injury or death.  It is no different with our eternal souls – and the souls of others.  A single serious misstep of twisting God’s Word to appeal to our flesh can often lead to deception or even a fall.Deceived or deceivers? Today, Mike and David continue to look at the tenets of so-called Progressive Christianity, and how it often disputes and even contradicts the foundational teachings of the Bible.  The unbiblical, progressive process of “de-conversion” starts off with questioning a single doctrine from God’s Word, but eventually leads to serious heresy. This leads often many souls to full-blown apostasy.In our first segment we are joined by Tim Hull of Ratio Christi Ministries to discuss his ministry to youth in college as well as tools we can use to bring people into saving faith in Jesus.We also discuss an article pointing common beliefs that progressive Christians often share with Atheists, proving the dangerous, slippery slope of liberalism calling itself “Christian.”

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Redefining God: Paganism and Progressive Christianity

There is only one true God, but that has never stopped people from trying to redefine Him or find other gods to worship.  Today, humanity seems bent on identifying a god that will suit their passions and beliefs rather than surrendering to the living God who created us and sustains us. He sent His Son to save us from our sin and the eternal damnation we deserve. We begin today tackling the contradictions and unbiblical worldviews of progressive Christians – in their own words. They say there are many ways to God and “to experience the sacredness and oneness of life.” In reality, the world is not searching for the God of truth because they really want to justify their self worship and life enhancement. And there’s a very fine line between progressivism and paganism. Carl Teichrib is an author and researcher who has studied the New Age Movement as well as the coming one world religion and government the Bible warns about.  He joins us to discuss his latest book “Game of Gods: The Temple of Man in the Age of Enchantment.”

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Biblical Manhood and Cultural Christianity

This morning we look at two serious problems facing the Christian Church in America.  First we look at Dr. Tony Evans’ thoughts on why and how Satan is seeking to destroy biblical manhood in order to bring chaos into society.  Then we look at a pastor in Florida who has written a book tackling the problem of “Cultural Christianity”, calling it out as a “completely different religion” from Biblical Christianity.  Is the professing church in America our greatest evangelism field these days?

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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The Battle for the Souls of Young Christian Athletes

They, we start by discussing the importance of Christian parents and coaches in the lives of high school student athletes. We’re joined by a local representative of a Christian organization standing strong in battle for young souls, Jeff Middlestead of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Hear how coaches and athletics can have a profound affect on young Christians, and why discipleship is vital in the lives of these young people.Segment 3: We have also seen pressure ratchet up against Christians to be silent and accept the ways of this world. Pressure from the powerful LGBTQ lobby is transforming how church is conducted in our nation and around the world.  First it was organizations like the Boy and Girl Scouts; then the YMCA and YWCA, caving to political pressure and the almighty dollar.  And now we are seeing professing Christian Churches cave in and justify the LGBTQ movement, in some instances going as far as using the Bible out of context to justify their sinful lifestyles.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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RenewAmerica Newsletter for April 12, 2019

April 12, 2019
Fighting for injured workers’ rights

RENEWAMERICA STAFF — In Utah, unethical “insurance medical examiners” hired to deprive injured workers of guaranteed Workers Compensation medical and other benefits are protected by “state policy” from any liability for harm resulting from their fraudulent examinations…. (more)

April 12, 2019

JERRY NEWCOMBE — Thirty years ago, the good guys won the Cold War, yet today we have a frontrunner candidate for president, Bernie Sanders, who is an out-of-the closet socialist. He loved the old Soviet Union so much so that he spent his honeymoon there…. (more)

April 11, 2019
LLOYD MARCUS — It is exciting that my patriot brothers and sisters at Tea Party Express have announced the launch of “Tea Party for Trump.” My first tour on Tea Party Express in 2008 led to me speaking and performing my “American Tea Party Anthem” at over 500 rallies on several national bus tours…. (more)

April 10, 2019
BRYAN FISCHER — Pete Buttigieg, the gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is a rising star in Democrat politics. He’s expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency soon, joining an already crowded field. The buzz about him in Democrat and Talking Snake Media circles is strong. Democrats, faced with a boatload of candidates from geriatrics (Biden and Bernie) to Roman gladiators (Spartacus) to Roman candles (Bobby O’Rourke), are still looking for that one candidate whom they believe can capture the flag…. (more)

April 10, 2019
REUTERS — Attorney General William Barr said on Wednesday U.S. intelligence agencies engaged in spying directed at the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump and that he would look at whether the surveillance was undertaken legally. “I think spying did occur,” Barr told a Senate hearing. “But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I am not suggesting that it wasn’t adequately predicated. … I am not suggesting those rules were violated, but I think it is important to look at that. And I am not talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly…. (more)

April 10, 2019

DAILY CALLER — Attorney General William Barr dropped a bombshell Wednesday, telling a group of senators that he believes spying against the Trump campaign did take place in 2016…. (more)

April 10, 2019
BYRON YORK — Democrats and some in the media expressed shock and outrage when Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election…. (more)

April 10, 2019
NEWSMAX — Surprise presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is gaining ground on political heavyweights Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, at least in New Hampshire, according to a poll released Wednesday…. (more)

April 10, 2019

WCBS — Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency on Tuesday and has ordered mandatory vaccinations for people who may have been exposed to the virus in parts of Williamsburg amid a growing measles outbreak…. (more)

April 10, 2019
Muslim congresswoman blasted as ‘anti-American’

WORLDNETDAILY — She has already prompted a House resolution condemning hate in response to her anti-Semitic remarks, and now Muslim U.S. Rep. Ilhan, D-Minn., is again stirring controversy for describing the 9/11 terror attacks as “some people did something.”… (more)

April 10, 2019
Franklin Graham interviews Ashley Bratcher
WORLDNETDAILY — Ashley Bratcher, the actress who plays Planned Parenthood nemesis Abby Johnson in the stunningly successful new movie “Unplanned,” says she knew her performance might trigger Hollywood to blacklist her…. (more)

April 10, 2019
Contrary to CEO’s testimony to Congress

ART MOORE — Newly obtained documents show Google maintains a “news blacklist” and manipulates its search results manually, contrary to the company’s official denials. The Daily Caller reported one of the documents shows the “XPA news blacklist” is governed by two official policies, the “misrepresentation policy” and the “good neighbor policy.”… (more)

April 10, 2019

NEW YORK POST — She was one of Hollywood’s most celebrated actresses. But Audrey Hepburn had a role that few knew about: spy. And unlike the characters that she portrayed on screen, playing this part could literally mean life or death…. (more)

April 8, 2019
NEW YORK POST — After painstaking research, the final survivor of the last American slave ship has been identified. An expert from the UK’s University of Newcastle carefully pieced together the life of Redoshi, from her kidnapping as a child in West Africa, to her enslavement in Alabama and, eventually, her freedom…. (more)

April 8, 2019
WES VERNON — For decades, Communist China has been viewed by the U.S. with a wary eye. Recently, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that China has been using “nontraditional” intelligence collectors to launch a “whole of society” threat against the United States.”… (more)

April 8, 2019
ALAN KEYES — In his discussion of the judicial aspect of executive power, Montesquieu observed that “If it is joined to the legislative power, the [judicial] power over the life and liberty of the citizens would be arbitrary, for the judge would be the legislator. If it is joined to the executive power, the judge would be able to wield the force of an oppressor.”… (more)

April 8, 2019

CBS NEWS — Potential 2020 Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, delivered a pointed message for Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday, telling him to raise his objections with the gay community with God…. (more)

April 8, 2019
Alabama legislature has plan to make act Class A felony
WORLDNETDAILY — In an effort to force the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the Roe v. Wade ruling, Alabama lawmakers have proposed a bill that would make performing an abortion a Class A felony, subject to up to 99 years in prison…. (more)

April 8, 2019
NEWSMAX — Trumpeting a strong U.S. economy amid some economic struggles around the rest of the world, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Federal Reserve board, Stephen Moore, hailed the lowest unemployment rate “since the Beatles.”… (more)

April 8, 2019
Judicial Watch demands Victoria Nuland’s communications on issue
WORLDNETDAILY — Government watchdog Judicial Watch has filed dozens of FOIA requests and lawsuits over the “Steele dossier,” the dubious anti-Trump document funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee…. (more)

April 8, 2019
NEWSMAX — Rep. Devin Nunes on Sunday told Fox News he is preparing to send eight criminal referrals to the Department of Justice this week regarding alleged misconduct during the Trump-Russia probe…. (more)

April 8, 2019

PAUL BEDARD — Stressing American values of freedom, Democracy, and security, the husband of Democratic 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg told a human rights rights group Saturday that the nation is “ready” for its first gay president…. (more)

April 8, 2019
NEWSMAX — CNN anchor Don Lemon has announced his engagement to New York real estate agent Tim Malone. Lemon, who has two dogs with Malone, posted on Instagram photos of customized canine tags that read: “DADDY WILL YOU MARRY PAPA?” on Saturday…. (more)

April 7, 2019
NEWSMAX — A state judge has issued a preliminary injunction against a suburban New York county’s emergency order banning children from public places unless they’ve been vaccinated against measles. Supreme Court Justice Rolf Thorsen ruled Friday in favor of several dozen parents challenging Rockland County Executive Ed Day’s order, part of efforts to stop a measles outbreak that has infected 166 people since October…. (more)

April 6, 2019
‘Unplanned’ in fourth place for week
YAHOO NEWS — A movie produced by a Christian studio about a former employee of an organization that provides abortions who became a “pro-life” activist is proving to be a surprising box office hit. “Unplanned,” which was released in theaters on March 29, has pulled in more than 8.6 million dollars in North America, according to Box Office Mojo…. (more)


April 12, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump on Thursday expressed a willingness to hold a third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un but said in talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in that Washington would leave sanctions in place on Pyongyang.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday began a three-day visit to Chile, Paraguay and Peru, a clutch of fast-growing countries in a region where China’s growing presence is a concern for Washington and Venezuela’s crisis has escalated.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will send about 100 agents to the Mexico border to speed up crossing times, a U.S. congresswoman said on Thursday, as businesses grapple with trade delays after officers were redeployed to immigration duties.

Mexico’s lower house of Congress overwhelmingly approved a workers’ rights bill late on Thursday, legislation that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi considers key to winning over Democrats wary of a revamped North American trade pact.

White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release migrants detained at the border into so-called sanctuary cities such as San Francisco to retaliate against President Donald Trump’s political adversaries, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Thousands of protesters gathered in Algiers for an eighth successive Friday to demand the departure of the ruling elite as Algeria prepares for a presidential election in July.

In one of the biggest leadership shake-ups in years, North Korea named a new nominal head of state and a new premier, and gave leader Kim Jong Un a new title, state media reported on Friday, moves analysts said solidify Kim’s grip on power.

Virgin Galactic’s goal to fly tourists into space as early as this summer is about 12 years later than initially promised. But many of its customers aren’t sweating it.

European refiners are paying the price for U.S. oil sanctions on Venezuela and Iran as they scramble to replace the sour crude Washington has blocked from the global market with increasingly expensive Russian oil, trading sources said and data showed.

Alibaba Group founder and billionaire Jack Ma has defended the grueling overtime work culture at many of China’s tech companies, calling it a “huge blessing” for young workers.

AP Top Stories

South Korea’s Constitutional Court on Thursday overturned a ban on abortion that has stood for more than 65 years, saying in a landmark ruling that current law unconstitutionally curbs women’s rights. In a statement, it said the ban, as well as a law making doctors liable to criminal charges for abortions done with the woman’s consent, were both unconstitutional.

The House speaker tells the AP that while she would love to have one or two women on Democrats’ 2020 presidential ticket, it is not a requirement. Pelosi also came to Joe Biden’s defense during the interview, saying he should be judged on his record.

A new Pentagon space agency wants to launch nearly 1,300 small satellites and, in the process, totally reinvent the way the military operates in orbit. The goal: to help the U.S. satellite constellation survive a sneak-attack by China or Russia. With hundreds of satellites in orbit, no single satellite is critically important, or so the thinking goes. If the Chinese or Russians were to knock out one or even dozens of satellites, scores more could take their place.

In a decision decried as a “devastating blow for victims,” International Criminal Court judges on Friday rejected a request by the court’s prosecutor to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan and alleged crimes by U.S. forces linked to the conflict.

The Afghan Taliban have banned the World Health Organization and the Red Cross from operating in areas under their control until further notice, a spokesman said on Thursday, citing unspecified “suspicious” actions during vaccination campaigns.

A suicide bomb ripped through an outdoor Pakistani market on Friday, killing at least 18 people, half of them ethnic Hazaras, officials said, in an attack apparently aimed at minority Shi’ite Muslims.

New Zealand’s Parliament on Wednesday passed sweeping gun laws that outlaw military style weapons, less than a month after mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch left 50 people dead and dozens wounded. A bill outlawing most automatic and semi-automatic weapons and banning components that modify existing weapons was passed by a vote of 119 to 1 in the House of Representatives after an accelerated process of debate and public submission.

Syrian Kurds on Thursday announced a deal with Baghdad for 31,000 displaced Iraqis, mostly women and children, to return from camps in northeastern Syria to Iraq.


Passengers are stranded in India and around the world after Jet Airways suspended all international flights. The airline cancelled all international flights until Monday when, according to reports, it will meet its lenders again to try to secure funding. Jet Airways is saddled with more than $1bn of debt.

