Daily Archives: June 1, 2019

June 1 The Pathway of Faith

Scripture Reading: Genesis 12:1–9

Key Verse: Genesis 12:1

Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”

No one would have blamed Abram if he immediately began making to-do lists upon hearing the Lord’s command to leave his country. After residing in Haran for seventy–five years, Abram would have had extensive details to care for and many ties to resolve.

The task for both Abram and Sarai must have been dizzying. Not only was the overall mission overwhelming, but they were also responsible for the daunting duty of caring for their entourage.

Great missions and trials are always accompanied by mountains of details. In fact, sometimes it is the smallest issue that is the most devastating discouragement to the believer. However, God cares for everything in our lives. R. A. Torrey counsels, “If our troubles are large enough to vex and endanger our welfare, they are large enough to touch God’s heart of love.”

You may believe that your situation is too small to bring before God. However, the pathway of faith is trusting God for every facet and feature of your life. Have confidence that He cares for you even in the smallest issues, and you will find how abundant His great love for you really is.

Lord, thank You for caring about the small details of my life. I get lost in all the miniscule tasks, but You have room in Your heart for all of them.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 160). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Justice Department to begin antitrust investigation of anti-conservative Google


Google's new motto Google’s new motto – we really need to start calling them “Goolag”

It’s troubling to me when large corporations ally with one political party or another. The videos of Google executives mourning Hillary’s loss, Google’s firing of non-Democrat engineers, and documented bias in Google’s products clearly indicate that Google favors the Democrat party. So, it’s about time for the government to step in and stop the corporate fascism.

Breitbart News reports:

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Justice Department is preparing to begin an antitrust investigation into Google that could see the tech giant come under a new wave of scrutiny from regulators. According to people familiar with the matter, the antitrust division of the Justice Department has been gathering information and preparing for the investigation for weeks.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which shares antitrust authority with the Justice Department, has previously conducted antitrust investigations into Google…

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Trump Declares War On Silicon Valley: DoJ Launches Google Anti-Monopoly Probe | ZeroHedge News

Once shielded by the logic of Silicon Valley’s relentless churn of innovation – which dictated that no reigning tech empire could rule for long before going the way of Yahoo and AOL – tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google have been subjected to intensifying anti-trust pressure – Elizabeth Warren’s “Break up Big Tech”s billboard is only the latest example. Indeed, big tech trust-busting has become one of the few issues in contemporary Washington that garners genuine bipartisan support.

Since the Trump administration swept into power two years ago in spite of thinly veiled opposition from Silicon Valley – as it was later revealed, big tech effectively conspired with the Clinton campaign to hurt Trump’s chances – the drumbeat of unprecedented anti-trust scrutiny has grown steadily louder, facilitated by the president’s own publicly-voiced suspicions.

And on Friday, the levee finally broke.

Just before midnight on Friday, at the close of what was a hectic month for markets, WSJ dropped a bombshell of a story: The paper reported that the DoJ has opened an anti-trust investigation of Alphabet Inc., which could “present a major new layer of regulatory scrutiny for the search giant, according to people familiar with the matter.” The report was sourced to “people familiar with the matter,” but was swiftly corroborated by the New York Times, Bloomberg and others.

For months now, the FTC has appeared to be gearing up for a showdown with big tech. The agency – which shares anti-trust authority with the DoJ – has created a new commission that could help undo big-tech tie-ups like Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, and hired lawyers who have advanced new anti-monopoly theories that would help justify the breakup of companies like Amazon.

But as it turns out, the Trump administration’s first salvo against big tech didn’t come from the FTC; instead, this responsibility has been delegated to the DoJ, which has reportedly been tasked with supervising the investigation into Google.

That’s not super surprising, since the FTC already had its chance to nail Google with an anti-monopoly probe back in 2013. But the agency came up short. From what we can tell, it appears the administration will divvy up responsibility for any future anti-trust investigations between the two agencies, which means the FTC – which is already reportedly preparing to levy a massive fine against Facebook – could end up taking the lead in those cases.

Though WSJ didn’t specify which aspects of Google’s business might come under the microscope, a string of multi-billion-euro fines recently levied by the EU might offer some guidance. The bloc’s anti-trust authority, which has been far more eager to take on American tech giants than its American counterpart (for reasons that should be obvious to all), has fined Google over its practice of bundling software with its standard Android license, the way its search engine rankings favor its own product listings, and ways it has harmed competition in the digital advertising market.

During the height of the controversy over big tech’s abuses of sensitive user data last year, the Verge published a story speculating about how the monopolistic tendencies of each of the dominant Silicon Valley tech giants could be remedied. For Google, the Verge argued, the best remedy would be a ban on acquisitions – a strategy that has been bandied about in Congress.

Our best model for tech antitrust is the Department of Justice’s anti-bundling case against Microsoft in the ’90s, which argued that Microsoft was using its control over the PC market to force out competing operating systems and browsers. If you’re looking for a contemporary equivalent, Google is probably the closest fit. On a good day, Google (or Alphabet, if you prefer) is the most valuable company in the world by market cap, with dozens of different products supported by an all-encompassing ad network. Google also has clear and committed enemies, with Microsoft, Oracle, Yelp, and even the Motion Picture Association of America calling for restrictions on the company’s power.

But according to Open Markets’ Matthew Stoller, the best long-term remedy for Google’s dominance has more to do with Google’s acquisitions. “If you’re looking for a silver bullet, probably the best thing to do would be to block Google from being able to buy any companies,” says Stoller. “Suddenly, you have to compete with Google, you can’t just be bought out by Google.”

That might sound tame compared to Europe’s billion-dollar fines, but it cuts to the core of how Google is organized. The company has acquired more than 200 startups since it was founded, including central products like YouTube, Android, and DoubleClick. The company’s modular structure is arguably a direct result of that buying spree, and it’s hard to imagine what Google would look like without it. More recent buys like Nest have fallen under the broader Alphabet umbrella, but the core strategy hasn’t changed. Would Google still be an AI giant if it hadn’t bought DeepMind? Probably, but everyone involved would have had to work a lot harder.

Even better, anti-monopoly activists would have a bunch of different ways to block those acquisitions. The Department of Justice’s antitrust division hasn’t contested Google’s acquisitions so far, but it could always change its approach. The strongest fix would come from Congress, where Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has introduced a bill that would place an outright ban on acquisitions by any company with a market cap higher than $100 billion. (As of press time, Google is worth roughly $840 billion.)

We feel it’s no exaggeration to say that this is only the beginning of what could become an epoch-defining story arch. And like every good story, this one will have main characters and bit players. As far as we can tell, one of the leading roles will likely be played by Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim, a previously obscure Trump Administration official who is now in charge of one of the most consequential investigations in recent memory.

Setting aside what it might mean for Silicon Valley, the investigation will also have major ramifications for markets, since shares of the big tech companies have been at the vanguard of the torrid post-crisis bull market. Though the influence of FANG stocks on overall market performance has waned this year, they remain hugely influential.

Tech giants are far and away the biggest contributors to SPX sales growth…

…and they have generated nearly all SPX after-tax adjusted profit margin since the crisis.

News of the investigation could adversely impact shares of the big tech companies, which will in turn create a serious drag for the major indexes. For investors, it will be one more threat to a bull market which is already teetering thanks to President Trump’s trade war with China (and now Mexico).

We imagine we’ll be hearing more about the probe through both official and unofficial channels in the coming weeks.

Source: Trump Declares War On Silicon Valley: DoJ Launches Google Anti-Monopoly Probe

June 1 When Storms Come

Scripture Reading: Matthew 8:23–27

Key Verse: Matthew 20:28

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

Jesus came to earth as God in the flesh. He didn’t have to take on the form of humanity, but He did. He momentarily laid aside His eternal glory to identify with the needs of sinful man.

No one knows the personal loss or the private pain that Jesus suffered. Wherever He traveled, storm clouds gathered. Wherever He spoke, political unrest ensued. For every person who joined His band of disciples, hundreds more turned against Him.

Christ could have focused on the storms that tore at His mind and heart. Instead, He chose to calm the stormy lives of others—a Roman centurion whose servant was dying, a young man bound by demonic oppression, a woman caught in adultery, a disabled beggar, a man born blind, and a Pharisee who came to Him hidden by night’s cover.

Even when the storms grew to overwhelming proportions, Jesus did not waver in His faith. He never lost sight of His eternal purpose. Dying on the cross, He offered salvation to the thief being crucified beside Him.

When the storm clouds gather in your life, remember that Jesus personally understands your pain and suffering. And there is never a time when you are beyond His loving grasp.

Dear Lord, You are not a stranger to adversity. When storm clouds gather, help me remember that You understand my pain and suffering. There is never a time when I am beyond Your loving grasp.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 160). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Saturday Sampler: May 26 — June 1 — The Outspoken TULIP

Apparently the Lord has been gracious in helping Elizabeth Prata through her battle with pneumonia, because she’s able to write fresh essays for The End Time again! Keep praying for her to have a full recovery. In the meantime, Finding sound doctrine in the days of tickling ears might be just what the doctor ordered…for you!

Okay, so as a Baby Boomer I appreciate Tom’s Bob Dylan’s “Christian” phase in excatholic4christ. But he makes a point that people of any generation need to consider.

Hallelujah! Michelle Lesley has A New Addition: Biblical Counseling Resources on her website. Biblical Counseling, as opposed to so-called Christian counseling, doesn’t integrate psychology into its practice. Instead, it applies principles straight from the Word of God. Praise God that Michelle provides this invaluable resource to help hurting women.

In a heartwarming post about her dog, Leslie A of Growing 4 Life challenges our devotion to the Lord. Are we willing to follow Him At All Costs?

Even if your church doesn’t belong to the Southern Baptist Convention, Why the SBC Should Say “No More” to Beth Moore by Josh Buice of Delivered By Grace will help you understand the severe problems this woman creates.

Examining the benefits and dangers of blogging, Tim Challies answers the question, What Does It Mean To Be A Christian Blogger? With so much animosity flying around the Internet these days, Tim’s reminder of our responsibility to conduct ourselves in ways that honor Christ is sorely needed.

