Daily Archives: November 2, 2019

November 2 Yearning for Christ

Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:45–51

Key Verses: Matthew 13:45–46

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

What is the thing you most desire in life? What are the top ten things you seek after? Is Christ among your preferred pursuits? A sure sign of spiritual growth is that you yearn for Christ more than anything else.

Rhea F. Miller wrote, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather be His than riches untold; I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands; I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hands.”

It is a radical change to want Jesus above all else, but it is evidence that the Holy Spirit is making strides in your life. The Holy Spirit will always point you toward a maturing relationship with Christ and conformity to His image.

Jesus taught the disciples that finding the kingdom of heaven is like finding a pearl of such ultimate value that you would sell everything just to have it (Matthew 13:45–46). To truly experience the Lord is to realize that nothing is worth so much as knowing Him. What stands between you and the desire to seek Christ first? Are you willing to grow to the point where your one dependency is upon Him? You will find that pursuing Christ is the most wonderful investment of your life. In His presence, you will discover the peace your soul longs to enjoy.

Lord, I desire You more than anything in life. I want to know You better and have total dependency upon You.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 321). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 2 Your Eternal Guide

Scripture Reading: John 16:7–15

Key Verse: John 16:13

When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

When you are a tourist on the road, nothing is quite as valuable as a knowledgeable tour guide. This informed person can help you see the best sights and find your way around an unfamiliar place. The tour guide also knows what locations to avoid. Even though you could basically get around without one, you are wise to choose this person’s insight and experience.

In the Christian life, the Holy Spirit is your Guide. This is how Jesus described the work of the Holy Spirit to His disciples: “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13 nasb).

Jesus knew that He would be leaving this world soon, to be killed and then to rise again and ascend to heaven. For three years, He had walked side by side with His disciples. They always had the benefit of His physical presence and direction. The shock of Jesus’ absence would confuse and depress their human hearts, and Jesus wanted to prepare them for the coming changes.

The Holy Spirit lives inside each believer through the grace of Jesus Christ. He takes the words of Scripture and makes them real and active in your life. His continual work is to disclose the truths of God one-on-one. He is your Comfort and eternal Guide.

Heavenly Father, I praise You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who lives in me. Thank You for His comfort and guidance along my spiritual journey.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 321). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

November 2 Through Troubled Waters

Scripture reading: Psalm 18:1–6

Key verse: Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,

Nor shall the flame scorch you.

At six weeks of age, Fanny Crosby lost her eyesight. The tragedy came at the hands of a man claiming to be a physician. Her entire life was spent in physical darkness because of his mistreatment, and yet she lived in the eternal light of God’s blessed hope.

She could have become bitter and angry, but she didn’t. Instead, biographers have written that in reality her blindness did not slow her down. In her youth she played with other children, participated in sports, and traveled. Good-natured humor was a vital part of her life. Laughter filled her household. Most of us remember her deep affection for Christ through the many songs she wrote.

At one point when questioned about the incident that altered her life, she answered, “Although it may have been a blunder on the physician’s part, it was no mistake on God’s. I verily believe it was His intention that I should live my days in physical darkness, so as to be better prepared to sing His praises and incite others so to do. I could not have written thousands of hymns.”

You may be facing troubled times and wonder if you will ever be happy again. No matter what has happened, God is able to take the trial and turn it into a blessing. Nothing is too formidable for Him. When you pass through troubled waters, He will be with you (Isa. 43:2).

You will be with me, no matter what I face today. Thank You, Lord![1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 321). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

DEVELOPING: Schiff’s CIA “Whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella May Be Implicated in Upcoming FISA Report — The Gateway Pundit

The complete list of anti-Trump CIA “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella’s ties to top Democrat operatives will SHOCK YOU!

CIA snitch Eric Ciaramella filed a whistleblower complaint on August 12 over President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky where the two discussed ferreting out corruption.  This included talk on investigating the Biden crime family.

** The so-called “whistleblower” Eric Ciarmella is a Democrat who had a “professional” tie to a 2020 Democrat.

** Ciaramella  coordinated and took guidance from Adam Schiff’s staff and Schiff lied about it.

** Schiff’s staff recommended attorneys for the so called “whistleblower.”

** Ciaramella was kicked out of the White House for leaking negative stories about Donald Trump in 2017.

** Trump-hater Ciaramella was behind the fake story that Putin told Trump to fire Comey — a COMPLETE FAKE NEWS STORY from 2017!

** Ciaramella’s attorneys worked for James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and donated to Joe Biden.

** The attorneys for Ciaramella is a member of the #Resistance.

** Ciaramella  worked with Joe Biden in the executive branch when he was Vice President.

** Ciaramella had no problem with the Joe Biden and Hunter Biden’s million dollar pay-for-play scandal with Ukraine.

** Ciaramella traveled with Joe Biden to the Ukraine.

** Ciaramella worked with DNC operative Alexandra Chalupa in the creation of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax.

** A former associate of James Clapper, Charles McCullough, assisted Ciaramella with his complaint against Trump.

** And Adam Schiff’s aides, Abigail Grace and Sean Misko worked with Ciaramella in the White House.

But Eric Ciaramella may have more problems than just hiding his anonymity from the American public.
FOX News legal expert Gregg Jarrett wrote today that Ciaramella, who was mentioned in the Mueller report, may be implicated in the upcoming IG FISA report.

If this information is true, it is possible that this “whistleblower” could be one of the individuals who might need a defense lawyer in the coming weeks when the findings of the FISA report are made public. The reported direct relationship with James Brennan, the “Democratic National Committee operative who dug up dirt on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election,” and Susan Rice makes them a likely candidate to be at the very least called as a witness in the cases that are likely to start following the FISA report. In addition, his area of expertise is reportedly Russia and Ukraine; two of the reported locations where information used in the anti- Trump Russian Dossier was “gathered.” The name that Real Clear Investigations revealed is also listed as a source in one of Robert Mueller’s footnotes in his report.

This means that with the Democrats starting the impeachment inquiry the “whistleblower” may be a witness, or a defendant, in a separate case where real evidence has been produced of criminal wrongdoing. In this case, their feelings, opinions, and rumors that they heard will not be important. The facts and potentially illegal actions that took place to start the witch hunt against President Trump will be concrete evidence that the Democrats and the media will be unable to spin politically.

