Daily Archives: April 20, 2020

April 20th The D. L. Moody Year Book

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.—Philippians 4:13.

TAKE Christ for your strength, dear soul. He’ll give you power. Power to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil; power to crucify every besetting sin, passion, lust; power to shout in triumph over every trouble and temptation of your life, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”[1]


[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 77). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

April—20 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that thou wouldst hide me in the grave, that thou wouldst keep me secret, until thy wrath be past; that thou wouldst appoint me a set time, and remember me.—Job 14:12, 13.

My soul! thou hast been viewing and reviewing some of the blessed things connected with the glorious doctrine of thy Redeemer’s resurrection, for several nights and mornings past; but is there is one more, in which that heavenly truth demands attention, and which thou hast not even glanced at. Sit down and ponder what will be the joy, the gratulations, the unspeakable rapture which will result from the meeting of thyself! I mean thou and thy body meeting together, after the long separation made by the grave, and all the humbling circumstances of this flesh of thine having seen corruption. Figure to thyself what an interview that will be of soul and body! In this life, my soul may truly say to the body, Oh! how exceedingly burdened am I, day by day, from a union too dear to be parted from but with pain; and yet too opposed, in all my pursuits and desires, to what I am longing after in spiritual attainments, to wish always to continue! I know, that whilst I am now at home in the body, I am absent from the Lord; and still, so much am I allied to thee, so dear art thou, that when the prospect of separation appears, though I know it is but for a season, nature shrinks back and recoils! There must be the clammy sweat of death, and whatever it be, or in whatever it consist, there must be a separation of soul and body. Therefore, like the apostle, “though in this tabernacle I groan, being burdened,” yet it is “not to be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” Pause, my soul, and receive comfort from the divine portion of the evening. Job comforted himself with it, and why should not you? Though death separate soul and body, yet it is only to devour that corrupt part of the body which is now so afflictive to the soul. The Lord will appoint “a set time,” and remember. “He will call, and thou shalt answer him. He will have a desire to the work of his hands.” Moreover, thy body, corrupt as it now is, and virtually all sin, yet hath Jesus as much made it his purchase, as the soul. And when the set time arrives, by virtue of his resurrection, thy body shall arise, and thou shalt be among the first, when Jesus gives the word, to descend, and meet thyself in the body, then no longer disposed to interrupt thy purer joys, but as much alive as thou art to the everlasting service, love, and praise of God and the Lamb. Hail, thou glorious Restorer of all things! In thy light shall I see light; and “when thou, who art my life, shall appear, then shall I appear with thee in glory.”[1]


[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 118–119). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

April 20, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

The Church That Christ Builds


“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. (16:18–20)

Throughout history, philosophers have speculated on the reason for man’s existence, the purpose and meaning of human life. Many ancient Greeks believed that life is cyclical, continually repeating itself in endless circles, going nowhere with no purpose. To many modern thinkers, life is just as pointless and futile. In his inaugural address as president of Cambridge University, Dr. G. N. Clark said, “There is no secret and no plan in history to be discovered.” The French novelist and critic André Maurois wrote, “The universe is indifferent. Who created it? Why are we here on this puny mud heap spinning in infinite space? I have not the slightest idea, and I am quite convinced that no one has.” Jean-Paul Sartré, the famous existentialist philosopher, maintained that man exists in a watertight compartment as an utterly isolated individual in the midst of a purposeless universe.

The French molecular biologist Jacques Monod declared that man’s existence is due to the chance collision between minuscule particles of nucleic acid and proteins in a vast “prebiotic soup.” According to such cynical views, man is alone in the vast universe, out of which he accidentally emerged by chance. Francis Schaeffer observed that, according to such thinking, “man is the product of the impersonal plus time plus chance.” Although many of its advocates would deny it, humanistic, evolutionary philosophy must inevitably conclude that there is no real difference between a man and a tree, and that therefore killing a man is no different than chopping down a tree.

In illustration of this point one needs merely to read the ideas of Peter Singer, present patriarch of the equal rights for animals movement, who believes that farmers who raise animals for food should be jailed. He writes: “We should reject the doctrine that places the lives of members of our own species [humans] above the lives of members of other species [animals]. Some members of other species are persons; some members of our own species are not.… Killing say a chimpanzee is worse than the killing of a gravely defective human who is not a person.” Singer identifies nonpersons as the retarded and handicapped (Practical Ethics [Cambridge: Cambridge U., 1979], pp. 97, 73).

In light of such shallow, hopeless, and increasingly popular views of mankind, it is no wonder that many young people demand total license in their life-styles and willingly become entrapped in the seductive webs of drugs, sexual promiscuity, perversion, meaningless violence, and lawlessness. If men are only animals and there is no meaning or purpose to life beyond mere existing, then nothing is wrong and everything is permissible.

When men see no ultimate and eternal reason for their existence and no accountability to God, they see no reason for anything else, including law, morality, or religion. Their only motive for self-restraint is fear of criticism by their peers or of being caught and punished by civil authorities. Their ultimate standard is hedonism, the desire to get everything out of life you can, while you can and in whatever way you can.

The Bible, however, makes clear that there is divine and eternal value and meaning to human life and that God revealed His high purpose to men. Despite men’s spiritual darkness caused by the Fall, “that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Rom. 1:19–20). In the same letter Paul declares that “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever” (11:36).

The universe was created by God, and man was made in God’s image in order to glorify Himself. All things were made by Him and for Him, Paul declared (Col. 1:16). That is the reason for human existence. And if the ultimate purpose of mankind is to glorify God, it should not seem strange that God is collecting for Himself a redeemed assembly of people who will forever be the praise of His glory (see Eph. 1:6; 3:21). That is the theme of redemptive history. Because He is a worthy God and deserving of glory, the Lord has made men who are able to give Him glory and who will reflect eternally the majesty and splendor of His glorious being. From out of the rebels who now populate the world, God is calling a redeemed church that will forever be privileged to render Him glory (see Rev. 4:6–11; 5:9–14). To be a part of that is to fulfill man’s reason for existence.

As both the Maker and Redeemer of mankind, Jesus Christ is the supreme and sovereign architect of history. All the other notables of history, whether righteous and godly or wicked and rebellious, are no more than players in the great drama that Christ has written and now directs. As someone has said, history is “His story.”

The background of Jesus’ teaching in the present passage, however, was not cynical Greek or Roman philosophy but the God-given Jewish religion that had been humanly perverted. Jesus was speaking to those who from their earliest years had been taught to anticipate the coming of the Lord’s Anointed—the Messiah, the Christ. But their expectations, though partly scriptural, were distorted by the traditional interpretations of the rabbis and scribes over the previous several centuries. They knew the Messiah would bring righteousness and truth, but they also believed that He would militarily conquer and destroy their oppressors and usher in a kingdom of everlasting peace and prosperity for God’s chosen people.

As the disciples walked with Jesus through the outskirts of Caesarea Philippi (see Matt. 16:13), they knew they were in a type of self-imposed exile. The Jewish leaders were becoming more and more adamant in their opposition to Jesus and the multitudes were becoming more and more skeptical and disillusioned.

The disciples shared much of that disillusionment, because they, too, wondered why, if Jesus were truly the Messiah, He refused to overthrow Rome and establish His own earthly kingdom. Despite Jesus’ obvious supernatural powers and His claims of divine authority, He was less influential and respected among the people now than when He first began His ministry. And instead of being the conquering King’s vice-regents, the Twelve were still a nondescript band of nobodies who were beginning to share Jesus’ rejection.

A short while later, Jesus would paint an even darker picture for them as He “began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed” (v. 21). That the Messiah should be rejected by His own people was unbelievable enough; that He should be executed by them, or by anyone else, was incomprehensible. The bad news became still worse when Jesus declared that every true disciple of His must “deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (v. 24).

But before revealing those heartrending truths, He assured the Twelve that His program was on schedule, that He was indeed in control, and that they had every reason to continue their unreserved trust in Him. What they saw on the surface did not reflect the reality of what God was doing. Just as the Lord sought to bolster the confidence of His people in Egypt while He was preparing to deliver them, and just as He has continued to bolster the confidence of believers in every age while they are enduring trials and hardships on His behalf, He now sought to convince the Twelve that they had no reason to doubt or despair. The Lord here gives a message of great hope to the maligned, beleaguered, rejected, persecuted, and ignoble people of God in every age. In the end there is glorious purpose and victory, because they belong to the indomitable and eternal church that Jesus Christ Himself is building.

In Matthew 16:18–20 Jesus points up at least seven features and characteristics of the church that He builds. He speaks of its foundation, its certainty, its intimacy, its identity and continuity, its invincibility, its authority, and its spirituality.

First, Jesus set forth the foundation of the Church: And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.

For more than fifteen hundred years the Roman Catholic church has maintained that this passage teaches the church was built on the person of Peter, who became the first pope and bishop of Rome and from whom the Catholic papacy has since descended. Because of this supposed divinely ordained apostolic succession, the pope is considered to be the supreme and authoritative representative of Christ on earth. When a pope speaks ex cathedra, that is, in his official capacity as head of the church, he is said to speak with divine authority equal to that of God in Scripture.

Such an interpretation, however, is presumptuous and unbiblical, because the rest of the New Testament makes abundantly clear that Christ alone is the foundation and only head of His church.

Peter is from petros, a masculine form of the Greek word for small stone, whereas rock is from petra, a different form of the same basic word, referring to a rocky mountain or peak. Perhaps the most popular interpretation is therefore that Jesus was comparing Peter, a small stone, to the great mountainous rock on which He would build His church. The antecedent of rock is taken to be Peter’s divinely inspired confession of Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (vv. 16–17).

That interpretation is faithful to the Greek text and has much to commend it, but it seems more likely that, in light of other New Testament passages, that was not Jesus’ point. In his letter to Ephesus Paul says that God’s household is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone” (Eph. 2:20). In all four gospel accounts Peter is clearly the leading apostle, and he remains so through Acts 10. He was most often the Twelve’s spokesman during Jesus’ earthly ministry (see, e.g., Matt. 15:15; 19:27; John 6:68), and he was the chief preacher, leader, and worker of miracles in the early years of the church (see, e.g., Acts 1:15–22; 2:14–40; 3:4–6, 12–26; 5:3–10, 15, 29).

It therefore seems that in the present passage Jesus addressed Peter as representative of the Twelve. In light of that interpretation, the use of the two different forms of the Greek for rock would be explained by the masculine petros being used of Peter as an individual man and petra being used of him as the representative of the larger group.

It was not on the apostles themselves, much less on Peter as an individual, that Christ built His church, but on the apostles as His uniquely appointed, endowed, and inspired teachers of the gospel. The early church did not give homage to the apostles as persons, or to their office or titles, but to their doctrine, “continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42). When the Jews outside the Temple were astonished at the healing of the crippled man, Peter quickly warned them not to credit him with the miracle, saying, “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?” (Acts 3:12). Although it was he alone who commanded the man to walk (v. 6), Peter replied to the crowd in John’s behalf as well as his own.

Because they participated with the apostles in proclaiming the authoritative gospel of Jesus Christ, the prophets of the early church were also part of the church’s foundation (Eph. 2:20). In fact, as Martin Luther observed, “All who agree with the confession of Peter [in Matt. 16:16] are Peters themselves setting a sure foundation.” The Lord is still building His church with “living stones, … built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5).

Therefore, whether one interprets Matthew 16:18 as referring to Peter as a small stone placed on the mountainous stone of his confession of Christ or as referring to his being one with the rest of the Twelve in his confession, the basic truth is the same: The foundation of the church is the revelation of God given through His apostles, and the Lord of the church is the cornerstone of that foundation. Because it is His Word that the apostles taught and that the faithful church has always taught, Jesus Christ Himself is the true foundation, the living Word to whom the written Word bears witness (John 5:39). And “No man,” Paul says-not even an apostle—“can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). The Lord builds the church on the truth of Himself, and because His people are inseparable from Him they are inseparable from His truth. And because the apostles were endowed with His truth in a unique way, by their preaching of that truth they were the foundation of His church in a unique way.

That the Lord did not establish His church on the supremacy of Peter and his supposed papal successors was made clear a short while after Peter’s great confession. When the disciples asked Jesus who was greatest in the kingdom of heaven, He replied by placing a small child before them and saying, “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:1–4). Had the Twelve understood Jesus’ teaching about the rock and the keys of the kingdom (Matt. 16:18–19) as referring exclusively to Peter, they would hardly have asked who was greatest in the kingdom. Or, had they forgotten or misunderstood Jesus’ previous teaching, He would have answered by naming Peter as the greatest and probably would also have chided them for not remembering or believing what He had already taught (cf. Matt. 14:31; 26:24; John 14:9).

A short while after that, the mother of James and John asked Jesus to give her sons the chief places of honor in His kingdom, one on His left and the other on His right (Matt. 20:20–21). We learn from Mark 10:35–37 that James and John were themselves directly involved in the request, one they would never have made had they understood Peter to have been given primacy as Christ’s successor. Or, as with the previous incident, had James and John misunderstood His teaching about the foundation rock of the church and the keys of the kingdom, Jesus would have taken the occasion to restate and underscore Peter’s supremacy.

Although Peter recognized himself as an apostle (see, e.g., 1 Pet. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:1), he never claimed a superior title, rank, or privilege over the other apostles. He even referred to himself as a “fellow elder” (1 Pet. 5:1) and as “a bond-servant” of Christ (2 Pet. 1:1). Far from claiming honor and homage for himself, he soberly warns his fellow elders to guard against lording it over those under their pastoral care (1 Pet. 5:3). The only glory he claimed for himself was that which is shared by all believers and which is yet “to be revealed, … when the Chief Shepherd appears” (vv. 1, 4).

Second, Jesus pointed up the certainty of the church, declaring, “I will build My church.” As Peter had just confessed, Jesus is the Son of God; and God cannot lie or be mistaken. Therefore, because Jesus said, “I will build My church,” it will be built. It is the divine promise of the divine Savior.

In using the future tense, Jesus was not saying, as some contend, that He had not built His church in the past. The idea is that He would continue to build His church just as He had always done. As will be discussed below, church is used here in a general, nontechnical sense and does not indicate the distinct body of believers that first came into existence at Pentecost.

Jesus was not emphasizing the time of His building but its certainty. No matter how liberal, fanatical, ritualistic, apathetic, or apostate its outward adherents may be, and no matter how decadent the rest of the world may become, Christ will build His church. Therefore, no matter how oppressive and hopeless their outward circumstances may appear from a human perspective, God’s people belong to a cause that cannot fail.