Can We Redeem Queer Culture? asks Fred Butler on his Hip And Thigh blog.

On Possessing the Treasure, Mike Ratliff discusses The tragic results of denying the resurrection. The resurrection is really the cornerstone of the Christian faith, and yet many of us neglect it.

In a disturbing, but necessary, guest post for Theology Gals, Stephanie Schumacher details Why Your Church (and You, Believer) Should Stop Associating with MOPS International. It’s a sad article,  and I feel no joy in bringing it to you. Yet we need to know when historically reliable ministries begin promoting things that undermine the Gospel.

Let’s have a second dose of Michelle Lesley this week. Mythbusting Complentarianism: 4 Truths Egalitarians Need to Know About Complimentarian Women challenges assumptions that egalitarians commonly make about those of us who embrace the roles that Scripture assigns to women. You’ll  come away from this post with a fresh perspective on sexism.

Although I took a class on the Early Church Fathers in college, I remember nothing. Shame on me! Leonardo De Chirico’s latest installment in The Vatican Files offers both encouragement and guidance for reading them. Take a look at Five Principles for Interpreting the Church Fathers and see if it doesn’t inspire you.

via Saturday Sampler: May 26 — June 1 — The Outspoken TULIP

Weekend Snapshot – Top Stories This Week · June 1, 2019

Mueller’s Disgraceful Exit

The special counsel teed up Democrats for impeachment on phony obstruction inference.

McConnell’s Strategy: Ensure SCOTUS Protects the Constitution

He says it’s about “the quaint notion that the job of the judge is to follow the law.”

Obama Judge Blocks Border Barrier

A legal battle over money allocated for 51 miles of fencing goes against Trump. Again.

What’s More Expensive: Tariffs or Illegals?

The president says he will raise tariffs on Mexico until the flow of migrants stops.

Inheritance Welfare Liberals — The Effluent of Generational Wealth and Privilege

Irony: Legions of leftist cadres hate the wealthy elite benefactors who gave them rise.

Millennials Stuck in Their Lifestyle-Choices Rut

If there’s any truth to their “left behind” struggles, it’s largely the result of their own choices.

The True Life Story Hollywood Won’t Tell

Hollywood hypocrites threaten Georgia while abetting human-rights abusers.

The Real Constitutional Crisis: Unaccountable Bureaucracy

Bureaucrats not only threaten our Constitution but actively trample it all the time.

CNN Anchor Maligns Pro-2A Rape Victim

“Only in America,” Chris Cuomo snidely remarked. He’s right in a way, but he didn’t mean to be.

Socialists Ruin the Environment

The extreme Left may hawk the Green New Deal, but its track record is woefully poor.

Better Marriages, Happier Women

A new study shows that religious involvement leads to stronger families. Who knew?

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.

Quote Of The Week

“More than a few Americans may also notice the contradiction that Disney is more worried about filming in a U.S. state that has passed a law democratically than it is operating its theme park and hawking its films in China, which uses facial-recognition software to monitor its population and has a million Uighurs in re-education camps. Georgians have a right to self government, and like other Americans they aren’t fond of receiving ultimatums from elites on the coasts.” —The Wall Street Journal

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Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 06/01/2019

Netflix, Disney Threaten to Discontinue Doing Business in Georgia Over Signing of Heartbeat Bill   May 30, 2019 11:10 am

(The Christian Institute) — Netflix and Disney have threatened to remove their business from the state of Georgia after the governor signed into law a bill seeking to protect the unborn beginning at approximately six to eight weeks gestation. Prior to the law being passed, fifty Hollywood actors, including Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin and Ben Stiller, called on…

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Fifty Children Saved as International Paedophile Ring Busted   May 27, 2019 05:49 pm

Photo Credit: Ibon San Martin (BBC) — Fifty children have been rescued and nine people arrested after an Interpol investigation into an international paedophile ring. The arrests were made in Thailand, Australia and the US and more are expected, Interpol said. The investigation began in 2017 and focused on a hidden “dark web” site with 63,000 users…

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Church of England School Governor Resigns Over Concerns Children ‘Sacrificed on Altar of Trans Ideology’   May 28, 2019 08:17 am

LONDON — A vicar with the Church of England (CofE) who also serves as a governor at a CofE school has quit both of his jobs over concerns about the evident capitulation to “transgender” ideology. “e’re being coerced to think and speak a particular way,” lamented John Rogers in a video released by Christian Concern/The Christian Legal Centre. “e’re being told we…

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Brazil’s Supreme Court Votes to Make Homosexual, Transgender Discrimination a Crime   May 25, 2019 02:09 pm

Photo Credit: Leandro Cuiffo/Flickr (Al Jazeera) — A majority in Brazil’s Supreme Court has voted to make homosexual and transgender discrimination a crime, like racism, a decision coming amid fears the country’s far-right president will roll back LGBT social gains. Six of the Supreme Federal Tribunal’s 11 judges have voted in favor of the measure. The five…

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Parents Sue After Elementary School Teacher Personally Discusses ‘Gender Identity’ With Son, Making Him Confused   May 29, 2019 03:12 pm

Photo Credit: KPTV screenshot WOODBURN, Ore. — The parents of a nine-year-old boy have sued their school district for $1 million after they state that the child’s elementary school teacher assumed he had “transgender” inclinations and began to personally teach him about “gender identity” — without his parents’ knowledge. The parents, whose names have not…

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Make Sodom Great Again? Trump’s ‘Celebrate Pride Month’ Tweets Urge Nations to Join in Effort to Legalize Homosexuality   May 31, 2019 08:58 pm

WASHINGTON — President Trump posted two tweets on Friday in recognition of homosexual and transgender “Pride Month,” asking Americans to “stand in solidarity” with homosexuals who live in countries where such sexual practices are illegal, as well as for nations to join his administration’s campaign to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide. “As we celebrate LGBT…

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Muslim Mob in Kenya Destroys Churches and Christian Shops   May 29, 2019 01:28 pm

(International Christian Concern) – Nearly two weeks ago, a disagreement between Muslims and the local community in Kiamaiko, Nairobi, culminated in a mass attack by young Muslim men. The mob injured several Christians and destroyed the property of four churches: Kingdom Gospel for All Nations Ministry, Evangelical Victory Church International, End Time Army…

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‘The Best a Man Can Get’: Gillette Video Shows Father Coaching Daughter Who Identifies as Man During ‘First Shave’   May 27, 2019 07:48 pm

The popular razor brand Gillette, known for its motto “The Best a Man Can Get,” released a video to social media on Thursday that shows a father encouraging his daughter — who identifies as a man — as she shaves her face for the first time. “Growing up, I was always trying to figure out what kind of man I wanted to become and I’m still trying to figure out…

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Retired Minister Sues After Complaints Result in Ban on Bible Study in Apartment Complex Community Room   May 27, 2019 08:48 am

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — A retired Lutheran minister and his wife have sued the owners and management of a Virginia apartment complex for threatening them with eviction following complaints over his regular Bible study in the community room, as well as other allegations that he denies. According to the legal challenge, Ken Hauge and his wife Liv moved into The…

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Armed Gunmen Kidnap 19 Christians, Kill One in Kaduna State, Nigeria   May 27, 2019 12:23 pm

JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Suspected Fulani herdsmen stormed a church choir practice and kidnapped 17 Christians in north-central Nigeria the night of May 18, and the same night gunmen killed a Christian and kidnapped two others at a Baptist church, sources said. Each attack took place in Kaduna state, where assaults on Christians with impunity have…

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June 1 In Times of Temptation

Scripture reading: Luke 4:1–14

Key verse: Luke 4:14

Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.

Everyone faces temptation. Even the Son of God was tempted by Satan to turn away from God. But Jesus saw through the enemy’s schemes and remained firm in His love and devotion to the Father (Luke 4:1–13).

One of the reasons Jesus came to live among us was to personally identify with our needs and struggles. He understands how we feel under the weight of temptation. He has faced the tempter and overcome the darkness and adversity associated with Satan’s fiery trials.

When you face temptation, know that you do not face it alone. Jesus is with you, and He provides the strength you need to say no to every dark thought or evil imagination.

In times of temptation, when the enemy whispers lies to defeat and discourage you, take your stand against him by clothing yourself in the mighty armor of God (Eph. 6). Also know that you can never disappoint God. He knows exactly what you are doing even before you do it, and He loves you still.

Being tempted is not a sin. Sin is the result of acting on the temptation. God provides the strength you need to steer clear of temptation. You can say no to all evil because Jesus lives in you, and He has given you the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth and knowledge. Therefore, take your stand as a child of God, and claim His strength and victory!