Wouldn’t it be just perfect if Shifty Schiff’s “whistleblower” Mr. Ciaramella is caught up in the IG FISA investigation?

via DEVELOPING: Schiff’s CIA “Whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella May Be Implicated in Upcoming FISA Report — The Gateway Pundit

Africa’s Socialism Is Keeping it Poor | Mises Wire

It has been widely, vividly, but nonetheless wrongly believed that socialism is the appropriate system to improve the living standards of Africans. Worse yet, it has been misleadingly claimed that socialism is compatible with African culture because African culture is fundamentally a collectivist culture. However, one fact remains undisputable: socialism has failed wherever it was tried, and the African countries that have experimented with socialism were not exempted from its failure.

The undeniable fact remains that Africa has the lowest living standard of all continents after Antarctica. The reason why the living standard of the majority of African countries is so low compared to the rest of the world, is because socialism has impoverished the African continent. At the outset of the post-colonial era in the 1960s many African countries — such as Tanzania, Angola, Mali, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Egypt, Senegal, Guinea, Congo and many more — have embraced socialism as their economic and political system. These countries that have embraced socialism became significantly worse off by the 1980s. For example, Tanzania was one of the fast-growing economies in East Africa until Julius Nyerere implemented the “Ujamaa,” which means socialism and brotherhood in the Swahili language. Before the implementation of the Ujamaa; Tanzania had a GDP similar to South Korea . Subsequently to the implementation of Ujamaa, economic growth became unsurprisingly stagnant. The policy of collectivization impoverished the Tanzanian people. Food production fell, and the country’s economy suffered . This decline in productivity has made Tanzania one of the poorest countries on the continent. In Ghana, under the rule of Kwame Nkrumah, one of the foremost African political leaders of the post-colonial era; socialism was also implemented as the economic system of the country. Socialism, as a domestic policy in Nkrumah’s seven-year development plan, was to be pursued toward “a complete ownership of the economy by the state.” A bewildering slate of legislative controls and regulations were imposed on imports, capital transfers, industry, minimum wages, the rights and powers of trade unions, prices, rents and interest rates. Private businesses were taken away and nationalized by the Nkrumah government. The result has also been unsurprising. Resources were mismanaged, inflation rose, and economic stagnation occurred in Ghana. Zimbabwe has also suffered from the myths of African socialism under Mugabe’s rule. Mugabe collectivized the means of production in the late 1980s when he became Zimbabwe’s strongman. Rampant corruption, huge budget deficits, and mismanagement of resources have dragged the economy, hyperinflation, 60 percent unemployment, and a desperate shortage of hard currency. These examples clearly demonstrate how socialism had utterly stagnated the economies of these countries until a market economy was once again reinstated.

But the question remains as to why Africans deeply believed in socialism and embraced it in the 1960s. In Africa, socialism was presented as an anti-colonial and anti-imperialist ideology while capitalism was perceived as the ideology of the oppressor, the colonizer, and of profit. Africans strongly believe in socialism because they think that socialism is compatible with African culture since African culture is a collectivist culture. African culture values the group over the individual. It values the concept of sharing, solidarity, and altruism. Of course, all these moral virtues are well-intended, but they play no substantial role in the improvement of the living standard of people. What improves the living standard of people is the ability to retain private property, to voluntarily exchange with one another what we own in order to create capital. Some African countries in the post-colonial era resisted the socialist temptation; notably countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, and South Africa.

For example, in the 1960s and 1970s, Côte d’Ivoire was the most economically advanced country in West Africa. While its neighbors were embracing socialism, Côte d’Ivoire opted for a market economy. Despite having an authoritarian political regime, like all African countries during that time; the Ivorian people were, nonetheless, economically free. They had the freedom to create businesses, and to expand private property. From 1960 to 1979, the GDP in Côte d’Ivoire grew at 8.1 percent per year, which means that in real terms capita, it increased from $595 to $1,114. Cote d’Ivoire’s economic expansion during that period was called “The Ivorian Miracle” because the country was exporting agricultural goods to the neighboring countries have had a shortage of food production due to their socialistic policies. The Ivorian Miracle made Côte d’Ivoire the most prosperous nation in West Africa between 1960 and 1980.

What Africans have failed to grasp about capitalism and the free market is that, it is not a system intrinsic to Western culture. It is a system intrinsic to human nature regardless of race, ethnicity, or the local culture. Socialism has failed in Africa as it has failed in Eastern Europe, India, China and in South America. Even if Africa is culturally collectivist, it is important to comprehend that a group is a collectivity of individuals whereby each individual within the group is stimulated by the pursuit of his own interests. The pursuit of one’s self-interests is an intrinsic factor of human nature that no central authority can change regardless of the goal of the common good. Despite the collectivist nature of African culture, African culture is not exempted from that natural law of human nature. Coercing human nature to do something that is not in harmony with the nature of human understanding, will result in failure. That is why socialism, wherever it is tried, will always fail.

Source: Africa’s Socialism Is Keeping it Poor

The End Of Money | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Chris Martenson via PeakProsperity.com,

Today we live in a bifurcated economy: it is boom times for some and bust times for others.

Your personal situation depends largely on how close you fall on the socioeconomic spectrum to the protected elite class, towards which the central banks are directing their money-printing firehoses.

Why should we care about this bifurcation? History.

2,000 years ago, in Plutarch’s time, it was already ‘old wisdom’ that unhealthy wealth imbalances ended badly for society:

Even those near the top of the wealth pyramid don’t aspire to live surrounded by an impoverished underclass, forced to live hiding behind their fortifications and guards, hoping the unrest of the masses doesn’t get any worse.

But sadly, the US is not far off from this fate…this is Los Angeles:

The streets of San Francisco, Seattle, and a growing number of other once-proud American cities look very similar.

I care about our social stability which is why I believe in having a strong and vibrant middle class – something the US Federal Reserve is working to destroy with every intervention.  It has been a shameless champion of the entrenched ultra-rich and powerful; at the expense of everyone else.  Because of this, I’ve been a fierce critic of the Fed and its policies.

Money vs Real Wealth

I happen to know a good deal about our current system of money; how it is created, how it functions, its benefits and its darker aspects. I find it critical to remember that it isn’t actually “real”. Rather, it is a concept. Specifically, it’s a social contract.  An agreement. Albeit one enforced at the end of a gun – or, as seen here, an eviction sheriff enforcing the local tax codes:

So while money isn’t “real” in itself, we value it because it is a claim on real things.

Having a lot of it currently entitles you to a great deal of privileges and power, which are a direct outcome of the spending of that money.