Thousands of people are flocking to a new extension of Singapore’s Changi Airport, to see the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. The Rain Vortex is seven stories tall, and pumps 500,000 liters of rainwater through the roof of the Jewel building – that’s a fifth of the volume of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

The first privately funded mission to the Moon has crashed on the lunar surface after the apparent failure of its main engine. The Israeli spacecraft – called Beresheet – attempted a soft touch down, but suffered technical problems on its descent to the Moon’s surface.


American voters were concerned about an economic downturn in a Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service poll that found 58 percent of voters approve of the president’s performance when it comes to the economy.

Workers may have found 27 more human graves near notorious Florida reform school shuttered in 2011, where children were said to have been locked in chains, beaten and sexually abused.

Mid-Day Snapshot · Apr. 12, 2019

The Foundation

“Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction.” —John Witherspoon (1776)

Illegal Aliens Get Demo Money — Veterans, Not So Much

New York lawmakers reject a tuition-aid program to children of veterans killed in action.

Dems Play the Victim While Making Light of 9/11

Crenshaw calls out Ilhan Omar for her dismissive comments on 9/11 terrorism.

The ‘MAGA Bomber’ Hoaxer — Guilty

The devices were a hoax, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t still terrorism.

Big Labor Is Losing Big Money

Unions are losing members, dues, and influence. They have only themselves to blame.

Avenatti Swindled Clients, Faces Centuries Behind Bars

He parlayed Trump Derangement Syndrome into a high profile. So much for that.

‘The Sky Is Falling! We’re All Going to Die!’

We’re told climate change is going to end the world, but the solutions are terrible.

Video: Fake News and the First Amendment

Can the law punish deliberate lies about public matters? Well, it depends.

Today’s Opinion

Marc A. Thiessen
Yes, America Needs Walls. But the Country Is Not ‘Full.’
Kay Coles James
I Wanted to Help Google Make AI More Responsible. Instead I Was Treated With Hostility.
Rich Lowry
The McCarthyite, Anti-Christian Campaign Against Chick-fil-A
Jonah Goldberg
Why ‘Tax the Rich’ Demands Are So Unreasonable
Erick Erickson
Progressive ‘Christian’ Hypocrites
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Friday Top News Executive Summary

Warren’s tax, Obama counsel indicted, Interior’s new chief, Georgetown reparations, pro-life victory, and more.

Friday Short Cuts

“When everybody is a white nationalist, nobody is.” —Victor Davis Hanson

Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

News – 4/12/2019

Trump: Netanyahu Victory is ‘Good for Peace’
U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday morning that while the results have yet to be final, “It looks like Bibi has won that race … I think we’ll see some pretty good action in terms of peace.” The Trump administration has indicated that it is likely to release its long-anticipated peace plan following the completion of Israel’s elections. “I think we’re going to see that coming out in the very near future,” National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Wednesday.

Scientists put human gene into monkeys to make them smarter, human-like
For the first time, a team of Chinese scientists made use of gene-editing techniques to make monkey brains more human-like. By the end, the monkeys, rhesus macaques, got smarter and had superior memories as compared to the unaltered monkeys.

The Problem with Pete Buttigieg: His Sexual Conduct
Speaking only for myself, I do believe his sexual behavior should be a showstopper for conservative Christian voters. Many of us held off on Donald Trump for similar reasons. I was a Cruz guy as long as his candidacy lasted, and only became a Trump supporter when the choice came down to him and the rabidly pro-abortion Hillary Clinton.

NY Islamic proudly says that ‘Muslims should hate non-Muslims’
New York cleric Mufti Muhammad Ibn Muneer said there are different ways of dealing with different types of Jews. He cited the Islamic principle of Al-Bara Wal-Wala (disavowal and loyalty), which he says is, as “explained by Ibn Al-Qayyim and many others… simply summed up as loving the Muslims and hating the non-Muslims… Buddhist, Hindu, this, that, so on and so forth.”

Senator Ted Cruz Threatens to Regulate Google, Facebook and Twitter Over Blatant Anti-Conservative Bias
In his opening statement Senator Cruz asked the far left tech giants, “What makes the threat of political censorship so problematic is the lack of transparency–the invisibility. The ability for a handful of giant tech companies to decide if a particular speaker is disfavored.” Cruz asked Twitter’s Director of Public Policy and Philanthropy, Carlos Monje, why Twitter blocked a pro-life quote from Mother Teresa. Cruz then asked both Monje and Facebook’s Public Policy Director, Neil Potts, whether they considered Mother Teresa to be a hate figure. The tweet in question was posted on a pro-life site.

ANALYSIS: Turkey’s Erdogan is in real trouble
For the first time since Turkey’s Islamist leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan ascended to power, he’s in trouble at home, while at the same time the tyrant is risking a major confrontation with the United States. Erdogan’s AKP party lost the March 31 municipal elections to the secular ultra-nationalist MHP party which used to help the AKP party to establish its Islamist regime. As a result, for the first time in a quarter-century, Turkey’s main population centers such as Istanbul and Ankara will be governed by secular politicians and not by Islamists who take their orders from the Turkish strongman.

Hidden Holy Men Reveal Final Key to Open Redemption This Passover
Rabbi Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, consulted with several tzaddikim (righteous men) whose identities are known to only a few. As a direct descendant of King David, a member of the Sanhedrin, and as the son of the Misholtz Rebbe (a spiritual leader with thousands of followers) Rabbi Berger is in close contact with these holy men. They all assured him that the upcoming Passover Seder night has enormous potential to open the doors to Geula (redemption).

Pompeo Refuses to Affirm US Support for Palestinian State
When speaking to a Senate committee on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to answer whether the U.S. still supports an independent Palestinian State.

Former Obama WH counsel Greg Craig indicted in charges connected to Mueller probe
Obama administration White House counsel Greg Craig was indicted Thursday on charges of making false statements and concealing information in a Justice Department foreign lobbying investigation that intersected with the Russia probe.

Scientists cool water to -263° C without freezing it
So what if water could be cooled to below freezing temperatures without forming the icy crystals that give it this solidity? Physicists and chemists at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich have figured out a new way of doing this, and it centers on a new kind of biological matter they’ve called lipidic mesophase. Within it are molecules that behave in much as the same way as natural fat molecules, or lipids, and will take it upon themselves to gather and self-assemble into membranes.

IDF completes large-scale drill to improve readiness for war
Israel’s military completed a large-scale divisional exercise in the North on Friday to improve its readiness for war… The two-week long drill saw troops and reservists from all levels of the 36th Armor Division, also known as the Ga’ash (“Rage) Formation, train on combat scenarios in complex and urban areas. The troops, who drilled on operational planning and discourse, dealt with operational challenges on a tactical level.

Australia opens Trade and Defense Office in Jerusalem
Australia opened a new Trade and Defense Office in Jerusalem on Friday. The Australian government formally recognized west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2018, committing to open an office in the city within the coming months. Mark Leibler, national chairman of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), welcomed the move.

Sudan coup: Protesters defy curfew after military ousts Bashir
Defiant crowds have spent the night on the streets of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, ignoring a curfew declared by the military. Long-time President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown and arrested on Thursday after months of street protests. But demonstrators say the military council which has taken power is part of the same regime.

Rise of the ‘splinternet’: Experts warn the world wide web will break up and fragment as governments set their own rules to filter and restrict content
Dreams for a connected global internet are increasingly threatened by regulations being brought in by governments around the world…Plans to restrict content are fragmenting the world wide web… China has walled off some western services for years and experts are now warning over plans elsewhere in the world to filter content, leading to nationalised internets.

Scientists put human gene into monkeys to make them smarter, human-like
For the first time, a team of Chinese scientists made use of gene-editing techniques to make monkey brains more human-like. By the end, the monkeys, rhesus macaques, got smarter and had superior memories as compared to the unaltered monkeys. Researchers edited the human version of a gene known as ‘MCPH1’ into the macaques. The gene made the monkeys’ brain develop along a more human-like timeline.

Final election results: Likud gains seat, Blue and White at 35
The Central Elections Committee has released the latest results for the April 9 Knesset elections. With the completion of the vote count, including those of IDF servicemembers, Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party gained a 36th Knesset seat while his main rival, the Blue and White Party, remains at 35 of the Israeli parliament’s 120 seats.

Cain’s Fed chances in peril as fourth Republican opposes Trump pick
U.S. President Donald Trump’s expected nomination of former pizza chain executive Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve appeared in jeopardy on Thursday after a fourth Republican senator voiced opposition, possibly denying Cain the support needed to be confirmed in the post. “If I had to vote today, I would vote no,” Senator Kevin Cramer said in a statement.

The DOJ’s Entire Case Against Assange Hinges On This One Critical Piece Of Evidence
“Curious eyes never run dry in my experience.”

30 Inches Of Snow! Another Bomb Cyclone “Detonates” Over The Midwest, And The NOAA Is Warning Flooding Could Extend Into July
We aren’t supposed to have a major blizzard in April.  Less than a month after a “bomb cyclone” caused apocalyptic flooding in the central part of the country, another “bomb cyclone” is hitting the exact same area.  One meteorologist has called it “a life-threatening storm”, and at this moment over four million people are under blizzard warnings.  South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Kansas are going to get absolutely hammered before the storm finally moves east on Friday.  The authorities are warning that this new “bomb cyclone” will cause additional flooding in the region, but at this point we do not know how bad that flooding will be.

Parenting Magazine Warns ‘Blond, Cheerful’ Families Dangerous, Likely Right Wing
Parenting magazine Baby & Family has told readers to beware of families who are “inconspicuous” and “cheerful”, as these warning signs indicate they are right wing and thus “dangerous”.

Italy’s hardcore Interior Minister who refuses to accept Islamic refugees has his office firebombed by Muslims
It’s warfare. Why import an invading force? Wait until they get organized…. you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Every House Democrat but 1 co-sponsor bill that would ruin girl sports by forcing them to allow male transgenders join their teams
Every House Democrat but one has co-sponsored a bill requiring schools to allow male athletes who identify as transgender girls to compete on female sports teams.

Louisiana Diocese Releases List Of Accused Predator Priests
The Catholic Diocese of Lake Charles, Louisiana, released the names of 12 diocesan clerics Thursday who were allegedly credibly accused of sexual abuse.

BDS movement leader blocked from entering U.S.
The Trump administration refused to let the founder of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement into the U.S. this week, according to the group that was supposed to host him.

Oregon’s SB-978 Gun Control Bill Is So Hysterically Restrictive That Pepper Spray Is A Felony
It’s a good thing that some parts of this state have vowed to be 2A sanctuaries because Oregonians are going to need them…

Family fears health of US pastor imprisoned in China is deteriorating after Bible sent home
After over 10 years of ministering to prisoners in China, the family of American pastor David Lin is finally raising awareness and calling on the Chinese government to end his unjust imprisonment as they fear that his health may have taken a turn for the worse.

CA Senator Proposes Law that Would Force Public Universities to Provide Free Chemical Abortions to Students
A California Senate Committee recently affirmed a law which, if enacted, would require public universities in California to provide students with free access to “the abortion pill.”

Headlines – 4/12/2019

Israel’s Beresheet Spacecraft Crashes Into Moon During Landing Attempt

Israel just became the seventh nation to orbit the moon

NASA sends condolences and congratulations over Beresheet mission

Buzz Aldrin to ‘inspiring’ Beresheet team after moon crash: ‘Never lose hope’

Report: ExxonMobil in Talks on Natural Gas Deal in Israel

Paris Councillor Calls for Stepped-Up Effort in Fight Against Antisemitism in France

20 religious groups call on Congress to ‘stop weaponizing anti-Semitism’

Hamas: Ceasefire understandings with Israel not a peace agreement

U.S. Senate Pushes Pompeo to Explain Legal Basis for Golan Annexation. He Doesn’t

Pompeo flounders on why annexation is good for the Golan but not for Crimea

Trump’s Golan move irks Lebanese who lay claim to land held by Israel

Egypt Pulls Out of U.S. Effort to Forge anti-Iran ‘Arab NATO’

Paul to Pompeo: You don’t have permission to start war with Iran

Sudan’s defence minister announces state of emergency after arrest of President Bashir

Sudan protesters reject army takeover after removal of president

Sudan’s security service announces release of political prisoners

US urges Sudan army to bring civilians into government

US suspends talks with Sudan after military ousts Bashir

US, Europeans call for UN Security Council talks on Sudan

Pope kisses feet of South Sudan leaders, urging them to keep the peace

Sudan crisis impacts whole Middle East

Bomb kills 14 in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta

India’s Democracy Could Be at Stake in Its Elections Starting Thursday

Foreign investors poured almost $200 billion into Modi’s India. The election has them rattled

Trump says he is discussing potential further meetings with North Korea’s Kim

UK PM May defends Brexit delay, critic asks her to resign

New York Post stirs Ilhan Omar controversy with 9/11 cover

Obama No Longer President, So Why Is He Meeting World Leaders?

AOC faces backlash for telling war vet Crenshaw he should ‘go do something’ about domestic terror

From ‘no crisis’ to ‘breaking point’: Mainstream media outlets change their tune on border crisis amid illegal immigration surge

U.S. House Democrats blame Trump for worsening border crisis

Pelosi says she still sees Trump as potential ally on immigration

Avenatti, lawyer known as Trump foe, indicted for financial crimes

Comey Defends Trump Campaign Surveillance: ‘I Have Never Thought of That as Spying’

Assange Arrested in London After 7 Years in Ecuador Embassy, U.S. Seeks Extradition

US charges WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange with conspiracy to commit computer hacking

Assange may risk torture in United States, his lawyer says

Assange fears being beaten up in US prison, called Trump crowd ‘clowns’: Visitor

UK pledges it won’t send Assange to country with death penalty: Ecuador

Julian Assange: a decade of stunning leaks of US secrets

Assange charges could unsettle liberals, conservatives – and Trump

Hillary Clinton unloads on Assange, calls him ‘only foreigner that this administration would welcome to the US’

Julian Assange: Transparency icon or enemy of the state?

