Daily Archives: September 27, 2019

September 27 The Riches of God’s Grace

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:3–14

Key Verse: Ephesians 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

What would it take for you to consider yourself rich? Would it require a healthy bank account? A fancy new car in the garage? The freedom to go online, click a few buttons, and have anything you wanted delivered right to your door?

You may not be so bold as to answer yes to the above questions, but does your life reflect this kind of attitude? Sadly, many believers are completely overtaken by the world’s standard of riches. This happens whether the individual is wealthy or not. For the well-off, the temptation is to see money as the defining characteristic of their lives. For the poor, money becomes the be-all-end-all goal of comfort and satisfaction. You see, greed is no respecter of persons. It attacks rich and poor alike.

What many believers fail to realize is that in Christ, we are all rich. Sure, you may have a mortgage, a monthly car payment, and credit card bills; however, if you have placed your faith in Jesus, you can boldly acknowledge that the almighty God has already poured His richest blessings upon you. Hallelujah!

Ephesians 1:3 says that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Did you notice the tense of the verb there? He said “blessed,” meaning it has already happened. And He does not give just a little bit here and there; rather, He lavishly pours out His blessings upon us.

Lord, help me to count my blessings according to Your values and not the superficial values of the world. You have given me gifts that are eternal. Thank You.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 282). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 27 Wait on the Lord

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27

Key Verse: Psalm 27:14

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!

Most of us have heard the adage: “Timing is everything.” The truth is, much of life does depend on correct timing. Runners pace their stride according to it. Olympic swimmers train by it. If a car’s timing is off, it won’t run well. Even the seasons change according to the earth’s timing.

Timing is especially crucial for the Christian. David learned proper timing while hiding out from King Saul. Had he jumped ahead of God’s plan and killed the envious king, he would have been out of sync with the Lord’s will.

We can probably name at least once when, instead of waiting on the Lord, we moved on in our own strength. Whether we realized it or not, we missed a tremendous blessing.

Pushing to achieve what you want may result in a reached goal, but the victory is always bittersweet without God’s anointing. Abraham learned this when he jumped ahead of God’s plan for his life. Hagar was a human choice (Gen. 16). Sarah was God’s divine choice.

When you wait on the Lord, you exercise faith. Ask Him to make the path He has chosen for your life very clear. It’s better to wait and be sure than to move ahead, only to receive His second best.

Precious heavenly Father, I know it is better to be sure than to move ahead and receive only second best. Give me patience to wait instead of moving in my own strength. Make the path You have chosen for me clear.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 282). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

09/27/2019 — Wretched

WR2019-0927

• Your questions answered
• How do believers get transported to heaven?
• 40 truths about the fear of God
• What order should we read the Bible in?
• Baptismal Regeneration and the Church of Christ
• Keep the main things at the center of your parenting

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via 09/27/2019 — Wretched

September 27, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

For President Donald Trump, White House publication of a memo summarizing his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy fueled a domestic political crisis.

The Trump administration said it plans to allow only 18,000 refugees to resettle in the United States in the 2020 fiscal year, the lowest number in the history of the modern refugee program.

The US offered to remove all sanctions on Iran in exchange for talks but Tehran has not yet accepted the offer due to the current “toxic atmosphere”, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.

President Donald Trump said he had refused a request by Tehran to lift sanctions in exchange for talks, contradicting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who earlier on Friday said the United States had offered to lift restrictions to facilitate a meeting.

Russia detained three North Korean vessels and 252 crew on Friday in the second such incident in two weeks as part of a clampdown on poaching by the secretive nation’s fishermen.

Hong Kong is braced for a weekend of unrest with pro-democracy protests likely to mount in the China-ruled territory ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic on Tuesday.

Pope Francis urged Silicon Valley giants on Friday to make sure technological advances such as artificial intelligence do not lead to a new “form of barbarism” where the law of the strongest prevails over the common good.

UK’s Civil Aviation Authority said on Friday 72 flights are scheduled to operate to bring back a further 16,000 people to the country following the collapse of Thomas Cook.

The Portuguese government has earmarked $164 million worth of credit to help local companies affected by the collapse of British travel firm Thomas Cook, the cabinet said on Friday.

The British-flagged Stena Impero tanker sailed out of Iranian waters on Friday, the owner said, after it was detained in July during a row with Britain that has stoked tensions in the Gulf.

U.S. consumer spending barely rose in August and business investment remained weak, suggesting the economy was losing momentum as trade tensions linger.

AP Top Stories

A woman in Tennessee claimed she almost lost her hand due to contracting flesh-eating bacteria after getting a manicure at a nail salon in Knoxville.

After decades enforcing the views of clerics who opposed music and gender mixing, the government made an about-face under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, relaxing social restrictions and inviting pop stars like Mariah Carey to perform, all while stifling dissent. The kingdom’s religious police have lost most of their power, allowing women to test the limits of the dress code that officers once roamed the streets enforcing. In wealthier urban areas, it’s increasingly common for women to uncover their hair, and many wear colored abayas instead of the standard black.

Beijing on Friday rejected an AFP report that Chinese hackers were suspected of being behind a series of cyber-attacks on European aerospace giant Airbus.

Thailand’s army is stepping up purchases of U.S. weapons with a deal for eight armed reconnaissance helicopters, another sign of warming ties after the end of direct military rule in the Southeast Asian nation.

Honduras signed a deal with the U.S. government on Wednesday that could push migrants who cross the country on the way to the United States back to seek asylum, in the latest bilateral deal with Central American countries aimed at curbing migration.

A group of 66 African refugees and asylum-seekers arrived in Kigali late Thursday, the UN said, the first of what could be thousands relocated from Libya under a new program.

Boeing Co has settled the first claims stemming from the crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX in Indonesia, a U.S. plaintiffs’ lawyer said, and three other sources said that families of those killed will receive at least $1.2 million apiece.

A man sentenced to death in 2002 for blasphemy and who spent 17 years awaiting execution has had his conviction overturned by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, his lawyer told AFP on Thursday.

BBC

Brazilian officials are investigating the source of a vast oil spill that has hit dozens of beaches along the country’s north-eastern coast. Analysis showed the oil found was of a type not produced in Brazil, the environmental agency Ibama said.

The OK hand sign has been added to a list of hate symbols. The finger-and-thumb gesture – which is also a popular emoji – is being used by some as a “sincere expression of white supremacy”, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

A family from Angola trapped in a South Korean airport for the last nine months can finally apply for asylum following a high court ruling. The Lulendo family say they travelled to South Korea because they were being persecuted for their Congolese background in Angola.

A 300-year-old map described as “the Holy Grail” for collectors has broken an auction house’s record after changing hands for $320,000.

WND

Pro-abortion politicians celebrated Thursday after the Australian state of New South Wales legalized the killing of unborn babies up to birth.

A new study released Wednesday suggests the cost of politics includes “friends, relatives, sanity, and health.” Younger people and men are more likely to see negative health effects, like stress or fatigue, due to being politically aware than older people or women.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, aka TESS, caught a rare event called a tidal disruption, which is the scientific term for a black hole ripping a star to shreds as it consumes it. It’s basically pure destruction on a mind-blowing scale. Astronomers says this type of cosmic carnage only happens once every 10,000 to 100,000 years in a galaxy the size of the Milky Way.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Sept. 27, 2019

The Foundation

“It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual.” —Thomas Jefferson (1785)

Who’s the Whistleblower’s Puppet Master?

Another attempted coup against Trump, orchestrated by the deep state.


Schiff’s Dishonest B Movie

His little skit wasn’t funny at all because it was a brazen lie packaged as truth.


Capitalism Against Climate Change

Capitalism, not socialism, will produce the technology to address environmental concerns.


Climate Rhetoric Begets Child Abuse … and Suicide

Alarmists have convinced young people that there is no hope for earth.


‘Joker’ Reignites Debate About Media Violence

Is violent entertainment a trigger for unstable individuals? Sometimes, it could be.


Trump’s Iran Policy Might Be Working

The rogue regime and European allies are signaling that a new deal is possible.


Make Black America Great Again

Most folks have never heard of the first female millionaire in America.


Video: Trump Absolutely Nails It at UN

Michael Knowles breaks down President Donald Trump’s speech to the United Nations.


Video: A Terrifying Brand of End-Times Environmentalism

Wherever you come down on the debate over the global climate, leave the kids out of it.



Today’s Opinion

Tucker Carlson & Neil Patel
Understanding the Impeachment Charade
David Limbaugh
Democrats’ Excessiveness Will Backfire
Michael Reagan
On Ukraine, Let’s Do the Time Warp Again!
Gary Bauer
Media Malpractice
David Harsanyi
The Tragedy of Greta Thunberg
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Friday Top News Executive Summary

Impeachment pace, stopgap spending bill, Cabinet confirmations, Syrian chlorine attack, and more.


Friday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Donald Trump, Nick Gillespie, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 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.

Headlines – 9/27/2019

Minister Katz at UN: ‘No one can separate the Jewish People from their homeland’

At UN, Israel’s Foreign Minister Calls on Palestinians to ‘Come Back to Direct Negotiations’

At UN, Abbas threatens to nix agreements with Israel if West Bank land annexed

Israeli politics remain in chaos after deadlocked election

Rallying Likud, Netanyahu challenges rival Gantz to join right-led government

Ultra-Orthodox rabbi refuses to marry Liberman’s son over political fight

Netanyahu Calls for Live Broadcast of His Pre-indictment Hearing

Netanyahu wants pre-trial hearing aired live so public can hear “my side”

AG angrily rejects Netanyahu bid for pre-indictment hearing to be broadcast live

State set to indict alleged Netanyahu co-conspirators for bribery – report

Prosecutors said examining new claims of employee abuse by Netanyahu’s wife

Poland cancels Israeli officials’ trip over Holocaust property restitution row

Polish President Says Israel Is Responsible for anti-Semitism in Poland, Jewish Insider Reports

US politicians continue using the term ‘Jew down’ amid rise in anti-Semitism

Egypt’s Sisi says claims about protests ‘no reason for concern’

Russia’s Eastern Mediterranean strategy explained – analysis

US confirms Syria’s Assad used chemical weapons in May

‘Iran could fire cruise missiles at Israel from Iraq’

UN watchdog says Iran using advanced centrifuges, breaching nuke deal

Iran nuclear deal: EU nations warn Tehran over breaches

EU may be forced to withdraw from nuclear deal, Iran told

Iran president urges US to lift sanctions, drop missile issue to resume talks

At UN, Israeli foreign minister urges more pressure on Iran, taunts regime in Persian

Saudi FM urges ‘utmost’ financial pressure to bring Iran to heel

Saudi FM says Kingdom holds Iran responsible for oil attacks

After UN visit, Iran faces diminishing choices

US deploys air defense systems, troops to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia to offer tourist visas for first time

Japan sees NKorea missile, China space activity as threat

Military sees frustrating trend as suicides spike

Whistleblower complaint on Ukraine call released, alleges Trump solicited foreign ‘interference’ in election

Democrats eye quick impeachment probe of Trump as freshmen push for focus on Ukraine

Impeach Trump? An America filled with anger and animosity digs in

Trump impeachment inquiry and brutal 2020 election will further stoke ‘toxic’ workplaces, HR experts warn

Sarah Sanders Blasts Impeachment, Thinks Dems Might as Well Be Donating to Trump

Trump raises $13M after Pelosi announces impeachment inquiry

An alleged cover-up, a secret server and more bombshells in Trump whistleblower complaint

Whistleblower complaint says White House officials acted to ‘lock down’ record of Trump-Ukraine call

Whistle-Blower Is a C.I.A. Officer Who Was Detailed to the White House

White House dusting off Mueller playbook as pressure mounts

Republicans want whistleblower’s sources, as inconsistencies in complaint emerge

Ukrainian official appears to cast doubt on quid pro quo claim

Calls to cancel New York Times subscriptions emerge over report identifying Trump whistleblower

‘Weaponizing the whistleblower’: Trump advisers claim Democrats involved in complaint

Trump Attacks Whistle-Blower’s Sources and Alludes to Punishment for Spies

Democratic senator on Trump’s ‘treason’ comments about whistleblower: ‘I worry about threats on his or her life’

Trump says fate of the nation at stake as Democrats try to ‘destroy’ the GOP

Trump warns again that the stock market would crash if he is impeached

Trump writes the GOP impeachment playbook: Scorched earth. But will it work?

