Daily Archives: April 30, 2020

Faith, Feelings, and Facts | Reformation 21

God is slandered daily. Satan, who is a liar and the father of lies, makes sure of it. One of his favorite lies to spread about God is that he doesn’t love us, that he wants nothing more than for us to suffer and die. Satan wants us to think that God is more like the elder brother than the father of the parable of the prodigal son. As Thomas Manton said,

“It is the grand design of Satan to lessen our opinion of God’s goodness… He seeks to hide God’s goodness, and to represent him as a God that delights in our destruction and damnation, rather than in our salvation.”

Regrettably, we are easily deceived by this pernicious lie. We are susceptible to it when we are made aware of our own sinfulness or drowning in a sea of our own guilt. We sense that God will not forgive us because of who we are; or because of what we have done; or because we have committed the same sin countless times. The puritan John Ball noted that Satan…

“…will not spare to suggest to the contrite and humbled soul, that God cannot or will not forgive his transgressions, which have been most heinous for quality, many for number, and in which he has long lived and continued.”

We may also be prone to believe Satan’s lie when we reap what we have sown. We may be incarcerated, divorced, sick or unemployed solely due to what we have done.  Experiencing God’s providential retribution not only increases our sense of guilt and shame, but may create doubt regarding the mercy and kindness of God.  We might wonder: “How could God forgive me, when I cannot even forgive myself?”

Still further, we may be inclined to believe Satan’s lie when we witness or experience God’s wrath upon this rebellious world. The Westminster Shorter Catechism rightly teaches that all the miseries in this life and death itself are part of God’s wrath and curse for sin. The undeniable fact that we will all suffer—to one degree or another—and then die seems to suggest that God is not for us, but against us. How can God be kind, loving and forgiving towards sinners when they all experience his wrath and curse for sin?

Thus, we easily believe Satan’s lie about God, because it appears to be so plausible in this fallen world. It makes sense to us. It seems to fit with the facts. Indeed, it feels right. This is why it is so important to know and believe what God has said about himself and his promises of salvation.

The Bible is quite clear that God is love, and that he will forgive all who call upon him (Ex. 34:6-7; Ps. 86:5; Joel 2:13, 32; John 3:16; Rom. 10:9-13). Psalm 130 says that with God there is forgiveness, steadfast love, and plentiful redemption. Verse 8 says that God will redeem from all iniquities. The promise is not to forgive some sins, or just the small sins, or just the sins you commit once or twice; it is to save from all sins. John Ball rightly said that “the promise of pardon is made to repentant sinners without limitation to any time, person, quality, or number of offences.”

God fulfills his promise to redeem from all iniquities through his Son, our Lord Jesus. He sent his Son, not to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (John 3:17). In Jesus, there is redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14). Therefore, whoever believes in Jesus and calls upon his name is forgiven and given eternal life.

Do you believe God or Satan? That is the question, particularly when we feel like God does not love us and when the facts seem to contradict God’s promises. John Calvin astutely observed that…

“…all things around us are in opposition to the promises of God: He promises immortality; we are surrounded with mortality and corruption: He declares that he counts us just; we are covered with sins: He testifies that he is propitious and kind to us; outward judgments threaten his wrath.”

What are we to do?

We are to believe God, regardless of what our feelings or the facts tell us. “Let God be true though every one were a liar (Rom. 3:4).” As Ball wrote:

“…faith is not grounded upon sense and feeling: but upon God’s gracious promises, immutable goodness, and infallible truth… Experience and sense is a stay or prop for our better ease, not the ground upon which our faith leans; and though it be shaken, faith continues firm. If therefore at any time our sense and feeling tell us one thing (namely, that God has cast us off forever, and will never look graciously upon us) and the Word of God assures us of another, to wit, that God does love us, and will never forsake us utterly; we are not to give credit to our own feeling, but to God’s Word.”

What is true of our feelings is also true of the facts. One of the remarkable features of Abraham’s faith was that he believed God despite the presence of profound contrary evidence. God had promised Abraham numerous descendants, as many as the stars in heaven. Yet, Abraham couldn’t have any children because his wife Sarah was old and infertile. Everything in his life seemed to say that God’s promise would not come true. Nevertheless, he trusted God. Paul says that in hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, for he was fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised (Rom. 4).

We are, as Calvin says, in the same condition as Abraham. Although we are forgiven in Christ, we have yet to experience the fullness of our redemption. We still have to wait “for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (Rom. 8:23), and “for the hope of righteousness (Gal. 5:5).” As we wait on God, our feelings and the facts may suggest to us that Satan is right about God. If they do, we must not listen to them. We need to resist the devil, not by putting our faith in our feelings or in our ability to understand our situation, but by putting our faith in God and in his promises: “in his word I hope (Ps. 130:5).”

We need to trust God who so loved us that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).


D. Patrick Ramsey (@DPatrickRamsey) is pastor of Nashua Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Edinburg, Pennsylvania. He is a co-author (with Joel Beeke) of An Analysis of Herman Witsius’s The Economy of the Covenants and author of A Portrait of Christ.


Related Links

“William Ames: Saving Faith and Theology” by Ryan McGraw

Assurance series by Joel Beeke ( Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3  |  Part 4 )

The Faith Shaped Life by Ian Hamilton

The Gospel Pure and Simple, with Sinclair Ferguson, Liam Goligher, and Mark Johnston

The Assurance of Salvation by Derek Thomas [ MP3 Disc ]  [ MP3 Download ]

Source: Faith, Feelings, and Facts

The Way Liberals Smear Tara Reade Is Everything Rape Survivors Fear | Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Former Georgia state congresswoman and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who is on the Joe Biden running mate short list and making no secret of her desire for the job, said on CNN Tuesday night that she did not believe rape allegations against Biden to be credible.

“The New York Times did a deep investigation and they found that the accusation was not credible. I believe Joe Biden,” Abrams said when pressed on further corroborating evidence that Biden’s accuser Tara Reade had been talking about a sexual assault by the then-senator way back in the nineties.

CNN’s Don Lemon pressed Abrams on the contradiction between her earlier “believe women” rhetoric about conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, to which Abrams responded that Kavanaugh’s accuser was not given a fair hearing but Tara Reade was. Past tense. Over and done with now.

Lemon did not ask why Abrams considers The New York Times the official arbiter of who was and was not raped. He did not challenge her false assertion that The New York Times concluded Reade’s accusation was “not credible”. He did not point out that the investigation by the The New York Times took place prior to the emergence of the corroborating evidence in question. Abrams was allowed to coolly insert a false, baseless narrative into public consciousness and move on.

In reality, The New York Times is not the authority on who has and has not been sexually assaulted. That’s not a thing.

In reality, The New York Times did not conclude that Reade’s accusation is not credible, only that they “found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable” (which they later quietly edited down to “found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden” at the instruction of the Biden campaign, a very blatant act of journalistic malpractice).

In reality, The New York Times has smeared Reade with a scandalous hit piece dismissing her allegations because she has written approvingly of Russian president Vladimir Putin, implying that either:

(A) Reade is a Russian agent fabricating the allegations to help Trump, or

(B) that it’s okay to rape women if they disagree with beltway consensus foreign policy.

