Daily Archives: August 19, 2019

August 19 Losing Your Peace

Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:1–8

Key Verse: Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Our thoughts play a great role in the level of peace in our lives. When our minds are occupied with negative, nagging, and unproductive thoughts, we push peace away and invite anxiety and worry into our lives. Therefore, we must learn to recognize and replace negative thought patterns before they rob us of peace.

There are seven categories of thoughts that steal peace from us: sinful, negative, erroneous, unrealistic, rebellious, obsessive, and enslaved thoughts. Each category represents a different area in which Satan aims to establish a stronghold in our minds.

Whether you are plagued by one or several of these types of thoughts, it is important to properly extinguish the flames of their fiery path through your mind. Until they are put down, you will be unable to experience God’s gift of peace.

When these thoughts surface, first reach out to God in prayer. Confess that you are struggling with troublesome thoughts and ask Him to remove your burden. Then turn your mind’s energy to that which is positive, uplifting, and of God.

Philippians 4:8 encourages us to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Allow God to quench your desire to ponder more negative concepts and ideas with positive thoughts of His plan for peace in your life.

Lord, keep me from bulldozing Your gift of peace into a corner when my spirit is driven by negative, nagging, and unproductive thoughts. Help me lift my thoughts to You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 242). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 19 Living a Consistent Life

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:14–21

Key Verse: Ephesians 3:16

He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.

Whether it has been several years or only a few days since you accepted Christ as your Savior, you can probably remember the dramatic changes that the Lord began to work in your life. It may even be difficult to comprehend all that you said and did before because your heart is so different now.

Paul described this as a literal night-and-day change in your very being, personhood, and identity: “This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God” (Eph. 4:17–18 nasb).

You now live in the light and are Christ’s new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). From darkness to light, you moved in a new direction full of hope and the promise of being made over in Christ’s image day by day.

What all believers face on occasion, however, is the roller-coaster feeling of spiritual inconsistency. One day you feel so close to the Lord, you could tell everyone about learning to abide in Him. The next day you struggle so much with basic sins, you wonder how the Lord will ever use you. Are you still a new creation? Absolutely.

You will continue to grow in Him for the rest of your life, and as you mature, the Lord smoothes out the rough places with His love.

O God, I want to get off the roller coaster of spiritual inconsistency. Let the reality that I am a new creation, growing and maturing in You, smooth out the rough places in my life.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 242). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Is God still “mad” at you? | Enjoying God Blog

I couldn’t help but sit up and take note when I read that “popular Texas megachurch pastor and author Robert Morris preached before hundreds of inmates at the state’s largest prison last week, assuring [them] that God is not ‘mad’ at them.”

According to the article on The Christian Post, “The H.H. Coffield Unit in Anderson County houses over 4,000 inmates in East Texas. Since the Southlake-based church opened up its Coffield Campus last November, hundreds of inmates have attended the service and over 1,000 have made decisions for Christ. At least 439 men gathered for the Gateway Coffield service held last Wednesday expecting to hear a sermon from the campus pastor, Stephen Wilson. However, they were excited when Morris appeared on stage. They greeted him with an ovation.”

Let me be clear about one thing. That Robert Morris and his church have reached out in this way to the inmates of this prison is wonderful. I can’t imagine anyone would object to this ministry. Would that other churches would follow suit.

But is it really the case that “God is not ‘mad’ at them”? One thing is certain. If they are born-again believers in Jesus Christ, Morris is right. God is not mad at them. The Apostle Paul couldn’t have stated it with greater clarity or force when he said in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

The key here is that the reassurance of “no condemnation” is for those “who are in Christ Jesus.” Perhaps Morris made this point in his message. Perhaps he was careful to point out that this glorious truth applies only to those who have trusted in Christ as Lord and Savior. I don’t know what he said in the remainder of his message. Perhaps he told the crowd that God’s holy and righteous anger is directed only toward those who have refused the good news of the gospel. I hope that was the case.

But if not, it is potentially misleading to tell an entire crowd of men, whether prisoners or those who attend church on a Sunday morning, that God is not “mad” at them. Of course, the word “mad” is itself a poor way to express the anger that God has toward idolaters and unrepentant fornicators (only two among the many sins that provoke God’s anger). “Mad” suggests a petulant, short-tempered hot-head who flies off the handle whenever he is crossed. Perhaps we should speak of holy displeasure or righteous wrath.

That God is still angry and wrathful toward some, even many, is evident from numerous NT texts, such as John 3:36. Although we can’t be sure, it is most likely John the Baptist who said this:

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).

God’s anger or wrath or holy displeasure “remains” or “abides” or “continues” to weigh upon the man or woman who in disobedience spurns the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elsewhere the apostle speaks of those who are still “dead in [their] trespasses and sins” as being “by nature children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). We are the objects of a wrath that remains on us so long as we remain outside of Jesus Christ.

The good news of the gospel is that this “wrath” has been poured out on Jesus in our place. Praise God that Jesus Christ willingly, voluntarily, and with joy submitted himself to serve as our penal substitute, satisfying the justice and wrath of God that we so richly deserved. For those who have embraced this truth as their only hope for forgiveness of sins and eternal life, it is gloriously true that God is not “mad” at them.

But can we know for certain that every man in that audience is a believer in Christ? That would seem unlikely. I’m sure that Pastor Morris knows this. And as I said, perhaps he made this clear to them in his message. And I applaud Morris for his desire to reassure the Christian men present that day that in spite of their criminal past, and in spite of their sinful present, God is no longer angry or mad at them, and that his wrath against them (and against us) has been forever removed, having been endured and extinguished in the body and soul of our substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ.

So what is it that we must be careful to communicate to any group of individuals, male or female, whether in a prison or those sitting in a pew on a Sunday morning? It is the incomparably majestic truth that God’s wrath has been forever removed from those who have repented of their sins and put their trust and confidence entirely in the person and work of Jesus Christ. But we must be diligent to declare, with no less urgency, that those who remain disobedient to the Son “shall not see life.” Indeed, the “wrath” of God “remains” on them.

I hope that every man seated at that service in that prison is “in Christ Jesus.” I hope that each would truly rejoice in hearing it said that God is not “mad” at them. But is God “mad” at those who persist in unrepentant sin and hard-hearted unbelief? Yes, he is.

My prayer is that we would all be diligent to make clear both sides of this biblical truth.

Source: Is God still “mad” at you?

Seven Ways Young Christians Can Stay Strong in Their Faith at College | LifeZette

As millions of college students — both brand new students and returning students — head to their campuses this week and over the next few weeks for their fall semesters, most of them are thinking of practical matters such as laptops, clothes, dorm room supplies and other such everyday items.

But for young Christians heading off to college, faith can and should be in their toolkit as well, advises Dr. Alex McFarland, a youth culture expert, author, and nationally syndicated host.

“We know from multiple studies that many young people do leave their faith in college,” McFarland said in comments shared with LifeZette on Monday morning.

McFarland regularly addresses thousands of young people each year through a variety of the programs, speeches and workshops he conducts.

“It may not be intentional, but slowly over four years, faith in Jesus can fade away in college,” he also said. “Students may find it difficult to connect with a new church or keep up with Bible reading and prayer without the support of their parents, youth pastors or Christian friends.”

“But there are specific actions students can take to make sure they stay close to Christ while in college,” he added. “Jesus longs for their soul at that very important time in their life, when they are making decisions and forming relationships that will impact the rest of their lives.”

Related: Bible Proclaims ‘God Is Love’ — Here’s What That Means for Us

Simple but important actions, he says, can help young people keep Jesus at the core of their college career.

He created a list of seven ways young Christians can keep their faith strong while they attend college — which can also set a foundation for their faith practices after college as well.

Check out these tips:

1.) Find a local church. Leaving a home church for a semester in college doesn’t mean young people should leave church altogether. They can find a local church near campus, commit to attend regularly and join small groups of peers within the church.

2.) Be part of a Bible study. Even secular campuses have many resources for Christian students. All students can find a small group or Bible study to join. This may be made up of young women, young men, athletes or residents of the same hall. And if students can’t find a Bible study to join, they can start one themselves.

3.) Make new Christian friends. Youth group and church friends are probably scattered across different college campuses now. Young people can be intentional about making new Christian friends who will be good influences in their lives — and help keep them accountable.

4.) Connect with a Christian mentor. Many young people appreciate a mentor who is more experienced in their faith journey and can offer guidance and wisdom. College students can consider a Christian professor, coach or even an older student for this important role.

5.) Join a faith-based group. Nearly every college campus has a long list of groups and organizations that keep Christ at their center. Joining up will allow young people to find events, make friends and deepen their faith. Examples include campus chapters of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Cru, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Ratio Christi, Young Life or dozens of others.

6.) Open the Bible along with college books. As students begin their studies, they can dig into their Bibles as well. Even with heavy studying loads, they can make time to remain in God’s Word — it’s crucial. They can find a devotional that speaks to them or download a Bible reading plan through an online resource such as YouVersion.

7.) Pray for God’s wisdom. They can dedicate at least part of their day to prayer to God, whether in the morning, during a walk to class, or as the day comes to a close. They can ask God for wisdom, guidance and perseverance to serve Him and follow His will.

Related: Young People Need Older, Wiser Voices of Correction

McFarland and other leaders at Truth for a New Generation (TNG) Ministries watched young people make long-lasting friendships and strengthen their faith at an intensive Youth Apologetics Camp earlier this month. There, nearly 100 attendees learned to stand “unashamed” for Christ and invested five days to “go deeper with God.”

And on Tuesday of this week, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and “The 700 Club” will feature a report on Truth for a New Generation camp.

The segment will air on August 20 at 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET (depending on region). Also, CBN recently did a story on McFarland’s youth apologetics camp.

Through Truth for a New Generation, made possible in part by Liberty University, McFarland also hosts national and regional conferences that aim to help students, parents, youth pastors and community members lift up this young generation, pray for them and empower them to stand strong in their faith. Two events in Richmond, Virginia, and Cincinnati, Ohio, are planned for this fall.