Thank You, Lord, that I have the power to say no to all evil because You live in me. You have given me the Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth and knowledge, so I take my stand as Your child and claim Your strength and victory.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 160). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

June 1, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

8. In a moment of wrath. He again repeats and enforces this statement, in order to impress it more deeply on the hearts of believers, that they may not be at all discouraged by adversity, and with good reason; for, amidst that frightful darkness, it was not easy for the captives to behold God’s smiling face. And although the literal sense in which the “wrath” is here said to last but for “a moment” be, that God in due time brought back the captives to their native country, yet we draw from it a general doctrine, that the afflictions of the Church are always momentary, when we raise our eyes to its eternal happiness. We ought to remember what Paul has taught us, (2 Cor. 4:17,) that all the afflictions of believers are light and easy to be endured, and are justly considered to be momentary, while they look at the “eternal weight of glory;” for if we do not attend to this comparison, every day will seem to us like a year. There would be no propriety in comparing the seventy years of the captivity of the Jews to “a moment,” if it were not contrasted with the uninterrupted progress of the grace of God.[1]

8 This verse continues and amplifies the thought of v. 7. What was the way in which the people experienced God’s anger? It was in the hiding of his face from them. Was it not in the terrible cruelties of the siege and destruction? Was it not in being dragged from their homes and being forced to settle in a strange place? Yes, it was all of these and more. Yet those are all expressions of something deeper and more important: the absence of the presence and favor of God. Those things happened to Israel and Judah because God refused to look at them, and that is what this part of the book (chs. 49–55) is about. Restoration to the land is really not the principal issue—restoration to the loving glance of God is. Restoration to the land is nothing without restoration to the presence of God, and it is the sacrifice of ch. 53 that makes the latter, more important, restoration possible. That sacrifice was the ultimate expression of the eternal love (ḥesed ʿôlām) of God; thus it is not accidental that the Lord is called the Redeemer here. He has redeemed them from the sin that had made his face stony toward them. The eternity of his love is particularly seen in his willingness to reconcile himself to his people through the Servant even before they are willing to seek that reconciliation (Rom. 5:8). As Cheyne says, God’s anger may have gushed over the land like a flood, but that is as nothing compared to the unchanging sea of his righteous deliverance. As with Gomer on the slave block, God can only see the wife of his youth when he looks at human beings sunk in their sin. When we had done nothing, God had already reconciled himself to us and had satisfied himself over our sins. All that remains for us to do, as it was for Israel, is to accept that fact and rejoice.[2]

[1] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (Vol. 4, pp. 140–141). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Oswalt, J. N. (1998). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66 (pp. 421–422). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

June 1 The Flesh

scripture reading: Galatians 5:16–26
key verse: Galatians 5:25

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident” (Gal. 5:19 nasb).

“But the fruit of the Spirit is …” (Gal. 5:22 nasb).

The distinction here is so critical that it can mean the difference between an enjoyable, profitable, abundant Christian life and a mediocre, vacillating one. Here’s why. Your life and journey as a Christian began through the work of the Spirit and, if they are to be successful, must continue through His work in you.

Once saved, the tendency is to revert to established behavior patterns to deal with sin. You do not understand when you fail and try harder and fail again. But resolve and grit could not save you from sin or self, and they will not free you from your problems after you are saved.

What must happen is a transforming dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit. The victorious life is one that abides and rests in and yields to the Spirit of God.

That does not mean that you fail to pray, work, study, read, or accept responsibility. It does mean that you do these things with reliance upon the power of God to liberate you.

How does that happen? By simple faith that God will do it (just as you were saved) and a submissive, obedient heart that looks to and leans on the Spirit of God.

Give me a submissive, obedient heart, Father. Let me lean on Your Spirit instead of my flesh. The journey I’ve begun must continue through the work of the Spirit in me.[1]

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

1 june (1856) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Indwelling sin

“Then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold, I am vile.” Job 40:3, 4

suggested further reading: Galatians 5:13–24

When we believe in Jesus Christ all our sins are pardoned; yet the power of sin, although it is weakened and kept under by the dominion of the new-born nature which God infuses into our souls, does not cease, but still lingers in us, and will do so to our dying day. It is a doctrine held by all the orthodox, that there still dwells in the regenerate the lusts of the flesh, and that there still remains in the hearts of those who are converted by God’s mercy, the evil of carnal nature. I have found it very difficult to distinguish, in experimental matters, concerning sin. It is usual with many writers, especially with hymn writers, to confound the two natures of a Christian. Now, I hold that there is in every Christian two natures, as distinct as were the two natures of the God-Man Christ Jesus. There is one nature which cannot sin, because it is born of God—a spiritual nature, coming directly from heaven, as pure and as perfect as God himself, who is the author of it; and there is also in man that ancient nature which, by the fall of Adam, has become altogether vile, corrupt, sinful, and devilish. There remains in the heart of the Christian a nature which cannot do that which is right, any more than it could before regeneration, and which is as evil as it was before the new birth—as sinful, as altogether hostile to God’s laws, as ever it was—a nature which, as I said before, is curbed and kept under by the new nature in a great measure, but which is not removed and never will be until this tabernacle of our flesh is broken down, and we soar into that land into which there shall never enter anything that defiles.

for meditation: Are there times when you cannot understand your own behaviour? You are in good company (Romans 7:15–25). But the Christian, having received the new nature, need not and should not give in to the old nature as if he could do nothing about it.

sermon no. 83[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 159). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

1 JUNE 365 Days with Calvin

The Gift of Offspring

Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. Luke 1:25

suggested further reading: Psalm 113

Elizabeth extols the goodness of God in private until the time is right for making known God’s promises about her expected child. There is reason to believe that her husband has informed her in writing of the promised offspring; consequently, she affirms with great certainty and freedom that God is the author of this favor of impending life. This is confirmed by the words wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach, for she believed the cause of her barrenness was that the favor of God had been withdrawn from her.

Among earthly blessings, Scripture speaks in the highest terms of the gift of offspring. Rightly so, for if the productivity of animals is God’s blessing, then the increase and fruitfulness of the human race ought to be regarded as a much higher favor. It is no small honor that God, who alone is entitled to be regarded as Father, allows children of the dust to share this title with him. Let us, therefore, regard this teaching that “children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Ps. 127:3). But Elizabeth looks further, for though barren and old, and contrary to the ordinary course of nature, she confesses that she has conceived by a remarkable miracle.

Let parents learn to be thankful to God for the children that he gives them, and let those who have no offspring acknowledge that God humbles them in this matter. Elizabeth speaks of her barrenness as a reproach among men, for childlessness is a temporal chastisement from which we will suffer no loss in the kingdom of heaven.

for meditation: What have you been asking from the Lord that he has not given? How does waiting increase your focus on him rather than on what you want? How can we use the lessons we learn from waiting on God to assist childless couples and those who struggle with unanswered prayers?[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 171). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

June 1, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

His Perfect Priesthood

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (4:14)

Throughout the book of Hebrews the high priesthood of Jesus Christ is exalted. In chapter 1 He is seen as the One who has made “purification of sins” (v. 3). In chapter 2 He is “a merciful and faithful high priest” (v. 17) and in chapter 3 He is “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession” (v. 1). Chapters 7–9 focus almost exclusively on Jesus’ high priesthood. Here (4:14) he is called a great high priest.

The priests of ancient Israel were appointed by God to be mediators between Himself and His people. Only the high priest could offer the highest sacrifice under the Old Covenant, and that he did only once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). All the sins of the people were brought symbolically to the Holy of Holies, where blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat as a sacrifice to atone for them. As no other human instrument could, he represented God before the people and the people before God.

As we learn from Leviticus 16, before the high priest could even enter the Holy of Holies, much less offer a sacrifice there, he had to make an offering for himself, since he, just as all those whom he represented, was a sinner. Not only that, but his time in the Holy of Holies was limited. He was allowed to stay in the presence of the Shekinah glory of God only while he was making the sacrifice.

To enter the Holy of Holies, the priest had to pass through three areas in the Tabernacle or the Temple. He took the blood and went through the door into the outer court, through another door into the Holy Place, and then through the veil into the Holy of Holies. He did not sit down or delay. As soon as the sacrifice was made, he left and did not return for another year.

Every year, year after year, another Yom Kippur was necessary. Between these yearly sacrifices—every day, day after day—thousands of other sacrifices were made, of produce and of animals. The process was never ended, never completed, because the priesthood was not perfect and the sacrifices were not perfect.

Jesus, our great High Priest, after He had made the one-time, perfect sacrifice on the cross, also passed through three areas. When He passed through the heavens, he went through the first heaven (the atmosphere), the second heaven (outer space), and into the third heaven (God’s abode; 2 Cor. 12:2–4). Jesus went to where God Himself, not simply His glory, dwells. This is the holiest of all holies. But Jesus did not have to leave. His sacrifice was made once for all time. The sacrifice was perfect and the High Priest was perfect, and He sat down for all eternity at the Father’s right hand (Heb. 1:3). “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:4–5). He had made the perfect atonement for sin, the purpose for which He had come to earth. And the work was completed when He entered heaven and presented Himself in the Holy Place (Heb. 9:12).

Our great High Priest did not pass through the Tabernacle or the Temple. He passed through the heavens. When He got there He sat down, and God said, “I’m satisfied. My Son, Jesus Christ, accomplished the atonement for all sins for all time for all those who come to Him by faith and accept what He did for them.” The appeal of 4:14, therefore, is for yet uncommitted Jews to accept Jesus Christ as their true High Priest. They should demonstrate that their confession is true possession by holding fast to Him as their Savior. This emphasizes the human side of the believer’s security. True believers hold fast, as God holds them fast.

The End of Jewish Priesthood and Sacrifices

Jesus was crucified less than forty years before Jerusalem was destroyed in a.d. 70. With it was destroyed the Temple, the only place where sacrifices could be made. From shortly after the time of Christ, therefore, no Jewish sacrifices have been made—even until the present time. Consequently, there has been no need for a Jewish priesthood since that time. Yom Kippur is still celebrated as a holy day, the highest holy day, but no priests are involved and no sacrifices are offered—because there are no priests to make the sacrifices and no temple in which to offer them.

The End of All Ritualistic Priesthoods and Sacrifices

No Christian priesthood was established by Christ or the apostles. Peter refers to the church, that is to all believers, as a “holy priesthood” and “a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). Christians, as God’s redeemed, are types of priests, in the general sense that we are responsible for bringing God to other men through preaching and teaching His Word and for bringing men to God through our witnessing. But no special order of priesthood or system of sacrifices is either taught or recognized in the New Testament. All claims of special priestly mediation between God and men—in offering forgiveness for sins, making atonement for sins by supposedly repeating Christ’s sacrifice through a ritual, or any other such claim or practice—is entirely unbiblical and sinful. It is open defiance of the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Any formal religious priesthood on earth now implies that the final and perfect atonement for sin has not yet been made. It is equal to the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, whom the earth swallowed because God was so angry at their wicked presumption (Num. 16). There is absolutely no place in the economy of Christianity for a priesthood. Any that is established is illegitimate and a direct affront to the full and final priesthood of Jesus Christ Himself.