Glenn Greenwald Rages Against Assange Arrest, Battles Journos: ‘It’s the Criminalization of Journalism’

2020 Democrat says Assange arrest is ‘slippery slope’ for journalists, Americans

Edward Snowden: Assange’s arrest ‘a dark moment’ for freedom

Disney Chief Bob Iger Calls for Civil Discourse, Warns “Hitler Would Have Loved Social Media”

Here Comes The Splinternet: How The EU Is Helping Break Apart The Internet

Y2K-like bug knocks out the city’s wireless network system

Plan For 5G Cell Phone Towers Raises Health Concerns In Moraga

Fewer millennials are making it into the middle class

Congress punts on disaster aid amid standoff with Trump, Dems

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Finschhafen, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Itoman, Japan

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Kimbe, Papua New Guinea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Pisco, Peru

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Southwest Indian Ridge

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

‘Bomb cyclone’ snow, wind impacts Midwest, Great Lakes

Monster spring blizzard turns deadly as it lashes central US with feet of snow, intense winds

Powerful spring blizzard leaves trail of snarled transportation, power outages, closed schools

Yellow, orange and brown stuff falling from the sky? Snowed-in residents mystified by strange phenomenon

This drug-resistant fungus is spreading. Scientists warn of new superbugs to come

Scientists put human gene into monkeys to make them smarter, human-like

‘Three-person baby’ born after world’s first clinical trials of controversial technique

Texas Chairman Kills Bill to Outlaw Abortion for ‘Criminalizing Women’ Involved in Murdering Their Babies

CA Senator Proposes Law that Would Force Public Universities to Provide Free Chemical Abortions to Students

A Bill Banning Most Abortions Becomes Law In Ohio

Billboard Welcomes Drivers To Illinois, ‘Where You Can Get A Safe, Legal Abortion’

Google under fire for dubbing ‘Unplanned’ film ‘propaganda’

San Jose to hang rainbow flags at airport Chick-fil-A in support of LGBTQ rights

All but one Democrat in the House co-sponsors a bill to allow males to compete on female athletic teams

Medical association blasts military’s transgender policy

Apostasy Watch Daily News

Mike Ratliff – Beware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing

Pete Buttigieg and Mike Pence

Former YWAM Staff Member Issues Warning to Young People

Youth leader at Santa Ana church arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting two minors

Former SBC President Jack Graham Praises Chairman Who Killed Bill to Outlaw Abortion as ‘Courageous’

Ohio Governor Signs Bill Banning Abortions When Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins

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“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther


April 12, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Abel: Worshiping in Faith


By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. (11:4)

James Moffatt wrote, “Death is never the last word in the life of a righteous man. When a man leaves this world, be he righteous or unrighteous, he leaves something in the world. He may leave something that will grow and spread like a cancer or a poison, or he may leave something like the fragrance of perfume or a blossom of beauty that permeates the atmosphere with blessing.” Man leaves this world either a Paul or a Nero.

Dead men do tell tales. They are not silent, but still speak to those who will listen. From many thousands of years ago, Abel speaks to twentieth-century man. This man who lived when the earth was new, who was of the second generation of mankind, has something to teach modern, sophisticated, technological man. He lived in a far distant age, in a far different culture, with far less light from God than we have. But what he has to tell us is more relevant than anything we are likely to read in our current newspapers or magazines.

The obvious theme of Hebrews 11 is faith, and it is about faith that Abel speaks to us. He is the first in a long line of faithful persons who can teach us about the life of faith. He, and the others mentioned in chapter 11, illustrate a pure kind of faith that sharply isolates it from works. It is this distinction that the Jewish readers especially needed to see. They had to be shown that, from the very beginning, faith has been the only thing that God will accept to save fallen man.

Adam and Eve could not have been persons of faith in the same way as their descendants. They had seen God face-to-face, fellowshipped with Him, talked with Him, and had lived in the garden of paradise. Until they sinned, they had no need for faith, because they lived in God’s very light. Even after they sinned, they had the memory and knowledge of this unique and beautiful relationship with their Creator. Their children were the first to have need of faith in its fullest sense. Abel was the first man of faith, and it is important to understand that his faith had to do with his personal salvation.

Abel’s faith led to three progressive things: true sacrifice, true righteousness, and true witness. Because he believed, he offered a better sacrifice. Because he offered a better sacrifice, he obtained righteousness. Because he obtained righteousness, he is for all the ages a living voice saying, “Righteousness is by faith.”

God put Adam and Eve out of the Garden because of sin. Sin violated their fellowship with God and forfeited their right to be in His presence. But even as His judgment sent them out, His grace promised a way back. Through woman a man would be born whose heel would be bruised by Satan but who would bruise Satan on the head (Gen. 3:15). That is, this One who would be born from the seed of woman would conquer and destroy Satan, and thereby deliver mankind from sin’s curse. Within the very curse itself, a Redeemer was promised. While judgment was being executed, mercy was being offered.

Only one woman, the mother of Jesus, has ever possessed a seed apart from its being implanted by a man. The Holy Spirit placed the seed in her, and in this way it was the seed of woman that gave birth to Jesus, the promised Savior. Not only the coming of the Redeemer but also His virgin birth was prophesied in the first part of the first book of God’s Word.

From her comments after the birth of Cain, it is possible that Eve thought her firstborn would be the promised deliverer. His name probably means “to get” or “to get something,” and her statement, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord” (Gen. 4:1), might be rendered, “I have gotten ‘He is here.’ ” If she thought this son was the deliverer, she was greatly mistaken. This son became mankind’s first murderer, not its savior. Even apart from Cain’s wickedness and faithlessness, he could not have been the savior, nor could any of Adam and Eve’s physical descendants. Flesh can only produce flesh. In Adam all died, and the sons of Adam could not give a life which they themselves did not have.

We do not know their age difference, but Abel was born sometime after Cain. The basic meaning of Abel could be “breath,” “weakness,” or “vanity,” carrying the idea of brevity. In any case, his life was indeed brief, cut off by his jealous brother.

Abel was “a keeper of flocks,” while Cain was “a tiller of the ground.” One was a shepherd, the other a farmer. Both were conceived after the fall and were born outside of Eden. They were therefore both born in sin. They were the second and third men ever to live on earth. They lived and functioned as all mankind since their time has lived and functioned. They had the same natures and capacities and limitations and inclinations that every person since then has had. In other words, in all the essentials of human nature, they were exactly as we are. In no way do they resemble the primitive beings of evolutionist fantasy.

Showing their preconceptions and biases, evolutionists and various interpreters of Scripture have argued that the Genesis account of man’s beginnings cannot possibly be correct, because Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, and the others mentioned in the earlier chapters are far too advanced to have been the first human beings. Besides the impossible supernatural claims of Adam and Eve talking with God, critics reason that original man could not have domesticated animals, as Abel did, or plowed and planted fields, as Cain did—much less have invented musical instruments or metal tools (4:21–22).

The Bible is clear, however, that Adam and Eve were highly intelligent when God created them. Adam named all the animals, which required devising a creative vocabulary. Their sons understood animal husbandry and farming, and within a very few generations came the tools and musical instruments already mentioned. The Genesis account, brief as it is, gives the definite picture of people who were well-developed in language and in general culture.

The first human inhabitants of earth, Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, lived and functioned as human beings in the ways that we do today.

Abel Made a True Sacrifice

By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain. (11:4a)

This verse takes us back to Genesis, where we read of Abel’s sacrifice: “So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard” (Gen. 4:3–5).

a place to worship

Cain and Abel had a place to worship. Because they brought offerings, some sort of altar must have been used on which to make the sacrifices. There is no mention of their erecting an altar at this time, and it may be that an altar already existed near the east side of the Garden of Eden, where God had placed the cherubim with the flaming sword to prevent man from reentering.

It seems perfectly consistent with God’s grace that, from the beginning, He would have provided for some means of worship. Perhaps the altar here was a forerunner of the mercy seat, a place where man could come for forgiveness and atonement. Very early in man’s history God promised a future Deliverer, and very early He provided a temporary means of worship and sacrifice.

a time for worship

There seems also to have been a time for worship. “In the course of time,” means literally, “at the end of days,” that is, at the end of a certain period of time. It may be, therefore, that God had designated a special time for sacrificing. God is a God of order, and we know that in later centuries He did prescribe definite times and ways of worshiping. The fact that Cain and Abel came to sacrifice at the same time also suggests that God had specified a particular time.

a way to worship

I also believe that God had designated a way to worship. Cain and Abel would know nothing about the need for worship or sacrifice, much less the way, had they not been told by God—perhaps through their parents. It is especially significant that the first recorded act of worship was sacrifice, a sin offering, the supreme act of worship in all of God’s covenants with His people. Abraham sacrificed to God, and through Moses came the complicated and demanding rituals of sacrifice of the Old Covenant. The heart of the New Covenant is Jesus’ perfect, once-for-all sacrifice on the cross. It is inconceivable that Cain and Abel accidentally stumbled onto sacrifice as a way of worshiping God. The fact that God accepted only the one sacrificial offering also seems to indicate that He had established a pattern for worship.

Abel offered his sacrifice by faith. Since “faith comes from hearing” (Rom. 10:17), Abel must have had some revelation from God on which his faith was based. He must have known the place and time and way in which God wanted the sacrifice for sin to be offered.

There was nothing intrinsically wrong with a grain or fruit or vegetable offering. The Mosaic covenant included such offerings. But the blood offerings were always first, because only the blood offerings dealt with sin.

Here is where the life of faith begins, with a sacrifice for sin. It begins with believing God that we are sinners, that we are worthy of death, that we need His forgiveness, and that we accept His revealed plan for our deliverance. That is the beginning of the life of faith. It was in such faith that Abel presented his sacrifice to God. And it was because of such faith that his sacrifice was acceptable to God.

When Abel did what God said, he revealed his obedience and acknowledged his sinfulness. Cain, on the other hand, was disobedient and did not acknowledge his sin. Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain because God had prescribed a blood sacrifice. Somehow Abel, and Cain as well, knew what God wanted. The difference between the two was that Abel gave what God wanted, whereas Cain gave what he himself wanted. Abel was obedient and Cain was disobedient. Abel acknowledged his sin. Cain did not.

Abel approached God and said, in effect, “Lord, this is what You said You wanted. You promised that if I brought it, You would forgive my sin. I believe You, God. I acknowledge my sin and I acknowledge Your prescribed remedy. Here it is.” Cain had the same knowledge of God’s requirements, but decided to worship in his own way. In the tradition of his parents, he did his own thing. In effect, he was denying his sin.

Cain believed in God, else he would not have brought Him a sacrifice. He acknowledged a supreme being and even that he owed Him some sort of worship. He recognized God, but he did not obey God. He believed in God, but he did not believe God. He thought he could approach God in whatever way he wanted, and expected Him to be impressed and satisfied. In so doing, Cain became the father of all false religion.

False religion is trying to come to God by any other way than the way God has prescribed. It says, “I can get to God by thinking myself into Nirvana,” or, “I can please God by meditation,” or, “I can satisfy God by my works or by following the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy, Joseph Smith, or Charles Taze Russell.” God’s Word says, “There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). False religion says that there is another name, another way. False religion is any way to God that God Himself has not ordained. Proverbs 14:12 marks this truth: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

The idea that one way is just as good as another does not seem to be accepted in any area of life except religion and morality. When a person goes to a doctor with a problem, he first of all wants to know the truth. No one likes to hear a diagnosis of a terrible disease. But the sensible person would rather know the truth than live in ignorance of something that could ruin his health or even take his life. Once knowing the diagnosis, he then wants the right cure, not just any cure. He wants the best treatment he can find and will usually go to any lengths to get it. He would be insulted and infuriated with a doctor who told him simply to go home and do whatever he thought best—that one person’s opinion was just as good as another’s. The reason we think this way about medicine is that we believe there are medical truths. Medical science does not have all the answers, but a great deal is known and accepted as factual, reliable, and dependable. The reason this same kind of reasoning is not applied to spiritual and moral issues is that the absolute truths and standards God has given are rejected. In fact, the very notion of spiritual and moral absolutes is rejected. Cain rejected God’s standards and became the first apostate.

Cain failed to acknowledge his sin and refused to obey God by bringing the sacrifice God required. He did not mind worshiping God, as long as it was on his own terms, in his own way. And God rejected his sacrifice and rejected him.

Cain’s disobedience of God and setting up his own standards of living were the beginning of Satan’s world system. Cain “went out from the presence of the Lord” (Gen. 4:16) and into a life of continuous self-will, which is the heart of worldliness and unbelief. By his own decision, his own volition, he turned away from God and God’s way to himself and his own way. We should not be sorry for him because God refused to honor his sacrifice. He knew what God required, and he was able to do it. But he chose instead to do what he himself wanted.

There are all kinds of people around under the guise of religion, even Christian religion, who are denying God. “Woe to them!” Jude says, “For they have gone the way of Cain” (v. 11). Cain is an example of the religious natural man, who believes in God and even in religion but after his own will and who rejects redemption by blood. Paul says of such people that, “they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:2–3).