Source: Seven Ways Young Christians Can Stay Strong in Their Faith at College

Morgan Stanley Unleashes Doom: “Both The Fed, And The Trade War Puts Have Now Expired” | ZeroHedge News

At the end of June we reported a startling finding by Goldman Sachs: while the S&P 500 rose 7% from its trough on June 3 through the end of the month, valuation expansion accounted for 90% of the rally in response to the Fed’s becoming “impatient” and signaling an easing cycle has begun.

What about for the full 2019? The answer comes today courtesy of Morgan Stanley’s bearish equity strategist, Michael Wilson who writes that since 2019 has been a game of deteriorating fundamentals versus a pivoting Fed and hope for a resolution to the US-China trade uncertainties, a whopping 94% of the year to date performance in the S&P 500 has been driven by rising valuations while the other 6 percent is due to rising forward 12 month EPS. Wilson, always the bearer of even worse news, then adds that based on his own EPS forecasts – which are far below those of consensus – “well over 100 percent of the move in the S&P 500 has come from rising valuations.”

This means that any stock market upside in 2019 is entirely due to the Fed’s dovish pivot coming at a time of declining earnings, and makes Trump’s bizarre feud with the Fed even more perplexing: had it not been for Powell, Trump would be nursing the first bear market in a decade right now.

Of course, this being a Morgan Stanley report, there is a punchline, and it’s hardly bullish. In this case, it is that as Wilson writes, “the Fed meeting on July 31st was a sell the news event because it had been so telegraphed, and priced. The fact that the Fed arguably disappointed with only a 25bps cut means they are now behind the curve; until they get in front of it, multiples are unlikely to expand again.”

In short, according to Wilson, “the Fed put expired on July 31st.”

Further elaborating his thoughts, Wilson writes that trade escalation has not been the only thing keeping the market from new highs since August 1st. While he notes that “there seems to be a significant percentage of investors who believe the equity markets would/could have kept making new highs had trade tensions not been re-escalated on August 1st” he disagrees “as we saw bonds rally and stocks sold off immediately after the Fed decision and the rally in the morning of August 1st, before the President’s tweet that announced new tariffs, was being led by defensive sectors and rates were still falling.”

These are bearish, not bullish, internals that were on display even before the tweet on August 1st.

But wait, there’s more.

In his ongoing attempts to read the market’s tea leaves (and find misery and pain), Wilson says that it is “probably more insightful to discuss how markets traded after the administration attempted to de-escalate the trade situation.”

On Tuesday last week, it was announced that half of the tariffs to be imposed on September 1st would be delayed until December. Unsurprisingly, equity markets rallied sharply that day but on fairly light volume and what appeared to be more short covering rather than new committed buyers. Sure enough, the very next day the market gave up all of the previous day’s gains with the major US averages down 3 percent.

This, Morgan Stanley correctly points out, was the first time markets have not responded positively in a sustained manner to what amounted to a de-escalation of the trade situation. And in conjunction with the end of the Fed put, Wilson believes it effectively means the Trade put has also expired.”

So with both of these two puts now allegedly expired, Morgan Stanley thinks investors are now left to face the risks that have been glossed over all year because stocks were rising–namely falling earnings estimates and disappointing economic data. In short, “we think many have been misinterpreting the signals from the market to be a bullish signal for growth when in fact the market has been signaling since April that growth was likely to disappoint.”

The bank’s chief US equity strategist also warns that using the S&P 500 as a barometer for the health of the economy and broad corporate profits growth is inappropriate when global growth is slowing so rapidly and small business profits are seeing even greater pressure.

Specifically, as he notes, “the S&P 500 is the most defensive, highest quality and liquid stock market in the world so if it is outperforming so strongly, it is likely a bad sign for future growth.” Meanwhile, the dramatic underperformance of the small cap Russell 2000 and cyclical sectors all year was a clear indication that things were not improving, nor were they likely to this year.

Which brings us to the real punchline from MS – which as expected was especially gloomy – namely that with the Fed and Trade puts now expired, Wilson warns that “it’s pretty clear that others will now have to acknowledge that the likelihood of a second half recovery has diminished significantly.”

And to confirm that, the bearish strategist writes that perhaps there is no better example of the beginning of this acknowledgement than what Eastman Chemical’s (EMN) CEO had to say after the company reported disappointing earnings late last month:

“Everyone in April and through the beginning of May thought that the economy was going to get better in the back half of the year, trade war was going to sort of settle, certainly not escalate. Now we’re just in a very different world where I don’t think that’s true…There’s not a lot of signs of economic recovery coming in the second half.”

Always happy to take a victory lap on a downtick (just as Marko Kolanovic will only publish reports when the S&P is green), Wilson mocking notes that he “would take exception to the phrase that everyone was thinking this way in April” but overall agrees that this captures the shift in mood between April and July by many companies, especially those levered to economic growth.

Wilson concludes that, without going through an exhaustive list, he has “heard similar commentary from the likes of Cisco (CSCO), Caterpillar (CAT), Macy’s (M) and Advanced Auto Parts (AAP) just in the past week representing a fairly wide range of end markets and customers.” Of course there have been positive earnings reports too, including Walmart (WMT) which put up strong numbers last week and did not note any slowdown. However, Walmart is a discounter and does better in economic slowdowns relative to other retailers.

Source: Morgan Stanley Unleashes Doom: “Both The Fed, And The Trade War Puts Have Now Expired”

August 19 God with Us

Scripture reading: Romans 5:12–21

Key verse: Romans 5:1

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the most instructive books on the Christian life is the book of Romans. The entire Bible fits together perfectly to form a complete message of truth concerning God and His will for mankind, yet Romans offers a direct look into the life of a believer.

The apostle Paul did not shrink back from such subjects as immorality. He was very forthright in telling us exactly how God views sin and how we should view our bodies.

We are the temples of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, Jerusalem was God’s abode. The temple was there, and within its walls the Spirit of God dwelled. But the birth and death of Jesus Christ changed this. His very name, Immanuel, means “God with us, God with you.”

When you accept Christ as your Savior, God comes to live within you. Your body becomes His temple, His abode, and an inner chamber. Understanding this and the significance involved will help you understand why it is so important for you to live free of sin.

In grace and love, God forgives sin. However, He wants you to continually seek to live a life of purity. When you yield to sin, you allow darkness to drift into His holy chamber, which is your heart. Accepting His forgiveness and grace brings restoration and fresh hope. However, the greater good is for you to remain pure before Him as you worship Him each day.

Father, I accept Your forgiveness and grace. Restore me and give me fresh hope. Help me to remain pure before You as I worship You each day.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 242). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

08/19/2019 — Wretched


•Rick Thomas joins us in studio
•Why is there a rise in suicide?
•How the Gospel bears fruit in everyday life
•The spiritual significance of mustard and mayonnaise
•Why do people cut themselves?
•The gravity of anger

Download Now (right click and save)

via 08/19/2019 — Wretched

Study Says Satire From Christian Website Babylon Bee Gets Shared by People Who Think It’s Real News — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Image: The Babylon Bee

R. Kelly Garrett, Robert Bond, and Shannon Poulsen are communication professors at The Ohio State University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

In July, the website Snopes published a piece fact-checking a story posted on The Babylon Bee, a popular satirical news site with a conservative bent.

Conservative columnist David French criticized Snopes for debunking what was, in his view, “obvious satire. Obvious.” A few days later, Fox News ran a segment featuring The Bee’s incredulous CEO.

But does everyone recognize satire as readily as French seems to?

Our team of communication researchers has spent years studying misinformationsatire, and social media. Over the last several months, we’ve surveyed Americans’ beliefs about dozens of high-profile political issues. We identified news stories—both true and false—that were being shared widely on social media.

We discovered that many of the false stories weren’t the kind that were trying to intentionally deceive their readers; they actually came from satirical sites, and many people seemed to believe them.

Fool me once

People have long mistaken satire for real news.

On his popular satirical news show The Colbert Report, comedian Stephen Colbert assumed the character of a conservative cable news pundit. However, researchers found that conservatives regularly misinterpreted Colbert’s performance to be a sincere expression of his political beliefs.

The Onion, a popular satirical news website, is misunderstood so often that there’s a large online community dedicated to ridiculing those who have been fooled.

But now more than ever, Americans are worried about their ability to distinguish between what’s true and what isn’t and think made-up news is a significant problem facing the country.

Sometimes satire is easy to spot, like when The Babylon Bee reported that President Donald Trump had appointed Joe Biden to head up the Transportation Security Administration based on “Biden’s skill getting inappropriately close to people and making unwanted physical advances.” But other headlines are more difficult to assess.

For example, the claim that John Bolton described an attack on two Saudi oil tankers as “an attack on all Americans” might sound plausible until you’re told that the story appeared in The Onion.

The truth is, understanding online political satire isn’t easy. Many satirical websites mimic the tone and appearance of news sites. You have to be familiar with the political issue being satirized. You have to understand what normal political rhetoric looks like, and you have to recognize exaggeration. Otherwise, it’s pretty easy to mistake a satirical message for a literal one.

Do you know it when you see it?

Our study on misinformation and social media lasted six months. Every two weeks, we identified 10 of the most shared fake political stories on social media, which included satirical stories. Others were fake news reports meant to deliberately mislead readers.

Click here to read more.
Source: Christianity Today

via Study Says Satire From Christian Website Babylon Bee Gets Shared by People Who Think It’s Real News — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Twitter Took Money from Chinese Communists to Run Ads Criticizing Hong Kong Democracy Protests — The Gateway Pundit

Two million marched in Hong Kong on Sunday in peaceful protest against the Chinese Communist regime.

Millions of protesters turned out in downtown Hong Kong despite the rainy weather.

But not everyone is supporting the democracy protesters.

Twitter took money from the Chinese Communists to run ads criticizing the Hong Kong protests.</h3?