Democrats accuse Trump of witness intimidation

‘Total panic’ as ‘shell-shocked’ White House struggles to find impeachment footing

Rudy Giuliani: ‘You Should Be Happy for Your Country That I Uncovered This’

Hillary Clinton calls Trump ‘illegitimate president’ and ‘corrupt human tornado’

Biden’s top 2020 Democratic rivals avoid rush to defend him

Andrew Yang backs impeachment, but warns against falling into Trump ‘trap’

Wall Street Democratic donors warn the party: We’ll sit out, or back Trump, if you nominate Elizabeth Warren

The Fed pumps another $110 billion into markets as investor demand surges

Boris Johnson condemned as lawmakers receive death threats over Brexit

China’s new ‘super camera’ can instantly pinpoint specific targets among tens of thousands of people

Face masks to decoy t-shirts: The rise of anti-surveillance fashion

6.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Villa La Angostura, Argentina

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Marmaraereglisi, Turkey

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Coquimbo, Chile

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits South of the Fiji Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Honiara, Solomon Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Kandrian, Papua New Guinea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Visokoi Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Indonesia quake death toll rises to 23: Official

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 28,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Hurricane Lorenzo strengthens to ‘beastly’ Category 4 storm, Tropical Storm Karen forecast to weaken

Southern drought deepens; 11 million affected

CDC warning: Deer carrying tuberculosis strain can pass it to humans

Judge in opioid litigation won’t remove himself from case as its lawyers accuse him of bias against drug makers

China is harvesting thousands of human organs from its Uighur Muslim minority, UN human-rights body hears

Abortionist Testifies That Babies Likely Born Alive in Abortion to Harvest Their Body Parts for Sale

Abortion now legal in Australia’s most-populous state, lawmakers overturn 119-y-o ban

Smart Phones, Computers Creating Generation Of Porn Addicts; Some States Call It ‘Public Health Emergency’

Gay, transgender fans ‘welcome’ at 2022 World Cup, says Qatar where homosexual acts are still illegal

Landmark Theatres, 2 In North Texas, Banning Costumes For ‘Joker’ Movie Amid Concerns Over Possible Violence

‘Joker’ producer defends movie for holding ‘mirror to our society’

India: Christian woman hacked to death with ax in front of 3-year-old daughter


Apostasy Watch

Mike Ratliff – Following Jesus is Costly

Costi Hinn – Being ‘slain in the spirit’ – is it biblical?

Former Catholic Priest & Founder of Berean Beacon Richard Bennett Passes Away at 81

Mid-South man claims to be pastor with startup church, workers say they were swindled

SBC/Lifeway to Host NAR Faith-Healing Event in North Carolina

Christians in Algeria Hit with More Church Closure


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

RenewAmerica Newsletter for September 27, 2019

September 27, 2019
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — Contrary to suggestions by some, most Trump supporters are not automatons or blind supporters. What bothers them, and should bother others, about the latest Ukraine hysterias is the familiar monotony of this latest scripted psychodrama…. (more)

September 27, 2019
Schiff does not have evidence that Trump extorted Zelensky for the purpose of aiding Trump’s 2020 campaign
ANDREW MCCARTHY — House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff’s opening statement at today’s hearing, a grilling of National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire, was remarkable. To begin with, he recited a parody of the conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky that was so absurd, it would not have made it into a Grade-C mob movie…. (more)

September 26, 2019
NEWSMAX — Former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz said Thursday that the whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump was a “grievous violation of trust between the intelligence community and the White House” and questioned whether the individual went to Congress before approaching intelligence officials…. (more)


September 26, 2019
Pressed for dirt to back Russia-collusion hoax
WORLDNETDAILY — It’s already been pointed out that if there is concern about U.S. officials inappropriately threatening aid to Ukraine – – the charge by Democrats against President Trump – – Joe Biden has some explaining to do…. (more)


September 25, 2019
WORLDNETDAILY — The GOP has a message for Joe Biden: We’ve shown you Trump’s Ukraine transcripts, now you show us yours. In a statement released Tuesday, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel called on the former vice president to release communications he had with leaders in Ukraine…. (more)

September 25, 2019
No violation of campaign finance laws, ruled diplomatic communication
WORLDNETDAILY — With attention focused on the release of the transcript of President Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian president about former Vice President Joe Biden, the Justice Department’s criminal division said Wednesday it already has investigated the matter and concluded Trump did not violate campaign finance laws…. (more)

September 25, 2019
NEWSMAX — One of the driving forces behind the unsuccessful impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998 insists a similar move to impeach President Donald Trump “will ultimately lead to the Biden family and destroy Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy.”… (more)

September 25, 2019
Pelosi said she was opening a formal impeachment inquiry
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $5 million in the 24 hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she was opening a formal impeachment inquiry. “Huge groundswell of support,” campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted in announcing the haul, which he said included donors from all 50 states. The total is far short of the $24.8 million Trump raised in less than 24 hours when he officially relaunched his re-election bid…. (more)

September 25, 2019
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump set out a nationalist worldview on Tuesday, attacking globalism and delivering a comprehensive account of how his vision informs policies on everything from trade to abortion…. (more)


September 25, 2019
$1.5 billion agreement came after trip to Beijing
WORLDNETDAILY — Missing in the reporting of Hunter Biden’s deal with a Ukrainian natural gas firm that paid him more than $50,000 a month is the role of his then-vice president father Joe Biden in paving the way for that deal as well as a $1.5 billion private equity agreement with the Chinese government…. (more)

September 25, 2019
WORLDNETDAILY — Sen. Lindsey Graham is pushing questions Democrats don’t want to hear. With the mainstream media pack still chasing the current “controversy” over the contents of a July phone call between President Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine, the South Carolina Republican is adding his voice to the chorus of those who want to know more about a topic Democrats don’t want to talk about…. (more)

September 25, 2019
BREITBART — More than 500 scientists and professionals in climate and related fields have sent a “European Climate Declaration” to the Secretary-General of the United Nations asking for a long-overdue, high-level, open debate on climate change…. (more)

September 25, 2019
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump’s Republican allies controlling the Senate are awarding him with his full $5 billion request to build about 200 miles (322 kilometers) of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border…. (more)

September 25, 2019
NEWSMAX — Israel’s president tasked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday with assembling a new government after power-sharing talks with his strongest rival, Benny Gantz, failed following an inconclusive election…. (more)

September 24, 2019
NEWSMAX — The toymaker behind Barbie launched a range of gender-neutral dolls on Wednesday which can be styled as either girls or boys, saying children were moving away from traditional stereotypes…. (more)


September 24, 2019
JOAN SWIRSKY — Not long ago, I received a lengthy e-mail – – “Why We Must Renew Our Commitment to the Civil Rights Movement” – – from a woman named Melanie Roth Gorelick, who identified herself as Senior Vice President of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA)…. (more)

September 24, 2019
WORLDNETDAILY — President Trump on Monday became the first president of the United States to hold a meeting at the United Nations on religious freedom, calling on the global body and all nations to “end religious persecution.”… (more)

September 24, 2019
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump called on world leaders to take action to protect religious freedom in the wake of rising persecution of people based on their faith and beliefs. It’s an issue that resonates with evangelicals who support the president’s reelection…. (more)

September 24, 2019
NEWSMAX — Britain, France and Germany joined the United States on Monday in blaming Iran for attacks on key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, but the Iranian foreign minister pointed to claims of responsibility by Yemeni rebels and said: “If Iran were behind this attack, nothing would have been left of this refinery.”… (more)

September 24, 2019
WORLDNETDAILY — Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has insisted he was joking when he offered to wear a wire to record his conversations with President Trump. He made the remark as Department of Justice officials discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president…. (more)

September 24, 2019
AMERICAN RHETORIC — “Applause for Matt Drudge in Washington at the Press Club”: Now there’s a scandal. It’s the kind of thing I’d have a headline for…. (more)

September 22, 2019
THE ONION — Following her U.N. address about the existential threat posed by a rapidly warming planet, citizens across the United States confirmed Monday they were perplexed by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old who apparently has no desire to see the world end…. (more)


September 22, 2019
GREGG JARRETT — The latest media mass hysteria over a whistleblower’s complaint that, according to FoxNews.com “reportedly involved allegations President Trump made a troubling and unspecified ‘promise’ to a foreign leader,” is based on precious little information. That has not stopped journalists from convicting Trump in the court of public opinion and predicting his imminent demise…. (more)

September 22, 2019
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The whistleblower who filed a complaint with the intelligence community inspector general did not have direct knowledge of the communications between President Trump and the foreign leader in question…. (more)

 

September 27 Responsibility and Forgiveness

Scripture reading: Luke 6:31–37

Key verse: 1 Timothy 1:5

The purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.

Being unforgiving and blaming others go hand in hand. In his book Healing for Damaged Emotions, David Seamands discusses responsibility and forgiveness:

Facing responsibility and forgiving people are really two sides of the same coin. The reason some people have never been able to forgive is that if they forgave, the last rug would be pulled out from under them and they would have no one to blame. Facing responsibility and forgiving are almost the same action; in some instances you need to do them simultaneously. Jesus made it very plain that no healing occurs until there is deep forgiveness.

Some people fail to experience the joy of God’s grace because a spirit of unforgiveness burdens them. False guilt, which means feeling guilty for something you did not do, is a joy killer. So is unforgiveness. If this is something you struggle with, ask a godly friend to help you see God’s truth about your life. Be honest and willing to take responsibility for your feelings.

Another way you may fail to experience the freedom that God has planned for you is by refusing to forgive yourself for past sins. Allow the Lord to show you the way to complete healing. Once you do this, you won’t be so quick to blame others because you will be too busy praising God and enjoying His goodness to get caught up in the blame game!

