Daily Archives: May 16, 2019

May 16 The Price of Prayerlessness

Scripture Reading: Psalm 102:1–17

Key Verse: James 4:8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Have you ever considered the fact that each one of us pays a price when we allow our prayer lives to fall by the wayside? Of course this is not a monetary price; instead, it is a spiritual price.

When we fail to make prayer a priority—essentially forfeiting our time alone with God—we will begin to feel an emptiness in our lives, accompanied by a strange sense of unrest and uneasiness. In contrast, when our prayer lives are active, the weight of these burdens will be lifted from our shoulders by the mighty hand of the almighty God.

With this in mind, why would anyone choose to cease praying? The sad truth is that many of us have become so accustomed to weariness and hardship that we feel lost or uncomfortable without it. Yet, if we continue to nurture this style of living, we will begin to rely upon ourselves instead of upon God, thereby making ourselves vulnerable and at risk for disaster.

The clear solution, then, to avoid these difficulties is to place high priority upon our fellowship and communication with God. After all, we must be in contact with our heavenly Father in order to hear His voice and to understand and follow His will for our lives.

If you have allowed distance to come between you and your heavenly Father, confess this to Him today. When you renew your prayer life—the most important piece of your Christian walk—you will once again be able to experience God’s blessings and His best for your life.

Father, I have deliberately distanced myself from You by withdrawing from my prayer time. I am sorry. I surrender this burden of walking alone and seek again Your face.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 143). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 16 Your Best Defense

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7–10

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 12:10

I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

One of the saddest accounts of temptation’s fury is Peter’s denial. He denied the notion that he would desert the Lord, but that was exactly what happened (Matt. 26:33).

Peter was accustomed to taking charge of a situation. In many ways, he was fearless, especially out on the open Sea of Galilee with the sails of his fishing boat flailing in the wind and the bow crashing through the waves. But that was a familiar environment for Peter, not like what he experienced the night of Christ’s arrest.

In fact, none of the disciples were ready for what happened. They were even less prepared to witness the Crucifixion. Peter ended up denying the Lord three times, just as Jesus predicted. What did the temptation involve, and why did Peter yield to the enemy’s snare?

Somehow Peter forgot the principle of godly strength. The apostle Paul later recorded this principle in 2 Corinthians 12:10: “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Jesus is your only sure strength. When temptation comes, your best defense is not to fight it in your own ability but to go to God in prayer. Claim your position as His child, stand firm in your faith, and acknowledge His strength as yours.

Though Peter fell, Jesus encouraged him not to give up. When temptation traps you, know that Christ will forgive and restore you, just as He did Peter.

Heavenly Father, You are my strength and defense against temptation. I am Your child. I stand firm in my faith and acknowledge that when I am weak, then I am strong![1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 143). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 16 When the Word Comes Alive

Scripture reading: Psalm 19:1–14

Key verse: Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

Be acceptable in Your sight,

O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

On a scale of one to ten (with ten indicating the highest frequency), where do you rank your practice of meditation on Scripture? Despite the value God places upon musing on and pondering His truth (Josh. 1:8), the Christian seldom prioritizes meditation.

Dr. J. I. Packer describes one reason for our poor spiritual health in this area.

“If I were the devil, one of my first aims would be to stop folk from digging into the Bible … I should do all that I could to surround it with the spiritual equivalent of pits, thorn hedges, and man traps, to frighten people off.”

  1. Kent Hughes highlights the profit of meditation on the Bible in his book Disciplines of a Godly Man.

We may be challenged, convicted, and exhilarated with the call to meditation. The question is, how is this to be done?… Ideally, we are to make meditation a part of our regular devotion, giving hidden time to reverently muttering [speaking to ourselves] God’s Word.

But even our busy schedules can be punctuated with Scriptural meditation—in the car, at lunch break, or waiting for a bus. Select a choice text, write it on a card, and slip it into your pocket. Pull it out in those spare moments. Murmur it. Memorize it. Pray it. Say it. Share it.

When the Word really comes alive in your heart, you will enter a new dimension of prayer, praise, and worship.

Dear Lord, as I meditate on Your truths today, let the Word come alive in my heart.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 143). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Case for the Reliability of the Old Testament (Bible Insert)

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The Case for the Reliability of the Old Testament (Bible Insert)We’ve been investigating the case for the reliability of the Old Testament by examining the process of transmission, the verification of archaeology and the appearance of fulfilled prophecy in the text. The ancient scribes employed a trustworthy system of checks and balances as they copied the original texts, and the accuracy of transmission process was successfully tested with the discovery of the Isaiah text in the Dead Sea Scroll collection. The ancient Jewish believers and Church Fathers also embraced the Old Testament as the Word of God. In addition, archeological discoveries have since confirmed many of the Old Testament accounts, and these archaeological evidences are rich compared to other written claims about the ancient past. Finally, the Old Testament Scriptures contain fulfilled prophecies  (including amazing prophecies about the coming Messiah), establishing the Divine nature of the texts. Based on this evidence, the following summary can be created related to the case for the reliability of the Old Testament:

(1) The Old Testament Has Been Faithfully Transmitted

(a) Careful Masoretes Subscribed to an Incredibly High Standard
(b) The Dead Sea Scrolls Confirm the Transmission Process
(c) Ancient Sources Confirm the Early Canon of the Old Testament

i. Prologue to Ecclesiasticus
ii. Philo
iii. Jamnia
iv. The Early Church Fathers
v. Josephus

(2) The Old Testament Has Been Verified with Archeology

(a) Findings from Neighboring Cultures

i. The Ebla Tablet
ii. Archaeological digs in the city of Bogazkoy, Turkey
iii. Archeological Digs in Sargon’s Palace in Khorsabad
iv. The Belshazar Tablet
v. The Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet

(b) Extra-Biblical confirmation of Biblical events

i. The campaign into Israel by Pharaoh Shishak
ii. The revolt of Moab against Israel
iii. The fall of Samaria
iv. The defeat of Ashdod by Sargon II
v. The campaign of Sennacherib against Judah
vi. The siege of Lachish by Sennacherib
vii. The assassination of Sennacherib by his own sons
viii. The fall of Nineveh as predicted by the prophets
ix. The fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar
x. The captivity of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, in Babylon

(3) The Old Testament Has Been Confirmed by Prophecy

(a) Accurate Predictions of Ancient Historical Events

i. Babylon Will Rule Over Judah for 70 Years
ii. Babylon’s Gates Will Open for Cyrus
iii. Babylon’s Kingdom Will Be Permanently Overthrown
iv. Babylon Will Be Reduced to Swampland
v. The Jews Will Survive Babylonian Rule and Return
vi. The Ninevites Will Be Drunk in Their Final Hours
vii. Nineveh Will Be Destroyed By Fire
viii. Tyre Will Be Attacked By Many Nations
ix. Tyre’s Stones, Timber and Soil Will Be Cast Into Sea
x. The Jews Will Avenge the Edomites

(b) The Old Testament Accurately Predicts The Coming Messiah

i. Daniel 9:25
ii. Nehemiah 2:5,6

This brief summary has been re-created in the form of a Bible Insert and is available on our Home Page from the link in the right tool bar. Download the insert (along with the inserts from prior months) and start collecting these resources related to the case for the Christian worldview. We hope to encourage and equip you to be a better Christian Case Maker.

Source: The Case for the Reliability of the Old Testament (Bible Insert)

China Launches Campaign to ‘Dismantle’ and Eliminate House Churches

China Launches Campaign to ‘Dismantle’ and Eliminate House Churches

China’s government launched a new campaign in April to eradicate underground house churches so that only state-sanctioned and heavily restricted Three-Self churches remain.

The new campaign, according to International Christian Concern (ICC), is called Return to Zero. The goal is to “dismantle the scale [of churches], dissolve the organization, and dismiss the church,” sources told ICC.

The ultimate goal is “eliminating Christianity” from the public sphere, ICC said.

Churches within China are required to register with the government and become part of the Three-Self movement. Pastors within the Three-Self movement submit their sermons to government officials for approval. In some Three-Self churches, children are prohibited by the government from attending.

Such restrictions have driven millions of Chinese to join illegal, unregistered house churches.

Under Return to Zero, house churches either must join the Three-Self movement or disband.

In April, Zaidao Church in Beijing was visited by government officials and told to join the Three-Self movement, ICC reported. The congregation is part of the China Gospel Fellowship, a house church network.

China shut down the 1,000-member Shouwang Church — a house congregation — earlier this year.

“So far, there have been churches across the country that were oppressed with different tactics by local government, with the aim to force them to join Three-Self, or cease their activities,” an unidentified Christian scholar told ICC. “Those who refuse will be banned, or have to shut down their churches. For those large networks of house churches, the government’s attitude is to firmly strike and destroy them.”

Source: China Launches Campaign to ‘Dismantle’ and Eliminate House Churches

Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing reveal Brennan was the mastermind of the Russia hoax | American Thinker

The two people with the best track record of predictions give us a preview of coming attractions.

Anyone closely following the Russia hoax and its collapse understands that D.C. super-lawyers Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing have by far the best track record in accurately calling out the nature of the scandal and identifying the coming revelations.  I do not know either of them and have not communicated with them personally, but judging from their public statements, and inferring from their career histories, they must have very highly placed sources talking to them about the case — and quite possibly asking for advice or acting as sounding boards — about future actions to ensure that the facts are properly aired and the persons responsible for the abuses are held to account.  All of this is in the face of the fiercest possible resistance by members of the Deep State embedded in law enforcement, intelligence agencies, the DOJ, and the media — and maybe even in the White House staff.

Yesterday, they spent an hour with Sebastian Gorka on his Salem Radio syndicated talk show and gave us a preview of sorts about where the scandal is headed next.  The entire show is available on YouTube, minus most of the commercial breaks, and well worth a listen.  If you haven’t got much time, I suggest you start at about 20 minutes into the video and follow through to the end, 15 minutes later.

YouTube screen grab.

The most important bombshell they released is that they believe that John Brennan, then head of the CIA, was the core of the conspiracy.  Victoria Toensing added that this is because Clapper is too dumb to pull off such an operation.

They also revealed that Admiral Mike Rogers is happily willing to testify about the abuses he uncovered, which actually triggered the initiation of the Russiagate plot.  Recall that when he was head of the National Security Agency (NSA), which comprehensively monitors telecommunications, he discovered that political appointees in the White House were using its database on a huge scale to monitor political opponents and acted to cut off that access.  Suddenly cut off from their ability to spy on political opponents, and almost certainly fearful of public exposure should Hillary Clinton be defeated, the wheels were put in motion (with Brennan in the lead) to generate the Steele dossier and the FISA warrants to both spy on and tar the threat of a Trump presidency.

There is lot of other discussion that follows that is very intriguing, including consideration of the lack of whistleblowers in the FBI and DOJ among the numbers of people not in the top layer of political appointee management circles.  That none of the career officials tasked with implementing the hoax spoke up at the time bespeaks a rot in the organizational culture that will not be corrected by mere changes in top-level personnel.  While President Trump and others are always careful to focus on the people at the top and exonerate the “99%” of the working-level agents in the FBI (and by extension the DOJ), Toensing and DiGenova are not so sanguine.  That people would remain silent when asked to implement actions that are clearly wrong indicates that the rot extends far below the political appointees.

Their discussion of Christopher Wray, the FBI head who is still defending the agency, is indicative of the real source of the problem.  As Toensing puts it: “The only thing he’s ever cared about is his next job.”  That, in my opinion, is the real problem with federal (and other government) bureaucracies.  To get ahead, you don’t make waves, and you don’t call out problems; you just please the people who can help you get the next promotion.

Toward the end, they express confidence that the truth will come out because A.G. Barr is determined to get to the bottom of it.  That is consistent with my own view that the only reason why Barr would have left his lucrative law practice to return to head the DOJ (and endure vilification from the Democrats fearful of the truth coming out) is his dedication to making sure that the institutions of justice return to the path of integrity and adherence to the design of the Constitution.

Hat tip: Roger Luchs.