Twitter is the same company that silences conservatives here in the United States.
What an awful company.

via Twitter Took Money from Chinese Communists to Run Ads Criticizing Hong Kong Democracy Protests — The Gateway Pundit

Is Purgatory in the Bible? — Triablogue

42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Lk 12:42-48).
Among Catholic apologists, Brand Pitre is probably the best Bible scholar, so it’s useful to evaluate his exegetical case for Purgatory:
Let’s summarize his argument:

1. The four kinds of servants represent four different eschatological/postmortem outcomes/fates:
i) The first servant does his master’s will. He’s prepared for the master’s return. He goes straight to heaven.
ii) The second wicked servant is dismembered. He goes straight to hell. He suffers eternal punishment.
iii) The third servant knew master’s will, but failed to act according. He’s unprepared for the master’s return. He receives a severe beating.
iv) The fourth servant didn’t know his master’s will, so he’s less culpable. He’s invincibly ignorant. So he receives a light beating.
2. The wicked servant is dismembered. That’s an image of death. That’s a permanent condition.
But the third and fourth servants (unprepared or ignorant) receive finite, temporary punishment. After they die, they don’t go to hell or straight to heaven, but to a third realm. They are guilty of venial sin rather than mortal sin. Justice requires postmortem purification. Even though the fourth servant is unaware of his duty, sin still has consequences.
So this parable clearly teaches that heaven and hell are not the only eschatological options. By contrast, Protestants only believe in two postmortem outcomes or fates: the decedent either goes straight to heaven or straight to hell.
3. Now let’s assess his argument. One problem is that he identifies the faithful servant with St. Peter. But it can’t both be a reference to the unique status of St. Peter in Catholic theology as well as other faithful Catholics.
4. He seems to think the lashes symbolizes quantitative punishment rather than qualitative punishment. The relative number of lashes represents finite temporal duration.
But what if the imagery represents the severity of punishment rather than the duration of punishment? It’s not about the temporal extent of punishment but the intensity of punishment? Remember, this is picture language.
5. He says dismemberment is an image of death, which is  true, yet he thinks all these examples represent postmortem destinies.
6. A fundamental blunder in his analysis is the timing. The rewards and punishments aren’t synchronized with what happens after you die but when happens after Jesus returns. It’s not about postmortem judgment but  the final judgment.
7. He seems to be ignorant of Protestant theology. Classic Protestant theology differentiates the intermediate state from the final state. There are four outcomes–two interim and two enduring. Likewise, the four outcomes are paired off. At the moment of death the saints enter heaven, which is a rewarding but temporary, disembodied condition. At the final judgment, their souls will be reunited with immortal bodies, and they resume life on an earthly paradise. Conversely, at the moment of death, the damned enter a punitive intermediate state–a temporary, disembodied condition. At the final judgment, their souls will be reunited with immortal bodies, and they will experience physical as well as psychological misery, forever.
8. He mentions 1 Cor 3 as another prooftext for Purgatory. I don’t know his precise argument, although that’s a stock Catholic prooftext for Purgtory. Among other things, I think that relies on a key unexamined assumption:
9. Finally, he mentions 2 Maccabees. Here’s the text:
39 On the next day, as by that time it had become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kinsmen in the sepulchres of their fathers. 40 Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jam′nia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen. 41 So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; 42 and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. 43 He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44 For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin 2 Maccabees 12:39-45 (RSVCE).
There are several problems with using that as a prooftext for Purgatory:
i) Jews and Protestants reject the canonicity of 2 Macc. Of course, Catholic apologists will complain that we reject it to avoid a prooftext for Purgatory. But that objection cuts both ways. Catholics canonize the whole book just to get a prooftext for Purgatory. Moreover, Protestants reject it because we accept the Jewish canon. It’s not like we single out 2 Macc for exclusion because it’s a prooftext for Purgatory.
ii) Even if we treat it as a fallible source, how historically reliable is 2 Mac?
iii) But suppose for argument’s sake that we grant the inspiration/canonicity of 2 Mac. It’s not a divine command or revelation regarding the existence of Purgatory. At best, it’s just a record of what some Intertestamental Jews believed. We don’t how how representative their belief is. It’s not as if Intertestamental Judaism was monolithic.
iv) Likewise, if some Jews prayed for the dead, that carries no presumption that their practice is justified. It may just be folk theology. It’s a fallacy to automatically treat descriptive passages of Scripture as normative. Imagine using Judges as a manual of ethics! The fact that people believe something doesn’t make their belief a fact.
v) Moreover, the fact, if it is a fact, that these Jews prayed for the dead doesn’t entail Purgatory as the only explanation. We don’t know what they’re presuppositions were. Maybe they prayed for the dead because they didn’t think death seals your eternal fate. Maybe they didn’t think the postmortem state is fixed but indefinite, and prayer can change whether dead Jews experience the resurrection of the just or suffer everlasting punishment. Who knows what they had in mind?

via Is Purgatory in the Bible? — Triablogue

Does the Bible Restrict Marriage To A Man and a Woman? — Alpha and Omega Ministries

James White debates Graeme Codrington in South Africa on the thesis: The Bible Limits Marriage to a Natural Man and a Natural Woman. This is the natural continuation of the debate from three years ago (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnVRLsbNx0k).

via Does the Bible Restrict Marriage To A Man and a Woman? — Alpha and Omega Ministries

Back in pulpit after scandal, Tullian Tchividjian insists sex with former congregants was not abuse — Christian Research Network

The question that needs to be asked is who restored Tullian Tchividjian to ministry after he was very publicly defrocked? As JD Hall points out: “Certainly, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church has not restored Tchividjian. His former pastor, Kevin Labby, has not restored Tchividjian. GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) has not restored Tchividjian. The Presbyterian Church of America has not restored Tchividjian. The PCA’s South Florida Presbytery has not restored Tchividjian. So how on Earth did Tchividjian get restored?”

Once a pastor/shepherd is defrocked for committing an egregious sin against God, he is unqualified to lead, or in Tchividjian’s case “unfit for Christian ministry”….unless you happen to be the grandson of Billy Graham, and have an ego roughly the size of the Grand Canyon.

Leonardo Blair’s piece over at The Christian Post reveals that, to the astonishment of many in the Christian community, the disgraced pastor is back in the pulpit. Blair writes:

As he gets ready for the fall launch of his unaffiliated The Sanctuary church in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Billy Graham’s grandson, Tullian Tchividjian, who was stripped of his preaching credentials in 2015 due to extramarital relationships with former congregants, says they were all “consensual” and not an abuse of power.

Speaking through a spokesperson, Tchividjian, 47, told the Palm Beach Post in a report Saturday that said his “infidelity in 2015 was completely wrong, morally and ethically” but rejected claims that he used his role as a pastor to inveigle the women into sexual relationships.

“I don’t care what role a person has, a consensual relationship between two adults is not abuse. And some of these people will try to make the case that, ‘Well, because you’re in a position of authority, it is abuse,’” Tchividjian said. “And I’ll go, ‘OK I can see how that has been and can be used by people in those positions.’ … (But) that just was not true for me. I was not abusing my authoritative role to try and find women.”


Tullian Tchividjian

via Back in pulpit after scandal, Tullian Tchividjian insists sex with former congregants was not abuse — Christian Research Network

James MacDonald hints at return to ministry to followers — Christian Research Network

Great days of triumph and victory always follow days of testing – we look forward to sharing with you in brand new ways – all the Lord has been teaching us and what His calling is for us.” 

(Brandon Showalter – Christian Post)  Former Harvest Bible Chapel pastor James MacDonald is signaling that he may soon be back in ministry.

The longtime pastor of the Chicago-area megachurch — who was ousted earlier this year after derogatory comments he made were played on the air of a local radio program and following months of controversy over alleged financial malfeasance and an abusive church culture — posted a message Thursday in a Facebook group called Walk in the Word Partners, according to independent journalist and radio broadcaster Julie Roys.

A member of the closed group sent the message to Roys, who shared it on her website Thursday, including screenshots.

In the message he posted, MacDonald noted that this year he and his family have experienced great loss but that God was in control and the “truth will come to light in his time.”    View article →


James MacDonald

via James MacDonald hints at return to ministry to followers — Christian Research Network

Prodigal Son Kicked Back Out After Old Tweets Surface — The Babylon Bee

ISRAEL—There was a certain man who had two sons, and the younger son demanded his inheritance and then wasted it all in a distant country. When the son came crawling back, begging for forgiveness, the father made a huge celebration to mark the return of his prodigal son.

But that celebration was cut short when old tweets the younger son had written surfaced, some of which were characterized as racist.

Though the son apologized for those tweets as well, he was immediately kicked out of the house. “He was dead and is alive again,” the father said, “but is now dead again, because he is garbage.” As he said this he clapped his hands in a real-life approximation of clapping emojis between in each word.

“You have to watch what you say, because the internet is forever,” said the older son, who had uncovered the tweets. “And sorry, if you say the wrong things, there’s just no coming back from that. Now, excuse me, we already slaughtered the fatted calf and need to eat that before it goes bad.”

The younger son headed back to the distant country to try to get his job back feeding swine, but his employer had heard of his tweets and informed him he was “canceled.”

via Prodigal Son Kicked Back Out After Old Tweets Surface — The Babylon Bee

Trump: Google Should be Sued For Manipulating 2016 Election in Favor of Crooked Hillary — The Gateway Pundit

President Trump on Monday morning said Google should be sued for manipulating millions of votes in Hillary Clinton’s favor during the 2016 election. 

According to reports, Donald Trump received approximately 63 million votes and Crooked Hillary received nearly 66 million votes (illegal aliens included).

Trump however campaigned to win which is why he received 304 electoral votes vs. Hillary’s 227 EC votes.

Even with Google, the media, the DNC and every powerful person in DC on her side, Hillary Clinton still lost the 2016 election (she’s still blaming the Russians).

Trump is furious and called for Google (Hillary’s biggest donor in 2016) to be sued.

“Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!” Trump said in a tweet.

According to the newly released Senate report, Dr. Robert Epstein, a psychologist, author and professor, Google manipulated at least 2.6 million — and upwards of 10+ million votes in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Dr. Epstein, an admitted liberal and very vociferous supporter of Hillary Clinton, said that Google and other tech billionaires will ramp up in 2020 and make sure all hands are on deck to stop Trump from winning the election.

Watch Dr. Epstein explain how Google and Zuckerberg can manipulate MILLIONS of voters in favor of Democrats:

via Trump: Google Should be Sued For Manipulating 2016 Election in Favor of Crooked Hillary — The Gateway Pundit

August 19, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump said on Sunday he would keep Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate when he seeks re-election in November 2020.