Dear Lord, You died not only for my sins, but also for my shame. If You carried it, I no longer need to carry it. Take it all—the guilt, the blame, the shame.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 282). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 27, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Day of the Lord

(1 Thessalonians 5:1–3)

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. (5:1–3)

After a century that experienced the terror of two world wars, the horror of the Holocaust, the brutality of the Korean conflict, the hopeless futility of the war in Vietnam, as well as innumerable revolutions, riots, assassinations, and acts of terrorism, a crucial question is, Where (if anywhere) is history going? Does it have a purpose, goal, or meaning? Or is it merely an endless succession of events leading nowhere? How are we to live, work, play, and love amidst the chaos, confusion, and meaninglessness of life? In his book Christ the Meaning of History, Hendrikus Berkhof writes,

Our generation is strangled by fear: fear for man, for his future, and for the direction in which we are driven against our will and desire. And out of this comes a cry for illumination concerning the meaning of the existence of mankind, and concerning the goal to which we are directed. It is a cry for an answer to the old question of the meaning of history. ([Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979], 13)

There are three popular contemporary views of history. The first is the cyclical view, which sees history as an endless circle, spiraling back through the same things over and over again. In the cynical words of the Preacher, “That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9). The cyclical view was popular among the ancient Greeks. Today it characterizes much of Eastern thought—especially Hinduism, with its continual cycle of death and rebirth (samsara). Through the influence of the New Age movement, it has also become increasingly popular in the West.

But the cyclical view evacuates any meaning or purpose from history, as John Marsh notes:

If such a view be true, then historical existence has been deprived of its significance. What I do now I have done in a previous world cycle, and will do again in future world cycles. Responsibility and decision disappear, and with them any real significance to historical life, which in fact becomes a rather grandiose natural cycle. Just as the corn is sown, grows, and ripens each year, so will the events of history recur time after time. Moreover, if all that can happen is the constant repetition of an event-cycle, there is no possibility of meaning in the cycle itself. It achieves nothing in itself, neither can it contribute to anything outside itself. The events of history are devoid of significance. (The Fulness of Time [London: Nisbet, 1952], 167)

A second view of history is that of atheistic naturalism. Unlike the cyclical view, this view sees history as linear and non-repetitive. But like the cyclical view, the naturalistic view assigns no meaning to history. History may be proceeding in a straight line instead of going around in circles, but it is not leading anywhere; it has no ultimate goal or purpose. Anthony Hoekema notes that according to this view, “No significant pattern can be found in history, no movement toward a goal; only a meaningless succession of events” (The Bible and the Future [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989], 25). The celebrated British philosopher and vocal critic of Christianity Bertrand Russell admitted, “There is no law of cosmic progress.… From evolution, so far as our present knowledge shows, no ultimately optimistic philosophy can be validly inferred” (cited in Henry M. Morris, That Their Words May Be Used Against Them [Green Forest, Ark.: Master Books, 1997], 418). The zealous defender of Darwinism Richard Dawkins acknowledges, “Evolution has no long-term goal. There is no long distance target, no final perfection to serve as a criterion for selection, although human vanity cherishes the absurd notion that our species is the final goal of evolution” (cited in Morris, 412). Thus, human history is just one phase of the meaningless flow of evolutionary history. The influential evolutionary paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson put it bluntly: “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind” (cited in Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial [Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1993], 116). Such a hopeless, purposeless, empty view of history reduces man to insignificance, to nothing more than a “chance configuration of atoms in the slip stream of meaningless chance history” (Francis A. Schaeffer, Death in the City [Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1972], 18).

The Christian view of history stands in sharp contrast to the hopeless despair of the first two views. The Bible reveals history to be the outworking of the purposeful plan of the sovereign, creator God. Job confessed, “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). Through the prophet Isaiah, God declared, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure” (Isa. 46:10), and “I act and who can reverse it?” (Isa. 43:13). Jesus Christ is the central figure in history; the Old Testament points to His coming, and the New Testament describes and expounds His life, death, resurrection, and second coming.

As history continues to unfold the eternally planned purposes of God, one event looms large on the horizon: the Day of the Lord. That event will mark the end of man’s day, as God acts in judgment to take back direct control of the earth from the usurpers (both human and demonic) who presently rule it. It will be an unprecedented time of cataclysmic judgment on all unrepentant sinners.

Most preachers strive to be positive, affirming, and comforting, and hence rarely preach on God’s wrath, vengeance, and judgment. But to ignore such truth is to “shrink from declaring … the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:27). It is to forsake the preacher’s responsibility to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2). Scripture repeatedly warns of God’s judgment and the eternal punishment of unbelievers. Judgment was a major emphasis of both the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles. But the one who spoke most often about judgment was the Lord Jesus Christ. All true preachers must follow His example, as did Paul (cf. 1:10; 2:16; 4:6; 5:9; 2 Thess. 1:5–9).

Paul had preached the sobering truth about the Day of the Lord to the Thessalonians during his relatively brief stay in their city (2 Thess. 2:5). After he left, questions arose in their minds about both the Rapture and the Day of the Lord. Timothy likely conveyed those concerns to Paul when he returned from his trip to Thessalonica (3:2, 6). Having answered their questions about the Rapture in the previous passage (4:13–18), Paul now dealt with the Thessalonians’ concerns about the Day of the Lord. From the blessed event of the catching away of the church, Paul turned to the horrible event that follows it—the destruction of the wicked rejecters of the Lord Jesus Christ. As it was in dealing with the Rapture, Paul’s purpose in writing this section on the Day of the Lord was not primarily theological and eschatological but pastoral and practical.

Paul introduced his discussion of the Day of the Lord with the transitional phrase peri de (now as to). The apostle used that phrase frequently in his writings to signal a change of subject (e.g., 4:9; 1 Cor. 7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1, 12). Paul’s use of the affectionate term brethren as a call to renewed attention also suggests a new topic (cf. 2:1, 17; 4:1, 13). In his discussion of end-time events, Paul turned from the Rapture (4:13–18) to a new subject, the Day of the Lord.

The phrase the times (chronos) and the epochs (kairos) refers in a general sense to the end times (cf. Dan. 2:21; Acts 1:7). Though the two words may be used here in an overlapping sense, there is a subtle difference in meaning between them. Chronos refers to chronological time, to clock time or calendar time. Kairos, on the other hand, views time in terms of events, eras, or seasons, such as the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24). Taken together, the two terms suggest that the Thessalonians were curious about the timing of the end-time events. That both nouns are plural indicates that many different time periods (cf. Dan. 7:25; 9:24–27; 12:7, 11, 12; Rev. 11:2–3; 13:5) and events (e.g., the Rapture, the rise of Antichrist, the salvation of Israel, the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments, the Second Coming, the battle of Armageddon, the sheep and goat judgment, the binding of Satan, the millennial kingdom, the loosing of Satan and subsequent worldwide rebellion at the end of the Millennium, the Great White Throne judgment, and the new heavens and the new earth) make up the end times.

Specifically, the congregation wanted to know when the Rapture and the Day of the Lord would take place. As noted in the previous chapter of this volume, they were concerned that they had somehow missed the Rapture and were in the Day of the Lord (cf. 2 Thess. 2:1–2). In verse 4 of this chapter, Paul reassured them that they would not experience the Day of the Lord. (See the discussion of 5:4–11 in chapter 13 of this volume.)

But to their question as to when the Day of the Lord would come, Paul replied, you have no need of anything to be written to you. The Lord Jesus Christ gave a similar answer to His disciples; when they asked Him, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) He replied, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority” (Acts 1:7; cf. Matt. 24:36, 44, 50; 25:13). The Thessalonians did not need to know when the Day of the Lord would come; they already knew all that God intended them to know. To know when the Day of the Lord will come would foster spiritual indifference if it were still a long way off, or panic if it were coming soon. Being spiritually prepared for the return of Christ does not involve date setting, clock-watching, or sign seeking. God has chosen not to reveal the specific time of end-time events so that all believers will live in constant anticipation of them.

As he replied to the Thessalonians’ questions about the Day of the Lord, Paul discussed three aspects of that momentous event: its coming, character, and completeness.

The Coming of the Day of the Lord

For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” (5:2–3a)

What the Thessalonians already knew full well was that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night—suddenly, unexpectedly, unwelcomed, and harmfully. It will be a terrifying shock to those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. Akribōs (full well) describes careful, accurate, painstaking research (cf. Matt. 2:8; Luke 1:3; Acts 18:25). The Thessalonians knew for certain that the Day of the Lord will arrive unexpectedly. Obviously, then, the time of its arrival will not be revealed; no sane thief announces in advance what time of the night he plans to rob someone.

In the Olivet Discourse—Jesus’ own sermon on His second coming—He used the imagery of a thief in the night to refer to the unexpectedness of His return: “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into” (Matt. 24:43; cf. Rev. 16:15). Like the Day of the Lord, the exact time of the Second Coming will not be revealed, though there will be signs that Christ’s return is imminent (Matt. 24:4–33). Jesus put every generation on notice that they must live in expectation of His return and the events of the Day of the Lord that lead up to it.

The metaphor of a thief coming is never used to refer to the Rapture of the church. It describes the coming of the Lord in judgment at the end of the seven-year Tribulation period, and the judgment at the end of the thousand-year kingdom of Christ on earth (2 Peter 3:10). A thief coming is not a hopeful, joyful event of deliverance, but an unexpected calamity.

The important biblical term the day of the Lord describes God’s cataclysmic future judgment on the wicked. It is mentioned explicitly nineteen times in the Old Testament (Isa. 2:12; 13:6, 9; Ezek. 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18 [2 times], 20; Obad. 15; Zeph. 1:7, 14 [2 times]; Zech. 14:1; Mal. 4:5) and four times in the New Testament (cf. Acts 2:20; 2 Thess. 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10), and is alluded to in other passages (cf. Rev. 6:17; 16:14). It will be the time when God pours out His fury on the wicked; in fact, Scripture three times calls the Day of the Lord the “day of vengeance” (Isa. 34:8; 61:2; 63:4).

The Day of the Lord must be distinguished from the “day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10; 2:16), the “day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6), the “day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:5), and the “day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:8); all of those terms refer to the time when believers will receive their rewards from the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 3:11–14; 4:1–5; 2 Cor. 5:9–10). The Day of the Lord must also be distinguished from the “day of God” (2 Peter 3:12), which refers to the eternal state.

The Old Testament passages dealing with the Day of the Lord often convey a sense of imminence, nearness, and expectation: “Wail, for the day of the Lord is near!” (Isa. 13:6); “For the day is near, even the day of the Lord is near” (Ezek. 30:3); “For the day of the Lord is near” (Joel 1:15); “Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near” (Joel 2:1); “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14); “For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations” (Obad. 15); “Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is near” (Zeph. 1:7); “Near is the great day of the Lord, near and coming very quickly” (Zeph. 1:14).

The Old Testament prophets envisioned historical days of the Lord that would preview the final, eschatological Day of the Lord. God often used providentially controlled circumstances, such as using one nation to destroy another, or natural disasters, as instruments of His judgment. But those historical days of the Lord were merely a prelude to the final eschatological Day of the Lord, which will be far greater in extent and more terrible in its destruction.

The Old Testament Day of the Lord passages often have both a near and a far fulfillment, as does much Old Testament prophecy. In Psalm 69:9 David wrote, “Zeal for Your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me”; yet after Jesus cleansed the temple, “His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘zeal for Your house will consume me’ ” (John 2:17). Psalm 22 has in view both David’s suffering and the crucifixion of Christ. Isaiah 7:14 refers both to the historical birth of Isaiah’s son and prophetically to the virgin birth of Christ. Similarly, Isaiah 13:6 points to a historical day of the Lord, while verse 9 of that same chapter has the final, eschatological Day of the Lord in view. Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11 describe a historical day of the Lord; Joel 3:1–14 the eschatological Day of the Lord. Obadiah 1–14 depicts the historical day of the Lord in which Edom was judged; verses 15–21 describe the eschatological Day of the Lord. Zephaniah 1:7–14 predicts an imminent, historical day of the Lord judgment on Judah, which was fulfilled shortly afterward in the Babylonian Captivity; 3:8–20 predicts the final Day of the Lord.