Several years ago a man traveled across the United States interviewing pastors in a number of large evangelical churches. He concluded that wherever there is great growth there is a corresponding great desire on the part of the church leadership to build the church. Perhaps the man misinterpreted some of the responses given to him, or perhaps the pastors did not express their objectives in the best of terms. In any case, however, no Leader in Christ’s church should have the desire to build it himself. Christ declared that He alone builds the church, and no matter how well intentioned he may be, anyone else who attempts to build it is competing with, not serving, the Lord.

I once visited a church at which the pastor pointed to a certain man and said, “He is one of my converts.” “That’s wonderful,” I replied. “When did he come to the Lord?” “I didn’t say he was the Lord’s convert,” the pastor explained. “I said he was one of mine.”

By human reason, persuasiveness, and diligence it is possible to win converts to an organization, a cause, a personality, and to many other things. But it is totally impossible to win a convert to the spiritual church of Jesus Christ apart from the sovereign God’s own Word and Spirit. Human effort can produce only human results. God alone can produce divine results.

When he studies and is obedient to the Word, and when he walks in the Spirit and produces the fruit of the Spirit, a believer can be sure he is living where Christ is building His church. It is not faithful believers who build Christ’s church, but Christ who builds His church through faithful believers. Wherever His people are committed to His kingdom and His righteousness the Lord builds His church. If believers in one place become cold or disobedient, Christ does not stop building but simply starts work somewhere else. His true church is always “under construction.”

Jesus said, “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me” (John 6:37). At Pentecost, Peter declared that from among both Jews and Gentiles, Christ builds into His church “as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself” (Acts 2:39). It was not the apostles but the Lord Himself who “was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (v. 47; cf. 11:24). When the Gentiles of Pisidian Antioch heard the preaching of Paul and Barnabas, “they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region” (Acts 13:48–49). That preaching, true and faithful as it was, was not capable by itself of winning converts to Christ. Only those whom He had sovereignly chosen for salvation and who believed the truth of His Word were saved.

The New Testament is replete with commands and guidelines for believers’ attitudes and conduct. It gives direction for selecting godly men and women to serve in the church. It gives abundant instruction for righteous living, for prayer, and for acceptable worship. Many of the Lord’s blessings are contingent on His people’s obedience and trust. But the most sincere and diligent efforts to fulfill those commands and standards are useless apart from Christ’s own divine provision and control. He desires and He uses the faithful work of those who belong to Him; but only He builds His church, the church that He loves and for whom He “gave Himself up, … that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:25–27). Men are able to build human, earthly, physical organizations, but they cannot build the eternal, spiritual church.

Third, Jesus alluded to the intimacy of the fellowship of believers. “It is My church,” He said. As Architect, Builder, Owner, and Lord of His church, Jesus Christ assures His followers that they are His personal possession and eternally have His divine love and care. They are His Body, “purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28), and are one with Him in a marvelous, holy intimacy. “The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Cor. 6:17). Christ is not ashamed to call them “brethren” (Heb. 2:11) and “God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Heb. 11:16). That is why when men attack God’s people they attack God Himself. When Jesus confronted Paul (then known as Saul) on the Damascus road, He asked, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4). By persecuting Christians (see 8:3; 9:1–2) Saul had been persecuting Christ.

God has always identified Himself with His people and jealously guarded them as His own. He several times referred to His chosen people Israel as the apple, or pupil, of His eye. Through the prophet Zechariah He declared to them, “He who touches you, touches the apple of His eye” (Zech. 2:8; cf. Deut. 32:10; Ps. 17:8; Prov. 7:2). The front part of the eye, the cornea, is the most sensitive exposed part of the human body. God was therefore saying that to harm Israel was to poke a finger in His own eye. To harm God’s people is to harm God Himself, and to cause them pain is to cause Him pain.

Fourth, Jesus emphasized the identity and continuity of His people. They are His church. The word ekklēsia (church) literally means “the called out ones” and was used as a general and nontechnical term for any officially assembled group of people. It was often used of civic gatherings such as town meetings, where important announcements were made and community issues were debated. That is the sense in which Stephen used ekklēsia in Acts 7:38 to refer to “the congregation” of Israel called out by Moses in the wilderness (cf. Ex. 19:17). Luke used it of a riotous mob (“assembly”) incited by the Ephesian silversmiths against Paul (Acts 19:32, 41).

Matthew 16:18 contains the first use of ekklēsia in the New Testament, and Jesus here gives it no qualifying explanation. Therefore the apostles could not have understood it in any way but its most common and general sense. The epistles use the term in a more distinct and specialized way and give instructions for its proper functioning and for its leadership. But at Caesarea Philippi, Jesus’ use of ekklēsia could only have carried the idea of “assembly,” “community,” or “congregation.” If He spoke in Aramaic, as is probable, He would have used the term qāhāl (taken directly from the Hebrew), which means an invited gathering, and was commonly used of synagogue meetings. In fact, the word synagogue itself originally referred to any gathering or congregation of people. Only during the Babylonian exile did Jews begin using it to denote their formal and organized place of religious activity and worship. And only after the Day of Pentecost did the term ekklēsia take on a new and technical significance in reference to the distinct redeemed community built on the work of Christ by the Holy Spirit’s coming.

In describing the inhabitants of heaven, the writer of Hebrews speaks of “the general assembly and church of the first-born” (Heb. 12:23), referring to the redeemed saints of all ages. That seems to be the sense in which Christ uses church in Matthew 16:18, as a synonym for citizens of His eternal kingdom, to which He refers in the following verse. The Lord does not build His kingdom apart from His church or His church apart from His kingdom.

Fifth, Jesus spoke of the invincibility of the church, which the gates of Hades shall not overpower.

The gates of Hades has often been interpreted as representing the evil forces of Satan attacking the church of Jesus Christ. But gates are not instruments of warfare. Their purpose is not to conquer but to protect those behind them from being conquered, or, in the case of a prison, to keep them from escaping. And Hades, which corresponds to the Hebrew sheol, refers here to the abode of the dead, not to eternal hell.

When the terms gates and Hades are properly understood, it becomes clear that Jesus was declaring that death has no power to hold God’s redeemed people captive. Its gates are not strong enough to overpower (katischuō, to have mastery over) and keep imprisoned the church of God, whose Lord has conquered sin and death on her behalf (Rom. 8:2; cf. Acts 2:24). Because “death no longer is master over Him” (Rom. 6:9), it is no longer master over those who belong to Him. “Because I live,” Jesus said, “you shall live also” (John 14:19). Satan now has the power of death, and he continually uses that power in his futile attempt to destroy Christ’s church. But Christ’s ultimate victory over Satan’s power of death is so certain that the writer of Hebrews speaks of it in the past tense: “Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14; cf. Rev. 1:18).

It is that great truth of which Peter spoke at Pentecost, declaring that “God raised [Christ] up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power” (Acts 2:24). It is the truth about which Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers who were wavering in their belief in the resurrection. He declared, “Death is swallowed up in victory,” and then asked, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:54–57).

In light of what He was about to teach them concerning His own death and resurrection and their own willingness to deny themselves and take up their crosses and follow Him (Matt. 16:21–24), Jesus now assured the Twelve, and all believers who would ever come to Him, that the gates of Hades, the chains of death itself, could never permanently overpower them and hold them captive.

Sixth, Jesus spoke about the authority of the church. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” He said; “and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The Lord was still addressing Peter as representative of the Twelve, telling him that whatever you shall bind, that is, forbid, on earth shall be bound in heaven and that whatever you shall loose, that is, permit, on earth shall be loosed in heaven. He told Peter and the Twelve, and by extension all other believers, that they had the astounding authority to declare what is divinely forbidden or permitted on earth!

Shortly after His resurrection Jesus told the disciples, “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained” (John 20:23). In giving instruction for church discipline to all His people, Jesus said that, if a sinning believer refuses to turn from his sin after being counselled privately and even after being rebuked by the entire congregation, the church not only is permitted but obligated to treat the unrepentant member “as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer” (Matt. 18:15–17). He then said to the church as a whole what He earlier had said to Peter and to the other apostles: “Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (v. 18). In other words, a duly constituted body of believers has the right to tell an unrepentant brother that he is out of line with God’s Word and has no right to fellowship with God’s people.

Christians have such authority because they have the truth of God’s authoritative Word by which to judge. The source of the church’s authority is not in itself, anymore than the source of the apostles’ authority was in themselves or even in their office, exalted as it was. Christians can authoritatively declare what is acceptable to God or forbidden by Him because they have His Word. Christians do not determine what is right or wrong, forgiven or unforgiven. Rather, on the basis of God’s own Word, they recognize and proclaim what God has already determined to be right or wrong, forgiven or unforgiven. When they judge on the basis of God’s Word, they can be certain their judgment corresponds with the judgment of heaven.

If a person declares himself to be an atheist, or to be anything other than a believer in and lover of the Lord Jesus Christ, Christians can say to that person with absolute certainty, “You are under God’s judgment and condemned to hell,” because that is what Scripture teaches. If, on the other hand, a person testifies that he has trusted Christ as his saving Lord, Christians can say to him with equal certainty, “If what you say is true, then your sins are forgiven, you are a child of God, and your eternal destiny is heaven.” The authority of the church lies in the fact that it has heaven’s word on everything “pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Pet. 1:3). When believers are in agreement with God’s Word, God is in agreement with them. Believers can declare a person’s spiritual state with divinely granted authority by comparing that person to the Word of God.

Finally, Jesus reminds the disciples that His church is a spiritual reality, as He warned them that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. Most Jews, including the disciples, expected the Messiah to come as a conquering King, as a military and political leader to set them free from Rome, not as a Savior to set them free from sin. The people’s expectations were so warped and selfishly misguided that to tell them that Jesus was the Christ would be to cast pearls before swine (see Matt. 7:6).

Jesus declared to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (John 18:36). When Christians mix their faith with politics and various humanitarian causes, they run the risk of losing their spiritual focus and their spiritual power. Although human government is divinely ordained by God (Rom. 13:1–7; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13), the state is no more to be an instrument of the church’s program than the church is to be an instrument of the state’s.

Like the kingdom of God, the church is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God” (Rom. 14:17–18).

This great teaching of our Lord only introduces the subject of the church, which from Acts on dominates the rest of the New Testament.[1]

18 And I tell you …: Bernhard Weiss (Das Matthäus-Evangelium [Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1898]) sees a contrast between Jesus and his Father, as if Jesus were saying, “Just as the Father revealed something to you and thereby honored you, so now I do the same.” But the formula is common enough in places without such a contrast, and this may be an unwarranted refinement. The words simply point to what is coming.

that you are Peter …: The underlying Aramaic kêpāʾ, (“Cephas” in Jn 1:42; 1 Co 15:5; Gal 1:18; et al.) was an accepted name in Jesus’ day (see comments at 4:18). Though Ben F. Meyer (pp. 186–87) insists that Jesus gave the name “Cephas” to Simon at this point, Jesus merely made a pun on the name (4:18; 10:2; Mk 3:16; Jn 1:42). Yet Meyer is right to draw attention to the “rock” motifs on which the name Cephas is based (pp. 85–86, 194–95), motifs related to the netherworld and the temple (and so connoting images of “gates of Hades” and “church”; see below). The Greek Kēphas (Eng. “Cephas”) transliterates the Aramaic, and Petros (“Peter”) is the closest Greek translation. P. Lampe’s argument (“Das Spiel mit dem Petrusnamen—Matt. xvi.18,” NTS 25 [1979]: 227–45) that both kêpāʾ, and petros originally referred to a small “stone,” but not a “rock” (on which something could be built), until Christians extended the term to explain the riddle of Simon’s name, is baseless. True, petros commonly means “stone” in pre-Christian literature, but the Aramaic kêpāʾ, which underlies the Greek, means “(massive) rock” (cf. H. Clavier, “Πέτρος καὶ πέτρα,” Neutestamentliche Studien [ed. W. Eltester; Berlin: Topelmann, 1957], 101–3).

and on this rock …: “Rock” now becomes petra (feminine), and on the basis of the distinction between petros (above) and petra (here), many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church. Peter is a mere “stone,” it is alleged, but Jesus himself is the “rock,” as Peter attests (1 Pe 2:5–8) (so, among others, Lenski, Walvoord). Others adopt some other distinction; e.g., “upon this rock of revealed truth—the truth you have just confessed—I will build my church” (Allen). Yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretation, it is doubtful whether many would have taken “rock” to be anything or anyone other than Peter.

  1. Although it is true that petros and petra can mean “stone” and “rock” respectively in earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry. Moreover, the underlying Aramaic in this case is unquestionable, and most probably kêpāʾ was used in both clauses (“you are kêpāʾ, and on this kêpāʾ”), since the word was used both for a name and for a “rock.” The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language cognate with Aramaic) makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses. The Greek makes the distinction between petros and petra simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the feminine petra could not very well serve as a masculine name. For a full discussion of the linguistic issues, see Chrys C. Caragounis, Peter and the Rock (BZNW 58; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1989), 9–16.
  2. Paronomasia of various kinds is very common in the Bible and should not be belittled (cf. Barry J. Beitzel, “Exodus 3:14 and the Divine Name: A Case of Biblical Paronomasia,” TJ 1 [1980]: 5–20; BDF, para. 488).
  3. Had Matthew wanted to say no more than that Peter was a stone in contrast with Jesus the Rock, the more common word would have been lithos (“stone” of almost any size). Then there would have been no pun—and that is just the point!
  4. The objection that Peter considers Jesus the rock is insubstantial because metaphors are commonly used variously, until they become stereotyped, and sometimes even then. Here Jesus builds his church; in 1 Corinthians 3:10, Paul is “an expert builder.” In 1 Corinthians 3:11, Jesus is the church’s foundation; in Ephesians 2:19–20, the apostles and prophets are the foundation (cf. Rev 21:14), and Jesus is the “cornerstone.” Here Peter has the keys; in Revelation 1:18; 3:7, Jesus has the keys. In John 9:5, Jesus is “the light of the world”; in Matthew 5:14, his disciples are. None of these pairs threatens Jesus’ uniqueness. They simply show how metaphors must be interpreted primarily with reference to their immediate contexts.
  5. In this passage Jesus is the builder of the church, and it would be a strange mixture of metaphors that also sees him within the same clauses as its foundation.