President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and focus on the grievances of white voters helped him win the 2016 election. But a Reuters analysis of public opinion over the last four years suggests that Trump’s brand of white identity politics may be less effective in the 2020 election campaign.

President Trump met with his national security team to discuss Afghan peace talks and the meeting went “very well, and negotiations are proceeding,” the White House said in a statement.

An Iranian tanker sailed through the Mediterranean toward Greece on Monday after it was released from detention off Gibraltar, and Tehran said that any at U.S. move to seize the vessel again would have “heavy consequences”.

President Trump and top White House officials dismissed concerns that economic growth may be faltering, saying on Sunday they saw little risk of recession despite a volatile week on global bond markets, and insisting their trade war with China was doing no damage to the United States.

At least 19 people were killed when a fuel truck exploded after losing control and ramming into three cars in western Uganda on Sunday, police said in a statement.

Turkey on Monday replaced Kurdish mayors with state officials in three cities and detained more than 400 people for suspected militant links, the Interior Ministry said, a move likely to fuel tensions in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

Sri Lanka’s President on Monday named war veteran Shavendra Silva as its army chief, drawing sharp criticism from the United States over the appointment of an officer who has been accused of human rights violations.

The operator of a global network of radioactivity sensors said on Monday its two Russian sites closest to a mysterious explosion on Aug. 8 went offline two days after the blast, raising concern about possible tampering by Russia.

Thailand is proposing that tech companies set up centers in each of the 10 Southeast Asian countries to curb the flow of “fake news” and fake accounts, the country’s telecoms regulator said.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Ross said the U.S. government will extend a reprieve given to Huawei Technologies that permits the Chinese firm to buy supplies from U.S. companies so that it can service existing customers, even as nearly 50 of its units were added to a U.S. economic blacklist.

AP Top Stories

Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health says a total of 59 people consumed tainted alcohol as the death toll due to the liquor rose to 25 in the Central American tourist destination.

Drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked a massive oil and gas field deep inside Saudi Arabia’s sprawling desert on Saturday, causing what the kingdom described as a “limited fire” in the second such recent attack on its crucial energy industry.

Three mass shooting plots were thwarted in recent days with the arrests of three men in unrelated cases, authorities in Connecticut, Florida and Ohio said.

The European Commission said on Monday that the EU was ready for a no-deal Brexit and that Britain would suffer most under such a scenario.

Assad regime forces carried out an airstrike near a Turkish military convoy in northern Syria, in a rare example of Damascus directly confronting Turkish troops operating inside Syria.

Russia will not deploy new missiles as long as the United States shows similar restraint in Europe and Asia, Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said on Sunday, after Washington’s withdrawal from a Soviet-era arms pact.

Iceland on Sunday honored the passing of Okjokull, its first glacier lost to climate change, as scientists warn that some 400 others on the subarctic island risk the same fate.

When rePlanet closed its doors at its remaining 284 California locations earlier this month, alarm bells went up among recycling advocates. For years, the U.S. has relied on China and other developing countries to accept bulk, unsorted recycling – paper, plastic, and plenty of unrecyclable materials that have to be sorted out. But now, with commodities depressed in value, those countries are becoming much more selective in what they’ll accept.

The Trump administration’s Department of Justice is asking the Supreme Court to set a legal precedent that would enable employers to fire employees because they are transgender.

Heavy rain failed to keep hundreds of thousands of protesters from Hong Kong streets Sunday as pro-democracy demonstrators rallied against the tightening grip of the Beijing government.


Hackers have infected 23 organizations connected to local government in the US state of Texas with ransomware. Officials indicated the attack over the weekend was coordinated.

The Call Of Duty World Championship 2019 title goes to eUnited. The American team won on Black Ops 4 at the Los Angeles final on Sunday – taking home the top prize of $800,000.

A Kenyan chef has set a new world record for the longest time spent cooking, after cooking for 75 hours non-stop. Ms. Mohammed prepared 400 dishes – including local and international recipes – most of which she offered to shelters and orphanages.


A brief filed this week with the U.S. Supreme Court explains that the justices must determine whether or not the transgender-rights movement is supported by a 1964 law banning discrimination based on sex. Can a funeral home require men to dress as men, in suits and ties, and women to dress as women?

Prairie dogs infected with the plague – yes, the plague – have shut down parts of a city and wildlife area near Denver this summer.

Fifteen studies about transplanted organs by researchers in China have been retracted this month due to concerns the work may have used organs from executed prisoners.

Mid-Day Snapshot · Aug. 19, 2019

The Foundation

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” —Federal Farmer (1787)

Defensive Gun Uses Abound Nationwide

Numerous stories from July alone illustrate how prevalent such uses really are.

NYT Pivots Anti-Trump Coverage From Collusion to Racism

The Times will more deliberately seek to paint Trump as the great “racist” and “divider.”

Repudiating Globalism

It may be the most pressing and difficult problem facing the American people today.

Ever Heard of This War of the Roses?

The story of the Tennessee centennial of ratifying the 19th Amendment.

Why #iSupport45: The Black Conservative Uprising Is Upon Us

These issues of the hour define why so many black people are finally walking away.

Video: The Charlottesville Lie

Political analyst Steve Cortes exposes how a biased MSM perpetuated a lie about Trump’s Charlottesville comments.

Video: Fake News Undermines Trump & Divides America

Accuracy In Media’s Carrie Sheffield discusses the state of the news media in America today.

Today’s Opinion

Michael Reagan
Shooting Down California’s Ammo Law
Gary Bauer
Fighting for Faith, Family, and Freedom
Todd Starnes
Franklin Graham: Christian ‘Leaders’ Who Renounce Faith Will Have to Answer to God
Kathryn Jean Lopez
Turn on the Bright Light
William Federer
U.S. Military & Commanders-in-Chief: Role of Biblical Faith
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Monday Top News Executive Summary

Omar and Tlaib’s anti-Semitic sponsors, judicial activism quashed, race bait, ISIS attack, and more.

Monday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Bill Maher, Cedric Richmond, Bill Nye, and more.

Today’s Meme

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

Today’s Cartoon

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

News – 8/19/2019

This Isn’t Normal: Kansas And Oklahoma Have Been Hit By 65 Earthquakes Within The Last 7 Days
The state of Kansas is certainly known for a lot of things, but earthquakes are not one of them, and that is why what we just witnessed is so startling. According to the Kansas City Star, one county in central Kansas alone has been hit by 11 quakes within the past five days…It started with a magnitude-2.4 earthquake Wednesday morning just 2 1/2 miles southwest of Hutchinson, Kansas, in Reno County, according to the United States Geological Survey. There would be 10 more before the week was out.

Rocket sirens wail in Israel for second night in a row
Incoming rocket sirens on Saturday sounded in Sderot and several communities in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council at 9 p.m. The military said that two of the three projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. The city of Sderot and Israel Police said that shrapnel from the third Qassam rocket launched from the Gaza Strip landed in the yard of a home in Sderot. A 30-year-old woman was treated by Magen David Adom paramedics after she fainted at a bus stop during the barrage.

Palestinian factions warn Gaza is a boiling volcano
Factions call on Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza to “set the ground ablaze under the Zionist’s feet” “We have warned the Zionist enemy against persisting in their crimes, but the leadership of the enemy is still playing in the fire,” a joint statement by various Palestinian factions in the Strip said quoted by Palestinian Safa news agency. “Gaza is a boiling volcano which will explode in the face of the enemy and the leadership of its soldiers,” the statement added.

Trump says he will release Mideast peace plan after Israel elections
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he would likely wait until after Israel’s Sept. 17 elections to release a peace plan for the region that was designed by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.

FRANKENSWINE Pig hearts could be used in human transplants ‘within just three YEARS’ says surgeon who performed first ever op 40 years ago
PIG hearts could be used for human transplants within just three YEARS, according to the surgeon who performed the first op in Britain 40 years ago. Scientists could be close to solving the organ donor crisis as a leading surgeon claims pigs’ hearts could be used in human transplants within just three years

Turkish lawyers threaten boycott of Erdogan’s courts ceremony
Dozens of Turkish bar associations are threatening to boycott President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s planned ceremony to open the judicial year at the presidential palace, saying it would be another violation of the judiciary’s independence.

Former CIA Spook: “Russian Hoax Coup & Epstein Are Interlocked”
“I don’t know why it took so long, but they have raided Epstein’s island… So, there is a lot of damning information the FBI has now on certain people. At the top of the list, and the one who flew the most, was Bill Clinton. Then he lied about it. They are intertwined in that regard and with the Clinton Foundation that we know is a fraud. It is known around the world, and you’ve got these two intersections with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Welcome to the global elite. Welcome to human trafficking. These things are connected, and with Epstein dead, there are a lot of prominent people breathing a sigh of relief—for now.

It’s Sentient
Meet the classified artificial brain being developed by US intelligence programs. “When will the Department of Defense have real-time, automated, global order of battle?” they asked. “That’s a great question,” said Chirag Parikh, director of the NGA’s Office of Sciences and Methodologies. Then, Parikh actually answered this question: When would that translate to near-instantaneous understanding and strategy development? “If not now,” he said, “very soon.” “Sentient is a thinking system,”….

After Tlaib Backtracks on her Visit to Israel, Trump Excoriates Her
“Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup. The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!”

Bill Gates will Try to Block the Sun: ‘Tower of Babel’ in 2019
A team of scientists personally sponsored by Bill Gates plan on countering the effects of ‘global warming by injecting millions of tons of dust into the atmosphere to block the sun’s rays. Despite the clear and obvious concerns, the first test run is set to take place any day now. “There is a very fine line between playing God and tikkun olam (fixing the world),” Rabbi Trugman told Breaking Israel News. “If you don’t get it right, you are courting disaster.” Rabbi Trugman noted that this was also true for other branches of science like genetic research. “They think they can control the environment and they also think they can control men. They think they can keep the populace calm by investing in projects that may or may not solve the problem.”

Trump likely to roll out highly anticipated peace plan after Israel votes
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he would likely wait until after Israel’s Sept. 17 elections to release his peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that was designed by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. “I probably will wait, but we may put out pieces of it,” Trump said, explaining that “peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians” is the “toughest deal of all.”