Summarizing the interplay of the historical and eschatological Days of the Lord in the writings of the Old Testament prophets, George Eldon Ladd writes,

The Day of the Lord was near because God was about to act; and the historical event was in a real sense an anticipation of the final eschatological deed.… The historical imminence of the Day of the Lord did not include all that the Day of the Lord meant; history and eschatology were held in dynamic tension, for both were the Day of the Lord. (The Presence of the Future [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976], 320. Italics in original.)

Unlike the Rapture, which will not be preceded by any signs, there will be several precursors that will herald the arrival of the eschatological Day of the Lord. They will not, however, reveal the specific time that it will come.

The first sign that the Day of the Lord is drawing near will be the appearance of an Elijah-like forerunner. In Malachi 4:5 the Lord declared, “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.” Like many other Day of the Lord prophecies, this one had a historical fulfillment in John the Baptist (Luke 1:17) and will also have a future fulfillment in the end times. Some have speculated that this forerunner will be one of the two witnesses (Rev. 11:3). Whoever he is, he will herald the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the arrival of the Day of the Lord that precedes it.

Second, a worldwide rebellion against God and His Word will precede the Day of the Lord. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Paul reminded the Thessalonians that the Day of the Lord (v. 2) “will not come unless the apostasy comes first.” That apostasy will include a worldwide system of false religion. (See the discussion of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 in chapter 23 of this volume.)

Third, the Day of the Lord will not come until “the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (2 Thess. 2:3–4). The rise of Antichrist and his desecration of the temple (Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matt. 24:15) will precede the coming of the Day of the Lord. (See the discussion of 2:3–4 in chapter 23 of this volume.)

Fourth, the nations will begin to assemble in the valley of decision for the battle of Armageddon (Joel 3:2–14).

Fifth, dramatic signs in the heavens will precede the coming of the Day of the Lord; God “will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.… The sun and moon grow dark and the stars lose their brightness” (Joel 2:30–31; 3:15; cf. Isa. 13:10; Matt. 24:29; Luke 21:25; Rev. 6:12–13; 8:12).

In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus gave another list of precursors to the Day of the Lord—a list paralleled in the first five seal judgments in Revelation. The Lord described these judgments as “birth pangs” (Matt. 24:8)—an apt analogy to the labor pains that come suddenly upon a pregnant woman and intensify until she gives birth. Just as a woman’s labor pains warn her that her time to give birth is imminent, so these birth pangs should warn people that the Day of the Lord is near.

The first birth pang is a proliferation of false teachers, false prophets, and false religions. They will succeed in explaining away the signs so that people will not recognize that they point to the Day of the Lord. In Matthew 24:5 Jesus warned, “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.” But the epitome of all of them will be the ultimate false prophet, the final world ruler, the Antichrist. He is known in Scripture by many names: the little horn (Dan. 7:8), the king who does as he pleases (Dan. 11:36–45), the man of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:3), the son of destruction (2 Thess. 2:3), and the beast (Rev. 11:7; 13:2–8). This demon-indwelled individual will be a man of charisma, charm, persuasiveness, brilliance, authority, ruthlessness—and consummate wickedness. He will at first appear to be everything a desperate world longs for—a man who will unify the world under his leadership and usher in a short-lived era of global peace and prosperity. He will even make a seven-year pact with Israel (Dan. 9:27), promising to provide the security and protection that nation has always longed for. But halfway through that pact, Antichrist will reveal his true colors. He will put a stop to Israel’s religion and desecrate the temple by setting himself up as God and demanding that the world worship him (2 Thess. 2:4).

The first of the seal judgments (Rev. 6:2) depicts Antichrist’s rise to power: “I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.” The bow depicts Antichrist’s power, but the absence of arrows and the fact that the crown was freely given to him indicate his victory will not come through war. Antichrist’s victory will be a bloodless, political, ideological conquest, as the world turns to him to lead them through the unparalleled crisis of the time of Tribulation.

Antichrist’s false peace will not last long, for the second birth pang is war. In Matthew 24:6–7 Jesus warned, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” War on an unprecedented scale will characterize the Tribulation (Dan. 11:36–45), culminating in the unimaginable slaughter of the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 19:17–21).

The second seal judgment (Rev. 6:3–4) also depicts the devastating wars that will precede the Day of the Lord: “When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, ‘Come.’ And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.” War personified rides the red horse of battle and slaughter.

Adding to the misery and suffering caused by war will be the natural disasters associated with the third birth pang: “In various places there will be famines and earthquakes” (Matt. 24:7). The third and fourth seal judgments also describe the natural disasters that precede the Day of the Lord:

When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.” (Rev. 6:5–6)

That a denarius (one day’s wages) would purchase only a quart of wheat (one day’s supply for one person) and enough barley (low quality grain usually fed to livestock) to feed a small family for one day graphically depicts the famine conditions that will prevail.

The fourth seal pictures death on a scale unprecedented in human history:

When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth. (Rev. 6:7–8)

The devastation caused by war and famine will result in a staggering death toll—one fourth of the earth’s population.

The fourth birth pang describes the martyrdom of many of the Tribulation believers. In the midst of the devastation, slaughter, and horror of the Tribulation, many (Rev. 7:9) will be redeemed through the preaching of the two witnesses (Rev. 11:2–6), the 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Rev. 7), and the “angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people” (Rev. 14:6). Jesus warned those believers, “They will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name” (Matt. 24:9). When the Lord Jesus Christ broke the fifth seal, John

saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. (Rev. 6:9–11)

The final birth pang, unlike the first four, is a positive sign. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” As noted above, there will be vast numbers of people converted during the Tribulation as a result of the preaching of the two witnesses, the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, and the angel flying in midheaven.

Unbelievably, incomprehensibly, despite these obvious, unmistakable signs, most people will still be caught by surprise when the Day of the Lord comes. The terrible outpouring of God’s wrath in judgment will happen while they are saying, “Peace and safety!” The only explanation for such a ludicrous, absurd response is that people will be deceived by false prophets. Jesus warned, “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.… Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.… For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:5, 11, 24). Those lying deceivers will dupe the world into believing that peace and prosperity are just around the corner, despite the ominous signs that the Day of the Lord is fast approaching.

The Old Testament prophets also encountered deceiving false prophets who scoffed at their warnings of impending doom. Jeremiah warned his countrymen, “Flee for safety, O sons of Benjamin, from the midst of Jerusalem! Now blow a trumpet in Tekoa and raise a signal over Beth-haccerem; for evil looks down from the north, and a great destruction” (Jer. 6:1). But in spite of Jeremiah’s warning, the false prophets were “saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14; cf. 8:11). In Jeremiah 14:13 Jeremiah complained, “ ‘Ah, Lord God!’ I said, ‘Look, the prophets are telling them, “You will not see the sword nor will you have famine, but I will give you lasting peace in this place.” ’ ” In verse 14 God replied, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds.” Lamentations 2:14 notes, “Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions; and they have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity, but they have seen for you false and misleading oracles” (cf. Micah 3:5). God declared of the false prophets who plagued Israel:

It is definitely because they have misled My people by saying, “Peace!” when there is no peace. And when anyone builds a wall, behold, they plaster it over with whitewash; so tell those who plaster it over with whitewash, that it will fall. A flooding rain will come, and you, O hailstones, will fall; and a violent wind will break out. Behold, when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked, “Where is the plaster with which you plastered it?” Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “I will make a violent wind break out in My wrath. There will also be in My anger a flooding rain and hailstones to consume it in wrath. So I will tear down the wall which you plastered over with whitewash and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation is laid bare; and when it falls, you will be consumed in its midst. And you will know that I am the Lord. Thus I will spend My wrath on the wall and on those who have plastered it over with whitewash; and I will say to you, ‘The wall is gone and its plasterers are gone, along with the prophets of Israel who prophesy to Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace,’ ” declares the Lord God. (Ezek. 13:10–16)

In the end time, the false prophets will use “great signs and wonders” (Matt. 24:24) to mislead the world. As a result of their deception, life will go on with some semblance of normalcy, just as it did before the Flood:

For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matt. 24:37–39)

The false prophet, the associate of the Antichrist, will use signs and wonders to persuade people to worship the Antichrist: “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men” (Rev. 13:13).

Unbelievers’ susceptibility to the false prophets’ deception is a sign of God’s judgment on them. In 2 Thessalonians 2:10–12 Paul wrote that those deceived by the Antichrist will “perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” As a result, the sudden, unexpected coming of the Day of the Lord will sweep them away in judgment.

The Character of the Day of the Lord

then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, (5:3b)

Olethros (destruction) does not refer to annihilation, but separation from God (cf. 2 Thess. 1:9). It does not mean the destruction of being, but of well-being (cf. 1 Tim. 6:9); not the end of existence, but the destruction of the purpose for existence. God will accomplish the destruction of unbelievers by casting them into the eternal torment of hell (2 Thess. 1:9).

Revelation 6:12–17 graphically depicts the destructiveness of the Day of the Lord:

I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Acts 2:19–20 describes the Day of the Lord as a time of “wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.”

By using the term them (a reference to unbelievers), Paul reassured the Thessalonians that they will not face destruction. As he states plainly in verse 4, the Thessalonians will not experience the Day of the Lord; they will be raptured before it begins. (See the discussion of v. 4 in chapter 13 of this volume.) As noted earlier in this chapter, the Day of the Lord will come suddenly and unexpectedly on unbelievers. They will fail to heed the many precursors that should have warned them of its imminent arrival, just as labor pains coming upon a woman with child warn her that the birth of her child is imminent. (See the discussion of “birth pangs” above.)

The Completeness of the Day of the Lord

and they will not escape. (5:3c)

The tragic result of unbelievers’ unpreparedness for the Day of the Lord is that they will not escape divine judgment. The use of the double negative ou mē stresses the comprehensiveness of the Day of the Lord, which will bring destruction on every unbeliever alive when it comes.

Believers should be comforted by the reality that they will be raptured before the coming of the Day of the Lord and not experience its horrors. Yet the knowledge that that event looms large on the prophetic horizon should also motivate them to evangelize the lost. The tragic reality is that those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ will experience God’s temporal and eternal wrath. In the sobering, pensive words of the writer of Hebrews, “How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb. 2:3).[1]


Like a Thief in the Night

1 Thessalonians 5:1–4

For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thess. 5:2–3)

Stephanie and Ray left the suburbs for a safer home in the country after being burglarized while on vacation. A visit from exconvicts Matt Johnston and Jon Douglas Rainey, however, proved that Stephanie and Ray were no more safe in the country than they had been closer to town. Johnston and Rainey were hosts of the Discovery Channel show It Takes a Thief, and the ease with which they broke in and stole valuable property week after week before a national audience shows how vulnerable anyone is to a trained and motivated burglar. Their example shows why the expression “a thief in the night” is one that evokes fear and dread.

The Day of the Lord

It seems from Paul’s letter that the Thessalonian Christians were worried about what might occur to them on some dark night. Having earlier addressed their concern about the destiny of believers who had died, Paul now responds to their concerns about the timing of Christ’s return. “Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers,” he writes, “you have no need to have anything written to you” (1 Thess. 5:1). The two words for “times and seasons” (chronos and kairos) correspond roughly to “length of time” and “sequence of events.” The Thessalonians were concerned, we may infer, about the timing of Christ’s return, lest they be unprepared when Jesus came. Paul responded that he had covered this topic thoroughly during his time among them: “You have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:2).