In reality, two new corroborating pieces of evidence have been added to the growing pile since The New York Times published its “investigation” into Reade’s allegations: footage of Reade’s mother anonymously calling in to Larry King Live in 1993 during Reade’s last month of employment with Biden saying that her daughter was considering going to the press with a very serious allegation against a very prominent senator, and a former neighbor saying that Reade had told her about the sexual assault in the mid-nineties.

I have never been in the “always believe all women” camp; it’s a narrative that’s too easy to manipulate once you get enough people believing it. But at this point there are basically only two possibilities: either:

(A) Tara Reade was going around lying to her closest confidants in the 1990s with the very long-term goal of one day thwarting Biden’s third presidential bid decades later, or

(B) a powerful man sexually assaulted a woman. One of these, in my opinion, is a lot more probable than the other.

I’ve been avoiding writing much about Tara Reade, for a lot of reasons. Firstly I’m a survivor of multiple rapes and it brings up a lot of ouch for me, especially since whenever I write about rape as a problem I always get a deluge of highly triggered men (and sometimes one or two highly traumatized women) calling me a man-hater and saying all kinds of nasty things to me. Secondly I’ve been trying not to spend too much time on the details of an election we all know is fake anyway between two establishment candidates we already know are deeply depraved.

But mostly I avoid the subject because it’s just so goddamn gross. It’s gross to watch liberals going around pretending they believe that Handsy Uncle Hair Sniffer would never dream of shoving his fingers into a woman without her consent. It’s gross watching the language of leftism being borrowed to defend pure, relentless victim smearing. It’s gross watching people who’ve built their political identities around pretending to care about women try to spin these allegations as Reade being dishonest for partisan reasons, when in reality that’s exactly what they themselves are doing.

Due to my experiences with and sensitivity to the subject matter, going through this stuff feels kind of like getting punched in the privates over and over again. There are smears everywhere, from the establishment narrative managers to their brainwashed rank-and-file herd.

Yesterday some “KHive” asshole told me that Reade is mentally ill and talking about her experience will probably drive her to suicide, citing a baseless smear by McResistance pundit Sally Albright as his evidence. There’s a Twitter thread with thousands of shares going around right now where some liberal combed through all Reade’s old tweets highlighting typos she made and claiming they show Reade tweeting “in a Russian accent”.

It’s really, really gross.

And it hurts.

And there are definitely a whole lot of rape survivors experiencing the same thing about this story right now.

This is exactly the nightmare scenario that sexual assault survivors imagine when they contemplate coming forward. It’s why so many of them don’t. Especially when their attacker is powerful.

Nobody wants to have their name dragged through the mud by widely esteemed mainstream news media outlets. Nobody wants to have their entire past and entire social media history dug through to find anything that can be spun in the most negative light possible. Nobody wants to be told over and over again that they’re a liar, that they’re crazy, that they’re confused, all because they know they were sexually assaulted and said so. Nobody wants what can easily be the most traumatic experience of their life turned into a weapon to bludgeon them with before jeering crowds of millions all around the country.

And that sucks.

It sucks because if we’re to build a healthy world we’re going to have to get rid of all the people who shouldn’t be in power, and the very first lot we should eliminate are the ones who abuse their power to assault the sexuality of other human beings. If you use your power to rape people, you will with absolute certainty use it to do other unconscionable things as well, so eliminating those who do so is the first step toward health. That’s step one, and we can’t even get there, because blind partisan hackery turns pussyhat-wearing liberals into a bunch of snarling male supremacists.

I was 19 the first time I was raped. The last time I was 39. I never reported my attackers, for reasons the specifics of which I’m not interested in explaining or defending, but let’s just say that there are many messages you get sent by society telling you that if you report your rapist you are ruining a man’s life, destroying his family, career and future over one “mistake”. That it’s better just to suck it up because you’re strong and you can handle it.

You are taught that if you report your rape, you will be treated like the criminal, and the “investigation” that will take place will not put its spotlight on the accused, but on you, the accuser. You will have to defend your life choices and your character when you’re in the process of attempting to recover from a deeply harmful assault. You are taught that if you report these things that it’s you that will be shunned and shamed by members of your own tribe. And if the person is powerful, then you also know that this will likely end your career.

All these things are happening to Tara Reade right now. None of that has changed. Millions of young girls are being sent that message, once again, all across America, on screens large and small. They are being shown that if you accuse someone who has power over you of rape, you will be demonized and attacked, even by people who say they care about you, about a profoundly sensitive matter involving the most traumatic thing you’ve ever experienced.

And the thing is, that message is not a false message. You absolutely can be made the subject of vicious attacks if you accuse the wrong person of raping you. Attacks which press all your most painful buttons. Attacks which will try to convince you that you are insane. Attacks which will try to drive you insane.

And that sucks.

And I don’t know what can be done about it.

— Read on medium.com/@caityjohnstone/the-way-liberals-smear-tara-reade-is-everything-rape-survivors-fear-f03eaa2954c8

HUGE REVELATION: Latest DOJ Documents Released In Flynn Case Reveal Obama White House Was Running the Operation — The Gateway Pundit

Wow – the latest documents released by the DOJ provide additional evidence that the Obama White House was running the operation to spy on candidate and then President Trump in an effort destroy the incoming administration and have President Trump eventually removed from office!

The latest emails released from the DOJ today in the General Michael Flynn case show the Obama White House was running the show.  In the last line in the first paragraph on page 9 of the 12 page release it says:

We need to discuss what happens if DOJ directs us, or directly tells, VPOTUS or anyone else about the [redacted] specifically w/r/t [with regards to] what we do directly with him.  I think it will be very difficult not to do some sort of overt step with him, a defensive briefing or interview under light “defensive briefing” pretext unless WH specifically directs us not to.

The Department of Justice released these documents today.

DOJ Releases Documents Impl… by Jim Hoft on Scribd

Obama’s White House was behind the whole thing.  We knew this for a while.  Chris Farrell at Judicial Watch claimed this years ago on Lou Dobbs Show of FOX Business in June 2018:

The buck stopped with Obama!

via HUGE REVELATION: Latest DOJ Documents Released In Flynn Case Reveal Obama White House Was Running the Operation — The Gateway Pundit

Tom Fitton: “I Would Like Judge Sullivan to Institute Criminal Contempt Proceedings Against the Justice Dept. and FBI Officials” Behind Framing of General Flynn (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

On Wednesday the DOJ released earth-shattering details about how the Obama-Biden FBI set up General Michael Flynn to sow chaos, destroy his life and sabotage the incoming Trump administration.

The documents included handwritten notes showing the Obama deep state’s intent to sabotage the Trump administration.

For years the corrupt Mueller Special Counsel attorneys “deviated from standard practice” or committed crimes in their attempt to indict President Trump.

Judicial Watch founder and President Tom Fitton joined Lou Dobbs on Thursday to discuss the latest release of DOJ documents pertaining to the framing General Michael Flynn.