Hezbollah brings arson terror to the northern front
Following in the footsteps of terrorists in Gaza, terrorists from the Hezbollah terrorist movement lit fires along the Israeli-Lebanese border on Friday which quickly spread into Israeli territory, according to Channel 12 news. The fire, exacerbated by strong winds, threatened an IDF post and the border town of Margaliot.

Gran Canaria: 8,000 flee wildfires on holiday island
About 8,000 people have been evacuated as wildfires rip through Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. The fires, which started on Saturday, are advancing on two fronts in a mountainous area of the island. Ten planes and helicopters, as well as about 700 firefighters on the ground including 200 from the military, are being deployed.

US Navy to build £330m world’s largest robot warship to patrol the most dangerous seas
THE US Navy wants to build a fleet of ten robot warships over the next five years. The huge ships referred to as Large Unmanned Surface Vehicles (LUSVs) would function as scouts for the main battle fleet, carrying radar and sonar as well as anti-air and cruise missiles. The vessels will mostly carry out “3D work” – dull, dirty and dangerous.

First-ever mandatory water cutbacks will kick in next year along the Colorado River
Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will be required to take less water from the Colorado River for the first…under a set of agreements…to keep enough water in Lake Mead to reduce the risk of a crash. The federal Bureau of Reclamation activated the mandatory reductions in water deliveries on Thursday when it released projections showing…the level of Lake Mead will sit just below a threshold that triggers the cuts.

Trump ‘not ready’ for China trade deal, dismisses recession fears
U.S. President Donald Trump and top White House officials dismissed concerns that economic growth may be faltering, saying on Sunday they saw little risk of recession despite a volatile week on global bond markets, and insisting their trade war with China was doing no damage to the United States.

Hong Kong readies for further protests after huge, peaceful rally
Hong Kong is gearing up for further protests this week after hundreds of thousands of anti-government demonstrators braved heavy rain to rally peacefully on Sunday, marking a change to what have often been violent clashes. Sunday’s massive turnout, which organizers put at 1.7 million, showed that the movement still has widespread support despite chaotic scenes last week when protesters occupied the Chinese-ruled city’s airport.

Palestinian intelligence warns of possible violent uprising in West Bank
A Palestinian intelligence warns of a possible deterioration of security situation in the West Bank which may lead to another breakout of violent uprising and destabilize the Palestinian Authority, if the political and economic stagnation continues, according to a report seen exclusively by Ynet and its sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth.

Jordan summons Israeli ambassador over holy site clashes
Jordan has summoned Israel’s ambassador to protest “Israeli violations” at a Jerusalem holy site sacred to Muslims and Jews. Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday that Amman delivered a “decisive letter” to the ambassador, including a call “to immediately cease all Israeli violations and all Israeli attempts to change the historical, legal status” at the site.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center Is A Hate-Based Scam That Nearly Caused Me To Be Murdered”
“I’ll never forget the moment I learned we were on lockdown. It was Aug.15, 2012. My frustration mingled with fear. Trapped on the sixth floor, we knew someone had been shot…”

Hail Storm Kills, Maims More Than 11,000 Birds in Montana
Wildlife officials say a hail storm packing 70-mile-per-hour winds killed or maimed more than 11,000 pelicans, cormorants and other birds when it rolled over a central Montana lake and nesting area.

Deadly floods hit Istanbul after 4 months’ worth of rain in 90 minutes
Extremely heavy rain hit Istanbul and other cities in NW Turkey on August 17, 2019, causing severe flooding in which one person lost its life.

The Chinese Are Silently Invading Australia
Just as the American southern border is under attack, so it in Australia. The Chinese invasion is threatening the Australian culture, education system and is moving into the political arena. The resulting chaos has largely been ignored by the government, until recently.

For 30 Plastic Bottles You Can Get A Free Subway Ride In Rome
Starting now, it might be beneficial for you to pick up and store plastic bottles as you go across Rome in a metro. Well, unless you want to start ‘plogging’, then it is a completely different ball game. As the news proclaims, the transport authorities of Rome are trying to see if swapping plastic bottles for metro fare would be economically and socially beneficial enough for the population.

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib Retweet Jew-Hating Cartoonist who Mocked Dead US Soldiers in Iraq
On Friday Democrats Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib shared a meme on their Instagram pages from cartoonist Carlos Latuff, who’s work has been accused of being anti-Semitic and has trivialized the holocaust.

Pelosi SLAMS Israel, Who Enforced Their Laws Against Omar and Tlaib, As “Sign Of Weakness”
On Thursday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi stated after Israel decided not to allow Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaibenter, their country as a congressional delegation, calling it a “sign of weakness” by Israel.

US Air Force Can Now Turn Small Planes Into Robots
“Imagine being able to rapidly and affordably convert a general aviation aircraft, like a Cessna or Piper, into an unmanned aerial vehicle…”

Earthquake cluster slams Kansas county with 11 quakes in 5 days
A county in central Kansas experienced a pretty shocking uptick in seismic activity last week — 11 earthquakes in five days. It started with a magnitude-2.4 earthquake Wednesday morning just 2 1/2 miles southwest of Hutchinson, Kansas, in Reno County, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Every Abortion Clinic in US to Receive ‘Unplanned’ Movie DVD
The pro-life motion picture “Unplanned” will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and in digital formats on Tuesday, and Abby Johnson, the woman whose true transformational story is the subject of the movie, is taking advantage of the event by sending a DVD to every abortion clinic in the nation.

Car Bomb Hits Security Force in Northeastern Syria, at Least One Killed
A car bomb killed one member of a security force and wounded two others in the Kurdish-controlled city of Qamishli in northeastern Syria on Sunday, the security force said.

Headlines – 8/19/2019

Trump confirms peace plan to be released after Israeli elections

Heading to Ukraine, Netanyahu says military operation in Gaza possible

Politicians blast Netanyahu as ‘weak’ for not responding to Hamas attacks

Gantz says Israeli deterrence in Gaza has been ‘erased’ under Netanyahu

Escalating Incidents on Gaza-Israel Border Indicate Hamas Is Losing Its Grip

Is the Palestinian Authority Preparing for a New Intifada?

IDF releases footage of foiled Gaza infiltration attempt

Footage appears to show Hezbollah adopting Gaza arson tactics against Israel

PA police ban Palestinian LGBT group from holding activities in West Bank

Israel Spends 1 Million Shekels on Ads to Promote Jewish Ritual Baths

Jordan reprimands Israeli ambassador over Temple Mount ‘violations’

Netanyahu on Tlaib, Omar ban: Israel respects Congress, but won’t tolerate BDS

Tlaib and Omar tested Israel’s sovereignty

Ayelet Shaked demands gov’t halt PA transfer of funds to terrorists

Ohio white nationalist, anti-Semite arrested for threatening to shoot up Jewish community center, police say

Car Bomb Hits Security Force in Northeastern Syria, at Least One Killed

Syria regime forces enter key town amid fierce clashes: monitor

Putin hijacks Syria’s future

Iran-Russia-Turkey Trilateral Summit Due in Ankara Next Month

Iran using dual national detainees as economic bargaining chips

Gibraltar rejects US request to seize Iranian oil tanker

Iranian tanker sought by US leaves Gibraltar for unknown destination

Images show Iran satellite launch looms despite US criticism

Saudi Oil Fields Are in the Firing Line as Gulf Conflicts Rage

US having ‘very good’ discussions with Taliban, says Trump

63 killed, 182 wounded in Kabul wedding blast, official says

Islamic State claims Afghan wedding blast as families bury the dead

Kashmir: India renews crackdown on citizens after violent clashes break out amid tensions with Pakistan

In Russia, After the Radiation Came the Rumors

Top North Korea, China generals huddle in Beijing

Hong Kong protests: Rival demonstrations spread across globe

Hong Kong protesters flood city streets for largest rally in weeks

Hong Kong protesters show no sign of backing down in the face of countless threats

Trump says he doesn’t want to do business with Huawei due to national security concerns

Trump privately floated possibility of imposing naval blockade against Venezuela: report

Honduras soccer riot leaves 3 dead, at least 10 injured, officials say

Brexit Secretary signs order to scrap 1972 Brussels Act – ending all EU law in the UK

Dollar Towers Above Rivals, Posing Fresh Threats to Financial Markets

Fed Chief Wedged Between a Slowing Economy and an Angry President

Trump dismisses worries of recession, says economy is strong

White House trade advisor Navarro: ‘Technically we did not have a yield curve inversion’

Graham: IG’s report on Russia probe will be ‘ugly and damning’ for DOJ

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Anatahan, Northern Mariana Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near La Troncal, Ecuador

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Nevados De Chillan volcano in Chile erupts to 12,000ft

Earthquake cluster slams Kansas county with 11 quakes in 5 days

Massive Arctic wildfires emitted more CO2 in June than Sweden does in an entire year

Scientists bid farewell to first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change

Peddling unproven treatments, stem cell industry ‘fleeces,’ sometimes harms patients

Every Abortion Clinic in US to Receive ‘Unplanned’ Movie DVD

Poland’s Kaczynski condemns gay pride marches as election nears

Epstein’s lawyers ‘not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner’

Apostasy Watch Daily News

Greg L. Bahnsen – The Prima Facie Acceptability of Postmillennialism
(long but worthwhile read)

After sex scandal, Billy Graham’s grandson is starting a church in Palm Beach Gardens

The ERLC Publishes an Article on Women Written by a Feminist Lesbian

Video (5:08) – Todd White Spins His Own Web!

Methodist University Hires a Muslim Chaplain

Christian realtor sues state for religious discrimination – state board banned bible verse on her business card

‘The Family’ director defends portrayal of Christian group: ‘Good faith’ project, ‘diverse’ views

Marianne Williamson’s presidential candidacy shines light on ‘A Course in Miracles’

Court Rules President Trump Can Defund Planned Parenthood, Will Cut $60 Million in Taxpayer Funding

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

Newly Released Nellie Ohr Documents Indicate Obama Deep State Involved in Scheme to Set Up Trump with Hillary Emails Using Italian Spies — The Gateway Pundit

In May we reported that rumors were swirling that the firings of top Italian spies were related to Obama and a plot to set up candidate and President Trump in a scandal involving Hillary emails.  Newly released Nellie Ohr documents provide additional support that this is the case.