None of this requires that conservative Roman Catholic views be endorsed (for examples of such views, cf. Lagrange, Sabourin). The text says nothing about Peter’s successors, infallibility, or exclusive authority. These late interpretations entail insuperable exegetical and historical problems—e.g., after Peter’s death, his “successor” would have authority over a surviving apostle, John. What the NT does show is that Peter is the first to make this formal confession and that his prominence continues in the earliest years of the church (Ac 1–12). But he, along with John, can be sent by other apostles (Ac 8:14), and he is held accountable for his actions by the Jerusalem church (Ac 11:1–18) and rebuked by Paul (Gal 2:11–14). He is, in short, primus inter pares (“first among equals”), and on the foundation of such men (Eph 2:20), Jesus built his church. That is precisely why Jesus, toward the close of his earthly ministry, spent so much time with them. The honor was not earned but stemmed from divine revelation (v. 17) and Jesus’ building work (v. 18).

I will build my church …: The term ekklēsia (“church,” GK 1711) occurs only here and at 18:17 in the Gospels. Etymologically, it springs from the verb ekkaleō (“call out from”) and refers to those who are “called out”; but usage is far more important than etymology in determining meaning. In the NT, ekklēsia can refer to assemblies of people in a nonreligious setting (Ac 19:39), and once it refers to God’s OT people, the “church” in the desert at the giving of the law (Ac 7:38; cf. Heb 2:12). But in Acts and in the Epistles it usually refers to Christian congregations or to all God’s people redeemed by Christ. Therefore R. Bultmann (“Die Frage nach der Echtheit von Mt 16:17–19,” TBl 20 [1941]: 265–79) argues that the use of ekklēsia in Matthew 16:18; 18:17 cannot be authentic. It refers to a practicing group of Christians, a separate community, or a Christian synagogue in contrast to the Jewish synagogues, and is presided over by Peter.

K. L. Schmidt (TDNT, 3:525) suggests that the Aramaic term behind ekklēsia in Matthew is a late term, kenîštāʾ, which could mean either “the people [of God]” or “a [separate] synagogue.” In fact, the strongest linguistic evidence runs in another direction. Whenever ekklēsia in the LXX is translating Hebrew, the Hebrew word is qāhāl (“assembly,” “meeting,” “gathering,” GK 7736), with reference to various kinds of “assemblies” (cf. THAT, 2:610–19), but increasingly used to refer to God’s people, the assembly of Yahweh.

The Hebrew qāhāl has a broad semantic range and is not always rendered ekklēsia; sometimes in the LXX it is translated “synagogue” or “crowd.” “Synagogue” customarily translates an entirely different Hebrew word (ʿēdâ, “corporate congregation,” GK 6337), which the LXX never translates ekklēsia (on these words, see NIDNTT, 1:292–96). Thus ekklēsia (“church”) is entirely appropriate in Matthew 16:18; 18:17, where there is no emphasis on institution, organization, form of worship, or separate synagogue. Even the idea of “building” a people springs from the OT (Ru 4:11; 2 Sa 7:13–14; 1 Ch 17:12–13; Pss 28:5; 118:22; Jer 1:10; 24:6; 31:4; 33:7; Am 9:11). “Jesus’ announcement of his purpose to build his ekklēsia suggests … that the fellowship established by Jesus stands in direct continuity with the Old Testament Israel” (Ladd, Theology of the New Testament, 110), construed as the faithful remnant with the eyes of faith to come to terms with the new revelation. Acknowledged as Messiah, Jesus responds that he will build his ekklēsia, his people, his church—which is classic messianism. “It is hard to know what kind of thinking, other than confessional presupposition, justifies the tendency of some commentators to dismiss this verse as not authentic. A Messiah without a messianic community would have been unthinkable to any Jew” (Albright and Mann, 195).

Implicitly, then, the verse also embraces a claim to messiahship. The “people of Yahweh” become the people of Messiah (cf. 13:41). If the Qumran community thinks of itself as the “people of the covenant,” Jesus speaks of his followers as his people—his church—who come, in time, to see themselves as people of the new covenant established by Messiah’s blood (26:28).

Jesus’ “church” is not the same as his “kingdom” (contra Hill). The two words belong to different concepts, the one to “people” and the other to “rule” or “reign” (see comments at 13:28–30, 36–43). But neither must they be opposed to each other, as if both cannot occupy the same place in time (contra Walvoord). The messianic reign is calling out the messianic people. The kingdom has been inaugurated; the people are being gathered. So far as the kingdom has been inaugurated in advance of its consummation, so far also is Jesus’ church an outpost in history of the final eschatological community. “The implication is inescapable that, in the establishment of the church, there was to be a manifestation of the kingdom or rule of God” (Stonehouse, Witness of Matthew, 235). When the kingdom is consummated, then Messiah’s “assembly” shall also attain the richest blessings Messiah’s reign can give. Nothing, therefore, can eliminate Messiah’s church or prevent it from reaching that consummation.

and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. On Hades, see NIDNTT, 2:206–8; Str-B, 4:1016–29; comments at 5:22; 11:23. The “gates of Hades” have been taken to represent the strength of Satan and his cohorts (since “gates” can refer to “fortifications,” Ge 22:17; Ps 127:5): the church, because Jesus is building it, cannot be defeated by the hosts of darkness. Other scholars focus not on “gates” but on “Hades” and, turning to Revelation 1:18, think this means that death will not prevent Messiah’s people from rising at the last day. But “gates of Hades” or very similar expressions are found in canonical literature (Job 17:16; 38:17; Pss 9:13; 107:18; Isa 38:10), noncanonical Jewish literature (Wis 16:13; 3 Macc 5:51; Pss. Sol. 16:2), and pagan literature (Homer, Il. 9.312; Od. 11.277; Aeschylus, Ag. 1291; Euripides, Hec. 1), and seem to refer to death and dying. Hence the RSV: “The powers of death shall not prevail against it.” Because the church is the assembly of people Jesus Messiah is building, it cannot die. This claim is ridiculous if Jesus is nothing but an overconfident popular preacher in an unimportant vassal state of first-century Rome. It is the basis of all hope for those who see Jesus as the Messiah who builds his people.[2]

18 The Greek phrasing of this declaration, when compared with that of v. 16, conveys a reciprocity which can be rendered in English only by heavy overtranslation. Simon has declared “You are the Messiah,” to which Jesus now responds “And I in my turn have a declaration for you: You are Peter.” Each “naming” also goes on to mention the father (“Son of the living God;” “son of Jonah”). “Messiah” was a title which implied a functional role (though that has not yet been spelled out); now Jesus gives to Simon a “title,” a nickname, which (like the famous renamings in the OT: Abram/Abraham, Sarai/Sarah, Jacob/Israel) also speaks of his future role, and that role is spelled out in vv. 18–19. While Matthew has used the now familiar name “Peter” to designate Simon throughout his narrative (see on v. 16), he has made it clear that Peter was a second, given name (4:18; 10:2), and now is the time to explain it. This new name, Petros, representing the Aramaic Kēphâ, “stone” or “rock,” is otherwise virtually unknown as a personal name in the ancient world, which makes it the more probable that Jesus chose it for Simon with a view to its literal meaning. He is to be a “Rock.”24 And one important function of a rock, as 7:24–27 has reminded us, is to provide a firm foundation for a building. So on this rock Jesus will build his church, and it will be for ever secure.

This is such a bold image that attempts have been to evade its obvious force. One has been to point out that the feminine noun petra, “rock,” differs from the masculine name Petros. This is obviously true, but of questionable relevance. The masculine noun petros occurs infrequently in classical poetic Greek to mean a stone (i.e. a broken piece of rock), though the distinction from petra is not consistently observed. But petros as a common noun is unlikely to have been familiar to Matthew’s readers, as it is not found in the LXX (except twice in 2 Macc) or in the NT and related literature. In these writings the term for a stone is lithos. The Greek reader would therefore see here a difference in form but not in meaning, since petros was not now (if it ever had been) the current term for a “stone.” If Jesus was speaking in Aramaic, there would be no difference at all, with kēphâ occurring in both places. The reason for the different Greek form is simply that Peter, as a man, needs a masculine name, and so the form Petros has been coined. But the flow of the sentence makes it clear that the word-play is intended to identify Peter as the rock.

A second escape-route, beloved especially of those who wish to refute the claims of the Roman Catholic church based on the primacy of Peter as the first pope, is to assert that the foundation rock is not Peter himself, but the faith in Jesus as Messiah which he has just declared. If that was what Jesus intended, he has chosen his words badly, as the word-play points decisively toward Peter, to whom personally he has just given the name, as the rock and there is nothing in his statement to suggest otherwise. Even more bizarre is the supposition that Jesus, having declared Simon to be Petros, then pointed instead to himself when he said the words “this rock.” This would be consonant with subsequent NT language about Jesus as the foundation-stone (see below), but in regard to this passage it is the exegesis of desperation; if such an abrupt change of subject were intended, it would surely require a “but” rather than an “and,” and could hardly be picked up by the reader without some “stage-direction” (as in 9:6) to indicate the new reference.

All such apologetic rewritings of the passage are in any case beside the point, since there is nothing in this passage about any successors to Peter. It is Simon Peter himself, in his historical role, who is the foundation rock. Any link between the personal role of Peter and the subsequent papacy is a matter of later ecclesiology, not of exegesis of this passage.

When the image of a foundation stone is used in relation to the Christian church elsewhere in the NT, that stone is Jesus himself, not Peter, as in 1 Cor 3:10–11 (where Christ is the foundation, and Paul’s apostolic work merely the superstructure) and 1 Peter 2:4–8 (which, if written by Peter himself, is particularly telling!). But Eph 2:20 expands the metaphor to a corporate foundation of “the apostles and prophets,” with Christ as the cornerstone, and in Rev 21:14 the names of the twelve apostles are inscribed on the twelve foundations of the heavenly city. We shall see in 18:18 how the declaration of Peter’s special authority here in v. 19 will be repeated in the plural with reference to the disciples as a whole. And here, as we have noted, Peter is acting as spokesman for the whole group. Yet it is Peter, not the Twelve, who is declared to be the foundation rock. So how does this corporate apostolic foundation relate to a specific foundational role for Peter alone? Matthew has made it clear in 10:2 that Peter comes “first” among the Twelve. Throughout the gospel he is mentioned far more often than any other disciple, and regularly takes the lead. In the early chapters of Acts it is Peter who leads the disciple group in Jerusalem, and it is he who takes the initiative in the key developments which will constitute the church as a new, international body of the people of God through faith in Jesus: note especially his role in the bringing in of Samaritans (Acts 8:14–25) and Gentiles (Acts 10:1–11:18; 15:7–11). By the time James takes over as president of the Jerusalem church, the foundation has been laid. In principle all the apostles constituted the foundation, with Jesus as the cornerstone, but as a matter of historical fact it was on Peter’s leadership that the earliest phase of the church’s development would depend, and that personal role, fulfilling his name “Rock,” is appropriately celebrated by Jesus’ words here.

The metaphors of (foundation) rock and of building go together, and the latter will be used frequently in the NT for the development of the church, often linked with the idea of a new temple to replace the old one in Jerusalem (e.g. Mark 14:58; 1 Cor 3:9–17; Eph 2:19–22; 1 Peter 2:5); the metaphor of a new temple has already been introduced by Matthew in the reference to “something greater than the temple” in 12:6, and will underlie much of the language about the destruction of the temple in ch 24 and the charge that Jesus planned to destroy and rebuild the temple in 26:61; 27:40. But modern English usage, in which “church” often denotes a physical structure, is liable to obscure the way this metaphor works here. When Jesus speaks of “building his church,” the foundation rock and the verb “build” are the solid images on which the metaphor relies, but the word “church” does not contribute to the physical imagery. The Greek term ekklēsia never denotes a physical structure in the NT, but always a community of people. The new temple is not a building of literal stones, but consists of “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5).

Ekklēsia was a common Greek term for an “assembly” of people (political and social as well as religious), but in a Jewish context it would be particularly heard as echoing its frequent LXX use for the “assembly” of the people of God, which thus denotes the national community of Israel. But now Jesus speaks with extraordinary boldness of “my ekklesia”—the unusual Greek word-order draws particular attention to the “my.” The phrase encapsulates that paradoxical combination of continuity and discontinuity which runs through the NT’s understanding of Jesus and his church in relation to Israel. The word is an OT word, one proudly owned by the people of Israel as defining their identity as God’s people. But the coming of Israel’s Messiah will cause that “assembly” to be reconstituted, and the focus of its identity will not be the nation of Israel, but the Messiah himself: it is his assembly. How much of this theology of fulfillment the disciples could have been expected to grasp there at Caesarea Philippi is debatable, but for Matthew and his readers, as members of the Messiah’s ekklēsia, the phrase would aptly sum up their corporate identity as the new, international people of God.

Much is sometimes made of the fact that Matthew, here and in 18:17, is the only NT gospel-writer to use the term ekklēsia; his is therefore often dubbed “the ecclesiastical gospel.” There may be grounds for such a designation on the basis of the gospel’s contents and tone, but not in these two uses of ekklēsia. In using this familiar LXX term to describe the community which will derive from Jesus’ ministry, Matthew is developing an important typological theme of the continuity of the people of God in Old and New Testaments,30 but it conveys nothing of the formal, hierarchical structures which our word “ecclesiastical” now suggests. Indeed, as E. Schweizer has memorably shown, Matthew is remarkably free of evidence of any such formal structure in the Christian community of his time.

“The gates of Hades” is a metaphor for death, which here contrasts strikingly with the phrase “the living God” in v. 16. In the OT the “gates of death” describes the place to which dead people go (Job 38:17; Ps 9:13; 107:18) and in Isa 38:10 the phrase “the gates of Sheol” is used in the same way (cf. also Job 17:16, “the bars of Sheol”). “Hades” is the NT equivalent of Sheol (see on 11:23), and the same Greek phrase as here is used in this sense in LXX Isa 38:10 as also in Wisd 16:13; Ps. Sol. 16:2; 3 Macc 5:51. The “gates” thus represent the imprisoning power of death: death will not be able to imprison and hold the church of the living God. The metaphor, when seen against its OT background, does not therefore encourage the suggestion of some interpreters that “Hades” represents not death but the demonic powers of the underworld, which are then pictured as making an eschatological assault on the church. Still less does it support the romantic imagery, sometimes derived from the traditional but incorrect translation “gates of hell,” of the church as a victorious army storming the citadel of the devil. The imagery is rather of death being unable to swallow up the new community which Jesus is building. It will never be destroyed.35[3]

Jesus’ Response to Peter and the Disciples (16:17–20)

Jesus first addresses Peter alone: all second person pronouns and verbs in Matthew 16:17–19 are singular. His ensuing command to all the disciples (16:20) confirms that Peter spoke as their representative in verse 16. Verses 17–19 are peculiar to Matthew (16:20 has parallels in Mark 8:30 and Luke 9:21); they speak of Peter’s being granted special authority; and they contain one of the two instances of ekklēsia in the gospels (the other comes in Matt. 18:17). Despite doubts that some have therefore raised about these verses, I believe them to be authentic words of Jesus.