In addition to being wicked and unbelieving, Cain was a hypocrite. He did not want to worship God but only give the appearance of worship. His purpose was to please himself, not God. His sacrifice was simply a religious activity designed to suit his own purposes and fulfill his own will. Cain was like the Pharisee in the Temple who Jesus said was praying “to himself” (Luke 18:11). He was patronizing God and worshiping himself. Also like the Pharisee, Cain went home unjustified; whereas Abel, like the penitent tax gatherer, went home justified.

God is not arbitrary or whimsical or capricious. He was not playing a game with Cain and Abel. He did not hold them accountable for what they could not have known or could not have done. Abel’s sacrifice was accepted because he knew what God wanted and obeyed. Cain’s was rejected because he knew what God wanted, yet disobeyed. To obey is righteous; to disobey is evil. Abel was of God; Cain was of Satan (1 John 3:12).

Abel offered a better sacrifice because it represented the obedience of faith. He willingly brought God what He asked, and he brought the very best that he had. In Abel’s sacrifice, the way of the cross was first prefigured. The first sacrifice was Abel’s lamb—one lamb for one person. Later came the Passover—with one lamb for one family. Then came the Day of Atonement—with one lamb for one nation. Finally came Good Friday—one Lamb for the whole world.

Abel Obtained Righteousness

Through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous. (11:4b)

The only thing that obtained righteousness for Abel was that, in faith, He did what God told him to do. That is the only thing that changes a man’s relationship to God. It is not how good we are, but whether or not we trust in Him, that counts with God. That trust is evidenced in obedience to His Word.

Abel was sinful, just as Cain was. But it is quite possible, even likely, that Abel was a better person than Cain. He was probably more moral, more dependable, more honest, and even more likable than Cain. It was not, however, these qualities of Abel that made his sacrifice acceptable, or the lack of these qualities that made Cain’s sacrifice unacceptable. The difference was the way in which the sacrifices were made. One was made in obedient faith; the other made in disobedient unbelief.

Abel’s was the kind of faith that allows God to move in on our behalf and make us righteous. True faith is always obedient. Jesus said “to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine’ ” (John 8:31). These people believed Jesus, but they had not yet trusted in Him, which Jesus said would be marked by obedience to His word. Obedience does not bring faith, but faith will always bring obedience and the desire to live righteously.

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 3–4)

We cannot claim to have faith in God and then continually disregard His Word. James must have known some people who thought this way, for he wrote, “What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?… Faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:14, 17). Nonworking faith, disobedient faith, is not saving faith. It is not valid faith at all. Cain believed that God exists. Even the demons believe this, James goes on to say. “But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” (2:19–20).

James then drives the point home by reminding his readers that Abraham’s faith, for which he was counted righteous, was demonstrated by his obedience in offering his son Isaac as God commanded. “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected” (2:21–22).

James does not teach salvation by works. He is saying that our faith is only real when it issues in works. We cannot work our way to God, but having come to Him, works will become evident—and prove that our faith is genuine. The Christian, in fact, is “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

It seems to me that God’s testimony that Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable and that He counted Abel as righteous could have been indicated by His causing this offering to be consumed. On at least five occasions recorded in Scripture, God showed His acceptance of a sacrifice by sending fire to consume it (Lev. 9:24; Judg. 6:21; 1 Kings 18:38; 1 Chron. 21:26; 2 Chron. 7:1). In any case, it is clear from Genesis that God made His approval and disapproval of the sacrifices known to Cain and Abel. He did not leave them in doubt as to their standing before Him.

Abel was counted righteous, not because he was righteous, but because he trusted God. He stood righteous before God because He had faith in God. Abel was the same sinner as he was before he made the sacrifice. He did not even receive the Holy Spirit, as do believers today. He walked away with the same problems he had before. But He had God’s approval, and God’s righteousness credited to his account.

Abel Speaks from the Dead

God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. (11:4c)

When the Lord confronted Cain after Abel’s murder, He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground” (Gen. 4:10). Abel’s first “speaking” after death was to God, asking for his murder to be avenged. Like the souls underneath the altar “who had been slain because of the word of God” (Rev. 6:9–10), Abel asked the Lord to avenge his blood.

His voice also spoke to his brother. “And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you; you shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth” (Gen. 4:11–12). Every bit of soil on which Cain placed his feet would remind him of his wicked deed. The earth, in effect, rejected Cain as he had rejected God and his brother. Abel, though dead, continued to speak to his brother.

The primary meaning of Hebrews 11:4, however, has to do with Abel’s speaking to later generations of believers and potential believers. He still speaks. He says three things: man comes to God by faith, not works; man must accept and obey God’s revelation above his own reason and self-will; and sin is severely punished. This is Abel’s timeless three-point sermon to the world, which he has been preaching for thousands of years to those who will hear. It could be titled, “The Righteous Shall Live by Faith.”[1]

Faith Justifying

Hebrews 11:4

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (Heb. 11:4)

As we study this great eleventh chapter of Hebrews, we will discover the variety of things that faith does or accomplishes. We often think of this chapter as focusing on the heroes of the faith, on the people themselves, and certainly the writer of Hebrews does draw upon the wonderful histories of the Old Testament and therefore on its personalities. But ultimately it is not these men and women who are on display, in all their variety of experience, but rather the one faith that shows its various facets in their lives. Through these historical and biblical figures, the author personifies the faith he is commending, and we thereby see all the things faith does and the benefits it conveys.

In the previous chapter we saw two things that faith does. It makes present and real things that are future and unseen. By faith we presently lay hold of our possessions in Christ. Moreover, faith sees the Creator behind the creation; by faith we understand who made and sustains the universe. As we proceed through this chapter, we are going to see more of the many things faith does. Faith pleases God; it does good works; it looks upon a heavenly city; it trusts God’s promises; and it conquers over obstacles. This is what the apostle John had in mind at the end of his first epistle: “This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).

Cain and Abel

The first example of faith that the writer presents is that of Abel: “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain.” This refers to the episode recorded in Genesis 4:1–5:

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.

Hebrews says that Abel’s sacrifice was better than Cain’s because of faith. There are two ways to understand this statement. The first is that because Abel was a man of faith and Cain was not, God accepted Abel’s sacrifice while rejecting Cain’s. The issue was not the sacrifices but the men themselves. John Calvin held this view: “The sacrifice of Abel was more acceptable than that of his brother only because it was sanctified by faith.… Where did his pleasing come from other than that he had a heart purified by faith?”

You see the logic of this view, a logic we want to heartily endorse. God receives the man of faith and therefore his offering, rejecting the man who lacks faith. The apostle Paul spoke this way when he wrote in Romans 14:23, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” And in Galatians 5:6 he wrote, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (niv). According to that standard we see that because he lacked faith, whatever Cain offered had to be rejected, while faithful Abel’s offering was received.

We want to affirm this way of thinking, but it does not seem to be a sufficient explanation for what we find in Genesis 4. The Old Testament text seems to emphasize the difference between the two offerings, and not merely between the two men. It wasn’t that the two brothers brought the same offering, one that was received because of faith while the other was rejected for unbelief. No, the offerings were different, and in that difference we see the faith of one and the unbelief of the other.

We might begin by asking whether God had given commands or regulations at that time concerning the type of sacrifice his people were to offer him. “Just what,” we ask, “had God revealed to these first children or to their parents, Adam and Eve?” The answer brings us back to the prior chapter, and specifically to Genesis 3:21.

Genesis 3 tells the tragic story of man’s fall into sin. Verses 1–7 record how the serpent deceived the woman so that she ate the fruit from the forbidden tree, then how Adam ate it with her and joined her in transgressing God’s commandment. Verses 8–13 relate God’s confrontation of our first parents in that primordial sin, and their pathetic attempt to shift the blame even as they confessed their misdeed. In verses 14–19 come God’s curses, first on the serpent, then on the woman, and finally on Adam. Then, in verse 21, we see God’s action to deal with the problem of their sin, which we must consider central to God’s message of salvation because it is his most direct response to sin: “The Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” God dealt with their sin by slaying an innocent animal, a spotless substitute. God had said that sin would produce death and here we see that it did—not the death of Adam and Eve, although death did come upon their race—but the death of a substitute that would shed its blood in their place and offer its own innocence to clothe their guilty stains. The great evangelist George Whitefield rightly connected this to Jesus and his death upon the cross:

What were the coats that God made to put on our first parents, but types of the application of the merits of the righteousness of Jesus Christ to believers’ hearts? We are told that those coats were made of skins of beasts.… Those beasts were slain in sacrifice, in commemoration of the great sacrifice, Jesus Christ, thereafter to be offered. And the skins of the beasts thus slain, being put on Adam and Eve, they were hereby taught how their nakedness was to be covered with the righteousness of the Lamb of God.

In this way, God revealed the manner by which sinful man was to approach him. Here he taught sinners what kind of sacrifice they ought to bring. This is how we must evaluate the fitness of Abel’s versus Cain’s offering: “Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground” (Gen. 4:3). There must have been much to commend such an offering to Cain. Here was a portion of what arose from his own hard-fought labor. God had said to Adam in his curse, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Gen. 3:19). So what Cain brought to God came only by hard labor, just as farming continues to demand today. Furthermore, it must have been beautiful, pleasing to the eye, and sweet to the taste.

What, then, was the problem with Cain’s offering? It did not involve the shedding of blood. This was the key difference between Abel’s offering and Cain’s: Abel “brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions” (Gen. 4:4). In keeping with the pattern that God had established with his parents, and that had undoubtedly been taught to him by Adam and Eve, Abel brought a sacrifice that pointed forward to the atoning death of a spotless substitute. By faith Abel’s sacrifice was better than Cain’s, not just because Abel’s faith made it better, but because by faith he offered the sacrifice God had established as the means by which he would accept sinful mankind.

The One Way

We learn several important lessons from this episode. First, we see that sinful man is justified, or accepted by God, only by faith in the blood of the sacrifice that God has provided. This is a doctrine the Book of Hebrews has repeatedly stressed. Chapter 9 spoke of the blood of Christ which opens up heaven for those who trust in him: “Christ [was] offered once to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28). Similarly, Hebrews 7:27 tells us about the meaning of the cross: he sacrificed for our sins “once for all when he offered up himself.”

This means that you cannot come to God any way you choose. You do not just say you believe in God and then decide for yourself how you will draw near to him. That was Cain’s problem. He would decide the terms of his coming to God; he would offer a sacrifice according to his own devising. How bitter he was when God rejected him and his self-righteous worship.

There really are only two kinds of offerings, two ways to come to God—those that point to our own work, our own merits, our own righteousness, and those that point to Jesus Christ, crucified in our place to pay for sins. Unless we come to God confessing the guilt of our sin and our need for his grace, and embracing the gift of his own Son to die in our place, we reject the one way that he has provided. We then will be rejected, condemned for our sins, and made to suffer the eternal pains of hell. But people nonetheless persist in rejecting the way provided by God, especially in churches that deny or downplay the gospel. James M. Boice wrote of this in his commentary on Genesis: “That is the problem with so many ‘good, religious people.’ They come to God with their heightened sense of esthetics and want to be received by God because of their beautiful offerings. But God rejects them and their godless worship. There is no blood, no Christ and, hence, no true Christianity, however beautiful their service might be.”

We should offer our best to God. We should offer beautiful worship to him because he is deserving of our very best. There is no higher privilege than for us to do all we can to honor and bless his name. But this comes only after the blood, only after we have confessed our guilt and placed our faith in the blood of the sacrifice. Boice continues:

If one comes first through faith in Christ and his shed blood, then he can present all the beautiful things he is capable of finding or creating. And God will be pleased by this, because the person does not trust these things for salvation but rather is offering them to God just because he loves him and wants to show affection. It is only on the basis of the sacrifice of Christ that one can come.

You may say you are coming to God by any of a number of ways. You may say you are coming because of your sincere heart. You may say your religion is based on your good works. You may trust sacraments or religious tradition or church membership. But apart from the blood of Jesus Christ all of these will be rejected, like Cain’s offering, because you have not come by faith in the way God has provided. The apostle Peter said to the Sanhedrin, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus taught, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). These passages refer not merely to some vague belief regarding Jesus Christ but to his atoning blood, to which Abel’s sacrifice pointed and on which it relied, his substitutionary death in our place upon the cross. As Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

Justification by Faith

If there is any doubt about the importance the writer of Hebrews attaches to faith, Hebrews 11:4 removes any ambiguity. Here he tells us that it was by faith that Abel was declared to be righteous: “By faith … he was commended as righteous.”

By faith Abel was declared righteous, or justified, by God. This is one of the great teachings of the Bible: the doctrine of justification by faith. This is why those early Hebrew Christians who first received this letter were exhorted not to abandon their faith, as they were tempted to do: because by faith in Christ alone are sinners justified by God. This doctrine is at the core of the gospel, the good news God offers us in Christ, because it declares exactly what we see in the case of Abel, how a sinner can be accepted and declared righteous by the holy God.

John 3:16 declares that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” By believing on Jesus Christ, by resting on his saving work for the forgiveness of our sins, by accepting God’s Word and coming to him the one way he has provided, we are forgiven and are, as our text says, “declared righteous by faith.” We are not righteous by works, which declare our supposed merit—that was Cain’s mistake and the cause of his rejection—but by faith, which declares our need and our acceptance of God’s gracious gift.

We find this truth emphasized in the Genesis account. Abel was a sinner, being the son of Adam and bearing sin’s corruption in his fallen human nature. Yet when he came to God bearing the blood of a substitute, “the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering” (Gen. 4:4). The blood turned away God’s wrath by speaking of the coming cross of Christ, and on that basis God received Abel with gladness. This acceptance was not available only to him; Cain could have been justified this same way. As God explained to a bitter Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (Gen. 4:6–7).

