Daily Archives: March 5, 2020

Will This Coronavirus Outbreak Cause A New Financial Crisis And A Horrifying Economic Collapse? — The Economic Collapse

The term “black swan event” is increasingly being used to describe this coronavirus outbreak, and many are concerned that what we are headed for will be much worse than what we experienced in 2008 and 2009.  Already, we have witnessed a staggering drop in global demand, Wall Street has had to deal with the wildest week in eight years, and people all over the globe are hoarding toilet paper, face masks and hand sanitizer.  That may sound like a plot from one of my books, but it is not.  This is actually happening, and it appears that we are still only in the very early chapters of this crisis.

It seems like just yesterday that everyone was freaking out because there were a few dozen confirmed cases here in the United States.  Now there are 70 in the state of Washington alone

A cruise ship remains at arms length from San Francisco and the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Washington state ballooned to 70on Thursday – pushing the U.S. total above 220 – as the global struggle against the outbreak intensified.

The nation’s death toll rose to 12, 11 of them in Washington. Fifty-one of the confirmed cases are in King County, home to Seattle, where ten of the deaths have occurred, state health officials said.

As I write this article, the total number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has now risen to 233, but of course that number is going to go much higher now that the U.S. has finally decided to ramp up testing for the virus.

If you live in the Seattle area, you are going to want to avoid public places for the foreseeable future.  In fact, officials in King County are already recommending that all businesses “allow their employees to telecommute throughout March”

A Washington state county, where 31 coronavirus cases and 9 deaths have been reported, has recommended to its 2.2 million residents that they should work from home to help slow the spread of the infectious disease, and further urged everyone over 60 to stay indoors.

Public Health officials in King County on Wednesday recommended that businesses allow their employees to telecommute throughout March in an effort to reduce the amount of face-to-face contact between large numbers of people during this “critical period” in the COVID-19 outbreak.

Unfortunately, other hotspots are starting to emerge as well.  The total number of cases in California is up to 53, and the number of cases in New York just doubled

California declared a state of emergency after a coronavirus-related death and 53 confirmed casesin the state. The number of infections in New York also doubled overnight to 22 as the state ramps up its testing.

Predictably, U.S. stocks plunged on Thursday as the bad news came rolling in.  By the end of the trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 969 points

Stocks plunged on Thursday, erasing most of the steep gains in the previous session, as markets remained highly volatile in the face of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day 969.58 points, or 3.5%, lower at 26,121.28 after tanking nearly 1,150 at its session low. The S&P 500 dropped 3.3%, or 106.18, to 3,023.94 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 3.1%, or 279.49, to 8,738.60. All 11 S&P sectors finished the day in the red. Stocks turned sharply lower as the 10-year Treasury yield fell to an all-time low below 0.9%.

This is precisely the sort of wild market behavior that we witnessed during the financial crisis of 2008.  One day stocks would be way down, and the next day they would be way up.  When we see extreme volatility such as this, it is a clear indication that investors are very nervous.

After watching what transpired on Thursday, one trader described the market’s current behavior as “a super-puke”

Watching the markets today  – as The Dow plunged 1000 points, Treasury yields collapsed to record lows, credit markets imploded, and demands for more Fed intervention exploded – has one veteran trader remarking, “this is becoming a super-puke.”

Of course if this coronavirus outbreak starts to fade, it is entirely possible that the markets could settle back down.

But that hasn’t happened so far, and experts are warning that we should expect to see more market volatility ahead.  Here is one example

“We expect markets to remain volatile,” Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a note. “The unfolding nature of the coronavirus threat—both real and perceived—is not yet quantifiable, and, as such, the current global policy response can’t immediately be judged as sufficient or insufficient for restoring investor confidence in the short term.”

Meanwhile, the fear that this coronavirus outbreak has created is hitting the real economy exceedingly hard.

In fact, the CEO of Southwest Airlines says that his company “lost several hundred million dollars in a week’s time” because people are so afraid to travel right now…

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly told CNBC on Thursday that the company has lost several hundred million dollars in a week’s time thanks to a decline in bookings amid increasing fears over COVID-19. Kelly added that the drop-off was “noticeable” and “precipitous” and has continued declining on a daily basis.

We are seeing similar things happen in industry after industry.

So what is going to happen if this outbreak continues to intensify in the months ahead?

Needless to say, we could soon be facing a worst case scenario for the global economy.  According to Egon von Greyerz, the party is indeed “over” and we are headed for the worst economic crisis that any of us have ever experienced…

This is it! The party is over. The world is now facing the gravest economic and social downturn in Modern Times (18th century). We are now entering a period of global crisis that will change the world for a very long time to come. This should come as no surprise to the people who have studied history and also read my articles for the last few years. Many others have also warned about the same thing. But since MSM never talks about the excesses in the world or the risks, 99.9% of people are totally unprepared for what is coming next.

Will he be correct?

We shall see.

It would be wonderful if this virus would just go away and life could get back to normal.  Unfortunately, this crisis just seems to escalate with each passing day.

On Thursday morning, police were actually called out to a Costco in southern California because “toilet paper, paper towels, and bottled water were out of stock”

Deputies responded to the Chino Hills Costco at 10.15am on Thursday morning after receiving a report of a disturbance, a San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman told DailyMaill.com.

On the scene, deputies learned that ‘a large group of customers were upset’ that items such as toilet paper, paper towels, and bottled water were out of stock, said Public Information Officer Cindy Bachman.

All over America, people have been hoarding essential supplies like crazy.  If people are this delirious already, how are they going to act once things start getting really bad?

It was inevitable that stock prices would crash from the ridiculously elevated levels that we witnessed earlier this year.

And the next economic downturn has been building for a really long time.

But now events are starting to move at a pace that is absolutely breathtaking, and it looks like all of our lives are about to change in a major way.

via Will This Coronavirus Outbreak Cause A New Financial Crisis And A Horrifying Economic Collapse? — The Economic Collapse

This ‘n’ That — Do Not Be Surprised…

  • Thoughts on that letter to the church at Ephesus in Revelation.
  • Our love will never be enough. That’s why we need to look to Christ, not ourselves.
  • I think Christians are the guiltiest of all when it comes to making too much of certain men.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Discernment is important, but it must be done biblically to be done well.
  • I fully support this. I think the facial hair trend is disgusting and am ready for it to be over.
  • This article is five years old, but who doesn’t love reminiscing about The Sound of Music?
  • Do you know Betsey Stockton?

God’s blessings are given not because we deserve them but because we need them.

Raymond Brown

via This ‘n’ That — Do Not Be Surprised…

Experience vs Scripture — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

There are two considerations:

1. Understanding of scripture
2. Experience in life.
If one places experience first, scripture gives way and one compromises his understanding of it. If scripture is placed first, God will show how the experience fits.  Our faith should provide a basis for our experiences.
Author unknown

via Experience vs Scripture — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

Subjects Matter: It Is Past Time to Rescue the Study of History from Its Present Decline — Public Discourse

The recent coverage of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial revealed a systemic problem that Americans routinely acknowledge but do little to correct.