  1. The Father

‘Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” ’ (Matt. 16:17). For the first time in Matthew, Jesus addresses this disciple by name (all prior instances of Simōn and Petros are supplied by the evangelist). Here the name is ‘Simon Bar-Jonah’ (Bariōna); Jesus reserves ‘Peter’ for 16:18. Jesus’ first word to Simon is ‘blessed’—makarios, the adjective that begins each beatitude (5:3–12). Here, as there, makarios signals blessings received from God, not from men (‘flesh and blood’), and blessings presently experienced. In this instance God blesses Simon by revealing to him the truth he declares in 16:16. This text recalls and illustrates 11:25–27, and shows Simon to be one of those little children (11:25). Here, as there, (i) Jesus speaks of God as ‘my Father’ (11:27; 16:17), and as the one who reveals truth (of the four instances of the verb apokalyptō in Matthew, three occur in 11:25, 27; 16:17); and (ii) the subject of the revelation is Jesus, the Father’s only Son (11:25, 27; 16:16). This comparison confirms that 16:16 affirms the deity of Jesus.

  1. The apostle

Jesus continues to address Simon in 16:18–19: ‘And I [kagō] say to you [soi legō] that you are [sy ei] Petros [Petros], and on this rock [petra] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not conquer it. I will give to you [soi] the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind [dēsēs] on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [lysēs] on earth will have been loosed in heaven.’ The emphatic language of the preface—the use of the pronoun egō (‘I,’ here joined to the conjunction kai) together with the verb legō (‘I say’)—expresses the speaker’s great authority; cf. the repeated egō de legō hymin (‘but I say to you’) in 5:21–48. Simon’s strong words to Jesus in 16:16, Sy ei ho Christos, are matched by Jesus’ answering sy el Petros; here too the verb (from eimi) is reinforced by the personal pronoun. Note too that the apokritheis … eipen (‘answered and said’) in verse 16a (of Peter) is duplicated in verse 17a (of Jesus).

The most hotly contested question related to this text is the meaning of ‘this rock’ (Matt. 16:18). Is Jesus referring to: (i) his Father, (ii) himself, (iii) his teaching, (iv) Peter’s confession, or (v) Peter himself? In my judgment, the fifth view is the most likely, for the following reasons: a. The phrase epi tautē tē petra, ‘on this rock,’ is immediately preceded by the words sy ei Petros, a direct and emphatic reference to Peter himself (as noted above). Moreover, the demonstrative pronoun houtos (‘this’)—here as the dative feminine singular tautē—can accentuate an object in the spatial or temporal vicinity of a speaker or in the literary vicinity of a writer. On both counts petra more naturally points to Peter than to the more remote confession of verse 16 or to the far more remote instance of petra in 7:24–25. b. The link between sy ei Petros and epi tautē tē petra is strengthened by a play on words, or paronomasia, a practice long popular among Jewish teachers. In Jesus’ Aramaic speech (represented by Bariōna, 16:17), the connection between petra and Petros would have been yet closer if, as is probable, kēphâ’ stood behind both terms. In John 1:42 (that gospel’s closest parallel to Matt. 16:18a) ‘Jesus looked at him and said, “You are [Sy ei] Simon the son of John; you [sy] shall be called Cephas [Kēphas],” which is translated Peter [Petros].’ Matthew’s Greek makes the appropriate distinction between the masculine Petros (for the man) and the feminine petra (for ‘rock’ or ‘crag’) without losing the play on words—as would happen if the phrase were epi toutō tō lithō, ‘on this stone’ (cf. 1 Peter 2:8, where lithos and petra are parallel), or epi soi (‘on you’).

If there is good reason to believe that Jesus identifies Peter himself as ‘this rock,’ there are also safeguards against using this evidence erroneously. For Jesus is addressing Peter in a particular capacity, namely as one who possesses apostolic authority and bears apostolic witness. Matthew has twice spoken of him as ‘Simon who is called Peter’ (Simōn ho legomenos Petros, 4:18; 10:2). Significantly, in both passages, Peter’s apostolic calling is in view (4:19; 10:1, 5 et seq.), and in both he is the first apostle-designate to be named (before the other three in 4:18–22; before the other eleven in 10:2–4). Here, in 16:18, Jesus confers the name Petros on Simon as a mark of his apostolic calling. It is as apostle-in-training that Peter utters the confession of 16:16; and it is as the confessor that he is termed ‘this rock’ by Jesus the Lord. Moreover, just as Jesus here addresses Peter as representative of the disciples (see comments on v. 15), so in 18:18 he confers on all the disciples the authority promised Peter individually in 16:19. Within the circle of the twelve, Peter is primus inter pares (‘first among equals’).

Having chosen the metaphor of a rock (petra) for Peter himself, Jesus uses that of keys (kleidas) for the apostle’s exercise of authority (Matt. 16:19). The basic intent of this imagery is clear from a later saying of Jesus: he, the risen One, has ‘the key [kleis] of David’; so when he opens no one will shut, and when he shuts no one opens (Rev. 3:7; cf. 1:18; Isa. 22:22). Jesus says Peter will use the keys to ‘bind’ (the verb deō) and to ‘loose’ (the verb lyō). Behind deō stands the Hebrew ‘âsar and the Aramaic asar; and behind lyō, the Hebrew hitîr and the Aramaic šerâ’. In rabbinic usage, ‘to bind’ was ‘to forbid,’ and ‘to loose’ was ‘to permit.’ Since Jesus grants Peter ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven [tēs basileias tōn ouranōn],’ ‘binding’ will mean barring from the kingdom persons who reject the apostolic witness to Jesus, and ‘loosing’ will mean granting entry to those who embrace that witness. (By contrast, Jewish scholars of the day ‘shut [kleiete] the kingdom of heaven to people’ (23:13) by taking away ‘the key [kleida] of knowledge,’ Luke 11:52.)

In Matthew 18:18, Jesus extends the principle to judgments about persons in the church, ‘binding’ being a brother’s excommunication (18:17) and ‘loosing’ his exoneration (18:15; see those comments). Jesus’ words to the disciples in John 20:23 recall both those texts and apply to judgments about persons both within and beyond the church: ‘If you forgive [the verb aphiēmi] the sins of any, their sins are forgiven; if you retain [the verb krateō] the sins of any, their sins are retained.’ Aphiēmi, which can mean ‘let go,’ corresponds to lyō (‘loose’) in Matt. 16:19 and 18:18; krateō, which can mean ‘hold,’ corresponds to deō (‘bind’). The basis for all those judgments is truth revealed by the Father and the Son in the indicatives of the gospel and the imperatives of the law.

  1. The Son

The commanding figure in this passage is not Simon Peter, but Jesus the Messiah—which is to be expected after the confession of 16:16. All four verses (16:17–20) consist of his authoritative utterances, and all four witness to his supremacy.

Verse 17. ‘Blessed are you’—Makarios ei—says Jesus: Peter is ‘blessed’ because Jesus declares him to be; the utterance achieves what it declares. Moreover, in speaking of ‘my Father’ (ho patēr mou), Jesus both underscores the truth of Peter’s confession (‘you are … the Son of the living God’) and identifies himself as the one best qualified to recognize the Father’s disclosures about the Son.

Verse 18. This text testifies in three ways to the sovereignty of the Son: a. Master of the apostle. Here, as at the beginning (Matt. 4:18–22), it is Jesus who governs what Peter is to be and to do. Jesus, not Simon, chooses the names Petros and petra. Peter does not confer apostolic authority upon himself but receives it from Jesus (cf. 10:1–2). b. Master of the church. Jesus says, ‘I will build [oikodomēsō] my church [mou tēn ekklēsian]’ (16:18b). The church belongs to him (mou), not to Peter. And it is not Peter, but Jesus, who will build his church (the verb oikodomeō), drawing people from all nations into it. To that end, he commissions Peter and others to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom universally, a mission that advances and succeeds by virtue of the Son’s universal authority. The term ‘my church’ does not imply there was no OT ekklēsia, but reflects Jesus’ mission to reconstitute the people of God around his own person, as already evident from his choice of twelve apostles (10:2). The verb oikodomēsō is a true future: the commencement of the project awaits the death and resurrection of Jesus, the great commission, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. c. Master of Hades. ‘And the gates of Hades [pylai hadou] will not conquer it [ou katischysousin autēs]’ (Matt. 16:18c). ‘The gates of Hades’ is a synecdoche for hadēs itself. On the one hand, hadēs stands for the evil powers that dwell there—Satan and his demons—just as ekklēsia stands for Jesus and his people. On the other hand, hadēs denotes the realm of the dead: in the OT ‘gates of Sheol’ (MT še’ ōl; LXX hadēs) and ‘gates of death’ (MT mâwet; LXX thanatos) are equivalent expressions. The two concepts are joined in 16:18. In response to the advance of God’s rule (4:17), the infernal powers will assail the church ruthlessly and relentlessly; by their human agents they will oppose and pervert its teachings, and with the aid of death (thanatos) they will persecute and murder its people (cf. 10:16–39; 24:4–14). The intent is to bring the church under Satan’s tyranny and thereby to kill it. But that attempt will fail, says Jesus; those powers will not prevail. The gates of death ‘will never close on the new community so that it is irretrievably extinguished.’49 For Messiah who rules and builds the church will never allow it to be eradicated; the church will still be alive at his return (10:23). Then the Messiah-King, who possesses universal authority (28:18) and thus holds the keys to death and Hades (Rev. 1:18), will consign the devil and his angels to Hell’s eternal fire (Matt. 25:41) and will liberate all his people, including those martyred for their faith, from death’s prison (cf. 10:28).

With respect to Peter, the church and Hades (a.–c.), victory depends on Messiah’s power and perseverance. The NT repeatedly attests to Peter’s sins and failures, and to Jesus’ restorative grace. The church’s ‘living stones’ so readily separate themselves from each other that the edifice would surely collapse were its owner and builder not holding it together. Given its innumerable divisions, the church could never unite against the powers of Hades were it not for its commander-in-chief; and his people would forever remain in thrall to death, were he not to use those keys on their behalf.

Verse 19. Peter uses this other set of keys by authority from Jesus: ‘I will give [dōsō, from didōmi] to you.…’ so ‘whatever you bind on earth will have been bound [estai dedemenon] in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed [estai lelymenon] in heaven.’ Decisions made on earth by Peter, with the other apostles (Matt. 18:18) and their successors, will reveal and ratify the prior decisions of heaven—i.e., of God the Father (16:17) and his exalted Son (28:18). The true apostolic succession consists in the church’s faithful preservation and propagation of the apostolic word, with the rest of the biblical revelation (cf. Acts 2:41–42; 6:2, 4; 2 Tim. 3:15–4:2); this is Messiah’s chosen way of building his church (Matt. 24:14; 28:20). ‘The keys of the kingdom’ are still employed by church leaders who are committed to biblical truth and who—precisely on that basis—make judgments about persons beyond and within the church. The NT offers no support for the ideas that Peter (a married man, 8:14; 1 Cor. 9:5) was the first bishop of Rome, and that the apostolic succession is realized in the history of the papacy.

Verse 20. ‘Then he ordered [diesteilato] the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.’ This statement confirms that Peter spoke on behalf of the other disciples; that all of them are under Jesus’ command (the verb diastellomai); and that the Son who recognized the truth and the source of Peter’s confession (16:16–17) also perceives his and the other apostles’—and the people’s—defective view of Messiahship. The following verses will make plainer why Jesus gave this order, and how he addressed this misunderstanding.[4]

16:18 you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. Matthew highlights a wordplay as Jesus gives Simon the name “Peter” (petros) and references “this rock” (petra). Much attention has focused on whether Jesus promises to build his church upon Peter himself (a Roman Catholic view) or upon Peter’s confession (the typical Protestant perspective). If the confession is in view, it is still the case that there is a certain authority given to Peter in the subsequent words of Jesus (16:19). Alternately, if Peter is “the rock” upon which Jesus’ church will be built, the same authority given to him in 16:19 is broadened at 18:18–19 to include at least the Twelve, and, more likely, the entire church. In all the Gospels, reference to the “church” (ekklēsia) occurs only here and in 18:17 (see comments there).

the gates of Hades will not overcome it. The picture that Jesus draws is of the church having the strength to withstand the power of death. For Hades as the realm of the dead, see comments on 11:23.[5]

Jesus continues: 18. And I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.… The interpretation of this passage varies widely. As I see it, the first three of the following views must be rejected, the fourth one appreciated, the fifth adopted:

  1. The passage is unauthentic. It must have been inserted or interpolated, “eingeschoben” (W. Soltau), at a later time. It was written, perhaps, to enhance the authority of Peter. It is hard to believe that Jesus himself ever spoke these words. Neither Mark nor Luke has them.

Answer. Since the passage is found in the best and earliest manuscripts as well as in those of later date it cannot be dismissed so lightly. Was it not natural for Jesus, with the cross so near, to have made predictions and issued orders concerning the future of the church? As to Mark’s omission of the praise which Jesus bestows upon Peter because of the latter’s confession, it should be borne in mind that Mark was, according to reliable tradition, “Peter’s interpreter,” and that it is reasonable to suppose that Peter, the fiery post-resurrection preacher, who had become a humble man, in telling the story of Jesus downgraded his own contribution to the memorable event described in 16:13–20. So his interpreter, Mark, does the same. And Luke, as so often, follows Mark’s account.