Source: Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing reveal Brennan was the mastermind of the Russia hoax

Franklin Graham Challenges Representative Who Said God’s Doesn’t Belong in Congress

Franklin Graham Challenges Representative Who Said God’s Doesn’t Belong in Congress

Evangelist Franklin Graham took to Twitter this week chastising Democrats for omitting the phrase “so help me God” from witness oaths, and singling out a Tennessee representative who said God doesn’t belong in Congress.

“Why has the Democratic Party turned its back on God? @RepCohen of TN said, ‘I think God belongs in religious institutions: in temple, in church, in cathedral, in mosque—but not in Congress,’” said the first of a series of tweets made by Graham on May 14.

The tweets were in response to a New York Times article highlighting a new policy by numerous committee heads dropping the traditional phrase “so help me God,” from witness oaths. The Times quoted U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, chairman of the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, taking a swipe at the religious beliefs of Republicans.

“I think God belongs in religious institutions: in temple, in church, in cathedral, in mosque — but not in Congress,” he said, adding that what Republicans are doing “is using God.”

“And God doesn’t want to be used,” Cohen said.

Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, took direct aim at the Democrat party, saying many of its members want to eliminate the Almighty so they are free to live without a moral compass.

“We need more of God, not less! What @RepCohen is suggesting is what Communism did in Eastern Europe & is still doing in places around the world like Cuba. Communism only allows worship inside approved churches,” he continued. “God is our Creator & the maker of the universe. He is present everywhere; He is not limited to churches or temples. The root of the issue is that many politicians don’t want God in any part of their politics or our country’s business because His standards condemn their sins.”

The new practice also has not set well with several Republicans who are pointing out the omission every time the modified oath is read. South Carolina Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan pointed out that “the oath was incorrect and incomplete” after House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee chair, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGett, of Colorado, read the oath without the phrase.

Jason Lemieux, director of Government Affairs for the Center for Inquiry lauded DeGette.

“She stuck to her guns in upholding the secular character of our government, and lo, the world did not come to an end. Instead, she helped the approximately 95 million nonreligious Americans feel represented by their government,” he said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, who also interrupted a recent Judiciary Committee hearing, said the phrase is more than symbolic.

“The intention behind it was to express the idea that the truth of what was being said was important not just in the moment, but would go into eternity, and someone was watching and would ultimately be our judge,” Johnson said. “Some would call that mere symbolism, but to many of our founders, it was deeper than that.”

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan/Staff

Source: Franklin Graham Challenges Representative Who Said God’s Doesn’t Belong in Congress

U.N. Adopts Measure Promoting Abortion over Member-Country Objections — National Review

The chairwoman of a U.N. commission has forced the adoption of a measure that implicitly promotes abortion over the objections of more than one country.

via U.N. Adopts Measure Promoting Abortion over Member-Country Objections — National Review

Trump Opposes LGBT Equality Act – It’s ‘Filled with Poison Pills’

Trump Opposes LGBT Equality Act – It’s ‘Filled with Poison Pills’

The Trump administration has come out against the Equality Act, which could face a floor vote Friday and would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes in non-discrimination laws.

Religious liberty and conservative groups warn the bill, if passed and signed into law, could have devastating effects on women’s rights and religious freedom.

“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” a senior administration official told the Washington Blade and several other media outlets.

The Equality Act (H.R. 5) would amend federal laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit and the jury system. Among the amended laws would be the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act.

It would be the most significant LGBT rights bill ever passed. It has 240 co-sponsors, only three of which are Republicans. The rest are Democrats.

But religious liberty groups are warning the bill isn’t as innocent as its name indicates.

“[W]hile it may sound nice to some ears, this bill actually poses a devastating and unprecedented threat to religious freedom and the progress that women have made toward true equal treatment in law and culture,” Sarah Kramer of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) wrote in an online analysis.

The Equality Act, ADF says, would infringe on the rights of Christian business owners, churches and adoption agencies.

It would “threaten individuals, business owners, and non-profit organizations” by “forcing them to express messages or promote events that violate their deeply held religious convictions,” Kramer wrote.

It would prohibit churches and religious nonprofits “from requiring their employees to live out their religious beliefs about marriage, sexual morality, and the distinction between the sexes.”

“[Churches] would be required to open their sex-specific facilities to members of the opposite sex. For one Massachusetts church, that would mean it would have to open its women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence to biological males,” she wrote.

The Equality Act would “threaten religious foster care and adoption agencies with closure if they operate according to their beliefs that the best place for a child is a home with a married mother and father.”

It also would harm women’s sports, Kramer wrote, by allowing “male athletes who identify as female to compete in women’s and girls’ athletic competitions.”

“At a Connecticut state track meet, two biological males identifying as girls beat out the female competitors in several events, taking first and second place,” Kramer wrote. “… In Alaska, the same happened – a biological male competed as a girl at the state championship and won.”

Even supporters of the Equality Act are warning women’s sports are in danger. Doriane Coleman, Martina Navratilova and Sanya Richards-Ross wrote a Washington Post editorial saying the bill “would make it unlawful to differentiate among girls and women in sports on the basis of sex for any purpose.”

“The evidence is unequivocal that starting in puberty, in every sport except sailing, shooting and riding, there will always be significant numbers of boys and men who would beat the best girls and women in head-to-head competition,” the three women asserted. “Claims to the contrary are simply a denial of science.”

Source: Trump Opposes LGBT Equality Act – It’s ‘Filled with Poison Pills’

We Need to Surrender | The Master’s Seminary

As the government rages against believers at every level, whether it be at the national level, the state level, the local level, or the municipal level, we are to surrender to every manifestation of institutional authority placed over us. The battle cry of every believer is, “I surrender. I submit to your authority.”

As soldiers of Christ, we are to surrender to unbelievers at every level.

We are to surrender in public and in private, at the macro level and on the micro level, on a national scale and on a private scale. We are to surrender to every secular authority that is placed over us.

As the world becomes more and more secularized, the government will become one of the primary, if not the dominant, aggressors against Christianity. The question becomes, how do we battle against the government when it declares war against Christians and Judeo-Christian values?

Recently, there was a bill working its way through the California Assembly that would have declared illegal any Christian counseling that regarded homosexuality as a sin. How do we wage war against an institution that is making such bills?

Peters answers this question. He writes,

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as to one in authority, or to Governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God, that by doing right, you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. (1 Peter 2:13-15)

To Governing Authorities

As believers, we surrender to every governing authority over us.

The battle cry of every believer is, “I surrender. I submit to your authority.” I want you to notice the comprehensive nature of this command. Peter says to every human institution, and then he refers to the king – which speaks of national authority, and then he speaks of the governor – which refers to local authorities.

As the government rages against believers at every level, whether it be at the national level, the state level, the local level, or the municipal level, we are to surrender to every manifestation of institutional authority placed over us. Thus, we are to surrender, submit to, and honor President Trump, President Obama before him, President Bush before him, and President Clinton before him.

We are to honor Governor Jerry Brown the first time he was in office, and the second time he was in office. We are to submit to the Supreme Court’s rulings, whether they lean to the left or whether they lean to the right. We are to obey every law that is passed by the legislature, whether we like it or not. Thus, whatever the government’s attitude toward believers, the one thing that the government should be able to count on of all believers is our total submission and deep reverence toward their authority.

The only time we are free to disobey the institutional authorities is when they command us to disobey our Lord and Master, but short of that, we are to be exemplary citizens, submissive and reverential to the authorities over us. That’s because every authority has been placed there by God Himself. This is what Pastor MacArthur refers to as evangelistic citizenship.

But our surrender is not limited to the political level, it applies to the societal level as well.

To Societal Authorities

Peter writes,

Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God, a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it, you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. (1 Peter 2:18-20)

Paul is here speaking specifically of the master-to-slave relationship. We must remember that treatment of a slave at the hands of a secular master during this time often involved cruel beatings, severe treatment, and even death. The Christian slave was to submit to the authority of his master. He was to serve his master willingly, humbly, and reverentially, knowing that this found favor with God.

In that regard, it should be that the Christian employee is the most valuable employee to the employer.

Joseph, until he was falsely accused by Potiphar, was Potiphar’s most trusted slave. While in jail, the jailer entrusted all the inmates into Joseph’s care. In the end, Pharaoh handed the entire empire into the hands of Joseph.

What employer would not prize a hard-working, honest man who is kind toward his fellow employees, long-suffering in trying circumstances, filled with integrity and honor, and on top of that, submissive and reverential toward his employer?

If an employer decides to fire a Christian for his beliefs, there should be a sense in which that employer feels deep loss and regret, even as he proceeds to release him.

Remember the story of Daniel. He rises to the pinnacle of power under Darius. There were jealous government officials putting pressure on Darius to pass a foolish decree that demanded prayer to Darius alone. Daniel disobeys this edict. This is the first recorded account of Daniel’s disobedience.

Daniel’s enemies then placed political pressure on Darius to get rid of Daniel by feeding him to the lions. But notice the condition of Darius’ heart during this process:

Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him. Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den. When he had come near to the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me.” (Dan. 6:18-22)

King Darius did relieve Daniel from his post, but there was sheer agony on the part of the king. There was total regret and a huge sense of loss for Darius, even as he let Daniel go because of his beliefs. In the same way, a day may come when Christians are released from their jobs because of what they believe.

Just recently, we had LGBT training at the superior court where I work. They wanted the name of every judge who refused to attend. It is no secret that private companies oftentimes are monitoring employees’ social media posts to decide who they will hire or fire, who they will promote or not based on what the social view is of those individual employees.

The day may come when we are let go because of our beliefs. Even as our employers release us because of our faith, there should be, in the heart of our employer, a very tangible and palpable sense of loss, regret, and sorrow because of our integrity, our industry, our character, our submission, and our reverence toward our masters. We ought to be the most valuable, the most cherished, and the most prized employee that our masters have ever had.

Peter says that in this war, we are to surrender to the government in the civic arena and in the professional arena. But the surrender does not end there.

In the Home

The surrender to every secular authority was to be practiced even in the privacy of the home.

Peter writes,

In the same way, you, wives, be submissive to your own husbands, so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives as they observed their chaste and respectful behavior. (1 Peter 3:1)

The phrase, “in the same way” provides the context. It is a reference to the believers’ call to submit to the government and to their masters for the sake of their promotion of the gospel. Peter says, just as you surrender to the secular authorities at the governmental level, and in your professional world, in the same way, wives, in the privacy of your homes, submit to your unbelieving husbands because they are the secular authority over you in the home.

Why? So that unbelieving, secular husbands might be won without a word by the behavior of their wives.

To become a believer as a woman under the Roman State was dangerous, because the husband exercised patria potestas. He had the power of life or death over everything under his control, including those within his household. If a husband disapproved of his wife’s faith, he could do just about anything he wanted to her with little or no repercussions.

The question becomes how, as a woman in the home, should she live in that battleground she faces every day of her life?

She is to submit to that authority.

The submission was not just for wives however, because Peter continues, “You husbands, in the same way,” again, a reference to the manner in which we are to submit to all authority, “in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7)

He says, “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding manner,” which is to say: be submissive, be considerate, be deferential, be tender to her needs and to her preferences. That type of servant leadership in the home was uncommon during Roman times, and it served as witness to Christ’s loving care for His bride.

Thus, in every aspect of life in the secular world, whether it be in the public sphere, at work, or in the home, the believer is to submit to every secular authority. That is how the believer conducts warfare against the secular world.

Reverential submission is sweet submission because we as believers know and trust that it is our way of evangelizing the surrounding world.

Carlos Chung is an elder at Grace Community Church in the Mainstream fellowship group. Carlos has served in the legal field in the greater Los Angeles area for over two decades.

Source: We Need to Surrender

May 16, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day


Genesis 49:10

“The scepter will not depart from Judah,

nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,

until he comes to whom it belongs

and the obedience of the nations is his.”