We have our perfect and great High Priest and He has already made, once and for all, the only sacrifice that will ever need to be made for sin—the only effective sacrifice that could be made for sin. Any other priest who attempts to reconcile men and God is a barrier rather than a mediator. By faith in Jesus Christ any person can enter directly into God’s presence. When Jesus died, the veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom. Access to God was thrown wide open to anyone who would come on His terms.[1]

The Throne of Grace

Hebrews 4:14–16

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:16)

The Christian life is like a sailing vessel. This illustration helpfully relates the requirements of following Jesus Christ with the resources he gives to do them. God’s commands are like the rudder that determines the ship’s direction. Important as that is, however, the ship does not have power to move until a strong wind comes and fills the sails. In the Christian life, that strong wind consists of the resources that are found in the gospel.

The writer of Hebrews is concerned with relating requirements and resources because he writes not just as a theologian but as a pastor. He later describes his letter as “my word of exhortation” (Heb. 13:22). Exhort his readers he does, often sternly and always urgently, but he also is careful to explain the reasons for his commands, as well as to offer the resources to do them.

The end of Hebrews 4 concludes the long exhortation that began in chapter 3, in which the author charges his readers to press on in the faith, not hardening their hearts in the face of difficulties. To meet this requirement, so far he has articulated two key resources. First, he mentioned Christian fellowship and encouragement. This is needed, he says, so “that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13). Another key resource is the Word of God, which imparts life to us and stirs us up in the faith (Heb. 4:12–13). The pastor now directs us to a third resource: prayer, through which we come before God’s very throne to receive the mercy and grace we need to press on.

If the Christian life is like a sailing vessel, then the requirements in the Book of Hebrews are like the rudder that points and directs our lives. The commands are essential; without them we would founder upon the shoals and sink. However, as vital as they are, they do not actually move the ship. They provide no power to press ahead. For this we need the great resources that are ours in Christ—resources like fellowship, God’s Word, and prayer. These are the wind that puts air into our sails and gives us power to move along the course God has charted. In Hebrews 4:14–16 the writer reminds us that we may approach God with confidence because of the redeeming ministry of the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ, our great high priest. The message here has three points, which we may set forth as a requirement, a reason, and a resource.

A Requirement: Hold Firmly to the Faith

The writer begins this passage by restating the requirement that this letter continually stresses, namely, the command to persevere in the Christian faith. He writes, “Let us hold fast our confession” (v. 14). This is not only a necessary requirement, but also an extremely difficult thing to do.

A young Christian woman once told me how a colleague at work had belittled Christianity as an escape from the difficulties of real life, an easy route chosen by the weak. “An escape!” she replied. “An escape! You try to live as a Christian, you try to wage war against the desires of the flesh, you try to live as an alien in a strange land, and then you come and tell me that Christianity is the easy way!” She was right! If what you are looking for is a lazy man’s detour through life, if you are looking to avoid serious challenges and to follow the well-worn lanes, then Christianity is not for you. This was Jesus’ teaching: “For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt. 7:13–14).

This is the stark reality of the Christian faith. To follow Christ is to seek treasures not here on this earth, not here in this life, but treasures in heaven. Christians, of course, acknowledge earthly blessings and enjoy them in good measure. But we are people who have set our hearts on the heavenly rest. We have stepped onto the spiritual battleground, with enemies like the flesh, the world, and the devil. We accept that this is the time of our labor, the time of sacrifice and willing self-denial for the sake of our discipleship to Christ; the day of reward will wait until the life that is to come.

In verse 14 the writer says it is “our confession” that we must hold fast. The early church employed theological formulas to express the faithful’s confession, like the Apostles’ Creed. This reminds us that there is truth content to our profession of faith and that this content is vitally important. Some people say that they are against creeds, but creeds are simply summaries of biblical teaching. The Latin word credo means, “I believe.” It matters what we believe; there is content we cannot let go of without letting go of salvation in Christ: things like who Jesus is and what he has done to save us from our sins. J. C. Ryle explained:

A religion without doctrine or dogma is a thing which many are fond of talking of in the present day. It sounds very fine at first. It looks very pretty at a distance. But the moment we sit down to examine and consider it, we shall find it a simple impossibility. We might as well talk of a body without bones and sinews. No man will ever be anything or do anything in religion, unless he believes something.… No one ever fights earnestly against the world, the flesh and the devil, unless he has engraven on his heart certain great principles which he believes.

So it is for our Christian confession, to which we are required to hold fast as if our lives depend upon it—for they do.

A Reason: Christ’s Ministry as High Priest

The writer of Hebrews goes on to give us a reason for our perseverance, and it is a doctrinal point he gives. What is it that motivates Christian people to enter into a life of struggle and strife, holding fast to the confession? The reason is set forth in verse 14: “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”

The reason behind our perseverance is the person and work of Jesus Christ, who as the Son of God and as our great high priest has secured our salvation ahead of us. Jesus and his saving work are set forth here as the antidote mainly to fear: fear of failure, fear of falling away, and even the fear of drawing near to God that paralyzes so many Christians.

Many Christians struggle in their relationship with God, especially when it comes to prayer. The reason for this is felt by the writer of Hebrews, and it is expressed in what he has said in the preceding verse: “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13).

Anyone with any spiritual awareness is made very uneasy by the thought of God’s searching gaze. Remember the scene in the garden after Adam and Eve had first sinned. In their original state, before they fell into sin, they were “naked and were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:25). With no sin to condemn them, they delighted in the gaze of their loving Creator. But after the fall, they hid their shame even from one another, pathetically sewing on fig leaves for garments. Even more, they dreaded the presence of God, fleeing and hiding from him as he approached.

This is how many Christians feel in their relationship with God. The thought of his gaze chills their bones. They are willing to do anything but deal with God himself, skulking around the edges of his light rather than drawing near to him. They struggle to pray and seldom do unless forced by circumstances. It is this paralyzing fear that the writer of Hebrews now addresses. As Philip Hughes explains: “Sinners are no longer commanded to keep their distance in fear and trembling, but on the contrary are now invited to draw near, and to do so with confidence.”

The reason for this change is the saving work of Jesus Christ to reconcile sinners to God. In particular, two aspects of that work come into view here: He has made propitiation for us in the heavenly tabernacle, and he now ministers on high with sympathy for our weakness.

When God discovered Adam and Eve’s sin, he punished them by barring them from the garden and cursing them. But God then took the initiative in restoring them to fellowship with himself. Genesis 3:21 tells us, “The Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” God sacrificed an animal in their place and clothed them with the garment of the innocent substitute he had provided. That is a wonderful picture of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away our sin and whose perfect righteousness is imputed to us.

When the writer of Hebrews speaks of Jesus as our high priest—and with this passage his priesthood becomes the dominant theme in this letter—what he emphasizes is Christ’s atoning work by dying upon the cross. He sets up a comparison between, on one hand, what Jesus did by dying and rising from the dead and then ascending into heaven and, on the other, the ceremonial office performed by Israel’s high priest.

Once a year, the high priest entered the inner sanctum of the tabernacle to make atonement for the sins of the people. First offering a sacrifice for his own sins and then cleansing himself with water, the high priest—and he alone—one day a year and that day only—entered into the very presence of God. There in the holy of holies he saw the ark of the covenant, with the golden angels on top with their upswept wings, gazing down upon the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, God’s law, which the people had broken by their sins. To avoid punishment, the high priest brought blood from the animal sacrifice, which he sprinkled upon the mercy seat, the tray for the blood which interposed between God’s piercing gaze and the tablets of the law. When the blood was offered, God’s wrath was propitiated, that is, it was turned away from the people’s sin.

Israel’s priests pointed forward to Jesus, the great high priest. He is great because of his divine nature. He is the Son of God, and his shed blood is sufficient to satisfy God’s wrath forever. He is great because his sacrifice achieved a finished atonement, unlike the ones offered by Aaron, which had to be repeated daily. He is great because he is not a sinful man going into the holy of holies only once a year, and needing to come back again the next. Instead, he has gone through the heavens into the true tabernacle, the heavenly throne room of God, and offered his shed blood once-for-all. This is the contrast implicit in verse 14. Unlike Aaron, who was denied entry into the Promised Land because of his sin, and unlike the high priests who followed Aaron who were themselves sinners and could not offer the true sacrifice, Jesus has entered the land of rest, heaven itself, and has finished our redemption.

Because Jesus is our high priest, we are reconciled to God. This means that we can approach him freely. We do not have to hide from him; we do not have to flee like Adam in the garden; the veil barring us from God’s presence is torn because of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. We may now, as the writer of Hebrews so greatly wants us to see, approach boldly into the presence of God that once was barred by our sin.

The mercy seat was the place where sinners might approach the holy God in safety and with confidence. This is what God said to Moses in the wilderness: “There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you” (Ex. 25:22). This is where we meet safely and peacefully with the Lord our God, at the place made safe by the blood offered by our high priest, Jesus Christ.

The second aspect of Christ’s priestly ministry is the sympathy he bears for us in heaven. Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” This is a point the author has made before, so it must be an important one. The Lord you serve, the Savior to whom you look, is not aloof from your trials, but feels them with intimate acquaintance. He is not disinterested or cold to what you are going through; he came to this earth and took up our human nature precisely so that he might now be able to have a fellow feeling with us. Therefore, he is eminently able to represent you before the throne of his heavenly Father, pleading your cause, securing your place, and procuring the spiritual resources you need.

That is the reason you must not give up, because Christ is there in heaven bearing human flesh, having endured what you are going through now—and more—yet without himself falling into sin. His righteousness represents you before God’s throne and grants you access to the Father; his prayers plead for your sustenance and intercede on behalf of your needs. “Here am I, and the children God has given me,” Jesus declared upon his arrival in heaven (Heb. 2:13 niv). He has opened the way for you, established your place where he is, and now he prays for your spiritual provision and protection to the Father who is certain to receive his every petition.

Jesus explained all this to his first disciples in the upper room on the night of his arrest. They did not fully understand as he spoke of what was to come, but they picked up enough to know that he was leaving. Jesus comforted them, saying, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1–3).