Money can be converted into houses. And cars. And massages. Also groceries, electricity, cell phone services and prescription drugs. These and ten billion other things are what money allows you to buy — the things you actually need or want.

So money is the means, but it is not the real wealth.  ‘Real wealth’ is the things that money enables you to acquire.

The Three Types Of Wealth

Going further, we can break real wealth into two discrete forms.  Primary wealth is the wealth of the land and its functioning ecosystems.  It is clear air, fresh water, thick ore bodies, and rich soils:

Secondary wealth is a finished form produced from raw materials.  It is primary wealth brought to market.  It is fresh produce on the grocery shelf, cut lumber (or even a fully-constructed building), and rolled steel in giant coils:

Tertiary wealth, on the other hand, is not actually “real”. But most people mistake it as a comprehensive representation of “wealth”.

Similar to money, tertiary wealth is merely a claim on primary and/or secondary wealth.  A share of General Electic a stock-based claim on the company’s means of production.

And debt (and bonds) is a future claim on money. And money, as we know, is a claim on real things.

It’s All About The Amount Of Claims

Why is it relevant to parse these distinctions so carefully?

Because there has to be a balance between the claims and the wealth.

Too many claims and we call that inflation.  Each individual claim is reduced and diluted by every additional new claim brought into being. Beyond a certain amount, each claim becomes increasingly worthless.

Deflation is when there’s overproduction, or too much ‘real stuff’ relative to money.  Prices fall, which is a perilous condition for a debt-based money system. There needs to be ever more money to pay off both the principal and interest components of past loans, or else defaults start cascading through the system.

Do you get now why we need to be very concerned with the balance between the claims and the real stuff?

History is full of examples when people first forgot and then violently remembered these truths.  Through history, the balance has swung recklessly — almost chaotically — between inflation and deflation.

Another such phase transition approaches.  These moments are billed as periods of wealth destruction, but they actually aren’t.  Instead, they are periods of wealth transfers from the unaware to the observant.

We’re facing this approaching crisis for two main reasons. One, we’re repeating the forgetfulness and hubris of previous societies. And two, the complexities of our current situation are more challenging than ever before.

Man of our actions are driven by the strong human preference to push our current problems into the future.  When problems and predicaments are compounding/exponential in nature like those we’re currently facing, every can-kicking deferment only makes the pain much greater when it finally arrives.

And as for the increased complexities, for the first time in our history as a global species, we are waking up to the fact that the world is no longer our infinite treasure basket with an unlimited ability to absorb our waste streams.

Instead, it is finite. And its already groaning under the weight of one unit of global GDP extraction and waste.  The central banks are tirelessly seeking to double the size of the economy, and then double it again.

One can easily make the argument that 1x GDP is already ‘too much’ for the planet.  Disappearing fishes, soil, insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles and large animals all indicate that ‘too much’ was a while ago.

But even for those who believe we haven’t exceed the Earth’s carrying capacity yet, it’s certainly true that there’s some sort of a limit somewhere.  Is it when there’s 1.5 times as much consumption and waste as today?  2 times as much?  3 times?

When is the right time to act as if these limits matter to our future welfare?  Not now! is the rally cry of the Federal Reserve and other central banks.  Their remit begins and ends with fostering more credit growth as fast as possible. Full stop.

It’s all they care about. And if they have to continue to throw a couple of younger generations and the entire middle-upper, middle, and lower classes under their inequality-bus to achieve more growth in credit markets, then you’d better believe that’s what they’ll do.

The Wealth Transfer

With the near-inevitability of MMT (a.k.a “free money for everybody”) the wealth transfer will kick into a higher and more obvious gear when MMT arrives (as Charles Hugh Smith brilliantly summarized for us recently).

The basic problem is that money is not real wealth. But newly printed money has real purchasing power.  What happens when purchasing power is increased but more real wealth is not auto-magically created at the same time?

Easy: the claims on real stuff become diluted. Every unit of money in circulation has a tiny fragment of purchasing power removed from it when a new unit of purchasing power is created ‘out of nothing.’

You might think “what a flawed plan!,” but that’s exactly wrong. That’s precisely the plan. Coin clipping was the ancient Roman practice of diluting the currency by recalling every coin in circulation (or as many as possible), shaving off a tiny bit from each of them, and then reissuing a larger quantity of coins that each weighed a tiny bit less than before.

Today it’s far easier to achieve the same outcome.  New electronic digits are spewed out into the world and perhaps 0.1% of the population could even tell you that it’s happening. Perhaps only 0.001% could tell you exactly how.

But the effect is the same as coin clipping. Each new currency digit launched ‘from nothing’ into circulation has immediate purchasing power.  By definition, all of the pre-existing currency in circulation loses a ‘unit-share’ as a consequence.

With trillions upon trillions in circulation, nobody really notices. Again, that’s both the point and by design.

For the US, this chart explains what’s coming in grotesque detail:

This is the total debts of the US, which represent future claims on money — which, remember, itself is a future claim on real wealth.

GDP represents, imperfectly, the ‘real stuff’ in this story.  As you can plainly see, the claims (red line) are compunding at a far faster pace than GDP (blue line).

It gets even worse — far, far worse — when we include America’s unfunded liabilities into the mix, seen here expressed as a percentage of GDP:

What possible ways are there to resolve that chart with people’s expectations, hopes and dreams?

Well, we could grow GDP really, really fast for a very long time.  Like 75 or even 100 more years.

By which point the US economy alone will be 5x larger than the entire global economy currently is.  Now remember that already the Earth is screaming “enough!”  We can only imagine what happens if the US alone becomes 5x larger than today’s entire world economy…

However, because such tremendous growth requires energy, a LOT of it, and because no suitable replacements for fossil fuels yet exists, and because fossil fuel supplies are set to decline for reasons related to depletion and geology, that kind of 5x growth is just not likely to materialize. It’s not possible; the fuel to power it isn’t there.

It’s not a good bet at all.

So what happens when huge claims slam into physical constraints?  The excess claims evaporate.  As they have many times throughout history.

This is where the wealth transfer comes in. And you want to be sure to be prepare for it, and on the correct side of it as it happens.

Time Is Running Out

The end of money approaches.

To quote the famous Austrian economist Ludwig Von Mises:

“There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion.

The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”

How many people reading this think that given the choice between dealing with unpleasant consequences now vs. printing up more money (via MMT, more QE, etc.) and facing the music at a later date that there’s even any contest at all?

