Daily Archives: April 17, 2020

04/17/2020 — Wretched


•How do we respond if stay-at-home orders last another year?
•Can I enjoy practical topical preaching?
•Should we bring back public executions?
•What is the difference between Intersex and Trans?
•Can we do communion while social distancing?
•Can we say anyone is good?
•How do we feel the presence of God?
•Is the Coronavirus a scheme of the Anti-Christ?
•Why Malaysia is a Muslim nation
•Switzerland is not neutral towards Christianity
•Do you know Jesus or do you just know about Him?

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via 04/17/2020 — Wretched

White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing – 6:00pm ET Livestream… — The Last Refuge

Unfortunately, with President Trump effectively communicating the latest information on the federal efforts to mitigate COVID-19, more corporate U.S. resistance media have decided not to carry the live broadcasts from the White House task force briefings.

Today at 6:00pm ET the White House will hold a briefing for the public and media on the latest mitigation efforts against the coronavirus. [Livestream Links Below]

White House Livestream LinkFox News Livestream LinkRSBN Livestream



via White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing – 6:00pm ET Livestream… — The Last Refuge

Dems Rush To Defend Kavanaugh After He Puts On Joe Biden Mask — The Babylon Bee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Democrats are scrambling to defend Brett Kavanaugh against his accusers after he put on a Joe Biden mask Friday morning.

“We believe you are a great man of upstanding moral character, and we do not believe your accusers,” said Alyssa Milano to Justice Kavanaugh hiding behind the Biden mask. “It’s disgusting that people would try to capitalize on this political moment to drag your name through the mud, Mr. Biden.”

“It is a disgrace — a disgrace I say! — that people are trying to discredit this great man!” shouted Senator Cory Booker, stabbing one finger in the air. “I will not stand for it! I am Joe Biden — you are Joe Biden. We are all Joe Biden! I! AM! SPARTACUS!”

Nancy Pelosi quickly said, “I’m with him” and called those who would impugn his character “anti-American.”

Kavanaugh then removed the mask and thanked them for their support, and they instantly shifted to attacking him and supporting his accusers 100%.

via Dems Rush To Defend Kavanaugh After He Puts On Joe Biden Mask — The Babylon Bee

New Evidence CV Is An Escaped Experiment; U.S. Funded Wuhan Lab $3.7M Studying Bats, Safety Warnings — Christian Research Service

Aaron Kesel
Activist Post

A new documentary film by Epoch Times in collaboration with NTD (New Tang Dynasty Television), both based in New York, details additional concerning – and potentially horrifying – facts that the Wuhan coronavirus is a biological experiment that either escaped or was deliberately released (see at end of article). This comes as UK ministers are expressing doubt that the coronavirus originated from Wuhan’s Hunan Seafood market and rather insist that there is credible evidence it came from Wuhan’s lab, which also had U.S. funding.

The documentary led by investigative reporter Joshua Philipp takes an in-depth look at the progression of the pandemic from January to April, and details how Shi Zhengli a virologist often called China’s “bat woman” altered studies throwing the world’s science community off the trail in order to support her claim that the Wuhan coronavirus virus (COVID-19) came from bats at the market. The film also dissects the virus in great detail exposing its spike (or S-proteins), which has layers of HIV-1 gp120 included in it and its nucleoids and amino acids, to the history of the Wuhan lab’s experiments on bats. Additional claims are made that China has covered up much of the earlier information about the virus, in some cases even ordering documents destroyed. The film by Philipp proves without a doubt, at least to this writer, that the virus is a biological escaped experiment.

Read article HERE.

Be sure to watch this important, documentary film within source article.

via New Evidence CV Is An Escaped Experiment; U.S. Funded Wuhan Lab $3.7M Studying Bats, Safety Warnings — Christian Research Service

‘You Have to Disobey’: Protesters Gather to Defy Stay-At-Home Orders — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

© Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal, via Associated Press People at the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., protested against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, designed to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

As President Trump and some of his supporters push for a more rapid return to pre-coronavirus economic activity, protesters in several states took to the streets this week to urge governors to relax the strict rules on commerce, work and daily life that health officials have said are necessary to save lives.

In Michigan, thousands of demonstrators in cars jammed the streets around the State Capitol in Lansing, saying restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus were dooming small businesses. In Frankfort, Ky., dozens of people shouted through a Capitol building window, nearly drowning out Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, as he held a news conference. And in Raleigh, N.C., at least one woman was arrested during a protest that drew more than 100 people in opposition to a stay-at-home rule, The News & Observer reported.

More protests against stay-at-home orders have been planned in other states, including Texas, Oregon and California, as the economic and health effects of the coronavirus mount across the country. In the last four weeks, more than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. Still, public health experts warn that returning to normal behavior too soon — particularly with ongoing testing shortages — could exacerbate the spread of the virus, which has killed nearly 29,000 people in the United States so far.

Click here to read more.
Source: MSN

via ‘You Have to Disobey’: Protesters Gather to Defy Stay-At-Home Orders — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

What Will You Do If They Try To Extend Coronavirus Lockdowns Into Next Year? — End Of The American Dream

We are seeing a massive backlash against the coronavirus lockdowns all over the United States, and it is likely that the protests against these lockdowns will only intensify in the days ahead.  But some elected officials are doubling down and are insisting that “shelter-in-place” orders will remain in effect in their jurisdictions for quite a few months to come.  I honestly do not know how that is possibly going to work, because after just a few weeks millions upon millions of Americans have become deeply frustrated with these lockdowns.  Trying to confine people to their homes for the foreseeable future is likely to spark tremendous explosions of anger, but that appears to be exactly what authorities intend to do in some of our largest urban areas.  For example, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio just told Fox News that he expects his city will be shut down until July or August

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Bill Hemmer today on FOX News Channel.

The mayor told Hemmer he does not expect New York City to open until July or August.

Does he honestly believe that New York City residents will put up with being confined to their homes for another three or four months?

Over on the west coast, California Governor Gavin Newsom recently told the press that there probably will not be mass gatherings in his state “until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine”

“The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine,” Newsom told reporters at his press briefing.

“Large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers … [are] not in the cards based upon our current guidelines and current expectations,” he said.

It is exceedingly unlikely that we will get to the point of “herd immunity” in the United States this year, and most experts do not anticipate a vaccine until some time in 2021.

Would he really try to keep his state locked down for that long?

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti appears to be on the exact same page, and he has already pretty much ruled out all large gatherings in his city “until 2021”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that large gatherings like sporting events and concerts are unlikely to occur until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a major blow for one of the world’s major sports and entertainment capitals.

Considering the fact that the NFL has two teams in Los Angeles, this is potentially an absolutely devastating blow for football fans.

Of course it is possible that the Rams and the Chargers could play their games elsewhere, but that is probably not likely.

Especially in liberal bastions on the east and west coasts, fear of large gatherings is likely to persist for a long time to come.  Facebook has already canceled all large company events until 2021, and other big tech firms will almost certainly follow suit.

Without a doubt, everyone should be in favor of reasonable measures to help prevent the spread of the virus, but the hysteria that we are seeing in some areas of California right now is off the charts.

For instance, Mendocino County has actually banned people from singing in online worship services.  The following is an excerpt from their absurd social distancing directives…

No singing or use of wind instruments, harmonicas, or other instruments that could spread COVID-19 through projected droplets shall be permitted unless the recording of the event is done at one’s residence, and involving only the members of one’s household or living unit, because of the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Of course we aren’t just seeing this sort of insanity here in the United States.

Over in Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seriously considering extending his nation’s social distancing measures for many months to come

Australian public life could be constrained for another year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned on Friday, as the country’s most populous state mulled sending children to school in shifts.

Australia has so far avoided the high numbers of coronavirus casualties reported around the world after closing its borders and imposing strict “social distancing” measures for the past month.

These lockdowns may be slowing down the spread of the virus to a certain extent, but they are also absolutely crushing economic activity.

Thousands of businesses have been either crippled or destroyed, and tens of millions of jobs have been lost in the United States alone.

Needless to say, business owners and workers all over the nation are sick and tired of not being able to make a living, and President Trump added fuel to their frustration when he called for several states to be “liberated” on Friday

President Trump made himself the star of the ‘lockdown rebellion’ on Friday by tweeting ‘LIBERATE Minnesota’ and then adding Michigan and Virginia to the list of states that should be freed.

The tweets came one day after the president’s coronavirus taskforce rolled out guidelines that would give governors broad power to decide when states’ economies would open back up amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And instead of waiting for permission, some business owners across the country have decided that they are going to reopen anyway

Summit Motorsports Park owner Bill Bader Jr. vowed to start holding events with or without government permission, in a Facebook live post earlier this week.

“I’m not asking, I’m opening,” he said in the video and said that he thought that business closures were an overreaction. “If in Huron County, for example, we are able to save every life and limit and ultimately mitigate any outbreaks of Covid-19, but in the process of that we all starve to death, what have we accomplished.”

As I have warned all along, Americans are simply not going to have much patience with these sorts of lockdowns, and this is particularly true in areas of the nation that tend to lean conservative.

But those on the left are pointing out that we are already starting to see a huge surge in confirmed cases in parts of the country that haven’t been locked down

The bump in coronavirus cases is most pronounced in states without stay at home orders. Oklahoma saw a 53% increase in cases over the past week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Over same time, cases jumped 60% in Arkansas, 74% in Nebraska, and 82% in Iowa. South Dakota saw a whopping 205% spike.

Once restrictions start being lifted nationwide, it is probably inevitable that we will see another huge wave of new cases and new deaths.

However, it is important to point out that this virus is going to eventually spread through most of the population no matter what measures we take.  Yes, we want to keep our hospitals from being completely overwhelmed, but we also don’t want to completely destroy our economy at the same time.

Our policy makers are going to have some very, very tough decisions in the days ahead, and the truth is that this coronavirus pandemic is just the very beginning of our problems.

The months in front of us are going to be extremely challenging, and life as you have known it will never be the same again.

The good news is that some of the coronavirus lockdowns will start to be lifted in the weeks ahead, and that will enable millions of Americans to start making a living once again.

But in other areas, politicians are warning that the lockdowns could last for many months to come.

If the politicians in your state tried to do that, what would you do?

Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…

via What Will You Do If They Try To Extend Coronavirus Lockdowns Into Next Year? — End Of The American Dream

April 17th The D. L. Moody Year Book

He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, … shall not come into judgment.—John 5:24.

IN a prairie fire, when the wind is strong, the wall of flame often rolls along twenty feet high, destroying man and beast in its onward rush. The frontiersmen know they cannot run as fast as that fire. Not the fleetest horse can escape it. But they just take a match, and light the grass before them. These flames sweep a space, and men follow and take their stand in the burned district, and are safe. Over the place where they stand the fire has already passed, and there is nothing left to burn. So there is one spot on earth that the judgment of God has swept over. Eighteen hundred years ago the storm burst on Calvary; and the Son of God endured it: and now, if we take our stand by the Cross, we are safe for time and for eternity.[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.) (pp. 75–76). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

April—17 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

The same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.—John 20:19.