Tom Fitton called out Judge Sullivan to end the segment,

“I would like Judge Sullivan to institute criminal contempt proceedings against the Justice Department and FBI officials responsible for this. This is something the FISA court should have done, frankly, two years ago.

Via Lou Dobbs Tonight:


via Tom Fitton: “I Would Like Judge Sullivan to Institute Criminal Contempt Proceedings Against the Justice Dept. and FBI Officials” Behind Framing of General Flynn (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

April 30th The D. L. Moody Year Book

I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell, God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.—2 Corinthians 12:2.

SOME people have wondered what the third heaven means. That is where God dwells, and where the storms do not come. There sits the incorruptible Judge. Paul, when he was caught up there, heard things that it was not lawful for him to utter, and he saw things that he could not speak of down here. The higher up we get in spiritual matters, the nearer we seem to heaven. There our wishes are fulfilled at last.[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. 81). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

Tucker rips FBI’s conduct in Flynn case: ‘How the secret police operate in Third World dictatorships’ | Fox News

Tucker Carlson opened his program Thursday night by reacting to the release of documents that have many questioning the FBI’s handling of former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s case, with the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” host comparing America’s federal law enforcement agency to “secret police … in third world dictatorships.”

Biden Accuser Tara Reade Willing To Testify Under Oath About Sexual Assault Allegation | The Daily Wire

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 29: U.S Vice President Joe Biden (R) hugs Madeliene Smith (L), a graduate of Harvard University who was raped while attending college, after Smith spoke during an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building April 29, 2014 in Washington, DC. During the event, Biden announced the release of the first report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.

After a week of media speculation, as more and more evidence comes forward lending credibility to claims, Tara Reade has publicly stated her willingness to testify under oath regarding her sexual assault allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden.

Speaking with Fox News, Reade criticized the media and leaders of #MeToo for turning sexual harassment and assault into a partisan issue, demanding that people actually look into the veracity of her claims.

“Why have you made sexual assault and sexual harassment a partisan issue?” Reade said. “Why aren’t you looking at the veracity of my claim, looking at that I’m willing to go under oath, that I made a police report, that I worked for Joe Biden?”

“You should be able to have your voice heard without losing your career and losing your job. And that’s what your whole mission is about. Why do I not qualify for your mission?” she continued. “Why, because my perpetrator is the leading Democrat? Why does that exempt me from help?”

In March, Tara Reade claimed that then-Senator Joe Biden sexually assaulted her while she served as an aide in his Senate offices during the Clinton administration. She has since detailed her account in multiple interviews and filed a criminal complaint against the former vice president with the Washington, D.C., police department. A former neighbor of Reade and Reade’s brother have both publicly stated that Reade told them of the alleged assault in the 1990s. Recently surfaced evidence also suggests that Reade’s mother called into CNN’s Larry King in the 1990s to complain about a prominent senator with whom her daughter had “problems.”

Tara Reade has largely been shunned by the leaders of #MeToo and Time’s Up. This past January, Reade even sought out the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund to aid her with the PR and legal costs before going public with her claims against Joe Biden. The organization declined to help, arguing that it could affect their 501(c)(3) status due to Biden being a politician currently running for office. Time’s Up is also a client of SKDKnickerbocker, a public relations firm “whose managing director, Anita Dunn, is the top adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign,” according to The Intercept.

Earlier this week, #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke even went as far to say that the former vice president could be “accountable and electable.” Actress Alyssa Milano, a prominent #MeToo activist who believed Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, wrote in a lengthy op-ed on Wednesday that she still supports Biden despite the allegation against him.

On the subject of Alyssa Milano essentially abandoning her in this moment of need, Tara Reade said that the actress has “hijacked” her narrative to make it about herself.

“I think we need to compare how she responded to Brett Kavanaugh… quite different than the talking points she [used] regarding Joe Biden,” Reade told Fox News. “She never reached out to me. I don’t really want to amplify her voice because I feel like she hijacked my narrative for a while and framed it about herself… she knows nothing about it.”

— Read on www.dailywire.com/news/biden-accuser-tara-reade-willing-to-testify-under-oath-about-sexual-assault-allegation

Corona Facts and Realities — CultureWatch

Keep asking questions and keep looking at the numbers:

One of the many things that has puzzled me somewhat during this crisis is the number of people I had known to be fairly level-headed and rational, who did not buy into things like climate alarmism, but who seem to have fully gotten on board the corona alarmism bandwagon. It is as if their minds have gone a bit soggy and they are now running on fear and feelings.

Panics can do that, I guess. But I will continue to try to present the evidence as best I can ascertain it. I am not minimising the reality of the virus and the dangers it poses, but I also do not want to minimise the reality of how fear, panic and unquestioning subservience to the State can become so very dangerous and fatal as well.

So let me keep running with some actual facts and figures here. If you don’t mind, let me mainly focus on the three places I have lived: America, Europe and Australia. So here then are some numbers and stats that we need to carefully consider in all this. I have taken them all from this site: http://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

America

Just hours ago new American job figures were released. The figure is just as alarming as any other we might offer: Some 30 million Americans have lost their jobs in the past 6-7 weeks due to draconian lockdown policies. Recall that 40,000 Americans committed suicide during the Great Depression. The cure is getting to be worse than the disease. We should care about all fatalities, not just those directly from the virus.

As I have been saying for months now, the ongoing shutdowns mean economic devastation, depression, suicide, poverty and so on – but too many corona alarmists don’t seem to care about that. They are much too one-dimensional: they insist that there must be no end to the lockdowns until we are all safe – which means we will never be out of lockdown.

Let me speak to this just a bit further. One guy recently sent me a comment saying that if folks want to venture outside and risk COVID-19 they can, but he was going to wait for a vaccine. Oh dear! This is how I replied:

Thanks ****, but it seems that perhaps you have not read this article very carefully, or my other 40+ pieces on this. Had you done so you would have noted the following points:
-There are of course plenty of medical experts who really do NOT think that COVID-19 is anywhere near as harmful or dangerous as some are making it out to be. Their voices deserve to be heard as well, and not just the alarmists.
-Many experts are now very clearly warning that the cure is already far worse than the disease.
-Deaths due to government lockdowns and the economic devastation it is causing are just as bad as corona deaths – and may well end up being far more numerous.
-If you want to “wait” for a vaccine, that is up to you, although many experts are saying that it could easily be two years or more before such a vaccine is found – if ever. If you want to stay locked up in your home all this time that is up to you. And you are very lucky indeed if you are wealthy enough to be able to afford that.
-Most ordinary folks, including myself, can NOT afford to stay locked up indefinitely. We actually have bills to pay, families to feed, mortgages to pay, etc. Again, if you can pull it off, good for you, but the vast majority of mankind will not sit by when they have no incomes, no way to feed themselves, and no way to care for their families. There is no economist worth his salt anywhere who believes an ongoing lockdown is sustainable. Millions will die of starvation, poverty, depression and suicide. I care about those people – we all should care.
-So with all due respect, I am glad you seem to have the luxury to be able to sit around for years on end if need be, for fear of catching something that may well be no more harmful than the common flu. But that is not the luxury most human beings have.
But thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

America and Sweden

It is interesting to compare Sweden with its very relaxed approach to this crisis (basically voluntary social distancing with life going on pretty much as normal) with the draconian lockdown policies in America. While all countries are different with so many variables at play, making comparisons rather tenuous and risky at best, we nonetheless do have some hard numbers to run with:

-America, with its very draconian lockdown policies in place, has 193 deaths per million population.
-Sweden with its very lax policies has 256 deaths per million population.