Of course they’ll opt to print more now.  Now is never a good time to face the music.  There are delicate issues right here and now to balance.  A tough moment in a trade negotiation, an election, disturbing weakness in the IPO market, etc.

Further, there’s nobody of any consequence who has the requisite vision or leadership to stomach such a period of tough decisions.  There’s no Paul Volker at the Fed; just a bunch of clueless market-following political animals who are afraid of any and every wiggle downwards in stock prices.  They are the market’s lapdogs now; completely unworthy of admiration or respect.

Which is why we predict more printing and borrowing.  Enormous new piles of money and credit will be issued, likely at ever-lower rates of interest.

The world economy is performing sluggishly and appears to be sickening further.  This is due to too much debt. But no matter, the central banker’s response is automatic: The world needs more credit at even cheaper prices!

And, of course, more central bank interventions to keep everything from falling apart. After all, the central bankers are the heroes in this story, right??

It will be something of a miracle if the next US presidential election doesn’t open the MMT floodgates, which would only accelerate the pace of currency debasement.

The pressure is building.  Nobody knows when all of that newly-issued money and credit will have to be ‘trued up’ against the amount of real stuff out there. But it will. It always does.

That moment will be referred to by the press as a period of wealth destruction.

If a deflationary outcome occurs – which we give a 15% chance of happening – 401ks will be shredded, bonds will lose value, defaults will spike, stocks will crater and the dollar will spike as institutions and entire countries scramble to repay their debts from a dwindling pool of money.

If an inflationary outcome does– the remaining 85% probability – money will become worth less and less. But the press will unhelpfully lament the situation as some great mystery, like rain falling from a clear sky.  Of course, understanding inflation is not terribly difficult, but it behooves the power structure to pretend as if it were really just too difficult to comprehend.   Inflation is always a monetary phenomenon.  Too much money chasing too few goods and services.

Either way, the sword will fall. And after the dust settles, there will be clear winners and losers.  Those with the proper framework and agility will prosper.  They will understand that what actually happened was that wealth was transferred from those who thought they owned it (the claimants), to those who actually did (the possessors).

The only remaining questions are whether the wealth transfer comes about in the form of an inflationary destruction, like in Venezuela today, or as a deflationary bust more in the fashion of Greece recently (which lost its ports, roads, and utilities to foreign banks and creditors as a consequence of running up too much debt it couldn’t repay).

Either way, by deflation or inflation, the prudent financial responses remain the same.  Own hard assets.  Have multiple income streams.  Be able to source a percentage of your own food locally and generate your own energy at home (solar, rocket mass heaters, etc.).

For those with money in the markets, we have an experienced financial advisory firm we recommend that can help you navigate your financial capital through these incredibly uncertain times.

We cannot possibly predict when the current Everything Bubble will finally end, but when it does, you at least will not be fooled.  You will have seen it coming and will know its causes.  You will be among the educated and alert who will know that the real wealth has merely been transferred.

Further, you will know that the beneficiaries of that wealth transfer will almost certainly be – surprise! – the banks and other financial elites that the Fed has so carefully enabled and protected.  The winners have been pre-selected, as have the losers.

The danger in that, of course, is if the financial elites haven’t thought their cunning plan all the way through.  They may not like what follows next as an enraged populace finally wakes up to the enormous fraud that has been perpetrated upon it.

We shall see.

More and more people in the US and in other countries are waking up to the ways in which the financial and political elites have gamed and rigged the system in their favor. Angry protestors are increasingly taking to the streets to voice their displeasure.

We predict more of that.  A lot more.

In Part 2: Time Is Growing Scarce, we closely examine the warning signals (some of which the Fed is itself providing!) that the global economy is much weaker than admitted, and that the great wealth transfer is about to ramp into high gear.

Interested in making it through the coming chaos with your wealth — and more important, your integrity — intact? Read on.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access).

Source: The End Of Money

Joe Biden’s Campaign Is Imploding | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

Ever since he announced that he was running for president, Joe Biden has been the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. And the good news for the Biden campaign is that he is still leading in most major national polls. But the bad news is that his numbers have been steadily falling. At one point, his average level of support in national polls was over 40 percent, but now it is down to just 26.7 percent.

And the really bad news is that Biden is falling behind other candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire. In fact, according to the latest poll Biden is now in fourth place in Iowa

Joe Biden slipped into fourth place among presidential candidates in the 2020 Iowa caucuses, behind front-runner Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and a surging South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, according to a new poll released Friday.

The Massachusetts senator polled at 22 percent, ahead of Vermont Sen. Sanders at 19 percent, Buttigieg at 18 percent and the former vice president at 17 percent, the New York Times/Siena College poll of likely participants in the caucuses showed.

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

In particular, Biden is really having a hard time getting young people behind him. At this point, he has the support of “only 2 percent of voters under 45” in Iowa.

That is abysmal.

A fourth place finish in Iowa would not be fatal for Biden as long as he came back strong in New Hampshire.

But the latest poll in New Hampshire has him in third place

In New Hampshire, a University of New Hampshire/CNN poll conducted October 21-27 with a margin of error of 4.1 points found Sanders at 21%, Warren at 18%, and Biden at 15% — a dramatic drop of 9 percentage points from the July UNH/CNN poll, where Biden was at 24% support.

If Biden does not finish in the top two in either state, history indicates that it will be extremely difficult for him to win the Democratic nomination. The following comes from CNN

Now, it’s not as if you must win these early contests. You probably need to come close though. George McGovern won neither in 1972, though he placed second in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Bill Clinton didn’t win either in 1992, though Iowa was ceded to home state Sen. Tom Harkin and Clinton came in second behind Paul Tsongas in New Hampshire. Put another way, no one has won a major party nomination since 1972 without coming in the top two in either Iowa or New Hampshire.

Public perception will be greatly shaped by the results of the first two contests. If Biden does poorly in both states, the mainstream media will be full of stories about how his campaign is in disarray, and donors and supporters will start looking for greener pastures.

So Biden better get his act together if he wants to be the Democratic nominee. And he potentially got some good news on Friday when Beto O’Rourke dropped out of the race

O’Rourke said in a statement posted on Medium that his “service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee,” adding that it is in the best interest of the Democratic Party to unifiy around the nominee.

“Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully,” he said.

Will this help Biden more than the other candidates?

O’Rourke was polling in the very low single digits, and so he didn’t have a lot of support. Many believe that at least some of O’Rourke’s supporters will migrate to Biden, but considering the fact that O’Rourke was so progressive this could also end up helping Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders too.