There is a peculiar blessedness in this first visit of the Lord Jesus to the whole college of disciples (at least, as many as were present of them) after he arose from the dead; and the manner of relating it is peculiarly striking also. It was the same day at evening, and it was the “first day” also, as if the Lord Jesus would again and again honour the day, as well in the evening as the morning of his resurrection, and make that day for ever memorable to his Church and among his people. My soul! thou hast celebrated thy Lord’s triumph over death in the morning, both at home and abroad, in his Church, at his ordinances, at his table, and among his disciples; but learn hence also, that at evening time Jesus will make it light by the sweet renewed visits of his grace; and when the doors are shut, and in thy retirement the world is shut out, and thou art communing within, Jesus will come and say, “Peace be unto thee.” And doth Jesus do this? Hast thou this precious legacy of speech, which he left to his people, administered to thee by his own blessed hand? Is he thy peace, and hath he made thy peace through the blood of his cross? Having purchased it by his death, doth he confirm it to thee by his resurrection, and in the earnest of his Spirit seal it on thy soul to the day of eternal redemption? Oh! then, look up to him, my soul, again this evening, as thy peace, thy surety, thy sponsor, and say with the prophet, “This man shall be our peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land.” (Micah 5:5.) Yes, thou dear Redeemer! thou art indeed the peace, the very means and end of all joy and peace in believing, and wilt be the everlasting security of thy people in peace with God through all eternity! Methinks I hear thee say, in the nightly visits of thy love and grace, as to the disciples of old, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you: let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid!”[1]


[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 115–116). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

April 17, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

The Warning

Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. (25:13)

For the fifth time in the discourse (see 24:36, 42, 44, 50) Jesus called on those who will be alive during the last days of the Tribulation to be alert, because they will not know the day nor the hour of His appearing. They would know its nearness by the catastrophic signs, but the exact day and the exact hour they would not know.

“Be on guard,” Jesus had said in the Temple on the previous day, “that your hearts may not be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34–36).

In his epic poem Idylls of the King, Alfred Lord Tennyson used figures from the parable of the ten virgins in a song directed to the wicked Queen Guinevere, who learned too late the cost of sin:

Late, late, so late, and dark the night and chill!

Late, late, so late, but we can enter still.

Too late, too late, ye cannot enter now.

No light had we, for that we do repent;

And, learning this, the Bridegroom will relent.

Too late, too late, ye cannot enter now.

No light, so late, and dark and chill the night!

O let us in, that we may find the light.

Too late, too late, ye cannot enter now.

Have we not heard the Bridegroom is so sweet?

O let us in, tho’ late, to kiss His feet!

No, no, too late! Ye cannot enter now.[1]

13 The theme is reiterated once more (cf. 24:36, 42, 44, 50). Jeremias (Parables of Jesus, 52) and others suggest this verse is a late addition to the parable, since it is at variance with the fact that both the wise and the foolish virgins fell asleep. But this misses the purpose of v. 13. “Keep watch” does not mean “keep awake,” as if an ability to fight off sleep were relevant to the story. Rather, in light of the entire parable, the dominant exhortation of this discourse is repeated: Be prepared! Keep watching![2]

13 These words can hardly be part of the original parable, and as an editorial comment they seem to miss its point (see p. 948 above). They reflect the background theme of this part of the discourse as a whole—the call to be alert for the unexpected parousia of the Son of Man—rather than the specific story of the sleeping girls, who were not literally “awake” when the bridegroom was announced. A more appropriate reflection on this particular story might have been the slogan of 22:14, “Many are invited but few are chosen.”[3]

25:13 / The idea of the Messiah as bridegroom grew out of such Old Testament passages as Hos. 2:19 and Isa. 62:5.[4]

25:13 Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Jesus’ concluding application of the parable forms an inclusio with 24:36, which began this passage. Jesus’ words there—“about that day or hour no one knows”—provide the reason for watchfulness throughout this passage (24:42, 43), culminating in the exhortation to “keep watch” (grēgoreō).[5]

13. Keep on the alert, therefore, because you do not know the day or the hour. See on 24:36, 42, 44, 50.

Having now studied the parable, and having fixed our attention upon its main lesson, namely the necessity of constant preparedness, hearts and lives ever consecrated to the Lord in the here and now, we are entitled to ask, “In keeping with this main application, what are some of the ancillary truths taught here?” Probably the following:

  1. All who profess to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are alike in many respects; especially in this, that all are on their way to meet the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. See Matt. 25:1.
  2. The resemblances are, however, superficial. There is an essential difference. By no means all who read the Bible, attend and even belong to a church, sing the songs of salvation, make public profession of faith, even preach in Christ’s name, are going to share in the blessings of Christ’s return. Some are sensible. Religion with them is not sham and pretense. They believe in being prepared by faith in the Savior and lives dedicated to him and therefore to God Triune. Others are foolish. “They have a form of piety but deny its power” (2 Tim. 3:5; cf. Matt. 7:22, 23). Unprepared they travel on—to meet the Judge. See Matt. 25:2–4.
  3. A long span of time will elapse between the first and the second coming. See Matt. 25:5; and on 24:9, 14; 25:19.
  4. The return of the Lord will be sudden, visible, and audible. See Matt. 25:6; and on 24:31.
  5. Preparedness is not transferable from one person to another. See Matt. 25:7–9; also Ps. 49:7; Prov. 9:12; Gal. 6:12.
  6. For those who are not ready—that is, for those unsaved before they die, and for those who in their unsaved condition survive on earth until Christ’s return—there is no “second chance.” See Matt. 25:10–12; also 7:22, 23; 10:32, 33; 24:37–42; 25:34–46; 2 Cor. 5:9, 10; Gal. 6:7, 8; 2 Thess. 1:8, 9; Heb. 9:27.
  7. Therefore—and in view of the fact that the moment of Christ’s return is unknown—watchfulness at all times is required. See Matt. 25:13; also Ps. 95:7, 8; 2 Cor. 6:2.

Whether or not the “oil” in this parable has a symbolical meaning is not certain. If it does, it would point to the Holy Spirit, through whose transforming and enabling power men are prepared to welcome the Bridegroom. See Matt. 25:2–4; and cf. Isa. 61:1; Zech. 4:1–6; 2 Thess. 2:13.[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 4, pp. 92–93). 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, p. 577). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew (p. 950). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.

[4] Mounce, R. H. (2011). Matthew (p. 237). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Brown, J. K. (2015). Matthew. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 283). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 878–879). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

April 17 Streams in the Desert

The hand of the Lord hath wrought this.” (Job 12:9)

SEVERAL years ago there was found in an African mine the most magnificent diamond in the world’s history. It was presented to the King of England to blaze in his crown of state. The King sent it to Amsterdam to be cut. It was put into the hands of an expert lapidary. And what do you suppose he did with it?

He took the gem of priceless value, and cut a notch in it. Then he struck it a hard blow with his instrument, and lo! the superb jewel lay in his hand cleft in twain. What recklessness! what wastefulness! what criminal carelessness!

Not so. For days and weeks that blow had been studied and planned. Drawings and models had been made of the gem. Its quality, its defects, its lines of cleavage had all been studied with minutest care. The man to whom it was committed was one of the most skillful lapidaries in the world.

Do you say that blow was a mistake? Nay. It was the climax of the lapidary’s skill. When he struck that blow, he did the one thing which would bring that gem to its most perfect shapeliness, radiance, and jewelled splendor. That blow which seemed to ruin the superb precious stone was, in fact, its perfect redemption. For, from those two halves were wrought the two magnificent gems which the skilled eye of the lapidary saw hidden in the rough, uncut stone as it came from the mine.

So, sometimes, God lets a stinging blow fall upon your life. The blood spurts. The nerves wince. The soul cries out in agony. The blow seems to you an apalling mistake. But it is not, for you are the most priceless jewel in the world to God. And He is the most skilled lapidary in the universe.

Some day you are to blaze in the diadem of the King. As you lie in His hand now He knows just how to deal with you. Not a blow will be permitted to fall upon your shrinking soul but that the love of God permits it, and works out from its depths, blessing and spiritual enrichment unseen, and unthought of by you.—J. H. McC.

In one of George MacDonald’s books occurs this fragment of conversation: “I wonder why God made me,” said Mrs. Faber bitterly. “I’m sure I Don’t know what was the use of making me!”

“Perhaps not much yet,” said Dorothy, “but then He hasn’t done with you yet. He is making you now, and you are quarreling with the process.”

If men would but believe that they are in process of creation, and consent to be made—let the Maker handle them as the potter the clay, yielding themselves in resplendent motion and submissive, hopeful action with the turning of His wheel—they would ere long find themselves able to welcome every pressure of that hand on them, even when it was felt in pain; and sometimes not only to believe but to recognize the Divine end in view, the bringing of a son unto glory.

“Not a single shaft can hit,

Till the God of love sees fit.”[1]


[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 119–120). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

April 17 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

April 17.—Morning. [Or August 1.]
“Only the Lord establish His word.”

1 Samuel 1:19–28

THE sacrifice was ended, but the devout family did not think of leaving the sacred courts until once more they had bowed before the Lord. They were not tired of worship, but having begun well they would finish well. One heart there was in that family which adored with an unusual joy. Hannah had come up to the tabernacle “a woman of a sorrowful spirit,” but not so did she return home. How sweet to leave our burdens behind us after we have joined in worship with the people of God. May our family devotions at this time have the like soothing effect upon any troubled one among us.

19 ¶ And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her.

20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord.

How doubly precious a blessing is when it comes in answer to prayer. Have we nothing to ask for? Have we not also choice favours which have this increased sweetness in them that we “asked them of the Lord”?

21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.

Parents must not neglect the service of God because of their children, and when mothers are lawfully detained at home, the rest of the household must not make idle excuses for staying away too.

22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever.

23 And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the Lord establish his word. (What a choice saying, “Only the Lord establish his word.” We ought to think everything less important than this. If God will but deal with us according to promise, other things are of little consequence.) So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.

24 ¶ And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young.

It was natural that the mother should be sorry to part with her dear boy; yet grace triumphed over nature, and she went up to resign her child to the Lord with a glad heart, which expressed its gratitude in an offering of thanksgiving. What God had lent her she returned to him without reluctance. O that all our dear children may be the Lord’s. It were better to part with them to be God’s servants, than to keep them with us, and see them graceless.

25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.

26 And she said, Oh, my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord.

27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

28 Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. (She gave up this one child, and the Lord sent her five others ere long. The Lord takes care to be in no one’s debt, he rewards plenteously those who cheerfully make sacrifices for his cause.) And he worshipped the Lord there. (Eli rejoiced in the good woman’s piety, and all gracious hearts are glad to see others ardent in love to God. Perhaps, however, the text means that Samuel also worshipped the Lord there, and how delightful it is to see young children truly pray. Is there no little Samuel in this house who will worship the Lord now? Let us all endeavour to do so with our whole hearts.)

What shall I render to my God

For all his kindness shown?

My feet shall visit thine abode,

My songs address thy throne.

Among the saints that fill thine house,

My offerings shall be paid;

There shall my zeal perform the vows

My soul in anguish made.

April 17.—Evening. [Or August 2.]
“My heart rejoiceth in the Lord.”

1 Samuel 2:1–11

AND Hannah prayed, (When she had obtained her desire she did not desist from prayer, but the rather she was encouraged to abound in it. Her prayers, however, were no longer salted with sorrow, but were sweetened with the spices of gratitude. She rose from prayer to praise,) and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, (Not in my child so much as in my God. God must ever be our exceeding joy), mine horn is exalted in the Lord: (Her name and power were lifted up, but she gave the Lord the glory of it:) my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. (She knew herself to be in need of salvation, and her faith found all that she wanted in the Lord her God.)