As the prosecution and the defense teams delivered constitutional arguments soaked in theory, history, and founding documents, it became apparent to me that a majority of Americans were probably watching this important development in history as though it were a foreign language film. Quotes from James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and competing beliefs about original intent were sailing over the heads of many frustrated and anxious viewers. During moments of national importance like these, history teachers often receive a surge of requests for explanations, from students and adults alike. Instead of finding these questions flattering, I find them frightening: they make me realize that our population is becoming more and more vulnerable to those who might provide skewed interpretations of events to serve their own interests.

America’s static response to its crisis of historical illiteracy has allowed this situation to arise. If the American Republic is to last, it will need more individuals to devote themselves to civic virtue and to develop their own critical thought on important civic matters by studying our national history.

The Current State of Historical Literacy

Reports about Americans’ dismal understanding of their own history have appeared on a near annual basis over the last twenty years. Researchers, think tanks, and other educational stakeholders have published numerous studies that collectively give definitive evidence of the subject’s national decline. The repeated warning signs of this generation’s ignorance of its own history appear with greater frequency—and they portend a far more serious problem in the near future.

In the last two years, the national decline in knowledge of civics has garnered the attention of notable organizations that are eager to analyze the scope of the problem. The University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center recently conducted a civics knowledge survey and learned that only two in five American adults could name all three branches of the federal government. In a separate study, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation determined that only one in three Americans could pass the basic U.S. citizenship test. The Brookings Institution found a slight improvement in civics education trends in early education, through its comparative analysisof the most recent data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). However, the Brookings study also revealed that the average time students spend learning history in twenty-first-century classrooms continues to dwindle, in keeping with the trend of recent decades. Brookings attributes much of the downward trajectory to an increased focus on the subjects tied to federal educational reform. That finding, perhaps more than students’ ignorance of basic American civic institutions, better tells the gravity of the decline.

Changes in the University Put the Study of History on a Downward Path

In a work from the 1990s entitled Telling the Truth About History, historians Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt, and Margaret Jacob described the traditional approach to history that prior generations experienced as college students—an approach that, we may logically assume, gave students a better understanding of civics, since the precipitous drop in civics literacy seems to be a recent phenomenon. The authors concluded:

The American university was the creation of a distinct and inherited version of Western high culture. . . . In the field of history, students were meant to learn the political narrative of Western development with particular attention to American and British institutions. . . . The teaching of history, whether about parliaments or science—from Plato to NATO—seemed only to reinforce the wisdom of the turn taken in the eighteenth century, the success of the Enlightenment enterprise.

In the second half of the twentieth century, a chorus of educational critics began to decry this mission of the American university as antiquated, and judged it ill-equipped to prepare graduates for an increasingly globalized world. Core changes were made to the traditional curriculum, although not immediately or uniformly. Contemporary Americans are currently witnessing the final waning of the vestiges and influence of the old model.

Historian James T. Patterson has claimed that the shift in curriculum and rigor on college campuses started in the wake of political unrest in the late 1960s. In his Bancroft Prize–winning book Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974, Patterson told how, during the turbulent years of the Vietnam War and Civil Rights protests, institutions looked for ways to avoid an escalation of campus violence. Administrators lowered traditional requirements and offered a broader choice of new courses, in an effort to pacify student groups who threatened upheaval. Slowly but surely, across the academic landscape, new programs proliferated. The coming of new fields of study related to rights-consciousness led schools to add an assortment of new majors. The academic overhaul enabled students to pursue a wide spectrum of interests, rather than master a common narrative or canon of works. These changes gave rise to a diverse collegiate experience; but they also created an environment where the standard content and required classics, which had shaped a common American identity, suffered.

Of course, the study of history had been undergoing major changes and challenges long before the late twentieth century: historiographical debates have shaped and reshaped historical viewpoints since the nation’s beginning. Starting from the ringing nationalism of the earliest works of history, the intellectual movements in the field have ebbed and flowed since the late 1800s. Positivists, Darwinists, progressives, Marxists, modernists, and even postmodernists have all produced alternative schools of thought that reinterpreted historical events through the lenses of their strong commitments. Their writings, whether one agreed or disagreed with them, offered new perspectives, and gave the American public a rich array of interpretations from which to learn. Many of those scholars focused on the most critical developments of the nation’s existence. A steady and constant renewed attention to colonialism, the American Revolution, constitutional theory, democratization, sectional strife, and many other familiar topics, attracted intense public interest and gave citizens a deeper understanding of the American experiment.

In short, it would be a mistake to believe that the current decline is due to the loss of some homogeneous version of the American story that used to hold the nation together. The problem is rather that younger generations are no longer being exposed to the historical themes that would most attract their interest and analysis.

Consequences, Challenges, and the Current Response to the Decline           

The overall effect of collegiate education on the general population’s understanding of American history is difficult to measure (although many have noticed a decrease in the pool of civic leaders and talented history teachers—two groups that cannot grow unless potential members receive a thorough history education). In any case, many believe the national decline in civics knowledge to be the direct result of what is happening at the university.

Josiah Bunting, III and others began to bring attention to the problem in the late 1990s. Bunting, a Rhodes Scholar and former superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, penned a work entitled An Education for Our Time, in which he described an ideal university that paid more attention to history. Bunting noted that the Founders “were soaked in the history of Rome and Greece, and they studied Greek and Latin. They knew their Bible; they were children of the political philosophers of the Enlightenment.” In an interview with The Atlantic, esteemed Colombia University history professor Eric Foner bluntly stated, “You have to know history to actually teach it;” and yet a growing number of college graduates and prospective history teachers are leaving the university with only a limited exposure to the content they need in order to succeed in their fields. Young history educators, the most important sources of civics education for the general populace, face a steep challenge.

Outside groups have stepped up to address the growing deficiency in public historical literacy. New York’s Gilder Lehrman Institute offers a broad selection of seminars and resources for teachers interested in developing a deeper mastery of historical content. The James Madison Memorial Foundation annually awards educators in each state a fellowship to pursue a rigorous study of American history, political science, or government. Other organizations such as We the People and The Bill of Rights Institute serve students and teachers alike by promoting robust civics education programs. Without the diligent work of these entities, the nation’s ignorance of civics could be even worse.

There are also excellent collegiate institutions dedicated to revitalizing the study of traditional history. The University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, Ashland University’s Ashbrook Center, and the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center are committed to fostering better leaders, teachers, and students. These programs serve as shining examples of how to save our nation’s past and how to maintain a constitutional order.