This is per one million people. Anyone can work out the percentages. But since the alarmists seldom do, as it may appear to undermine their case, let me do it for them: The percentage of people dying from corona in America is .0193 per cent. The percentage of people dying from corona in Sweden is .0256 per cent. There is very little actual difference between the two, yet we have radically differing approaches in terms of lockdown policy.

Sweden and Europe

Next, compare Sweden with some other European nations. All these other nations have also had rather strict lockdown policies in place. Let’s see how they are going in terms of just one important figure:

-Sweden with its very lax policies has 256 deaths per million population.
-The Netherlands has 280 deaths per million
-France has 373 deaths per million
-The UK has 394 deaths per million
-Belgium has 655 deaths per million

Again, in terms of actual percentages, the numbers are not radically different. But the point that I and others keep making is that draconian lockdown policies really seem to make little difference. Yes, we all can seek to run with sensible precautionary practices, such as social distancing, etc.

But we should be greatly concerned that entire nations are being shut down, economies destroyed, and lives lost due to other causes (suicide, etc) – especially given that the massive lockdown policies have basically been based on completely faulty assumptions and modelling.

Australia

And here are the actual numbers for Australia:

-There are 25.5 million Australians
-There are 6766 confirmed cases of corona
-5739 Australians have recovered
-The recovery rate (of closed cases) is 98.42%
-93 Australians have died
-The nation is in lockdown

As I said 4 weeks ago:

When this crisis passes, Australia may – at current rates – have had well under 10,000 cases of the virus, and perhaps 100 deaths. Time will tell. But if this is more or less how things will pan out, there will be at least two views on this:

-The government will say, “See, we told you these draconian lockdown and shutdown measures were needed – it worked!”
-Others will say, “See, it was nowhere near as bad, so all these draconian lockdown and shutdown measures really were not needed.”

The truth may never be fully known, but might lie somewhere between the two. However, as we seek to be wise about proper health and safety measures, we also need to be wise – very wise – about Statism and Big Brother in action.

Australia and Taiwan

As most of you should know, both these countries are island nations with similar-sized populations. Taiwan is of course very close indeed to mainland China (just 130 kilometres or 81 miles away). Consider these figures:

Australia with 25.5 million people and severe lockdown measures in place has had 93 deaths, or 4 deaths per million population.

Taiwan, with 24 million people and very relaxed measures in place has had 6 deaths, or 0.3 deaths per million population.

As I say, one can only go so far with international comparisons like this. But if that is true of me and the corona realists, then it is also true of the corona alarmists. They are happy to make such comparisons when it suits their purposes, so I will continue to offer a different look at the numbers.

These are not the only numbers that matter of course. Many other facts and figures deserve our attention. But since the alarmists and so much of the media are giving us only certain selected figures, I will keep running with some of these other figures – if for no other reason than to bring some much-needed balance to the discussion.

Oh, and one last number for what it is worth: this is my 48th article on corona. I suspect it will not be my last.

via Corona Facts and Realities — CultureWatch

President Trump Oval Office Remarks About New Discoveries in Flynn Case…. — The Last Refuge

There is a lot breaking today and we will have MUCH more on breaking developments which includes a release today of the additional 11 pages of information to the Flynn defense team.  The release, when put together with all previously released information, clearly and directly implicates President Obama in the Flynn operation.

In the interim, listen to President Trump remark on the current developments:

via President Trump Oval Office Remarks About New Discoveries in Flynn Case…. — The Last Refuge

Mueller and His Team of Angry Democrats Withheld Evidence, Lied to the Court and Indicted Innocent Men… Are These Crooks Looking at Jail Time? — The Gateway Pundit

Yesterday, the DOJ released earth-shattering details about how the Obama-Biden FBI set up General Michael Flynn to sow chaos, destroy his life and sabotage the incoming Trump administration.

Handwritten notes were even released showing the Obama deep state’s intent to sabotage the Trump administration.

Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) responded to this momentous news of government corruption by asking if Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his corrupt team of angry Democrat lawyers will face justice for deceiving the American public and lying to the court.

This came after the latest Flynn documents that were released by the DOJ were stamped with ‘SCO as in Special Counsel’s Office.’

For years these corrupt attorneys “deviated from standard practice” or committed crimes in their attempt to indict President Trump.

So will these corrupt angry Democrats face justice for their crimes?

CNN published an interactive graphic on Mueller’s team of angry Democrats.

CNN’s description of the Mueller gang would lead the casual observer to believe that this was an experienced group full of competent attorneys with no clear conflicts of interest. But this was not the case.

What CNN does not share is that the investigation is unconstitutional for many reasons with one of the reasons being that the team is the most conflicted group of investigators and attorneys ever assembled for any investigation in US history.

Below is the list from CNN with additional information not provided by CNN in italics! (Some of which was previously reported.)

President Trump was right. The Mueller team is a crock of conflicted and crooked liberal attorneys and investigators. 

And now we know they were all crooks too.

It’s time to send the real criminals to prison.

via Mueller and His Team of Angry Democrats Withheld Evidence, Lied to the Court and Indicted Innocent Men… Are These Crooks Looking at Jail Time? — The Gateway Pundit

Top House Democrat Says Tara Reade Allegation against Biden Should Be “Investigated Seriously” — National Review

Several other top Democrats have stood by the presumptive Democratic nominee as he has denied the allegations.

via Top House Democrat Says Tara Reade Allegation against Biden Should Be “Investigated Seriously” — National Review

What you need to know on this Thursday about the coronavirus plague — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

FILE – In this April 13, 2020, file photo, signs on the boarded up 11th Street Diner pay tribute to front line workers during the new coronavirus pandemic in Miami Beach, Fla. Earlier this month, the city furloughed dozens of its workers and put in place a hiring freeze. Its mayor says the city is losing about $3.5 million a week because of lost revenue from empty hotels, idled restaurants and bars, and its shuttered world-famous shoreline. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

The world’s economic pain was on full display Thursday with new bleak evidence from Europe and the United States of the mounting devastation wrought on jobs and economies by coronavirus lockdown measures.

The European economy shrank a record 3.8% in the first quarter as lockdowns turned cities into ghost towns and plunged nations into recession. The drop was the biggest since eurozone statistics began in 1995 and compares with a 4.8% contraction in the United States.

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

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

— More than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the U.S. economy slid further into a crisis that is becoming the most devastating since the 1930s.

— U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the new coronavirus was “not manmade or genetically modified” but say they are still examining whether the origins of the pandemic trace to contact with infected animals or an accident at a Chinese lab. President Donald Trump and his allies have touted the as-yet-unproven theory that an infectious disease lab in Wuhan was the source of the pandemic.