But of much more importance is how the fundraising numbers will move in the weeks ahead. Unfortunately for Biden, he has been lagging the three other major Democratic candidates

As of 2019’s third fundraising quarter, Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg reported $33.7 million, $25.7 million, and $23.4 million in cash on hand, respectively, compared with just $8.9 million for Biden.

Biden’s online fundraising picked up a bit in October, but it still wasn’t nearly enough

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign announced Friday that it raised $5.3 million in online donations last month as the former vice president seeks to reassure voters as to the vitality of his White House bid.

If the Biden campaign continues to flounder, establishment Democrats are going to become increasingly tempted to recruit another big name to enter the race.

Michelle Obama has repeatedly insisted that she will never run for public office, but Hillary Clinton has been dropping hints in recent weeks that she may be interested.

However, if she is going to make a move she needs to do it soon.

As for Biden, his biggest problem is that he just can’t help being Joe Biden.

When a young female Democratic activist recently approached him with a hard question, he once again put his foot in his mouth

You might have seen the video doing the rounds this week: Joe Biden, who was asked a tricky question by a young activist, responds about as condescendingly as humanly possible — “Look at my record, child.”

I was that young activist, and my encounter with the man who wants to be president taught me that he is not up to the task.

You can watch video of this exchange right here.

In this cultural environment, it is political suicide for someone running for president to call a young woman that is asking him a tough question a “child”.

Almost every time Biden appears in public, he loses more votes.

It probably would have been best if his handlers had just kept him locked away from the public entirely throughout this process, but at this point the race has gotten so close that doing such a thing now is just not possible.

And this is especially true now that Biden has fallen behind in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden supporters better hope that he can cook up a comeback in at least one of those states, because as it stands right now it is looking quite doubtful that he will be the Democratic nominee.

Source: Joe Biden’s Campaign Is Imploding

John MacArthur blasts Southern Baptist Convention on Critical Race Theory, Identity Politics — Capstone Report

A November 1 article published by the Baptist Message details John  MacArthur’s criticism of the Southern Baptist Convention’s embrace of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. The article by Will Hall details the famed pastor and theologian’s analysis of the dangers of Identity Politics. Here are a few excerpts:

John MacArthur says Liberalism taking over Southern Baptist Convention because of Identity Politics

SUN VALLEY, Calif. (LBM)–During a “Truth Matters Conference” held in mid-October, noted theologian John MacArthur, pastor of the Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, criticized the Southern Baptist Convention for passing Resolution 9 during its annual meeting in June in Birmingham, Alabama.

This resolution described two controversial ideologies, Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality, in neutral terms, suggesting that in some cases both have been misused “by individuals with worldviews that are contrary to the Christian faith” to come to wrong conclusions. However, the two theoretical frameworks actually arose from radicals in academia.

Critical Race Theory is traced to the Harvard Law School and the founding theorist Derrick Bell who insists that “the law,” for instance, is a power structure based on “white supremacy” and “white privilege.”

Meanwhile, the idea of Intersectionality is tied to the UCLA School of Law and Kimberlé Crenshaw, the pioneer of the concept, who developed this abstract idea to help her advance the notion that “privileging of whiteness or maleness” is prevalent throughout society and the cause for the oppression of women of color.

The resolution, meanwhile, strongly underscored “Scripture as the first, last, and sufficient authority with regard to how the Church seeks to redress social ills” and promised “Southern Baptists will carefully analyze how the information gleaned from these tools are employed to address social dynamics.”

However, MacArthur said the acceptance of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality was a sign of “liberalism” taking over the SBC and called the approval of the resolution by messengers “a watershed moment” for decline of the denomination.

“I guess that in some ways it is remarkable that they lasted as long as they did when all the other denominations have been gone 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago and [the SBC] held on to inerrancy and … held on to a legitimate hermeneutic,” he offered.

“But when you decide to let the culture interpret the Scripture and you need cultural cues to translate the Bible, the horse is out of the barn.”

Check out the rest of the article on the Baptist Message website.

via John MacArthur blasts Southern Baptist Convention on Critical Race Theory, Identity Politics — Capstone Report

November 2, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Jesus Christ in Relation to the Church

He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. (1:18)

Paul presents four great truths in this verse about Christ’s relation to the church.

christ is the head of the church

There are many metaphors used in Scripture to describe the church. It is called a family, a kingdom, a vineyard, a flock, a building, and a bride. But the most profound metaphor, one having no Old Testament equivalent, is that of a Body. The church is a Body, and Christ is the head of the Body. This concept is not used in the sense of the head of a company, but rather looks at the church as a living organism, inseparably tied together by the living Christ. He controls every part of it and gives it life and direction. His life lived out through all the members provides the unity of the Body (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12–20). He energizes and coordinates the diversity within the Body, a diversity of spiritual gifts and ministries (1 Cor. 12:4–13). He also directs the Body’s mutuality, as the individual members serve and support each other (1 Cor. 12:15–27).

Christ is not an angel who serves the church (cf. Heb. 1:14). He is the head of His church.

christ is the source of the church

Archē (beginning) is used here in the twofold sense of source and primacy. The church has its origins in Jesus. God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). It is He who gives life to His church. His sacrificial death and resurrection on our behalf provided our new life. As head of the Body, Jesus holds the chief position, or highest rank in the church. As the beginning, He is its originator.

christ is the firstborn from the dead

First-born again translates prōtotokos. Of all those who have been raised from the dead, or ever will be, Christ is the highest in rank.

christ is the pre-eminent one

As a result of His death and resurrection, Jesus has come to have first place in everything. Paul summarizes for emphasis in verse 18. He wants to drive home the point as forcefully as he can that Jesus is not merely another emanation from God. Because

He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross … God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:8–11)

Jesus reigns supreme over the visible world, the unseen world, and the church. Paul sums up his argument in verse 19: For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him. Plērōma (fulness) was a term used by the later Gnostics to refer to the divine powers and attributes, which they believed were divided among the various emanations. That is likely the sense in which the Colossian errorists used the term. Paul counters that false teaching by stating that all the fulness of deity is not spread out in small doses to a group of spirits, but fully dwells in Christ alone (cf. 2:9). The commentator J. B. Lightfoot wrote about Paul’s use of plērōma,

On the one hand, in relation to Deity, He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is not only the chief manifestation of the Divine nature: He exhausts the Godhead manifested. In Him resides the totality of the Divine powers and attributes. For this totality Gnostic teachers had a technical term, the pleroma or plenitude.… In contrast to their doctrine, [Paul] asserts and repeats the assertion, that the pleroma abides absolutely and wholly in Christ as the Word of God. The entire light is concentrated in Him. (St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon [1879; reprint, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959], p. 102)

Paul tells the Colossians they do not need angels to help them get saved. Rather in Christ, and Him alone, they are complete (2:10). Christians share in His fulness: “For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (John 1:16). All the fulness of Christ becomes available to believers.