We reported in late May that Italian Prime Minister Conteasked for the resignations of four top intelligence officials after his call with President Donald Trump.

We also reported that Neonrevolt had uncovered some shocking news related to the recent removal of these top Italian intelligence ministers from their positions as top spies in the government.

The story begins in January 2017 when Computer Worldwrote about alleged crimes committed by Italian Giulio Occhionero:

The Tuesday arrest of Giulio Occhionero and his sister, Francesca Maria, has brought to light what appears to be the biggest, and highest-profile, hacking of institutional and corporate accounts ever reported in Italy.

The siblings have been planting the Pyramid Eye remote access Trojan on computers using a spear-phishing technique over several years, according to the arrest order.

They attacked at least 18,000 high-profile targets, including former Prime Ministers Matteo Renzi and Mario Monti, President of European Central Bank Mario Draghi, as well as employees and heads of various ministries including Internal Affairs, Treasury, Finance and Education.

But Giulio Occhionero claimed that he and his sister, Francesca Maria, were set up. A piece reported by Frederico Punzi, writing in The Atlantico, notes their denials and more:

Occhionero complained to the Prosecutor of the Republic of Perugia and wrote to the U.S. Congress and the FBI. In fact, there are a number of contradictions and suspicious circumstances in the case.

Occhionero provided the letter that he claims he sent US Congress and the FBI:

No Title

Occhionero claims and it’s reported that:

Members of Italian intelligence were approached by Hillary Clinton, the Obama Administration, and the Deep State in order to frame Trump by PLANTING EVIDENCE on American servers to force Trump to step down from office.

In other words, members of Italian intelligence found a target in Occhionero, a Republican-sympathizer who had two servers for his company, Westland Securities, located in America. One was in Washington State, and the other in West Virginia.

The plan was for Italian Intelligence to hack into these servers, plant classified emails from Hillary’s servers inside these servers on American soil, and then alert the FBI.

The FBI would then raid these locations, “discover” these e-mails, investigate, link these servers to Trump…

And then force Trump to resign.

Occhionero believes that Obama and the former leader of Italy, Matteo Renzi, worked together on this plan and he provides reports of their meetings in Italy before the 2016 election and in early 2017.

Why Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is Dining With Obama

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is joining Barack Obama for the last formal dinner of his presidency. Why?

Barack Obama Arrives in Milan for Climate Speech, Meeting with Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi

Former President Barack Obama touched down in Milan, Italy, on Monday, kicking off a two-day trip in which he will meet with former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and also discuss climate change at a conference.

The Italian spy network had a close relationship with Joseph Mifsud, the individual who set up Trump Campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos in Rome and London.

Mifsud is well known as related to the Italian spy agencies and yet Mueller indicated Mifsud was a ‘Russian’ in the Mueller report.

It’s also suspected that former FBI Agent Bill Priestap may have identified connections with Italy which are redacted in his testimony to Congress:

This leads us to today!  In documents received by Judicial Watch related to Nellie Ohr, Occhionero’s name is mentioned.  Not only does this stand out, but the fact that Nellie Ohr’s mention of Occhionero’s name causes no reaction or response indicates the FBI was in on Occhionero’s set up.

Giulio Occhionero@g_occhionero

In episode #5 of his research on SpyGate, @jimmomo examines the blowing link emerging from @JudicialWatch‘s FOIA, bewteen SpyGate and the EyePyramid case of the Occhionero’s. Fake rogatories, dirty prosecutors, the Ohr’s and the plot vs @realDonaldTrump.http://www.atlanticoquotidiano.it/quotidiano/speciale-italygate-5-non-solo-mifsud-ora-anche-il-caso-occhionero-evidenzia-il-ruolo-italia-nel-russiagate/ 

SPECIALE ITALYGATE/5 – Non solo Mifsud, ora anche il caso Occhionero evidenzia il ruolo dell’Italia…

Mentre in Italia in questa settimana di Ferragosto siamo presi con il teatrino, o meglio la telenovela della crisi di governo, in America escono carte che confermano e anzi aggravano il sospetto di…


Pam Riste@olystubbies44


Pam Riste@olystubbies44

Translated for us still learning your beautiful language.
Some real freaking bombshells in here @g_occhionero

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As noted above, Pam Riste provided a translated copy of the article posted this past week in Italy.  The portion related to Occhionero is as follows –

Nellie Ohr mentions Occhionero along side the Steele dossier.  She doesn’t seem to need to explain who Occhionero is indicating her husband knew all along who he was.  The fact that the Bruce and Nellie Ohr both know who this man in Italy is along with the fact that Italian police asked Occhionero’s friend about the Occhionero’s relationship to Trump indicates a deep knowledge of the events in Italy and the UK with the Steele dossier.

It looks like the Italians have a lot of information that may be of interest to AG Barr and his investigation into the Deep State. Numerous individuals in Italy are suspected of having knowledge of an attempt by former President Obama to utilize the Italian Intel network to set up President Trump leading to his removal from office.

Former President Obama and his Deep State FBI worked with foreign countries like Italy to assist in the removal of President Trump from office. All indications are that Obama and his friends in the Italian Intel community tried to set up Trump and individuals related to him.  Unfortunately for Obama, Trump won.

via Newly Released Nellie Ohr Documents Indicate Obama Deep State Involved in Scheme to Set Up Trump with Hillary Emails Using Italian Spies — The Gateway Pundit

August 19, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Purpose of the Mystery

in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, (3:10–11)

The purpose (hina with subjunctive verb) of God’s revealing the mystery of the church is that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places, namely, the angels. Angels are also spoken of in such terms in Ephesians 1:21 and Colossians 1:16. In Ephesians 6:12 Paul uses similar words in regard to fallen angels. God has brought the church into being for the purpose of manifesting His great wisdom before the angels, both holy and unholy. The New Testament emphasis is on the holy angels’ concern with the church, but it is obvious that the fallen angels can also to some extent see what is going on, though they have no desire or capacity for praise.

This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, Paul continues to explain. Everything God has ever done has had the ultimate purpose of giving Himself glory. As Paul declares elsewhere, “There is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Cor. 8:6), and “All things have been created by Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16).

The church does not exist simply for the purpose of saving souls, though that is a marvelous and important work. The supreme purpose of the church, as Paul makes explicit here, is to glorify God by manifesting His wisdom before the angels, who can then offer greater praise to God. The purpose of the universe is to give glory to God, and that will be its ultimate reality after all evil is conquered and destroyed. Even now, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Ps. 19:1). The church is not an end in itself but a means to an end, the end of glorifying God. The real drama of redemption can only be understood when we realize that the glory of God is the supreme goal of creation. Holy angels are especially made and confirmed in purity and praise as creatures who will forever give God glory (Ps. 148:2; Heb. 1:6), and the redemption of fallen men enriches their praise. Redeemed people, then, are to enhance angelic praise and some day in heaven to join in it (Rev. 4:8–11; 5:8–14; 7:9–12; 14:1–3; 19:1–8).

Even the fallen angels glorify God, though they do not intend to do so. It was their very rejection of His glory and the seeking of their own glory that caused them to be cast out of heaven in the first place. Yet Jesus said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it” (Matt. 16:18). God is glorified through the fallen angels by continually frustrating their rebellious plans and showing the futility of their evil intentions to destroy His church. His holy wrath also displays His glory, since it is a revelation of who He is (cf. Rom. 9:19–22).

The angels can see the power of God in creation, the wrath of God at Sinai, and the love of God at Calvary. But above all they see His manifold [multi-colored, multi-faceted] wisdom that is made known through the church. They see Him taking Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female—who together murdered the Messiah and were worthy only of hell—and making them, by that very cross of murder, one spiritual Body in Jesus Christ. They see Him breaking down every barrier, every wall that divides and making all believers one in an indivisible, intimate, and eternal union with the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and every other believer from every other age and circumstance. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents,” Jesus said (Luke 15:10). Every sinner who repents and turns to Christ adds another spiritual stone to God’s temple, another member to His Body, and becomes another forgiven and cleansed sinner who is made eternally one with every other forgiven and cleansed sinner. The holy angels not only are interested in the salvation of men (1 Pet. 1:12) but constantly watch the face of God in heaven to see His reaction to the treatment of His saved earthly children (Matt. 18:10, 14), standing ready to carry out any mission in their behalf.

When Paul admonished the Corinthian women to show submission to their husbands through the custom of wearing long hair, he reinforced the command by saying it was given “because of the angels” (1 Cor. 11:10), so as not to offend their sense of submissiveness and to give them greater cause to glorify God by the obedience of the church in the matter of proper male and female responses. They are led to praise the Lord when they see the right relationship in the church overruling the perversion of man’s relationship engineered by Satan and sin. After Paul had stated certain principles regarding elders in the church, he wrote, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias” (1 Tim. 5:21). Angels are exceedingly concerned about the discipline needed to produce holy behavior and pure living in the church as well as godly leadership (vv. 17–25). After all, says the writer of Hebrews, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14). They minister to and watch over the church.

In the classroom of God’s universe, He is the Teacher, the angels are the students, the church is the illustration, and the subject is the manifold wisdom of God.[1]

10. That now to the principalities and powers. Some are of opinion that these words cannot apply to angels, because such ignorance, as is here supposed, could not be found in those who are permitted to behold the brightness of God’s countenance. They choose rather to refer them to devils, but without due reflection; for what could have been regarded as extraordinary in the assertion, that, by the preaching of the gospel and the calling of the Gentiles, information was, for the first time, conveyed to devils? There can be no doubt that the apostle labours to place in the strongest light the mercy of God toward the Gentiles, and the high value of the gospel. For this purpose he declares, that the preaching of the gospel exhibits the manifold grace of God, with which, till now, the heavenly angels themselves were unacquainted. The wisdom of God, therefore, which was manifested by uniting Jews and Gentiles in the fellowship of the gospel, ought to be regarded by men with the highest admiration.