— Americans are grappling with an essential question as they try to get the information they need to stay safe during the coronavirus crisis: Whom do you trust?

— Immigrants are taking it upon themselves to help fellow immigrants who have been hard hit by the pandemic, but often can’t seek out help from the government or not-for-profit organizations because of barriers such as language and immigration status.

— Under Japan’s coronavirus state of emergency, people have been asked to stay home. Many are not. Some still have to commute to their jobs despite risks of infection, while others continue to dine out, picnic in parks and crowd into grocery stores with scant regard for social distancing.

___

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

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

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

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

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

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

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ONE NUMBER:

— 60,000: The number President Donald Trump predicted would be the U.S. death count from the coronavirus pandemic. The reported toll has now edged past Trump’s marker.

IN OTHER NEWS:

— BRITISH WWII VETERAN — Capt. Tom Moore celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday, having raised some 30 million pounds ($37 million) for the National Health Service after completing a challenge to mark the milestone by shuffling the length of his garden 100 times. His sunny attitude in a dark moment brought smiles to a country locked down amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

— BROADWAY SERENADE — Theaters are shuttered, but somehow, Brian Stokes Mitchell has found a way to keep singing on Broadway. Mitchell looks to serenade crews of ambulances, fire engines, police cars or medical workers from the urgent care facility near his Manhattan apartment.

___

Source: Associated Press

via What you need to know on this Thursday about the coronavirus plague — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

The true economic picture of Americans filing for unemployment is almost certainly much worse than the staggering 30 million reported — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Thirty million in context. (AP Graphic/Kevin S. Vineys)

Bleak new figures Thursday underscored the worldwide economic pain inflicted by the coronavirus: The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits has climbed past a staggering 30 million, while Europe’s economies have gone into an epic slide.

And as bad as the numbers are, some are already outdated because of the lag in gathering data, and the true economic picture is almost certainly much worse.

The statistics are likely to stoke the debate over whether to ease the lockdowns that have closed factories and other businesses. While many states and countries have pressed ahead, health officials have warned of the danger of a second wave of infection, and some employers and employees have expressed fear of going back to work when large numbers of people are still dying.

In the U.S., the government reported that 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for jobless benefits last week, raising the total to 30.3 million in the six weeks since the outbreak took hold. The layoffs amount to 1 in 6 American workers and encompass more people than the entire population of Texas.

Some economists say that when the U.S. unemployment rate for April comes out next week, it could be as high as 20% — a figure not seen since the Depression of the 1930s, when joblessness peaked at 25%.

The number of Americans thrown out of work could be much higher than the unemployment claims show, because some people have not applied and others couldn’t get through to their states’ overwhelmed systems. A poll by two economists found that the U.S. may have lost 34 million jobs.

There was grim new data across Europe, too, where more than 130,000 people with the virus have died. The economy in the 19 countries using the euro shrank 3.8% in the first quarter of the year, the biggest contraction since the eurozone countries began keeping joint statistics 25 years ago.

“This is the saddest day for the global economy we have ever seen” in the 50 years that economists at High Frequency Economics have been following the data, they wrote in a report.

Even then, the statistics do not capture the enormity of the economic crisis. The quarterly figures cover January through March, and many of the lockdowns in Europe and the U.S. were not imposed until March — the second half of March in a multitude of places in the United States.

Stocks fell on Wall Street as the discouraging news piled up, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing nearly 290 points, or more than 1 percent.

The virus has killed over 230,000 people worldwide, including more than 61,000 in the U.S., according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed infections globally topped 3.2 million, with 1 million of them in the U.S., but the true numbers are believed to be much higher because of limited testing, differences in counting the dead and concealment by some governments.

In other developments:

— Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-diseases expert, said he expects federal approval for the first drug to prove effective against the coronavirus to happen “really quickly.” Remdesivir, made by California’s Gilead Sciences, hastened the recovery of COVID-19 patients in a major government study, and it might also have reduced deaths, according to Fauci.

— A 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship that arrived in New York City to great fanfare a month ago left town after treating just 182 patients. The surge of cases there has fallen well short of the doomsday predictions. The 24-hour number of deaths statewide was down to 306, the lowest in a month.

— With signs that the outbreak has stabilized in places, President Donald Trump said he would not extend the White House’s social-distancing guidelines past their expiration Thursday. Those guidelines encouraged people to work from home and avoid restaurants, groups and nonessential travel.

— A suburban Minneapolis nursing home, St. Therese of New Hope, said 47 residents have died as a result of COVID-19 in yet another severe outbreak at an institution for the frail or elderly. At least 70 people have died at a veterans home in Massachusetts in the deadliest known cluster of its kind.

— California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered beaches in Orange County closed until further notice after tens of thousands of people flocked to the sand last weekend.

— Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain is “past the peak” and “on a downward slope” in its coronavirus outbreak.

— Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, 54, said he has tested positive for the virus and will go into isolation.

— NASCAR announced it will resume the season on March 17 but without fans in the stands. NASCAR joins the UFC as the first major sports organizations to announce specific plans to return to play since the coronavirus pandemic shut down U.S. sports in mid-March. Meanwhile, Little League announced it would be canceling its World Series for the first time ever.

On the Continent, France’s economy shrank an eye-popping 5.8%, the biggest quarterly drop since 1949. In Spain, the contraction was 5.2%. Germany is projecting that its economy, the eurozone’s biggest, will shrink 6.3% this year.

Unemployment in Europe has reached 7.4%, the statistics agency Eurostat reported. However, big job-protection programs run by governments are temporarily keeping millions of Europeans on payrolls, sparing them from the monumental layoffs the U.S. is seeing.

This week, the U.S. estimated its economy shrank at a 4.8% annual rate in the first three months of the year, the sharpest quarterly drop since the 2008 financial crisis. The current quarter is expected to be much worse, with a staggering 40% drop projected.

Still, analysts saw a glimmer of hope in the way new unemployment claims have fallen for four straight weeks. Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, said the wave of layoffs at vulnerable businesses such as restaurants, hotels and stores may have largely run its course.

“Thankfully, for now, the economic contagion seems to have plateaued,” Stettner said. “But we’re still at a level that is a mortal threat to the nation’s financial well-being.”

Across the U.S., many governors have taken steps to gradually reopen their economies, amid impatience among Americans who complain their livelihoods are being destroyed and their rights trampled.

In Michigan, hundreds of protesters returned to the Capitol to denounce Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order and business restrictions. The Republican-led Michigan House refused to extend the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration and voted to authorize a lawsuit challenging Whitmer’s authority and actions to combat the pandemic.

But even in states where businesses are being allowed to reopen, some workers are uneasy about returning.

Lacey Ward, an Omaha hairstylist, said she is worried that the Nebraska governor’s decision to let salons reopen on May 4 could put her and her family at risk. She would prefer to collect unemployment until the danger subsides.

“I feel like we are literally the guinea pigs in this situation,” she said.

Tyler Price, furloughed in March from his job at Del Frisco’s Grille in a Nashville suburb, has been asked to come back but is wary, especially since he is susceptible to respiratory infections.