Many believers have a favorite title for the Lord Jesus Christ, and Jacob, the ancient patriarch of Israel, was no exception. His favorite name was “Shiloh.” “Shiloh” does not appear in many modern Bibles (including the New International Version), which choose to render the Hebrew in some other way. But the Hebrew text says “Shiloh,” and a literal rendering of this verse is close to the King James translation: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

This is a great passage, as most commentators on Genesis recognize—the last of three great prophecies of the Messiah found in Genesis. The first is Genesis 3:15, in which the prophecy of a deliverer was given to Adam and Eve in Eden. God is speaking to the serpent, pronouncing judgment: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Adam and Eve believed that promise and were saved by it.

The second prophecy is Genesis 22:18, the climax of God’s many revelations to Abraham. Early in the story God promised Abraham a land, a son, and posterity as numerous as the stars in heaven. But in the context of his testing of Abraham, recorded in Genesis 22, God surpassed these earlier revelations with the words “and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed” (Gen. 22:18). This prophecy could have referred merely to a blessing of others through the chosen nation of Israel. But it is actually a reference to the Messiah, as Paul points out in Galatians 3:16. It was to be a singular descendant of Abraham (Jesus) through whom Gentiles as well as Jews would be saved. Abraham believed this promise just as Adam and Eve had believed the promise given to them in Eden.

The third prophecy is Genesis 49:10.

In the first prophecy it is said that the Messiah would destroy the devil and his works. In the second it is said that he would redeem his people, thus bringing salvation to both Jew and Gentile. In the third prophecy it is said that all rule is his and that all peoples of earth will eventually bow before him.

A Puzzling Name

In spite of the importance of this prophecy, which nearly all commentators recognize, the name Shiloh itself is puzzling. It is a name for the Messiah. But it is not merely a name. It means something, and that meaning is elusive. Here are the possibilities:

  1. “Shiloh” might mean “sent,” like that similar word that occurs in the New Testament in the story of the healing of the blind man: “ ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the pool of Siloam’ (this word means Sent)” (John 9:7). I remember puzzling over this interpretation of Genesis 49:10 during graduate study in Switzerland, before I had made the connection with the New Testament passage. I pondered whether “Shiloh” might not be derived from the common Hebrew verb shalach, which means “send.” In this case “Shiloh” would mean “the sent one” or “the one whom God will send.”

This is a good meaning. It fits the text, which is a prophecy of the sending of the Messiah. Moreover, it fits with many other statements in Scripture, such as Isaiah 61:1–2, which Jesus quoted in Nazareth at the start of his public ministry: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Jerome was attracted to this interpretation of Genesis 49:10, because the Latin Vulgate, which he produced, contains the words qui mittendus est (“who must be sent”).

The problem is that this involves a textual emendation. The Hebrew word for “send” contains the consonants sheen, lahmed, and chait. But the word “Shiloh” contains the consonants sheen, lahmed and hay. To be sure, the difference is slight. In print chait looks something like the scientific symbol pi. Hay is similar, except that one of the two legs does not quite reach the top bar. Nevertheless, hay is not chait, and there is no textual justification for the change.

  1. An old interpretation of “Shiloh,” going back to Jewish commentators, is that the word means “son.” This is based on the resemblance of the name to the Hebrew root shiljah, which is taken to mean “son.” This would be a wonderful meaning, since Jesus is certainly the son in all important senses. He is the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Son of Judah, the Son of David. Isaiah 9:6 would fit in well here: “To us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” So would Matthew 3:17: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Unfortunately, although this was the preferred interpretation of “Shiloh” by both Martin Luther and John Calvin, it is based on a mistranslation of shiljah. Shiljah means not “son,” but “afterbirth.” So to derive Jacob’s name for Jesus from this word seems mistaken.

  1. During the last centuries the most popular interpretation of “Shiloh” has been to derive it from the same root word as Salem or shalom, which means “peace.” In this view “Shiloh” would mean “peace-giver” or “the one who brings peace.” I said earlier that “Shiloh” probably does not mean “the sent one,” because the final consonant is hay rather than chait. However, if hay is retained, then the word is the verb “to be quiet” or “to be at ease,” which is what peace involves.

Jesus is the Peace-giver. He is the one who made reconciliation between man and God by his death for sin on the cross. Robert Candlish liked this interpretation of the name. So did George Lawson. He wrote, “The peaceful one, or he that is the giver of tranquility, appears to be the true meaning.”2

Charles Haddon Spurgeon applied this meaning of the name eloquently: “Have you ever said to yourself, ‘There is nothing I desire—nothing that I wish for; I am satisfied—perfectly content; I am without a fear, without a dread’? ‘No,’ say you, ‘I never reached that elysium.’ You may be worth millions of money without ever coming to that pass. All the gold in the world will never fill a man’s heart; and you may have broad acres across which a swift horse could hardly rush in a day, but you will not have enough. All the land in the world cannot fill a heart. You may have all the beauty, rank, honor and fame that ever can come to a human being, and yet say, ‘Ah me! I am wretched still.’ But full many who have found Jesus have been able to say, ‘It is enough: I need no more.’ Believing in Jesus, and learning to yield up everything to his will, living to his glory, and loving him supremely, we do enjoy peace with God—a ‘peace that passeth all understanding,’ which ‘keeps our heart and mind’ by Jesus Christ.”

We could do worse than adopt the translation of “Shiloh” that sees it as “he who gives rest.” We do badly indeed if we do not find true rest in him, regardless of the meaning of the word.

  1. There is still a fourth possibility, and in the judgment of most modern translators it is to be preferred over the others. It derives “Shiloh” from the Hebrew particle of relationship, sher (or ʾasher), here rendered “whose” or “whom,” and l, which means “to.” The meaning would be “he to whom,” and the verse would read like the New International Version: “until he comes to whom it belongs.” This is the way the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, reads, using a phrase that literally means “until the things laid up in store come into his possession.” It would have an exact parallel in Ezekiel 21:27, which says, “It will not be restored until he comes to whom it rightfully belongs; to him I will give it.”

This is probably the right translation, in which case “Shiloh” refers to Jesus’ rightful rule and authority. It looks forward to the day when these will be his and the nations properly will bow before him (cf. Phil. 2:9–11).

Only One Shiloh

Thus far I have been assuming that “Shiloh,” whatever its meaning, refers to Jesus, who fulfills that meaning. But this is worth spelling out in detail. The point of this prophecy is that an eternal ruler should come in Judah’s line, that Jesus came in that line and fulfills the prophecy, and that if he has not fulfilled it, there will at least never be another person who can do so. The proof lies in Jesus’ genealogies.

In the previous study, as I spoke of the rulers who had descended from Judah in the line of David, I mentioned Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, and Jacob, who were the links between Zerubbabel and Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus Christ. Jacob was Joseph’s father, and Abiud was the son of Zerubbabel (cf. Matt. 1:13–16). This puts Jesus in the line of David, through David’s son Solomon.

There is a problem here, however, because one king in this line, Jehoiakim, received a curse from God saying that no descendant of his would ever sit upon the throne of David. “Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah” (Jer. 22:30). If Jesus had been a natural descendant of Jehoiakim (also called Jeconiah and Jechonias), the curse would have applied to him and he would not have been eligible to fulfill Jacob’s prophecy.

But there is another line through which Jesus’ descent from David is also reckoned: the line of Mary, Jesus’ mother. Mary was a descendant of King David through Nathan, Solomon’s older brother. In the chart called “The Adam and Eve Family Tree,” which I have mentioned before, Mary’s ancestors are printed alongside the ancestors of Joseph leading back to Solomon. Mary’s line contains forty-one names, counting Joseph, who is listed as a son-in-law of Heli, Mary’s father (cf. Luke 3:23). Joseph’s line contains twenty-nine names, omitting Joseph.

But notice this problem. Before the birth of Christ to Mary and his adoption by Joseph, there were two lines of descent, each of which had a claim to the Davidic throne but each of which would have been challenged by the other. Joseph’s ancestors had ruled, but they were under a curse. No children of Jehoiakim ever did rule in Jerusalem, nor did any of their sons rule. Jehoiakim died in Babylon. Mary’s line had no curse, but no one in that line had ruled. Any ancestor of Mary would have been challenged by those who had descended from Solomon.

How could this be resolved? In one line there is a lack of reigning royalty. In the other there is a curse. Humanly speaking, the problem is unsolvable. But when God the Father caused the Lord Jesus Christ to be born of the Virgin Mary without benefit of a human father, the child that was born became the seed of David according to the flesh. And when Joseph married Mary at God’s command and thus took the unborn child under his adoptive and protective care, the Holy One to be born became his heir also and thus took to himself the title that had come down to Joseph through his illustrious ancestor Solomon.

In this way Jesus exhausted both lines; he was the oldest son of both Joseph and Mary and he himself had no children. By this divinely simple means Jesus became the true Messiah, the royal Messiah, the uncursed Messiah, the only possible Messiah. So I repeat, if Jesus is not the fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy, there will at least never be another to fulfill it. Anyone who should ever come into the world purporting to be the Messiah will actually be a false Messiah, a liar, and the Antichrist.

Lord of Lords

Yet we have not considered the central content of this prophecy. We have examined the possible meanings of the word Shiloh. We have seen that Jesus is that Shiloh, indeed the only Shiloh there can ever be. But the heart of the prophecy is that the nations of the world will be gathered to this one, will obey him, and will be prospered in so doing.

It is a wonderful thing that this prophecy of Jacob to his son Judah about the Messiah included the gentile nations, for most Christians today are Gentiles and are therefore included in this blessing. Thus far in Genesis the work of God seems to have moved in the opposite direction. We began with one world, indeed one race spreading out to take possession of that world. But the race became increasingly corrupt. So instead of a universal salvation, we have seen God stooping to call and bless one unique people. God called Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob, then Jacob’s twelve sons. It is a narrowing thing, and the book is to close with a focus on this small group of chosen people.

How wonderful is this last prophecy, for it opens our eyes to the other nations again! It tells us that although God is going to work through this one people for a time, the day will come when he will open the door of salvation to all people. Those from all nations will bow before Jesus.

And it is happening! Look at China, where the gospel of Shiloh has been ruthlessly suppressed for decades. When missionaries left China in the face of the Communist onslaught, there were less than one million professing Christians in that vast land. Today by some estimates there are more than fifty million who have professed obedience to Christ. The gathering of the people of China is to him.

I correspond with a woman who attended Tenth Presbyterian Church while in the United States to prepare for a ministry in her own country, the Philippines. I last saw her in India. She was on her way home to present Jesus to her family and village. She has written since that her father has become a Christian and has joined in her work. She has several weekly Bible studies and is active in a local church. Scores are now bowing the knee to Christ through her witness. The gathering of the people of the Philippines is to him.

On the same trip on which I saw this woman I visited Nepal. For years Nepal was closed to the gospel, and the best that Christians could do for that country was to camp on the border, pray for, and witness to those few Nepalese who crossed it in search of jobs or trade. In my lifetime Nepal has opened to the gospel, and missionaries have entered that land. It is illegal for a person to convert from one faith to another in Nepal. So even when Christians were allowed into the country, they were not to convert anybody, and Nepalese who left their faith for Christianity were imprisoned. Scores of native believers have suffered that punishment. They were imprisoned for bowing the knee to Christ. Yet they did bow before him. The rulers of Nepal set their faces against the Lord’s anointed. But still he rules, and to him shall the obedience of the Nepalese be.

There is a member of Tenth Presbyterian Church who has worked in Nepal for years. She is fluent in Nepalese. But suddenly another formerly closed country opened: Bhutan. So she went there to be a vehicle by which the people of that nation will learn the gospel and obey Christ’s call.

This is the flow of history. According to the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah in Genesis, Jesus was to defeat Satan, redeem his people, and gather the nations. The first two of these have been done. Jesus defeated Satan on the cross; he also made full and perfect atonement for his people’s sins. Today it is the last of these alone that is unfolding. This is the day of Christ’s gathering. It is the reaping time. It will continue until all Christ’s saints are gathered together around his throne, singing:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength

and honor and glory and praise.”