What should the response be to the glorious truths about Christ in this passage? The Puritan John Owen astutely wrote,

The revelation made of Christ in the blessed gospel is far more excellent, more glorious, more filled with rays of divine wisdom and goodness than the whole creation, and the just comprehension of it, if attainable, can contain or afford. Without this knowledge, the mind of man, however priding itself in other inventions and discoveries, is wrapped up in darkness and confusion.

This therefore deserves the severest of our thoughts, the best of our meditations, and our utmost diligence in them. For if our future blessedness shall consist in living where He is, and beholding of His glory, what better preparation can there be for it than a constant previous contemplation of that glory as revealed in the gospel, that by a view of it we may be gradually transformed into the same glory? (John Owen, The Glory of Christ [reprint, Chicago: Moody, 1949], pp. 25–26)[1]

Anticipation (1:18a)

18a This Son (1:13), in whom we have redemption/forgiveness (1:14), who is the Eikōn and Prōtotokos (1:15), in whom all things are created (1:16) and in whom all things are sustained (1:17)—this Son is also the head of the body, namely, the church (1:18a).

What does it mean in this context to call Jesus the “head” (kephalē)? Paul uses this term eighteen times, some of which are no more than a physical head (e.g., 1 Cor 11:4), while others are metaphoric. The debate, fired up by evangelical complementarians, is whether it means “authority over” or “source of,” but that debate is mostly shaped by a theology of marriage and a fear of feminism rather than by what it means when Christ is the head. There is an order at work in 1 Cor 11 when Christ is seen as the head (11:3), but at work in that text is not just priority but also source, for in v. 8 Paul says “man did not come from women,” and this verse explains the glory of v. 7. Furthermore, for one important recent reading of this text, Paul’s orientation is not so much authority-submission as it is headship-hair-covering for all women and therefore an equalitarian move for women, including those who because of low status (prostitutes, slaves) were not entitled to head coverings. So we ought to draw a frown over the false dichotomy at work in the source-vs.-authority conversation, and even a question mark over our confidence of reading 1 Cor 11:1–16. When it comes to the Prison Letters, the term “head” trades off between the superiority/priority of Christ over all things (Col 1:18; 2:10; Eph 1:22) and the unity that Christ brings through his life-drawing redemption (Eph 4:15; 5:23; Col 2:19). A parallel Jewish text is found at the Testament of Zebulon:

Pay heed to the streams: When they flow in the same channel they carry along stones, wood, and sand, but they are divided into many channels, the earth swallows them and they become unproductive. And you shall be thus if you are divided. Do not be divided into two heads, because everything the Lord has made has a single head. He provides two shoulders, two hands, two feet, but members obey one head (9:1–4).

In other words, the “head” in this context is the one who grants and sustains life, while also creating a new kind of unity among the members.

The Son is therefore the redemptive, unifying Lord of the body, one of Paul’s favorite terms in his ecclesiology.342 While the word sōma/body was used metaphorically in the Roman Empire by a variety of thinkers and authors, most notably Livy and Epictetus, the term in Paul refers to the organic, unifying, and mutually supporting roles of believers with one another as they exercise the fruit and gifts of the Spirit so they can grow into one body in Christ. Unity emerges in our hymn at 1:20 and at 2:19 as well. One sees a similar emphasis on unity in 1 Cor 12–14; Rom 12, and Eph 4:1–16. Because the language of church-as-body is so typically Pauline, many have concluded that Paul transformed a prior pagan cosmic “body” into the church, and such scholarship points to the routine use of this term (Plato, Timaeus), as well as to its presence in part in Philo. In that case, Col 1:18a continues the theme of creation (body meaning cosmos) rather than expanding to redeemption. That proposal, however, founders on speculation about the tradition history of the hymn; as we have it, the hymn defines the body as the church, and that connection leads the reader (or listener) to the theme of redemption. In addition, others find here support for the transformation of the more democratic sense of “body” in the earlier Pauline letters (1 Cor 12; Rom 12) into a hierarchical arrangement (Christ, church as body, world), as well as into a different soteriology in the post-Pauline letters. One should not dispute differences between the 1 Corinthians-Romans correspondence and the Prison Letters, but to the degree that one can “Paulinize” on the basis of Paul in light of the ideas of one’s environment, one can posit that Paul himself (or Paul and Timothy, or Paul and his various co-workers) might work up over a decade an expansion of the idea of “body.” If our dating of Colossians is correct, namely in the Ephesian imprisonment in the early to mid-50s, then there is no discussion here: both the local and universal sense of “body” found their way into Paul’s letters at about the same time. It is as wise to divide in order to conquer as it is to unify to the same end.

The term “body” is defined by an epexegetical genitive: “the body, that is, the church.” Paul’s mission was not simply to increase the church’s numbers through evangelism but to get saved Gentiles at the table with saved Jews to form a new family fellowship called the church (ekklēsia). Perhaps most notable here is that “church” in the Prison Letters shifts in focus from local assemblies to the church universal (so also Eph 1:22–23). Such an expansion, however, is not innovative to the Prison Letters—the same sense is found at 1 Cor 12:27–28. Nor should one think Paul has dropped the local expression as the body: it is a particularization of the universal church gathered.348 In this context one must also think the term ekklēsia will have evoked a political assembly of citizens; as such, the co-opting of the term by Paul for a Christian kind of politics under King Jesus has overtones of a political alternative.

The Beginning and Firstborn (1:18b)

18b Already described and labeled as Eikōn and Prōtotokos over all creation (1:15–16), the exalted Son is now depicted in redemptive categories. In 1:15–17 there is a primordial or essential primacy, while in 1:18–20 the primacy is the achievement of the resurrection. In the second stanza, then, the Son is not only head over the universal church (1:18a), but three more successive descriptions are succinctly given:

He is (#1) the beginning [archē],

inasmuch as he is (#2) the firstborn [prōtotokos] in the resurrection,

so that (#3) he might have supremacy [prōteuōn]. (NIV)

The relationship of these three descriptions is not precisely clear from the grammar, but a reasonable proposal is that archē is defined by prōtotokos, thus making “beginning” a reference to the resurrection, with prōteuōn/supremacy describing his exalted status as a result of the resurrection. In other words, we are staring at an alternative way of stating what is found already in Phil 2:6–11: the Son’s humiliation unto death but subsequent resurrection and exaltation to the highest name.