“Even with every precaution taken, I’m highly at risk,” he said. “The fact that my job is just, ‘Come on up, make some money,’ it’s insane. It’s absolutely insane to ask that of people.”

Finding enough workers willing to return is proving to be a challenge for Jennifer Holliday, manager at a restaurant in Oklahoma City that will reopen its dining room Friday. Many of her employees are not returning calls or messages.

“There are some who want to just ride it out and take the unemployment,” she said.

___

Source: Associated Press – DAVID CRARY, CHRISTOPHER RUGABER and JOHN LEICESTER

via The true economic picture of Americans filing for unemployment is almost certainly much worse than the staggering 30 million reported — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Additional 11-Pages of FBI Documents Unsealed – Biggest Surprise: President Obama Implicated… — The Last Refuge

This afternoon Judge Emmet Sullivan unsealed an additional 11-pages of documents showing more background information about how the FBI was targeting former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn.  [Court pdf Here]  Also embedded below.

The release today is even more revealing than the handwritten notes released last night; and specifically President Obama’s “by the book” statement on January 5, 2017, takes on an entirely new light.  They may not realize it yet, but this release implicates Obama.

(L-R) Peter Strzok, James Comey, President Obama, Andrew McCabe and Bill Priestap

Within the release we discover an “Electronic Communication” or “EC” from the Washington FBI field office recommending to close the FBI investigation of General Flynn on January 4, 2017, due to “no derogatory information.” However, FBI Agent Peter Strzok immediately responds to the FBI team [main headquarters] saying: “don’t do it yet’… and the plot unfolds.

There are FBI codenames within the release that need some explanation prior to review:

  • Crossfire Hurricane (CH) is the overall investigation that began in July 2016
  • Crossfire Typhoon (CT) is George Papadopoulos.
  • Crossfire Razor (CR) is Michael Flynn.
  • Cross Wind is still unknown. [Could be a person, or a subset of the case]

Let’s take a walk through the information starting with the FBI electronic communication.

First it is valuable to note three points from the first page:

  1. “DOJSCO” – The Special Counsel Office had this information from the outset.  That means everyone in/around the Mueller investigation already knew this information.  That also means that Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein was aware of it.
  2. Pay close attention to the dates.  This EC was written on January 4, 2017.  Dates are critical.  When you compare the text messages and emails from Peter Strzok and other participants always refer to the dates to tell the big story.
  3. Note the framework for the investigation itself was centered around Michael Flynn violating FARA (Foreign Agent Registration Act) laws based on a fraudulent premise of Flynn working for Russian interests.  The FBI using FARA is a critical point.  FARA was used as the primary justification by the DOJ and FBI for all political surveillance.

The FBI Washington Field Office says they are going to close the investigation of General Flynn because there is no derogatory information as a result of multiple investigative inquires:

The EC document then describes their work with Confidential Human Source (CHS) Stefan Halper.  Interestingly, Halper lied to the FBI and told them he had attended an event with Michael Flynn in Moscow and was a direct eye-witness.  “During the debriefing the CTH relayed an incident s/he witnessed”…. Halper never attended the Moscow event; he lied to the FBI.

The EC notes the FBI is closing this investigation.  However, Peter Strzok goes bananas and immediately starts texting FBI officials to keep the investigation open….

Which leads to a 2:22pm message where Peter Strzok notes “7th floor involved”.  That means FBI Director James Comey is now engaged on the issue.

James Comey being actively engaged is important.  Previously Comey said he was unaware of what they were doing…  Additionally this text and activity is January 4, 2017.

The very next day, January 5th, James Comey goes to the White House for a meeting with President Obama and Vice-President Biden.

January 5th is the White House meeting where National Security Advisor Susan Rice, FBI Director James Comey (Crossfire Hurricane), and Deputy AG Sally Yates (Flynn FARA) are talking to President Obama about the status of the Flynn FBI investigation and President Obama says “by the book”.

  • 1/4/17 – FBI wants to close investigation.
  • 1/4/17 – Peter Strzok says no wait… I have a plan.
  • 1/4/17 – James Comey involved. “7th Floor Involved”
  • 1/5/17 – James Comey goes to White House.
  • 1/5/17 – President Obama says: OK, but make sure “by the book”. [Susan Rice Memo]

“President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book“.”

“The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would, “by the book.””

Susan Rice Memo

  • 1/6/17 – James Comey briefs President-elect Trump in Trump Tower on the Steele Dossier. [Comey Memos]
  • 1/6/17 – Christopher Steele deletes all files relating to his Trump Dossier.

It doesn’t take an investigative genius to see what took place here.

SIDEBAR on THIS ISSUE: This long forgotten letter from Susan Rice’s lawyer Kathryn Ruemmler (who was also the former White House Counsel to President Obama).  Notice that in Ruemmler’s letter she specifically says the January 5th meeting was about Flynn:

[Feb 23, 2018] The memorandum to file drafted by Ambassador Rice memorialized an important national security discussion between President Obama and the FBI Director and the Deputy Attorney General. President Obama and his national security team were justifiably concerned about potential risks to the Nation’s security from sharing highly classified information about Russia with certain members of the Trump transition team, particularly Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

[…] While serving as National Security Advisor, Ambassador Rice was not briefed on the existence of any FBI investigation into allegations of collusion between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia, and she later learned of the fact of this investigation from Director Comey’s subsequent public testimony.

(Reummler Letter)

How could Ms. Susan Rice be aware of a “national security compromise”, “particularly surrounding Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn” after a “briefing by the FBI”, if she was “not briefed on the existence of an FBI investigation”?  With all of this information, these stories are falling apart.

I’ll pause there before explaining more….

Here are the 11-pages released.  There is a lot more in there.

.

via Additional 11-Pages of FBI Documents Unsealed – Biggest Surprise: President Obama Implicated… — The Last Refuge

“I Don’t Need a Lecture” – Pelosi Snaps at Reporter For Calling Out Double Standard of How She Treated Kavanaugh Compared to Biden on Sexual Assault Allegations (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi snapped at a reporter who called out the double standard for how she treated Brett Kavanaugh compared to Biden on sexual assault allegations.

Pelosi interrupted the reporter when she pointed out the Speaker demanded an investigation on Kavanaugh after Christine Blasey Ford came forward with evidence-free accusations against the SCOTUS nominee yet holds Biden to another standard.

“Let me just say, I respect your question and I don’t need a lecture or a speech,” Pelosi said in a condescending tone.

Instead of answering the question, Pelosi twisted herself into a pretzel trying to explain why Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations are different than Christine Ford’s.

The Speaker then went straight to her rehearsed talking points and said she was proud to endorse Biden for president.

WATCH:

Pelosi claimed there was no record of Biden sexually assaulting Tara Reade per his former colleagues.