  1. This passage (especially 16:17–19) proves that Peter was the first pope. “The pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven, of earth, and of hell.” He wields “the two swords, the spiritual and the temporal.” “The Catholic Church teaches that our Lord conferred on St. Peter the first place of honor and jurisdiction in the government of his whole church, and that same spiritual authority has always resided in the popes, or bishops of Rome, as being the successors of St. Peter. Consequently, to be true followers of Christ all Christians, both among the clergy and laity, must be in communion with the See of Rome, where Peter rules in the person of his successor.”604

Answer. The passage does not support any such bestowal of well-nigh absolute authority on a mere man or on his successors.

  1. The expression this rock “does not signify the apostle Peter,” since “Jesus had already finished with Peter.”

Answer. Throughout verses 17–19 Jesus is addressing someone whom he indicates by using the second person singular personal pronoun. The phrase “to you” (Greek σοί) occurs once in each of these three verses, in harmony with the pronoun “you” (σύ) in verse 18 (“You are Peter”), and with the use of the second person singular form of the verbs in the statements: “You are blessed” (verse 17), “you are Peter” (verse 18), and “you shall bind … you shall loose” (verse 19). According to verse 17 that person is “Simon Bar-Jonah”; according to verse 18, “Peter.” It is natural to assume that the subject of “you shall bind” and “you shall loose” (verse 19) is still Peter. It is hard to believe, therefore, that when Jesus said, “And upon this rock I will build my church” (verse 18) he “had already finished with Peter.”

  1. Jesus purposely uses two Greek words which, though not identical, are closely related in meaning. What he said was, “You are petros, and upon this petra I will build my church,” meaning, “You are a rock, and upon the rocky ledge (or: cliff) of the Christ, ‘the Son of God the living’ who was revealed to you and whom you confessed, I will build my church.” If Jesus had intended to convey the thought that he was going to build his church on Peter he would have said, “and on you I will build my church.” When it is argued that the Lord spoke these words in Aramaic and that in that language the two words petros and petra were the same, the answer is that we do not know enough about Aramaic to make this assertion. We have the inspired Greek text and we must be guided by that.

Evaluation. The argument sounds rather convincing and, in fact, as I see it, has some merit. Granted that Jesus generally addressed his audiences in Aramaic, it still cannot be proved incontrovertibly that in that language petros and petra were represented by one and the same word. It is also true that in certain contexts petra may differ in meaning from petros. What I like especially about the theory is this, that those who advocate it are deeply concerned about the danger that the man Peter or even his confession, viewed apart from God’s revelation, shall be considered the rock upon which the church is built.

My inability to accept the theory in its entirety is based on the following:

  • On the basis of what is known about Aramaic it must be regarded as very probable that the same word was used in both cases. The question will be asked, “Then why not the same word in Greek?” Answer: for the simple reason that petra, the common word for stone or rock, being feminine, had to be changed to a masculine—hence to petros—to indicate the name of a male person, Peter. As to petros and petra differing in meaning, this is not always true. A very frequent meaning of petra is rock or stone. It does not always mean “rocky ground,” “rocky ledge,” or “rocky cliff.” See the entries petra, petros in L.N.T. (A. and G.), p. 660.
  • Even in Greek, regardless of whether one translates petra as rock or as rocky ledge Jesus is saying, “You are Rock and on THIS rock—or rocky ledge—I will build my church.” The word THIS makes reference to anything else than the immediately preceding petros very unnatural. In the sentence, “You are Margaret [meaning pearl] and on this pearl I am about to bestow a favor,” it would be very difficult to interpret “this pearl” in any other sense than as referring to Margaret, even though the word “pearl” has more meanings than one. It indicates a gem but can also refer to a kind of printer’s type. It would be rather unnatural to conclude that “this pearl” had reference to something that someone had said to Margaret or had shown her, or to something she had just said.
  • The meaning is, You are Peter, that is, Rock, and upon this rock, that is, on you, Peter, I will build my church. Our Lord, speaking Aramaic, probably said, “And I say to you, you are Kepha’, and on this kepha’ I will build my church.” Jesus, then, is promising Peter that he is going to build his church on him! I accept this view.

Having said this, it is necessary to qualify this interpretation as follows. Jesus promises to build his church:

  • Not on Cephas as he was by nature but on him considered as a product of grace. By nature this man was, in a sense, a weakling, very unstable, as has been indicated; see p. 602. By grace he became a most courageous, enthusiastic, and effective witness of the truth which the Father had revealed to him with respect to Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. It was in that sense that Jesus used Peter in building—gathering and strengthening—his church.
  • Not on Cephas considered all by himself, but on Cephas as “first (Matt. 10:2) among equals,” that is, on “Peter taking his stand with the eleven” (Acts 2:14). The authority which in 16:19 is entrusted to Peter is in 18:18 given to The Twelve (see also John 20:23). In fact, in the exercise of this authority the local congregation must not be ignored (18:17).

When the Lord spoke the words recorded here in 16:18, 19 he certainly did not mean that Peter could now begin to “lord it” over the other disciples. The others did not understand it in that way (18:1; 20:20–24), and Jesus definitely rejected any such interpretation (20:25–28; cf. Luke 22:24–30). If Peter himself had conceived of his own authority or that of others as being that of a dictator, how could he have written the beautiful passage 1 Peter 5:3?

  • Not on Cephas as the primary foundation. In the primary or basic sense of the term there is only one foundation, and that foundation is not Peter but Jesus Christ himself (1 Cor. 3:11). But in a secondary sense it is entirely legitimate to speak of the apostles, including Peter, as the church’s foundation, for these men were always pointing away from themselves to Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior. Striking examples of this are found in Acts 3:12 and 4:12. In that secondary sense Scripture itself refers to the apostles as the church’s foundation (Eph. 2:20; Rev. 21:14).

In this connection emphasis should also be placed on the fact that in the passage now under consideration Jesus speaks of himself—not of Peter—as the Builder and Owner of the church. He says, “I will build my church.”

The figure of a building to represent the church is found also in such passages as 1 Cor. 3:9; Eph. 2:21, 22; 1 Peter 2:4, 5. Little by little the building goes up. It increases in strength, beauty, and usefulness, its members being considered “living stones.” In building his church Jesus makes use of Peter and of the other apostles. In fact, he makes use of all the living members of the church to accomplish this purpose.

The expression “my church” refers, of course, to the church universal, here especially to the entire “body of Christ” or “sum-total of all believers” in its New Testament manifestation, wherever it is truly represented on earth (cf. Acts 9:31; 1 Cor. 6:4; 12:28; Eph. 1:22, 3:10, 21; 5:22–33; Col. 1:18; Phil. 3:6). It is a great comfort that Jesus considers this church “his very own.” Did he not come from heaven in order to purchase his church “with his own blood” (Acts 20:28)?

The history of the early church as recorded in the first twelve chapters of the book of Acts abundantly proves that Christ’s prophecy regarding Peter was fulfilled. Or, phrasing it differently, it confirms the given interpretation.

In that large section of Acts the name of Peter occurs more than fifty times. Here it is found everywhere except in chapters 6 and 7, which contain the story of Stephen. Let me stress once again that I am not referring to Peter as he was in himself, nor to that apostle acting all by himself, but to him as Christ’s instrument for the establishment of his church in its New Testament manifestation, and taking his stand as one of The Twelve.

During that very early period (before Paul comes mightily to the fore, in Acts 13–28) Peter was the most powerful and effective human link between Jesus and the church, the most influential means of the latter’s inward and outward growth.

It was Peter who preached the sermon on Pentecost, as a result of which no less than three thousand people were converted (Acts 2:41). It was again through the testimony of Peter and John (3:11; 4:1), chiefly of Peter (3:12), that two thousand were subsequently added to the membership (4:4). Other events in which Peter took a leading part were: the election of Matthias to take the place of Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:15–22), the healing of the lame begger (Acts 3:4–6), and the heroic proclamation of Jesus Christ before the Sanhedrin (4:8–12, 29). See also 5:15; 8:20; and chapters 9 and 10.

It has been pointed out earlier that in every listing of The Twelve Peter’s name occurs first of all.

Besides, according to reliable tradition, was not Mark “Peter’s interpreter”? And was not Mark’s Gospel, in turn, one of the main sources used by Matthew and Luke in writing their Gospels?

Add Peter’s epistles, in which he so beautifully sets forth the meaning of Christ’s life and death (see especially 1 Peter 2:21–25). Christ’s prophecy was fulfilled in the labors of Peter. The One whom Peter describes as “the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls” (1 Peter 2:25), “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4) had said to this apostle, “Feed my lambs,” “Shepherd my sheep,” “Feed my dear sheep” (John 21:15, 16, 17). That there were also sheep that did not belong to the Jewish fold (John 10:16) was going to be vividly impressed upon Peter (Acts 10:9–16, 34–48; 11:17, 18). Though in the life of this apostle there was a momentary, sad departure from the implications of the great principle “that they all may be one” (John 17:21), there is every reason to believe that Peter took Paul’s reprimand to heart (see N.T.C. on Gal. 2:11–21). He labored on faithfully until at last the Lord delivered him—according to John 21:18, 19 and early tradition (I Clement, chap. 5) by means of martyrdom—from this earthly scene and bestowed upon him the promised inheritance (1 Peter 1:4). Christ’s prophecy, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” had been amply fulfilled by means of his witness-bearing.

Continued: and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. For the argument showing that in the Gospels “Hades” means “hell” see on 11:23, 24. Besides, those who favor the meaning “the realm of the dead” experience great difficulty in their attempt to show in what sense the gates of that realm are striving to overpower the church, and are failing in their assault. When Hades is interpreted as indicating “hell” the assurance given here by the Lord can be readily understood. “Gates of hell,” by metonymy represents Satan and his legions as it were storming out of hell’s gates in order to attack and destroy the church. What we have here is an oft-repeated promise of the victory of Christ’s church over the forces of evil. See John 16:33; Rom. 16:20; Eph. 6:10–13; Rev. 12:13–16; 17:14; 20:7–10.

Misuse is often made of this passage, as if Jesus meant, “Do not be concerned about the doctrinal purity of the denomination or congregation to which you belong. Have I not promised to see to it that the gates of hell shall never prevail against the church?” As if Jesus promised that this or that particular denomination or local congregation would never lose its doctrinal purity! The real meaning of “church” as here used has already been indicated. Jesus promised that he would always cause his people to triumph over the devil and his army. This promise is given not to lukewarm Laodiceans but to “Christian soldiers.” In the midst of the battle their consolation is:

Crowns and thrones may perish,

Kingdoms rise and wane,

But the Church of Jesus

Constant will remain;

Gates of hell can never

‘Gainst that Church prevail;

We have Christ’s own promise,

And that cannot fail.

—Sabine Baring-Gould[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 3, pp. 25–34). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, pp. 418–421). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew (pp. 620–625). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.

[4] Chamblin, J. K. (2010). Matthew: A Mentor Commentary (pp. 818–827). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[5] Brown, J. K. (2015). Matthew. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 186). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 645–650). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

April 20 Streams in the Desert

Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6)

MY way led up a hill, and right at the foot I saw a boy on a bicycle. He was pedalling up hill against the wind, and evidently found it a tremendously hard work. Just as he was working most strenuously and doing his best painfully, there came a trolley car going in the same direction—up the hill.

It was not going too fast for the boy to get behind it, and with one hand to lay hold of the bar at the back. Then you know what happened. He went up that hill like a bird. Then it flashed upon me:

“Why, I am like that boy on the bicycle in my weariness and weakness. I am pedalling up hill against all kinds of opposition, and am almost worn out with the task. But here at hand is a great available power, the strength of the Lord Jesus.

“I have only to get in touch with Him and to maintain communication with Him, though it may be only one little finger of faith, and that will be enough to make His power mine for the doing of this bit of service that just now seems too much for me.” And I was helped to dismiss my weariness and to realize this truth.—The Life of Fuller Purpose.


Utterly abandoned to the Holy Ghost!

Seeking all His fulness at whatever cost;

Cutting all the shore-lines, launching in the deep

Of His mighty power—strong to save and keep.

Utterly abandoned to the Holy Ghost!

Oh! the sinking, sinking, until self is lost!

Until the emptied vessel lies broken at His feet;

Waiting till His filling shall make the work complete.

Utterly abandoned to the will of God;

Seeking for no other path than my Master trod;

Leaving ease and pleasure, making Him my choice,

Waiting for His guidance, listening for His voice.

Utterly abandoned! no will of my own;

For time and for eternity, His, and His alone;

All my plans and purposes lost in His sweet will,

Having nothing, yet in Him all things possessing still.

Utterly abandoned! ’tis so sweet to be

Captive in His bonds of love, yet so wondrous free;

Free from sin’s entanglements, free from doubt and fear,

Free from every worry, burden, grief or care.

Utterly abandoned! oh, the rest is sweet,

As I tarry, waiting, at His blessed feet;

Waiting for the coming of the Guest divine,

Who my inmost being shall perfectly refine.

Lo! He comes and fills me, Holy Spirit sweet!

I, in Him, am satisfied! I, in Him, complete!

And the light within my soul shall nevermore grow dim

While I keep my covenant—abandoned unto Him!

Author Unknown.[1]


[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 122–123). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

World going through ‘paradigm shift’ on oil as panic selling plunges WTI to historic lows – RT’s Max Keiser | RT – Daily news

Overflowing storage and collapsing demand due to Covid-19 lockdowns have driven the US oil futures to historic lows. There are signs the recent high prices may never come back, warns Max Keiser, the host of RT’s Keiser Report.

The US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were in free fall on Monday, dropping below $5 a barrel and headed for the $1 mark as May delivery contracts became worthless compared to June ones.

Between space running out at storage facilities, the supply glut due to an OPEC price war, and the demand shock due to the Covid-19 pandemic, “what you have is a unique opportunity for futures traders to ‘sell-short’ oil contracts with virtual impunity because at the moment the cost of buying and storing oil is actually negative,” Keiser told RT.

One of the reasons for the futures crash is that brokers have been dumping the May contracts to buy June ones, in a situation known as “contango” – where the future price of a commodity is higher than the spot price.

Also on rt.com

US crude prices suffer WORST COLLAPSE EVER with storage facilities running out of space

Keiser notes that this is structurally similar to the 1987 stock market meltdown, when “an already overextended stock market was driven to extreme highs by leveraged futures traders who believed their positions were fully hedged” until the automated systems handling futures trading experienced a fatal system error.

The distortion in oil price will no doubt be sorted out shortly, as May contracts roll into June ones and the underlying structural issues are resolved, Keiser said.