Justification by faith makes the same claim to everyone reading these words. It is not just those who were born into Christian families, who have the right connections, who have the proper appearance or works or money to offer, but everyone may come in this way. That is why God said to Cain, “Why do you not come in the way I have graciously provided?” God offers each and every one of us salvation, forgiveness of sin, and restoration into fellowship with him by the sacrifice he has provided, even the blood of his own Son.

This point is forcefully made in the early chapters of Genesis. We have seen the first sacrifice, when God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of innocent animals (Gen. 3:21). Although Adam did not die, his sin barred him from the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:22–23 tells us he was no longer fit to dwell with and serve God there, to eat from the tree of life and live forever. But then verse 24 adds a remarkable detail: “[God] drove out the man, and at the east of the Garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” East of Eden, into the curse-blasted world of sin went Adam and Eve, their way back barred by angels with flaming sword.

This imagery would become important later in Israel’s history, in the time of Moses, when instructions were given for the construction of the tabernacle. The tabernacle was the place where people came to meet with God and where God dwelt in the midst of his people. At its center, in the holy of holies, rested the ark of the covenant, God’s throne on the earth, where he kept the tablets of the Ten Commandments, his law.

The tabernacle was a movable structure made of wooden frames and curtains. The writer of Hebrews made a careful study of it in chapter 9. There was an outer court where sacrifices were offered and the priests were cleansed before entering. The outer room, called the holy place, was where the priests served. Finally, there was the inner sanctum, the holy of holies, where God himself dwelt, separated by a thick veil from sinful mankind. What is striking when we read the instructions in the Book of Exodus for the construction of the tabernacle is that the image of cherubim was to be worked into the curtains of the tabernacle: “You shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns; you shall make them with cherubim skillfully worked into them” (Ex. 26:1). This detail evidently carried great significance because it is repeated four times in the Book of Exodus (26:1, 31; 36:8, 35). Just as the cherubim guarded the way to God in the garden with a fiery sword, so the symbolic cherubim on the curtains in the tabernacle kept sinners away.

We may infer from this that after their sin and expulsion from the garden, Adam and Eve still came to worship God at the entrance to Eden. It was to the guarded way between the cherubim that they came with sacrifices of blood. Likely, this is where Abel and Cain came, one with a sacrifice of blood and the other with an offering representing his works. Abel would have been like the later priests of Israel, able to come to the gate, to the holy place, to live and serve in God’s reflected light, but barred from the inner sanctum by the guardian angels, just as the thick veil with the image of cherubim kept Israel’s priests out of the holy of holies.

But that is not the end of the story. The Book of Exodus gave further instructions concerning the mercy seat, the atonement cover for the ark of the covenant within the holy of holies:

You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. (Ex. 25:17–21)

Although no sinner could come directly into God’s presence, just as neither Adam nor Abel could return to the garden, there was one day of the year, the day of atonement, when Israel’s high priest could enter into the holy of holies. This one day prophesied an entire age to come. When the high priest came, he was confronted by the sight of the two cherubim. The atonement cover of the ark of the covenant thus graphically portrayed the gate to the garden. There two mighty angels faced each other, with wings upswept, casting down the shadow of their presence. Their eyes gazed downward to the ark which contained the tablets of the law of God, broken by sinners. They saw that man is barred from the garden and from the presence of God. Because he is a transgressor, man is under the sentence of death and therefore cannot enter back into life.

But on the day of atonement, the high priest came and poured the blood of the atoning sacrifice upon the mercy seat between the cherubim. And thus the way that was barred now was opened. This provides an important insight about the guardian cherubim: they not only kept shut the way to God without the atoning blood, but they also secured the way for the great day to come when the true sacrifice would open wide the gates to Paradise. That one day a year when the high priest came before the cherubim with a blood offering symbolized an entire age that would be opened by the true high priest with the true blood he himself had shed. God therefore said to Moses, concluding his commands for the mercy seat: “There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you” (Ex. 25:22).

God met with his people between the cherubim—not in the garden, but at its gate. God met with them at the place where the blood was poured to cover the breaking of the law. Between the angels on the ark of the covenant sat the mercy seat. In Greek this is the hilastērion, the very term the apostle Paul used in Romans 3:25 to describe what God presented to us in the death of Jesus Christ. “God put [him] forward as a hilastērion,” that is, a mercy seat. The English Standard Version precisely defines this as “a propitiation,” and the New International Version gives the more general translation, “a sacrifice of atonement.” The point is that what the angels were looking for all along was Christ, whose coming would end their watch, and therefore they guarded the way to God until his coming.

That great day for which the angels looked did come. The Gospels tell us about it. The day came when the curtain with its cherubim was not merely pulled aside temporarily but torn from top to bottom, removed altogether, the angels thus relieved of their ancient task. Matthew 27 tells us of the death of Christ: “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom” (vv. 50–51).

Finally, the true high priest had come to the gate between the cherubim, and there he offered his own blood once-for-all. The gate was opened, the angels went their way rejoicing, taking with them the sword of death. Now the way is open wide and secured by Christ himself, who is the way. Now it is to him that we come, not merely to the gate but into the garden to walk with God. Between the cherubim, Abel was declared righteous by faith, because he looked to the sacrifice to come. Now through faith in Christ every sinner can come to be accepted into fellowship with God and to receive everlasting life.

What Angels Longed to See

Hebrews 11:4 concludes by saying of Abel, “And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.” Faith bore testimony to Abel, that he was accounted righteous, and now Abel bears testimony about faith—about its value, its worth, and its power to justify those who trust in Christ.

Shortly after making his faithful offering, Abel was killed. Cain tried to silence his testimony; we learn in Genesis 4:8 that instead of repenting, Cain murdered his brother to put away the testimony about faith and the righteousness it brings. And yet the man of faith still speaks to us in the Word of God. Faith in God is never silenced, because God himself keeps alive the testimony of his faithful servants.

When I think of Abel, I often recall Peter’s statement about the gospel: “Even angels long to look into these things” (1 Peter 1:12 niv). Abel’s faith spoke to those angels; it declared to them the wonder that sinners might come back to God, that those under the curse might meet with him at the place the angels guarded. What a wonder it was to the guardian cherubim when Abel by his sacrifice of faith was accepted and approved of God.

The same must have happened when Abel was killed: the first man to die, but also the first to appear in heaven. What an event that must have been! For the first time a sinner appeared in the holy courts of glory, cleansed and clothed in the righteousness of God’s Son. How the angels must have marveled at this mystery of grace! G. Campbell Morgan writes:

It was a great occasion when this first soul representing a fallen race appeared in the unsullied light of the home of the unfallen. He came by faith, ransomed by love, at the cost of sacrifice. As the Scripture declares that “the angels desire to look into” these things, this must indeed have been a mystery of life and love demanding their close attention, and not perchance, even fathomed by them, until the explanation … was wrought out upon the Cross of Calvary.

Before the time of Jesus Christ, Abel—though dead—spoke of a sacrifice yet to come that would take away our sin, and of faith in the sacrifice that declares the sinner righteous. Now that Christ has come, Abel speaks of it still, with a voice that fully rejoices. Many of our hymns echo the words that Abel, though dead, must speak about his Savior. Horatius Bonar’s words would be welcome and familiar to the lips of Abel, who brought a sacrifice of faith in the work of the Savior’s blood:

Not what my hands have done

can save my guilty soul;

not what my toiling flesh has borne

can make my spirit whole.…

Thy work alone, O Christ,

can ease this weight of sin;

thy blood alone, O Lamb of God,

can give me peace within.…

No other work, save thine,

no other blood will do;

no strength, save that which is divine,

can bear me safely through.…

I praise the God of grace;

I trust his truth and might;

he calls me his, I call him mine,

my God, my joy, my light.

Thus speaks the voice of Abel. And so shall we, if we are justified by faith in that same blood, clothed in that same righteousness, and thus accepted into the love of God, just as Abel was before us.[2]

4. By faith Abel offered, &c. The Apostle’s object in this chapter is to shew, that however excellent were the works of the saints, it was from faith they derived their value, their worthiness, and all their excellences; and hence follows what he has already intimated, that the fathers pleased God by faith alone.

Now he commends faith here on two accounts,—it renders obedience to God, for it attempts and undertakes nothing, but what is according to the rule of God’s word,—and it relies on God’s promises, and thus it gains the value and worth which belongs to works from his grace alone. Hence, whenever the word faith is found in this chapter, we must bear in mind, that the Apostle speaks of it, in order that the Jews might regard no other rule than God’s word, and might also depend alone on his promises.

He says, first, that Abel’s sacrifice was for no other reason preferable to that of his brother, except that it was sanctified by faith: for surely the fat of brute animals did not smell so sweetly, that it could, by its odour, pacify God. The Scripture indeed shews plainly, why God accepted his sacrifice, for Moses’s words are these, “God had respect to Abel, and to his gifts.” It is hence obvious to conclude, that his sacrifice was accepted, because he himself was graciously accepted. But how did he obtain this favour, except that his heart was purified by faith.

God testifying, &c. He confirms what I have already stated, that no works, coming from us, can please God, until we ourselves are received into favour, or to speak more briefly, that no works are deemed just before God, but those of a just man: for he reasons thus,—God bore a testimony to Abel’s gifts; then he had obtained the praise of being just before God.

This doctrine is useful, and ought especially to be noticed, as we are not easily convinced of its truth; for when in any work, anything splendid appears, we are immediately rapt in admiration, and we think that it cannot possibly be disapproved of by God: but God, who regards only the inward purity of the heart, heeds not the outward masks of works. Let us then learn, that no right or good work can proceed from us, until we are justified before God.

By it he being dead, &c. To faith he also ascribes this,—that God testified that Abel was no less the object of his care after his death, than during his life: for when he says, that though dead, he still speaketh, he means, as Moses tells us, that God was moved by his violent death to take vengeance. When, therefore, Abel or his blood is said to speak, the words are to be understood figuratively. It was yet a singular evidence of God’s love towards him, that he had a care for him when he was dead; and it hence appears, that he was one of God’s saints, whose death is precious to him.[3]

4 The first human being in the Genesis story who is “commended” is not Adam or Eve (who represent rebellion rather than faith) but Abel (Ge 4:2–8). As the first victim of murder, he would form a suitable model for those who faced the possibility of martyrdom at the hands of their faithless “brothers.” The Genesis account does not explain why Abel’s animal sacrifice was more acceptable to God than Cain’s vegetable offering, but for our author, the fact is enough. His character as a true worshiper of God is demonstrated from the title “righteous” (used of Abel also in Mt 23:25; 1 Jn 3:12—and based on God’s words in Ge 4:7, which imply that Abel, unlike Cain, did “what is right”), from the fact that God approved his sacrifice (Ge 4:4), and from his continued “speaking” even after his murder. This last point is an inference from Genesis 4:10, where God tells Cain that his dead brother’s blood “cries out to me from the ground”; it will be mentioned again at 12:24. From this admittedly limited evidence, our author concludes that what distinguished Abel from Cain was his “faith,” a healthy and living relationship with the God whom he worshiped.[4]

11:4 / Although the details of the Genesis account (Gen. 4:2–16) are far from clear, Abel’s offering was for some reason acceptable to God whereas Cain’s was not. We do not need to know the details, however, to accept our author’s argument that faith—that is, unreserved commitment to the reality of God and the absolute character of his claims upon us—was the decisive difference. Cain in some way held back from God, whether in the offering itself or in his heart; Abel held nothing back, but acted in a way consistent with his inner conviction. It was this that made Abel’s sacrifice better (this word is a general term of comparison that can mean “more adequate,” “more acceptable”). niv spells out by faith (for the literal pronoun “by which”) in the next two sentences in this verse. Was commended, as in verse 2, is literally “was well attested,” referring to the account in Genesis, as is clear in the deliberate allusion to the words of the lxx of Genesis 4:4, God spoke well of his offerings. By his faith, and the action springing from it, Abel was thus attested as a righteous man (cf. v. 7). The first murder produced the first martyr, and Abel’s innocent blood was not forgotten (12:24; Matt. 23:35; cf. Gen. 4:10). Having died for his faithfulness, Abel continues to speak the message of faith.[5]

Abel recognized his obligations before God (11:4)

Abel offered a sacrifice which was more acceptable than that presented by his brother Cain. Its acceptability was not simply that he made a blood offering and a valuable offering (‘the firstling of his flock’), but also that he gave a sincere offering. Abel offered a pure heart as well as the best gift. Cain could not overcome the powerful tyrant, sin, which was couching at his door. Later, Jesus testified to Abel’s purity of heart and John to Cain’s sinful desires.4 God bore witness to Abel’s righteousness by accepting his gifts. Although Abel was murdered by his evil brother, he is still speaking; the story of his faithful achievement speaks to people in every generation, not only about the quality of their offering to God, but also their motivation. Is the outward offering of worship, money and service a genuine expression of our love and commitment? God sees not only the value of the sacrifice, but the heart of the giver. But Abel speaks to man still more clearly by reminding us of the most important offering of all, ‘the sprinkled blood’ of Christ (12:24) who, although he was murdered by the angry and jealous successors of Cain, was not like Abel, the helpless victim of sudden hate. His entirely voluntary sacrifice was both determined and approved by God.[6]

11:4. Genesis 4:3–7 and the rest of the Old Testament do not explain why Abel’s offering was more acceptable than Cain’s. Hebrews offers the explanation: Abel showed faith. The fact that God accepted Abel’s sacrifice showed that he had an obedient attitude of mind. In some way Cain held back from God, perhaps in his heart. Abel’s offering was an unrestrained response to God, complete with lavish worship which pleased God. John tells us that Cain’s works were evil, while those of Abel were righteous (1 John 3:12).