Yes, there would be hardships and troubles. The writer of Hebrews has assured us of this by comparing our earthly pilgrimage to Israel’s journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land. But Jesus assured his disciples: “I will not leave you as orphans.… Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:18–19). What a great reason this is for hope, and what strength it gives to persevere!

A Resource: The Throne of Grace

Our requirement is to hold firmly to the faith we profess. Our reason to strive on is the high-priestly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. His ministry reconciles us to God and opens heaven’s treasure chest of grace. This makes possible the great resource of prayer, to which the writer now turns: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

What does it mean to approach the throne of grace? It means to come to God in prayer on the basis of Christ’s high-priestly ministry; that is, his propitiating sacrifice and present intercession. The language here is striking and clear. By telling us to come before God’s throne, the author reminds us that it is the place where blood has been offered for us, the mercy seat where God calls sinners to meet with him. But we are also reminded that it is to a king that we come; we come to the royal throne of the King of kings.

In a great sermon on this text, Charles Haddon Spurgeon worked out some of the implications for our own approach to God in prayer. The first is that we must come in lowly reverence. If we show great respect in the courts of earthly majesty—in the White House, for example, or Buckingham Palace—then surely we will come with even greater reverence before the throne of heaven. There is no place for pride or vanity here, and if our eyes could see what really is before us spiritually, we would tremble at its awesome majesty. Spurgeon writes, “His throne is a great white throne, unspotted, and clear as crystal.… Familiarity there may be, but let it not be unhallowed. Boldness there should be, but let it not be impertinent.”

Second, we should come with great joy. Why? Because of the favor that has been extended to us in so high a privilege. What have we merited but rejection from God’s presence and incarceration in his prison? Instead, we find ourselves received as favored children, invited to bring all our requests to the King of heaven.

Next, our prayers should include enlarged expectations, as befitting the power and goodness of the King to whom we come. Combined with this must be submission to his wisdom and will. As the apostle Paul reminds us, he is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Eph. 3:20). We honor him when we come with great and large requests, but also with contentment in his sovereign will. By faith, we gladly accept what he pleases to give, in the manner he chooses to give it, knowing that he is wise far above us and that he works out all things for our good (Rom. 8:28).

Finally, and this is the special point being made by the writer of Hebrews, we should come to God with confidence. We come knowing that we will be favorably received, knowing that we can speak freely, knowing that this is a throne of grace toward us. Why? Because of the High Priest who has gone ahead, securing access for us by his blood and interceding prayers.

We cannot overestimate the importance of such confidence. Many Christians struggle with prayer. We tremble as with stage fright, as if the light from God’s throne exposed us in naked shame, when in fact it reveals the radiant robes that have been draped around us, the righteousness of Christ given to all who trust in him. This is the key to prayer—to praying often, to praying openly, to praying boldly and freely and with gladness of heart—to know that we come clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, invited by his own saving ministry, purchased by his precious blood, and anticipated by his sympathetic intercession. This is the secret to lively and happy prayer.

Yes, it is a throne to which you come, but that throne is a throne of grace. This means that when you come, your sins are covered by the blood of Christ, and that your faults are looked upon with compassion. Your stumbling prayers are not criticized, but are received with kindness. Moreover, Jesus’ priestly ministry secures the Holy Spirit’s help. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” God’s Spirit helps us to pray, and he graciously interprets our prayers in the ears of the heavenly Father.

Furthermore, because it is a throne of grace to which we come, God is ready to grant our requests. He is glad to provide our needs, to give us strength to persevere through trials. He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). So we are not afraid to ask of God, we who are so needy in this life. Why do we come? One commentator explains, “Man needs mercy for past failure, and grace for present and future work.… Mercy is to be ‘taken’ as it is extended to man in his weakness; grace is to be ‘sought’ by man according to his necessity.” And so, as Hebrews exhorts, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

A Place for You

God requires us to persevere in faith through the trials of this Christian life. He gives us a great reason to press on—the saving work of our great high priest, who is able to save us to the uttermost. He has gone ahead of us to open the doors and unlock the treasures of God’s mercy and grace. Prayer is a great resource God gives us, one that we must not neglect if we are to grow strong in the faith and persevere through difficulties. Prayer brings us to a throne of power and authority, but also a throne of grace to all who are in Christ. Therefore, let us draw near to God with reverence, with joy, with great expectations, and especially with the confidence that belongs to the sons and daughters of the King of heaven and earth. Spurgeon provides us a fitting conclusion, about the difference God’s grace makes for us:

I could not say to you, “Pray,” not even to you saints, unless it were a throne of grace, much less could I talk of prayer to you sinners; but now I will say this to every sinner here, though he should think himself to be the worst sinner that ever lived, cry unto the Lord and seek him while he may be found. A throne of grace is a place fitted for you: go to your knees, by simple faith go to your Savior, for he, he it is who is the throne of grace.[2]

14. Seeing then that we have, or, Having then, &c. He has been hitherto speaking of Christ’s apostleship, but he now passes on to his second office. For we have said that the Son of God sustained a two-fold character when he was sent to us, even that of a teacher and of a priest. The Apostle, therefore, after having exhorted the Jews obediently to embrace the doctrine of Christ, now shews what benefit his priesthood has brought to us; and this is the second of the two points which he handles. And fitly does he connect the priesthood with the apostleship, since he reminds us that the design of both is to enable us to come to God. He employs an inference, then; for he had before referred to this great truth, that Christ is our high priest; but as the character of the priesthood cannot be known except through teaching, it was necessary to prepare the way, so as to render men willing to hear Christ. It now remains, that they who acknowledge Christ as their teacher, should become teachable disciples, and also learn from his mouth, and in his school, what is the benefit of his priesthood, and what is its use and end.

In the first place he says, Having a great high priest, Jesus Christ, let us hold fast our profession, or confession. Confession is here, as before, to be taken as a metonymy for faith; and as the priesthood serves to confirm the doctrine, the Apostle hence concludes that there is no reason to doubt or to waver respecting the faith of the Gospel, because the Son of God hath approved and sanctioned it; for whosoever regards the doctrine as not confirmed, dishonours the Son of God, and deprives him of his honour as a priest; nay, such and so great a pledge ought to render us confident, so as to rely unhesitantly on the Gospel.[3]

14 As the full glory of our Savior is increasingly revealed, the author now suggestively brings together in the phrase “Jesus the Son of God” two titles that have so far occurred only separately (the divine title “Son [of God]” in 1:2, 5, 8; 3:6; the human name “Jesus” in 2:9; 3:1). The statement that Jesus has “gone through the heavens” may seem to suggest a temporary visit; TNIV has rightly substituted the less literal “ascended into heaven,” since it is Jesus’ penetration right into heaven itself that is emphasized by the choice of the verb “gone through”; cf. his “going through” the curtain into the inner sanctuary in 6:19–20 (and cf. also 9:11–12, 24). Perhaps our author already has in mind the ritual of the Day of Atonement, when the high priest penetrated behind the curtain into the Holy of Holies. By contrast, our high priest has gone right through into heaven itself, and that is where he is now enthroned at God’s right hand.[4]

14 With admonition is coupled positive encouragement. Jesus has already been presented to the readers as “a merciful and faithful high priest” (2:17), and they are now shown how he is the one from whom they can receive all the strength they need to maintain their confession and resist the temptation to let go and fall back. “Jesus, the Son of God” is not disqualified by his divine origin from sharing in his people’s troubles and sympathizing with their weakness. He himself endured every trial that they are likely to undergo, but remained steadfast throughout, and has now “passed through the heavens” to the very throne of God. In him, then, his people have a powerful incentive to perseverance in faith and obedience.

“The heavens” through which Jesus passed are the heavenly regions in general; we need not try to enumerate the successive “heavens” involved and determine whether he is envisaged as passing through three or seven of them. The plural “heavens,” as regularly in the New Testament and Septuagint, reflects the Hebrew word used in the Old Testament, which is always plural. What is emphasized here is his transcendence; he is “exalted high above the heavens,” as we are told later in the epistle (7:26), or, as it is put in Eph. 4:10, he “ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.” It is because he has been so highly exalted that he is such a “great” high priest;63 there is already the implied contrast here (which is brought out in explicit detail later) between him and the earthly high priests of Aaron’s line, whose highest privilege was to pass once a year through the inner veil into the holy of holies in a material and temporary sanctuary, there to appear for a few moments before God on behalf of their people. With him as their permanent helper, the people of Christ might well hold fast the “confession” in which he played a central part.[5]

14 With a resumptive “therefore” the pastor offers a twofold appeal to his readers: “Retain your confidence in Christ by making use of the grace he provides.” The “therefore” itself goes back to 2:18–3:1 in particular, with its first mention of Jesus as High Priest, but at the same time it presupposes everything that has been said to this point. In typical “pastoral” style, the writer uses the inclusive “we” throughout, thus identifying himself with his readers and with all who are called to be God’s faithful people. “We” as the people of God have this great High Priest.

The basis of this first appeal is the “high priest” that the people of God “have.” The adjective “great” sets the tone for this verse. Everything in this description is used to emphasize the immeasurable superiority of this High Priest. In the Greek Old Testament great priest is equivalent to high priest. Thus there is redundancy in the expression “great high priest”: one might say, “great great priest” or “high high priest.”8 This redundancy underscores the unspeakable greatness of this High Priest, who is far superior to the Levitical priests because he is “powerful to save.” The pastor reinforces Christ’s high-priestly superiority by adding in terse, compact form, “who has gone through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God.”

This High Priest is so great because he has “gone through the heavens” and sat down at the right hand of God (1:3). Just as the Aaronic high priest went through the veil into the earthly Most Holy Place, so Christ has entered into the very presence of God in heaven itself (9:1–10:18). “Who has gone through” translates a Greek perfect participle and signifies the continuing validity of Christ’s having entered God’s presence. The access to the Father that he has obtained is a present and continuing reality for his people!