That still leaves oil prices  “at the mercy of the virus” as other market analysts have noted. One major takeaway from this situation is that the US shale oil industry has been exposed as essentially unprofitable.

Shale “had zero chance of ever being profitable because the industry, as structured, is cash flow negative to begin with, with no way of ever becoming cash flow positive,” Keiser told RT. “The entire industry exists purely as a means to create profitable-for-Wall-Street junk bonds.”

Also on rt.com

Dow drops 500 points amid coronavirus concerns & oil price collapse

The crunch created by demand collapse and storage capacity was made worse by a surge in production initiated by Saudi Arabia last month, ostensibly to bring Russia to heel but in effect devastating the US shale producers.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other oil producers agreed last week to slash global output by nearly 10 million barrels a day, starting in May. Keiser said there will likely be further cuts, due to the ongoing lack of demand

I expect we’ll hear the 10 million barrel per day cut will be increased to 20, 30 and beyond until equilibrium is reached.

Also on rt.com

OPEC+ strikes last-minute deal to cut almost 10 mn barrels a day of oil production

Keiser pointed out that Saudi Arabia recently sold part of their state oil company to the public in a bid to transition its economy away from oil, something he says other countries should take note of.

“I think the world is experiencing a paradigm shift away from oil so the historic highs we’ve seen in price might never come back,” Keiser told RT.

Source: World going through ‘paradigm shift’ on oil as panic selling plunges WTI to historic lows – RT’s Max Keiser

For First Time In History, The Price Of US Crude Oil Hits Zero As Coronavirus Plannedemic Continues To Reset And Destroy The Global Economy — Now The End Begins

U.S. crude oil prices dropped more than 100% and turned negative for the first time in history on Monday as traders continue to fret over a slump in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A new day, and a new crisis as the coronavirus plannedemic shames the US crude oil market into oblivion, turning its value to negative for the first time in history. This coming mere months after the United States had just surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer and exporter. Hey, that’s a coincidence, you don’t that that….nah, couldn’t be. Nothing to see here folks, get back into quarantine.

“The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.” Joel 1:10,11 (KJB)

By the time the global lockdown is lifted, and we all run back out into the streets, don’t be surprised what’s waiting for you when you get there, it won’t be pretty. The lockdown will continue until everything it was set up to destroyed is destroyed, and not a moment sooner. The world’s economy runs on two things, crude oil and the American dollar. When the United States magically produced a $2 trillion dollar ‘stimulus’, it lifted the curtain on what a fraud the US dollar actually is. So that killed the dollar. Now we are watching the New World Order strategically dismantle the oil market as well.

At this rate, the only ‘money’ that will have any value will be digital currency. Good thing Microsoft already filed a patent on an implantable device to buy and sell cryptocurrency, isn’t it? Golly gee, another wild coincidence. Now do you see why the Church will not be in any part of the time of Jacob’s trouble? We would give the Antichrist fits, calling all his shots before he makes them, thanks to the infallibility of our dusty, old and archaic King James Bibles. Your KJV, sharper than Damascus steel, is more up-to-date than tomorrow’s newspaper. These are the tools with which we shall wage our warfare. To the fight!

An oil futures contract expiring Tuesday turned negative as demand for crude collapses

FROM CNBC: The price of the nearest oil futures contract, which expires Tuesday, was the hardest hit, detaching from later month futures contracts with a drop of more than 100%.

West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery tanked more than 130% to trade at negative $6.75 per barrel. Meanwhile international benchmark, Brent crude, which has already rolled to the June contract, traded 8% lower at $25.83 per barrel. The June WTI contract, which expires on May 19, fell about 15.7% to trade at $21.1 per barrel. The July contract was roughly 5% lower at $28 per barrel.

The front part of the oil futures ‘curve,’ which is the May contract that expires on Tuesday, was hit the hardest since it applies to fuel that’s set to be delivered while most of the country remains on lockdown thanks to the coronavirus.  The only buyers of oil futures for that contract are entities that want to physically take the delivery like a refinery or an airline. But storage tanks are filled so they don’t need it.

The spread between the May and June contracts — known as the front month and second month — is now the widest in history, according to KKM Financial’s Jeff Kilburg. “This is a phenomenon due to the expiration of the front month contract coupled with the historic plunge in crude,” he said in an email.

“There is still a lot of crude on the water right now that is going to refineries that do not need it,” Helima Croft, global head of commodities strategy at RBC Capital, said Monday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”. “Right now we don’t see any near-term relief for this oil market … we remain really concerned for the outlook on oil near-term,” she added.

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a severe blow to economic activity around the globe and sapped demand for oil. While OPEC and its oil-producing allies finalized a historic agreement earlier this month to cut production by 9.7 million barrels per day beginning May 1, many argue that it still won’t be enough to counter the fall-off in demand.

The International Energy Agency, for instance, warned in its closely-watched monthly report, that demand in April could be 29 million barrels per day lower than a year ago, hitting a level last seen in 1995.

“The real problem of the global supply-demand imbalance has started to really manifest itself in prices,” Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets Bjornar Tonhaugen told CNBC in an email. “As production continues relatively unscathed, storages are filling up by the day.” READ MORE

via For First Time In History, The Price Of US Crude Oil Hits Zero As Coronavirus Plannedemic Continues To Reset And Destroy The Global Economy — Now The End Begins

The Lying Media And The Folly Of Lockdown – With David Stockman by Ron Paul

Article Image
• Ron Paul Liberty Report

Legendary investor and former OMB Director David Stockman joins today’s Liberty Report to take a hard look at the shutdown that has brought the US economy to its knees. Was it really necessary…and how can we ever recover? Don’t miss today’s Liberty Report…

There’s some misinformation quickly spreading about Facebook taking down all content where people are organizing protests against state “orders.”   In reality what Facebook is doing is responding to requests from state officials to remove content the state dictators claim is defiance of their orders.  Facebook is complying with those removal requests.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO – “If someone is spreading something that is misinformation—certainly, someone saying that social distancing is not effective to help limit the spread of coronavirus—we do classify that as harmful misinformation and we take that down.”

“At the same time, it’s important for people to debate policies, basically give their opinions on different things, so there’s a line on this. But more than normal political discourse, I think, a lot of the things people are saying that is false around a health emergency can be classified as harmful misinformation that has a risk of leading to physical danger, and we will take that down.”

The latest effort by authoritarian-minded state governor should not come as a surprise.  These are overwhelmingly blue state (democrat) governors.  It is important to keep in mind the ‘stay-at-home’  and other restrictions on liberty are not laws per se’, they are orders by state governors.  The authoritarian request to block protest organizing on social media is an extension of the state’s ideological perspectives.  Freedom is a tenuous proposition.

All of the various restrictions coming from state governors in response to the COVID-19 do not come from State House and/or State Senate decisions. These are not laws.

The rules restricting liberty, in response to the crisis, have been pronounced without any representative voice supporting them. All of the rules are arbitrary, and many of these rules will be challenged in court.

However, until those court challenges take place, the only option for a redress of grievance comes in the form of public protest. Currently, there is no way for an citizen to appeal to a representative voice against the decrees from a state governor; other than a public protest…. This is a critical point; because non-representative government was the origination of the first great American rebellion against dictates from King George III.

Rebellion against unilateral and authoritarian power is America. Rebellion or push-back against non-representative government is the thread that connects the varying patchworks of our constitutional republic. Protest is so critical to our nation that it is protected within the very first amendment to our constitution.

Blue state governors have united to begin an economic civil war and block any White House effort to re-open the U.S. economy.  Enforcement of these unilateral orders is part of that plan.  The governors must use all censorship tools to retain their totalitarian agenda.

Again, this is all very predictable, during this economic war residents within the Blue occupied territories will be held captive to the political whims of their regional generals.

The economic freedom and liberty zone will encompass the Red region. The center of the country, mid west, southern region (surrounding the Gulf of Mexico) and south eastern Atlantic region. These areas will be open to commerce and economic freedom.

However, the urban dense populations (Blue pockets within Red zones) will push-back against the efforts of the Red generals in an attempt to retain alignment with their Blue team generals. Depending on the strength of the urban forces there may be roadblocks, sabotage, skirmishes and political violence against the freedom & liberty Red team.

Red captives within the Blue zones will have to be smart and strategic. Big Blue tech will be assisting the totalitarian Blue generals. Direct confrontation against the Blue forces should be avoided, and it will likely be a better strategy to fight stealthily as insurgents.

Any Red team member of the economic freedom alliance, trapped within a Blue region, is warned to evaluate their connection to their electronic devices. Your cell phones could be used as portable transponders expose your movement and your political views.

This is going to be one hell of a ideological battle. A Spring and Summer conflict like we’ve never seen in the history of U.S. politics.

via Blue State Governors Demand Facebook Remove Information Organizing Protests Against Their “Orders” – Facebook Complies… — The Last Refuge

April 20 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

April 20.—Morning. [Or August 7.]
“The Lord is a great King above all gods.”

1 Samuel 5:1–4; 6–12

AND the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Eben-ezer unto Ashdod, and they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.

¶ And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. (The true God would not endure that an idol should stand erect in the same temple with his ark, therefore down it must go. The ark was brought into the house as a captive, but immediately became a Conqueror. If the Lord, by his Spirit, comes into the human heart, sin soon falls before him.) And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. (It was a wretched god that needed setting up. If idolatry did not make men foolish, they would see the absurdity of their conduct.)

And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. (The second fall was greater than the first, for the fish-god was broken, and only his scaly tail remained. The head and hands which symbolised wisdom and power were dashed to atoms. Thus does grace in the heart destroy the sovereignty and energy of sin.)

But the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.

7–9 And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god. They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither. And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.

10 ¶ Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.

11, 12 So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven. (This disease was not only extremely painful but was meant to put the Philistines to shame, because they insolently dared to seize the ark of God. How glad they would have been to be rid of their captive, which even in captivity triumphed over them.)

IN the Psalms we have a summary of this part of Israel’s history. Let us read it

Psalm 78:58–66

58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.

59, 60 When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel: so that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men; (Shiloh was abandoned, the ark never returned to it, and the place became such a desolation that not one stone was left upon another. The candlestick was removed out of its place.)

61, 62 And (the Lord), delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy’s hand. He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance.

63 The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage.

64 Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation. (The wife of Phinehas was too much burdened with a heavier sorrow to be able to lament for her husband.)

65, 66 Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach. (Not long shall wickedness triumph. God is evermore victorious.)

April 20.—Evening. [Or August 8.]
“The heathen shall fear the name of the Lord.”

1 Samuel 6:1–10; 12–15; 19–21

AND the ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months.

And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the Lord? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place.

And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you. (Right wisely did they judge that some acknowledgment of their fault must accompany the return of the ark. If men would be forgiven they must in all possible ways make reparation: even heathens feel this.)

4, 5 Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords. Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.

Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed? (It is probable that a plague of mice had devoured their crops while hemorrhoids had afflicted their bodies, they therefore acknowledged Jehovah’s hand in both judgments.)

Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them:

And take the ark of the Lord, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go.

And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Beth-shemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us; it was a chance that happened to us.

10 ¶ And the men did so; and took two milch kine, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home:

12 And the kine took the straight way to the way of Beth-shemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Beth-shemesh. (How wondrously God guided these poor beasts; they went of their own accord away from their calves, lamenting them as they went along, and without a driver they chose the road to the nearest city of the Levites. Who can doubt a special providence in this matter?)

13 And they of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. (Astonished above measure they must have been to see it brought without human hands to them. God would have them see his hand conspicuously revealed.)

14, 15 And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Beth-shemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone: and they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the Lord. And the Levites took down the ark of the Lord, and the coffer that was with it, wherein the jewels of gold were, and put them on the great stone: and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the Lord.

19 ¶ And he smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, and the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter. (God who smote his enemies for their blasphemy, also smites his own people for their presumption. He will be had in reverence of all them that are about him. Let us never trifle with holy things.)

20 And the men of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? and to whom shall he go up from us? (Thus instead of confessing their own sin, they laid the blame at the door of God’s exceeding great holiness, even as bad men nowadays complain of the preciseness of religion.)

21 And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjath-jearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the Lord; come ye down, and fetch it up to you.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 229–230). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

PhD Epidemiologist: Social Distancing and Lockdown Worst Way to Deal with Airborne Respiratory Virus | Health Impact News

Professor Knut Wittkowski.

Comments by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

Today we continue to offer alternative perspectives from other scientists and medical doctors on the COVID-19 virus, and the response to it. As I have previously written, we feel it is important to give a voice to all sides of this current pandemic, especially because so much is being censored from the coporate-sponsored “mainstream” media.

Facebook just announced, for example, that they banning any information regarding protests against the government’s response to COVID-19 that has put millions of people out of work.

This video lecture from Professor Knut Wittkowski has received over 1 million views since it was published earlier this month (April, 2020). He believes that the current approach being implemented to fight the COVID-19 outbreak is “the absolutely worst way to deal with an airborne respiratory virus,” and “that the schools be open now, so that the virus may spread harmlessly among the young, and thus shorten the amount of time the elderly and immune compromised must be sequestered.”

Perspectives on the Pandemic Episode 2: In this explosive second edition of Perspectives on the Pandemic, Professor Knut Wittkowski, for twenty years head of The Rockefeller University’s Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design, says that social distancing and lockdown is the absolutely worst way to deal with an airborne respiratory virus.

Further, he offers data to show that China and South Korea had already reached their peak number of cases when they instituted their containment measures. In other words, nature had already achieved, or nearly achieved, herd immunity.