Revelation 5:12

Do not miss that gathering. Do not shun that call. Fall before him. Praise him as your Shiloh.[1]

10. The sceptre shall not depart. Though this passage is obscure, it would not have been very difficult to elicit its genuine sense, if the Jews, with their accustomed malignity, had not endeavoured to envelop it in clouds. It is certain that the Messiah, who was to spring from the tribe of Judah, is here promised. But whereas they ought willingly to run to embrace him, they purposely catch at every possible subterfuge, by which they may lead themselves and others far astray in tortuous by paths. It is no wonder, then, if the spirit of bitterness and obstinacy, and the lust of contention have so blinded them, that, in the clearest light, they should have perpetually stumbled. Christians, also, with a pious diligence to set forth the glory of Christ, have, nevertheless, betrayed some excess of fervour. For while they lay too much stress on certain words, they produce no other effect than that of giving an occasion of ridicule to the Jews, whom it is necessary to surround with firm and powerful barriers, from which they shall be unable to escape. Admonished, therefore, by such examples, let us seek, without contention, the true meaning of the passage. In the first place, we must keep in mind the true design of the Holy Spirit, which, hitherto, has not been sufficiently considered or expounded with sufficient distinctness. After he has invested the tribe of Judah with supreme authority, he immediately declares that God would show his care for the people, by preserving the state of the kingdom, till the promised felicity should attain its highest point. For the dignity of Judah is so maintained as to show that its proposed end was the common salvation of the whole people. The blessing promised to the seed of Abraham (as we have before seen) could not be firm, unless it flowed from one head. Jacob now testifies the same thing, namely, that a King should come, under whom that promised happiness should be complete in all its parts. Even the Jews will not deny, that while a lower blessing rested on the tribe of Judah, the hope of a better and more excellent condition was herein held forth. They also freely grant another point, that the Messiah is the sole Author of full and solid happiness and glory. We now add a third point, which we may also do, without any opposition from them; namely, that the kingdom which began from David, was a kind of prelude, and shadowy representation of that greater grace which was delayed, and held in suspense, until the advent of the Messiah. They have indeed no relish for a spiritual kingdom; and therefore they rather imagine for themselves wealth and power, and propose to themselves sweet repose and earthly pleasures, than righteousness, and newness of life, with free forgiveness of sins. They acknowledge, nevertheless, that the felicity which was to be expected under the Messiah, was adumbrated by their ancient kingdom. I now return to the words of Jacob.

Until Shiloh come, he says, the sceptre, or the dominion, shall remain in Judah. We must first see what the word שילוה (shiloh) signifies. Because Jerome interprets it, “He who is to be sent,” some think that the place has been fraudulently corrupted, by the letter ה substituted for the letter ח; which objection, though not firm, is plausible. That which some of the Jews suppose, namely, that it denotes the place (Shiloh) where the ark of the covenant had been long deposited, because, a little before the commencement of David’s reign, it had been laid waste, is entirely destitute of reason. For Jacob does not here predict the time when David was to be appointed king; but declares that the kingdom should be established in his family, until God should fulfil what he had promised concerning the special benediction of the seed of Abraham. Besides the form of speech, “until Shiloh come,” for “until Shiloh come to an end,” would be harsh and constrained. Far more correctly and consistently do other interpreters take this expression to mean “his son,” for among the Hebrews a son is called שיל, (shil.) They say also that ה is put in the place of the relative ו; and the greater part assent to this signification. But again, the Jews dissent entirely from the meaning of the patriarch, by referring this to David. For (as I have just hinted) the origin of the kingdom in David is not here promised, but its absolute perfection in the Messiah. And truly an absurdity so gross, does not require a lengthened refutation. For what can this mean, that the kingdom should not come to an end in the tribe of Judah, till it should have been erected? Certainly the word depart means nothing else than to cease. Further, Jacob points to a continued series, when he says the scribe shall not depart from between his feet. For it behoves a king so to be placed upon his throne that a lawgiver may sit between his feet. A kingdom is therefore described to us, which after it has been constituted, will not cease to exist till a more perfect state shall succeed; or, which comes to the same point; Jacob honours the future kingdom of David with this title, because it was to be the token and pledge of that happy glory which had been before ordained for the race of Abraham. In short, the kingdom which he transfers to the tribe of Judah, he declares shall be no common kingdom, because from it, at length, shall proceed the fulness of the promised benediction. But here the Jews haughtily object, that the event convicts us of error. For it appears that the kingdom by no means endured until the coming of Christ; but rather that the sceptre was broken, from the time that the people were carried into captivity. But if they give credit to the prophecies, I wish, before I solve their objection, that they would tell me in what manner Jacob here assigns the kingdom to his son Judah. For we know, that when it had scarcely become his fixed possession, it was suddenly rent asunder, and nearly its whole power was possessed by the tribe of Ephraim. Has God, according to these men, here promised, by the mouth of Jacob, some evanescent kingdom? If they reply, the sceptre was not then broken, though Rehoboam was deprived of a great part of this people; they can by no means escape by this cavil; because the authority of Judah is expressly extended over all the tribes, by these words, “Thy mother’s sons shall bow their knee before thee.” They bring, therefore, nothing against us, which we cannot immediately, in turn, retort upon themselves.

Yet I confess the question is not yet solved; but I wished to premise this, in order that the Jews, laying aside their disposition to calumniate, may learn calmly to examine the matter itself, with us. Christians are commonly wont to connect perpetual government with the tribe of Judah, in the following manner. When the people returned from banishment, they say, that, in the place of the royal sceptre, was the government which lasted to the time of the Maccabees. That afterwards, a third mode of government succeeded, because the chief power of judging rested with the Seventy, who, it appears by history, were chosen out of the regal race. Now, so far was this authority of the royal race from having fallen into decay, that Herod, having been cited before it, with difficulty escaped capital punishment, because he contumaciously withdrew from it. Our commentators, therefore, conclude that, although the royal majesty did not shine brightly from David until Christ, yet some pre-eminence remained in the tribe of Judah, and thus the oracle was fulfilled. Although these things are true, still more skill must be used in rightly discussing this passage. And, in the first place, it must be kept in mind, that the tribe of Judah was already constituted chief among the rest, as pre-eminent in dignity, though it had not yet obtained the dominion. And, truly, Moses elsewhere testifies, that supremacy was voluntarily conceded to it by the remaining tribes, from the time that the people were redeemed out of Egypt. In the second place, we must remember, that a more illustrious example of this dignity was set forth in that kingdom which God had commenced in David. And although defection followed soon after, so that but a small portion of authority remained in the tribe of Judah; yet the right divinely conferred upon it, could by no means be taken away. Therefore, at the time when the kingdom of Israel was replenished with abundant opulence, and was swelling with lofty pride, it was said, that the lamp of the Lord was lighted in Jerusalem. Let us proceed further: when Ezekiel predicts the destruction of the kingdom, (chap. 21:26,) he clearly shows how the sceptre was to be preserved by the Lord, until it should come into the hands of Christ: “Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be the same: I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, until he come whose right it is.” It may seem at first sight that the prophecy of Jacob had failed when the tribe of Judah was stripped of its royal ornament. But we conclude hence, that God was not bound always to exhibit the visible glory of the kingdom on high. Otherwise, those other promises which predict the restoration of the throne, which was cast down and broken, were false. Behold the days come in which I will “raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof, and I will raise up his ruins.” (Amos 9:11.) It would be absurd, however, to cite more passages, seeing this doctrine occurs frequently in the prophets. Whence we infer, that the kingdom was not so confirmed as always to shine with equal brightness; but that, though, for a time, it might lie fallen and defaced, it should afterwards recover its lost splendour. The prophets, indeed, seem to make the return from the Babylonian exile the termination of that ruin; but since they predict the restoration of the kingdom no otherwise than they do that of the temple and the priesthood, it is necessary that the whole period, from that liberation to the advent of Christ, should be comprehended. The crown, therefore, was cast down, not for one day only, or from one single head, but for a long time, and in various methods, until God placed it on Christ, his own lawful king. And truly Isaiah describes the origin of Christ, as being very remote from all regal splendour: “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” (Isaiah 11:1.) Why does he mention Jesse rather than David, except because Messiah was about to proceed from the rustic hut of a private man, rather than from a splendid palace? Why from a tree cut down, having nothing left but the root and the trunk, except because the majesty of the kingdom was to be almost trodden under foot till the manifestation of Christ? If any one object, that the words of Jacob seem to have a different signification; I answer, that whatever God has promised at any time concerning the external condition of the Church, was so to be restricted, that, in the mean time, he might execute his judgments in punishing men, and might try the faith of his own people. It was, indeed, no light trial, that the tribe of Judah, in its third successor to the throne, should be deprived of the greater portion of the kingdom. Even a still more severe trial followed, when the sons of the king were put to death in the sight of their father, when he, with his eyes thrust out, was dragged to Babylon, and the whole royal family was at length given over to slavery and captivity. But this was the most grievous trial of all; that when the people returned to their own land, they could in no way perceive the accomplishment of their hope, but were compelled to lie in sorrowful dejection. Nevertheless, even then, the saints, contemplating, with the eyes of faith, the sceptre hidden under the earth, did not fail, or become broken in spirit, so as to desist from their course. I shall, perhaps, seem to grant too much to the Jews, because I do not assign what they call a real dominion, in uninterrupted succession, to the tribe of Judah. For our interpreters, to prove that the Jews are still kept bound by a foolish expectation of the Messiah, insist on this point, that the dominion of which Jacob had prophesied, ceased from the time of Herod; as if, indeed, they had not been tributaries five hundred years previously; as if, also, the dignity of the royal race had not been extinct as long as the tyranny of Antiochus prevailed; as if, lastly, the Asmonean race had not usurped to itself both the rank and power of princes, until the Jews became subject to the Romans. And that is not a sufficient solution which is proposed; namely, that either the regal dominion, or some lower kind of government, are disjunctively promised; and that from the time when the kingdom was destroyed, the scribes remained in authority. For I, in order to mark the distinction between a lawful government and tyranny, acknowledge that counsellors were joined with the king, who should administer public affairs rightly and in order. Whereas some of the Jews explain, that the right of government was given to the tribe of Judah, because it was unlawful for it to be transferred elsewhere, but that it was not necessary that the glory of the crown once given should be perpetuated, I deem it right to subscribe in part to this opinion. I say, in part, because the Jews gain nothing by this cavil, who, in order to support their fiction of a Messiah yet to come, postpone that subversion of the regal dignity which, in fact, long ago occurred. For we must keep in memory what I have said before, that while Jacob wished to sustain the minds of his descendents until the coming of the Messiah; lest they should faint through the weariness of long delay, he set before them an example in their temporal kingdom: as if he had said, that there was no reason why the Israelites, when the kingdom of David fell, should allow their hope to waver; seeing that no other change should follow, which could answer to the blessing promised by God, until the Redeemer should appear. That the nation was grievously harassed, and was under servile oppression some years before the coming of Christ happened, through the wonderful counsel of God, in order that they might be urged by continual chastisements to wish for redemption. Meanwhile, it was necessary that some collective body of the nation should remain, in which the promise might receive its fulfilment. But now, when, through nearly fifteen centuries, they have been scattered and banished from their country, having no polity, by what pretext can they fancy, from the prophecy of Jacob, that a Redeemer will come to them? Truly, as I would not willingly glory over their calamity; so, unless they, being subdued by it, open their eyes, I freely pronounce that they are worthy to perish a thousand times without remedy. It was also a most suitable method for retaining them in the faith, that the Lord would have the sons of Jacob turn their eyes upon one particular tribe, that they might not seek salvation elsewhere; and that no vague imagination might mislead them. For which end, also, the election of this family is celebrated, when it is frequently compared with, and preferred to Ephraim and the rest, in the Psalms. To us, also, it is not less useful, for the confirmation of our faith, to know that Christ had been not only promised, but that his origin had been pointed out, as with a finger, two thousand years before he appeared.

And unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Here truly he declares that Christ should be a king, not over one people only, but that under his authority various nations shall be gathered, that they might coalesce together. I know, indeed, that the word rendered “gathering” is differently expounded by different commentators; but they who derive it from the root קהה, to make it signify the weakening of the people, rashly and absurdly misapply what is said of the saving dominion of Christ, to the sanguinary pride with which they puffed up. If the word obedience is preferred, (as it is by others,) the sense will remain the same with that which I have followed. For this is the mode in which the gathering together will be effected; namely, that they who before were carried away to different objects of pursuit, will consent together in obedience to one common Head. Now, although Jacob had previously called the tribes about to spring from him by the name of peoples, for the sake of amplification, yet this gathering is of still wider extent. For, whereas he had included the whole body of the nation by their families, when he spoke of the ordinary dominion of Judah, he now extends the boundaries of a new king: as if he would say, “There shall be kings of the tribe of Judah, who shall be pre-eminent among their brethren, and to whom the sons of the same mother shall bow down: but at length He shall follow in succession, who shall subject other peoples unto himself.” But this, we know, is fulfilled in Christ; to whom was promised the inheritance of the world; under whose yoke the nations are brought; and at whose will they, who before were scattered, are gathered together. Moreover, a memorable testimony is here borne to the vocation of the Gentiles, because they were to be introduced into the joint participation of the covenant, in order that they might become one people with the natural descendents of Abraham, under one Head.[2]

10  The crux in vv. 8–12 is v. 10, particularly the third line of the verse. The first two lines suggest that Judah will continue to enjoy eminence, the tribe will never lose its place of primus inter pares, until he possesses that which belongs to him.

Without emending the Hebrew text in any way, one may read this line as “until Shiloh comes.” But this reading is strange for several reasons. First, it combines a feminine subject (“Shiloh”) with a masculine verb (“comes”). More importantly, what would such an expression mean? As a person, whom would Shiloh represent? Elsewhere in the OT Shiloh is only a place. Why represent an individual by a city, and why represent someone in a message to Judah by a city that falls within the territory of Ephraim?

It is also possible to read the Hebrew phrase as “until he [i.e., Judah] comes to Shiloh.” Taking Shiloh as a representative term for northern Israel, the verse would point to the extension of the Davidic kingdom in Judah to include the northern tribes. In other words, the phrase foretells a great future for David and his kingdom. A modification of this interpretation suggests that the verse originally foretold the expansion of Judean tribes over Israel as well. When Solomon’s empire broke up and this expansion became less and less of a possibility, however, some annotator inserted the sarcastic remark, “until a man of Shiloh comes” (ʿaḏ kî-yāḇōʾ ʾîš šîlōh, i.e., inserting ʾîš, which had dropped out through haplography). The problem with the first interpretation is that the people of Israel never did become monotribal although they were for a while a united kingdom. The problem with the modification is that it is arbitrary, since it has no textual support. Even if it be granted that the placement of these blessings in the mouth of the patriarch Jacob is entirely fictive, what would be accomplished by this blatant anachronism, by having the patriarch speak of Shiloh, a city that, unlike others nearby such as Bethel and Shechem, had no apparent significance before the conquest?

The early versions were as baffled by the phrase as are modern commentators. For example, the LXX could easily have read “until Shiloh comes.” Instead, it read “until there come the things stored up for him” (héōs án élthē tá apokeímena autṓ). This reading presupposes Heb. šellōh for MT šîlōh, that is, “that which belongs to him” (the relative particle še plus the preposition le plus the pronominal suffix, and the “him” would be a coming scion of Judah). How did the LXX come up with this reading? Did the Alexandrian translators, familiar with the targumic and rabbinic traditions on Gen. 49:10, create a redaction of the Hebrew text so as to produce a messianic sense? Or is this an instance where a biblical word was explained according to its meaning in Aramaic or postbiblical Hebrew? That is, at the time of the tranlators, šel was used in places where Biblical Hebrew employed ʾašer le.

There is no doubt about how the Qumran community understood Gen. 49:10. In 4Q Patriarchal Blessings (4QPBless) the interpretation of Gen. 49:10 reads as follows“A ruler shall not depart from the tribe of Judah while Israel has dominion. There will not be cut off a king [lit., ‘enthroned one,’ ywšb] in it belonging to (the line of) David. For the staff [hmḥqq] is the covenant of the kingship; the thousands of Israel are the feet, until the coming of [ʿd bwʾ] the Messiah of Righteousness, the branch of David, for to him and to his seed has been given the covenant of the kingship over his people for everlasting generations.”

Both LXX and 4QPBless would agree then that the phrase be understood as “until he comes to whom it [the scepter, the kingship] belongs.” The Hebrew would have to be read as “until that which is his comes.” If that is what Gen. 49:10 is saying, then we are faced with a Hebrew grammatical anomaly for which the Hebrew Bible offers no parallel.

Other scholars have attempted to isolate in šîlōh some word meaning “prince” or “ruler.” This sense is accomplished by appeal to the Akkadian word šēlu, “ruler, counselor,” or by emending to mōšelōh, “his (or its) ruler” (cf. mōše in Isa. 52:5 [Ketib], and in Jer. 30:21). This second suggestion assumes that the text is corrupt (a mem has dropped out). So, the colon reads, “until its ruler comes.”

Yet another viable option is faithful to the consonantal pattern of 49:10: š(y)lh. The cluster may be divided into šy and lh. Reading šy as šay and lh as lōh, the result is “tribute to him.” If yāḇōʾ is revocalized as a Hophal (yûḇāʾ), then the phrase would read, “until tribute is brought to him.” Thus the phrase forecasts the tribute and the subjection of the world to Judah, or to one of Judah’s own. šay indicating a gift offered as homage is present in Isa. 18:7; Ps. 68:30 (Eng. 29); 76:12 (Eng. 11).

There are, then, four major approaches to Gen. 49:10c: (1) attempt to make sense of MT by retaining “Shiloh”; (2) follow the reading of the ancient versions (“that which is his”); (3) emend šîlōh to šay lōh (“tribute to him”); (4) discover in “Shiloh” some Semitic word meaning “ruler” or “prince.” Of course, many other interpretations have been suggested, including those who see Judah’s son Shelah in Shiloh, and those who resort to yet other redivisioning of the consonants.[3]

10. until Shiloh come—Shiloh—this obscure word is variously interpreted to mean “the sent” (Jn 17:3), “the seed” (Is 11:1), the “peaceable or prosperous one” (Eph 2:14)—that is, the Messiah (Is 11:10; Ro 15:12); and when He should come, “the tribe of Judah should no longer boast either an independent king or a judge of their own” [Calvin]. The Jews have been for eighteen centuries without a ruler and without a judge since Shiloh came, and “to Him the gathering of the people has been.”

Ge 49:13. Zebulun was to have its lot on the seacoast, close to Zidon, and to engage, like that state, in maritime pursuits and commerce.

Ge 49:14, 15. Issachar—[4]

10 In this verse, the imagery changes yet again, but still the message of Judah’s future leadership is plain. He will carry the symbols of authority, “the staff” and “the scepter” (cf. Num 24:17; Ps 45:7 [6]; Zech 10:11; Num 21:18; Ps 60:9 [7]). From this verse alone it is not obvious whether Judah is being invested merely with a tribal leader. However, v 8 makes it likely that Judah is being promised that their leader will lead all the tribes. “From between his feet.” This obscure phrase has attracted much discussion. SamPent’s change to “between his standards” does not clarify the text. Skinner pictures the tribal leader sitting in state propping up the scepter with his feet. But more likely is the view of the ancient versions (LXX, Vg, Tgs.; see Caquot, Sem. 26 [1976] 5–32; Sarna), which apparently, on the basis of Deut 28:57, take this as a reference to Judah’s descendants: children come out from “between your feet.” “Feet” are a regular euphemism for the private parts (e.g., Judg 3:24; 1 Sam 24:3; Isa 7:20). In other words, a descendant of Judah will always be a national leader.

“Until tribute is brought to him” has been described as the “most famous crux interpretum in the entire OT” (Moran, Bib 39 [1958] 405). So many suggestions have been put forward that Westermann says (3:231), “The whole discussion has not yet reached even a limited consensus.” In order to keep our comments within bounds, we shall concentrate our attention on those suggestions that are congruent with the context and require the minimum of textual emendation. Thus, interpretations that depend on postulating major disruptions of the consonantal text (e.g., Margulis, VT 19 [1969] 202–10) or unusual meanings of rare words (e.g., עד “throne” [Sabotka, Bib 51 (1970) 225–29] or s̆ēlu Akk. “ruler” [so various scholars]) will be discounted. Within these limits, there are four main ways of understanding this line. First, it may be translated without emendation: “Until he comes to Shiloh,” i.e., until a Judean ruler controls Shiloh (so Jacob; cf. Delitzsch; Dillmann; Emerton, “Difficult Words”). Shiloh was for a while in the judges period an important sanctuary some miles north of Jerusalem in the tribal territory of Ephraim and was apparently destroyed by the Philistines (see discussion by D. E. Schley, Shiloh, JSOTSup 63 [Sheffield: Academic Press, 1989]). As far as is known, it was not an important center in the period of the united monarchy, when the Davidic dynasty (of Judah) ruled over all Israel. So it is not obviously relevant to that era, though certainly Shiloh was then under Davidic control. A weightier objection to taking this Shiloh as a place name is that it is spelled differently; here it is plene שׁילה, whereas elsewhere the place name is written defectively שׁלה. However, some Hebrew, MT, and the SamPent manuscripts and some of the versions have or presuppose this defective spelling.

But the versions, in reading שׁלה, evidently take it as לּה + שֶׁ “which is to him.” The line must then be translated “until he comes whose it is,” i.e., “until the owner of the scepter comes.” On this understanding, we have at least a reference to the Davidic dynasty, if not to a king superior to that dynasty, i.e., the messiah. Favored by rsv, niv, reb, Skinner, this view faces two main objections. First, it makes a rather poor poetic line: something better to balance the next line, “the peoples obey him,” would be preferable. Second, it is hard to understand why, if שׁלה were the original reading, it should have been changed into שׁילה, the more difficult reading.

The third possibility is that שׁילה means “ruler” or is a corruption of משׁלה “his ruler” (so Westermann, von Rad). The line would then read “Until his (the) ruler comes”; once again this would be announcement of a Davidic king or messianic figure. The supposed Akkadian etymology of שׁילה “ruler” has been demolished by Moran (Bib 39 [1958] 405–25), but Seebass (ZAW 96 [1984] 346) has suggested that שׁילה may go back to Egyptian śa “prince,” which is written šiāra in an Akkadian text from Boghazköi. Given the Egyptian setting of the blessing, this etymology cannot be ruled out, but it seems remote. The inner Hebrew explanation posits a double corruption of the consonantal text, which would be better avoided.

The fourth possibility, “until tribute is brought to him,” which we have adopted, requires no alteration of the consonantal text but only some repointing. It has an old Jewish pedigree (Yalkut and Lekah Tov), but in modern times it was proposed by Moran and accepted by Speiser, nab, Vawter (neb, Monsengwo-Pasinya (Bib 61 [1980] 357–76), jps, Sarna, Criado (EstBib 24 [1965] 289–320). This splits the words and repoints them as follows: לה “to him” שַׁי “tribute” יֻבָא “is brought.” The advantage of this proposal, aside from its minimal changes in pointing, is that it produces a good poetic line in parallel with the next line, “and the peoples obey him”: tribute from foreign nations expresses their submission to the Judean king. Furthermore, these two lines take further the leadership promised in the previous two lines, which spoke of a Judean always heading the nation. “The staff will not desert Judah”: now the verse promises rule over foreign nations, who will bring him “tribute,” a term used also in Pss 68:30(29); 76:12(11); Isa 18:7 of gifts brought by foreigners to Jerusalem. The idea that the Davidic king was appointed to rule the nations is of course often celebrated in the psalms (e.g., Ps 72:8–11) and the prophets (e.g., Isa 2:2–4). But interestingly, Ezekiel apparently alludes to this blessing of Judah, not only in chap. 19 (n.b. lion and vine) but also in 21:32(27), “until he comes whose right it is.” In all these passages, Ezekiel is predicting the reversal of Jacob’s blessing on Judah: because of sin, the lion of Judah will be captured and put in a Babylonian zoo, the Judean vineyard will be uprooted, and instead of ruling, the nations will be subject to them.