He calls it πολυποίκιλον σοφίαν, manifold wisdom, because men are accustomed to try it by a false standard, confining their view to a particular department, and thus forming a most inadequate conception of the whole. The Jews thought, for example, that the dispensation under the law, with which they were acquainted and familiar, was the only form in which the wisdom of God could be seen. But, by making the gospel to be proclaimed to all men without exception, God has brought forth to view another instance and proof of his wisdom. Not that it was new wisdom, but that it was so large and manifold, as to transcend our limited capacity. Let us rest assured that the knowledge, whatever it may be, which we have acquired, is, after all, but a slender proportion. And if the calling of the Gentiles draws the attention, and excites the reverence, of angels in heaven, how shameful that it should be slighted or disdained by men upon earth!

The inference which some draw from this passage, that angels are present in our assemblies, and make progress along with ourselves in knowledge, is a groundless speculation. We must always keep in view the purposes for which God appointed the ministry of his word. If angels, who are permitted to see the face of God, do not walk in faith, neither do they need the outward administration of the word. The preaching of the gospel, therefore, is of no service but to human beings, among whom alone the practice exists. Paul’s meaning is this: “The church, composed both of Jews and Gentiles, is a mirror, in which angels behold the astonishing wisdom of God displayed in a manner unknown to them before. They see a work which is new to them, and the reason of which was hid in God. In this manner, and not by learning anything from the lips of men, do they make progress.”[2]

10 The conjunction hina begins this verse, indicating that now Paul specifies a purpose, while raising the question of where to attach the purpose clause it introduces. God’s display of his “wisdom” (sophia, GK 5053) to the “rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” could depict the purpose for God’s giving of grace to Paul (v. 8), for Paul’s preaching ministry (v. 8), for enlightening everyone (v. 9), or for hiding the mystery in the first place (v. 9). A decision is not easy, and one can sympathize with the NIV translators, who simply started a new sentence here: “His intent was …” Again, while proximity suggests only the final option—God’s hiding of the mystery—Paul probably intends that all these factors converge to display God’s wisdom. In sum, God’s purpose in formerly hiding the truth—and now making it known through the gospel that Paul was called to preach—was that now his amazing wisdom will become evident to the heavenly powers through the church. As this grand scheme now unfolds in the church—Jews and Gentiles in one unified body—the rulers and authorities observe God’s polypoikilos, “very many-sided” (BDAG, 847), or variegated (NIV, “manifold”; the word occurs only here in the NT), wisdom.

Who are the “rulers and authorities”? Recall the discussion at 1:21. Since their location is the “heavenly realms,” I take them to be nonhuman—the powers of evil Paul mentions later (Eph 6:12; cf. 1 Pe 3:22)—though Paul elsewhere uses the terms of human authorities (Ro 13:1, 5–6; Tit 3:1). These hostile, supernatural enemies of God who try to thwart his purposes are put on notice that God has accomplished what he set out to do, despite their ongoing evil designs. Against all odds and in the most unlikely of ways, the church exists; all these rulers and authorities can do is marvel at God’s wisdom.

Two issues remain in this verse: what is God’s wisdom that becomes evident, and how is the church the instrument for revealing it? Paul has already used the term “wisdom” (sophia) in 1:8, 17. With regard to God’s wisdom that he grants to people, it denotes the insight and ability to live life appropriately, in the ways that reflect God’s perspectives and values. Paul speaks of God’s wisdom as his intelligence and understanding that determined how he acted to reach out to lost people (1 Co 1:21). It may be used as synonymous with his knowledge (Ro 11:33). In this context of administration, hidden mystery, appointment of Paul, and use of apostles and prophets to reveal, Paul may very well intend “wisdom” to encompass God’s orchestrating of history in such a way that redemption might be secured and Jews and Gentiles joined in this new entity, the church.

So how can the church make plain how intelligent and resourceful—how wise—God is? Certainly the church’s very existence and the unity displayed among its disparate components are evidence of God’s wisdom. Paul’s appeals in chs. 4–6 may also give believers instructions for conducting their lives in ways that put God’s wisdom on display to the rulers and authorities. How dazzling is God’s wisdom in redeeming for himself a people through a death on a cross (1 Co 1:23–24)! Paul does not hint at how he thinks the powers will respond to the church’s demonstration of God’s wisdom. Will they cease and desist? Will they worship God? History gives no cause for accepting either of these responses. Probably this confirms to the rulers and authorities Christ’s victory, their inevitable defeat, and the judgment to be brought on them when God sums up all things in Christ (1:10). What a comfort and encouragement these assurances are to readers who fear the powers aligned against the church and who regularly experience the powers’ very real assaults! Nothing can thwart God’s program; even the malevolent powers will succumb to God’s sovereign plan. As the readers engage in this spiritual warfare, they know that in the end they will stand (6:12–13).[3]

10  This new, comprehensive community is to serve throughout the universe as an object-lesson of the wisdom of God—his “much-variegated” wisdom. The compound adjective here used is poetic in origin: its first occurrence is in Attic tragedy. The variety of divine wisdom is spelled out (without the use of this particular adjective) in Wisdom 7:22–23: “For in her there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent and pure and most subtle.” “The being of God,” says Schlier, “… reveals itself in the economy of grace as the one divine wisdom in various forms and modes, one after another—as the predestined wisdom, as the wisdom shown in creation, in Christ, the personal Wisdom, and lastly in the church as the wisdom which is multiformi specie and yet one, in Christ.” The “hidden wisdom” of God, decreed before the ages for his people’s glory, to which Paul makes brief reference in 1 Cor. 2:6–10, is expounded here for the readers of Ephesians.

There is no need to limit the “principalities and powers” in such a context as this to hostile forces. All created intelligences are in view here. When the foretelling and accomplishment of the Christian salvation are said in 1 Pet. 1:12 to be “things into which angels long to look,” something of the same sort is intended as we find here. The wisdom of God revealed in the cross of Christ and in its saving efficacy in the lives of believers upsets all conventional notions of wisdom and demands their reappraisal in the minds of the spiritually mature (1 Cor. 1:18–2:6).

The “principalities and powers” learn from the church that they too have a place in the plan of God. The reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles in this new creation is a token of the reconciliation in which they in their turn are to be embraced. In Col. 1:19–22 the cosmic reconciliation which God has planned is anticipated in the experience of believers in Christ, whom “he has now reconciled”—and the means of reconciliation in the one case as in the other is the saving work of Christ, who has “made peace through the blood of his cross.” The church thus appears to be God’s pilot scheme for the reconciled universe of the future, the mystery of God’s will “to be administered in the fullness of the times,” when “the things in heaven and the things on earth” are to be brought together in Christ (Eph. 1:9–10). There is probably the further implication that the church, the product of God’s reconciling work thus far, is designed by him to be his agency (existing as it does “in Christ”) for the bringing about of the ultimate reconciliation. If so, then Paul, who is the direct instrument of God in creating the present fellowship of reconciliation, is indirectly his instrument for the universal reconciliation of the future.[4]

3:10 / What had remained hidden “for ages past” (3:9) is now (nyn) made manifest. This verse makes one of the most inclusive statements about the church in the entire nt. Simply put, it announces that the church has a cosmic function in the plan of God.

With this verse, the author reaches the climax of his development on the “mystery/plan of God.” C. L. Mitton calls this “God’s master plan” and outlines the sequence by which this revelation took place: “It was made known first to Paul (3:3), then to the apostles and prophets (3:5), then to all men (3:9). Only then, as God’s reconciling power in Christ became effective in his Church and produced a united fellowship out of elements which in the world had seemed irreconcilable, did the powers of evil realize what God was achieving” (p. 127). This unfolding of God’s plan as presented in Ephesians may be diagrammed in the following way:

Paul (3:3)


Apostles and prophets (3:5)


All mankind (3:9)


Angelic powers and rulers in the heavenly world (3:10)


In this last stage God’s plan comes full circle: What was alluded to in the opening hymn of praise (1:10) is now complete. The grand purpose of the church is that through its agency, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. These angelic rulers and powers are those beings mentioned in 1:21 and in 6:12. Colossians used similar expressions when it taught Christ’s—and consequently the believer’s—victory over these evil forces (Col. 1:16; 2:15, 20; cf. also Rom. 8:38; 1 Pet. 3:22).

In order to understand this verse it is necessary to realize that the author is assuming an ancient cosmological system. In pre-Copernican times, astronomers believed that the earth was the center of the universe and that it had no motion. The earth was surrounded by a series of spheres that contained celestial bodies, such as the sun, moon, stars, and planets, which revolved around the earth. Beyond these spheres (usually seven) was the highest heaven, where God made his abode. In time, it was believed that these spheres were inhabited by some kind of “heavenly beings,” which acted as sovereign rulers within these spheres. These heavenly powers could be either good and friendly or evil and hostile.

With respect to salvation, some religious systems, such as that of the Gnostics, believed that the human soul had to pass through these spheres as it ascended to its permanent abode with God in the highest heaven. But as it moved upward, it was confronted by the rulers and authorities of these spheres, who, in most cases, were hostile and needed to be placated or appeased in some way so that safe passage through the spheres could be guaranteed. This developed into elaborate systems of magic, sorcery, and astrology, many of which were current during Paul’s time.

The central message in the book of Colossians is that Christ has defeated these evil powers through his death on the cross. Consequently, they no longer have any control or authority over humankind; believers share in that victory by virtue of their faith in Christ and by virtue of their union with his death and resurrection in baptism (Col. 2:20).

Ephesians retains a similar cosmology: Christ is exalted and rules “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given” (1:21); the Christian is engaged in a battle “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (6:12); and in 3:10, these forces exist as witnesses to what God has done and is doing through the church. Thus, all forms of life—whether on earth or in the far regions of the cosmos—know about God’s eternal plan and purpose.

Scholarly interpretations vary greatly in their approach to the cosmology presented in Ephesians and Colossians. Some believe that the concepts are obsolete and need to be demythologized, that is, reinterpreted in terms that have meaning for the modern era. A good example is Barth, who understands these concepts as politicoeconomic structures of society rather than as cosmic intelligences (cf. notes on 1:21, 22). At the other extreme there is the position represented by Stott, who takes exception to the kind of interpretation given by Barth and others. Stott does not accept the view that Paul was referring to earthly social structures that are included in the redemptive activity of God. In his book God’s New Society, he provides a short history of the study of the principalities and powers (pp. 267–75) and makes a passionate appeal that readers of the nt understand them as supernatural beings rather than as “structures, institutions and traditions” (p. 273).