The academic world would do well to learn from these models as it tries to revive national history education. But even the most successful of these approaches is limited by budgetary challenges; and none can compete with the federal government, which currently privileges science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees. The situation requires a larger and bolder plan of attack.

The USA Civics Act of 2019

In 2008, Congress approved the American History for Freedom program. The AHF program showed promise as a measure to rectify the decline in civics education. Central to the AHF’s effectiveness was its authorization, from the Department of Education, to assist academic programs by awarding them three-year competitive grants. The goals of the grants were to enhance the traditional study of history, to refocus on the threats to free institutions, and to promote the history and achievements of Western Civilization. The act passed, but Congress never appropriated any funds for the measure, and congressional supporters shied away from the issue in the aftermath of the 2008 presidential election. Since last year, however, eight senators across both parties have revived the idea, reintroducing the bill as the USA Civics Act of 2019. If history is to survive in the current educational environment, it will be necessary to rescue the subject from its diminished state. The USA Civics Act of 2019 is a step in the right direction.

Over the course of an entire generation, educational professionals have reduced history to nearly an elective. This decision has produced a spike in polarization, incivility, and general apathy. It is in the national interest to revitalize our approach to teaching history: the subject is part of the intellectual infrastructure so important for the nation’s long-term civic health.

During the impeachment trial, Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote “A Republic, if you can keep it,” echoed multiple times within the halls of Congress. Restoring the study of history is one of the best means by which to heed Franklin’s warning.

via Subjects Matter: It Is Past Time to Rescue the Study of History from Its Present Decline — Public Discourse

March 5 Life-Changing Moments With God

O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me!

Unto You I lift up my eyes, O Lord who dwells in the heavens. For as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so my eyes look to You, my Lord God. Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever: I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm.

Christ suffered for me, leaving me an example, that I should follow His steps: who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.

May I follow Jesus’ example, Lord God, and trust myself to Your care—whatever the circumstances of life.

Isaiah 38:14; Psalm 123:1–2; Psalm 61:1–4; Isaiah 25:4; 1 Peter 2:21–23[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 76). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

March—5 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?—Galatians 3:3.

While beholding the Church of Galatia, which set out upon true gospel principles, and before whose eyes Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth as crucified among them, yet after this, turning aside to seek justification by works, let thine evening meditation, my soul, be directed to this heart-searching inquiry: Upon what art thou building thine hopes of salvation? Is it simply on Christ? or art thou mingling with the blood and righteousness of Jesus, somewhat of thine own, by way of justification? The question is exceedingly important; and the clear answer to it, of the first consequence to thy present peace and everlasting welfare. See to it, then, that there are no reserves, no limitations, nothing to qualify the plain and direct answer to the apostle’s words; but having begun in the Spirit, thou canst truly say, thou dost not seek to be made perfect by the flesh. If this be thy case, thou hast learned to make a nice, but highly proper distinction between the great object of faith, which is Christ alone, and the fruits and effects of that faith, which are the gracious influences Jesus, by his Holy Spirit, hath wrought in thine heart. It is very blessed, very desirable, to let the world, both of saints and of sinners, see our light so shine before them, that it may not be the subject of doubt whose we are, and whom we serve. But, if any attainments which, by grace, my soul is blessed with, be made a part saviour in my views of justification, and I am not looking wholly to Jesus for this great work, as wrought out and completed by him, certain it is, that however I might begin in the Spirit, I am now turning aside to the flesh. Moreover, besides the motley religion I am thus taking up with, if what I feel, and what I enjoy in the fruits and effects of faith, be made a part of my hopes and confidence; alas! when those feelings and those enjoyments at any time abate, my hopes and confidence will abate also. And if justification be made a fluctuating principle, is it not plain that I shall be void of comfort, when I most want it? And is it not from this very cause, that so many precious souls go in leanness all their days, sometimes feeling hope, but for the most part exercised with doubts and fears, according to what they feel, and not what Jesus is in their view, and because, in themselves, they are looking for somewhat that may give a greater confidence in Christ? Pause, my soul, and inquire how the case stands with thyself: Is Jesus the whole, in the way of a sinner’s justification before God? Is he the Alpha and the Omega also? Dost thou regard him as both the Author and the Finisher of salvation? Is he the first and the last? And dost thou venture thine everlasting all upon Jesus? Pause once more, and then say, what are thy views in this distinction between the works of the Spirit and of the flesh? Hast thou so learned Christ?[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 69–70). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

March 5, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

The Arrival of the Magi

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.” (2:1–2)

The events described in this passage probably occurred several months after Jesus was born. We see from 2:11 that Jesus’ family was now staying in a house rather than the stable where He was born (Luke 2:7). Jesus, therefore, would already have been circumcised, and Mary would have completed her period of purification (Luke 2:21–27). The fact that she offered “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:24) instead of the normal lamb (Lev. 12:6–8) indicates that the family was poor. Had this offering been made after the magi with their expensive gifts (Matt. 2:11) had already visited Jesus, the lamb could easily have been afforded and would have been required.

bethlehem of judea

As it still is today, Bethlehem was then a small town five or six miles south of Jerusalem, in the fertile hill country of Judea (Judah). It is cradled between two ridges and was located along the main ancient highway from Jerusalem to Egypt. It was once called Ephrath, or Ephrathah, and is referred to by that name several times in the Old Testament (Gen. 35:16; Ruth 4:11; Ps. 132:6; Mic. 5:2). The town came to be called Bethlehem after the conquest of Canaan under Joshua, its new name meaning “house of bread.”

It was at Bethlehem that Jacob buried Rachel (Gen. 35:19), the traditional site of whose tomb is still shown to tourists today. It was also here that Ruth met and married Boaz (Ruth 1:22; 2:4) and that their illustrious grandson, David, grew up and tended sheep (1 Sam. 17:12, 15). By the time of Jesus’ birth, it had long been called “the city of David” (Luke 2:4, 11). The prophet Micah specifically promised that the Messiah would come from this small village (5:2).

herod the king

This Herod, known as “the Great,” is the first of several Herods mentioned in the New Testament. Julius Caesar had appointed his father, Antipater, to be procurator, or governor, of Judea under the Roman occupation. Antipater then managed to have his son Herod appointed prefect of Galilee. In that office Herod was successful in quelling the Jewish guerilla bands who continued to fight against their foreign rulers. After fleeing to Egypt when the Parthians invaded Palestine, Herod then went to Rome and in 40 b.c. was declared by Octavian and Antony (with the concurrence of the Roman senate) to be the king of the Jews. He invaded Palestine the next year and, after several years of fighting, drove out the Parthians and established his kingdom.