There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

Her joy was all in God, in his salvation, in his matchless holiness, and in his eternal strength. Her Samuel did not become her idol, she loved her God better than her boy. Woe unto that mother who permits son or daughter to rival the Lord. God’s people must learn to feel and say, “there is none beside thee, O Lord.”

Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. (He does not judge by appearances, his judgments call for sincerity of heart, and will not be content without it.)

The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.

They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. (Thus is it the Lord’s way to pull down the lofty, and uplift the lowly. Those who are great and full in themselves he regards with scorn; but the poor and the empty he looks upon with pity.)

The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. (It is the method of his grace to humble those whom he means to exalt. None will ever be rich in Christ until they are made to feel that they are bankrupt in themselves.)

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them. (He alone is the Creator, and he does as he wills with his own. Who shall question the exercise of his undoubted prerogative?)

He will keep the feet of his saints, (He will preserve them from wandering or falling. God’s people are too dear to him for him to suffer one of them to perish,) and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

This is a right noble song, breathing not only warm devotion, but the true spirit of poetry. Hannah was a great original poetess, and even the Virgin Mary in her sweet hymn of gratitude will be found to have followed in Hannah’s track. Though as yet no Psalms had been written which might serve her as models, her song is exquisitely composed, and has a delightful savour of spiritual religion about it. She is the first who sings of the “anointed” king, and as there was actually no king over Israel in her day, the words would seem to have a prophetic reference to Christ. He is the crown of all the saints’ joys, and their songs reach their highest notes when they sing of “the anointed.”

11 And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest.

My soul doth magnify the Lord,

My spirit doth rejoice;

To thee, my Saviour and my God,

I lift my joyful voice.

My God, I’ll praise thee while I live,

And praise thee when I die,

And praise thee when I rise again,

And to eternity.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 223–224). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Dr Michael Youssef Shares What God Is Calling Us to Do in the Age of COVID-19 | Assist News

Atlanta, USA (ANS) – by Dr Michael Youssef – We are living in unprecedented days. At such a time as this, I have found myself asking, “Lord, in the middle of this global panic, what are You saying to Your people?” There’s only one place to go to find an answer, and that is the infallible Word of God.

The prophet Joel spoke to God’s people, Israel, during a time of economic crisis. A tiny army of locusts was devouring the land, destroying everything in their path. Today, we are living during the modern-day equivalent of this crisis. COVID-19 is a tiny virus. You can’t see it with your eyes, yet it is sweeping across the globe and destroying everything in its path. In this context, the words of the prophet Joel serve as a warning: The crisis we are facing pales in comparison to the coming Day of Judgment.

I believe that this crisis is God’s loving wake-up call to our nation and world. It is God’s loving warning. It is God’s gracious invitation. For if we are not prepared to deal with a virus, what will we do when we face the Day of Judgment?

Read how God pleads with His people in Joel 2:12-13 — how He pleads with us today:

“Even now,” declares the Lord,

“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Rend your heart and not your garments.

Return to the Lord your God,

for he is gracious and compassionate,

slow to anger and abounding in love.”

Praise God, Joel’s prophetic words tell us what to do during times like these. Through this passage, Joel is saying to us, “Don’t waste this crisis. Don’t waste this dress rehearsal. Let this be a reminder of the coming Day of Judgment when God will shake everything that can be shaken.”

Through this crisis, God is calling us to do things:

  1. Tear away the idols from our hearts

Ultimately, it is our hearts that need radical change, not our circumstances. It is our hearts that need transformation, not the economy. Have we placed our hope in money, possessions, or safety rather than in God? Is prayer something we only do when we are in trouble? Is worship something we only do when it is convenient? Our greatest need today is to “rend our hearts” — to confess the idols we are clinging to instead of Christ.

God wants us to be serious about acknowledging our personal idols and tearing them out of our hearts through repentance. Doing so will allow us to face any crisis, whether COVID-19 or the Day of Judgment, with confidence. Why? Because we are ready. We are prepared. This crisis is an opportunity for us all to turn to God and prepare our hearts to stand before Him — before it’s too late.

  1. Lead others to worship and bow down to the living God

Now is the time to sound the alarm to every person who will listen. We must remind both the lukewarm and the lost about the shortness of our earthly lives and the endlessness of eternity. Smooth-talking or positive thinking will never adequately prepare people for the day when they will stand before God and “give an account . . . for every empty word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36).

I encourage believers everywhere to take this time to call your family around you for a time of prayer and repentance. Rededicate yourselves as a family to serving God. I know that as we so humble ourselves before Him, our Lord will respond and bring revival to our land. He longs to show mercy, and He responds to the genuine cries of His children. Let us never forget that.

May God bless us, keep us, and draw us closer to Himself during this time of great shaking in our nation and world.

Source: Dr Michael Youssef Shares What God Is Calling Us to Do in the Age of COVID-19

One chart shows how many Americans are dying from coronavirus each week compared to other common causes of death like heart disease, cancer, and the flu | Business Insider

REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid

  • More than 13,000 Americans died last week from COVID-19, surpassing past weekly averages for other top causes of death like heart disease and cancer.
  • The US has more coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country: as of Friday morning more than 667,000 people have gotten sick and more than 32,000 have died.
  • Models are now predicting fewer deaths than before — around 60,000 by August — but experts warn that number could rise again if social-distancing measures don’t remain in place.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As the new coronavirus continues to spread throughout the US, it’s now killing more Americans per week than other top causes of death like heart disease and cancer have in past years.

Last week, more than 13,000 people died from COVID-19, surpassing the nearly 12,500 killed on average each week in 2018 by heart conditions and the 11,500 killed by cancer, showing just how quickly the virus has taken its toll on American lives.

Over the past few weeks, the US has become the hardest-hit country by the pandemic, with more than 32,000 deaths and 667,000 confirmed cases as of this morning. Worldwide, more than 143,000 people have died, meaning the coronavirus has already claimed more lives than outbreaks of the Ebola, MERS, and SARS viruses.

Business Insider compiled data from The COVID Tracking Project, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the US Census to show how COVID-19 deaths over time compare to other common causes of death in the US: heart disease, cancer, bad flu seasons, and car crashes.

COVID-19 is now killing more Americans on a weekly basis than heart disease or cancer did on average per week in 2018.

The coronavirus has spread rapidly in the US, and deaths have grown exponentially along with it. From April 9 to April 15, at least 13,613 people died from COVID-19, compared to 9,801 the week before.

By comparison, 12,451 people died on average per week from heart diseases and 11,521 per week from cancer in 2018, while fewer than 800 people died from car crashes on any given week that year.

Even bad flu seasons, like the 2017-2018 season in which more than 80,000 Americans were killed — including 7,119 in a single week — didn’t claim lives as quickly as COVID-19 did last week.

To make it easier to understand how the causes compare over the course of the year, we calculated the average weekly deaths from annual heart disease and cancer data. We also combined data from the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 flu seasons (which start in October in the CDC data) to show the total number of deaths in 2018.

The numbers in the above chart represent how many deaths per million people different causes were responsible for each week, not how many total people they killed.



The US could be nearing its coronavirus “peak,” but the worst is far from over.

While experts expect the pandemic to peak in the US sometime in the coming months, the number of people who will ultimately get sick or die depends on how successful the country is able to maintain social distancing, ramp up testing efforts, and develop treatments and vaccines.

It’s also still too early to calculate the overall death rate of COVID-19, but the US has seen a lower rate so far than many other countries, with around 4.4% of those diagnosed with the disease dying from it.

That and other factors have led disease modelers to lower their fatality estimates, with the main model used in the US predicting 60,415 deaths by August, assuming social distancing measures are kept in place until then.


See Also:

Source: One chart shows how many Americans are dying from coronavirus each week compared to other common causes of death like heart disease, cancer, and the flu

We’re Not Going Back To ‘Normal’… | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Michael Muharrey via SchiffGold.com,

Turn the key and the economy will restart.

That’s a myth a lot of people in the mainstream have peddled since governments started shutting down the economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s not going to happen. We’re not going back to normal.

In fact, things weren’t “normal” before the pandemic.

As Peter Schiff has been saying, too many mainstream pundits and prognosticators have focused exclusively on the pin and ignored the economic bubble that it popped. They argue that since the economic damage due to the COVID-19 shutdowns was self-inflicted, it’s not a real recession. It’s not a real economic collapse. It’s not that businesses are closing because the economy is bad. We just decided to shut them down. Therefore, we can just decide to open everything back up and everything will be fine. But as Schiff said, it’s not that simple.

What matters is that we got a wound. Look, if I grab a knife and I stab myself in the chest, I’m not OK because the wound is self-inflicted…

It doesn’t matter how I got stabbed. What matters is I have a knife in my chest and I’m bleeding. So, I can’t just ignore the wound because I was dumb enough to stab myself.”

I’ve been saying the same thing for weeks. The economy doesn’t stop and start on a dime. Just because Donald Trump snaps his fingers and says, “Go!” doesn’t mean that the crisis ends. The economic damage done to the economy by that knife is deep. In fact, the economy was already suffering from multiple knife wounds long before COVID-19 reared its ugly head.

It appears some people in the mainstream are starting to wake up to reality – sort of. Reuters recently ran an article headlined “With confidence shattered, the road to a ‘normal’ US economy looks long.”

The writer points out that the 9/11 attacks shut down airlines for three days. It took three years for the industry to recover. After the housing crash, it took five years before the balance between builders and buyers was healthy enough to revive the construction industry.

And the economic damage already inflicted by the government shutdown is staggering.

In just three weeks, 10% of the US labor force filed for unemployment. Another 5.2 million Americans filed jobless claims this week, bringing the four-week total to nearly 22 million people.

Meanwhile, US manufacturing output hit its lowest level since 1946. Factory production dropped at a 7.1% annualized rate in Q1 2020. That’s the sharpest decline since the first quarter of 2009. A separate survey showed New York state manufacturing activity plunged to its lowest level in the history of the survey.

And retail sales plummeted 8.7% in March. That means we’re about to see the biggest plunge in consumer spending in decades.

Those self-inflicted wounds can kill.

The Reuters’ columnist said we can’t expect consumers to just snap back to normal when the government begins lifting the coronavirus meltdown.  As he put it, when public behavior suffers a shock, it’s slow to recover.

There is no doubt that this downturn will be historic in depth. But the nature of the event behind it is the core hurdle to an economic restart: A health crisis that has killed more than 28,000 people in the country, according to a Reuters tally, and has left fear and confusion in its wake. Behavioral economists note that even much smaller shocks to how people perceive the world can cause lasting effects in how they behave.”

Schiff pointed out that this will be a wakeup call for a lot of people that will also shift behavior. They will realize they need to have savings. They almost certainly won’t just jump in and start spending again.

Solid analysis. But it still misses the point.

It assumes everything was “normal” to begin with. It wasn’t normal. The economy was a big, fat, ugly debt bubble. Normal was abnormal. The economy was levered up to the hilt. Consumers were driving the economy with borrowed money. Corporations were already carrying record debt-loads. The government was already spending money as if we were in the depts of an economic recession.

Coronavirus popped the bubble. It pulled the last piece out of the Jenga game. It turned a fan on the house of cards. We’re not going back to normal any time soon.

This is not to say the coronavirus isn’t a problem. Even a healthy economy would suffer significant impacts under this kind of shutdown. But the government and central bank response, with trillions of dollars in stimulus, bailouts and money-printing, is making things worse. This is the arsonist throwing gasoline on the fire it started.