Whichever of these interpretations is adopted, and, though we prefer the last, we acknowledge that the alternatives are possible, all at least agree that this line is predicting the rise of the Davidic monarchy and the establishment of the Israelite empire, if not the coming of a greater David. And if the primary reference is to David, traditional Jewish and Christian exegetes would agree that like other Davidic promises it has a greater fulfillment in the Messiah.

“The peoples obey him,” lit. “the obedience of the peoples.” The noun “obedience” is only attested once elsewhere in Prov 30:17, but the verbal root wqh “obey” is attested in several cognate languages (KB, 411). “Peoples” (עמים) in the plural probably refers to non-Israelite nations, not just Israelite clans (e.g., 17:16; Exod 15:16; Deut 32:8).[5]

[1] Boice, J. M. (1998). Genesis: an expositional commentary (pp. 1196–1201). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] Calvin, J., & King, J. (2010). Commentary on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis (Vol. 2, pp. 452–460). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Hamilton, V. P. (1995). The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18–50 (pp. 658–661). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 47). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] Wenham, G. J. (1998). Genesis 16–50 (Vol. 2, pp. 476–478). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

Both Comey And Brennan Voted Communist While Cold War Was Raging | ZeroHedge News

The heads of Obama’s FBI and CIA both voted for Communists during the Cold War, yet were somehow able to move up the ranks within the same US intelligence community that had spent decades fighting that very ideology.

Journalist Paul Sperry noted on Wednesday that former FBI Director James Comey admitted in a 2003 interview to having voted Communist before casting his ballot for Jimmy Carter in 1980.

“In college, I was left of center,” Comey told New York Magazine, and through a gradual process I found myself more comfortable with a lot of the ideas and approaches the Republicans were using.” He voted for Carter in 1980, but in ’84, “I voted for Reagan—I’d moved from Communist to whatever I am now. I’m not even sure how to characterize myself politically. Maybe at some point, I’ll have to figure it out.”

Of note, Comey’s wife and four daughters were all giant Hillary Clinton supporters who wanted her to win “really badly.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan, meanwhile, admitted in 2016 to voting Communist in the 1970s. When asked at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual conference whether past activism would create a barrier for diverse candidates who want to enter the intelligence community, Brennan said that he was forced to admit to voting for Communist Gus Hall for president in 1976, according to CNN.

“I froze, because I was getting so close to coming into CIA and said, ‘OK, here’s the choice, John. You can deny that, and the machine is probably going to go, you know, wacko, or I can acknowledge it and see what happens,” CNN quoted Brennan as saying.

Brennan (who was sworn in as CIA director on a draft of the US Constitution, without the Bill of Rights, instead of a Bible) said that while he had voted Communist, he wasn’t an official member of the Communist Party – and was relieved that he had been accepted into the CIA.

“I said I was neither Democratic or Republican, but it was my way, as I was going to college, of signaling my unhappiness with the system, and the need for change. I said I’m not a member of the Communist Party, so the polygrapher looked at me and said, ‘OK,’ and when I was finished with the polygraph and I left and said, ‘Well, I’m screwed.‘”

“So if back in 1980, John Brennan was allowed to say, ‘I voted for the Communist Party with Gus Hall‘ … and still got through, rest assured that your rights and your expressions and your freedom of speech as Americans is something that’s not going to be disqualifying of you as you pursue a career in government,” the former CIA Director concluded.

So Two of President Obama’s spy chiefs voted Communist, while Obama was influenced by the likes of radicals Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky and his pastor – Jeremiah ‘God damn America’ Wright. Weeks before he died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 43, journalist Andrew Breitbart claimed to have a videos that would expose Obama as a communist radical.

None of the above sounds very “America First”…

President Obama holding a copy of “The Post-American World” by Fareed Zakaria

Source: Both Comey And Brennan Voted Communist While Cold War Was Raging

Obama’s Intel Leadership Team Included at Least Two Admitted Former Communists – Not Including Obama — The Gateway Pundit

We knew that Brennan was a Communist.  Now we know Comey was a Communist too!  What does this say about Obama?

We’ve known for some time that Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan, the one who’s now knee deep in the scandal to remove President Trump from office, was once a Communist.  Brennan, through his own words, let this be known in 2016

Last week, however, CNN reporter Tal Kopan found a striking admission from CIA Director John Brennan. When he first applied to join the CIA, and received his polygraph test, he was asked this standard question:

Have you ever worked with or for a group that was dedicated to overthrowing the US?

Remarking on this last week during a panel discussion at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual conference, Brennan said: “I froze…. This was back in 1980, and I thought back to a previous election where I voted, and I voted for the Communist Party candidate.” Brennan was responding to a question about barriers to recruiting diverse candidates for the intelligence agencies, including whether past records of activism could hurt someone applying for a clearance later in life.

Brennan called his support of the Communist Party a mere “indiscretion,” and reminded his audience that the Constitution grants free speech. He then remembered that he said to himself he could either lie and the polygraph machine would “go wacko” or tell the truth and face the consequences, including possibly being rejected for employment. He told the audience he voted for Gus Hall because while in college he was unhappy “with the system” and saw the “need for change.”

We also now know that Obama’s fired and former FBI Director was a Communist.  James Comey announced this in a recently uncovered piece from 2003 at the far left New York Times –

Comey has been savaged by William Safire and lauded by Chuck Schumer; just what kind of Republican is he, anyway? This sets Comey howling again. “I must be doing something right!” he says. “In college, I was left of center, and through a gradual process I found myself more comfortable with a lot of the ideas and approaches the Republicans were using.” He voted for Carter in 1980, but in ’84, “I voted for Reagan—I’d moved from Communist to whatever I am now. I’m not even sure how to characterize myself politically. Maybe at some point, I’ll have to figure it out.”

Barack Obama was a suspected Communist.  His mentor as a child was Frank Davis, an avowed Communist.  Former New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani shared his comments on Obama on FOX News in 2015 as was reported by the far left Washington Post

Rudolph Giuliani: Well, that I don’t feel it. I don’t feel it. I don’t feel this love of America. I think this man (Obama) was — when I talked about his background, I’m talking about a man who grew up under the influence of Frank Marshall Davis, who was a member of the Communist Party who he refers to over and over in his book, who was a tremendous critic of the United States.

Kelly: But when you say he wasn’t raised to love America, I mean, he was raised in part by his grandparents, his – his grandfather served in World War II, his grandmother worked in a munitions plant to help the nation during World War II. I mean, to suggest he was raised by people who don’t love America, who don’t — didn’t help him learn to love America.

Giuliani: Well, his — his grandfather introduced him to Frank Marshall Davis, who was a Communist.

Birds of a feather flock together!

via Obama’s Intel Leadership Team Included at Least Two Admitted Former Communists – Not Including Obama — The Gateway Pundit

The FISA Court Was Frequently Abused by Obama Deep State Officials – When Will These Liars and Crooks Be Brought to Justice? — The Gateway Pundit

Where’s the investigation and criminal indictments by the FISA Court related to the abuse of the court by the Obama Administration?

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee shared in late April (emphasis added) –

According to [Joe] diGenova, and here is the tremendous breaking news: The FISA court has been looking into abuses of the FISA system and has communicated with the Justice Department about its findings. Their chief judge has already determined that for more than four years before the election of Donald Trump, there was an illegal spying operation (yes, spying — and, yes, illegal) going on by four FBI contractors to break the law to steal personal electronic information about American citizens and to use it against the Republican Party.

We reported more than a year ago in February 2018 the Obama team’s actions with the FISA Court were not just corrupt – they were criminal!

The FISA Court was put in place in 1978 when Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The Court sits in Washington D.C., and is composed of eleven federal district court judges who are designated by the Chief Justice of the United States. Each judge serves for a maximum of seven years and their terms are staggered to ensure continuity on the Court. Judges typically sit for one week at a time, on a rotating basis.

As reported earlier by TGP, on April 26, 2017, an unsealed FISA Court Ruling unveiled a number of criminal activities that Barack Obama’s FBI and DOJ participated in during his time in office. The FISA Court Ruling shows widespread abuse of the FISA mandate.

According to the report, Obama’s FBI and DOJ performed searches on Americans that were against their 4th Amendment rights. This went on for years. One paragraph in the report states that 85% of the Section 704 and 705(b) FISA searches made during this time were non-compliant with applicable laws and therefore criminal.

In addition, the report cites that at the same time that Obama’s DOJ and FBI were illegally searching Americans against their rights and unbeknownst to them, Obama’s FBI was providing this information to outside contractors who had no business or legal cause or claim to the information.

The House Intelligence Committee released its FISA memo that described the corrupt actions taken by Obama’s FBI and DOJ to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. Obama’s DOJ and FBI used a document created from information by Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC funding to obtain multiple FISA Court warrants. The political anti-Trump sources of the information were not provided to the court when requesting the warrant and top DOJ and FBI officials were the ones partaking in these actions. As a result, Congressional leaders are calling for prosecution of FBI and DOJ officials involved in the criminal actions and FOX News’ Gregg Jarrett stated that the criminal acts by Obama’s scoundrels involved in the FISA crimes could qualify for sentences of up to 10 years in prison.

Devin Nunes, the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, spoke last year on FOX about the Obama Administration’s criminal actions listed in the FISA memo.

The House Intelligence Committee also released a separate memo to address left wing politician and mainstream media attacks on the committee for releasing the memo.

Democrats and the media forget that it’s illegal to spy on Americans without a proper warrant from an entity like the FISA Court. Now more and more evidence is being uncovered that suggests the Obama Administration not only spied on US citizens and Presidential candidate Donald Trump but did so before obtaining their bogus warrant through the FISA Court to do so. This may be why Obama’s team produced the bogus FISA applications to spy on President Trump. That or the Obama team was trying to cover up other more serious crimes that they partook in.

In addition, the entire FISA court in late 2016 was stacked with Obama appointees. The entire court in March of 2017 was Obama appointees. One of these appointees was also involved in General Flynn’s criminal case. We know this because he recused himself from the Flynn case. Obama FISA Court appointee and U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras recused himself from former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s criminal case. It’s yet unknown the reason for why Contreras recused himself.

It is high time that the abusers of the FISA Court system are jailed for crimes against the American people.  Time for justice!

via The FISA Court Was Frequently Abused by Obama Deep State Officials – When Will These Liars and Crooks Be Brought to Justice? — The Gateway Pundit

May 16, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump will outline on Thursday a plan to harden border security and overhaul the legal immigration system to favor applicants who speak English, are well-educated and have job offers, senior administration officials said.

Talks are underway in Norway between Venezuela’s government and “democratic” opponents, an envoy said on Thursday, in a possible search for a mediated solution following a failed uprising against President Nicolas Maduro.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio entered the crowded 2020 presidential race on Thursday, arguing that his record of progressive accomplishments in the country’s biggest city positioned him as the perfect foil to President Donald Trump.

Missouri’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a bill early on Thursday that would ban abortions after the eighth week of pregnancy except in medical emergencies.

Islamic State claimed responsibility on Thursday for an attack on Niger soldiers near the Mali border, the group’s Amaq news agency said, without providing evidence.

Growing U.S. pressure on Iran has weakened pragmatic President Hassan Rouhani and made his hardline rivals more assertive at home and abroad, recent developments show.

A tanker carrying Iranian fuel oil in violation of U.S. sanctions has unloaded the cargo into storage tanks near the Chinese city of Zhoushan, according to ship tracking data on Refinitiv Eikon.

Walmart said on Thursday that prices for shoppers will go up due to higher tariffs on imports from China as the world’s largest retailer reported its best comparable sales growth for the first quarter in nine years.