Before we criticize these early believers for fretting over a matter about which they had already been taught, we should realize the sober nature of the subject. In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, Paul had written about “the coming of the Lord.” Now he describes the same event with the designation “the day of the Lord.” If we understand the meaning of this term, we will better understand their concern about the timing and sequence of events in its coming.

“The day of the Lord” is an expression with its origin in the prophetic writings, signifying the coming of God to judge his enemies in fiery wrath. The eighth century b.c. prophet Amos warned of God’s coming to the wicked people of Samaria: “Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?” (Amos 5:20). The day of the Lord is the time of reckoning for sinners who transgress God’s law and enemies who oppress God’s people. Ezekiel wrote: “It will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations” (Ezek. 30:3). In the Old Testament, “the day of the Lord” referred to a complex of events in which God broke into history to judge his enemies and save his people, pointing forward to the great day of the Lord when Christ returns. Andrew Young described it as “a day of wrath and destruction for rebellious individuals and nations, and at the same time a day of salvation and deliverance for his people.”

Dispensational scholars seek to distinguish between “the day of Christ,” which brings deliverance to the church, and “the day of the Lord” as a cataclysmic judgment. This distinction is mandated by the pretribulation eschatology that requires a two-stage return, with Christ’s first removing his church and then later returning to judge the earth before his millennial rule. This theory becomes particularly strained, however, when it seeks to differentiate between “the day of the Lord” and “the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10), or even “the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:5 nkjv). This arbitrary distinction is most clearly refuted in 2 Thessalonians 2:1–2, where Paul speaks of “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” as “the day of the Lord,” showing that they are in fact one and the same event (see also 2 Thess. 1:6–7). The apostle Peter states that the day of the Lord is not merely one among many steps along the way to the end but is the climactic event to end all history: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Peter 3:10).

The Bible’s teaching on the day of the Lord tells us that history is moving forward to a great reckoning for all the evil on the earth and to salvation for the people of God. This contrasts with the prevailing unbelief of our day, based on the theory of evolution, which holds that history has neither a goal nor any meaning. As Ravi Zacharias writes, “A philosophy of meaninglessness is an unavoidable consequence of the antitheistic starting point.” The Bible teaches the opposite. Just as history had its beginning in God’s sovereign act of creation, it will conclude in the sovereign return of the Lord, the day when man’s apparent sway is brought to an end and God’s sovereign purposes are unveiled as being fully achieved. John Lillie writes: “Now it is man’s day—the day of man’s ambition—man’s pleasures—man’s judging—man’s glory; and ‘God is not in all his thoughts’ (Ps. 10:4). How great the change from this to ‘the day of the Lord’! Then ‘the lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.’ ”

Since the day of the Lord will culminate God’s purpose for history, Christians must not shrink from declaring this important Bible truth. To be sure, there are better and worse ways to declare the day of the Lord. When I ministered in Philadelphia, a woman came almost every day to the train station with a large placard depicting the human race in flames and called sinners to escape God’s judgment. In all the days I walked past the woman and her sign, I never saw anyone stop to discuss the topic, despite the accuracy of her message. Yet we must avoid the opposite extreme of neglecting to tell the world about the day of the Lord. It is evident that Paul had given priority to this doctrine while in Thessalonica. Like Paul, we need to combine our witness to God’s coming judgment with a declaration of God’s grace and mercy through Jesus, who came to die for sin and whose return is the believer’s “blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Christ’s Unforeseen Return

The Thessalonians were asking about “times and seasons” because they were concerned to be prepared for God’s judgment. John Stott comments, “They thought they could most easily get ready for Christ’s coming in judgment if they could know when he would arrive.” The problem with this approach, Paul replied, is that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:2).

The point of this analogy is that the Lord’s return will arrive at a time and in a way unforeseen by the world. The problem with thieves is that they do not announce their coming, but wait for an unexpected opportunity. Here Paul is reproducing the teaching of Jesus on his own return: “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32). Unfortunately, this plain teaching has not kept history from being littered with those claiming to know when Christ will return. In 1833, William Miller published his belief that Christ would return in 1843. When that year passed, the date was reset for April 18, 1844, and then again for October 22, 1844, with thousands of followers anxiously awaiting the end of the world, many of them having sold their possessions. After “the Great Disappointment,” when this date passed, various theories were offered, one of them spawning the Seventh-day Adventist movement that continues to thrive today. G. K. Beale notes a similar occurrence when a group of Korean Christians so strongly expected Christ’s return in October 1992 that they sold their homes and goods. In the despair that overcame them when Christ failed to meet their schedule, some of them took their own lives. Beale notes that “without exception, the expectations of each of these groups throughout history have been dashed.”6 Today “The Rapture Index” can be accessed on the Internet, offering advance warning of Christ’s return by means of a point scale for activities associated with the end of the world. The website describes itself as “a Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity,” and a “prophetic speedometer. The higher the number, the faster we’re moving towards the occurrence of pre-tribulation rapture.”

While both Jesus and Paul emphasized the unforeseen nature of the Lord’s coming, the Bible also displays an expectation of its nearness. Isaiah warned wicked Jerusalem of an onslaught from the north as an unforeseen day of the Lord that would come soon: “Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!” (Isa. 13:6). Ezekiel later gave a similar warning related to Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem: “Wail, ‘Alas for the day!’ For the day is near, the day of the Lord is near” (Ezek. 30:2–3). Zephaniah added: “The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast” (Zeph. 1:14). What was said of these earlier, more limited judgments is all the more true of the great and final day of the Lord in the coming of Jesus Christ. Even if it should turn out that Christ returns at some far distant date in the future, the reality of death makes it certain that judgment is near to everyone who lives and breathes at this very moment. Hebrews 9:27 reminds us that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

Some scholars have made much of Paul’s use of the first-person plural in speaking of his expectation of Christ’s coming: “We who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17). The claim is made that Paul erroneously believed that Christ would return during his own lifetime and was disappointed by his mistake. This idea is refuted by Paul’s own teaching that no one knows the time of Christ’s return. Yet the apostle’s urgency does point out that the Christian attitude toward the day of the Lord ought always to be one of excited expectation. Anthony Hoekema explains: “The believer should live in constant, joyful expectation of Christ’s return; though he does not know the exact time of it, he should always be ready for it.” In the second-to-last verse of the entire Bible, Jesus himself declared: “Surely I am coming soon.” The expectant believer answers, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).

Sudden Destruction

As Paul and other biblical writers explain it, the result of Christ’s unforeseen coming will be sudden destruction on those who were unprepared: “While people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape” (1 Thess. 5:3). Here, the apostle mirrors the earlier teaching of Jesus, who compared the world at his return to the unprepared world on the brink of Noah’s flood: “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:37–39).

Jesus was not teaching that there is something wrong with eating, drinking, or marrying. His point was that the worldly will be oblivious to the demands of God and to their danger as rebels against God’s rule. They will be concerned about their own affairs: their pleasures, ambitions, and worldly pursuits. Just as worldly preoccupation keeps so many men and women from thinking about God and eternity now, the same attitude will expose the ungodly to destruction on the day of the Lord when it suddenly comes, completely unforeseen, like a thief in the night.

In virtually every judgment recorded in the Bible, worldly unbelievers, having turned from the light of God’s Word, were completely in the dark about the devastation about to strike them. While Jeremiah was foretelling Jerusalem’s destruction, the false prophets were telling the people: “You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine” (Jer. 14:13). “Peace, peace,” they cried, but there was no peace (6:14). The prophets of secular unbelief take the same stance today in mocking the Bible’s claims of coming judgment. Ben Witherington argues that “there is peace and security” was probably a political slogan frequently heard in the Roman Empire of Paul’s day, just as similar slogans are often trumpeted in our elections today. If this was the boast of the Roman Empire in the first century, then “Paul must have thought ‘What foolish slogans and vain hopes when the day of the Lord is coming.’ ” Likewise, Christians today should not be caught up in the utopian promises of any political party or social movement, knowing as we do that every endeavor of man is crippled by sinful corruption and believing the Bible’s claim that only the return of Christ will bring true “peace and security” to those who hope in him.

Yet as Jesus notes in Matthew 24:37–39, the most complete blindfold is not secularist dogma but the combination of worldly materialism and sensualism. Tim Shenton writes: “Unbelievers only believe what they can see. As they cannot see the judgment of God approaching, they dismiss it as fantasy and scaremongering.… They are deaf to the warnings of God, absorbed in their own selfishness, and utterly blind to the judgment that is hanging over them.” This situation again highlights the necessity of Christians’ speaking the truth boldly about the day of the Lord and the judgment of God.

The Bible clearly states that the sudden judgment on the day of the Lord will involve utter ruin and devastation. Peter foretold a cataclysmic cleansing of the world in fire: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Peter 3:10). Revelation 6:15–17 presents a similar picture of supernatural upheaval, in which the dismayed ungodly seek to hide “themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’ ” On that day, all the treasures gained by a world of sin will be lost, replaced by the wretched prospect of “eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints” (2 Thess. 1:9–10).

Jesus cited Noah’s flood as a type of the future judgment. People were leading their self-centered lives, oblivious to God’s wrath, when the flood struck them suddenly and swept virtually the entire race away in watery wrath. Jesus said: “So will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left” (Matt. 24:39–41). The future judgment of the day of the Lord will bring similar disaster, only by fire instead of by rain and water. In this connection, it should be pointed out that in Noah’s flood, those who were “left behind” were the godly remnant whom God saved. As mentioned in the previous chapter, one of the curiosities of recent end-times speculation is the reversal of this biblical pattern, so that Christians dread above all things being “left behind.” As Paul stated clearly in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, it is “we who are alive, who are left,” who join the Lord in his return and enjoy an everlasting bliss with him.

We have noted that the day of the Lord will be unforeseen and sudden, but Paul adds that it will also be unavoidable. There will be no escape on the day of the Lord. He makes this point by making reference to a pregnant woman in birth pangs: “sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape” (1 Thess. 5:3). Daunting as labor is today, in the ancient world it involved dreadful suffering and serious danger to the delivering mother. The point is that once the contractions begin, the painful labor is inescapable and irreversible. Likewise, once the judgment of God has come, there will then be no chance of escaping divine wrath and destruction. J. Philip Arthur notes: “Once the end of all things is upon us, it will be too late for those who are not prepared to escape the inevitable outcome.”

Readiness on That Day

Realizing that once the day of the Lord has appeared it will be too late to get ready brings us back to the anxiety of the Thessalonians. They were concerned to be ready for Christ’s coming and therefore wondered about the “times and the seasons” of this great event. Paul answered that the way to be prepared for Christ’s coming is not to know the date—which no one can know—but to prepare ourselves in advance. The way to be ready for the day of the Lord is to act now on the offer of salvation granted to sinners through the saving work of Jesus Christ.

One of the unfortunate features of much end-times teaching is the notion that Christians must ready themselves in some special way beyond trusting in the gospel. Shock-sermons are given to youths, suggesting that if caught in some sinful act when Jesus returns, they may join the ranks of those swept away for judgment. The biblical calling to readiness is often taken to involve some special intensity beyond that of simple Christian faith. The promises of Jesus Christ, however, assure us that readiness for the day of the Lord may be achieved now simply by turning to him for forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus preached: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). John 3:36 contrasts the danger of unbelief with the readiness of simple faith in Jesus: “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.”