Because he was not Jewish, but Idumean (Edomite), Herod married Mariamne, heiress to the Jewish Hasmonean house, in order to make himself more acceptable to the Jews he now ruled. He was a clever and capable warrior, orator, and diplomat. In times of severe economic hardship he gave back some tax money collected from the people. During the great famine of 25 b.c. he melted down various gold objects in the palace to buy food for the poor. He built theaters, race tracks, and other structures to provide entertainment for the people, and in 19 b.c. he began the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. He revived Samaria and built the beautiful port city of Caesarea in honor of his benefactor Caesar Augustus (Octavian’s title). He embellished the cities of Beirut, Damascus, Tyre, Sidon, and Rhodes, and even made contributions to rebuilding work in Athens. He built the remarkable and almost impregnable fortress of Masada, where in a.d. 73 nearly a thousand Jewish defenders committed suicide rather than be captured by the Roman general Flavius Silva.

But Herod was also cruel and merciless. He was incredibly jealous, suspicious, and afraid for his position and power. Fearing his potential threat, he had the high priest Aristobulus, who was his wife Mariamne’s brother, drowned—after which he provided a magnificent funeral where he pretended to weep. He then had Mariamne herself killed, and then her mother and two of his own sons. Five days before his death (about a year after Jesus was born) he had a third son executed. One of the greatest evidences of his bloodthirstiness and insane cruelty was having the most distinguished citizens of Jerusalem arrested and imprisoned shortly before his death. Because he knew no one would mourn his own death, he gave orders for those prisoners to be executed the moment he died—in order to guarantee that there would be mourning in Jerusalem. That barbaric act was exceeded in cruelty only by his slaughter of “all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its environs, from two years old and under” (Matt. 2:16) in hopes of killing any threat to his throne from the One the magi said had been born King of the Jews.

magi from the east

Few biblical stories are as well known, yet so clouded by myth and tradition, as that of the magi, or wise men, mentioned by Matthew. During the Middle Ages legend developed that they were kings, that they were three in number, and that their names were Casper, Balthazar, and Melchior. Because they were thought to represent the three sons of Noah, one of them is often pictured as an Ethiopian. A twelfth-century bishop of Cologne even claimed to have found their skulls.

The only legitimate facts we know about these particular magi are the few given by Matthew in the first twelve verses of chapter 2. We are not told their number, their names, their means of transportation to Palestine, or the specific country or countries from which they came. The fact that they came from the east would have been assumed by most people in New Testament times, because the magi were primarily known as the priestly-political class of the Parthians—who lived to the east of Palestine.

The magi first appear in history in the seventh century b.c. as a tribe within the Median nation in eastern Mesopotamia. Many historians consider them to have been Semites, which if so, made them—with the Jews and Arabs—descendants of Noah’s son Shem. It may also be that, like Abraham, the magi came from ancient Ur in Chaldea. The name magi soon came to be associated solely with the hereditary priesthood within that tribe. The magi became skilled in astronomy and astrology (which, in that day, were closely associated) and had a sacrificial system that somewhat resembled the one God gave to Israel through Moses. They were involved in various occult practices, including sorcery, and were especially noted for their ability to interpret dreams. It is from their name that our words magic and magician are derived.

A principle element of magian worship was fire, and on their primary altar burned a perpetual flame, which they claimed descended from heaven. The magi were monotheistic, believing in the existence of only one god. Because of their monotheism, it was easy for the magi to adapt to the teaching of the sixth-century b.c. Persian religious leader named Zoroaster, who believed in a single god, Ahura Mazda, and a cosmic struggle between good and evil. Darius the Great established Zoroastrianism as the state religion of Persia.

Because of their combined knowledge of science, agriculture, mathematics, history, and the occult, their religious and political influence continued to grow until they became the most prominent and powerful group of advisors in the Medo-Persian and subsequently the Babylonian empire. It is not strange, therefore, that they often were referred to as “wise men.” It may be that “the law of the Medes and Persians” (see Dan. 6:8, 12, 15; Esther 1:19) was founded on the teachings of these magi. Historians tell us that no Persian was ever able to become king without mastering the scientific and religious disciplines of the magi and then being approved and crowned by them, and that this group also largely controlled judicial appointments (cf. Esther 1:13). Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, chief of the Babylonian magi, was with Nebuchadnezzar when he attacked and conquered Judah (Jer. 39:3).

We learn from the book of Daniel that the magi were among the highest-ranking officials in Babylon. Because the Lord gave Daniel the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream—which none of the other court seers was able to do—Daniel was appointed as “ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon” (Dan. 2:48). Because of his great wisdom and because he had successfully pleaded for the lives of the wise men who had failed to interpret the king’s dream (Dan. 2:24), Daniel came to be highly regarded among the magi. The plot against Daniel that caused him to be thrown into the lions’ den was fomented by the jealous satraps and the other commissioners, not the magi (Dan. 6:4–9).

Because of Daniel’s high position and great respect among them, it seems certain that the magi learned much from that prophet about the one true God, the God of Israel, and about His will and plans for His people through the coming glorious King. Because many Jews remained in Babylon after the Exile and intermarried with the people of the east, it is likely that Jewish messianic influence remained strong in that region even until New Testament times.

During both the Greek and Roman empires the magi’s power and influence continued in the eastern provinces, particularly in Parthia. As mentioned above, it was the Parthians that Herod, in behalf of Rome, drove out of Palestine between 39 and 37 b.c., when his kingship of Judea began. Some magi—many of them probably outcasts or false practitioners—lived in various parts of the Roman Empire, including Palestine. Among them was Simon of Samaria (Acts 8:9), whom tradition and history have come to refer to as Simon Magus because of his “practicing magic” (Greek, mageuō, derived from the Babylonian magus, singular of magi). The Jewish false prophet Bar-Jesus was also a sorcerer, or “magician” (Greek, magos). These magicians were despised by both Romans and Jews. Philo, a first-century b.c. Jewish philosopher from Alexandria, called them vipers and scorpions.

The magi from the east (the word literally means “from the rising” of the sun, and refers to the orient) who came to see Jesus were of a completely different sort. Not only were they true magi, but they surely had been strongly influenced by Judaism, quite possibly even by some of the prophetic writings, especially that of Daniel. They appear to be among the many God-fearing Gentiles who lived at the time of Christ, a number of whom—such as Cornelius and Lydia (Acts 10:1–2; 16:14)—are mentioned in the New Testament.

When these magi, however many there were, arrived in Jerusalem, they began asking, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” The Greek construction (saying is a present participle emphasizing continual action) suggests that they went around the city questioning whomever they met. Because they, as foreigners, knew of the monumental birth, they apparently assumed that anyone in Judea, and certainly in Jerusalem, would know of this special baby’s whereabouts. They must have been more than a little shocked to discover that no one seemed to know what they were talking about.