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength that should underpin the economy as growth slows. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 212,000 for the week ended May 11.

AP Top Stories

The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen carried out several air strikes on the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Thursday after the Iranian-aligned movement claimed responsibility for drone attacks on Saudi oil installations. The Sanaa strikes targeted nine military sites in and around the city, residents said.

Impoverished North Korea is suffering its worst drought in decades and food supplies are reportedly running low, but South Korea’s push to provide aid is bogged down in the growing tension marked by missile tests and sanctions crackdowns.

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier-General Amir Hatami vowed Wednesday to inflict the “bitter taste of defeat” on the United States in its “economic war” on the Islamic republic.

Israeli troops wounded nearly 50 Palestinians at the Gaza border on Wednesday during protests to mark the 71st anniversary of the “Nakba”, or catastrophe, when many Palestinians lost their homes in the fighting around Israel’s creation, Gaza officials said.

Poland’s prime minister on Tuesday vowed tougher punishments for those who sexually abuse minors after a new film spurred the country into grappling with the problem of abuse by priests.

Mozambique will need about $3.2 billion in aid to rebuild infrastructure destroyed by two recent cyclones, government officials were quoted by local media as saying.

More than 5,000 Cubans have visited Nicaragua so far this year, a 900% increase over the total for all of 2018, Nicaraguan officials said Wednesday.

Helicopters ferried U.S. staff from the American embassy in Baghdad on Wednesday out of apparent concern about perceived threats from Iran, which U.S. sources believe encouraged Sunday’s attacks on four oil tankers in the Gulf.


An international crime gang which used malware to steal $100m from more than 40,000 victims has been dismantled. A complex police operation conducted investigations in the US, Bulgaria, Germany, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The gang infected computers with GozNym malware, which captured online banking details to access bank accounts.

A US middle school has closed for the remainder of the school year after authorities found it was contaminated with radioactive chemicals. A nearby air monitor detected enriched uranium and neptunium-237 at Zahn’s Corner Middle School in Piketon, southern Ohio.

President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to protect US computer networks from “foreign adversaries”. He signed an executive order which effectively bars US companies from using foreign telecoms believed to pose national security risks.

A sculpture by US pop artist Jeff Koons has sold for $91.1m, breaking the record price for a work by a living artist. Christie’s in New York sold Rabbit, a 41in steel cast of an inflatable created in 1986, for more than $20m over its estimated price.


The “blue light” in LED lighting can damage the eye’s retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms, France’s government-run health watchdog said this week.

Arizona State University recently commissioned an investigation into allegations made by former economics professor Brian Goegan, who claimed that some professors at the school were failing students on purpose and effectively charging students to turn in homework, all as part of a scheme with an educational corporation. Goegan was dismissed from his position after making the claims, though the school said he was let go for reasons other than the accusations.

America’s baby bust isn’t over. The nation’s birth rates last year reached record lows for women in their teens and 20s, a government report shows, leading to the fewest babies in 32 years. It was the fourth year the number of births has fallen, the lowest since 1986 and a surprise to some experts given the improving economy.

Mid-Day Snapshot · May 16, 2019

The Foundation

“We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.” —John Adams (1797)

Democrats Lose With Anything but ‘Grace’

Abrams, O’Rourke, Warren, and others continue undermining faith in American elections.

Democrat-Run Cities Drown in Debt

Meanwhile, Republican states with lower taxes tend to flourish with fiscal stability.

Selling Out American Exceptionalism

There are some serious implications for our 30-year trade war with Red China.

Dems Continue to Display Firearm Ignorance

Harris and Booker level false claims in their ongoing crusade against guns.

Foreign Leaders Don’t Respect the U.S. Constitution

New Zealand’s prime minister goes after guns, claims she doesn’t understand America.

Mom Who Lost Son to Illegal Now Fights to Save Others

Mary Ann Mendoza co-founded Angel Families to work with bereaved families.

Video: Kids’ Cartoon ‘Arthur’ Features Same-Sex Marriage

In the season 22 premiere of the beloved PBS kids’ show, Mr. Ratburn gets “married.”

Video: Birth Rates Are on the Decline

AEI’s Lyman Stone explains why this is a serious issue for future generations.

Today’s Opinion

Tony Perkins
Sweet Womb Alabama
Ken Blackwell
Abortion Lobby Killing Free Speech, Too
Victor Davis Hanson
Our Modern ‘Satyricon’
Larry Elder
Trump’s ‘Infrastructure’ Plan Versus Obama’s ‘Stimulus’: Part II
Gary Bauer
Honoring Fallen Heroes
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Thursday Top News Executive Summary

Abortion updates, immigration proposal, de Blasio jumps in, Huawei blacklisted, and more.

Thursday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Beto O’Rourke, AOC, Alyssa Milano, Allie Beth Stuckey, and more.

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 – 5/16/2019

Barr trolls Pelosi: ‘Did you bring your handcuffs?’
Democrats in Congress have been fuming that Barr refused to follow their orders to turn over an unredacted Mueller report along with underlying materials on now-discredited claims the Trump 2016 campaign colluded with Russia.Barr, in fact, is prevented by law from releasing any grand jury materials.

Iran will defeat U.S.-Israeli alliance, says defence minister
Iran’s military commanders said on Wednesday the Islamic Republic was on the verge of an all-out confrontation with its enemies and was ready to counter any threat. “Iran has the highest level of defense-military preparedness to confront any type of threat and excessive demands,”

Alabama Passes A Bill Making Abortion A Felony, Potentially Setting Up A Historic Showdown In The Supreme Court
They actually did it. On Tuesday night, the Alabama Senate passed a bill that would actually make abortion a felony in the state of Alabama. Needless to say, pro-abortion forces all over the nation are officially freaking out about this new law.

Iran officially suspends execution of part of its obligations under nuclear deal
The source noted that Tehran, as it had previously warned, may renew work on uranium enrichment and stop the updating of the heavy water reactor in Arak if the participants to the deal fail to fulfil their obligations under the deal within 60 days.

Minister to Trump: ‘Deal of the Century – or Deal of Eternity’
Ahead of the expected release of the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” aimed at achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Rev. Anthony Abma, who heads the Christians in Support of Jewish Sovereignty group, penned a letter to Trump, urging him to “respect and honor the ‘Deal of Eternity’ made thousands of years ago” between God and the nation of Israel, and not to“force a compromise upon Israel that in any way invalidates the terms of that original ‘deal’ made by the God of Creation.” May I also respectfully remind you Mr. President, that to force a compromise upon Israel that in any way invalidates the terms of that original “deal” made by the God of Creation, will seriously risk forfeiting the blessing of God upon the United States of America as per His own words as recorded in Gen 12:3…

Trump declares national emergency to protect communications networks
US President Trump on Wednesday declared a “national emergency” to protect US communications networks. Trump declared the emergency in the form of an executive order that says foreign adversaries are exploiting vulnerabilities in US telecommunications technology and services.

SpaceX readies for space-based internet service with 60-satellite Starlink launch TODAY
The latest space race has started, with companies scrambling to build a functioning space internet. Today, only about 25 percent of the world is served by quality internet. Elon Musk’s SpaceX will today take a significant step to rectifying this, with the launch of the first phase of satellites it hopes will provide universal internet connectivity.

A SERIES of solar storms are set to hit Earth this week as a HUGE hole opened up on the surface of the Sun, scientists have warned.
A coronal hole almost 20 TIMES the size of Earth has opened on the surface of the Sun, releasing particles into the cosmos. The massive hole stretches a staggering 220,000 kilometres across…Unfortunately for Earth, we are in line with the coronal hole and as it is so massive, there could be solar storms hitting our planet until Friday.

Yellowstone eruption: Huge geyser erupts after laying dormant for YEARS
Officials at the national park in Wyoming, US, said the Ledge Geyser burst into life on April 28, letting out huge amounts of steam out as it blew. The Ledge Geyser, which is the second larges in the Norris Geyser Basin, had not shown any activity for three years before its eruption. Ledge Geyser is capable of shooting water up to 125 feet in the air, but scientists believe it has slipped back into its dormant state since the eruption.

Ilhan Omar’s Ignorance and Bigotry on Gaza Rockets
So, too, is US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar encouraging the firing of rockets by Hamas and Islamic Jihad by blaming the Israeli victims for what she calls the “cycle of violence,” instead of blaming those groups for initiating terrorist violence against innocent Israeli civilians. In a tweet following the rocket barrage, Omar justifies the double war crimes committed by terrorists who target Israeli civilians while using Palestinian civilians as human shields.

U.S. trying to mediate Israeli-Lebanese maritime dispute to avoid war
A senior American official mediating the maritime border dispute between Israel and Lebanon is in Tel Aviv in a push to resolve a maritime border dispute between the two enemy countries. Acting US Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield was in Beirut on Wednesday and met with Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun and discussed bilateral relations and the latest local and regional developments…

Plot to smuggle military equipment into Gaza foiled
An attempt to smuggle weapon equipment, scuba diving equipment and communications equipment into the Gaza Strip was foiled on Wednesday, Maariv reported Thursday morning. Two hundred and fifty Israeli mail bags were transferred into the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing, and was coordinated by the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration on behalf of the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories.

Minor earthquake felt in Israel and surrounding areas
Residents in the Center and South reported feeling a minor earthquake on Wednesday night. No injuries or damage was reported. “The whole house shook,” Asaf, a resident of Be’er Ya’acov told Maariv. In addition to Beersheba, those in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv also reported feeling the quake. The 4.6 magnitude earthquake was felt across #Israel. No damage or injuries reported.

North Korea suffers worst drought in decades
North Korea has said it is suffering its worst drought in 37 years and called on its citizens to “battle” against the crop damage caused by it. It comes after the UN said that up to 10 million North Koreans were “in urgent need of food assistance”. North Koreans had been surviving on just 300g (10.5 oz) of food a day so far this year, the UN report said.

Iran-backed militias move rockets in range of U.S. troops: Report
The current ramping up of U.S. military posturing against Iran was triggered by U.S. intelligence that showed Tehran-backed militias in Iraq moving rockets to locations that could hit bases where American troops are positioned in the nation, according to sources familiar with the intelligence. Trump administration officials have said the Pentagon’s bumping up of the deployment last week of a U.S. aircraft carrier and bomber group to the region was justified by intelligence on threats of a potentially imminent attack by Iran on U.S. interests in Iraq…

LED light can damage eyes, health authority warns
The “blue light” in LED lighting can damage the eye’s retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms, France’s government-run health watchdog said this week. New findings confirm earlier concerns that “exposure to an intense and powerful [LED] light is ‘photo-toxic’ and can lead to irreversible loss of retinal cells and diminished sharpness of vision,” the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) warned in a statement.

Christian persecution close to ‘genocide levels,’ largely ignored due to ‘political correctness’: report
Political correctness contributes to alarming anti-Christian hostility around the world and caters to the terrorists trying to eradicate Christianity, an expert on religious persecution told Fox News.

Warning: Christians Will Be ‘Forced to Violate Their Beliefs’ if Equality Act Passes
Males identifying as females and using women’s locker rooms. Faith-based adoption and foster agencies required to place children with same-sex couples. Florists and bakers forced to fill orders for same-sex weddings. Critics say these are just a few of the potential results if The Equality Act becomes law.

Abortion Lobby Reacts to Alabama Abortion Ban: ‘War on Women,’ ‘Cruel’
Abortion industry giants and their political allies condemned a ban on most abortions passed by the Alabama State Senate Tuesday and headed to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk.

Alumni Support Historic Murals of George Washington that ‘Traumatize Students’ at California High School
A mural of George Washington may be destroyed in response to a protest effort by students who claim that the artwork “traumatizes them.” Now an alumni group is fighting back in support of the murals, which they call “unusually progressive for their time.”

Trump team preparing for rollout of the ‘Deal of the Century’ peace plan that will shakeup the Middle East
The West Bank “could erupt before, during or after you present your peace plan, and you should add this to your calculations.”