Watch previous episodes of Perspectives on the Pandemic here:

Episode 1: https://youtu.be/d6MZy-2fcBw
Episode 3: https://youtu.be/VK0Wtjh3HVA
Episode 4: https://youtu.be/cwPqmLoZA4s

Interview highlights:
00:36-Professor Wittkowski explains his recommendations for how to best deal with COVID-19
01:36-Is self-isolation prolonging the duration of COVID-19?
02:33-Are policies of self-isolation or shelter-in-place a good idea?
03:46-The pandemic is over
04:27-Did China lie about its COVID-19 statistics?
05:03-The truth behind the statistics given by the government of the United States
07:52-Are we even reporting flu deaths anymore?
08:16-Why are hospitals being overwhelmed?
09:16-Shortage of medial supplies
10:19-Has social distancing prevented deaths from COVID-19?
11:55-Staying indoors can make the virus worse
16:02-Why social distancing won’t work for an airborne contagion
17:41-Do we need a vaccine for COVID-19?
18:31-Humans can grow immune to this virus
18:55-The data doesn’t say that COVID-19 is more contagious than the flu
22:43-Changes in reporting COVID-19 cases
25:33-What makes COVID-19 different than the Swine Flu
27:05-What are the possible health risks of sheltering in place?
27:43-The “Second Wave” of COVID-19
30:10-The truth about FlattentheCurve hashtag
31:10-What should we do about sheltering in place?
32:24-Why we need to achieve natural herd immunity
34:17-Should we be testing everyone for COVID-19?
35:35-The real effects of COVID-19
38:53-The percentage of people who won’t have any symptoms
39:34-What should we do about COVID-19 at this point?
40:40-Is this really a pandemic?
40:50-What you should know

Professor Wittkowski urges that the schools be open now, so that the virus may spread harmlessly among the young, and thus shorten the amount of time the elderly and immune compromised must be sequestered. Our current course, he warns, will only prolong the crisis and likely guarantee a “second wave” of infections in the Fall.

For more information and a full transcript, head to: https://www.journeyman.tv/7815

Source: PhD Epidemiologist: Social Distancing and Lockdown Worst Way to Deal with Airborne Respiratory Virus

EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Rashid Buttar BLASTS Gates, Fauci, EXPOSES Fake Pandemic Numbers As Economy Collapses — Christian Research Service

The Next News Network

Dr. Rashid A. Buttar is a graduate of the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, College of Medicine and Surgery. He trained in General Surgery and Emergency Medicine and served as Brigade Surgeon and Director of Emergency Medicine while serving in the U.S. Army. Dr. Buttar is board certified in Clinical Metal Toxicology and Preventive Medicine; is board eligible in Emergency Medicine and has achieved fellowship status in three separate medical societies.

View video HERE.

via EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Rashid Buttar BLASTS Gates, Fauci, EXPOSES Fake Pandemic Numbers As Economy Collapses — Christian Research Service

Defensive Democrats Scold Coronavirus Lockdown Protesters As Demonstrations Spread Across Country — The Gateway Pundit

Americans are mad and some of them just aren’t going to take it anymore.

Protests against draconian lockdowns ordered by state governors — who have shuttered businesses, demanded that residents stay in their homes and, in New York, mandated that all people wear masks — have started to pop up around the country.

So far, there have been protests in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Texas, North Carolina, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Washington. Thousands of angry residents surrounded the Michigan state capitol in Lansing, honking their horns to vent their rage. Over the weekend, the same thing happened at the Maryland capitol building in Annapolis, where the group Reopen Maryland says the shutdown has crushed small businesses.

But some Democrat leaders are blasting the protest as dangerous, saying protesters risk spreading coronavirus among themselves.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was asked Sunday on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace if she understood what protesters are protesting.

“No, not really,” she said. “I’m respectful [of] whatever people think they should say, but the fact is this has to be science-based, evidence-based, data-based.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said last week on MSNBC last week that she might be forced to expand her coronavirus order, already considered one of the most restrictive in the country.

“When you see a political rally, that’s what it was yesterday, a political rally like that where people aren’t wearing masks and they’re in close quarters and they’re touching one another … the odds are very high that they’re spreading COVID-19 along with it,” she said after the Lansing protest. “So it’s that kind of irresponsible action that puts us in this situation where we might have to actually think about extending stay-at-home orders, which is supposedly what they’re protesting.”

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee went further, saying on Sunday that the protests were “illegal.”

“I don’t know any other way to characterize it, when we have an order from governors, both Republicans and Democrats, that basically are designed to protect people’s health, literally their lives, to have a president of the United States basically encourage insubordination, to encourage illegal activity,” he said. “These orders actually are the law of these states.”

On Monday, a rally was set for noon in Harrisburg to protest Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order.

The governor ripped the protest on Friday in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I know every Pennsylvanian is eager to get back to work — I am included in that,” he said. “We are working as hard as we can to make sure we reopen as quickly as possible. What we don’t want to do is reopen and then be hit by this virus in a way that overwhelms our health-care system. Let’s continue to make this good progress and keep people safe, and when the time is right, we will reopen and liberate every single Pennsylvanian.”

But Rep. Aaron Bernstine, a Republican from western Pennsylvania who is set speak at the Monday rally, said a balance must be struck.

“There’s no reason that in Pennsylvania and across this country that we can’t do both — protect our lives and livelihoods,” he said, according to Fox News. “I think every job is essential to help people provide for their families.”

via Defensive Democrats Scold Coronavirus Lockdown Protesters As Demonstrations Spread Across Country — The Gateway Pundit

Michigan Governor: ‘Revolting Against A Tyrannical Government Is Simply Unamerican’ — The Babylon Bee

DETROIT, MI—On Meet the Press Sunday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer reminded everyone that “revolutions and revolts are simply unamerican.”

Whitmer called on the protesters in her state to stop their illegal assembling, reminding them that protesting so-called tyranny is a foreign idea to the history of the United States.

“Protesting and revolting against your wise rulers goes against everything America was built on,” she said. “It flies in the face of every American tradition. Revolting against tyranny has no place in this great country.”

Governor Whitmer then rattled off a long list of things that she also believes to be unamerican:

  • Declaring independence from tyrants
  • Having a list of protected rights
  • Separation of powers
  • Democratically elected leaders
  • Freedom of religion, assembly, the press, protests, and speech.
  • Federalism
  • Apple pie
  • Baseball
  • America

“If you’re really Americans, you’ll stop with this dangerous revolutionary activity,” she concluded.

via Michigan Governor: ‘Revolting Against A Tyrannical Government Is Simply Unamerican’ — The Babylon Bee

Blue State Governors Demand Facebook Remove Information Organizing Protests Against Their “Orders” – Facebook Complies… — The Last Refuge

There’s some misinformation quickly spreading about Facebook taking down all content where people are organizing protests against state “orders.”   In reality what Facebook is doing is responding to requests from state officials to remove content the state dictators claim is defiance of their orders.  Facebook is complying with those removal requests.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO – “If someone is spreading something that is misinformation—certainly, someone saying that social distancing is not effective to help limit the spread of coronavirus—we do classify that as harmful misinformation and we take that down.”

“At the same time, it’s important for people to debate policies, basically give their opinions on different things, so there’s a line on this. But more than normal political discourse, I think, a lot of the things people are saying that is false around a health emergency can be classified as harmful misinformation that has a risk of leading to physical danger, and we will take that down.”

The latest effort by authoritarian-minded state governor should not come as a surprise.  These are overwhelmingly blue state (democrat) governors.  It is important to keep in mind the ‘stay-at-home’  and other restrictions on liberty are not laws per se’, they are orders by state governors.  The authoritarian to block protest organizing on social media is an extension of the state’s ideological perspectives.  Freedom is a tenuous proposition.

All of the various restrictions coming from state governors in response to the COVID-19 do not come from State House and/or State Senate decisions. These are not laws.

The rules restricting liberty, in response to the crisis, have been pronounced without any representative voice supporting them. All of the rules are arbitrary, and many of these rules will be challenged in court.

However, until those court challenges take place, the only option for a redress of grievance comes in the form of public protest. Currently, there is no way for an citizen to appeal to a representative voice against the decrees from a state governor; other than a public protest…. This is a critical point; because non-representative government was the origination of the first great American rebellion against dictates from King George III.

Rebellion against unilateral and authoritarian power is America. Rebellion or push-back against non-representative government is the thread that connects the varying patchworks of our constitutional republic. Protest is so critical to our nation that it is protected within the very first amendment to our constitution.

Blue state governors have united to begin an economic civil war and block any White House effort to re-open the U.S. economy.  Enforcement of these unilateral orders is part of that plan.  The governors must use all censorship tools to retain their totalitarian agenda.

Again, this is all very predictable, during this economic war residents within the Blue occupied territories will be held captive to the political whims of their regional generals.

The economic freedom and liberty zone will encompass the Red region. The center of the country, mid west, southern region (surrounding the Gulf of Mexico) and south eastern Atlantic region. These areas will be open to commerce and economic freedom.

However, the urban dense populations (Blue pockets within Red zones) will push-back against the efforts of the Red generals in an attempt to retain alignment with their Blue team generals. Depending on the strength of the urban forces there may be roadblocks, sabotage, skirmishes and political violence against the freedom & liberty Red team.

Red captives within the Blue zones will have to be smart and strategic. Big Blue tech will be assisting the totalitarian Blue generals. Direct confrontation against the Blue forces should be avoided, and it will likely be a better strategy to fight stealthily as insurgents.

Any Red team member of the economic freedom alliance, trapped within a Blue region, is warned to evaluate their connection to their electronic devices. Your cell phones could be used as portable transponders expose your movement and your political views.

This is going to be one hell of a ideological battle. A Spring and Summer conflict like we’ve never seen in the history of U.S. politics.

via Blue State Governors Demand Facebook Remove Information Organizing Protests Against Their “Orders” – Facebook Complies… — The Last Refuge

‘Biden Loves Kids’: Trump attacks Biden with meme video of his swimming pool gaffe | RT – Daily news

President Donald Trump has shared a meme featuring Joe Biden rambling about children touching him in a swimming pool. Fresh from sparring with Biden over China, Trump may be previewing a new line of attack on his handsy opponent.

Posted by Trump on Monday, the meme is a send-up of an Allstate Insurance ad, and features a visibly embarrassed Barack Obama – his head pasted onto an actor’s body – squirming as Biden talks about some perplexing encounters with children at a Delaware swimming pool.

The video features real footage of Biden speaking at a pool in Wilmington, Delaware, after the municipality renamed the facility in his honor in 2017. In front of a crowd, Biden fondly recalled how “the kids used to come up and reach in the pool and rub my leg down so it was straight and then watch the hair come back up again.”

“I learned about kids jumping on my lap,” he continued. “I love kids jumping on my lap.”

In the video shared by Trump, “Biden Loves Kids” is emblazoned across the television screen.

Biden’s speech was met with confusion and disgust when it surfaced online last year. However, Trump has thus far held off on attacking Biden for his questionable statements about children. Though Biden has been hammered by Trump for his notoriously wandering hands, the president has not yet bashed his rival for grabbing, stroking, and whispering to visibly uncomfortable children – all of which has been caught on video.

The meme video may be the first in a series of personal attacks on Biden, who Trump has previously described as “creepy.”

Trump’s most recent attack ads have attempted to portray Biden as an ally of the Chinese Communist Party, a predictable tactic as the coronavirus pandemic continues to claim American lives. However, the Biden campaign responded in kind over the weekend with an ad claiming that Trump “rolled over for the Chinese,” and “took their word,” as the virus first spread beyond China.

Also on rt.com

‘Creepy Joe strikes again’: Biden calls 10-year-old girl ‘good looking’ at campaign event

Should Trump turn up the personal attacks on Biden, the former VP would likely be left stumped. Biden’s history of gaffes and misstatements is extensive, and he has already had to apologize for his touchy-feely way with women. Trump’s own personal improprieties, on the other hand, haven’t dented his popularity with his base. The emergence of the ‘Access Hollywood’ ‘Grab ‘em by the p*ssy’ tape a month before the 2016 election had no discernible impact on Trump’s eventual victory, and Democrat and Republican voters alike didn’t care about the President’s alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels when the story broke in 2018.

Whether they’ll care about Biden’s history of suspicious statements is hard to know. After all, the coronavirus pandemic and its social and economic fallout are currently dominating the news cycle. Americans may have bigger fish to fry. But that probably won’t stop Trump from embracing his inner troll and keeping up the attack on Biden.

Also on rt.com

‘Double standards!’ Trump team rips Twitter after it flags Biden ‘endorsement’ clip but OKs THREE doctored Trump vids

Trump welcomed Biden to the 2020 race with a crudely edited meme video, and will likely be hammering his opponent in a similar fashion all the way to the finish line in November.

Source: ‘Biden Loves Kids’: Trump attacks Biden with meme video of his swimming pool gaffe

Cartoons and Memes · Apr. 20, 2020

Check Closely

Share Tweet Comment

Tone Deaf

Share Tweet Comment

Nancy Pelosi

Share Tweet Comment

Maybe Not the Best Idea

Share Tweet Comment

Keep Away

Share Tweet Comment


Share Tweet Comment

When It’s Over

Share Tweet Comment

Paying the Mortgage

Share Tweet Comment

For the Record

Share Tweet Comment

180 Tigers

Share Tweet Comment

My Three Top Hobbies

Share Tweet Comment

Breaking News

Share Tweet Comment

Get In

Share Tweet Comment

Leap Year

Share Tweet Comment

Forrest Gump

Share Tweet Comment


Share Tweet Comment


Share Tweet Comment

Your Permission Slip

Share Tweet Comment

No Exceptions

Share Tweet Comment

For What?

Share Tweet Comment

“The Patriot Post” (https://patriotpost.us)

Read Online

FBI informant bragged about connections to Russian spies in secret recording | WND

Stefan Halper

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.]

By Chuck Ross
Daily Caller News Foundation

It wasn’t long into his conversation with George Papadopoulos at a prestigious social club in London weeks before the 2016 election that FBI confidential informant Stefan Halper mentioned his links to several retired Russian spies.

“I have a lot of friends in Russia,” Halper told Papadopoulos during their conversation, which occurred over drinks, and which the FBI recorded.

“My point is that,” Halper said, “the Russians can be very helpful to us at this time and we’ve got some great information coming out.”

Halper, a former Cambridge professor, rattled off the names of the Russians, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, Leonid Shebarshin, and Yuri Traughtoff, according to a transcript of the secretly recorded conversation released on Thursday.

Halper was not bluffing about his friendship with at least one of the ex-Russian spies. He has collaborated with Trubnikov, the former head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the SVR. Halper hosted Trubnikov at two intelligence seminars at Cambridge in 2012 and 2015, and interviewed the former Kremlin insider for a 2015 study on China-Russia relations he did for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA).

Halper’s goal in bringing up his Kremlin links was to get Papadopoulos to reveal whether he or the Trump campaign were working with the Russian government or involved the WikiLeaks release of Democrats’ emails, according to the Justice Department inspector general’s (IG) report on the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe.

“You know this stuff out of WikiLeaks is really superb,” Halper said.

In a virtually unprecedented move, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham released the newly declassified transcript on Thursday as part of a GOP-led effort to publish documents related to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Two other Republican senators have released declassified information over the past week that shows that the FBI had evidence that the infamous Steele dossier was based on Russian disinformation.