During that time there was widespread expectation of the coming of a great king, a great deliverer. The Roman historian Suetonius, speaking of the time around the birth of Christ, wrote, “There had spread over all the Orient an old and established belief that it was fated at that time for men coming from Judea to rule the world.” Another Roman historian, Tacitus, wrote that “there was a firm persuasion that at this very time the east was to grow powerful and rulers coming from Judea were to acquire a universal empire.” The Jewish historian Josephus reports in his Jewish Wars that at about the time of Christ’s birth the Jews believed that one from their country would soon become ruler of the habitable earth.

As seen in the writings of the Roman poet Virgil (70–19 b.c), Rome was expecting its own golden age. Augustus Caesar, Herod’s benefactor, had for some time been hailed as the savior of the world. Many magi could be found in the great cities of the west, including Athens and Rome, and were frequently consulted by Roman rulers. The Romans were looking for a coming great age, wise men from the east had long influenced the west with their ideas and traditions, and—though the particulars varied considerably—there was a growing feeling that from somewhere a great and unprecedented world leader was about to arise.

We are not told how the God of revelation caused the magi to know that the King of the Jews had been born, only that He gave them the sign of His [the One called King] star in the east. Almost as much speculation has been made about the identity of that star as about the identity of the men who saw it. Some suggest that it was Jupiter, the “king of the planets.” Others claim that it was the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, forming the sign of the fish—which was used as a symbol for Christianity in the early church during the Roman persecutions. Still others claim that it was a low-hanging meteor, an erratic comet, or simply an inner vision of the star of destiny in the hearts of mankind.

Since the Bible does not identify or explain the star, we cannot be dogmatic, but it may have been the glory of the Lord—the same glory that shone around the shepherds when Jesus’ birth was announced to them by the angel (Luke 2:9). Throughout the Old Testament we are told of God’s glory being manifested as light, God radiating His presence (Shekinah) in the form of ineffable light. The Lord guided the children of Israel through the wilderness by “a pillar of cloud by day … and in a pillar of fire by night” (Ex. 13:21). When Moses went up on Mount Sinai, “to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop” (Ex. 24:17). On a later occasion, after Moses had inscribed the Ten Commandments on stone tablets, His face still glowed with the light of God’s glory when he returned to the people (Ex. 34:30).

When Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, “His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light” (Matt. 17:2). On the Damascus road, just before Jesus spoke to him, Saul of Tarsus was surrounded by “a light from heaven” (Acts 9:3), which he later explained was “brighter than the sun” (26:13). In John’s first vision on the Island of Patmos, he saw Christ’s face “like the sun shining in its strength” (Rev. 1:16). In his vision of the New Jerusalem, the future heavenly dwelling of all believers, he reports that “the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:23).

Both the Hebrew (kôkāb) and the Greek (astēr) words for star were also used figuratively to represent any great brilliance or radiance. Very early in the Old Testament the Messiah is spoken of as a “star [that] shall come forth from Jacob” (Num. 24:17), and at the end of the New Testament He refers to Himself as “the bright morning star” (Rev. 22:16). It was surely the glory of God, blazing as if it were an extremely bright star—visible only to the eyes for whom it was intended to be seen—that appeared to the magi in the east and later guided them to Bethlehem. It was a brilliant manifestation of “the sign of the Son of Man” (see Matt. 24:29–30; Rev. 1:7). The Shekinah glory of God stood over Bethlehem just as, centuries before, it had stood over the Tabernacle in the wilderness. And just as the pillar of cloud gave light to Israel but darkness to Egypt (Ex. 14:20), only the eyes of the magi were opened to see God’s great light over Bethlehem.

That the magi were not following the star is clear from the fact that they had to inquire about where Jesus was born. They saw His star in the east, but there is no evidence that it continued to shine or that it led them to Jerusalem. It was not until they were told of the prophesied birthplace of the Messiah (2:5–6) that the star reappeared and then guided them not only to Bethlehem but to the exact place “where the Child was” (v. 9).

These travelers from the east had come to Palestine with but one purpose: to find the One born King of the Jews and worship Him. The word worship is full of meaning, expressing the idea of falling down, prostrating oneself, and kissing the feet or the hem of the garment of the one honored. That truth in itself shows that they were true seekers after God, because when He spoke to them, in whatever way it was, they heard and responded. Despite their paganism, quasi-science, and superstition they recognized God’s voice when He spoke. Though having had limited spiritual light, they immediately recognized God’s light when it shone on them. They had genuinely seeking hearts, hearts that the Lord promises will never fail to find Him (Jer. 29:13).

On a plane trip several years ago I was hoping that whoever sat next to me would take a nap and not want to talk, so that I could get some urgent work done. The Lord obviously had other plans, because as soon as the man next to me saw I was studying he asked if I were a teacher. I replied that I was not a classroom teacher but that I did teach the Bible. His next question was, “Can you tell me how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” After I explained the way of salvation, he received Christ. He was looking for God’s light and, like the magi, when he saw it he knew it.[1]


2 The Magi saw a star “when it rose” (NIV text note; see Notes, vv. 1–2). What they saw remains uncertain.

  1. The German astronomer Johannes Kepler (d. 1630) pointed out that in the Roman year AUC 747 (7 BC), there occurred a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the zodiacal constellation of Pisces, a sign sometimes connected in ancient astrology with the Hebrews. Many details can be fitted to this suggestion (cf. Brown, Birth of the Messiah, 172–73; NIDNTT, 3:735), not least that medieval Jews saw messianic significance in the same planetary conjunction. Moreover, the conjunction occurred in May, October, and November of 7 BC, and one of the latter two appearances could account for 2:9. But there is no solid evidence that the ancients referred to such conjunctions as “stars”; and even at their closest proximity, Jupiter and Saturn would have been about one degree apart—a perceived distance about twice the diameter of the moon—and therefore never fused into one image.
  2. Michael Molnar (The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi [Piscataway, N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1999]) suggests that twice in 6 BC the moon comes in front of Jupiter, totally obscuring it (a lunar “occultation” of Jupiter), and that astrologically this indicates a royal birth. He then makes other connections to tie this to the birth to Judah. The problem is that these occultations were not visible in Babylon (the most likely provenance of the Magi) since Jupiter at that time of year was below the horizon. Molnar acknowledges the point, but thinks the Magi might nevertheless have calculated the occultation without witnessing it. Matthew, however, stipulates that the Magi “saw” the star (v. 2). Moreover, Molnar’s theory does not align well with v. 9 (see below).
  3. Kepler himself preferred the suggestion that this was a supernova—a faint star that violently explodes and gives off enormous amounts of light for a few weeks or months. A recent defense of this view is that of Mark Kidger (The Star of Bethlehem: An Astronomer’s View [Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 1999]), who argues for a nova in 5 BC, preceded by three precursors (e.g., a triple conduction of Saturn and Jupiter in Pisces in 7 BC). There is little confirming evidence, and it is difficult on this theory to account for 2:9.
  4. Others have suggested comets, what some older writers refer to as “variable stars.” The most likely is Halley’s Comet (cf. Lagrange), which passed overhead in 12 BC; but this seems impossibly early.
  5. Ernest L. Martin opts for a number of planetary conjunctions and massings in 3/2 BC. This suggestion depends on his entire reconstruction and late date for Herod’s death (see comments at v. 1), which is no more than a possibility. The theory also shares some of the difficulties of point 1.
  6. In the light of 2:9, many commentators insist that astronomical considerations are a waste of time: Matthew presents the “star” as strictly supernatural. This, too, is possible and obviously impossible to falsify, but v. 9 is not as determinative as is often suggested (see comments at v. 9).
  7. Because it is difficult to imagine a “star” of any conceivable astronomical variety guiding the Magi along the road to Bethlehem, Allison (Studies in Matthew, 17–41) suggests that the “star” is actually a guiding angel. It is easy to list many texts in which stars and angels are linked; it is more difficult to find convincing parallels in which a star simply represents an angel. Moreover, the difficulty many find with v. 9 is not nearly as great as some have thought (see comments at vv. 9–10).