US Orders All Non-Essential Staff Out Of Iraq As Iran Vows To Defeat The ‘American-Zionist Alliance’, Says We Are On Cusp Of ‘Full-Scale Confrontation’ With The Enemy
What started out as potentially mere sabre rattling has morphed into a legitimate brewing confrontation between Iran and the United States. With the arrival today of the USS Abraham Lincoln to the Gulf of Oman, things have just ‘gotten real’ for all the major players in the Gulf region. Even Russia weighed in to defend their allies Syria and Iran.

BOMBSHELL: Bayer discovers “black ops” division run by Monsanto, shuts it down, initiates internal investigation as law enforcement prepares criminal charges against the chemical giant
Monsanto has been running a “black ops” division for over ten years, spending perhaps $100 million or more on efforts to silence, destroy or assassinate anyone who interfered with the agricultural giant’s market dominance.

Ramadan 2019 Starts With A Bang As Islamic Terrorists Kill 165, Wound 145 During First Week Of Muslim ‘Holy’ Month To Please The Moon God Allah
Why do Islamic terror attacks increase so dramatically during the ‘holy’ month of Ramadan in Islam? Because Islam teaches that during that time, their moon god Allah will ‘reward them double’ for acts of martyrdom where they kill themselves and innocent people around them. Allah is angry all the time, it would seem, and the only thing that serves to pacify him to any degree is when his followers murder the ‘infidels’ who don’t believe in him. Ironically, most of the people killed in Islamic terror attacks during Ramadan are Muslims. Go figure.

Headlines – 5/16/2019

Minister to Trump: ‘Deal of the Century – or Deal of Eternity’ made thousands of years ago

Saudi paper urges Palestinians to look at Trump peace plan

U.S. to UN: You yourself rejected withdrawal to ’67 lines

PA files charges with UN court in bid to shutter US embassy in Jerusalem

MK Smotrich demands that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister Erdan not close the Temple Mount to Jews on Jerusalem Day – ‘We must not surrender to threats of violence on Temple Mount’

Thousands of Palestinians mark ‘Nakba’ with Gaza protests, West Bank marches

Despite tensions, Nakba Day protests in Gaza pass without major incident

Nearly 50 Palestinians Reportedly Injured in ‘Nakba Day’ Riots on Gaza Border

One million face hunger in Gaza after US cut to Palestine aid

Palestinian Authority Prepares for Peace: ‘There’s No Such Thing as Israel’ Arab Children Are Told

EU to Investigate Palestinian Authority Textbooks for Hate

Philadelphia Muslims apologize for video of kids talking beheadings, Jerusalem

Israeli TV Eurovision webcast hacked with fake missile alert

Polish ambassador spat at in Israel amid rising tensions

Amid coalition talks impasse, Netanyahu said looking at non-majority government

Netanyahu bemoans ‘impossible demands’ by prospective coalition partners

Opposition lambastes Netanyahu after report says he will push for immunity law

In new transcripts, PM and newspaper boss discuss his demand for kinder coverage

US in new push to resolve Israel-Lebanon sea border dispute

Ted Cruz questions US State Department official over Iranian nuclear research

American Sanctions on Iran Are a Boon for Russia and Turkey

Putin: Russia not ‘fire brigade’ to save Iran deal

Kremlin concerned over escalating Iran tensions despite Pompeo claims

Iran Vows to Defeat ‘American-Zionist Alliance’ as Putin Warns Against U.S. Pressure

Iran’s Supreme Leader Threatens to Enrich Uranium to Weapons-grade Level

Iran on the brink of ‘full-scale confrontation with the enemy,’ IRGC chief warns

Zarif says Iran showing ‘maximum restraint,’ US escalation ‘unacceptable’

Mike Pompeo said Iran-backed militias moved rockets near American bases in Iraq

Trump’s Iran moves trigger warnings, demands from Congress

US pulls ‘non-emergency staff’ from Iraq as Iran tensions mount

U.S., Germany and Netherlands Pull Personnel Out of Iraq Due to Tensions

Bernie Sanders Warns War With Iran Would Be ‘Many Times’ Worse Than Iraq War

The US is sending another warship and more missiles to the Middle East amid Iran tensions

UAE says it will show restraint after tanker attacks, Iran’s behavior a concern

Tanker Attacks Near UAE Expose Weaknesses in Gulf Arab Security

Turkey showcases military might as they begin largest naval drills ever

Yemen: ceasefire broken as fresh fighting breaks out in Hodeidah

Yemeni army kills 97 militiamen, captures 120 following attack on Houthi sites

Egypt’s Sisi hosts Abu Dhabi Crown Prince amid regional tensions

Sudan army ruler says talks over civil rule suspended for 72 hours

After Sri Lanka bombings, 60 Christian refugees flee homes over revenge threats

U.S. orders suspension of flights between the U.S. and Venezuela

China voices strength, pushes nationalism around trade war

China sells most U.S. Treasuries in nearly two-and-a-half years

Dispute erupts over whether Brennan, Comey pushed Steele dossier, as DOJ probe into misconduct begins

Ex-FBI lawyer: Officials were ‘quite worried’ Comey appeared to be blackmailing Trump with dossier

Barr Reportedly Jabs At Pelosi: ‘Madam Speaker, Did You Bring Your Handcuffs?’

White House launches online tool to fight social media ‘censorship’

Amazon Re-Trains Employees after Some ‘Mistakenly’ Block Christian Ads

US abstains from global pledge to curb online violence

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Taron, Papua New Guinea

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Raoul Island, New Zealand

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Zinjibar, Yemen

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Calingasta, Argentina

4.5 earthquake shakes Jerusalem, central Israel

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 28,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 11,500ft

Karymsky volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 10,000ft

NASA releases pictures of Beresheet moon crash site

Severe floods hit Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, one person killed, several injured

Wettest 12-month period on record leaves US nearly drought-free amid rampant flooding

Second Worst Ebola Outbreak in History Is Now Killing 66 Percent of People Who Become Infected

Cambridge scientists create world’s first living organism with fully redesigned DNA

Alabama governor signs nation’s strictest abortion ban into law

Ala. lawmakers pass bill making abortion a felony; Gov. Kay Ivey defends it

Alabama ‘has gone too far’ with ‘extreme’ abortion bill, Pat Robertson says

Alabama law moves abortion to the center of 2020 campaign

Louisiana ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban nearing final passage

Legal battle heats up as more states test strict abortion bans

Blurred lines: A pregnant man’s tragedy tests gender notions

ACLU files lawsuit over law blocking Planned Parenthood from sex education funding

Apostasy Watch Daily News

How Do I Evangelize Someone Who Says That They Don’t Trust the Bible?

What is a Cult? What are the Characteristics of a Cult?

What churches should know about YWAM Part 1: A sketchy theological heritage

Warning People about False Teachers, Prophets, and Healers Didn’t Cease with the Apostles

Jim Bakker sells $45 Trump coin, calls it ‘point of contact’ with God

Christ-like figure appears in clouds over Argentina sparking religious frenzy

Pat Robertson Says Alabama Abortion Ban “Too Restrictive”

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


May 16 Temptation

scripture reading: Matthew 4:1–11
key verse: Matthew 4:10

Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

If temptation does not come from God, what is its source? Temptation is a tool of Satan. He enticed Eve in the Garden of Eden and continues his incessant seduction.

Satan is your adversary. He desires to disable your spiritual service, distract your spiritual attention, and disrupt your spiritual relationship with the Father. Since he cannot affect your eternal destiny, he seeks to disable you emotionally, short–circuiting your joy and testimony.

The world system is also a source of temptation. The world system is the prevailing philosophy of the age, devoid of God’s wisdom. A quick look at the arts, entertainment, and education reveals an underlying value system ruled by ungodly appetites and reasoning, not God. The lust of the eyes and flesh and the pride of life are the key players in the world system.

Yet another source of temptation is the power of sin still abiding in each Christian. You are freed from sin’s penalty by faith in Christ but must be delivered daily from its power through His sanctifying Spirit.

Whatever the source of temptation in your life, Jesus Christ can help you overcome it.

Dear Lord, I need Your help to overcome the world system and the power of sin. Deliver me from its power through Your sanctifying Holy Spirit.[1]

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

16 may (1858) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Human responsibility

“If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.” John 15:22

suggested further reading: Matthew 24:29–31

The liar, the fornicator, and the drunkard shall have their portion with unbelievers. Hell was made first of all for men who despise Christ, because that is the A1 sin, the cardinal vice, and men are condemned for that. Other iniquities come following after them, but this one goes before them to judgement. Imagine for a moment that time has passed, and that the day of judgement is come. We are all gathered together, both living and dead. The trumpet-blast sounds exceeding loud and long. We are all attentive, expecting something marvellous. The exchange stands still in its business; the shop is deserted by the tradesman; the crowded streets are filled. All men stand still; they feel that the last great business-day is come, and that now they must settle their accounts for ever. A solemn stillness fills the air: no sound is heard. All, all is silent. Presently a great white cloud with solemn state sails through the sky, and then—hark! The twofold clamour of the startled earth. On that cloud there sits one like unto the Son of Man. Every eye looks, and at last there is heard a unanimous shout—“It is he! It is he!” and after that you hear on the one hand, shouts of “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Welcome, Welcome, Welcome Son of God.” But mixed with that there is a deep bass, composed of the weeping and wailing of the men who have persecuted him, and who have rejected him. Listen! I think I can dissect the sonnet; I think I can hear the words as they come separately, each one of them, tolling like a death knell. What say they? They say, “Rocks hide us, mountains fall upon us, hide us from the face of him that sits upon the throne.”

for meditation: What we are going to say about Christ in eternity will be an amplified version of our attitudes towards him in time. In this life we have the opportunity to change our minds and trust Christ; in eternity we will never be able to change our tune (Matthew 25:30, 46).

sermon no. 194[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 143). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

16 MAY 365 Days with Calvin

When Despair Leads us to God

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. Joel 2:32

suggested further reading: Matthew 11:25–30

God wants us to call on him, not only in prosperity but also in an extreme state of despair. It is as if God calls the dead to himself, declaring that he has the power to restore life to them and bring them out of the grave.

Since God invites the lost and the dead to come to him, there is no reason why even the heaviest distresses should prevent access to him for us or for our prayers, for by faith we ought to break through all these obstacles. The more grievous our troubles, the more confidence we ought to have, for God offers grace not only to the miserable but also to those in utter despair. The prophet did not threaten general evil to the Jews but declared that, before the coming of Christ, all things would be full of horror (verse 31). After this denunciation the prophet adds: Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.

Paul cites Joel’s prophecy in Romans 10 and extends it to the Gentiles, so let us examine how he interprets the testimony of Joel. Paul uses these words of the prophet to prove that, since adoption is extended to the Gentiles, it is lawful for them to flee to God and to familiarly invoke him as Father. He hence proves that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles, since invocation arises from faith; for unless God shines on us by his Word, we cannot come to him. Faith, then, is always the mother of prayer.

for meditation: There is no situation so grave, no sin so black, that negates our invitation to repent and call on the name of the Lord and be saved. God delights in saving those who cannot save themselves. Do not doubt his power and willingness to save you when you find yourself condemning the horrendousness of your sin. Take it to him and humbly ask for his forgiveness.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 155). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Throwback Thursday ~ Theology Gals Podcast Guest Appearance: Christian Discernment — Michelle Lesley

Theology Gals Podcast Guest Appearance: Christian Discernment

Last week, it was my joy to sit down and chat for a while with Coleen Sharp, host of one of my favorite podcasts, Theology Gals. Listen in as we discuss discernment, what it is, how to exercise it biblically, and what to do if you’re seeing false teaching infiltrating your women’s ministry or church.

Episode 44: Christian Discernment with Michelle Lesley

Theology Gals has a wonderful Facebook discussion groupyou can join. Be sure to follow their Facebook and Twitterpages, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Theology Gals podcast!

via Throwback Thursday ~ Theology Gals Podcast Guest Appearance: Christian Discernment — Michelle Lesley

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