Consider this from Seeking Alpha:

The American government has committed more than $6T to arrest the economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic, with $2.35T in fiscal spending and $4T from the Federal Reserve. The figure represents more than a quarter of US economic output, and will mean for the first time since WWII, the nation will owe more than its economy can produce in a given year.

The people who are just focusing on coronavirus are missing the bigger picture. You can’t understand what’s happening now if you don’t understand what was happening two months ago. Schiff summed it up.

We have a debt bubble. Now, everybody is defaulting on their loans. It doesn’t matter why they’re defaulting. All that matters is that they defaulted. And the cat’s out of the bag now. It’s gone. It’s over. The bubble has popped and now we are dealing with the consequences, not just of the virus, but of the consequences of the bubble.

In fact, we’re dealing with the consequences of the bubble that popped in 2008. We’re dealing with the consequences of the bubble that popped in 2001. Because we never finished dealing with them. Because the Fed kicked the can down the road and we’ve caught up with that can.

And now we have to deal with all of the bad consequences of repeated bubbles that are now blowing up.

And now the Fed, of course, is trying to reflate this, but it is never going to work.”

Source: We’re Not Going Back To ‘Normal’…

Microsoft Not Only Funds ID2020 But They Also Filed A Patent For A Device Connected To The Human Body For Buying And Selling Cryptocurrency — Now The End Begins

Microsoft who funds ID2020 files patent for the buying and selling of bitcoin cryptocurrency that works by a device attached to the human body that interacts with a computer network system.

Bill Gates may have legally separated himself from Microsoft, but since both entities are engaged in exactly the same mission, a separation of purpose certainly has not taken place. While Bill Gates has been pounding the pavement, telling people that a global vaccine for everyone on earth will take place within 18 months, his old company Microsoft has created a device that interacts with the pulse, temperature and brain waves of the human body in order to engage in the buying and selling of cryptocurrency. Now let’s see, where else have I seen that talked about before?

Oh, right, here it is:

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Revelation 13:16-18 (KJB)

What is the biblical definition of the Mark of the Beast? According to Revelation 13, it is a device that goes in the human body in the back of the right hand or in the forehead, for the purpose of buying and selling. Whatever form the final Mark takes, that’s exactly what it will do from a functional, literal perspective. Bill Gates and Microsoft are spending billions in order to 1). inject everyone one earth with some kind of a ‘vaccination’ shot, 2). create a device for buying and selling currency that’s run on the human body as it’s battery, and 3). attach both those things to a digital identification from ID2020 whom they also fund. Please note that zero amount of what is said within this paragraph is speculation of any kind, click the links, it’s happening now.

So where does that leave us? A poet once said, ‘when someone shows you who they are, believe them’. Bill Gates has shown us who he is, Microsoft has shown us who they are. The only question is, do you believe them? I sure do.

Bill Gates, his global vaccinations, ID2020 digital identification and the coming Mark of the Beast. Don't take it.

Microsoft Cryptocurrency System Using Body Activity Data

This is the patent information for the Microsoft device to buy and sell cryptocurrency using the human body, enjoy!

Patent Abstract: Human body activity associated with a task provided to a user may be used in a mining process of a cryptocurrency system. A server may provide a task to a device of a user which is communicatively coupled to the server. A sensor communicatively coupled to or comprised in the device of the user may sense body activity of the user. Body activity data may be generated based on the sensed body activity of the user. The cryptocurrency system communicatively coupled to the device of the user may verify if the body activity data satisfies one or more conditions set by the cryptocurrency system, and award cryptocurrency to the user whose body activity data is verified. READ MORE

Microsoft Cryptocurrency System Using Body Activity Data

via Microsoft Not Only Funds ID2020 But They Also Filed A Patent For A Device Connected To The Human Body For Buying And Selling Cryptocurrency — Now The End Begins

Justin Peters Challenges Andrew Wommack and Todd White: “Start Healing!” — The Messed Up Church

The coronavirus pandemic has made it easier than ever to see that false faith healers can’t deliver on their promises.

Recently, Justin Peters made a very extensive video called: The Modern Prophets and Faith Healers Utterly Destroyed by COVID 19 that is a must-see video for every Christian!

From that over-two-hour video I made the following short excerpt video to, hopefully, grab people’s attention so that they’ll look into this issue much further:

Todd White has ignored my request to make public the man that was “born with polio” and had “one leg that was three and a half inches shorter than the other,” but maybe he just needs more reminders that the extremely bold claims he makes demand investigation.

We’re Looking for the Harrisburg, PA, Pastor Born With Polio That Todd White Healed!

These false faith healers have gotten most of their ideas from the Word of Faith (sometimes called “Word-Faith” or just “The Prosperity Gospel”) movement. Here’s a compilation article with a lot of information to help you understand that movement:

The Word of Faith Cornucopia of False Doctrine.

Be sure to check out the statistics that show utterly wrong the hyper-Charismatic “prophets” have been:

Proof that the Charismatic “Apostles” and “Prophets” Are False and Powerless

via Justin Peters Challenges Andrew Wommack and Todd White: “Start Healing!” — The Messed Up Church

NY Gov. Cuomo: Church and Home ‘Worship Services’ Are ‘Canceled,’ According to Guidance Document | Christian News Network

ALBANY, N.Y. — A guidance document from Empire State Development outlines that in-person church gatherings “of any size,” including house church meetings, are “canceled or postponed,” as per an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“Pursuant to Executive Order 202.10, all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reasons (e.g. worship services, parties, celebrations, or other social events) are canceled or postponed,” a webpage providing guidance on Executive Order 202.6 reads. “Congregate services within houses of worship are prohibited.”

“Houses of worship may only be used by individuals and only where appropriate social distancing of, at least, six feet between people can be maintained,” it continues. “Further, individuals should not gather in houses of worship, homes, or other locations for religious services until the end of this public health emergency.”

The guidance recommends rather “replacing in-person gatherings with virtual services, such as phone or conference calls, video-conference calls, or online streaming.”

Cuomo’s March 23 order, “Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency,” simply stated in one section at the conclusion, “Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time.”

The Empire State Development webpage elaborated on how to interpret the prohibition on “non-essential gatherings.”

The Christian organization New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, while stating that it supports not meeting in large groups at this time, lamented the guidance in a blog post, opining that it “places [an] excessive burden upon religious expression.”

It finds the prohibition on house church meetings, which by definition are small gatherings that involve participation by friends and extended family outside the immediate household, to be over-the-top.

“When the governor banned public gatherings of 50 or more persons (including church services), we encouraged churches to comply with that ban … We did so in an effort to respect our governing officials, to love our neighbors, and to protect our fellow Christians from the coronavirus,” NYCF said.

“NYCF does, however, oppose this guidance document in its current form,” the group added. “First, we object to the characterization of worship services as ‘non-essential gatherings.’ Second, and more importantly, we find the assertion that New Yorkers should avoid gathering for worship in homes to be excessive, unnecessary, and constitutionally questionable.”

It further said that the language of the document is too broad and could be construed by some to think that those within the same dwelling are prohibited from worshiping together, “which, we trust, is not the governor’s intended interpretation.”

NYCF has called upon Gov. Cuomo to correct the problems and confusion that could arise from the guidance issued by Empire State Development based on his order prohibiting “non-essential gatherings.”

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

Source: NY Gov. Cuomo: Church and Home ‘Worship Services’ Are ‘Canceled,’ According to Guidance Document

What you need to know today about the virus outbreak — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

People wearing face masks to protect themselves against the spread of the new coronavirus cross an intersection in the central business district in Beijing, Friday, April 17, 2020. China faces a drawn-out struggle to revive an economy that suffered its biggest contraction since possibly the mid-1960s after millions of people were told to stay home to fight the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

President Donald Trump is pressing to restart the U.S. economy, which has been ravaged by the pandemic in a short few weeks.

He has given U.S. governors a road map for recovering from the acute economic pain, laying out a phased approach to restoring normal activity. “We’re starting our life again,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, China acknowledged that the coronavirus death toll for epicenter of Wuhan was 50% higher than previously reported — a major revision that highlights just how seriously current numbers on infections and deaths around the globe may be understating the true toll of the pandemic.

Here are some of AP’s top stories Friday on the world’s coronavirus pandemic. Follow APNews.com/VirusOutbreak for updates through the day and APNews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak for stories explaining some of its complexities.


— There is a sizable group of Trump supporters in several U.S. states who are far from happy about how the outbreak – and efforts to save lives – are being handled. They have united behind a deep suspicion of efforts to shut down daily life. As their frustration grows, they have started to openly defy the social distancing rules to put pressure on governors to ease them.

— President Donald Trump and some of his officials are flirting with an outlier theory that the new coronavirus was set loose on the world by a Chinese lab that let it escape. Without the weight of evidence, they’re trying to blame China for sickness and death from COVID-19 in the United States.

— Optimistic talk about getting people back to work seems a far cry from the human tide of misery in New York and its suburbs. There, hundreds are still dying and thousands of people newly infected are still streaming into hospitals every day.

— India has launched one of the most draconian social experiments in human history, locking down its entire population, including hundreds of millions of people who struggle to survive on a few dollars a day. They are maids, watchmen and street peddlers. ″I am so afraid,″ says one woman.

— With no approved drugs for the coronavirus, some people are turning to alternative medicines, often at their governments’ urging. This is most evident in India and China, where there’s a deep tradition of using and touting such treatments.

— Africa could see 300,000 deaths from the coronavirus this year even under the best-case scenario, according to a new report released Friday that cites modeling from Imperial College London.



For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Here are the symptoms of the virus compared with the common flu.

One of the best ways to prevent spread of the virus is washing your hands with soap and water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends first washing with warm or cold water and then lathering soap for 20 seconds to get it on the backs of hands, between fingers and under fingernails before rinsing off.

You should wash your phone, too. Here’s how.

TRACKING THE VIRUS: Drill down and zoom in at the individual county level, and you can access numbers that will show you the situation where you are, and where loved ones or people you’re worried about live.



— 6.8: China’s economy shrank by 6.8% from a year earlier in the quarter ending in March after factories, offices and shopping malls were closed to contain the outbreak, official data showed Friday.



— BICYCLE DELIVERY: There are no fans cheering him, but Italian professional cyclist Davide Martinelli has achieved a victory of a different sort. He is using his bike to help deliver medicine to elderly residents and others in need during the pandemic.

— MAIL SAFETY: Is it safe to open your mail during the pandemic?


Source: Associated Press

via What you need to know today about the virus outbreak — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

April 17, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Which Way to Heaven?


Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it. (7:13–14)

Here is the appeal to which Jesus has been moving through the whole sermon. He gives the call to decide now about becoming a citizen of God’s kingdom and inheriting eternal life, or remaining a citizen of this fallen world and receiving damnation. The way to life is on God’s terms alone; the way to damnation is on any terms a person wants, because every way but God’s leads to the same fate.

Jesus has been giving God’s standards throughout the sermon, standards that are holy and perfect and that are diametrically opposed to the self-righteous, self-sufficient, and hypocritical standards of man—typified by those of the scribes and Pharisees. He has shown what His kingdom is like and what its people are like—and are not like. Now He presents the choice of entering the kingdom or not. Here the Lord focuses on the inevitable decision that every person must make, the crossroads where he must decide on the gate he will enter and the way he will go.

Our lives are filled with decisions—what to wear, what to eat, where to go, what to do, what to say, what to buy, whom to marry, what career to follow, and on and on. Many decisions are trivial and insignificant, and some are essential and life-changing. The most critical of all is our decision about Jesus Christ and His kingdom. That is the ultimate choice that determines our eternal destiny. It is that decision that Jesus here calls men to make.