To be sure, those who prepare for the last day by believing in Jesus not only receive forgiveness of sin and justification through faith alone, but also are regenerated so that they increasingly are “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11). Paul therefore writes: “But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief” (1 Thess. 5:4). Unpreparedness for the day of the Lord is a feature of life in the darkness of sin and unbelief, whereas readiness characterizes those who live in light of Christ. The believer’s readiness for Christ’s coming does not consist in additionally meritorious fervor, but through the salvation that every sinner receives when he or she turns to Christ in saving faith. In other words, while believers look with dismay on the world’s giddy blindness of coming judgment, we may be certain of our own readiness right now simply by trusting Christ for our salvation and surrendering our lives to the Savior who one day will come as Lord both to judge the wicked world and to complete the salvation of all who trust in him.

Believers on Tiptoe

For all who have stepped out of darkness into the light by trusting Jesus, Paul has an all-important statement that completely changes our attitude toward the coming of Christ. “But you are not in darkness, brothers,” he remarks, “for that day to surprise you like a thief” (1 Thess. 5:4). Everything that Paul has said about the unbelieving world is reversed when it comes to Christ’s believing people. Jesus’ coming is unforeseen by the world. But far from being surprised, the believer lives every day in joyful expectation of the Lord’s day. Christ will come to the unbeliever like a thief in the night, breaking into a life that the person had deemed secure and stripping away all that he or she had trusted and loved. To the believer, who has primarily sought for treasures not in this world but in heaven, the coming of the Lord unlocks our inheritance. Romans 8:17 says that believers are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” The day of the Lord brings destruction and defeat to all the evil, worldly powers, but the believer looks forward to Christ’s coming as our day of vindication, deliverance, and glorification. Though the ungodly will “suffer the punishment of eternal destruction,” Christ “comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed” (2 Thess. 1:9–10).

According to Paul, not only believers but also “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). The day of the Lord is the creation’s own deliverance from the curse of mankind’s sin. Therefore, Paul exclaims, “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (v. 19). Eric Alexander points out two things in this statement. The first is that the longing creation sets an example for everyone who has readied himself or herself for Christ’s coming by trusting in Jesus for salvation. As the creation expresses “eager longing” for that coming day, so believers ought to live in conscious expectation of the coming day of Christ’s glory in us and our glory in him. Second, Alexander points out that “eager longing” falls short of expressing Paul’s true point about the creation’s attitude. He writes:

The language expresses the idea of someone standing on tiptoe—the kind of thing people do when they are waiting for somebody to arrive at an airport or a train station. There are crowds of people there. So when somebody is waiting for a friend, perhaps a fiancée, he is on tiptoe, peering over people, waiting. This is how creation is pictured. The whole cosmos is standing on tiptoe, groaning, waiting for the liberation of the glory of the people of God.

The example of creation is given for us to emulate as we anticipate the coming of Christ. The day of the Lord is not unforeseen to those who have received God’s Word in faith. Christ does not come like a thief in the night, but like a long-awaited king whose triumph will inaugurate our own liberation and glory. We look for his coming as a bride prepares for the coming of her beloved groom, to whisk her away on a wonderful adventure. Therefore, we wait on tiptoe, casting our glance constantly on the clouds for a gleam of the glory of the Son of Man. Alexander concludes: “So we should set our hearts on that day and walk through this world as men and women who eagerly—like the creation itself which is here teaching us a lesson—wait for the day of God.”[2]


2 For this reason Paul can say to the Thessalonians, “you know very well” the features of “the day of the Lord.” “Very well” translates akribōs (GK 209), a word of precision. Paul is not sarcastically alluding to their own claim but conceding that their knowledge of this subject was adequate, definite, and specific, ultimately including even pertinent teachings of Jesus (Mt 24:43; Lk 12:39; cf. Lightfoot, 71; Ellicott, 68).

The specific subject is “the day of the Lord.” A theme garnering extensive biblical attention, this “day” has multiple characteristics. It is so associated with the ultimate overthrow of God’s enemies (Isa 2:12) that the word hēmera (“day,” GK 2465) can sometimes mean “judgment” (1 Co 4:3). It will be a day of national deliverance for Israel and a day of salvation (1 Th 5:9), but it will also be a day when God’s wrath puts extended pressure on his enemies (Isa 3:16–24; 13:9–11; Jer 30:7; Eze 38–39; Am 5:18–19; Zep 1:14–18; 1 Th 1:10; 2:16; 5:9).

In using “day of the Lord” terminology to describe the tribulation of Daniel’s seventieth week, Jesus included the tribulation within the day of the Lord (cf. Mt 24:21 with Jer 30:7; Da 12:1; Joel 2:2). This time of trial at the outset of the earthly day of the Lord will therefore not be brief but will be comparable to a woman’s labor before giving birth to a child (Isa 13:8; 26:17–19; 66:7–13; Jer 30:7–8; Mic 4:9–10; Mt 24:8; 1 Th 5:3). Growing human agony will be climaxed by Messiah’s second coming to earth, a coming that will terminate this earthly turmoil through direct judgment.

Jesus cannot personally appear on earth, however, until this preliminary period has run its course. Armageddon and the series of tribulation visitations prior to his coming to earth are inseparable from each other (Rev 6–19). If Jesus’ triumphant return to earth (19:11–21) is part of the day of the Lord, as all admit, so special divine dealings preparatory to it must also be part of it. God’s eschatological wrath is a unit. To hypothesize two kinds of future wrath, one prior to the day of the Lord and another within it, is arbitrary (contra Gundry, Church and the Tribulation, 46, 54).

But this earthly wrath does not pertain to those in Christ (1 Th 5:9). Their meeting with Christ will be “in the air” (4:17) and will be separate from God’s dealing with people on earth. The only way to hold that this meeting with Christ in the air is an imminent prospect is to see it as simultaneous with the beginning of the divine wrath against earth. The day of the Lord will bring salvation to believers and terrible judgment to unbelievers (cf. Joseph Plevnik, “1 Thessalonians 5:1–11: Its Authenticity, Intention and Message,” Bib 60 [1979]: 88–90). Only if the rapture coincides with the beginning of the day of the Lord can both be imminent and the salvation of those in Christ coincide with the coming of wrath to the rest of the world (5:9; cf. Walvoord, 81).

Were either the rapture or the day of the Lord to precede the other, one or the other would cease to be an imminent prospect, and thus the “thief in the night” and related expressions (cf. 1:10; 4:15, 17) would be inappropriate. That both are imminent possibilities is why Paul can talk about these two in successive paragraphs. That is how the Lord’s personal coming as well as “the day’s” coming can be compared to “a thief” (2 Pe 3:10; cf. Rev 3:3, 11; 16:15). Erchetai (“will come,” GK 2262) is a vivid futuristic present (cf. Jn 14:3) to portray the day as already on its way with an arrival anticipated at any moment (cf. 1 Th 1:10).

In no uncertain terms, the day of God’s wrath is imminent, though some refer to the day’s coming as unexpected and sudden rather than imminent (so Malherbe, 290, 368; Green, 232). The coming of that day can hardly be unexpected and sudden without being imminent. It cannot be unexpected and sudden if a prophesied event is to precede it, thereby removing it from the unexpected and sudden category; therefore, it must be imminent as well as unexpected and sudden. For further discussion of this feature, see comments at 2 Thessalonians 2:1–4.

“In the night” is a detail of the simile not included in other NT uses of the figure. Nighttime is the usual time for thievery, i.e., under cover of darkness. Such unexpectedness will mark the inauguration of the tribulation, i.e., the seventieth week of Daniel and the day of the Lord.

The Thessalonians have had this instruction about such matters, though later they were deceived regarding them (2 Th 2:1–2). Yet even with that knowledge and prior to efforts to deceive them, they had difficulty in applying the truths in a practical way while awaiting the day of the Lord. Thus, in the following verses Paul seeks to alleviate their difficulty.[3]


2  With an explanatory “for” Paul now offers the immediate explanation as to why he has no need to write regarding “times and seasons.” They already “know very well” about “the day of the Lord,” a clause that has all the earmarks of parental language, where a parent, not for the first time, is about to tell the child something they should know very well but in any case need to be reminded. The clause thus begins with yet another emphatic “you yourselves” know, the fourth in this letter. The adverb rendered “very well” in the TNIV, which sits in the emphatic first position in Paul’s sentence, perhaps suggests that the issue raised here came to Paul from the Thessalonians. Thus, with what may be a touch of irony, Paul’s point is that what they want to know “accurately” is not something that can be known at all.18 In any case, the content of what they already know becomes the metaphor from which the rest of the passage is a spin-off.

This is the first occurrence of the phrase “day of the Lord” in the Pauline corpus, and it is clear by the way it appears here that it is well known to the Thessalonians themselves. The phrase will occur again in the next letter (2 Thess 2:2) as a primary point of contention within the community, where some have asserted (probably in a prophetic utterance) that the day of the Lord has already come in some way. Thereafter it occurs infrequently, and only in passing rather than as a matter of discussion. The language itself comes from the prophetic tradition, where it already had a degree of ambiguity. Apparently at an earlier period it was for the people themselves a day of expectation when Yahweh would come and restore Israel’s fortunes. This is especially the perspective expressed in its earliest appearance in the Old Testament—in Amos 5:18, where the prophet turns the people’s expectation of privilege on its head, announcing that it should be seen as a day to be dreaded because of God’s coming judgment (5:20; 8:3, 9). And this is the perspective that is continued throughout most of the prophetic tradition, although the positive aspect can be found as well, especially in Isaiah (2:2–4; 11:10; 19:18–25; 25:6–9), but as “that day” without the explicit qualifier “of the Lord.” The judgmental aspect of the expected “day of the Lord” is what Paul picks up in this passage; but he will also turn it on its head as he goes on in verses 4–8 to make a wordplay on the “day/night” language in this opening clause. In any case, Paul’s immediate concern is merely descriptive, reminding the Thessalonians of what they already know well: that (literally) “the day of the Lord, as a thief in the night, thus it comes.”