Even though Cain murdered Abel, the faith of Abel still spoke over the centuries. Even a violent death could not muzzle the message of faith. Abel’s demonstration of faith allows him to speak a message of encouragement to us today.[7]

4. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

The author places the name of Abel, and by implication that of Adam, at the beginning of his list of Old Testament saints. Adam’s son Abel occupies a special place in sacred history, for even Jesus calls him righteous (Matt. 23:35; Luke 11:51).

With reference to Abel, note the following points:

  • Abel presented a “better sacrifice” than did his brother Cain. As a tiller of the soil, Cain brought some of its fruits. Abel, the shepherd, sacrificed the fat of “some of the firstborn of his flock” (Gen. 4:4). Is the word better (literally, “greater”) an indication that animal sacrifices were more acceptable to God than were the fruits of the field? No. We should look not at the gifts but at the giver. The historical context is quite explicit. In Genesis 4:6–7 we read: “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.’ ”

The Septuagint version of verse 7 reads, “Did you not sin when you offered [your sacrifice] correctly, but did not divide it correctly?” Throughout his epistle the author of Hebrews shows that he depends on this Greek translation of the Old Testament. But the author’s choice of version is not at issue. The fact remains that Cain’s attitude toward God was sinful. In effect, God pleaded with him to repent, to change his way of life, and to conquer sin. However, the writer introduces Cain’s name only for contrast; he is interested in Abel’s faith. Notice, for example, that the expression by faith occurs three times in this verse (NIV).

  • Abel was a “righteous man.” He lived in harmony with God and man and therefore became known as a righteous man. How God communicated with Abel is not known. One assumes that as God spoke directly with Cain, so he addressed Abel. There is no reason to resort to interpretations that hold that God communicated through symbols, such as fire that came down from heaven to consume Abel’s sacrifice or smoke that ascended from this sacrifice. The Genesis account provides no further information on how God “looked with favor on Abel and his offering” (4:4). God looked on Abel’s heart and was pleased with the motives of the giver. As Paul puts it, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).
  • Even after his death, Abel is a constant witness. The text (“he still speaks, even though he is dead”) can be interpreted to refer to Abel’s blood. God says to Cain, “Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground” (Gen. 4:10; see also Matt. 23:35; Luke 11:51; Heb. 12:24). But the writer of Hebrews stresses the concept faith, not the avenging of Abel’s blood. The difficulty of relating faith to blood that has been shed ought not be bolstered by a quick reference to Revelation 6:10, where the souls under the altar cry out, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Not the blood of Abel, but the faith of Abel is important; therefore, the reference to the souls under the altar is of little consequence. The author places Abel before the readers as a righteous man who lived by faith (Heb. 10:38). Abel is at the top of the list of the Old Testament heroes of faith. Even after his death, his example encourages people to seek the Lord, because he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Abel, then, is the father of believers of the time before Abraham. His faith in God still speaks as a constant witness.[8]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 295–303). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Phillips, R. D. (2006). Hebrews. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 401–412). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (pp. 266–268). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 150). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 184). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Brown, R. (1988). The message of Hebrews: Christ above all (pp. 199–200). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[7] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, pp. 200–201). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[8] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 315–316). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

April 12 Amazing Grace

scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 6:9–11
key verse: 2 Corinthians 5:17

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

In 1736, eleven–year–old John Newton went to sea on his father’s ship, beginning a life of rebellion and immorality. He often worked on slave ships, helping to sell slaves to wealthy landowners. An ambitious young man, Newton soon owned a slave ship and was proud of his place in a bloody and cruel industry.

Only when his ship ran into a horrible storm and he feared for his life did he turn to God. In desperation he read a devotional about Christ. Newton came face–to–face for the first time with Jesus’ sacrificial love, and it changed his life. He eventually renounced the evil slave trade and became a powerful and bold minister.

Years later, for his small congregation to sing, Newton penned the words to “Amazing Grace,” the moving story of his conversion. Newton realized that no crime is too big, no deed is too horrible, no thought is too wicked for Christ to forgive.

Christ’s amazing grace covers all sin. When you accept His payment on the cross for your sin and make Him the Lord of your life, you are cleansed completely. Past failures no longer have a hold on your life (2 Cor. 5:17). God washes old things away and makes you a new creation.

It is amazing, Lord, the grace that covers all of my sin. I am so grateful that my past is gone and I am a new creature in Christ.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

12 april (Easter 1857) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Spiritual resurrection

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1

suggested further reading: Colossians 2:9–14

Does it not seem a strange thing, that you, who have walked to this place this morning, shall be carried to your graves; that the eyes with which you now behold me shall soon be glazed in everlasting darkness; that the tongues, which just now moved in song, shall soon be silent lumps of clay; and that your strong and stalwart frame, now standing in this place, will soon be unable to move a muscle, and become a loathsome thing, the brother of the worm and the sister of corruption? You can scarcely get hold of the idea; death does such awful work with us, it is such a vandal with this mortal fabric, it so rends to pieces this fair thing that God has built up, that we can scarcely bear to contemplate his works of ruin. Now, endeavour, as well as you can, to get the idea of a dead corpse, and when you have done so, please to understand, that this is the metaphor employed in my text, to set forth the condition of your soul by nature. Just as the body is dead, incapable, unable, unfeeling, and soon about to become corrupt and putrid, so are we if we be unquickened by divine grace; dead in trespasses and sins, having within us death, which is capable of developing itself in worse and worse stages of sin and wickedness, until all of us here, left by God’s grace, should become loathsome beings; loathsome through sin and wickedness, even as the corpse through natural decay. Understand, that the doctrine of the Holy Scripture is, that man by nature, since the fall, is dead; he is a corrupt and ruined thing; in a spiritual sense, utterly and entirely dead. And if any of us shall come to spiritual life, it must be by the quickening of God’s Spirit, given to us sovereignly through the good will of God the Father, not for any merits of our own, but entirely of his own abounding and infinite grace.

for meditation: Have you passed from death to life by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:24)? Better to be a nobody alive in Christ than a king dead in trespasses and sins (Ecclesiastes 9:4).

sermon no. 127[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 109). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Tucker Carlson: Assange’s real sin was preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming president | Fox News

Tucker Carlson: The real reason everyone is mad at Julian Assange

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If you watched a lot of the coverage of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s arrest on television Thursday, you likely came away with the understanding that he is some kind of Russian spy who is in trouble because he stole classified documents from the U.S. government. That is not true. It’s factually incorrect, and saying so is not a defense of Assange. We’re not here to promote him or excuse any number of things he said over the years that we disagree with quite a lot.

But just so it’s clear, whatever his sins, Assange did not steal documents from the United States government. He did not hack the DNC servers. He didn’t break into John Podesta’s Gmail account. There is no proof that he is working for the Russian government or ever has worked for the Russian government. Assange has never been charged with any of that and wasn’t on Thursday, no matter what they tell you.


If you’re upset about the theft of classified documents from the U.S. government — and there is reason to be — we already know who did that. A 22- year-old Army private named Bradley Manning, now called Chelsea Manning. In 2013, Manning pleaded guilty to stealing secret material and got 35 years in prison for it. Shortly after that, President Obama commuted Manning’s sentence. This allowed Manning to leave jail decades early, go back on television as a commentator, and then run for political office.

So if your real concern is America’s national security, you have someone to be angry at — Barack Obama. And yet strangely, nobody is.

Instead, they’re furious at Julian Assange for posting the documents that other people stole. “Julian Assange has long been a wicked tool of Vladimir Putin and the Russian intelligence services,” wrote professional moralizer Ben Sasse, who also serves in the U.S. Senate. “He deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.”


Wicked? The rest of his life in prison? Idi Amin ate people and never faced this kind of scorn. Not even close. Nor, for the record, was Amin ever extradited. He died at 78 years old in his own bed, leaving behind 43 loving children.

So what’s going on here? A couple of things. First, Julian Assange embarrassed virtually everyone in power in Washington. He published documents that undermined the official story on the Iraq War and Afghanistan. He got Debbie Wasserman-Schultz fired from the DNC. He humiliated Hillary Clinton by showing that the Democratic primaries were, in fact, rigged. Pretty much everyone in Washington has reason to hate Julian Assange.

Rather than just admit that straightforwardly – that he made us look like buffoons, so now we’re sending him to prison — instead, they’re denouncing him as, you guessed it, a Russian agent. “Justice should come to Julian Assange for his role in Russian meddling in our election and the sooner the better,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.


Okay, so once again, just to be totally clear, no one has ever shown that Julian Assange is a Russian agent. The indictment against him does not say that; t doesn’t mention Russia at all. But that has not stopped virtually every politician in Washington from repeating Senator Blumenthal’s line, including many Republicans. Robert Mueller nearly killed the Russia collusion hoax. Julian Assange is allowing them to keep it alive.

You’d think journalists would say something about this. Assange is, after all, one of them. What do you call a man who publishes news for a living? Assange is no sleazier than many journalists in Washington; he’s definitely not more anti-American. He’s broken stories the New York Times would have won Pulitzers for. And yet many of his colleagues have disowned him.

So why all the hostility to Julian Assange? Assange’s real sin was preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming president.

“Oh, please,” wrote Alexia Campbell of Vox. “Assange is no journalist. We know who he works for. ” (Meaning Russia.) “Julian Assange is not a journalist,” explained Jelani Cobb of the New Yorker, without actually explaining. Ken Dilanian of NBC, who doesn’t so much cover the national security state as he writes memos on its behalf, noted that, “Many believe that if Assange ever was a journalist, those days ended a long time ago.”

At NBC when they tell you “many believe” something, it means they believe it.

So why all the hostility to Julian Assange? Assange’s real sin was preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming president. Former Democratic staffer and current CNN anchor Jim Sciutto explained it this way: “He is central to several cases. He is central to Russian interference in the election. The U.S. intelligence views him as a middleman, a cutout that he was in effect part of this interference. He’s central to questions about what the Trump administration or Trump campaign, I should say, knew prior to the release of those materials, right? What were the communications between Roger Stone, et cetera? It’s possible that this has something President Trump himself is not particularly excited about.”

It’s remarkable to watch this. It’s bewildering, actually. There was a time, not so long ago, really, when reporters didn’t applaud the arrest of other journalists for publishing information.

In 1971, the Washington Post and the New York Times published a trove of stolen classified documents about the Vietnam War. It was called the Pentagon Papers. Remember that? Liberals loved it. Books were written celebrating their bravery.

As recently as 2011, the Washington Post saw the connection: “A conviction of Julian Assange would also cause collateral damage to American media freedoms.” A Post op-ed said that year, “It is difficult to distinguish Assange or Wikileaks from the Washington Post.” And that’s true. But that was before the Trump election and the total war that followed, a war in which the media have definitively chosen a side.

Press freedom? Sure, as long as we agree with your politics. The First Amendment? Well, that all depends. Who did you vote for?

The guardians of speech or now the enemies of speech. The people charged with policing power are now colluding with power. There’s a reason you see John Brennan on NBC all the time. They’re all on the same team now.

We’re not saying any of this to defend Julian Assange. We just want to be absolutely clear about who hurts this country more — and it’s not him.

Adapted from Tucker Carlson’s monologue from “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on April 11, 2019.

Tucker Carlson currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Tucker Carlson Tonight (weekdays 8PM/ET). He joined the network in 2009 as a contributor.
— Read on www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-assanges-real-sin-was-preventing-hillary-clinton-from-becoming-president

What is the Meaning of the Cross? — Cold Case Christianity

When I first became interested in examining the Gospels as eyewitness accounts, I really had no interest in Jesus as God. I was willing to survey and consider the wisdom of Jesus as an ancient sage, but nothing more. Once I was convinced these Gospel accounts were reliable, however, I knew I had to reconsider my naturalistic presuppositions. If Jesus truly rose from the grave, He was more than a wise sage. In those early months of my investigation, I eventually embraced “belief that”; I was convinced that the Gospels were telling me the truth about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. But I still didn’t have “belief in” Jesus as Savior. In fact, I can remember asking my wife if she knew why Jesus had to die on the cross to as part of God’s plan of Salvation. Although she had grown up as a cultural Catholic, she was unable to provide an answer.

I then began a second investigation; this time examining both the history and theology of the cross. Although the symbol of the cross appears in much pagan history prior to Jesus, the crucifixion cross described in the Gospels was a real, historical method of execution. As an instrument of death, the cross was detested by the Jews, so it became a stumbling block for them when considering Jesus. How could the Messiah be executed on a cross? The Greek and Roman Empire executed thousands of criminals and captives in this manner (Alexander the Great executed two thousand Tyrian captives on crosses after the fall of Tyre). This form of punishment was usually reserved for criminals guilty of such crimes as treason, desertion, robbery, piracy, and assassination. It continued to be used in the Roman Empire until the era of Constantine, when it was eventually abolished as an insult to Christianity.