In perfect harmony with His absolute sovereignty, God has always allowed men to choose Him or not, and He has always pleaded with them to decide for Him or face the consequences of a choice against Him. Since mankind turned their backs on Him in the Fall, God has bent every effort and spared no cost in wooing His creatures back to Himself. He has provided and shown the way, leaving nothing to man but the choice. God made His choice by providing the way of redemption. The choice is now man’s.

While Israel was in the wilderness the Lord instructed Moses to tell the people, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him” (Deut. 30:19–20).

After Israel came into the Promised Land, Joshua confronted the people again with a choice: of continuing to serve the Egyptian and Canaanite gods they had adopted or of turning to the Lord who had delivered them from Egypt and given them the land promised to Abraham. “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve,” Joshua pleaded (Josh. 24:13–15).

On Mount Carmel the prophet Elijah asked the people of Israel, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). The Lord commanded Jeremiah to set the choice again before His people: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death’ ” (Jer. 21:8).

In John 6:66–69, Jesus called for a choice: “As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore. Jesus said therefore to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?’ Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.’ ”

That is the call that God has been making to men since they turned away from Him, and it is the supreme appeal of His Word.

In his poem The Ways, The British poet John Oxenham wrote,

To every man there openeth

A Way, and Ways, and a Way,

And the High Soul climbs the High Way,

And the Low Soul gropes the Low,

And in between, on the misty flats,

The rest drift to and fro.

But to every man there openeth

A High Way and a Low,

And every man decideth

The Way his soul shall go.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus presents still again that great choice of choices. This sermon therefore cannot be simply admired and praised for its ethics. Its truths will bless those who accept the King but will stand in judgment over those who refuse Him. The one who admires God’s way but does not accept it is under greater judgment, because he acknowledges that he knows the truth.

Nor does this sermon apply only to the future age of the millennial kingdom. The truths Jesus teaches here are truths whose essence God teaches in the Old Testament and throughout the New Testament. They are truths for God’s people of every age, and the decision about the gate and the way has always been a now decision.

The choice is between the one and the many—the one right and the many wrongs, the one true way and the many false ways. As John Stott points out, in Matthew 7:13–14 “Jesus cuts across our easy-going syncretism” (Christian Counter-Culture [Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1978], p. 193). There are not many roads to heaven, but one. There are not many good religions, but only one. Man cannot come to God in any of the ways that man himself devises, but only in the one way that God Himself has provided.

The contrast Jesus makes is not between religion and irreligion, or between the higher religions and the lower ones. Nor is it a contrast between nice and upright people and vile and degraded ones. It is a contrast between divine righteousness and human righteousness, all of which is unrighteousness. It is a contrast between divine revelation and human religion, between divine truth and human falsehood, between trusting in God and trusting in self. It is the contrast between God’s grace and man’s works.

There have always been but two systems of religion in the world. One is God’s system of divine accomplishment, and the other is man’s system of human achievement. One is the religion of God’s grace, the other the religion of men’s works. One is the religion of faith, the other the religion of the flesh. One is the religion of the sincere heart and the internal, the other the religion of hypocrisy and the external. Within man’s system are thousands of religious forms and names, but they are all built on the achievements of man and the inspiration of Satan. Christianity, on the other hand, is the religion of divine accomplishment, and it stands alone.

Even the law given through Moses, though divine, was not a means of salvation but rather a means of showing man’s need for salvation. “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight,” Paul explains; “for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). The law came to show us our sinfulness and guilt before God, and to show us that we are incapable in ourselves of keeping God’s perfect law.

But when self-righteous, ego-centered man saw that he was sinful by the law’s standard, he simply set the law aside and devised standards of his own. He invented new religions that accommodated his shortcomings and that were humanly achievable. By meeting his own attainable standards, man therefore considered himself righteous. That is what the rabbis and scribes had done in regard to their traditions. They lowered God’s standards, raised their own estimates of themselves, and felt they had achieved a righteous standing with God (Rom. 10:3). And that is exactly the type of self-ascribed righteousness that Jesus declares will never bring a person into the kingdom of God (Matt. 5:20).

From here through the rest of the sermon (vv. 13–27) Jesus repeatedly points out two things: the necessity of choosing whether to follow God or not, and the fact that the choices are two and only two. There are two gates, the narrow and the wide; two ways, the narrow and the broad; two destinations, life and destruction; two groups, the few and the many; two kinds of trees, the good and the bad, which produce two kinds of fruit, the good and the bad; two kinds of people who profess faith in Jesus Christ, the sincere and the false; two kinds of builders, the wise and the foolish; two foundations, the rock and the sand; and two houses, the secure and the insecure. In all preaching there must be the demand for a verdict. Jesus makes the choice crystal clear.

In verses 13–14 Jesus deals with the first four of those contrasts: the two gates, the two ways, the two destinations, and the two groups.

The Two Gates

Enter is in the aorist imperative tense, and therefore demands a definite and specific action. The command is not to admire or to ponder the gate but to enter it. Many people admire the principles of the Sermon on the Mount but never follow those principles. Many people respect and praise Jesus Christ but never receive Him as Lord and Savior. Because they never receive the King and never enter the kingdom, they are as much separated from the King and as much outside His kingdom as is the rankest atheist or most unethical pagan.

Jesus’ command is not simply to enter some gate but to enter the narrow gate. Every person enters one gate or the other; that is unavoidable. Jesus pleads for men to enter the right gate, God’s gate, the only gate that leads to life and to heaven.

Jesus has repeatedly shown the narrowness of God’s internal standard of righteousness, in contrast to the broad and external standards of Jewish tradition. The path to that narrow way of kingdom living is through the narrow gate of the King Himself. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).

When we preach, teach, and witness that Christ is the only way to God, we are not proclaiming our own view of right religion but God’s revelation of truth. We do not proclaim the narrow way simply because we are already in it, or because it happens to suit our temperament, or because we are bigoted and exclusive. We proclaim the narrow way because it is God’s way and God’s only way for men to find salvation and eternal life. We proclaim a narrow gospel because Jesus said, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved” (John 10:9). We proclaim a narrow gospel because “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12), and because “there is one God and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). We proclaim a narrow gospel because that is the only gospel God has given and therefore the only gospel there is.

The person who enters the narrow gate must enter alone. We can bring no one else and nothing else with us. Some commentators suggest that a turnstile represents the idea implicit in narrow gate. A turnstile allows only one person through at a time, with no baggage. People do not come into the kingdom in groups, but singly. The Jews had the mistaken notion that they were all in God’s kingdom together by racial salvation, signified by circumcision.

Furthermore, God’s gate is so narrow that we must go through it naked. It is the gate of self-denial, through which one cannot carry the baggage of sin and self-will. When we sing, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling,” we are testifying to the way of the gospel. The way of Christ is the way of the cross, and the way of the cross is the way of self-denial. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it” (Matt. 16:24–25).

Jesus confronted the rich young ruler who sought eternal life and presented a test of his willingness to submit to His lordship: “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess, and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22). As his response proved, that man’s desire to rule his own life and to hold on to his earthly wealth prevented his entering the kingdom, because “when he had heard these things, he became very sad; for he was extremely rich” (v. 23). He also gave evidence of self-righteousness and self-deceit in denying his true state of sin (v. 21), because if he had in his heart truly kept all the commandments as he claimed, he would surely have kept the greatest commandment—which is to love God with all one’s heart, soul, and might (Deut. 6:5; cf. Matt. 22:37). Thus he would have followed Christ with total commitment. The issue with that young man was very simply a matter of lordship. Jesus confronted him on the matter of life control. One who comes to salvation yields control to Christ whether that means he gives up all or is allowed to keep all and receive more. Salvation turns sovereignty over to Christ.

To love God with everything we have is to jettison self—self-confidence, self-achievement, self-righteousness, and self-satisfaction. “Unless you are converted and become like children,” Jesus said, “you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). The mark of a child is dependency, utter dependency for everything he has. Saving faith is not merely an act of the mind; it counts the cost (Luke 14:28); it is also a stripping of the self and crying, as did the tax-gatherer in the Temple, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18:13). Easy believism is not scriptural believism. The narrow gate means that those who enter do so stripped of all they possess, rather than adding Jesus to their accumulated treasures. Salvation is the exchange of all that we are for all that He is (see Matt. 13:44–46). And as He did for Job, the Lord will give back much more.

The narrow gate demands repentance. Many Jews believed that simply being a Jew, a physical descendant of Abraham, was sufficient for entrance into heaven. Many people today believe that being in a church qualifies them for heaven. Some even believe that simply being a human being qualifies them, because God is too good and kind to exclude anyone. God does offer the way to all, and His greatest longing is that everyone enter, because He does not desire “for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Paul preached “repentance toward God” (Acts 20:21) as Jesus had preached it (Mark 1:14–15). John the Baptist readied a people for the Lord by repentance (Luke 3:1–6). The way of repentance, of turning from our own way and our own righteousness to God’s, is the only way to enter His kingdom and therefore the only way to keep from perishing.

Charles Spurgeon said, “You and your sins must separate or you and your God will never come together. No one sin may you keep; they must all be given up, they must be brought out like Canaanite kings from the cave and be hanged up in the sun.”

The repentant life will be a changed life. The primary message of John’s first epistle is that the truly redeemed life will manifest itself in a transformed life, in which confession of sin (1:8–10), obedience to God’s will (2:4–6), love of God’s other children (2:9–11; 3:16–17), and practice of righteousness (3:4–10) are normal and habitual. “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:8). Anything less is damning demon-faith (James 2:19) that is orthodox but fruitless.

Those who preach a gospel of self-indulgence preach an utterly different gospel than Jesus preached. The gate of pride, of self-righteousness, and self-satisfaction is the wide gate of the world, not the narrow gate of God.

Most people spend their lives rushing around with the crowds, doing what everyone else does and believing what everyone else believes. But as far as salvation is concerned, there is no security in numbers. If every person in a group is saved it is because each of them individually comes into the kingdom by his own decision, energized by the Holy Spirit, to trust Christ.

Two Ways

The two gates lead to two ways. The gate that is wide leads to the way that is broad; and the narrow gate, which is small, leads to the way that is narrow. The narrow way is the way of the godly, and the broad way is the way of the ungodly—and those are the only two ways in which men can travel. The godly person delights “in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season,” whereas the ungodly “are like chaff which the wind drives away” (Ps. 1:2–4).

The way that is broad is the easy, attractive, inclusive, indulgent, permissive, and self-oriented way of the world. There are few rules, few restrictions, and few requirements. All you need do is profess Jesus, or at least be religious, and you are readily accepted in that large and diverse group. Sin is tolerated, truth is moderated, and humility is ignored. God’s Word is praised but not studied, and His standards are admired but not followed. This way requires no spiritual maturity, no moral character, no commitment, and no sacrifice. It is the easy way of floating downstream, in “the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). It is the tragic way “which seems right to a man,” but whose “end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12).

A West Indian who had chosen Islam over Christianity said his reason was that Islam “is a noble, broad path. There is room for a man and his sins on it. The way of Christ is too narrow.” It seems that many preachers today do not see that issue as clearly as that unbelieving Muslim.

The way that is narrow, however, is the hard way, the demanding way, the way of self-denial and the cross. Stenos (narrow) comes from a root that means “to groan,” as from being under pressure, and is used figuratively to represent a restriction or constriction. It is the word from which we get stenography, writing that is abbreviated or compressed.