Along with matters from the preceding passage, this particular imagery is further evidence that Paul is well acquainted with the Jesus tradition, again as it is found in Luke’s version. After all, the “thief in the night” image does not occur at all in the prophets, but it is found in the teaching of Jesus: “But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into” (Luke 12:39), a passage which is followed immediately with an appeal to readiness because of the unexpected nature of such thievery. The point of the imagery both in the Gospel and here in Paul is that Christ’s coming will be sudden and without warning.22

One should also note that “the Lord” in this phrase is now Christ, rather than God the Father. The christological significance of this transfer of language should not be missed. The actual wording of this phrase in the Old Testament is “the day of Yahweh,” which in oral reading in the Jewish community had become “the day of Adonai [the Lord].” This in turn is what the Septuagint translators turned into “the day of Kyrios [Greek for ‘Lord’].” As with prayer addressed to Christ in 3:11–12, this is another moment which demonstrates that a very high Christology was already in place for Paul by the time he wrote this his earliest letter, since “the Lord” in his phrase refers as always to Christ, not to God the Father.[4]


5:2 / The day of the Lord’s return will come like a thief in the night. Teaching on the Parousia and, in particular, on the impossibility of predicting when it would occur was evidently part of the missionaries’ instruction. If this metaphor of the thief in the night is any guide, their instruction was based on Jesus’ own teaching (cf. Matt. 24:43; Luke 12:39; Rev. 3:3; 16:15). The expression the day of the Lord, used of Jesus’ return, originated in the ot, where it refers to the day when God would intervene in history to bring “the present evil age” to an end (cf. Gal. 1:4) and to inaugurate “the age to come,” the age of his kingdom (rule) in the final and fullest sense of that term. The day of the Lord would see the salvation of the just and the judgment of the unjust. It would be a day of high drama, which is often described in terms of nature itself being involved in the event (cf. Joel 2:31; Amos 5:18; Mal. 4:5). In a sense, this day arrived with the advent of Jesus, for he inaugurated the kingdom, and salvation and judgment have begun. But the high drama awaits his return (at the end of the day, so to speak), which for Christians becomes “the day of the Lord (Jesus)” (see note on 1:1 for Jesus as Lord and on 2:12 for kingdom). In the Greek, neither “day” nor “Lord” has the definite article. This may indicate that this, like “times and dates,” was a conventional phrase in the Christian vocabulary. The verb translated by niv as the future “will come” is actually a present tense, “is coming,” adding a note of certainty and a vividness to the statement.[5]


2. For, says Paul, you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.

The thief takes the owner of the house by surprise. He does not send a warning letter to this effect, “Tomorrow, at such and such a time, I’ll pay you a visit. Be sure to hide all your valuables:” He comes suddenly and unexpectedly. So also will be the coming of the day of the Lord (that is, the day of his arrival unto judgment). Hence, it is foolish to inquire about the how long and the when.

However, the comparison holds also in another, closely related, respect: the thief generally finds people unprepared. But here the comparison is true only with respect to unbelievers, not with respect to believers (see on verse 4). Several passages immediately occur to the mind: Matt. 24:43 (= Luke 12:39); 2 Peter 3:10; Rev. 3:3; 16:15.

These matters had been so clearly presented to the Thessalonians while the missionaries were still with them that, if they will only reflect on them, they will realize that the things about which they are wondering are really very well (ἀκριβῶς accurately, cf. Luke 1:3) known to them. Sometimes men wonder about facts which, deep down in their hearts, they really know accurately![6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2002). 1 & 2 Thessalonians (pp. 139–151). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Phillips, R. D. (2015). 1 & 2 Thessalonians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 193–203). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Thomas, R. L. (2006). 1 Thessalonians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 420–421). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Fee, G. D. (2009). The First and Second Letters to the Thessalonians (pp. 186–188). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Williams, D. J. (2011). 1 and 2 Thessalonians (pp. 86–87). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of I-II Thessalonians (Vol. 3, p. 122). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

September 27 Your First Day of Freedom

scripture reading: Ephesians 1:3–14
key verse: Ephesians 1:7

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

In today’s Scripture reading, the apostle Paul summed up our position in Christ. We are chosen of God, sealed by His grace through the redemption of our souls. No one is excluded from His presence. Those who seek eternal salvation find their deepest need met at His altar. Others who long for intimacy and a sense of belonging discover eternal love.

There is a freedom that comes from being loved and accepted by another. But for this to take place, you must first have an understanding of just how much God loves you. During your lifetime, you have probably experienced some form of rejection. A parent who walked away when you were young, abuse that came at the hands of another, or a spouse who suddenly lost interest and filed for divorce—each represents deep emotional hurts that can keep you bound in fear.

However, difficulties such as these also carry a tremendous opportunity for spiritual growth and freedom, especially when you refuse to become bitter and angry. God knows the hurts you have felt, and He wants to heal your life. Every heartache can be used to teach you more about His unconditional love and acceptance.

Jesus died for you. Even if you have never accepted Him as your Savior, He loves you. Today can be your first day of true freedom. Give Him your past hurts and failures, and He will set you free.

Lord, I rejoice that You can take every heartache of the past and every trauma of the future and use them to accomplish Your purposes. On the basis of this truth, I declare right now—this is my first day of true freedom![1]

 

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

27 september (1857) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The mysteries of the brazen serpent

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14, 15

suggested further reading: John 12:20–36

Let each of us who are called to the solemn work of the ministry remember, that we are not called to lift up doctrine, or church governments, or particular denominations; our business is to lift up Christ Jesus and to preach him fully. There may be times when church government is to be discussed, and peculiar doctrines are to be vindicated. God forbid that we should silence any part of truth: but the main work of the ministry—its every day work—is just exhibiting Christ, and crying out to sinners, “Believe, believe, believe on him who is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.” And let it be remembered, that if the minister preaches Christ plainly, that is all he has to do; if with affection and prayer he preaches Christ fully, if there were never a soul saved—which I believe would be impossible—he would have done his work, and his Master would say, “Well done.” I have gone away from this hall, after preaching upon various doctrines, and though many have complimented me, foolishly, I have said to myself, “I can but groan that I had such a subject at all.” And at another time, when I have been faltering in my delivery, and committed a thousand blunders in my speech, I have gone away as happy as a prince, because I have said, “I did preach Christ.” There was enough for sinners to be saved by; and if all the papers in the world should abuse me, and all the men in the world should say ‘cry him down’; he will still live and still breathe as long as he feels in himself, “I have preached to sinners, and Christ has been preached to them, so as they could understand and lay hold on him and be saved.”

for meditation: “We would see Jesus” (John 12:21) is not just something to say to the preacher, but something to pray for the preacher (Colossians 4:3, 4).

sermon no. 153[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 277). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Shock And Awe: Democrats Are Rushing To Have Articles Of Impeachment Ready For A Vote Around Thanksgiving | The Most Important News

A lot of conservatives out there are still in denial about what is happening. In fact, a recent Drudge Report online poll found that most respondents believed that there would never actually be a vote on articles of impeachment in the House of Representatives. Well, it turns out that Democrats in the House fully intend to impeach President Trump. In fact, they are seeking to move things along so quickly that we could potentially see a vote just two months from now. As you will see below, the plan is to wrap things up as rapidly as possible so that a vote can be held somewhere around Thanksgiving. So those that were imagining a long drawn out saga like the Mueller investigation were just plain wrong. The Democrats plan to move very fast, because they believe that the time has finally come to take down Donald Trump.

Of course Congress is not known for moving quickly on anything, but in this matter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is being urged by fellow Democrats to keep this investigation “narrowly focused and disciplined”

House Democratic leaders are eyeing a fast-paced investigation into the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump, instructing the committees handling the probe to wrap up their findings within weeks in hopes of concluding before the holiday season.

Multiple Democratic lawmakers and congressional aides said there is no formal timeline for the inquiry, but the “need for speed,” as one aide put it, comes as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is under pressure from vulnerable freshmen to keep the investigation narrowly focused and disciplined.

If the Democrats are able to wrap things up “before the holiday season”, that would definitely be a minor miracle.

And actually it is being reported that the goal is to have articles of impeachment “ready for a House vote” around Thanksgiving…

Following the two-week recess, the House is scheduled to be in session for the last three weeks of October, then after another one-week recess, another two weeks in session before Thanksgiving. Some Democratic lawmakers and aides said Thursday, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe private deliberations, that they believed impeachment articles could be ready for a House vote around that time.

If you are a Trump fan, you can keep hoping that this crisis will fade away, but at this point everything is pointing to an impeachment vote by the end of 2019.

We are being told that this investigation will be spearheaded by the House Intelligence Committee, and that means that mentally unstable Adam Schiff will be running the clown show

The Intelligence Committee was quickly lining up investigative targets. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Adam B. Schiff, the committee’s chairman, said that the complaint provided a clear “road map” for congressional investigators in the coming weeks and that his committee would work through Congress’s two-week recess that begins on Friday.

At the top of his agenda, he said, is interviewing the whistle-blower and another session with the inspector general, Michael Atkinson, to better understand what preliminary investigative work he had done before notifying Congress of the complaint. But there were numerous leads tucked into the complaint, and fresh questions about the role of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, and William P. Barr, the attorney general, in the matter.

Schiff hates Trump with a passion, and he is so determined to nail the president to the wall that his committee will actually be working all the way through the upcoming congressional recess.

And for those that don’t know, members of Congress usually hate to stay in town when it is time for a recess.

Of course all of this is extremely troubling news for the Trump administration, and NBC News is reporting that officials over at the White House are in a state of “total panic” right now…

White House officials were scrambling Thursday to figure out how to counter the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, with one source familiar with the situation describing a sense of “total panic” over the past week at the lack of a plan to address the new reality.

There appears to be rising “anxiety, unease, and concern” — as one person close to the White House described the mood in the West Wing — that the whistleblower’s allegations could seriously wound the president and some of those around him. “There’s not a lot of confidence that there’s no there there,” this person said.

Personally, even if everything that is being alleged is true, I don’t see how anyone can possibly conclude that Trump has committed an impeachable offense.

So in a perfect world this matter would be immediately dropped.

But the Democrats are absolutely obsessed with getting Trump out of the Oval Office, and since they have a sizable majority in the House, they will vote to impeach Trump when the articles of impeachment get to the House floor.

Then this matter will move to the U.S. Senate, and it will take 67 votes to remove Trump from office.

Since the Democrats only have 47 seats in the Senate at the moment, they will need 20 Republicans to vote with them in order to be successful.

If the Republican Party was entirely united behind Trump, this push toward impeachment would be completely dead in the water, but cracks have already begun to emerge.

In fact, a former adviser to Senator Mitt Romney told Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday that there are 30 Republican senators that could potentially vote against Trump

Appearing Wednesday on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, Mike Murphy, a former senior adviser to Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and John McCain (R-AZ), claimed a Republican senator told him that 30 of the party’s U.S. senators would support impeaching President Donald Trump in a “secret vote” in light of the president’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Let’s hope that we never get to such a scenario, but if a Republican-controlled Senate voted Trump out of office it would rip the Republican Party to shreds and it might not ever recover.

Without a doubt, there are a lot of “moderate” Republicans in the Senate that do not like Trump at all. If they get the chance to stab Trump in the back, they just might do it.

As long as the United States exists, people are going to be talking about this critical moment in our history. The Democrats think that they are just going after Trump, but this saga threatens to divide our society even more than it already is, and the truth is that our entire political system is starting to come apart at the seams.

Nancy Pelosi is taking the biggest gamble of her entire political career, and she may actually believe that this push for impeachment will be successful.

But whether the Democrats are successful or not, the truth is that nobody is going to “win” in this crisis, and the damage being done to our system of government is likely to be irreparable.

Friday Briefing September 27, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com

PART I

 Mattel Introduces Gender-Neutral Dolls: The Moral Revolution Explodes on the Toy Aisle

PART II

 The Problem of Adolescence for the Gender Revolution: A Telling Signal of the New Gender Confusion

PART III

 The Necessity of Defining “Mother”: English Common Law Faces Off Against Transgender Ideology

PART IV

 A Sign of Strange Times: Federal Government Assigns Gender to Baby Whose Parents Wanted to Raise Him in a “Gender Creative” Way

PART V

 Reflections on a Day Observing Parliament: A Reminder of the Rare Privilege That Is Enduring Constitutional Self-Government


DOCUMENTATION AND ADDITIONAL READING

PART I

PART II

PART III

PART IV

27 SEPTEMBER 365 Days with Calvin

Taming the Tongue

Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. James 3:9

suggested further reading: Psalm 140

A clear example of the tongue’s deadly poison is that it can transform itself through appalling inconstancy; for when it pretends to bless God, it immediately curses him in his own image by cursing men. Since God should be blessed in all his works, he ought to be especially blessed by men in whom his image and glory peculiarly shine forth.