Even though I became convinced the Gospels accurately described Jesus’ death on the cross, I still had many questions. How could God allow this type of horrific death to occur to His only Son? Why did Jesus have to die on the cross in the first place? What did he do deserving this kind of death? The Bible provides a path to the answers as we trace how the authors used the word and described the cross as an instrument of our Salvation:

The Cross Reconciles (Pays) Our Debt
The Bible acknowledges an important truth: all sin must be punished. God is just, and justice requires wrongs to be punished. We know this is true, even in our temporal experience as humans. When we break human laws, we expect to be punished in some way, and this punishment is proportionate to the authority we’ve offended. When we break our parent’s rules, we received one level of punishment; when we break the laws of the federal government, the punishment is appropriately harsher. God also has a set of Holy laws (called “Commandments”). When we violate these laws we offend the greatest of all authorities. Justice must be satisfied if God is to remain just, and the Bible reminds us of the gravity of our violation: our sin is punishable by death. The cross provides a solution, however, and demonstrates the mercyof God, even as it accomplishes His justice. The cross is the place where Jesus (God) paid the price for us, and in doing so, He offered us a way to be united to God, in spite of our moral imperfection:

Ephesians 2:14-16
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

The Cross is Where God Does All the Work
If we could pay our own penalty we would eventually become proud and boastful, and this confidence would ultimately incline us toward independence from (rather than dependency on) God. Maybe that’s why God does all the work here. In the end, His effort to save us is all we can ever boast about, and that’s in our best interest. We typically worship whatever we boast about, and whatever we worship becomes our “god”. Those who believe they can earn their Salvation through their own good works establish themselves as their own savior (their own “god”). This is the supreme form of idolatry, and it completely denies the role God plays in our Salvation. Christianity is the one religious worldview describing salvation as a “free gift”. Unlike every other “works-based” theistic worldview, Christianity describes God alone as the all-powerful author and solitary provider of our Salvation. God’s work on the cross is the central focus of our faith and the only thing in which we can boast:

Galatians 6:12-16
Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.

The Cross Demonstrates the Power of God to Save Us
The cross is the ultimate demonstration of God’s power. As I learned about Jesus in the New Testament, I became convinced He was precisely who (and what) the Gospel authors claimed. But my “belief that” required an additional step to become “belief in”. The more I learned about me in the New Testament, the more I understood my imperfection and my need for a Savior. To a world convinced of its own excellence and autonomy, this most certainly seems nonsensical, and I also found it confusing (and, in some ways, insulting). When I began to recognize my flaws and see myself accurately, however, my belief that Jesus was God ultimately led to my trust in Him as Savior. The cross isn’t reasonable to those who still deny their need or to those who don’t understand the all-encompassing mercy and justice of God:

1 Corinthians 1:17-19
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel-not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Christians ought to recognize the cross is a symbol of God’s supremacy; the cross reconciles our debt and demonstrates the role and power of God to save us.
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Most of my family members are either atheists or Mormons. No one in either group wears a cross. The atheists, failing to appreciate their need for a Savior and seeing themselves as autonomous and worthy, reject God’s offer of Salvation as unnecessary. The Mormons, entrenched in a “works-based” theology in which their own efforts at “goodness” account for their Salvation, reject the solitary, all-encompassing power of the cross. Christians, however, ought to recognize the cross is a symbol of God’s supremacy; the cross reconciles our debt and demonstrates the role and power of God to save us.

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Apologetics at Biola University, author of Cold-Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.

via What is the Meaning of the Cross? — Cold Case Christianity

What Is the Gospel? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Many Christians, churches, and organizations regularly use the word gospel to describe their convictions. Theological controversies have occurred and do occur over the meaning of the gospel and who preaches it faithfully. What does that familiar word gospel mean? The best way to answer that question is to turn to the Bible.

In the Greek New Testament, the noun euangelion(“gospel”) appears just over seventy times. Since, in one sense, the whole New Testament is about the gospel, we might have expected the word to have been used more frequently. Even more surprisingly, its use varies greatly among the authors of the New Testament books. Paul uses the word more than three times as often as all the other authors combined. Most of the other uses are found in Matthew and Mark, with very few, if any, in Luke, John, Peter, and James.

The word gospel most simply means “good news.” The word is not unique to the Christian message, but it was also used in the pagan world to refer to a good announcement. In the New Testament, it refers to the good news of Jesus the Savior. Often, it is used with the assumption that the reader knows what the word means.

As we look more closely at the ways in which gospel is used in the New Testament, several points come through strongly. First, we often find the phrase “the gospel of God.” This phrase stresses the source of the gospel as a gift from God. The gospel is of divine, not human, origin. Second, the character of the gospel is specified in several ways: the gospel is true (Gal. 2:5, 14; Col. 1:5), gracious (Acts 20:24), and glorious (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Tim. 1:11). Third, we see two responses to the gospel. The primary response is faith (Acts 15:7; Eph. 1:13). But obedience is also a response (1 Peter 4:7; Rom. 1:5; 10:16; 16:26; 2 Thess. 1:8).

(Paul’s use of the idea of the obedience of faith in Romans has an element of irony as he responds to those who have accused him of antinomianism, being against the law.) Fourth, we see several results of the gospel. The gospel, of course, brings salvation (Rom. 1:16; Eph. 1:13). It also brings the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35, 24:14). It evokes hope in the people of God (Col. 1:23). The gospel is also a motivation to sanctification (Mark 8:35; 10:29; 2 Cor. 9:13; Eph. 6:15; Phil. 1:27).

All of these ways in which the word gospel is used point to its content, but there are also passages in the New Testament that are explicit as to its content. In examining these texts, we discover that sometimes the word gospelrefers broadly to all aspects of the salvation and new life that Jesus gives His people, and sometimes it is used narrowly to refer to what Jesus does for us outside of us. In other words, sometimes the term gospel refers broadly to Jesus’ work of justification and sanctification for and in His people, and sometimes it refers narrowly to Jesus’ work of justification. Another way of putting this distinction is that sometimes the word gospel refers broadly to all the New Testament fulfillment of what was promised in the Old Testament, and sometimes the term gospel is used narrowly of Jesus’ doing in contrast to our doing of the Law.

An example of the broader sense of the word gospel can be seen in Mark 1:1, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” This use of the word gospel seems to refer to everything that Mark tells us about the teaching and work of Jesus. We see another broad use in Revelation 14:6–7:

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Here the gospel is the call to repent and worship God.

More often, the term gospel is used narrowly and its content is specified. We see this in 1 Corinthians 15:1–4:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you — unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

Here, the gospel is the message of the saving death and resurrection of Jesus.

In another place, Paul writes of “the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted,” and he specifies what that gospel is:

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Tim. 1:11, 15–16)

Here, the gospel is the saving work of Christ for sinners.

Paul writes similarly in 2 Timothy:

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. . . . Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel. (2 Tim. 1:8–10; 2:8)

This narrow use of the word gospel was very common in the writings of the sixteenth-century Reformers. We can see this in the thought of John Calvin:

The word of faith is put by metonymy [using the name of one concept for another concept to which it is related] for the word of promise, i.e. for the Gospel itself, since it is related to faith. The contrast between law and Gospel is to be understood, and from this distinction we deduce that, just as the law demands work, the Gospel requires only that men should bring faith in order to receive the grace of God.

It is also clear in Zacharias Ursinus. Near the beginning of his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, Ursinus divides all of doctrine into law and gospel:

The doctrine of the church consists of two parts: the Law, and the Gospel; in which we have comprehended the sum and substance of the sacred Scriptures. The law is called the Decalogue, and the gospel is the doctrine concerning Christ the mediator, and the free remission of sins, through faith.

Such reflections on the gospel have remained common in Reformed theology, as we see from this long, fascinating quotation from the great Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck:

But the word of God, both as law and gospel, is the revelation of the will of God, the promulgation of the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. . . . Although in a broad sense the terms “law” and “gospel” can indeed be used to denote the old and the new dispensation of the covenant of grace, in their actual significance they definitely describe two essentially different revelations of divine will [Bavinck here cites many New Testament proof texts]. . . . In these texts law and gospel are contrasted as demand and gift, as command and promise, as sin and grace, as sickness and healing, as death and life . . . . The law proceeds from God’s holiness, the gospel from God’s grace; the law is known from nature, the gospel only from special revelation; the law demands perfect righteousness, but the gospel grants it; the law leads people to eternal life by works, and the gospel produces good works from the riches of the eternal life granted in faith; the law presently condemns people, and the gospel acquits them; the law addresses itself to all people, and the gospel only to those who live within its hearing.

How clear, distinct, biblical, and precious is this presentation of the gospel.

The church needs to preach the gospel in both its broad and narrow senses. The Greek word for gospel has given the English-speaking world the word evangelism. True evangelism, according to the Great Commission given by Jesus in Matthew 28:18–20, is a matter of making disciples: first, in the narrow sense of calling men and women to believe in Jesus and, second, in the broad sense of teaching them to observe all things that Jesus has taught His people. For the sake of the gospel, let’s all promote true evangelism.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk maga

via What Is the Gospel? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

12 APRIL 365 Days with Calvin

Finding Blessing in Trouble

And am I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it? the Lord said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it. Isaiah 36:10

suggested further reading: Amos 9

Rabshakeh warns Hezekiah, King of Judah, that it is useless to assemble his forces and to make other warlike preparations against the attack of Assyria. For Hezekiah is not contending with a mortal man, but with God himself, at whose suggestion (not his own) the King of Assyria is attacking Judah. Therefore those who oppose the King of Assyria will fight against God, and all their efforts will be useless.

From this we ought to learn that, however earnestly we may be devoted to godliness, and however faithfully we may labor to advance the kingdom of Christ, we cannot expect to be free from every annoyance. Rather, we ought to be prepared to endure very heavy afflictions.

The Lord does not always recompense our piety with earthly rewards. Indeed, it would be exceedingly unsuitable for us to possess abundant wealth and enjoy outward peace and see that everything proceeds according to our wishes. For the world reckons even wicked men to be happy on the ground that they do not endure bad health or adversity, are free from the pressure of poverty, and have nothing to disturb them. In this respect, our condition would not differ at all from that of the reprobate.

Consider the example of Hezekiah, who labored with all his might to restore religion and the true worship of God, yet endured calamities so heavy and violent that he was not far from despair. We ought to constantly place this example before our eyes so that, even when we think we have discharged our duty, we may nevertheless be prepared to endure conflicts and troubles of every kind. We should then not be disturbed if enemies gain an advantage at the onset, as if all at once they would swallow us up.

for meditation: The example of Hezekiah is a powerful corrective to the “health and wealth” gospel that is common today. Such a gospel can only bring disillusionment when troubles and trials come, as they almost always do. Our assurance of God’s favor must rest in something other than external blessings—it must rest in Christ.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 121). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

So About that James MacDonald-Ed Stetzer Bribery Car…

I should’ve written about this days ago, or had someone on my staff write about it, but I’ve been busy with the new webcast set-up (it looks awesome, by the way) and preparing our church’s disaster trailer to haul off to do its thing this flood season. Thankfully, Julie Roys was on it, who is – by the way – one of two women I never want mad at me (the other is Janet Mefferd). I admire them both; they are tenacious. 

As you know, I’ve had a bit of an axe to grind with Ed Stetzer since the days of #The15 when – as an executive at Lifeway – he was given lots of advance notice that Alex Malarkey’s book, The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, was false and yet he chose to keep it on the shelves. Even after we released email correspondence demonstrating that Stetzer was asked to pull it by the family, he sided with mammon, chided the messenger, and continued to sell it. When we broke the story worldwide, Stetzer and Lifeway lied and claimed they never knew it was false. 

And you know me…once I grind an axe it’s hard to stop grinding. 

So unless you’ve been under a rock (or only read Christian media that has a vested interest in keeping celebrity scandals under wraps), you know that James MacDonald’s empire collapsed and his pyramid-scheme of a kingdom has buried him in a pile of bad press. This is, in effect, due to the reporting of Julie Roys and another blog, The Elephant’s Debt. 

But what caught my attention the other day is when Dee at the Wartburg Watch posted an article about Ed Stetzer receiving a ‘free’ car from MacDonald, which was apparently not free at all to MacDonald’s church, which is tens of millions of dollars in debt. 

Days after previously reporting that Stetzer had allegedly received a car from MacDonald (and his church), Stetzer went on to reluctantly admit it.

That a megachurch pastor would lavish gifts upon his Evangelical Intelligentsiacelebrity friends is hardly a scandal, as it happens all the time. It’s just part of the good old boys’ club that greases the wheels that make the evangelical machine go ’round. 

When I put pressure upon Stetzer during #the15, he called my friend Phil Johnson, several of my more prominent blogger friends, and even spoke on the phone with one of my family members with whom he had a loose acquaintance, to try to get me and “minions” to back off. Stetzer didn’t want resolution, he just wanted the scandal to go away and thought he could make it go away by the sheer power of his charisma. Making scandals disappear is something these people do.

However, what is a scandal is that Stetzer is a contributing editor of Christianity Today, the de facto publication of the Evangelical Industrial Complex that serves as the spearhead of the liberalization of American Christianity and the gutter through which the sewer that most evangelical scandal flows. 

Roys reports:

Mark Galli, editor in chief for Christianity Today, told me that Stetzer was willing to meet with Galli and me to discuss the issue. Galli added that he did not want to discourage me from reporting on the gift to Stetzer, but said he didn’t see a story there. I insisted that any meeting with Stetzer be on the record, and Galli emailed Monday, saying Stetzer was “not comfortable meeting on the record.”

The scandal here is that Christianity Today provided suppressing cover for MacDonald during his scandals and seemed to be the last major Christian publication to be willing to (reluctantly) cover his collapse. In fact, Christianity Today played a role in trying to do damage control and public relations (I know no better term to describe it), trying to negotiate between MacDonald and those he was suing for exposing him. Furthermore, Christianity Today published MacDonald’s article on why it’s Biblical to sue other Christians, which almost everybody at the time thought was really weird (and wrong) to say the least, especially given its timing. 