The fact that few are those who find God’s way implies that it is to be sought diligently. “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). No one has ever stumbled into the kingdom or wandered through the narrow gate by accident. When someone asked Jesus, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” He replied, “Strive to enter the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:23–24). The term agōnizomai (“strive”) indicates that entering the door to God’s kingdom takes conscious, purposeful, and intense effort. That is the term from which we get agonize, and is the same word Paul uses to describe an athlete who agonizes (“competes”) to win a race (1 Cor. 9:25) and the Christian who “fights the good fight of faith” (literally, “struggles the good struggle,” 1 Tim. 6:12). The requirements for kingdom citizenship are great, demanding, clearly defined, and allow for no deviation or departure. Luke 16:16 says, “Everyone is forcing his way into [the kingdom],” implying conflict and effort (cf. Acts 14:22).

The kingdom is for those who come to the King in poverty of spirit, mourning over their sin, and hungering and thirsting for His righteousness to replace their own (Matt. 5:3–4, 6). It is for those who want the kingdom at any cost, who will sell all they have to buy that great treasure and that great pearl (Matt. 13:44–46). It is not for those want a cheap and easy way to assure heaven, while continuing to live their own selfish and worldly lives on earth. Jesus only saves those for whom He becomes Lord. Sadly, most people think that heaven can be obtained on much easier terms than those prescribed by Christ.

William Hendriksen comments,

The Kingdom then is not for weaklings, waverers, and compromisers.… It is not for Balaam, the rich young ruler, Pilate and Demas.… It is not won by means of deferred prayers, unfulfilled promises, broken resolutions and hesitant testimonies. It is for strong and sturdy men, like Joseph, Nathan, Elijah, Daniel, Mordecai and Peter … Stephen … and Paul. And let us not forget such valiant women as Ruth, Deborah, Esther and Lydia. (Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1973], p. 490)

As Paul expresses it in Romans 7:14–25, it should be the desire of our hearts as Christians to fulfill every command and requirement of our Lord, even though we know that we will fail. But we also know that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). And the gracious God who saved us because we could not fulfill His law in our own power knows that, even after salvation, we still cannot fulfill His law in our own power. The great difference is that in Christ we not only have a Savior but a burden bearer. He helps us carry all our burdens, including the burden of obedience. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me,” Jesus says, “for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light” (Matt. 11:29–30).

God’s way of salvation is remarkably simple, but it is not easy. We can give nothing or give up nothing that will earn us entrance into the kingdom, but if we long to hold on to forbidden things it can keep us out of the kingdom. That is another reason why few are those who find it.

We can pay nothing for salvation, yet coming to Jesus Christ costs everything we have. “If anyone comes to Me,” Jesus says, “and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross [a willingness even to die if necessary] and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). The Lord goes on to show the seriousness of deciding to follow Christ. “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?… Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?” (vv. 28, 31).

The person who says yes to Christ must say no to the things of the world, because to be in Christ is to rely on His power rather than our own and to be willing to forsake our own way for His. It can cost persecution, ridicule, and tribulation. In His last instructions to His disciples, Jesus several times reminded them of the price they would pay for following Him: “Because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:19–20); “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue” (John 16:2); “Therefore you too now have sorrow” (16:22); and “In the world you have tribulation” (16:33).

When we identify ourselves with Jesus Christ we declare war on the devil, and he declares war on us. The one whom we formerly served now becomes our great enemy, and the ideas and ways we once held dear now become our great temptations and pitfalls.

With the warnings about suffering the Lord also gives promises that our hearts will rejoice (John 16:22b) and that we are to take courage because He has overcome the world (16:33b). But He promises to enable us to prevail over those times of suffering, not to escape them.

Two Destinations

Both the broad and the narrow ways point to the good life, to salvation, heaven, God, the kingdom, and blessing—but only the narrow way actually leads to those. There is nothing here to indicate that the broad way is marked “Hell.” The point our Lord is making is that it is marked “Heaven” but does not lead there. That is the great lie of all the false religions of human achievement. The two very different destinations of the two ways are made clear by the Lord (cf. Jer. 21:8). The broad … leads to destruction, whereas only the narrow … leads to life. Every religion except Christianity, the only religion of divine accomplishment, follows the same spiritual way and leads to the same spiritual end, to hell. There are many of those roads, and most of them are attractive, appealing, and crowded with travelers. But not a single one leads where it promises; and not a single one fails to lead where Jesus says it leads—to destruction.

Apōleia (destruction) does not refer to extinction or annihilation, but to total ruin and loss (cf. Matt. 3:12; 18:8; 25:41, 46; 2 Thess. 1:9; Jude 6–7). It is not the complete loss of being, but the complete loss of well-being. It is the destination of all religions except the way of Jesus Christ, and it is the destiny of all those who follow any way but His. It is the destination and destiny of perdition, hell, and everlasting torment. “The way of the wicked will perish” (Ps. 1:6).

But God’s way, the way that is narrow, leads to eternal life, to everlasting heavenly fellowship with God, His angels, and His people. Everlasting life is a quality of life, the life of God in the soul of man (see Ps. 17:15). “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2–3).

Two Groups

Going into the two gates, traveling down the two ways, and heading for the two destinations we find two groups of people. Those who go in through the wide gate and travel the way that is broad toward the destination of destruction are many. The many will include pagans and nominal Christians, atheists and religionists, theists and humanists, Jews and Gentiles—every person from whatever age, background, persuasion, and circumstance who has not come to saving obedience to Jesus Christ.

In the day of judgment many will claim to be followers of Christ, but “many will seek to enter and will not be able,” Jesus warns. “Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers” (Luke 13:24–27). “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:22–23). Those particular ones who are excluded will not be atheists or rank pagans, but nominal Christians who professed to know and trust Christ but who refused to come to Him on His terms—through His gate and by His way.

The group that goes through the narrow gate and travels the narrow way and is destined for life is few in number. When Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, little flock” (Luke 12:32), the word He used for “little” was mikros, from which we get our prefix micro, meaning something small. “Many are called, but few are chosen,” He says in another place (Matt. 22:14).

Believers are not few in number because the gate is too narrow or too small to accommodate more. There is no limit to the number who could go through that gate, if they go through in God’s way, in repentance for their sins and in trust in Jesus Christ to save them. Nor is the number few because heavenly space is limited. God’s grace is boundless, and heaven’s dwellings are limitless. Nor is the number few because God desires that most people perish. He earnestly desires “for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).

A letter written to a Melbourne, Australia, daily newspaper expresses clearly the attitude of a person on the broad road to destruction.

After hearing Dr. Billy Graham on the air, viewing him on television and reading reports and letters concerning him and his mission, I am heartily sick of the type of religion that insists my soul (and everyone else’s) needs saving—whatever that means. I have never felt that I was lost. Nor do I feel that I daily wallow in the mire of sin, although repetitive preaching insists that I do.

Give me a practical religion that teaches gentleness and tolerance, that acknowledges no barriers of color or creed, that remembers the aged and teaches children of goodness and not sin.

If in order to save my soul I must accept such a philosophy as I have recently heard preached, I prefer to remain forever damned.

Every person who will come to Jesus Christ can come to Jesus Christ. “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out,” Jesus assures us. “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:37, 40).[1]

The Need for Decision

Matthew 7:13–14

The Golden Rule is the concluding verse of the major part of the Sermon on the Mount, for all the verses that follow it are but a long, although significant, postscript. Like Matthew 5:48, the verse that concludes the first chapter of the Sermon, the Golden Rule aptly summarizes all that has gone before it and then lifts the eyes of the reader to Jesus Christ who is the only possible source of such goodness. From this point on Jesus turns to a series of warnings designed to keep his listeners from falling by the wayside through unbelief, apathy, deceit, hypocrisy, or discouragement.

Christ’s Warnings

That does not mean, of course, that the verses that follow are unimportant. Because, although they are largely in the nature of a postscript, for some persons—perhaps yourself—they could be the most important verses of all. For instance, we may imagine a man who has agreed with the bulk of this teaching but who thinks he can put it into practice merely by exerting a little more effort while continuing in the same general direction in which he is going. To such a man these verses are a reminder that the Christian life must begin with an about-face and that it cannot be carried on without a personal commitment to the Lord Jesus. Another man finds himself thinking that religion is a good thing, and he determines to go on listening to other teachers. Jesus warns that there are many false prophets who have gone out into the world, and that religion from these sources will not save him. In the same way he warns against settling for an outward profession of Christianity without experiencing a change of heart, and he cautions that the only valid religious life must be built upon himself as the only firm and, therefore, adequate foundation. Obviously, these warnings apply to many who are grappling with the claims of the gospel in the twentieth century.

We must see, however, that these concluding thoughts also had a particular poignancy for those who listened to this Sermon for the first time, those who heard the Sermon in Galilee presumably during the earliest months of Jesus’ ministry.

We must remember here that Jesus was speaking of ultimate things to those who as yet had no knowledge of his coming death and resurrection. Those events, on which salvation through faith depended, were yet years away, while in between there would be days in which the polarity of the Galilean ministry would give way to insults, trials, scorn, and danger. What was to happen to his hearers during the intervening years? Was the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount to become for them only a beautiful dream buried somewhere in their memories of the past? Was it to be enshrined as something very lovely but totally impractical? Or, on the contrary, would it challenge them to keep on? Certainly, Jesus was calling for the latter. He was telling his hearers, “Keep on. Do not fall by the wayside. If you do keep on, one day you will see the gate clearly, and you will pass through to life everlasting.”

The Narrow Way

If all this is true—that is, if these verses (Matt. 7:13–27) are primarily a warning to those of Christ’s time to keep on until his death and resurrection brought his ministry to completion—then it is also clear how we must understand the first of these four warnings.

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:13–14). What does this mean? In this context the verses can mean only that there is a broad way of life leading to a broad gate which in turn leads to destruction, upon which all men naturally are traveling. And there is a narrow way leading to a narrow gate, which is Jesus Christ and which leads to eternal life, upon which some of his hearers may be about to be traveling. Therefore, Jesus is saying, “Keep on the narrow way until you pass through me to salvation.”

We must understand this idea clearly if we are to avoid the most common and most dangerous misinterpretation of these verses. If we are to assume that Christ’s hearers are Christians at this point (which, of course, they could not be but which many persons have easily assumed), then this verse is really a warning to keep on working at the Christian life in order that one does not lose his salvation eventually. In this case, of course, the verse would contradict the doctrine of eternal security of the believer which is everywhere apparent in Scripture. Unfortunately, some Bible teachers have taught that this is true, and others have implied it by stressing in this context that the Christian life is a narrow life and that only he who perseveres to the end shall be saved.

The warning does not mean that. On the contrary, it means that if you are an unbeliever who has been exposed to the gospel, you must not stop short of salvation by imagining that you can simply continue along the same path you are following. If you are not on the way to Christ, you are on the way from him. Thus, you will either come finally to a perfect salvation by the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ or to the lake of fire without him. That is the heart of Christ’s warning.

“I Am the Way”

Another truth also lies at the heart of his warning, the truth that salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ only. What is the gate? What is the way that leads to life? The answer is: the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9). He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). These verses throw only proper light upon our text. For they show that Jesus was speaking of faith in himself when he told the Galileans, “Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” The way to heaven is as narrow as Jesus.