It is unbearable hypocrisy for man to use the same tongue in blessing God that he uses in cursing men. When such evil speaking prevails, there can be no calling on God. His praises must necessarily cease. For it is impious profanation of God’s name when the tongue is hostile toward our brethren and pretends only to praise God. Therefore, if we would rightly praise God, we must especially correct the vice of speaking evil to our neighbor.

This particular truth ought to be kept in mind that severe critics display their own hostility, when, after offering praises in sweet strains to God, they suddenly vomit forth against their brethren whatever curses they can imagine. Were anyone to object and say that the image of God in human nature has been blotted out by the sin of Adam, we must, indeed, confess that it has been miserably deformed, but in such a way that some of its original features still appear. Righteousness and rectitude and the freedom of choosing what is good have been lost, but many excellent endowments by which we excel the brutes still remain. He, then, who truly worships and honors God will be afraid to speak slanderously of man.

for meditation: How easy it is to use the same mouth for both righteous and evil ends! Our words can produce evil just as easily as good, and our sinful hearts are constantly inclined toward sin. When tempted to say slanderous or inappropriate things, we should remember that we use the same mouth to praise God. This is an excellent way of discerning whether the words we are about to say are proper.[1]

 

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 289). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

27 Sep 2019 – Rapture Ready News

Lorenzo becomes 2nd Category 4 hurricane of season over open waters of Atlantic
Hurricane Lorenzo continued to rapidly strengthen over the open Atlantic Thursday morning, reaching Category 4 status and becoming the third major hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic season. Meteorologists say that Lorenzo could undergo additional strengthening and may grow into a Category 5 storm.

Trump admin says UN ‘undermining role of the family’ by promoting abortion
United States Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar led a group of 19 nations in asking the United Nations this week to remove pro-abortion language from U.N. documents while President Donald Trump separately blasted its promotion of abortion.

San Francisco Schools Radicalizing Kids as Young as 5 With Anti-Trump, Anti-American Propaganda Showcased at Recent Rally
Last week, 3 San Francisco schools took students as young as 5-years-old to a local “Close the Camps” rally. Liberals are starting their brainwashing before children even learn how to read and write. This is unacceptable.

The horrifying rape epidemic by ‘Muslim refugees’ in Finland has reached the point where Fins have given up hope
Is rampant rape the price Finnish women must pay for giving asylum to Muslim migrants? Finland, now, has become “one of the least safe countries in Europe for women,” according to Finland’s leading newspaper, “all because of the Muslim influx.”

Strong and shallow M6.8 earthquake hits Maluku, Indonesia
A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the BMKG as M6.8 hit Seram Island, Maluku, Indonesia at 23:46 UTC on September 25, 2019 (08:46 local time, September 26). The agency is reporting a depth of 18.2 km (11.3 miles). USGS is reporting M6.5 at a depth of 18.2 km (11.3 miles); EMSC M6.6 at a depth of 33 km (20.5 miles).

‘Historic’ snowstorm may bring blizzard conditions to Montana, several feet of snow to mountains
The first day of fall may have just been on Monday, but winter is already well on its way to parts of the northern Rockies, where a potentially “historic” winter storm is setting up for this weekend.

Ukraine Transcripts Show Crowdstrike Is The Common Denominator Between Hillary Clinton’s Email Server, Joe Biden, Burisma Holdings, And The Russian Collusion Hoax
Why are the Democrats rushing so fast to try and impeach President Trump? Because of a single word in the Ukraine transcripts – CrowdStrike. Who are they? CrowdStrike is a private sector security company in Silicon Valley, and they were hired by the Crooked Hillary team to keep her email server out of the hands of the FBI.

A controversial Bill passed in Iran, it allows men to marry daughters, draws flak from other nations?
Iran Parliamentarians have moved a bill in order to protect the rights of children which includes a clause that lets a man marry his own adopted daughter considering the fact that she is 13 years old.

Toy Maker Mattel Launches ‘Creatable World’ Gender Neutral Dolls To Indoctrinate Children To Accept And Imitate The Transgender Lifestyle
Mattel says that ‘gen-alpha’ kids, or children under the age of 10 ‘see gender very differently’, and because of that they need a gender-fluid and gender neutral doll to identify with. But hold on a second, can anyone tell me whythat children under the age of 10 ‘see gender differently’? Who taught them that? I’ll tell you why. It’s because the satanically-driven public school system and the LGBTQ+P for Pedophile mafia has been ramming it down their throats since they started preschool, that’s why.

— Read on www.raptureready.com/2019/09/27/27-sep-2019/

September 27 – God creates civilization — Reformed Perspective

That our oxen may be well-laden; That there be no breaking in or going out; That there be no outcry in our streets. – Psalm 144:14

Scripture reading: Psalm 144

We have now read Psalm 144 around 27 times. Have you come to know and appreciate the Psalm? God makes Himself known in His Word, including Psalm 144. He is the help to the warrior and as this verse shows to us, God is the One Who creates society. For society to survive and thrive, basic components must be in place, namely, life, safety and peace. These are what we find coming from God’s own mind. Those words – life, safety and peace – describe the garden of Eden before the fall. That former beauty is hard – no, impossible for us to imagine. But this joyful truth comes at the end of the Psalm as the postlude to the victorious end of the war. When violence and warfare have ended, joy will fill the vacuum. Why? Because this is Who our God is. He is the God of life. Is it not curious that on Resurrection Sunday morning Mary mistook Jesus for the gardener (or was she right?)

We can only begin in this life to understand what the New Heavens and New Earth will be like, but surely there will be no breaking in or going out, no outcry in the streets. All of life will be marked by safety and peace, primary components of joy. Do you yearn for what God yet has in store for you, for us all? Take a moment to ponder how knowing God now prepares us for what is to come!

Suggestions for prayer

Ask God to prepare your heart and mind for the glory to come. Ask Him to enable you to see something of His character in the joys we experience in this life.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri.
via September 27 – God creates civilization — Reformed Perspective

Brannon Howse: September 26, 2019 | Worldview Weekend

Two of the nation’s largest religious groups are openly promoting socialism and communism. (Part Four) In today’s program Brannon continues to read from the Jesuit Review and their July 2019 article entitled “The Catholic Case for Communism.” Topic: How does this topic fit with the goal of cognitive dissonance? Topic: The first Jesuit Pope is openly promoting marxism and calling for an end of private property rights. Topic: Fidel Castro was trained in Jesuit schools in Cuba and worked with Marxists Catholics to carry out his communist revolution in Cuba. Topic: We take your calls. 

Download File Here

— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-september-26-2019

Recovering the Priority of Personal Holiness | Ligonier Ministries

“If the Word does not dwell with power in us,” wrote Puritan John Owen, “it will not pass with power from us” (The Works of John Owen, vol. 16, p. 76.). This godly minister personified this truth in his personal life and public ministry more than three centuries ago. For years he carried the message of Jesus Christ into the trenches of a culture as chaotic as our own while simultaneously dealing with the death of his wife and all eleven of his children. John Owen was no ivory tower theologian, but rather a zealous pastor who worked to the brink of exhaustion to further the work of the Reformers. He is remembered for shining gospel light into the spiritually dark arenas of politics and academia. And his love of Scripture was clearly and forcefully articulated from the variety of pulpits into which God called him.

Yet what gave John Owen success in ministry was not so much his oratory skill, nor his evangelistic zeal, nor even his love for the people he shepherded. John Owen was used mightily by God in all these ways because he was a man characterized by personal holiness. And in an age when the church is emulating the world, where it is no longer distinguishable from our pleasure-oriented culture, the example of John Owen shines like a beacon on a stormy night.

Let’s consider whether we have allowed contemporary culture to infiltrate our minds and hearts. Have we inverted Christ’s desire that the church be in the world by bringing the world into the church instead? If we take an honest look, perhaps we’ll discover that we are contributing to this trend. Rather than relying solely on the sufficiency of God’s Word, are we employing counselors in our churches who apply worldly methods of psychological analysis to address felt needs? Have we adopted worldly means to reach the seekers who sit skeptically in the back pews rather than offering them the truths of the Gospel and the Christian life? Faithful teaching of God’s Word is vanishing. Are we among the number that have replaced preaching with elaborate drama productions aimed at entertaining? In terms of covenantal relationships, the rate of divorce and remarriage reflects societal statistics. Where do we stand on this issue? The church has become tolerant of all kinds of biblical compromise, casting aside principles that Owen and his contemporaries would have given their lives to protect and defend.

Unlike Owen, we are in danger of falling prey to the belief that without entertainment and other-worldly concessions, no one will want what Jesus offers. Let’s not forget the exchange, in the nineteenth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, between Jesus and the rich young ruler when Jesus told the man the realities of true discipleship. As the rich man realized that personal sacrifice is required to live in God’s kingdom, he walked away. What did Jesus do? He did not do what many churches do today: run after the man in an effort to make the Gospel more appealing. No, Jesus let him go, because the only terms on which anyone can truly follow Christ are God’s terms.

Owen engaged the culture without capitulating to it because his chief desire was to reflect God’s purity in his life and ministry. He remained faithful in his preaching to the truths of Scripture — even in the face of life-threatening persecution — because of his commitment to holiness. People flocked to hear Owen preach because he reflected God’s character. Owen wrote, as noted in Peter Toon’s book God’s Statesman: The Life and Work of John Owen: “I hope I may own in sincerity that my heart’s desire unto God, and the chief design of my life … are, that mortification and universal holiness may be promoted in my own life and in the hearts and ways of others, to the glory of God, so that the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be adorned in all things” (p. 56).

I fear that personal holiness is not a priority within the church — even among its leaders — as it was in the days of the Puritans. Many ministers are often nowadays more concerned with visual growth and success than with cultivating personal purity. That was certainly not the case with John Owen. Rather than devoting much time to developing innovative amusements for the worship hour, Owen made private communion with God a top priority. He understood why the apostle Paul wrote: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2). The Word of God is the means employed by the Holy Spirit to transform us into the image of Christ, so if preaching and evangelism are to be effective, private communion with God in His Word must be more important than discovering the latest ministry technique. Owen wrote that “whatever else be done in churches, if the pastors of them, or those who are so esteemed, are not exemplary in gospel obedience and holiness, religion will not be carried on and improved among the people” (Works, vol. 16, p. 88).

Yet holiness isn’t just a necessity for ministers. If the church is to recover its distinctiveness, holiness is a requirement for each individual member. Hebrews 12:14 says,“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Unless we recover this emphasis on holiness, how will the world look in and be able to see the Jesus we profess? Evangelistic efforts will ring hollow if such efforts are not accompanied by personal purity.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

— Read on www.ligonier.org/blog/recovering-priority-personal-holiness/

Dossier 2.0: ‘Whistleblower’ Complaint Relies on Soros-Funded ‘Investigative Reporting’ Group that Partnered with BuzzFeed | Breitbart

Sections of a so-called whistleblower’s complaint alleging President Donald Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 presidential race relies upon a self-described investigative journalism organization bankrolled massively by billionaire activist George Soros.