Christ, however, was able to enter God’s presence as our High Priest only because he was the eternal “Son of God” who became the fully human “Jesus”13 and offered himself to “provide purification for sins” (1:3). In 7:1–25 the pastor will explain how Christ’s divine sonship empowers his high priesthood, while in 8:1–10:18 he will show how “Jesus’ ” sinless humanity and self-offering provide access into God’s presence. Christ’s full identification with humanity and his divine sonship are the basis upon which he surpasses every other mediator.

Since this High Priest alone can meet our needs, “let us,” the people of God, “hold fast to our confession.” In saying “hold fast,” the writer urges tenacious endurance in Christian profession. The NIV translates the Greek word rendered “confession” (cf. 3:1) by “the faith we profess” (cf. 3:1). This term refers first of all to the content of our confession, the substance of “the faith” we profess—belief in the uniqueness and saving efficacy of Jesus Christ; and, secondly, to our public profession of that faith. The pastor is going to explain Christ’s high priesthood to his readers in order to fortify their belief in Jesus as God’s Son and fully effective High Priest so that they will continue to live a life that professes faith in him.[6]

A truth to encourage you (4:14–16)

The Christian faith is built on the facts of history—hence the stress in early apostolic preaching on the resurrection of Jesus, including the facts of the empty tomb and the long list of witnesses to his appearances (see 1 Cor. 15:5–8). This letter majors on the subsequent truth of the ascended Lord ‘who has gone through the heavens’ (4:14). Yet the exalted Lord remains the Jesus of history, of the cradle, the carpenter’s shop and the cross. So he can fully sympathize with our humanity, even with our frailty.

Sometimes we assume that those who have fallen into a particular sin are best able to understand and help others, after repentance, of course. But Scripture suggests that those who have known the full force of a particular temptation and yet stood firm are the best counsellors, if they retain the humility which comes from grace. The Gospels remind us of the reality of the testings of Jesus throughout his life, brought to a climax in Gethsemane, ‘yet [he] was without sin’ (4:15). He supremely stood firm, at great cost, and stands with us now in our testing moments. It may well be significant that the High Priest, always seated in heaven, is only seen once as standing, and that is in Acts 7:56 as Stephen goes to his Christlike martyrdom.

These facts should stimulate our faith. So in these verses, the writer brings a double exhortation. He calls us to ‘hold firmly to the faith we profess’, and then challenges us to a new spirit of boldness (4:16). Christians are called to be bold in their witness to others (e.g. 10:23) but here and elsewhere (e.g. 10:19) this boldness is to be seen in the spirit of prayer. We can come to ‘the throne of grace’ (4:16) because of Christ’s death and resurrection. Sometimes the reluctance to pray and the timidity of our requests for ourselves and others suggests a lack of gratitude for this access into God’s presence. We may be critical of the formality and deadness of prayers in other religions. Yet all too often their devotees put us to shame in their dedication and regularity.[7]

4:14 / The fact that Jesus is a great high priest will enable the readers to remain true; the exhortation implies their tendency to waver. Great here suggests the uniqueness of this particular possessor of that exalted office. This indeed is no ordinary high priest. He is the man Jesus, but also the unique Son of God, the one who has gone through the heavens. This last clause may be an allusion to Christ’s presence in the spiritual or “heavenly temple” where his priestly work is accomplished (cf. 6:20; 9:11–12). At the same time, there may also be a deliberate allusion to Psalm 110:1, a strategic verse for our author that is also associated with Christ’s priestly work (see 8:1–2). Similar language is found in 7:26, where Jesus the high priest is said to be “exalted above the heavens,” with which may be compared Paul’s reference to Christ as the “one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe” (Eph. 4:10). Thus a number of themes concerning Jesus previously introduced are now brought together again and associated with the title of high priest: his humanity, his unique sonship, his exaltation, and as we are about to hear, his consequent ability to help Christians under testing. The faith we profess is literally “the confession” as in 3:1 (cf. 10:23).[8]

Ver. 14.—To the interposed minatory warning of the three preceding verses now succeeds encouragement, based on the view, which has been now a second time led up to, of Christ being our great High Priest, who can both sympathize and succour. The passage answers closely in thought to the conclusion of ch. 2, and might naturally have followed there; but that, before taking up the subject of Christ’s priesthood, the writer had another line of thought to pursue, leading up (as has been explained) to the same conclusion. The οὖν at the beginning of ver. 14 either connects κρατῶμεν (“let us hold fast”) with the verses immediately preceding—in the sense, “The Word of God being so searching and resistless, let us therefore hold fast,” etc.,—in which case the participial clause ἔχοντες, etc., is a confirmation of this exhortation (so Delitzsch); or is connected logically with the participial clause as a resumption of the whole preceding argument. Certainly the idea of the participial clause is the prominent one in the writer’s mind, what follows being an expansion of it. And the position of οὖν suggests this connection. It is to be observed that, after the manner of the Epistle, this concluding exhortation serves also as a transition to the subject of the following chapters, and anticipates in some degree what is to be set forth, though all the expressions used have some ground in what has gone before. Having then a great High Priest who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. The rendering of διεληλυθότα τοὺς οὐρανοὺς in the A.V. (“is passed into the heavens”) is evidently wrong. The idea is that Christ has passed through the intermediate heavens to the immediate presence of God—to the sphere of the eternal σαββατισμὸς. In his use of the plural, τοὺς οὐρανοὺς, the writer may have had in his mind the Jewish view of an ascending series of created heavens. Clemens Alexandrinus, e.g. speaks of seven: Ἑπτὰ οὐρανοὺς οὕς τινὲς ἀρίθμουσι κατ᾽ ἐπανάβασιν. Cf. also “the heaven and the heaven of heavens” (Deut. 10:14; 2 Chron. 6:18; Neh. 9:6), and “who hast set thy glory above the heavens” (Ps. 8:1), also “the third heaven,” into which St. Paul was rapt (2 Cor. 12:2). Cf. also Eph. 4:10, Ὁ ἀναβὰς ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν, ἵαν πληρώσῃ τὰ πάντα. The conception of the phrase is that, whatever spheres of created heavens intervene between our earth and the eternal uncreated, beyond them to it Christ has gone,—into “heaven itself (αὐτὸν τὸν οὐρανὸν);” “before the face of God” (ch. 9:24). From this expression, together with Eph. 4:10 (above quoted), is rightly deduced the doctrine of Christ’s ubiquity even in his human nature. For, carrying that nature with him and still retaining it, he is spoken of as having passed to the region which admits no idea of limitation, and so as to “fill all things.” The obvious bearing of this doctrine on that of the presence in the Eucharist may be noted in passing. (It is to be observed that “the heavens” in the plural is used (ch. 8:1) of the seat of the Divine majesty itself to which Christ has gone. It is the word διεληλυθότα that determines the meaning here.) The designation, “Jesus the Son of God,” draws attention first to the man Jesus who was known by that name in the flesh, and secondly to the “more excellent name,” above expatiated on, in virtue of which he “hath passed through the heavens.” The conclusion follows that it is the human Jesus, with his humanity, who, being also the Son of God, has so “passed through.” There may possibly (as some think) be an intention of contrasting him with Joshua (Ἰησοῦς, ver. 8), who won the entrance into the typical rest. But it is not necessary to suppose this; vers. 8 and 14 are at too great a distance from each other to suggest a connection of thought between them; and besides Ἰησοῖν occurred similarly at the end of ch. 3:1, before any mention of Joshua. The epithet μέγαν after ἀρχιερέα distinguishes Christ from all other high priests (cf. ch. 13:20, Τὸν ποιμένα τῶν προβάτων τὸν μέγαν). The high priest of the Law passed through the veil to the earthly symbol of the eternal glory; the “great High Priest” has passed through the heavens to the eternal glory itself. As to ὁμολογίας, cf. on ch. 3:1†. In consideration of having such a High Priest, who, as is expressed in what follows, can both sympathize and succour, the readers are exhorted to “hold fast,” not only their inward faith, but their “confession” of it before men. A besetting danger of the Hebrew Christians was that of shrinking from a full and open confession under the influence of gainsaying or persecution.[9]

14 The fearful prospect of judgment that is held out to the community in vv 11–13 is balanced by the reminder of the high priestly ministry of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary. In the description of Jesus as ἀρχιερέα μέγαν, “a great high priest,” the term μέγαν is a qualification of excellence (cf. 1 Macc 13:42, “Simon the great high priest [ἀρχιερέως μεγάλου] and commander and leader of the Jews”; Philo, On Dreams 1.219). His greatness is expressed in the language of transcendence. He has passed through the heavens (διεληλυθότα τοὺς οὐρανούς) to the presence of God (cf. 9:24). The implied reference to the heavenly sanctuary provides yet another dimension to the discussion of the place of rest in 4:1–11. Jesus’ high priestly ministry is the guarantee that God’s people will celebrate the Sabbath in his presence.

The encouragement of Jesus’ high priestly ministry underscores the reasonableness of the exhortation to continue to hold fast to the confession (v 14b). The use of the verb κρατεῖν, “hold fast/cling to,” supports the conclusion that ὁμολογία, “confession,” has reference to a specific formulation of faith that had once been accepted and openly acknowledged by the members of the community. In this context the designation of Jesus as τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, “the Son of God,” is almost certainly an echo of that confession (so Bornkamm, TBl 21 [1942] 190, 192–94, 201–2; Neufeld, Earliest Christian Confessions, 135–37). The description of Jesus as “high priest” is not itself taken from the confession but serves to interpret it (see on 3:1). The appeal for adherence to the confession has the function of promoting the faithfulness of the community at a time they were displaying a lack of concern for spiritual integrity and steadfastness (cf. 2:1; 3:6b; 10:23). It appropriately concludes the unit introduced in 3:1, in which the faithfulness of Jesus as high priest establishes the context for calling the members of the congregation to faithfulness (see Comment on 3:1).


The purpose of introducing Ps 95:7b–11 in 3:7–19 was to exhibit the severe consequences of unbelief and rebellion. Israel at Kadesh, at the point of attaining the goal of the Exodus and pilgrimage through the wilderness, rebelled against God and refused to trust the word of promise. Their subsequent forfeiture of the promise and death in the desert is brought forcefully before the hearers to warn them of the danger of a calloused disposition and apostasy. The generation in the desert provided the writer with a warning paradigm.