When I was in college I was taught that one of the things a student should never do when writing a paper was to make a value judgment. Since my college days I have come to doubt the wisdom and correctness of that axiom. But I accepted it then. For I was taught that you could describe the subject matter, you could contrast it with something else, you could dissect it; but you could not say that the thing itself was either good or bad—inherently worse or better than something else.

The same idea that was present in the classroom then, today pervades our entire American culture. The result is that for most people nothing is to be received as absolute truth, and nothing is inherently better than anything else. Right here Christianity takes issue. Christianity is unique in claiming to have absolute truth, since it presents Jesus Christ as the sole way to God. Jesus’ words about himself, as in the texts I have mentioned, are unqualified; and this means that if Jesus is right, as he is, then there are no other ways to God for men to follow.

Let me make this point clearly. First, it means that no man will be able to come to God through nature. That is a popular thought among many people who are dissatisfied with the Christian churches. But the idea that God can be found in nature is an illusion and leads to idolatry.

Several years ago, after I had spoken on this subject in my church, a woman came up to me and told me of her experiences working with Campus Crusade for Christ in California. She said that she had worked on the beaches with surfers. In many cases she was told by the surfers that they worshiped God in nature. She soon learned to ask, however, “What is God?” And often she was told, “My surfboard is my God,” or something similar to it. Well, the statement may be honest. But the view is pure paganism, and it is nothing but a delusion to think that this attitude has anything to do with the worship of God Almighty, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. A man is deluding himself if he thinks that he is worshiping God in nature as he plays golf on Sunday mornings or goes for a drive in the country. If you are doing this, you are not worshiping God in nature. You are either not worshiping at all (which is probably most often the case) or you are worshiping nature, and nature is not God. That belief is pantheism.

Let me ask this: Do you know what the revelation of God in nature is for? The Bible says that it is to condemn men for failing to recognize God. Romans 1:20 says that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all men, for “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” No man has ever come to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ through nature.

In the same way, men cannot find God in mere pious thoughts or religion. That is, they will not find God in the mere performance of certain religious duties, whether this is the following of the fourfold or sevenfold path to Nirvana, whether it is a life of meditation, whether it is the religion of “speed,” LSD, or heroin, or even whether it is the ceremonial aspects of Christianity. God has written a No over all human efforts to be religious in order that he might write a Yes over all who abandon religion and turn to him in Christ. Religion is the seeking after a god in your own image. Christianity is God’s seeking you and moving to redeem you by the death of his Son, the Lord Jesus.

Neither can men find God through morality, either by attempting to live up to God’s standard or by attempting to live up to their own. Men fell short of all standards. The first three chapters of Romans are written to show that no man will find God in any way but through Christ, and the man with high moral standards is included along with the rest. Paul describes three different types of persons—the pagan man, the moral man, the religious man—but he concludes with a word of condemnation against all human goodness. “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Rom. 3:10–12). Our natural ways will not lead us to the Father.

And yet, there is a way. The way is Jesus. You and I have sinned, in little ways or in big ways (it does not matter which), and sin keeps us from God. Unless sin is removed we shall never get into God’s heaven. In fact, God will not even let us get close to it. On the other hand, even if we ourselves bear a just punishment for sin, we cannot get to heaven either. For the punishment of sin is to be separated from God. What is the solution? The solution is that God provided Jesus Christ as a substitute for us, that he died, not for his own sin (because he did not have any), but for your sin and mine. God will not punish the same sin twice. Consequently, if you will believe that Jesus died for you, if you will acknowledge him as your substitute, then God will remove your sin forever, and it will be correct to say that you have passed over the narrow way through the narrow gate into salvation.

Do not make the mistake of counting upon your moral record as a way of coming to God. It is your record that gets you into trouble in the first place. Your record will condemn you, no matter how good you think you are or how good you appear in other men’s eyes. Count on the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for your sin, that he did what no other person could do. Accept the fact that he by his death provided the way for simple, sinful people like you and me to enter heaven.

Thou art the Way: to Thee alone

From sin and death we flee;

And he who would the Father seek

Must seek Him, Lord, by Thee.

Thou art the Truth: Thy Word alone

True wisdom can impart;

Thou only canst inform the mind,

And purify the heart.

Thou art the life: the rending tomb

Proclaims Thy conquering arm,

And those who put their trust in Thee

Nor death nor hell shall harm.

Thou art the Way, the Truth, the Life:

Grant us that Way to know,

That Truth to keep, that Life to win,

Whose joys eternal flow.

A Need for Decision

We need to see one more great truth from this passage. Jesus said, “Enter in at the narrow gate,” or, as the parallel saying in Luke’s Gospel puts it, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24). Clearly it is not enough merely to listen to preaching about this gate or to study its architecture. It is not enough to praise it. It is not enough to stand by it. It must be entered. That means that everyone who comes under the preaching of the gospel must make a personal decision to enter into Christ.

The idea that a decision is necessary in order to become a Christian is strange to many people today chiefly because they imagine that they already are Christians. Some think they have inherited Christianity from their parents, who may or may not actually have been believers. Some think they are Christians simply because they have been born in a so-called Christian country. Others consider themselves Christians because they are not Jews, Mohammedans, or “pagans.” But none of these assumptions is adequate. No one is automatically a Christian. You cannot be neutral, for Jesus teaches that you are either on the broad way or on the narrow way. You cannot just drift into Christianity. The true gate is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard. If you are to become a believer, you must make a decision. No one else can settle the matter for you.

That always has been the case. Moses told the people of his day: “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.… Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deut. 30:15, 19). Joshua spoke to the people, saying, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Josh. 24:15). Jeremiah wrote on behalf of Jehovah: “Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death’ ” (Jer. 21:8). Peter declared, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). That is what God calls you to do.

What is the state of your heart? Perhaps you are one who has responded to many of these studies on the Sermon on the Mount, saying, “Yes, all those things are true.” But they have never become true for you personally. If so, Jesus is warning you against that stance, for he is saying that that is not good enough. He is saying that there must come a point in your life at which he becomes your Savior. John Stott, minister of All Souls Church in London, is one who knows this, for he writes, “I remember how puzzled, even indignant, I was when it was first suggested to me that I needed to appropriate Christ and His salvation for myself. Thank God, I came to see that, though an acknowledgement that I need a Savior was good, and a belief that Christ was the Savior of the world was better, best of all was a personal acceptance of Him as my Savior.”

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” But he must be the way for you. He said, “I am the door.” But you must enter it.[2]

The Narrow Way (7:14)

The conjunction ‘for’ joins the argument of 7:13b to the opening command; this second argument makes the connection by using the very language of the command: ‘How narrow [stenē] is the gate [hē pylē]’ (7:14a) (cf. ‘the narrow gate [tēs stenēs pylēs]’ [7:13a]). As in 7:13b, Jesus’ imagery is drawn from real life. This narrow gate was apparently ‘a small, doorlike gate set within or beside the large city gate in order that known citizens might be allowed into the closed city at night and in times of danger.’ And on mountainous terrain, as opposed to flat country, confined is the road one must travel. Both the adjective stenē and the adjectival participle tethlimmenē (‘confined,’ from the verb thlibō, ‘press’) appear in the predicate position, like their counterparts in 7:13b and for the same purpose. Indeed, the whole structure of 7:14 very closely parallels that of 13b.

Entering through the narrow gate onto the constricted path illustrates the positive response to the exposition of 5:17–7:12. Persons embark on this journey knowing how demanding these laws are, and how radical is the obedience Jesus requires of his followers—knowing, in other words, how narrow are the spaces they occupy. As with the ‘many’ of Matthew 7:13b, the response of the ‘few’ to Jesus’ law reveals their attitude to his euangelion. The gospel too requires entry through a narrow gate: trusting (despite all appearances to the contrary) that God’s kingdom has drawn near; submitting to his rule (rather than to my own); and repenting of sin. But the gospel itself is pure promise and pure grace: believing that promise, experiencing that grace, and loving the Messiah who announces and embodies them both, motivates persons to obey his commands. Having chosen this narrow path of fidelity to the law, one discovers precisely here, within the law’s strictures, his true liberty and his surest protection from manifold evil. Moreover, the Lawgiver himself accompanies those who travel this road, offering them his own example of fidelity to his teaching, and enabling them to keep his commands.

While the broad road leads to destruction, this confined (tethlimmenē) road beset with difficulty (thlipsis) leads ‘to life’ (eis tēn zōēn). This is the joyous discovery for those who persevere: hoi heuriskontes (‘who find’) autēn (‘it,’ namely ‘life’). The Father promises (i) that he will give the kingdom to those who ask him for it (Matt. 7:7a) and who obey his will (6:10); (ii) that those who seek the kingdom, together with the holiness essential for it (6:33) will surely find it (7:7b; heuriskō, the verb of 7:14); and (iii) that he will open the door of his house to faithful believers who knock and ask for entry (7:7c) both now (at the kingdom’s inaugural) and then (at its consummation).

While many (polloi) take the broad path to destruction, there are few (oligoi) who find life. So a question arises, the very one later put to Jesus: ‘Lord, will those who are saved be few [oligoi]?’ (Luke 13:23, esv). Very reminiscent of Matthew 7:13 is his reply (7:24): ‘Strive to enter [eiselthein] through the narrow door [dia tēs stenēs thyras]; for [hoti] many [polloi], I tell you, will seek to enter [eiselthein] but will not be able.’ Although Jesus speaks of the ‘many,’ he does not directly answer the question: theoretically, there could be as many to enter through that door as not. Here, as in 7:13, the burden of the text lies in the opening command: let every listener squarely face the most crucial question of all—the way of his salvation—and allow nothing, including curiosity about the relative number of the saved, to divert his attention from it. Still, the straightforward declarations of 7:13b–14 remain; and they are most naturally interpreted to embrace the entire history of mankind (not just Jesus’ generation), and to mean that the persons who perish will outnumber those who enter into life. Yet the fact also remains that during that history a huge number of people will enter through that narrow gate, so that in the end the redeemed will prove to be a ‘great multitude [ochlos polys] that no one could number’ (Rev. 7:9).[3]

7:13–14 / In one sense the Golden Rule represents the high point of the sermon. The four paragraphs that follow contrast the two ways (vv. 13–14), the two kinds of fruit (vv. 15–20), the two kinds of followers (vv. 21–23), and the two kinds of builders (vv. 24–27). In each case there is a sharp distinction drawn between true discipleship and mere religious activity. Jesus brings his sermon to a close with a clear call for action.

The idea of two ways is found throughout secular literature. Hesiod (the ancient Greek poet) warns that the way of wickedness is “smooth and near to hand,” whereas the path to virtue is “long and steep and rough to begin with” (Work and Days). Jeremiah represents Jewish thought when he records God’s message, “See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death” (21:8; see also Deut. 30:19; Didache 1.1).

Matthew’s use of the figure is a bit ambiguous in that it combines both gates and roads. Does one enter through a gate onto a road (v. 13), or does a road lead ultimately to a gate (v. 14)? Most writers hold that Matthew has conflated two sayings, one referring to a door or gate (cf. Luke 13:24) and the other to two ways. However that may be, the essential idea is relatively clear. One way is broad and easy. It is the way of self-centeredness, and the majority travel that road. The other way is narrow and hard to find. Only a few travel the road of personal commitment and discipline. One road leads to destruction and the other to eternal life. The saying is primarily eschatological, although it speaks as well of life here and now. It describes two ways to live: two ways that separate and lead to two distinct destinies. The choice is clear: follow the crowd with its characteristic bent toward taking the path of least resistance, or join the few who accept the limiting demands of loyalty. The easy way will turn out hard (it ends in destruction), whereas the hard way will lead to eternal joy (life).[4]

13, 14. Enter by the narrow gate; for wide (is) the gate and broad the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For narrow (is) the gate and constricted the way that leads to life, and few are those who find it.