The relationship of #1 to #2 shapes how one sees “beginning.” Is it temporal (he is before all things; Matt 19:4, 8; John 15:27; Heb 1:10; 2 Pet 3:4; 1 John 2:24), or is it priority over other archai (he is above all powers; Rom 8:38; 1 Cor 15:24; Eph 1:21; 6:12), or is he the source/founder as the creative initiative behind everything? The temporal sense fits best inasmuch as the next descriptor (#2) clearly focuses on temporal priority, and it also focuses on the life-giving power (thus, founder) of the Son’s redemptive work at work in the second stanza: the Son is the beginning of new-creation life as the first one raised from the dead, resulting in a preeminent status over all the redeemed. Yet, the close parallel to our passage at Ephesians 1:20–23, where archē refers to the powers of this age, leads one to hear also an echo of the “powers” (archai) at work in Col 1:18b: his resurrection and exaltation is thus simultaneously a victory over death and the powers.

Evoking a term in the opening sentence of the Greek translation of the Old Testament in the word “beginning” and therefore now opening up new creation, the Son is the beginning of new creation because he is the “firstborn [prōtotokos] from among the dead” (1:18b). At v. 15 the same word was used for the Son in his creative role, but here the term evokes the Son’s temporally prior and redemption-by-defeat-of-death role. We have here, then, new-creation theology that emerges from the Jewish belief in the general resurrection at the eschaton (1 Cor 15:23; Rom 8:29; Acts 26:23; Rev 1:5). Furthermore, following the crucifixion and prior to Easter, this text implies that Christ resided for a moment “among the dead,” evoking what is now called Holy Saturday, which focuses on the descent into Hades and its harrowing (also Eph 4:8–10; 1 Pet 3:19–20; 4:6). Jesus really died and was not asleep; his death led to his invasion of the realm of the dead in order to liberate his people from their temporary captivity. His liberation of the dead comes to expression in the appearing of the saints after his crucifixion, death, and entry into Hades (Matt 27:51–53). His resurrection is the vanguard of the general resurrection. Resurrection cannot be given too much attention either in the apostolic gospel or in Paul’s theology.

His death-defeating resurrection makes it possible for the Son’s exaltation. As this hymn puts it, “so that [in order that] in everything356 he might have the supremacy” (1:18b). His supremacy (prōteuōn) is both temporal and hierarchical, as is the case in the parallel hymn at Phil 2:6–11, where we read the best commentary on our term prōteuōn: “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” It is possible that prōteuōn is a title, The Preeminent One. Here we come face to face with the gospel itself, which is more than a message of salvation: the gospel is the declaration that Jesus of Nazareth, who lived, who died, and who is risen to the right hand of the Father, is the world’s true Lord and King.359 The gospel announces that Jesus is Prōteuōn![2]

The glory of Christ’s position (vv. 18–19)

Christ is head over the church, ‘the head of the body’, and he exercises authority and rule over it by his Word and his Spirit. He is the only head of the church but appoints officers to exercise authority in his name (Acts 14:23; Phil. 1:1; Eph. 4:11–12ff.; 1 Tim. 3:1–13). There is nothing that can be added to Jesus Christ to make him a ‘better’ or a ‘greater’ Saviour: ‘in him all the fullness should dwell’. The Greek word translated here ‘fullness’ (pleroma) is one of the words which the ‘spoilers’ in Colosse used. Paul used it to remind the Colossians that there is nothing lacking in Christ because the fullness of deity, power and grace are his (2:9). He is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by him, and it is out of his fullness that believers receive constant grace (Heb. 4:16; John 1:16).[3]

1:18 / From cosmic sovereignty, Paul turns to discuss Christ’s preeminence in the church by using the head-body imagery. He has convincingly established Christ’s lordship over the world; now he establishes Christ’s lordship in the church.

If the church can be regarded as a Pauline interpolation, then an earlier version of the hymn must have proclaimed Christ as head of the body only. There is much speculation as to the source of the head-body metaphor in Paul’s writings. Some scholars are attracted to the idea of “corporate personality” in which all of humanity is considered to be “in Adam.” The counterpart in the nt is that, since all Christians are “in Christ”—that is, the church—they can be regarded as the body of Christ. Most scholars, however, believe that the idea comes from Hellenistic conceptions of the cosmic body.

In several Greek sources, including the writings of Plato, the Stoics, and the Alexandrian Jew Philo, there are numerous mythological conceptions of the universe as a body that is governed by a “head.” Here, the cosmos is filled by the deity and consequently viewed as the body of the deity over which there is “Wisdom” or “Logos” as its head. The common belief was that, just as a person’s physical body needs direction and guidance from the head, so the body of the cosmos needs a head such as Logos or Wisdom as a unifying principle.

What the Greeks attributed to Wisdom or Logos for headship, the early church attributed to Christ. He, in other words, is the divine Logos (cf. John’s prologue in 1:1–3) who governs the body (sōma) of the cosmos. It is quite possible that a Christian version of this hymn initially celebrated Christ’s headship over the cosmos. The new development in Colossians is that Paul interprets body not as cosmos but as church. In other words, although Christ is head of the whole world, only the church is his body.

The identification of the church as the body of Christ over which Christ is the head in Colossians (1:18, 24) and Ephesians (1:22, 23; 4:15, 16) is not the same as the description of the “body” in Romans and 1 Corinthians. In those two epistles (Rom. 12:1–8; 1 Cor. 12:4–31), Paul uses the concept of the church as the body of Christ and emphasizes the mutual relationships and obligations that exist among its members by virtue of their spiritual gifts. There the “head” is simply mentioned along with the other members of the body (1 Cor. 12:14–26). Only in Colossians and Ephesians is Christ designated as head over the church. The reason for this surely lies in Paul’s intention to proclaim the lordship of Christ over all things. He wants the Colossians to know that the church is the place where Christ exercises his sovereignty over the cosmos.