However, according to a report by the Daily Caller, Tara Reade says she filed a complaint in 1993 — and that this complaint would prove that former Biden aides Dennis Toner and Ted Kaufman have lied on the record when they denied they knew her.

via “I Don’t Need a Lecture” – Pelosi Snaps at Reporter For Calling Out Double Standard of How She Treated Kavanaugh Compared to Biden on Sexual Assault Allegations (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Devin Nunes Discusses Latest Flynn Revelations Showing Stunning FBI Corruption… — The Last Refuge

Devin Nunes appears for an interview with Lou Dobbs to discuss his perspective on the latest stunning revelations around the Flynn case.  Nunes outlines the importance of looking at the big picture and also considering how the same FBI that was investigating Flynn was purposefully leaking to allies in the media.

Nunes is pretty fired-up in this interview about the scale of corruption the recently released documents highlight.

.

FARA was always the way the Obama Administration IC apparatus, writ large, would legally justify political surveillance. [FARA = FISA] Hence Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, knowing purpose of DOJ-NSD, who ran FARA/FISA operations, would not allow an inspector general.

This is why Flynn had to be removed at all costs.

Obama-era political surveillance was being done through the intelligence apparatus (including FBI contractors) since 2012; with FARA as a justification for FISA abuse when needed. Flynn’s mere existence in the administration would have exposed that background surveillance network.

 

via Devin Nunes Discusses Latest Flynn Revelations Showing Stunning FBI Corruption… — The Last Refuge

April—30 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth, with all your heart; for consider how great things he hath done for you.—1 Samuel 12:24.

How truly affectionate was this pastoral advice of the prophet to Israel, in the close of recapitulating Israel’s history, and God’s love over them! My soul! take this portion from Israel’s history, and apply it to thine own; for the argument, and the reason upon which the argument is founded, are one and the same, and thou wilt find the same causes, both from interest and from received mercies from Christ, to form the same conclusion. But at what part of thine history wilt thou begin, or where wilt thou end, in considering “what great things” thy God, thy Jesus, hath done for thee? Wilt thou open with the consideration of God’s mercies toward thee in nature, or providence, or grace? What arithmetic will be competent to score the vast account, even in a thousandth degree, of either of those departments, much more if thou wert to study the subject in all! Who indeed can be sufficient to note them down, or to state in order, as they passed before him, the numberless events which testified divine favour, during the long season of thine unregeneracy? What a long volume might be formed, in nature only, of the Lord’s watchfulness, providings, preservings, and ordinations, in making all minister and become subservient to our welfare! Oh! it is blessed to consider, even if it were here only, what great things the Lord hath done for us. And while we mark the footsteps of his love, and note our wanderings from him; when we trace back the wonderful subject of distinguishing mercy, and call to mind the graves of some, yea, many, with whom were spent our youthful days, while we remain not only the spared, but, we hope, the saved monuments of free sovereign grace and mercy; well may we exclaim, with one of old, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who redeemeth thy life from destruction, and crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies!” And if from the outer court of nature and providence, our souls enter into the inner court of grace, and there mark down, since the day of our regeneracy and the Lord’s effectual calling, what great things he hath done for us, surely it would tire the arm of an angel to write the whole account. Precious Lord Jesus! in thee, and by thee, and from thee, all our mercies flow. Thou art the first, the last, the best, the comprehensive gift of God; the channel of all blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, through whom all the streams come, from Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and through whom all love and praise return; not only the channel through whom they come, but the substance in whom they centre. Thou hast purchased them, and they are enjoyed wholly from our union with thee; and their continuation in grace here, and glory to all eternity, must result from thee: all the covenant mercies of God in Christ are “the sure mercies of David” on thy account! Think, then, my soul! what causes thou art surrounded with, in the great things God hath done for thee, to fear the Lord, and serve him in truth, with all thine heart! Close then the month as thou hopest to close thy life on earth, with this sweet scripture; and as thou didst open the month in contemplating “the Lord thy righteousness,” as the same whereby thou art enjoined to call him, so now let thy last meditation, before thou droppest to sleep in ending the month, be with the same. “He is” (as Moses told Israel) “thy praise and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.” Be this, therefore, thy daily meditation, and thine evening hymn: “to fear the Lord, and serve him; for consider how great things he hath done for thee.” Amen.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 131–132). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

Thursday, April 30, 2020 | Reformation 21

Luke 10:25-37

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

People love the parable of the Good Samaritan. In fact, the parable of the Good Samaritan is part of our cultural consciousness. When a stranger shows up to help someone change a tire he is dubbed a “Good Samaritan.” Various states now have what are called “Good Samaritan Laws” which make it a crime to stand by and fail to render reasonable assistance to someone in trouble. Even people who don’t claim to be Christian often times know at least parts of the story – An outsider helping a stranger while the insiders pass by unconcerned.

People are impressed with the morals portrayed in Jesus’ story. But this is also how so many have misunderstood the parable. For instance, some who hold to a version of the social gospel often point to this parable as THE sum and substance of Christianity – “Christianity is all about helping others and making the world a better place.” They say, “Christianity isn’t about the Bible, it’s not about what you believe, it’s not about seeking conversions. Being a Christian is all about helping people and this parable proves it.”

But the Parable of the Good Samaritan does not appear out of nowhere. Jesus did not proclaim this parable simply to give us all a way to make the world a better place. Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan in a specific context to address a specific theological and ethical issue.

What becomes clear is that Jesus is using the parable of the Good Samaritan to carry some major theological freight. This parable is challenge to consider what it is that fits men and women for the presence of God. Or, more simply put, what is it that makes sinners okay with God?

The ethical dimension of the parable presses Christians to consider their faithfulness to the command to love our neighbor as ourselves. But if you miss what Jesus is doing in the theological here then the ethical application will be worthless.

By the time Jesus delivered the Parable of the Good Samaritan the enthusiasm that characterized the earlier stages of his ministry had peaked and he had become the target of growing hostility, especially from the Jewish religious leadership. The passage is introduced by the appearance of an expert in the law, who came with the intention of catching the Lord in some controversial or erroneous statement that could become the basis of an accusation against him.

Luke tells us that expert in God’s law sought to put Jesus “to the test.” In other words, he was not seeking truth but an opportunity to accuse our Lord. The question is one which was asked Jesus frequently: “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Of course Jesus had the luxury of knowing the man’s heart. So he answered the legal expert’s question in a way that would expose his errant assumptions about sin and salvation.

It may be fairly said that the Parable of the Good Samaritan has two central purposes: 1) To expose sinners to the demands of God’s law and 2) To teach God’s people how to live lives of love.

For sinners, like the legal expert in Luke’s account, who believe they can justify themselves, God’s law expounded in the parable reveals the overwhelming requirement of self-forgetful, risk taking, sacrificial love for neighbor. It is the recognition of this extraordinary demand of God’s law that leads the sinner to realize that he cannot gain eternal life by keeping the commandments of God. The standard of God’s law is too great for any sinner to be justified by it. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” was the wrong question.

For the people of God – those who have been justified by the merits of Christ – the law of God is a means by which they learn to live lives worthy of the gospel. The salvation of God is both the free gift of Christ’s righteousness to the unrighteous and the transformation of our lives into ones of loving obedience. And how do we sum up obedience to God’s law? To obey the law of God means to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Ernest Gordon was a British army officer in World War 2. He had been captured by the Japanese and confined to the infamous prison camp on the River Kwai. Late in the war, as Gordon and other prisoners of war traveled through the jungles of Asia, they happened upon a train full of wounded Japanese soldiers who were close to death.