The FBI had opened a counterintelligence investigation on Papadopoulos and several other Trump campaign aides on July 31, 2016, shortly after WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the DNC.

As part of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, the FBI turned to Halper, a seasoned political veteran of three Republican administrations who had been a confidential human source (CHS) for the bureau since 2008.

The FBI used another CHS to surveil Papadopoulos before the campaign. The Daily Caller News Foundation published a transcript last week of that spy effort, in which a friend of Papadopoulos tried to pry information out of him during a four-hour lunch and casino visit just before Halloween 2016.

The Justice Department IG’s report said that Halper agreed “without any hesitation” to help the FBI with the probe when he was approached about it on Aug. 11, 2016. Halper’s FBI handler told the IG that investigators decided to lure Papadopoulos from the U.S. to the U.K. in hopes he might be relaxed to discuss any nefarious activity involving the Trump campaign.

They also sought to recreate the conditions of another encounter that Papadopoulos had in London several months earlier, the IG report said. The young Trump aide, to whom the FBI gave the nickname “Crossfire Typhoon,” allegedly told Australian diplomat Alexander Downer over drinks that Russians might have information on Democrats that would help the Trump campaign.

The Australian government shared that tip with the FBI in late July 2016, just after WikiLeaks released the DNC emails.

After the FBI brought Halper into the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, the 70-something-year-old operative met with and secretly recorded Carter Page, another Trump foreign policy adviser, on Aug. 20, 2016, according to the IG report. He met Sam Clovis, a Trump campaign official, on Aug. 30, 2016, but did not record that conversation.

Halper reached out to Papadopoulos on Sept. 2, 2016, to offer to fly the Trump aide, whom he had never met, to London to discuss writing a paper on energy issues for $3,000.

Papadopoulos has said he agreed to the offer and met Halper in London, along with a woman the professor claimed was his assistant, Azra Turk.

Halper and Papadopoulos met twice on Sept. 15, 2016, once for brunch and a second time for pre-dinner drinks.

The IG report says that in the first meeting they discussed details of the research paper Papadopoulos had agreed to write. The FBI team decided to set up a second meeting so that Halper could ask Papadopoulos “direct questions about whether the Trump campaign benefitted from, or anyone in the Trump campaign had knowledge of, Russian assistance or the Wikileaks release of information that was damaging to the Clinton campaign,” according to the IG report.

Papadopoulos shot down Halper’s questions about WikiLeaks and Russian help for the Trump campaign, the transcript shows.

“No one knows what he’s going to release,” Papadopoulos said of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He said that Assange might release information about Trump as a “ploy to basically dismantle” and “undercut” the Republican.

Papadopoulos also said that the Trump campaign would not engage in “this type of activity because at the end of the day it’s…illegal.”

“This is a form of treason.”

The transcript jumbles the names of the ex-Russian spies Halper mentioned, but enough context is provided in the transcript that two of them can be identified from open source records.

“One of them is, ah, Slava Truvnikoff. Do-do you, do you know Truvnikoff? Truvnikoff was the director of the KGB and the FSB,” said Halper, referring to Vyacheslav Trubnikov, the former head of Russia’s SVR.

(Image courtesy Daily Caller News Foundation)

Halper told Papadopoulos that he hosted Trubnikov at an event to discuss Russia’s intelligence operations.

“So I brought him to [redacted] to talk to us about how-how their intelligence service works,” Halper said. “He was very forthcoming. I mean he’s retired now and he’s, ah, ah very much a, um, sort of an international participant in nuclear disarmament.”

“He’s a private citizen but he’s, ah, really plugged in,” Halper said.

(Image courtesy Daily Caller News Foundation)

Halper hosted the spy in 2012 and 2015 at the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, which he convened alongside Sir Richard Dearlove, the former chief of MI6. The DCNF has previously reported that Halper interviewed Trubnikov for a 2015 study he conducted for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA).

While Halper was serving as an FBI informant, he inked $1.1 million in contracts with ONA for four studies on geopolitical events in Russia, China, and India. His offer to Papadopoulos closely matched his pitch to scholars for those studies, in which Halper paid scholars a small honorarium for analysis of geopolitical issues.

Halper told Papadopoulos that he had “developed a friendship with a really senior KGB general.” The transcript spells the general’s name as “Shebasheen,” but other information provided by Halper suggests he was referring to Leonid Shebarshin, who led the KGB for two days in the early 1990s.

He also said he knew a KGB officer identified in the transcript as “Yuri Traughtoff.” The transcript notes that the spelling of the name may not have been accurate, and the DCNF was unable to determine who Halper was talking about.

(Image courtesy Daily Caller News Foundation)

Halper’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment about the transcripts.

(Image courtesy Daily Caller News Foundation)

Halper became an FBI informant in 2008, and had a brief falling out with the bureau in 2011. The IG report said that Halper was shut down as a confidential human source in 2011 because of “aggressiveness toward handling agents” that arose out of a dispute over his compensation as a CHS.

Halper also was sidelined because of “questionable allegiance to the [intelligence] targets” with whom he maintained contact, the IG report said.

The report does not identify the intelligence targets, or suggest that they are the Russians that Halper mentioned to Papadopoulos.

Trubnikov has been name-dropped in other conversations related to the Trump probe.

Steele, the former British spy and dossier author, told a State Department official during an Oct. 11, 2016 meeting that Trubnikov was a source of some sort for the dossier. Steele relied on a single source to collect information from a network of contacts inside and outside of Russia. Many of the sub-sources are believed to have unwittingly provided information to Steele’s intermediary.

The IG report blasted the FBI for failing to disclose the potentially exculpatory information that both Page and Papadopoulos shared with Halper.

The FBI failed to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) about Papadopoulos’s denials to Halper that the Trump campaign was working with Russia. Carter Page had told Halper that he had never met Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but the FBI failed to share that information with the FISC. It was a key claim in Christopher Steele’s dossier, which the FBI cited extensively in applications to obtain surveillance authority from the FISC to spy on Page.

Halper’s FBI handler, Stephen Somma, is identified as one of the main villains in the IG report. The report cites the counterintelligence veteran as being “primarily responsible” for some of the “most significant” errors in the Crossfire Hurricane probe.

Somma failed to disclose the exculpatory information related to Page and Papadopoulos, as well as information from interviews with Steele’s main source, who disputed many of the allegations from the dossier. Somma was also aware by mid-August 2016 that Page was an “operational contact” for the CIA, but he did not disclose it in applications to the FISC.

Somma insisted to the IG that an encounter that Halper had with Page several weeks before the start of Crossfire Hurricane was a coincidence. Halper first met Page on July 10, 2016 at a Cambridge event centered around the presidential campaign.

The FBI transcript indicates that Halper arranged dinner for Papadopoulos and Arza Turk, the woman he falsely claimed was his assistant. The New York Times has reported that Turk was actually a government investigator operating under a pseudonym.

The transcript shows Halper and Papadopoulos exchanged farewells, with Halper saying he would like to help the Trump campaign as an outside adviser on foreign policy issues.

Crossfire Hurricane continued to rage for months after the London meeting, though Halper himself was spent for the night.

“I’m three sheets to the wind,” he said into his hidden microphone.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Source: FBI informant bragged about connections to Russian spies in secret recording

Exactly How Many Deaths Are Needed To Justify Giving Government’s Control Of Everything? | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Jim Fedako via The Mises Institute,

The CDC estimates that 61,000 Americans died from the flu during the 2017–18 flu season (with a range of 46,000 to 95,000 deaths). Few of us even remember that event. Stores stayed open, folks met and worked, and everyone lived as normal.

Taking sixty-one thousand deaths as our baseline, how deadly does a virus have to be to justify the destruction of our livelihoods and economy in general?

Half as deadly? No that wouldn’t make sense. But neither would “as deadly,” either.

Would twice as deadly cross the panic threshold? But that would be just twice something we didn’t notice while it was happening. So maybe even double is not enough.

No one is ever safe, ever. But we all lived lives in a world of uncertainty. That is, until many panicked and allowed governments to drive us into our own caves, so to speak.

But who incited panic? Media and social media initially sounded the alarm, sparking fear. However, it was government that provided justification for that fear, wrapping dour pronouncements in a veneer of supposed science and truth. Soon the panic threshold was breached. While the various media live off provocative headlines, government lives off fear.

So we end up with this strange symbiotic relationship: with the aid of a friendly media, government justifies the fears it propagandizes; constituents panic and turn to both government for help and the media for information. Certainly, it has to be this way. Why? Because government rules through the consent of the governed.

As Mises noted:

Only a group that can count on the consent of the governed can establish a lasting regime. Whoever wants to see the world governed according to his own ideas must strive for domination over men’s minds. It is impossible, in the long run, to subject men against their will to a regime that they reject.

So, a government looking to extend its powers, to assume additional rights from its citizens, will need to manufacture consent, else rebellion with ensue. And there is no better opportunity to manufacture consent than during an existential crisis, whether it’s enemies massed at the gate or ones concealed within.

Obviously, if those enemies do not exist, they have to be invented. As Schumpeter stated:

There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome’s allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest—why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted. The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors, always fighting for a breathing space. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, and it was manifestly Rome’s duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs. They were enemies who only waited to fall on the Roman people.

Not too long ago, the devised enemy was ISIL—haunting the Levant in Toyota trucks. We were told daily that ISIL was readying a strike against the US some fifty-five hundred miles away. Plausible? Hardly. However, the propaganda machine was able to create some angst, for some time, anyway.

Today the enemy is through the gate unseen, infiltrating bodies and minds. COVID-19 is a government’s dream. Folks who just yesterday, or so it seems, said certain acts of government, such as closing churches, would ignite rebellion, gladly consent to authoritarian edicts. But why?

There is the manufactured fear, the product of the propaganda machine—the good doctors making dire predictions about likely death counts, surrounded by somber officials, all standing near a dais backed by the richly colored, acronymed logo of some official sounding agency. Great video, great propaganda.

But there is more. Government is blaming the virus, not itself. That serves several purposes. It allows government to employ a misdirect, pilfering the public purse and annulling rights while the masses concern themselves with social distancing.

It also provides personal cover to minor agents of the bureaucracy, who do not have to spend sleepless nights fretting about their role in the destruction of our economy.

Hannah Arendt wrote about the Eichmann trial and tried to answer the conscience question:

The trick used by Himmler…was very simple and probably very effective; it consisted in turning these instincts around, as it were, in directing them toward the self. So that instead of saying: What horrible things I did to people!, the murderers would be able to say: What horrible things I had to watch in the pursuance of my duties, how heavily the task weighed upon my shoulders! (Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem)

So you hear statements that twist reality in this manner: “The virus will let us know when we can reopen the country.” As if the virus is dictating policy.

We are told that government officials are only reacting as the virus commands. And the enforcement agents spreading tickets and handcuffs are simply shouldering the horrible tasks that must be pursued.

Is this how we, the people, choose to live? In a world where government foments fear for its own purposes and then stands back, blaming its actions on an enemy of its own creation?

Once more, how deadly does a virus have to be to justify the destruction of our livelihoods and economy in general? Twice the usual? Three times? I can’t decide the issue for all. I simply ask you to consider first what we are allowing (crashed economy, record unemployment growth, exploding government debt, unconstitutional government edicts, well, you get the picture).

And I ask you to consider who, or what entities, are benefiting. It is true that some cui bono (to whom it is a benefit) arguments are fallacious, but not all. However, consider this: besides a shift of rights and power from the people to the state, there is that matter of trillions moving from our wallets to those of the friends and families of the politically connected.

As I wrote above, no one is ever safe, ever. But until a month ago, we all accepted a world of uncertainty and didn’t panic. What was true then is true today—to be free is not to be safe. However, to live free is to live. Period.

Source: Exactly How Many Deaths Are Needed To Justify Giving Government’s Control Of Everything?

Trump Redirects Some WHO Funding to Samaritan’s Purse — Faithwire

At the instruction of President Donald Trump, officials with the White House Budget Office have instructed federal agencies to redirect money normally earmarked for the United Nations’ World Health Organization to groups that perform similar work, including Samaritan’s Purse and the Red Cross.

Trump halted funding to the WHO earlier this month after arguing the UN body failed in its duty to adequately investigate early reports coming out of China regarding the novel coronavirus. Rather than conduct its own thorough investigation, officials with the WHO parroted the intentionally misleading verbiage coming out of the communist country.

In fact, the organization stated in mid-January, when human-to-human transmission had already occurred in China, there was “no clear evidence” to suggest such spread was possible.

The president said “so much death has been caused” because of the WHO’s failures.

Prior to Trump’s suspension of funds, the U.S. government provided for roughly 10% of the WHO’s $4.8 billion annual budget. The majority of the country’s contributions were “voluntary,” according to the New York Post, and have now been redirected to other agencies.

Trump administration officials have halted “voluntary” contributions from agencies like USAID, the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services, totaling between $300 million and $400 million per year.

Officials with knowledge of the shift told the Post the White House is workmen to move “every single pot of money” away from the WHO to other organizations.

The decision to pivot some of the money to Samaritan’s Purse comes as the faith-based humanitarian organization, owned by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and helmed by the Rev. Franklin Graham, is operating a 68-bed field hospital in New York City, tending to patients suffering from the coronavirus.

While most people are glad to have the Christian group’s help, there is a small but loud faction of LGBTQ activists who are angry over the organization’s presence in Central Park, namely due to its adherence to the biblical understanding of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Graham himself addressed critics in a statement last week, writing, in part, “Samaritan’s Purse is a decidedly Christian private relief organization, funded almost entirely by individuals around the world who share our passion for providing aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution — and doing so in Jesus’ name.”

“It seems tone-deaf to be attacking our religious conviction about marriage at the very moment thousands of New Yorkers are fighting for their lives and dozens of Samaritan’s Purse workers are placing their lives at risk to provide critical medical care,” he added.

via Trump Redirects Some WHO Funding to Samaritan’s Purse — Faithwire

Don’t Let The Washington Post Get Away With Memory-Holing Its Anti-Kavanaugh Campaign

Ruth Marcus and others at the Washington Post who led the effort to destroy Brett Kavanaugh’s life based on unsubstantiated allegations know that what they did was evil.

Source: Don’t Let The Washington Post Get Away With Memory-Holing Its Anti-Kavanaugh Campaign