In 4:1–13 the note of warning is sustained by specific reference to Israel’s unbelief and disobedience at Kadesh (vv 2, 6, 11) and by a pattern of exhortation that exposes the peril of an indifferent community (vv 1, 11–13). But the warning is tempered by the encouragement that the promise of entering God’s rest has not been revoked. The failure of the Exodus generation to enter the promised rest did not abrogate the reality and accessibility of that rest. The issue of entering God’s rest must be faced by each generation. The continuation of the interpretation of Ps 95:7b–11 in 4:1–11 permits the writer to develop a theology of rest.

The notion of rest within the Scriptures is one of expanding horizons. For Israel at Kadesh, and in the Hexateuch generally, the promise of rest connoted entrance into Canaan. But the review of Israel’s failure to enter God’s rest in Ps 95, long after the conquest and settlement of the land under Joshua, indicated that those events did not exhaust the divine intention. They represented only a type of the rest promised to the people of God.

Already in 3:12–19 a typological interpretation of Ps 95:7b–11 had suggested that Israel at Kadesh stood in relation to the Christian community as type to antitype. The argument developed in 4:1–11 is more complex. The expression “my rest” in Ps 95:11 called to mind God’s primordial rest announced in Gen 2:2. The state of completion and harmony experienced by God after his creative labor is the archetype and goal of all subsequent experiences of rest. The rest intended for the people of God was prefigured in the Sabbath rest of God. The theology of rest developed in 4:1–11 takes account of the pattern of archetype (God’s primal rest, v 4), type (the settlement of the land under Joshua, v 8), and antitype (the Sabbath celebration of the consummation, v 9). The prophetic announcement of another day in which the promise of entering God’s rest would be renewed in Ps 95:7b–8a addressed the community in their situation and supported an eschatological understanding of God’s rest. It anticipated the consummation when the completion of work and the experience of rest would provide the setting for a Sabbath celebration marked by festivity and the praise of God (v 9). The task of the community is to enter that rest through faith in God’s word of promise and obedient response to the voice of God in Scripture (vv 11–13).

The reference to Jesus in his office as high priest in v 14 is not an afterthought, but the intended conclusion of the entire argument. The crucial issue for the community is whether they will maintain their Christian stance. The issue was posed conditionally in 3:6b, and more pointedly in 3:14. It was raised again forcefully in v 14 in the exhortation to hold fast to the confession that identified Christians as those who had responded to the message they had heard with faith (cf. v 2). The ministry of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary as a faithful high priest in the service of God gives certainty to the promise that God’s people will celebrate the Sabbath in his presence if they hold fast their initial confidence.[10]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 108–111). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Phillips, R. D. (2006). Hebrews. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 144–153). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (pp. 106–107). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 72). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Bruce, F. F. (1990). The Epistle to the Hebrews (Rev. ed., p. 115). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[6] Cockerill, G. L. (2012). The Epistle to the Hebrews (pp. 223–225). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[7] Hacking, P. H. (2006). Opening up Hebrews (pp. 30–31). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[8] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 78). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[9] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Hebrews (pp. 112–113). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[10] Lane, W. L. (1998). Hebrews 1–8 (Vol. 47A, pp. 103–105). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

06/01/19 Fear that Hinders — ChuckLawless.com

READING: 2 Kings 6-8, John 9:13-41

Fear so often gets in the way of our following Christ – beginning at times, in fact, before we ever become believers. It’s been a long time since I met Christ, but I still remember some of the fears I experienced in the several months of my wrestling with whether to follow Him. Perhaps I wouldn’t be able to walk away from my sinful habits even as a 13-year-old. I wanted friends, and I was afraid I’d lose friends if I became a Christian. I knew I didn’t know the answers to any Bible question somebody might ask me, and I didn’t want to be embarrassed. Further, I was afraid I’d have to give up too much to follow Jesus. All these fears might seem strange for a young teenager, but they were real to me.

Fear is part of today’s New Testament reading as well. When the religious leaders asked questions of the healed blind man’s parents, they avoided answering some of them. They were willing to admit that the man was their son. that he was born blind, and that he could now see. They weren’t willing, though, to say that Jesus was the one who healed their son—because, according to John, “they were afraid of the Jews, since the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed him as the Messiah, he would be banned from the synagogue” (John 9:22). Their fear of the potential repercussions if they spoke of Jesus kept them from continuing the conversation; instead, they told the religious leaders to talk directly to their son.

How grateful I am today that the Lord ultimately trumped my fears with His grace! He loved me more deeply and pursued me more passionately than I could cling tightly to my fears. How can I not speak of Him?

PRAYER: “Father, thank You that Your love overwhelmed my fears.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Review and catch-up day

via 06/01/19 Fear that Hinders — ChuckLawless.com

June 1 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Deuteronomy 5; Psalm 88; Isaiah 33; Revelation 3


if the lord rules, one of the things he does is destroy the enemies of his people. In Isaiah 33, the opening “Woe” is now pronounced, not against the erring people of God (as in 28:1; 29:1, 15; 30:1; 31:1), but against the “destroyer,” the Assyrian horde. They are the “traitor” (33:1), doubtless because they accepted the extortionate tribute (see yesterday’s meditation) and then attacked anyway. But the betrayer will be betrayed (33:1); probably this refers to the fact that Sennacherib, after returning home, was assassinated by his own sons (37:38).

At this juncture the people of God cry out for his help: “O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you” (33:2)—an overdue reversal of the callousness they displayed in chapters 29–30. After the extraordinary death of almost two hundred thousand Assyrian troops in 701 b.c., the citizens of Jerusalem were able to leave the city and strip the slain army of vast quantities of plunder (33:4; 37:36).

Once again, the historical picture is cast in terms that anticipate the final judgment of the “nations” (33:3—plural!) and the ultimate blessedness of Zion (33:5–6; cf. 33:17–24). What will prevail is “justice and righteousness” (33:5). God himself “will be the sure foundation” for such times, “a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure” (33:6)—showing how the prophetic literature of the Old Testament overlaps with the Wisdom Literature (cf. Prov. 1:7).

The rest of Isaiah 33 expands on these themes. The lament of 33:7–9 demonstrates that the strategies of the rulers and diplomats had to fail before the authorities turned to the Lord in desperation. But that is when God arises (33:10). God himself is able to consume the chaff. Even the enemies “who are far away” (33:13) hear what God has done. But if God is the sort of God who destroys sinners, will not the sinners in Zion likewise be consumed (33:14)? “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” (33:14). That is why the promise of the Lord’s deliverance is always simultaneously a massive call to repentance (33:15–16).

The closing verses (33:17–24) offer a retrospective, a time to reflect on the destruction of all who cherish evil. Such judgment generates a time of peace and stability (33:20). But above all, it is a time of sheer God-centeredness. “Your eyes will see the king in his beauty” (33:17); “the Lord will be our Mighty One” (33:21); for “the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us” (33:22).[1]

[1] Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God: a daily companion for discovering the riches of God’s Word. (Vol. 2, p. 25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Selective Prosecution Remains Hallmark of Mueller Investigation — The Gateway Pundit

When “SILENT BOB” broke his silence at a hastily organized press conference a few days ago, he didn’t do himself any favors proving that his nearly two year long prosecutionof Trump and those in his orbit was an unbiased operation.

As we are all aware, he used his role as a special counsel to investigate Russian collusion which he reportedly learned never happened early on in his investigation, instead using unchecked supreme power to subpoena and grand jury major players who helped get Donald Trump elected over the immensely corrupt Hillary Clinton.

Mainstream media and Democrats cheered the endless harassment thrown upon Trump allies by Mueller’s team of prosecutors, most of whom had close ties to the Democrat party power structure and Hillary Clinton. In any other case, these conflicts of interest would have rendered the investigation and its fruits null and void.

The Federalist chronicled all of the abuses of power,highlighting several instances of selective prosecution where Mueller’s team charged Trump allies with crimes that they watched Clinton allies commit. Applying the law equally was never the mission of Mueller’s investigation. It was meant to cripple Trump’s presidency and provide Democrats in Washington DC with an endless number of fantastical rabbit holes of nothingness to dive down in hopes of proving Trump colluded with the Russian state.

“Mueller’s performance made it clear for all to see that what he ran for the last two years wasn’t an independent investigation pursuant to the rule of law so much as an inquisition motivated by political animus. Mueller and his team refused to charge prominent Democrats for crimes he charged against Republicans. Paul Manafort was charged with unregistered lobbying for foreign governments, while Mueller left alone long-time Democrat donor Tony Podesta and former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig.”

Case in point? Mueller’s game of not being able to bring charges but not being able to exonerate Trump either. Isn’t that the point of investigations… to bring charges or dismiss allegations of wrongdoing?

His jackboot raid and early morning arrest of Roger Stone really demonstrates exactly why the investigation should have been have never gotten off the ground in the first place. Stone stands accused of making false statements to congress, so Mueller sent in a heavily armed strike-force with dozens of commandos to apprehend a peaceful 66-year old man? Prior to the raid the streets were cleared, with CNN granted access by the government to live-stream a propaganda style production that Joseph Goebbels would be proud of.

Other Trump allies were also charged with similar charges, except with making false statements to federal investigators. But what about Clinton campaign aides Glenn Simpson and infamous dossier peddler Christopher Steele who made false statements to congress and the FBI?

“George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn were charged with making false statements to federal investigators, while Clinton campaign cronies Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele’s false statements to Congress and the FBI were ignored. Trump’s nonexistent Russian connections were plumbed while a dubious Clinton campaign-funded dossier sourced directly to Russian officials was used as a prosecutorial roadmap rather than rock-solid evidence of actual campaign collusion with the Kremlin. Mueller claimed his report spoke for itself, then put together a completely unnecessary press conference more than a month after his report’s public release, in which he not just spoke for the report, but expounded on the new legal standards he created to govern its conclusions.”