This Lord is the beginning of the body’s life, vitalizing and energizing it by virtue of his resurrection. Paul utilizes the phrase firstborn for the second time (cf. 1:15) in order to re-emphasize the priority of Christ. The final result of this is Christ’s absolute preeminence (so that in everything he might have the supremacy).[4]

18. The section showing the Son’s pre-eminence in the sphere of Creation has ended. Here, at verse 18, begins the paragraph describing his equal sovereignty in the realm of Redemption. We read: And he is the head of the body, the church. In the writings of Paul this expression is something new, whether we view it as original with him or as here taken over by him from a familiar hymn or saying. It is nowhere found in the earlier epistles such as Galatians, I and II Thessalonians, I and II Corinthians, or Romans. Yet, it would be unwise on this account to say that Paul cannot have been either the author or confirmer of the idea that Christ is, indeed, the head of the body, namely, the church. To be sure, in the earlier letters the apostle wrote not about Christ as the head of the church but about the church as the body of Christ (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12–31, especially verse 27). His purpose was to show that in that one body there were many members (“foot,” “hand,” “ear,” “eye”); in other words, that in the one organism of the church there were many functions and talents distributed among a large number of believers, and that each “member” should use his gifts to benefit the entire body. He did not then specifically state that the head of this body was Christ. That was not the point at issue in these earlier letters. At Colosse, however, this headship or pre-eminence of Christ was distinctly the truth in need of emphasis, as has already been shown. It is for this reason that this particular aspect of the doctrine is set forth here in Colossians rather than in the earlier epistles.

Nevertheless, it cannot be truthfully maintained that the proposition “Christ is the head of the church” was absolutely foreign to Paul’s thinking previous to the time when he wrote his Prison Epistles. Is not a body supposed to have a head? Besides, had not the apostle written, “The head of every man is Christ” (1 Cor. 11:3)? Now if Christ is the head of every man in the church, is he not also the head of the church?

As head Christ causes his church to live and to grow (Col. 2:19; cf. Eph. 4:15, 16). He is its Organic Head. As head he also exercises authority over the church; in fact, over all things in the interest of the church (Eph. 1:20–23). He is its Ruling Head. It is doubtful whether either of these two ideas is ever completely absent when Christ is called head of the church, though sometimes one connotation and then again the other receives the greater emphasis, as the context indicates. And in such a passage as Eph. 5:23, 24 both ideas (growth and guidance) are brought to the fore.

Now if the Son of God is the Organic and Ruling Head of the church, then the church is in no sense whatever dependent on any creature, angel or otherwise. This is the clear implication over against the teachers of error. Does not the church receive both its growth and guidance from its living Lord? Is it not energized by his power and governed by his Word and Spirit? Hence, is it not true that in Christ it has all it needs, and also that without him it can accomplish nothing? Cf. John 15:5, 7.

“Thou, O Christ, art all I want;

More than all in thee I find.”

(Charles Wesley, in “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”)

And what could be a better illustration of the relation of Christ to his church than the underlying idea of the relation of the human head to the body? Advance in scientific knowledge has confirmed the adequacy of the figure used by the early church and by Paul. In a human individual it is to the head that the body, in large measure, owes its vigorous life and growth (the organic relationship). From the pituitary gland, housed in a small cavity located in the base of the skull, comes the growth hormone (and several other hormones). This hormone is known to be closely related to the health and growth of connective tissue, cartilege, and bone.

Consider also the other functions of the head, those related in large measure to guidance. It is in the head that the organs of special sense are mainly located. The brain receives impulses from the outside world (indirectly) and from inside the body. It organizes and interprets these impulses. It thinks. It reacts, and this both voluntarily and involuntarily. Thus it guides and directs the actions of the individual. In the cerebrum are located, among other things, the areas that control the various parts of the body. The cerebellum has been called “the co-ordinator and harmonizer of muscular action.” The medulla controls such actions as winking, sneezing, coughing, chewing, sucking, swallowing, etc. Here also the cardiac center regulates the rate of heart-beat, while the respiratory center is in charge of the activity of the respiratory organs.

Thus, indeed, when the triune God created the human body with its organic and ruling head, he so constructed that head that it could serve as an excellent symbol of the Organic and Ruling Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ.

With reference to the latter the “hymn” now continues, Who is the beginning, the firstborn from die dead. By his triumphant resurrection, nevermore to die, Christ laid the foundation for that sanctified life, that hope and assurance in which his own rejoice (Col. 3:1–17; 1 Peter 1:3 ff.). This resurrection is also the beginning, principle, or cause of their glorious physical resurrection. Hence, from every aspect the statement is true, “Because I live you too will live” (John 14:19). He is the path-breaker, who holds the key of Death and Hades. He has authority over life and death (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:20; Heb. 2:14, 15; Rev. 1:5). It is he who “on the one hand, utterly defeated death, and on the other hand, brought to light life and incorruptibility through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). All this is true in order that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. It stands to reason that One who is Firstborn, Point of Reference, Agent, Goal, Forerunner, and Sustainer—Governor (verses 15–17) in the sphere of Creation; and Head of the Body, Beginning, and Firstborn from the dead in the realm of Redemption (verse 18), has the right to the title, “the One who has the pre-eminence—the divine sovereignty—in all things, that is, among all creatures.”[5]

1:18. Jesus is sovereign over creation. He is also sovereign over the church, the new creation. Jesus is sovereign over the church because he is the head. While scholars debate whether head should be understood as “origin” or “authority,” both are certainly true of Jesus in relationship to the church. Jesus began his church, and HE is its source of life and vitality. Jesus is also sovereign over his church. The church takes its direction from Jesus and is under his authority. While both concepts are true, the context of supremacy certainly lends itself to the idea of authority.

The church is the body of believers who owe their allegiance to Jesus. The position of supremacy in everything (and particularly the church) belongs to Jesus because of his resurrection and work of reconciliation. He is the firstborn from among the dead. Again, firstborn here has nothing to do with time. Others preceded Jesus in rising from the dead. Lazarus is one example (John 11:38–44). Jesus is first in rank. Others were raised only to die again. Jesus was the first person to rise, never to die again. He is the first person to conquer death, and all other resurrections are based on his.

The glorious truth for us is this: because of his resurrection, we are assured of our own resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20–23).[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (pp. 51–53). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] McKnight, S. (2018). The Letter to the Colossians. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (pp. 155–159). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[3] McNaughton, I. S. (2006). Opening up Colossians and Philemon (pp. 29–30). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[4] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (pp. 31–32). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, pp. 76–78). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[6] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, pp. 283–284). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.