It is unclear what effect this revelation of God’s mystery through the church is to have upon these heavenly beings. All the text says is that through the church they might know the manifold wisdom of God. Are they objects of God’s redemptive activity, or are they merely cosmic spectators to a drama that is being worked out on earth through the church? The rest of the nt is silent on this subject, and only a few verses allude to some kind of intelligent activity among the angels (cf. 1 Cor. 4:9; 1 Pet. 1:12).

The author describes the unity of the church as the manifestation of the wisdom of God—wisdom to the extent that God’s divine purposes were being accomplished throughout all the “past ages” down to the present time. Only an all-wise God could bring hostile nations and powers together into a unified whole.

God’s wisdom, the author continues, is manifold. This is a translation of the Greek polypoikilos, which basically means “many-sided” or “varied forms” (neb). God’s manifold wisdom is like looking through a kaleidoscope that reveals an amazing array of shapes and colors as one turns it gently; it is like beholding a marvelous tapestry that a designer has woven from a variety of different strands (Stott, p. 123). In this verse, the author has a magnificent vision of a triumphant and unified church that demonstrates the entire creative and redemptive purposes of God to all humanity (3:9) as well as to all cosmic powers (3:10).[5]

10. The design of God in giving Paul grace to proclaim to the Gentiles the mystery of salvation heretofore hidden.

now—first: opposed to “hidden from the beginning of the world” (Eph 3:5).

unto the principalities andGreek adds “the”

powers—unto the various orders of good angels primarily, as these dwell “in the heavenly places” in the highest sense; “known” to their adoring joy (1 Ti 3:16; 1 Pe 1:12). Secondarily, God’s wisdom in redemption is made known to evil angels, who dwell “in heavenly places” in a lower sense, namely, the air (compare Eph 2:2 with Eph 6:12); “known” to their dismay (1 Co 15:24; Col 2:15).

might be known—Translate, “may be known.”

by the church—“by means of,” or “through the Church,” which is the “theater” for the display of God’s manifold wisdom (Lu 15:10; 1 Co 4:9): “a spectacle (Greek, ‘theater’) to angels.” Hence, angels are but our “fellow servants” (Rev 19:10).

manifold wisdom—though essentially one, as Christ is one, yet varying the economy in respect to places, times, and persons (Is 55:8, 9; Heb 1:1). Compare 1 Pe 4:10, “stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Man cannot understand aright its single acts till he can survey them as a connected whole (1 Co 13:12). The call of the Church is no haphazard remedy, or afterthought, but part of the eternal scheme, which, amidst manifold varieties of dispensation, is one in its end.[6]

Ver. 10.—To the intent—indicative of the purpose of the remarkable arrangement or dispensation according to which the eternal Divine purpose, which had been concealed from the beginning of the ages, was now made known—that there might be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places; that a lesson might be given to the unfallen angels. Their interest in the scheme of man’s redemption is often referred to (1 Pet. 1:12). Even the highest powers of heaven have yet much to learn respecting God. The dispensation of God’s grace to man is one of their lesson-books. Dr. Chalmers shows (‘Astronomical Discourses’) how this meets the objection that so dread a sacrifice as the life of God’s Son could not have been made for one poor planet; in its indirect bearings we do not know what other orders of beings have derived most vital lessons from this manifestation of the attributes of God. However men may scorn the salvation of Christ and all that belongs to it, the highest intelligences regard it with profound interest. By the Church the manifold wisdom of God. Through the Church, now constituted, according to the revealed mystery, of Jew and Gentile, all redeemed by Christ’s blood and renewed by his Spirit, there is exhibited to the angels the manifold wisdom of God. The precise line of thought is this: God, from eternity, had a purpose to put Jew and Gentile on precisely the same footing, but concealed it for many ages, until he revealed it in the apostolic age, when he appointed Paul his minister to announce it. The purpose of this whole arrangement was to enlighten the principalities and powers of heaven in the manifold wisdom of God. How in his manifold wisdom? In this way. During these preparatory ages, when God’s gracious dealings were with the Jews only, all kinds of false religions were developing among the heathen, and their diversified influence and effects were becoming apparent in many ways—the divergent tendencies of men, especially in religious matters, were being developed; but in the new turn given to things by the breaking down of the middle wall in Christ, the manifold wisdom of God was shown in transforming many of these most diverse elements, unifying them, building them up into a great spiritual body, into a holy, most beautiful, most symmetrical temple. When all things seem to be flying asunder into the most diverse and antagonistic elements, God gives a new turn, as it were, to providence, and lo! a glorious symmetrical and harmonious structure begins to rise.[7]

10. in order that now to the principalities and the authorities in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the iridescent wisdom of God. The church, therefore, does not exist for itself. It exists for God, for his glory. When the angels in heaven behold the works and the wisdom of God displayed in the church, their knowledge of the God whom they adore is increased and they rejoice and glorify him. That the designation “principalities and authorities” refers to angels has been established. See on 1:21 and N.T.C. on Col 1:16 and 2:18. By no means all commentators who adopt this position are in agreement, however, with respect to the kind of angels indicated here (3:10). Some defend the position that the reference is to evil powers exclusively. Robertson, in his Word Pictures, Vol. IV, p. 531, equates them with “gnostic aeons or what not.” Greijdanus states that although the reference is, first of all, to the good angels, the fallen angels need not be excluded (op. cit., p. 72). Now it is true, indeed, that the expression “principalities and authorities” is neutral just like “angels.” Gabriel is an angel, but so is Satan. In each case it is the context that determines whether the designation refers to angels in general, as in 1:21, to evil angels, as in 6:12, or to good angels. Even the addition here in 3:10 of the words “in the heavenly places” is not decisive in determining whether good angels or demons are meant, as 6:12 proves. Nevertheless, I still see no reason for disagreeing with Calvin, Bavinck, Grosheide, Hodge, Lenski, and a host of other leading theologians and commentators, in believing that 3:10 refers to the good and not to the evil angels. My reasons are as follows:

(1) Here (3:10) there is no reference to any conflict between believers and spiritual hosts of wickedness. In 6:12 the matter is entirely different.

(2) Both language and thought-content are elevated. Calvin’s comments may well be taken to heart. Says he, “Some prefer to refer these words to devils, but without due reflection … There can be no doubt about the fact that the apostle labors to place in the strongest light the mercy of God toward the Gentiles, and the high value of the gospel … Paul’s meaning is, The church, composed of both Jews and Gentiles, is a mirror, in which the angels behold the astonishing wisdom of God displayed in a manner unknown to them before. They see a work which is new to them, and the reason whereof was hid in God.”

(3) The fact that the church, as God’s masterpiece in which his excellencies are mirrored forth, is an object of interest and scrutiny to the good angels is clear also from other passages (Luke 15:10; 1 Cor. 11:10; 1 Peter 1:12; Rev. 5:11 ff.). Eph. 3:10 harmonizes beautifully with all this.

Now what the principalities and powers see reflected in the church is “the iridescent wisdom” of God. The adjective that modifies wisdom means literally multi-colored or much-variegated. Unless the word used in the original has lost its full etymological significance, and should therefore simply be rendered manifold (as in A.V., A.R.V., R.S.V.) or many-sided (L.N.T. (A. and G.)), which in the present highly elevated context is improbable, it calls attention to the infinite diversity and sparkling beauty of God’s wisdom. For both of these characteristics one is reminded of the rainbow. Hence, iridescent or something on that order (like “many-splendoured” suggested by Bruce) would seem to be a reasonable English equivalent, unless one wishes to retain the literal rendering multi-colored. In every phase of redemption (as well as of creation) the brilliance of God’s wisdom reveals itself. Since in chapters 2 and 3 of Ephesians (see especially 2:16; 3:6) the matter of the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile to God and to each other through the cross—which to the Jew was a stumblingblock and to the Gentiles foolishness (1 Cor. 1:22–25)—is never absent from Paul’s mind, it would seem that this is one of the manifestations of the divine “wisdom” which he mentions. Cf. Rom. 16:25–27, where the revelation of the mystery is ascribed to “the only wise God.” God’s wisdom reconciles seeming irreconcilables. So also the very word wisdom is again used in the text when elsewhere reference is made to the fact that the very rejection of carnal Israel results, by various links, in the salvation of all of God’s people: “By their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy … that by the mercy shown to you [Gentiles] they [Israel] may now obtain mercy.… O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments; how untraceable his ways!” (Rom. 11:11, 31, 33). Accordingly, when in the past certain commentators, in interpreting the expression “iridescent wisdom,” have fixed the attention upon various paradoxes such as the following, that God in Christ produces life by means of death, glory by means of shame (the “shame” of the cross), the blessing by means of the curse, power by means of weakness, etc., they were simply following where Scripture itself had led them.

The true dimensions of the term “iridescent wisdom” are, however, much broader than this. There is not a single work of God whether in creation or, as here, in redemption, where that richly variegated wisdom does not manifest itself. It is seen in the church as a whole when it strives earnestly to live to God’s glory. It is seen also in every individual believer, drawn out of the darkness into God’s marvelous light. We catch glimpses of it now, as we study Scripture or as we reflect on the divine providence in our own lives. By the sea of crystal, where at last all things become crystal-clear to us, we shall see it as we have never seen it before, and, filled with rapture, we shall say, “Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty. Righteous and true are thy ways, thou King of the ages” (Rev. 15:3). The words of the Psalmist with reference to God’s works in the physical realm will then be applied, with emphasis greater than ever before, also to the spiritual realm, namely, “O Lord, how manifold are thy works, in wisdom thou hast made them all!” The more the church lives in harmony with its high calling, the more also will the angels be able to see in it God’s marvelous wisdom. To make manifest in its life and character the “excellencies” of its Maker-Redeemer, so that the principalities and the authorities may, indeed, see this wisdom is, therefore, part of the church’s Lofty Goal.[8]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 96–97). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 255–256). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 91–92). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (pp. 320–322). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (pp. 214–217). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 348). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[7] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Ephesians (p. 106). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[8] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Ephesians (Vol. 7, pp. 158–160). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.