The evidence is insufficient to come down firmly on one particular astronomical theory.

Matthew uses language almost certainly alluding to Numbers 24:17: “A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.” This oracle, spoken by Balaam, who came “from the eastern mountains” (Nu 23:7), was widely regarded as messianic (Tg. Ps.-J.; Tg. Onq.; CD 7:19–20; 1QM 11:6; 1QSb 5:27; 4QTest 12–13; T. Jud. 24:1). Both Matthew and Numbers deal with the king of Israel (Nu 24:7), though Matthew does not resort to the uncontrolled allegorizing on “star” frequently found in early postapostolic Christian writings (cf. Jean Danielou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity [London: Darton, Longman, 1964], 214–24).

Granting Matthew’s informed devotion to the OT, he surely knew that the OT mocks astrologers (Isa 47:13–15; Da 1:20; 2:27; 4:7; 5:7) and forbids astrology (Jer 10:1–2). Nevertheless, it was widely practiced in the first century, even among Jews (cf. Albright and Mann). Matthew neither condemns nor sanctions it; instead, he contrasts the eagerness of the Magi to worship Jesus, despite their limited knowledge, with the apathy of the Jewish leaders and the hostility of Herod’s court—all of whom had the Scriptures to inform them. Formal knowledge of the Scriptures, Matthew implies, does not in itself lead to knowing who Jesus is. Just as God sovereignly worked through Caesar’s decree that a census be taken (Lk 2:1) to ensure that Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem would fulfill prophecy, so God sovereignly used the Magi’s calculations to bring about the situation this pericope describes.

The question the Magi asked does not tell how their astrology led them to seek a “king of the Jews” and what made them think this particular star was “his.” The widely held idea that the ancient world was looking for a Jewish leader of renown (based largely on Josephus, J.W. 6.312–13 [5.4]; Suetonius, Vesp. 4; Tacitus, Hist. v. 13; Virgil, Ecl. 4) cannot stand close scrutiny. The Josephus passage refers to Jewish expectations of Messiah, and the others probably borrowed from Josephus. The Magi may have linked the star to “the king of the Jews” through studying the OT and other Jewish writings—a possibility made plausible by the presence of the large Jewish community in Babylon.

We must not think that the Magi’s question meant, Where is the one born to become king of the Jews? but, Where is the one born king of the Jews? (see Notes). His kingly status was not conferred on him later on; it was his from birth. Jesus’ participation in the Davidic dynasty has already been established by the genealogy. The same title the Magi gave him found its place over the cross (27:37).

“Worship” (see Notes) need not imply that the Magi recognized Jesus’ divinity; it may simply mean “do homage” (Broadus). Their own statement suggests homage paid royalty rather than the worship of Deity. But Matthew, having already told of the virginal conception, doubtless expected his readers to discern something more—namely, that the Magi “worshiped” better than they knew.[2]


2 Their astrological deductions from the “rising” of a star had convinced the magi of a royal birth in the “westland” (Palestine), hence the title “King of the Jews.” The idea that a special star heralded the birth of famous people (and other significant events) was widespread in the ancient world.38 The magi were presumably aware of Herod’s royal position, and perhaps assuming that a birth had taken place within his family they had come to find out more.

Both astronomers and biblical historians continue to try to identify the nature of the rising of the star and its subsequent movements on the basis of Matthew’s brief description and of astronomical data, but with little consensus. Three recurrent suggestions40 perhaps deserve a mention.

  1. A comet. Comets have long been held to herald the arrival of important figures on the world stage, and a comet visible in the western sky might well explain the journey of the magi, but unfortunately astronomers have not been able to identify a comet which would have been visible at about the right historical date. Halley’s comet appeared in 12–11 b.c., too early to fit the chronological data of the gospels.
  2. A planetary conjunction (rather than a single star, as Matthew describes it). The favorite candidate here is a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces, which would have taken place in 7 b.c., and which could have been interpreted to mean the birth of a king (Jupiter, the royal planet) in Palestine (Saturn was thought to be the planet representing the “westland”), while the constellation of Pisces represented the last days. This unusual conjunction thus indicated, “There will appear in Palestine in this year the ruler of the last days.”
  3. A nova (or perhaps a super-nova). This is the result of a stellar explosion and produces an extremely bright phenomenon which usually lasts for a number of months. This was the preferred theory of Johannes Kepler, even though he also noted the planetary conjunction of 7 b.c. Chinese astronomers recorded a nova which was visible for 70 days in 5/4 b.c., which would fit a date shortly before the death of Herod.

While proponents of at least the second and third of the above theories are convinced that their astronomical results sufficiently match Matthew’s description, those of us who are not astronomers may find it hard to envisage either of these phenomena first “rising,” then “leading on” the magi and eventually “coming to rest” in such a way as to indicate a specific location, even when due allowance is made for the phenomenal viewpoint of the story-teller’s language. Despite the fascination of astronomical explanations it may in the end be more appropriate to interpret Matt 2:9 as describing not a regular astronomical occurrence but the miraculous provision of what appeared to be a star which uniquely moved and then stopped (or at least which appeared to observers on the ground to do so), though of course there is no improbability in a natural astronomical phenomenon being the basis on which the magi made their initial deductions and set off on their journey.