It should be noted that Jesus has already, by way of implication, pictured entrance into his kingdom as being both inviting and difficult, that is, as attended by circumstances both favorable and unfavorable. Favorable, for those who enter are signally blessed. They are the possessors of the kingdom they have entered, are comforted, inherit the earth, shall be fully satisfied, etc. Unfavorable, in the sense that they will be persecuted, insulted, and slandered; and that they are burdened with heavy obligations; for example, they must practice a righteousness that excels that of the scribes and Pharisees; must love even their enemies and pray for their persecutors; must not be hypercritical but must nevertheless be discriminating, etc. Such things are “unfavorable” in the sense that they clash with men’s natural tendencies.

It is clear, therefore, that our Lord does not follow the method that is used by certain self-styled revivalists, who speak as if “getting saved” is one of the easiest things in the world. Jesus, on the contrary, pictures entrance into the kingdom as being, on the one hand, most desirable; yet, on the other, not at all easy. The entrance-gate is narrow. It must be “found.” And the road with which it is linked is “constricted.” J. M. Gibson’s remark is to the point, “[Christ’s] appeal is made in such a way as shall commend it, not to the thoughtless, selfish crowd, but to those whose hearts have been drawn and whose consciences have been touched by his presentation of the blessedness they may expect and the righteousness expected of them.” Is it not true that the really great evangelists—think of Whitefield, Spurgeon, and their worthy present day followers—stressed and are stressing this same truth? Was this not also the lesson that Joshua was trying to teach the Israelites (Josh. 24:14–28; see especially verses 14–16; 19)? Cf. Acts 14:22.

The passage speaks of a. two gates and two ways, b. two kinds of travelers, and c. two destinations.

First, then, the two gates and the two ways. It is clear from the description that these—gate and way—should be combined: narrow gate and constricted way, wide gate and broad or roomy way. Which is first, the way or the gate? Does a person enter the gate in order to be admitted to the way, or does he follow the way in order to reach and go through the gate? If it be true that Jesus, in mentioning the gate, was thinking of what happens when a person dies or at the second coming, then obviously the way precedes the gate. This presentation has become rather popular; for example, on the basis of Scripture we speak of entering Jerusalem the Golden through its pearly gates (cf. Rev. 21:21; 22:14). In this connection one might also refer to Luke 13:23–30, where entrance through the narrow “door” brings one into “the kingdom of God” in its final or eschatological phase.

On the other hand, however, Matt. 7:13, 14 in each case mentions first the gate, then the way. The question is legitimate, therefore, “Which is first, the way or the gate?

Among the commentators who have struggled with this question—some apparently have not, for they ignore it—the following positions have been taken:

  1. “Possibly Christ’s precept was simply, ‘enter through the narrow gate,’ all the rest being gloss.”

Objection: The available manuscript evidence does not warrant such a radical excision.

  1. “Each of the two ways leads up to and passes through a gate.” According to this view the way is first. So R. V. G. Tasker. So also J. Jeremias, who appeals to Luke 13:23 f., which he regards as a parallel, and which, as he sees it, “makes it plain that the image of the gates has an eschatological character.” He, accordingly, views the sequence a. gate and b. way as “a popular hysteron-proteron” (later-earlier), that is, a figure of speech in which the real order is reversed, like “thunder and lightning.”

Objection. The context, and to a certain extent even the wording, of Luke 13:23 f., is so different from what is found in Matt. 7:13, 14 that it is questionable whether the problem can be solved by this appeal. Moreover, calling the figure used by Jesus in the Matthew passage a hysteron-proteron is begging the question.

  1. Gate and way mean substantially the same thing, namely, the obedience demanded by Christ. Viewed as a unit this obedience can be called a gate; considered in its multiplicity, a way. Therefore one should not even ask, “Which is first, the gate or the way?”

Comment. Inasfar as this solution stresses the very close relation between “gate” and “way” I agree with it, for the text is clear on this. Nevertheless, the text says “gate and way,” not “gate or way,” and this not once but twice. Unless this is hendiadys (gateway?), it would seem best to distinguish, however slightly, between the two.

  1. “The gate is first. It is followed by the way.… In these verses Jesus is not thinking of death but of the choice that must be made right now, and exhorts us to choose, since only by making a conscious choice does one arrive on the right way.”

Comment. If a selection should have to be made between theories 1, 2, and 3, I would, without hesitancy, select 3. Nevertheless, I personally prefer the very closely related 4 as being the most natural. The gate is mentioned first, then the way. Also, is it not true that in nearly every case a “gate” admits to a “way,” be it a highway or a byway, a street, avenue, boulevard, or path? A gate admitting to nothing is rare indeed. On the other hand, a “way” or “road” does not necessarily lead to a gate. The order “gate” followed by “way” is therefore very natural and makes good sense, especially in view of what is probably the intended meaning: right initial choice (conversion) followed by sanctification; or else, wrong initial choice followed by gradual hardening.

The one gate is called “narrow.” It has, not unjustly I believe, been compared to a turnstile that admits one person at a time. In the New Testament the word narrow, with reference to a gate, occurs only in Matt. 7:13, 14. In Luke 13:24 the same adjective is used with reference to an eschatological “door.” Cf. Matt. 25:10.

In order to enter by the narrow gate one must strip himself of many things, such as a consuming desire for earthly goods, the unforgiving spirit, selfishness, and especially self-righteousness. The narrow gate is therefore the gate of self-denial and obedience. On the other hand, “the wide gate” can be entered with bag and baggage. The old sinful nature—all it contains and all its accessories—can easily march right through. It is the gate of self-indulgence. So wide is that gate that an enormous, clamorous multitude can enter all at once, and there will be plenty room to spare. The “gate,” then, indicates the choice a person makes here in this life, whether good or bad.

The “way” to which the narrow gate admits is “constricted,” or, as we might say today, “It is so confining.” The path on which the believer is traveling resembles a difficult pass between two cliffs. It is hemmed in from both sides. So also even in the case of the person who has already spiritually entered through the narrow gate, whatever still remains of the old nature rebels against laying aside evil propensities and habits. This old nature is not completely conquered until the moment of death. So, a bitter struggle develops. Read about it in Rom. 7:14–25. But total victory is assured, for the narrow gate has been found and entered, and the way of sinners has been exchanged for the way of the righteous (see Ps. 1); that is, a conscious choice has been made, a good decision. Basic conversion, in turn, has become daily conversion or, if one prefers, sanctification. On the other hand, the “way” to which the wide gate admits is broad and roomy. One might call it Broadway. The signs along this wide avenue read, “Welcome to each of you and to all your friends, the more the merrier. Travel as you wish and as ‘fast’ as you wish. There are no restrictions.” However, “The way of the wicked shall perish.”

The contrast is clearly between “the way of life” and “the way of death.” The first way was constructed according to the specifications of the Supreme Architect (Heb. 11:10). The building directions are found in his holy law. The other “way” was built by the devil. His followers travel on it.

Secondly, the two kinds of travelers. Those who have chosen the wide gate and the spacious way are called “many”; those who have entered the narrow gate and are traveling on the constricted way are called “few.” This corresponds with Matt. 22:14, “Many are called, few chosen,” and with such “remnant” passages as Rom. 9:27; 11:5; etc. Nevertheless, the entire company of the chosen ones are spoken of as an innumerable host (Rev. 7:9).

From what has been said on the preceding pages the erroneous conclusion must not be drawn that the tremendous crowds streaming through the wide gate and now traveling on Broadway are free and happy; while, on the other hand, those individuals who have found the narrow gate and are now proceeding on the constricted way are to be pitied. Actually this “freedom” and “happiness” of the majority is of a very superficial nature. “Everyone who is living in sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). He is as truly chained as is the prisoner with the iron band around his leg, the band that is fastened to a chain which is cemented into the wall of a dungeon. Every sin he commits draws tighter that chain, until at last it crushes him completely. Since the wicked have no inner peace (Isa. 48:22), how can they be truly happy?

On the other hand, “Great peace have they that love thy law” (Ps. 119:165; cf. Isa. 26:3; 43:2). Though, as has been pointed out, entering by the narrow gate and walking on the constricted way implies self-denial, difficulty and struggle, pain and hardship, this is especially true because the sinful nature has not yet been completely conquered. For “the new man” (the regenerated nature) there is joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8; cf. Rom. 7:22; Phil. 2:17; 3:1; 4:4; etc.). The “few” who have entered through the narrow gate are “afflicted but not crushed, perplexed but not despairing” (2 Cor. 4:8 f.), “sorrowful yet always rejoicing, poor yet making many rich, having nothing yet possessing all things” (2 Cor. 6:10). And in addition to the treasures which they possess even now, they know that riches greater by far await them, for “Our light and momentary affliction is producing for us an everlasting weight of glory, far beyond all measure and proportion” (2 Cor. 4:17; cf. Rom. 8:18).

Thirdly, the two destinations. Those who have entered through the wide gate and are now walking upon Broadway are headed for destruction, that is, not for annihilation but for everlasting perdition (Dan. 12:2; Matt. 3:12; 18:8; 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43; Luke 3:17; 2 Thess. 1:9; Jude 6, 7; Rev. 14:9–11; 19:3; 20:10). On the contrary, “The way of the cross leads home.” It is the way of self-denial that “leads to life” in its full, eschatological sense: a. fellowship with God in Christ, first in heaven, subsequently in the new heaven and earth; plus b. all the blessings resulting from such fellowship. For a fuller description examine such passages as Ps. 16:11; 17:15; 23:6; 73:23–26; John 14:2, 3; 17:3, 24; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18; 4:6; Phil. 4:7, 9; 1 Peter 1:4, 8, 9; Rev. 7:15–17; 15:2–4; 20:4, 6; 21:1–7; etc.

A twofold reason is given for the exhortation “Enter by the narrow gate.” A “twofold” reason rather than two separate reasons, for basic to the entire argument of verses 13 and 14 is this unifying thought: men should choose the gate and the way that lead to life, that is, the narrow gate and constricted way, not the gate and the way that end in destruction, that is, not the wide gate and broad way. Constantly bearing this in mind note the two subordinate arguments: a. It is natural to prefer what is wide and broad, easy of access, to what is narrow and constricted; and b. It is also natural to follow the crowd rather than the few. Beware!

The exhortation is an earnest plea, a very tender invitation issuing from the most loving heart of all. It is substantially the same as that found in 4:17, “Be converted, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It will be repeated in the words of 11:28–30, of John 7:37; and of 2 Cor. 5:20, to mention but a few passages. It was anticipated or foreshadowed in Isa. 1:18; 55:1, 6, 7; Ezek. 33:11; Hos. 11:8; etc., and is climaxed in Rev. 22:17b. And the wooing heart from which it proceeds was laid bare in Matt. 23:37, on the cross, really throughout Christ’s earthly sojourn, and even before (2 Cor. 8:9; cf. John 1:14). That heart is beating still![5]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 1, pp. 449–458). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2002). The Sermon on the Mount: an expositional commentary (pp. 247–252). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Chamblin, J. K. (2010). Matthew: A Mentor Commentary (pp. 472–474). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[4] Mounce, R. H. (2011). Matthew (p. 67). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 366–371). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.