Deranged former CIA Director John Brennan also spends time lecturing us about how evil or treasonous Trump and his allies are on the cable news circuit. He gets even crazier on his Twitter feed. Again though, Brennan’s role as a proponent of his pal Robert Mueller’s tactics call in to question why Brennan was never charged for lying to congress?

As per the Washington Examiner…

“From spying on the U.S. Senate, to lying repeatedly about spying on the U.S. Senate, to supporting torture programs until they were no longer politically expedient, to lying about drone war kills, Brennan would do better to leave the ethics lectures to the ethical.”

And Brennan’s role in the spreading of the dossier and his Obama-era role in the intelligence community also offering disturbing looks into how top-cops like Mueller can behave on a lower moral and ethical level than a corrupt mob boss.

With Mueller’s investigation having finally reached it’s conclusion after 18 months of harassment and mountains of dishonest doublespeak, the bad guys are scared. They are on the run. Mueller refuses to testify publicly before congress and intelligence assets like Brennan who were involved in passing the dossier or illegal spying on a candidate for president are losing their gourds on the fake news circuit or through cuckoo tweetstorms.

Roger Stone addressed this in a recent post on Instagram, busting Brennan in particular for spewing a BS reason why he and others cannot be called to testify. He claims it would put our national security at risk!

You can help Roger fight back to make sure people like John Brennan, and all others who benefited from the preferential treatment from Robert Mueller, by donating to his defense fund at STONEDEFENSEFUND.COM

via Selective Prosecution Remains Hallmark of Mueller Investigation — The Gateway Pundit

June 1 For the love of God (Vol. 1)

Deuteronomy 5; Psalm 88; Isaiah 33; Revelation 3


what is most striking about Psalm 88 is that there is no relief. Heman begins the psalm by crying to the Lord, disclosing his discouragement in various ways, and he ends in gloom and despair. Most psalms that deal with discouragement and despair begin in gloom and end in light. This one begins in gloom and ends in deeper gloom.

When Heman begins, although he cries to the Lord, “the God who saves me” (the only note of hope in the entire poem), he plaintively observes that he cries out before God “day and night” (88:1). He frankly feels he is not being heard (88:2, 14). He is not only in difficulty but feels he is near death: “For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave” (88:3). Indeed, Heman insists that others treat him as if he is doomed (88:4–5). The only explanation is that he is under divine wrath: “Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves” (88:7; cf. 88:16). Not the least of his miseries is the loss of all his friends (88:8).

Worse yet, Heman is convinced his whole life has been lived under the shadow of death: “From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death,” he writes (88:15). Did he, perhaps, suffer from one of the many ugly, chronic, progressive diseases? “I have suffered your terrors and am in despair. Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me. All day long they surround me like a flood; they have completely engulfed me” (88:15–17).

But what makes the psalm utterly grim is the closing line. Not only does Heman charge God with taking away his companions and loved ones, but in the last analysis, “the darkness is my closest friend” (88:18). Not God; the darkness.

One of the few attractive features of this psalm is its sheer honesty. It is never wise to be dishonest with God, of course; he knows exactly what we think anyway, and would rather hear our honest cries of hurt, outrage, and accusation than false cries of praise. Of course, better yet that we learn to understand, reflect, and sympathize with his own perspective. But in any case it is always the course of wisdom to be honest with God.

That brings up the most important element in this psalm. The cries and hurts penned here are not the cheap and thoughtless rage of people who use their darker moments to denounce God from afar, the smug critique of supercilious agnosticism or arrogant atheism. These cries actively engage with God, fully aware of the only real source of help.[1]

[1] Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God: a daily companion for discovering the riches of God’s Word. (Vol. 1, p. 25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

What diplomacy? Here are 36 countries the US has bullied this week — RT World News

It’s been a busy few days for American diplomacy, with three dozen nations ending up at the receiving end of threats, ultimatums and sanctions this week alone. And it’s only Friday.

Mexico is the latest target, slapped with 5 percent tariffs on each and every export, gradually increasing to 25 percent until it stops the flow of Latin American migrants into the US, thus fulfilling one of President Donald Trump’s election promises. Most of those migrants aren’t even from Mexico.

On the other side of the world, India is reportedly about to be forced to face a choice: ditch the purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems or face sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA, Washington’s go-to cooperation enforcement instrument).

Also on rt.com

Turkey is facing a similar ultimatum: abandon S-400s (something Ankara has repeatedly refused to do) or lose access to the F-35 fighter jet program. This threat was repeated on Thursday by Kathryn Wheelbarger, US acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. Ankara has already invested some $1.25 billion into the super-expensive American fighter, but with a lot of its parts being made in Turkey, it’s still an open question who would be the bigger loser.

The entire European Union could be facing punishment if it tries to trade with Iran using its non-dollar humanitarian mechanism to bypass the American embargo. Having worked hard on the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, which has repeatedly been confirmed to be working, EU member states are not ready to ditch trade at Trump’s whim – and US Special Representative to Iran Brian Hook on Thursday reaffirmed the threat of CAATSA sanctions.

Also on rt.com

Cuba, the rediscovered scapegoat of the Trump administration’s newfound anti-socialist drive, is being called out for supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. On his Thursday visit to Canada, US Vice President Mike Pence said Ottawa must stop Havana’s “malign influence” on Caracas’ affairs – despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s meek objections that it could play a “positive role” in settling the crisis there.

That’s 32 countries bullied, threatened or sanctioned in one day (counting the 28 EU members). Years’ worth of gunboat diplomacy, packed into a busy few hours in Trump’s signature “my way or the highway” style.

Mentioning Iran (which was almost certainly behind a recent inept attack on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf), China (which dares to buy Iranian oil), Russia(which has probably restarted low-yield nuclear tests) and Venezuela (where the ouster of its elected president is the only result of long-awaited talks with the opposition that Washington will accept) – is almost an afterthought. There’s hardly a week passing without the Trump administration churning out half-a-dozen accusations and threats against one or all of those – and this week, the gears were grinding as hard as ever.

Here’s a visual aid: every nation the US has threatened this week, colored in on a map.

American influence, built up over decades, is undeniable: even its adversaries depend on the US dollar and are arguably at the mercy of its myriad military bases all over the globe. Trump and his hawkish inner circle have been more than willing to spend that credit by shouting at everyone to get in line.

In the worst-case scenario, he is dragging the world into devastating wars. In the best case, he is throwing that influence away, showing allies and rivals alike that an ugly divorce could be the only way out of this abusive relationship.

— Read on www.rt.com/news/460735-us-bullying-36-countries/

The Church, Israel, and “Replacement” Theology – Part III — The Aquila Report

There seems to be no escaping the fact that John sees the OT hope of Israel’s restoration and all its attendant blessings fulfilled in the salvation of the Christian multitudes who comprise the church, both believing Jews and Gentiles. (6)In Revelation 21:14 the wall of the New Jerusalem has “twelve foundation stones” on which were written the names of the twelve apostles (v. 14). The number “24”, the sum of the 12 tribes and 12 apostles, has already occurred in 4:4. Some point to David’s organization of the temple servants into 24 orders of priests (1 Chron. 24:3-19), 24 Levitical gatekeepers (26:17-19), and 24 orders of Levites (25:6-31).


There are numerous passages in the NT where OT prophecies concerning Israel’s regathering and restoration are applied to the Church, indicating that the latter is the “true Israel” comprised of both believing Jews and believing Gentiles in whom the promises will be fulfilled. Or, to put it in other terms, the Church does not replace Israel but takes up and perpetuates in itself the believing remnant within the nation as a whole.

The “true Israel” of God, which in the OT was comprised of all ethnic Jews who were circumcised in heart, finds its NT expression in the Church, now comprised of all believing ethnic Jews and all believing ethnic Gentiles. Or, to use Paul’s imagery from Romans 11, the one Olive Tree = True Israel = the Church in which are both natural (Jewish) branches and unnatural (Gentile) branches, but in all cases “believing branches.”

This is the only way I can explain or account for those many texts in which prophecies and promises and titles and privileges descriptive of Israel in the OT are applied to and fulfilled by the Church in the NT. A few representative examples will have to suffice.

(1)In Acts 15:14-18, James interprets the prophecy of Amos 9 that describes the rebuilding of David’s tabernacle as finding its fulfillment in the calling out of Gentiles and the progressive formation of the Christian Church. (For a complete exposition of this passage, see my article titled “Acts 15:14-17 and the Rebuilding of David’s Tabernacle,” found under Eschatology in the Theological Studies Section of the website, http://www.SamStorms.com).

(2)In Romans 9:25-26, Paul cites two passages in Hosea (2:23 and 1:10) that were addressed to the 10 apostate northern tribes of Israel before the Assyrian exile in 722-21 b.c. They describe both the rebellious condition of Israel (“not my people” / “not beloved”) and her prophesied future restoration (“my people” / “beloved” / “sons of the living God”).

But here Paul applies them to the calling or salvation of Gentiles. I agree with George Ladd that “Paul deliberately takes these two prophecies about the future salvation of Israel and applies them to the church. The church, consisting of both Jews and Gentiles, has become the people of God. The prophecies of Hosea are fulfilled in the Christian church. If this is a spiritualizing hermeneutic, so be it. But let no one say that it is liberalism. It is clearly what the New Testament does to the Old Testament prophecies.”

According to this view, the OT prophetic promise of Israel’s regathering in covenant faith to Yahweh is being progressively fulfilled in the salvation of believing Jews and Gentiles in this present age, that is to say, in the Church. The calling out of Gentiles from among every tribe, tongue, people, and nation is the prophesied restoration of Israel, for the Church is the continuation and maturation of Israel’s believing remnant.

(3)In Revelation 2:17, John (quoting Jesus) promises to overcomers (i.e., the Church) a “new name” that “no one knows except the one who receives it.” This is a clear reference to the prophecy in Isa. 62:2

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via The Church, Israel, and “Replacement” Theology – Part III — The Aquila Report