The nature of the “homage” of the magi (the verb recurs in vv. 8 and 11) is not clearly spelled out, except for the offering of expensive gifts, such as might befit a royal birth. Their “prostration” (v. 11, literally “falling”) was a familiar act of homage in Eastern society, a recognition of social superiority. Neither term requires the attribution of divinity to the one so honored, and Matthew’s narrative does not indicate that the magi had any such notion (they came looking for a “king,” not a “god”), though he might expect his Christian readers with hindsight to read more into the “worship” of the magi.[3]


2:2 king of the Jews. When the magi ask for information about “the one who has been born king of the Jews,” Matthew portrays Herod’s response as one of agitation over this potential rival to his throne. The repeated emphasis on Herod as king (2:1, 3, 9) and his power to suppress any rivals (2:16) indicates that Matthew 2 is about political as well as religious authority and claims. For Matthew, Jesus is the Messiah or “king of the Jews.” As such, he threatens Herod’s claim to be king of the Jewish people, the very position granted to him by Roman authority. Herod understands Jesus to be a threat and responds by killing every boy in Bethlehem who might be the one whom the magi came to find (2:16), necessitating that Joseph and Mary take Jesus and flee to Egypt. Even when they return to Israel after Herod dies, they avoid coming under the rule of Herod’s son Archelaus by settling in the north, in Galilee.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 1, pp. 25–30). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, pp. 111–112). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew (pp. 68–69). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.

[4] Brown, J. K. (2015). Matthew. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 23). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

March 5 Streams in the Desert

We are made partaker of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” (Heb. 3:14.)

IT is the last step that wins; and there is no place in the pilgrim’s progress where so many dangers lurk as the region that lies hard by the portals of the Celestial City. It was there that Doubting Castle stood. It was there that the enchanted ground lured the tired traveler to fatal slumber. It is when Heaven’s heights are full in view that hell’s gate is most persistent and full of deadly peril. “Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” “So run, that ye may obtain.”

In the bitter waves of woe

Beaten and tossed about

By the sullen winds that blow

From the desolate shores of doubt,

Where the anchors that faith has cast

Are dragging in the gale,

I am quietly holding fast

To the things that cannot fail.

And fierce though the fiends may fight,

And long though the angels hide,

I know that truth and right

Have the universe on their side;

And that somewhere beyond the stars

Is a love that is better than fate.

When the night unlocks her bars

I shall see Him—and I will wait.

Washington Gladden.

The problem of getting great things from God is being able to hold on for the last half hour.—Selected.[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 72–73). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

March 5, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would withhold money from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions after a U.S. court ruled that his administration could block federal law enforcement funds to states and cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

President Trump met with executives from some of the top airlines who said they’ve stepped up procedures to keep planes “clean and disinfected” amid concerns about the coronavirus.

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved on Wednesday an $8.3 billion bill to combat the spread of the new coronavirus and develop vaccines for the highly contagious disease, sending it to the Senate for final passage.

The highly contagious coronavirus currently making its way around the world had its first impact on the 2020 U.S. election campaign as Washington state Democrats canceled an upcoming weekend fundraiser just days before the party primary there.

The Senate Judiciary Committee said on Wednesday it would hold a hearing on March 11 to discuss legislation aimed at curbing the online distribution of child sexual abuse material and penalizing companies that offer encryption.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday ordered a two-week quarantine for all visitors from China and South Korea in response to the widening coronavirus crisis, and his government signaled that the Tokyo Olympics would go ahead as planned.

Europe is experiencing delays in supplies of medicines and face masks because of coronavirus disruptions, according to EU and industry officials, compounding already acute shortages of drugs on the continent.

A growing number of countries around the world have been evacuating or planning to evacuate diplomatic staff and citizens from areas hit by the new coronavirus.

OPEC agreed to cut oil output by an extra 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in the second quarter of 2020 to support prices that have been hit by the coronavirus outbreak, but made its action conditional on Russia and others joining in.

Amazon and Facebook on Thursday joined Microsoft in recommending employees in the Seattle area to work from home after several people in the region were infected with the coronavirus.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged India on Thursday to “confront extremist Hindus” and “stop the massacre of Muslims”, adding to the international fallout over deadly Hindu-Muslim violence in New Delhi.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 216,000 for the week ended Feb. 29.

Prices of disinfectants and hand sanitizers online soared to as much as 40 times normal rates. Amazon on Thursday found a 600ml bottle of Defendol hospital grade antibacterial hand gel on offer by three different sellers at either $166.63 or $193.76.

AP Top Stories

Iran has reportedly stockpiled enough uranium for a nuclear weapon for the first time since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal, in the latest sign that his maximum pressure strategy is failing.

California declared a state of emergency on Wednesday after it reporting the first death from coronavirus in the state in Placer County, located near Sacramento.

Virginia became the first state in the South to ban the discredited practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQ children, making it the 20th state, plus the District of Columbia, to ban the practice.

The Arizona House passed a bill on Tuesday that would ban the participation of males who identify as female in women’s sports programs in the state.

Chinese authorities have told people to stay away from the border with North Korea, which has banned people from China to keep out the coronavirus, or risk being shot by North Korean guards.

Almost 300 million students worldwide faced weeks at home with Italy and India the latest to shut schools over the deadly new coronavirus, as the IMF urged an all-out global offensive against the epidemic.

BBC

Turkey says it is deploying 1,000 police officers to its land border with Greece to halt the pushback of migrants into Turkey. Since early Saturday its forces have prevented the illegal entry of 34,778 people and arrested 244.

Files discovered in Argentina reveal the names of 12,000 Nazis who lived there in the 1930s and many had Swiss bank accounts, researchers said. “We believe that these long-dormant accounts hold monies looted from Jewish victims,” the center says.

Africa is yet to suffer a major outbreak of the coronavirus Covid-19, but if it did strike, the consequences could be catastrophic.

WND

The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

Google is canceling in-person attendance for one of its most important events, Google IO, due to the spreading of the coronavirus, a company spokesperson confirmed. The company said in an email to attendees that it will refund those who bought tickets.

A Catholic university in Maryland is hosting an event “celebrating the power of women and girls” that will feature a host of pro-abortion-rights and gay activist speakers, including several dissident nuns, along with the former president of Planned Parenthood and a former affiliate of the pro-abortion group NARAL.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Mar. 5, 2020

The Foundation

“The Constitution on which our Union rests, shall be administered by me [as President] according to the safe and honest meaning contemplated by the plain understanding of the people of the United States at the time of its adoption – a meaning to be found in the explanations of those who advocated, not those who opposed it, and who opposed it merely lest the construction should be applied which they denounced as possible.” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)

Mob Boss Schumer Threatens Justices

It was clear that he was seeking to intimidate the justices into making a ruling in support of abortion.


Bloomberg Is Out but NOT Gone, Sanders Sulks

The Democrat dilemma: How to nominate an “establishment candidate” without alienating the 18-30-year-old emotive voters.


The Politicized Coronavirus Spending Deal

Congress reached an $8.3 billion deal, but only after rank partisanship from Democrats.


The ‘Transgender’ Agenda: The Tip of the Totalitarian Spear

What public schools are doing to children in the name of tolerance is intolerable.


Dan Crenshaw Tackles Climate Change

House GOP members offer a positive free-market plan to lower carbon emissions.