As Roys notes, “According to the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Code of Ethics, journalists should “avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.” They should “refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment . . . that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility.”

Christianity Today tried to claim to Roys that just because Stetzer is a managing editor of the publication, it doesn’t mean he works for them, because he’s a writer on his own sub-blog and not a “journalist.” 

[Insert smile]

I just want to point out that people writing for Christianity Today are not necessarily journalists (only according to Christianity Today), but “bloggers” like Julie Roys clearly are journalists. Score one for “bloggers.” 

However, Roys pointed out that Christianity Today pays the Billy Graham Center – which employs Stetzer – a monthly fee for letting them use Stetzer’s ‘services.’ The money, no doubt, is used to compensate Stetzer.

Here are the established facts so far:

  1. Ed Stetzer works for Christianity Today and is hugely influential at the publication.
  2. The publication was in the hip-pocket of James MacDonald after nearly everyone else had abandoned him due to his own unrepentant misdeeds.
  3. Ed Stetzer was given a car by James MacDonald, along with a bunch of cash and other things that Roys documents in her reporting. 

The whole crooked machine needs to be brought down. And Stetzer is a huge, huge part of the crooked machine.

A Christian leader, according to 1 Timothy 3:3, should not be “greedy for filthy lucre.” 

A guy who will sell books by a quadriplegic teenager who was begging him to stop because the story with his name attached was false – and chose to keep selling it anyway – is the kind of guy who would happily take a car and 15 thousand in cash to provide PR and bury scandals in the press.

[Publisher’s Note: My favorite part about Dee’s article was Joe Thorn doing his darndest to defend Stetzer to the Wartburg Watch. Lol. – JD Hall]
— Read on pulpitandpen.org/2019/04/11/so-about-that-james-macdonald-ed-stetzer-bribery-car/

Jordan Peterson: The MLK of the 21st Century…but better.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a thought leader, a civil rights activist, and an icon. King, although articulate and pivotal, was not necessarily essential to the Civil Rights Movement even though he was central to it. Others came before him and stood beside him to free mankind from the tyranny of discrimination and remnants of an age of slavery gone by. While countless others preached the same message – some white and some black – King became emblematic of the movement, a banner, a legend in his own time, larger than life and much bigger in myth than in person. But he was, there is no doubt, the signage and signpost of an important ideological movement.

King understood people, and in a highly religious society where 73% of Americans attended church (compared to 17.7% today), King frequently cited the Bible. He was, after all, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. King was ordained by the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on February 18th, 1948. 

In spite of King’s ordination and his theological education at Crozer Theological Seminary (or perhaps because of it), King never embraced the religion of Jesus. While at Crozer, he became enamored with the teachings of Walter Rauschenbusch, who is arguably the founder of the Social Gospel, which he said, “left an indelible imprint on my thinking.” 

Although like Rauschenbusch, King used Christianity as a means for social change, King never embraced Christ’s theology. King denied the Virgin Birth, denied Scriptural inerrancy, and denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus. King often referenced these things in civil rights speeches, but only in a metaphorical sense. This can be easily researched by yourself, however, here’s a paper from King denying the Virgin Birth and calling the Resurrection “historically and philosophically untenable.” From start to finish, King denied the fundamentals of Christianity, practicing a liberation and social-gospel theology. 

Surely that paper from King on the subject (hyperlinked above) should suffice as a primary source in King’s own words of his Socinian-like denials of all the doctrinal fundamentals of Christianity. 

As the Christian Research Institute notes:

In 1985, Coretta Scott King asked Stanford professor Clayborne Carson to become the head of The King Papers Project, tasked to publish fourteen volumes of King’s papers to preserve his work.  The papers’ dates range from 1948 to 1963. Around 1996, Mrs. King gave Carson a box with papers that affirmed King’s doubts about whether the Bible was literally true: “King didn’t believe the story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale was true, for example, or that John the Baptist actually met Jesus, according to texts detailed in the King papers book. King once referred to the Bible as ‘mythological’ and also doubted whether Jesus was born to a virgin, Carson said.”

In addition to not being a Christian (if by that term we mean someone who is converted and born-again), King was morally destitute on a personal level. 

Aside from his work often being filled with plagiarism (according to the New York Times) – including the dissertation in which he denied Jesus – King was a sexual libertine. 

It was reported by many people (even supporters and fellow pastors) surrounding King that he was a grossly sexually immoral man. The recent JFK Files released by the National Archives from an FBI dossier indicates that King had many sexual trysts outside of marriage and likely fathered a “love child” (according to the New York Daily News). Some sources indicate as much as four long-term affairs. 

However, aside from ‘affairs,’ King also engaged in prostitution and orgies with both men and women. The Washington Examiner reports the FBI dossier says that King engaged in ‘orgies,’ including at least one two-day orgy in Washington D.C. with members of both sex. 

Some are hesitant to believe a U.S. Intelligence Agency because of a conspiratorial agenda that supposedly targeted Dr. King. It is unlikely that a misinformation campaign was intended by the FBI, however, because the documents were sealed and kept private until 2017. 

When the FBI dossier was released, however, it surprised no biographers of King who well-knew his penchant for adultery. 

King’s close confidant and best of friends, Ralph Abernathy, wrote a tell-all book in 1989 entitled And the Walls came Falling Down in which he explained King’s sexual immorality and proclivity for adultery. The only push-back from King historians to Abernathy’s book seems to be mostly related to his claim that King slept with white women as well as black women (which seems an odd hang-up to have). 

Other documents, including audio recordings that demonstrate King’s sexual immorality, are set to be released in the year 2027. Judge John Lewis Smith, when he became aware of the tapes and their contents in 1977, declared that they be sealed for 50 years. Many attempts have been made over the years to get around the judge’s order (including U.S. Senators who are aware of their contents) but have thus far been unable. 

In spite of the fact that King denied all the fundamentals of Christian doctrine and in spite of the fact that he failed at following some of the fundamentals of Christian virtues, King assisted an important ideological movement that would enshrine in U.S. law the full legal protection of all citizens. 

I recently compared MLK to Jordan Peterson in my post, “The Gospel Coalition Attacks Jordan Peterson.” My comment was:

Peterson, who calls himself a “pragmatic Christian,” claims to follow the teachings of Jesus as best he understands them and holds that the First Century rabbi’s moral philosophy forms a superior and worthy ethos to live a virtuous life. Peterson, however, denies the inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and the resurrection (in other words, he’s no more a Christian than was Martin Luther King, Jr). Friends of mine who are close to Peterson believe he is open to the religion of Jesus, but as of yet he has only embraced the ethics of Jesus.

Some were incensed that I compared the openly secular philosophy of Jordan Peterson to the theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. On the fundamentals of the faith, however, they are identical. Neither affirm the plenary inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, or the resurrection. 

Peterson, however, seems to be a morally upright man and has taken to the virtues of the Christian religion far better than the adulterer, King. 

Unfortunately for Peterson, we are saved by grace through faith and not grace through virtues. 

Peterson, similar to MLK, leads another important ideological movement. Jordan Peterson, who The Social Gospel Coalition snidely referred to as a High Priest for our Secular Age is a thought-leader with a meteoric rise just as sudden as Martin Luther King when he first became noticed on the national scene in the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. 

Peterson is a clinical psychologist from Canada who was born in 1962, the same year King met with President John F. Kennedy in the White House. Peterson is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, 12 Rules for Life and his Youtube channel has over a million subscribers. Even evangelicals are finding it hard to ignore Peterson, who does not premise his philosophies upon the Bible, but yet frequently cites the Good Book as frequently as did Dr. King (see hereherehereherehere, and an HT to Joe Carter for the links). Even The Social Gospel Coalition – although not likening Peterson to King, who they venerate – have likened him to Francis Shaeffer, one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th Century. 

Peterson’s movement is not altogether unlike Martin Luther King’s. The intellectual work of both men assert innate equality of all men. Both believe that men should be ultimately free to think and speak the content of their conscience. Both men were vilified during their times for doing little more than espousing their convictions.

In fact, Martin Luther King would have stood united against the Social Justice Warriors today who practice Critical Race Theory. Both men believe, as MLK said, we should “judge a man by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.” 

In this respect, Peterson is far closer to Dr. King on how we are to view ethnicity than ‘woke’ evangelicals who spoke recently at the MLK50 event, who have metaphorically defecated upon the grave of King by insisting that people be viewed in respect to their race. 

Peterson, like King, is focused upon the liberation and freedom of humankind. King, who was arrested numerous times for exercising his First Amendment liberties, surely would have agreed with Peterson’s words in the video below.

Peterson and King both share the same battle; human liberation from oppression of thought and the protection of human rights.

Ultimately, little is different between the two men. 

Both men have used the Bible to make their arguments, while denying its inspiration. Both deny essential Christian doctrines. Both have used their life work to fight for human equality and liberty. 

However, only one of these men is venerated by the evangelical left, and it happens to be the one who was a whoremonger. 

[Contributed by JD Hall]
— Read on pulpitandpen.org/2019/04/11/jordan-peterson-the-mlk-of-the-21st-century-but-better/

Questions Real Journalists Would Ask Obama and Hillary – The Rush Limbaugh Show

RUSH: If there were real journalism in America today, there would be questions right now that these real journalists would really want to ask people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, such as, “President Obama, were you made aware of spying on the Trump campaign while you were in office?”

“President Obama, are you shocked at the possibility of spying on a political campaign in post-Watergate America?”  “President Obama, are you supportive of Attorney General Barr’s efforts to fully investigate the reasons for this spying?”  “President Obama, if FISA courts were deceived in any way by your FBI, would you characterize that as a scandal — and, if not, how would you characterize it?”  “President Obama, when you said that you learned about Hillary Clinton’s secret email server by reading about it in the papers, were you being honest, sir?

“Because we know that you sent her emails on that server knowing full-fledged that it had an address that was outside the State Department.” “President Obama, looking back, are you shocked that the secretary of state would create and maintain a private, poorly secured email server that processed top secret documents for her entire term?”  “President Obama, was President Trump correct in his assessment that he was surveilled by your administration?”

Now, for Mrs. Clinton — and you might even think of some better ones for Obama. “Mrs. Clinton, when did you first read the Steele dossier that you paid for?”  “Mrs. Clinton, what was your reaction when you saw BuzzFeed actually publish the dossier despite their admission that it had not been verified or corroborated?  Did you feel successful?”  “As a former first lady, senator, and secretary of state, you are familiar with investigative reports from intelligence agencies.  Were you fooled by the information in the Steele dossier?  Did you believe what was in the Steele dossier?

“Did you pay for what you knew was not verifiable or corroborate-able in the Steele dossier?”  “Who in your organization gave the Perkins Coie law firm the assignment to secure the dossier from Fusion GPS, and were you aware of the assignment?” “If the FBI, DOJ, CIA, and Director of National Intelligence abused their powers, spying on and undermining the Trump campaign, transition, and presidency, would you condemn those actions?”

“Mrs. Clinton, are you at all worried that the Steele dossier can be tied to your campaign and that it was thus knowingly used to secure four fraudulent FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, or did you feel like it was an eminently successful political operation?”  I have to take a break.  There are obviously a plethora of questions you could create.  But the point is, there isn’t one ounce of curiosity from any reporter anywhere (in the Drive-By side of things) in any of this.
— Read on www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2019/04/11/questions-real-journalists-would-ask-obama-and-hillary/

April 12, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

8. Taste and see that Jehovah is good. In this verse the Psalmist indirectly reproves men for their dulness in not perceiving the goodness of God, which ought to be to them more than matter of simple knowledge. By the word taste he at once shows that they are without taste; and at the same time he assigns the reason of this to be, that they devour the gifts of God without relishing them, or through a vitiated loathing ungratefully conceal them. He, therefore, calls upon them to stir up their senses, and to bring a palate endued with some capacity of tasting, that God’s goodness may become known to them, or rather, be made manifest to them. The words literally rendered are, Taste and see, for the Lord is good; but the particle כי, ki, for, is taken exegetically. David’s meaning, therefore, is, that there is nothing on the part of God to prevent the godly, to whom he particularly speaks in this place, from arriving at the knowledge of his goodness by actual experience. From this it follows, that they also are infected with the common malady of dulness. This doctrine is confirmed by the promise immediately added, Blessed is the man who trusteth in him; for God never disappoints the expectations of those who seek his favour. Our own unbelief is the only impediment which prevents him from satisfying us largely and bountifully with abundance of all good things.[1]

O taste (v. 8)

We associate taste with pleasure and satisfaction. The psalmist here calls for his readers to taste the goodness of God. Matthew Henry says: ‘Let God’s goodness be rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel.’[2]

34:8 Experiencing God’s goodness anticipates the experience of goodness in Christ (1 Pet. 2:3).[3]

34:8 Taste and see Describes the act of trusting, fearing, and seeking Yahweh (compare note on v. 9).[4]

34:8 taste. The psalmist describes his personal experience of God’s goodness. After tasting God’s goodness in Christ, Peter alludes to this passage (1 Pet. 2:3).[5]

34:8 Taste can mean “judge” in the sense of determine for oneself (Pr 31:18). See most likely carries the same sense in order to reinforce the concept.[6]

[1] Calvin, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 1, pp. 563–564). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Ellsworth, R. (2006). Opening up Psalms (p. 102). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 978). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 34:8). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 765). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[6] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 847). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

The Illegal, Unjust Trials of Jesus, Part 2 | Grace to You: Radio Podcast

There’s only ever been one person put on trial who was absolutely and perfectly innocent. That person, of course, is Jesus Christ, and His trial is the topic of John MacArthur’s study today on “Grace to You.”