Snopes Amateurs Take on The Patriot Post

The ostensibly reputable “fact checker” website gets key facts badly wrong.


Afghanistan — What’s Left to Win?

The question isn’t “How long will the treaty last?” but “Why are we still there?”


Video: Chris Matthews Walks Off ‘Hardball’ Set After ‘Retiring’

Should conservatives applaud the accelerated exit of the bombastic liberal septuagenarian?


Video: The Marxist vs. the Moron

Super Tuesday has made it clear: The Democrat nomination is between the marxist and the moron.


Video: Sanders Runs Faux Endorsement by Obama

Sanders is treating Obama’s old remarks as an endorsement — reiterating Biden doesn’t have one.



Today’s Opinion

Cal Thomas
Bargaining With the Taliban Devil
Victor Davis Hanson
What We Don’t Know About the Coronavirus Is What Scares Us
Armstrong Williams
Anti-Fragile Trump Sees Coronavirus as a Catalyst, Not a Threat
Ben Shapiro
Why Americans Should Celebrate Biden’s Comeback
Larry Elder
Hollywood in the Trump Era: Conservatives Not Welcome
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Thursday News Executive Summary

Coronavirus funding deal, Pelosi’s dirty secret, Chuck Schumer’s threat, and more.


Thursday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Mollie Hemingway, Chuck Schumer, John Roberts, 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 – 3/5/2020

Netanyahu election lead shrinks, raising prospect of another Israel vote

Israel election: Netanyahu seeks defectors after failing to secure majority

Netanyahu claims Gantz ‘trying to steal vote’ with bill to block him from power

Israel Election Results: Netanyahu Accuses Chief Rival Gantz of ‘Undermining Foundations of Democracy’

Does Netanyahu’s failure to hit 61-seats place annexation on the rocks?

Kushner: Deal will prevent settlement expansion

Trump peace plan behind Joint Arab List’s record electoral result, say experts

At AIPAC, Trump’s Israel envoy takes aim at Democrats, pushes peace plan

Swiss diplomat tapped to lead UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees

US Defense Department contractor accused of spying for Hezbollah

Damascus says Israeli airstrikes target bases near Homs, southern Syria

Syria war: Satellite images reveal Idlib destruction and displacement

UN envoy Pedersen urges ‘immediate diplomatic solution’ in Syria’s Idlib

EU rejects Turkey’s ‘blackmail,’ borders to stay closed to migrants: France FM

Iran says ‘no obligation’ to allow UN nuclear watchdog access to some sites

Saudi Arabia Says It Thwarted Attempt to Attack Oil Tanker Off Yemen

Taliban attacks kill 20 Afghan personnel, US strikes for first time since deal

‘That’s what they want’: Rubio warns Afghanistan troop withdrawal will likely result in sharia under Taliban rule

An Imam at a Bernie Rally Had Called for the Destruction of Israel

Trump says Biden Ukraine dealings will be a ‘major’ campaign issue

Bloomberg drops out of primary race, endorses Biden

Scientists create bendable concrete that could better withstand earthquakes

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Raoul Island, New Zealand

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 23,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 22,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 20,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Kerinci volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Semeru volcano in Indonesia erupts to 13,000ft

After more than 240 days, Australia’s New South Wales is finally free from bushfires

Oil consumption just fell off a cliff. OPEC is facing a huge test

With Oil Prices Down 20%, OPEC Pushes for Stability

U.S. lawmakers agree $8.3 bln coronavirus response bill, House to debate

Dow surges 1,173 points after Congress agrees on emergency spending bill, Biden dominates Super Tuesday

Coronavirus: US banks ready disaster plans

United, JetBlue cutting US flights because of coronavirus

UKs largest domestic airline bankrupt; Flybe collapses with all flights cancelled – here’s what you need to know

Coronavirus Scare Spikes Online Orders, Amazon Sparks Delivery War

Coronavirus panic: Why are people stockpiling toilet paper?

New normal in virus-hit China: High-tech tracking and fever checks

Italy shuts schools as drastic virus measures also taken in Saudi Arabia, Iran

Coronavirus in ‘Nearly All Iran’s Provinces,’ First Vice President Reported Infected

Saudi Arabia extends pilgrimage suspension to its own citizens

IDF halts major air defense drill with US as coronavirus restrictions intensify

Coronavirus takes toll on religious life as rabbis advise against ritual kissing

Purim parades, sporting events scrapped over coronavirus fears

Netanyahu: We Are in a Global Pandemic; It Needs to be Said

Chinese scientists identify two strains of the coronavirus, indicating it’s already mutated at least once

California Gov. Newsom declares state of emergency after first coronavirus-related death

Medical screener at LAX airport tests positive for coronavirus

Washington state warns voters they shouldn’t lick their mail-in ballots

Maine voters uphold law barring religious opt-outs on immunizations

In A 1st, Scientists Use Revolutionary Gene-Editing Tool To Edit Inside A Patient

Key abortion law by pro-life Democrat heard before Supreme Court

Schumer unloads on Gorsuch, Kavanaugh at abortion rights rally: ‘You will pay the price!’

In rare rebuke, Chief Justice Roberts slams Schumer for ‘threatening’ comments

Over 100 LGBT Filmmakers Abroad Call for Boycott of Tel Aviv Festival

Apostate Texas ‘Church’ Announces Homosexuals Allowed to Lead, Pastors Can Officiate Same-Sex Ceremonies


Apostasy Watch

Denny Burk – Polyamory and the Overton Window

Dr. Peter Jones – Socialism or Free Market Capitalism? Contexts for Oneism or Twoism

Messianic Jews in Israel Head Toward Breakup Over NAR?

Steven Furtick Denies Orthodox View of Trinity, Embraces Modalism Heresy

Apostate Texas ‘Church’ Announces Homosexuals Allowed to Lead, Pastors Can Officiate Same-Sex Ceremonies

Mike Pence mocked for praying with coronavirus task force at White House

Chuck Schumer Threatens Gorsuch and Kavanaugh if They Uphold Pro-Life Law: “You Will Pay the Price”

Australian Doctors Helped Kill 52 People in First Six Months of Assisted Suicide Law


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

March 5th The D. L. Moody Year Book

Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come.—John 16:13.

THERE is not a truth that we ought to know but the Spirit of God will guide us into it if we will let Him. If we will yield ourselves up to be directed by Him and let Him lead us, He will guide us into all truth. It would have saved us from a great many dark hours if we had only been willing to let the Spirit of God be our counsellor and guide.

Lot never would have gone to Sodom if he had been guided by the Spirit of God. David never would have fallen into sin and had all that trouble with his family if he had been guided by the Spirit of God.

There are many Lots and Davids nowadays. The churches are full of them. Men and women are in total darkness, because they have not been willing to be guided by the Spirit. “He shall guide you into all truth.”[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 49). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.