Out of love for Christ Gordon and many of his fellow British officers began to administer aid to these enemy soldiers. One of the fellow officers was deeply offended by the efforts to help. He said, “What bloody fools you all are! Don’t you realize that those are the enemy?”

Those helping the wounded certainly did realize it. But in response Gordon tried to explain their actions by referring to the parable of the Good Samaritan. The protesting officer said – “That’s different! That’s in the Bible. These are the swine who’ve starved us and beaten us. They’ve murdered our comrades. These are our enemies.” To which Ernest Gordon replied, “Who is mine enemy? Isn’t he my neighbor?…Mine enemy is my neighbor.”

Source: Thursday, April 30, 2020

April 30, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

False Teaching Characterizes Those Who Do Not Belong to the Lord

Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness.” (2:19)

The last danger of false teaching mentioned here is that it fits those who are unsaved and ungodly.

Paul again makes his point by contrast. Nevertheless, he continues, the firm foundation of God stands. Unlike those who trust in a satanic scheme of religion, those who are truly saved, who are God’s spiritual children and genuine disciples of Jesus Christ, are part of the firm foundation of God.

In this context, the firm foundation of God seems most likely to refer to the church. In the previous letter to Timothy, Paul speaks of “the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15, emphasis added). The foundation of Christ’s church stands on the truth, “and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it” (Matt. 16:18).

On that promise, we have God’s seal. A sphragis (seal) was a sign of ownership, and God has placed His divine seal of ownership on the church. In the end times, those “who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads” will be tormented by the locusts (Rev. 9:4). It is also doubtless that God’s seal on their foreheads will protect believers from taking the mark of the beast (see Rev. 13:16).

God’s seal of ownership is on the church in two ways. First, every member of the body of Christ, the church, has God’s divine assurance of election, in that “the Lord knows those who are His.” The source of this quotation is not certain, but is possibly from the book of Numbers. When some Israelites were about to rebel against the Lord and His appointed leaders Moses and Aaron, Moses declared to Korah and the other rebels, “The Lord will show who is His, and who is holy, and will bring him near to Himself; even the one whom He will choose, He will bring near to Himself” (Num. 16:5).

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” Jesus assures us; “and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27–28). Like Satan, false teachers can cause great confusion and apprehension among God’s people, but they cannot corrupt or destroy His people, because “God has chosen [us] from the beginning for salvation” (2 Thess. 2:13a).

The New Testament is replete with such guarantees. “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me,” Jesus promises, “and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:37–40). God chose us for salvation in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4), and those “whom He [God] foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom. 8:29–30).

The second way in which God has placed His seal on the church is through personal sanctification, personal holiness. Paul therefore says, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness.” This quotation may be adapted from the same passage in the book of Numbers, in which Moses later warned the godly: “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing that belongs to them, lest you be swept away in all their sin” (Num. 16:26). Those who did not separate themselves from the wicked rebels were destroyed with them when “the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up” (v. 32).

This second aspect of sanctification is both an exhortation and an affirmation. The exhortation is: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19–20). Peter likewise admonishes, “Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” (1 Peter 1:15).

But our sanctification is also divinely affirmed. In the verse in 2 Thessalonians cited above, in which Paul assures believers that God has chosen them for salvation, he adds, “through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth” (2:13b). Despite our many failures and our frequent unfaithfulness, God will graciously complete our sanctification. “For I am confident of this very thing,” Paul testified, “that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).[1]


19 Nevertheless (mentoi, GK 3530; only here in Paul), God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription (lit., “bearing this seal,” sphragis, GK 5382; cf. Ro 4:11; 1 Co 9:2): “The Lord knows those who are his” (Nu 16:5 [LXX]). This is true about God (1 Sa 16:7), a comfort for believers (Ps 139), and a message of judgment to unbelievers (Mt 7:23). The second phrase is “everyone who confesses [names] the name of the Lord [cf. Joel 2:32] must turn away from wickedness” (cf. Nu 16:26 [LXX]). In 1 Timothy 6:19, Paul calls generosity “a firm foundation [themelion kalon, GK 2529] for the coming age.” “Solid” (stereos, GK 5104) occurs elsewhere in the NT only in Hebrews 5:12, 14 and 1 Peter 5:9.

The terms “solid foundation,” “stand firm,” and “seal” all highlight the unshakable nature of the truths of Scripture invoked by Paul (on “foundation,” see Quinn and Wacker, 683–86; on “seal,” see ibid., 661–63, 686). Here this refers to God’s knowledge (Augustine [Corrept. 7.16; The City of God 20.8] ties this in to the doctrine of election) and sovereign preservation of his own and the need for believers to base their Christian confession on true repentance and a resulting lifestyle. The “inscription” is perhaps that which would be written on a building, a common thing in ancient life (cf. the house metaphor in vv. 20–21).

What are the two foundational truths highlighted by Paul? First, despite growing defections and the resulting disillusionment, God is not deceived—he has known his own all along (Nu 16:5; cf. Jn 6:70–71; 12:4–6; 13:10; 17:12). The thrust of the present statement is clear: Hymenaeus, Philetus, and their company do not belong to God’s people (see comments at 3:13). Chained and nearing the end of his life, Paul draws comfort from the sovereign omniscience of God. Second, just as wilderness Israel had to distance itself from Korah’s rebellion, the Ephesian believers must separate themselves from the false teachers (Nu 16:26). Truth and falsehood must not be allowed to coexist.[2]


19 This observation poses a dilemma for the reader (Timothy first) that has actually been in the making since Paul’s paradoxical contrasting of his trials with the unbound “word of God” in 2:9. The tension has been maintained by the positive/negative contrasting of Timothy and the false teachers, and their respective messages: “the word of truth” (v. 15 = “the word of God,” v. 9) versus “their word” (v. 17). The strong affirmation of the power of God’s word and the contrast technique employed to this point lead to the statement of the danger of the heresy for believers, and to the dilemma: If this danger exists in the church of God, how can the church continue to exist? In the two images that follow, Paul addresses the theological antinomies magnified by the present stressful situation, not by resolving the tension, but instead by affirming the Lord’s control within the situation along with the believer’s responsibility to respond positively to that control.

In v. 19a Paul contrasts (“nevertheless”) the disruption caused by the heretics with the picture of a strong edifice constructed by God. The architectural term used here, “foundation,” reinforced by the adjective (“firm”) has various meanings elsewhere in the NT. Paul applied the term metaphorically in combination with other images in discussions of the formation of the church: in 1 Cor 3:10–13 Christ crucified is the “foundation”; in Eph 2:20, Christ is the cornerstone and the apostles and prophets the “foundation.” The term in this passage is left unspecified, which has generated several interpretations of “the foundation.” However, the orientation of the other Pauline uses75 and the parallel architectural description of the church in 1 Tim 3:15 (see discussion and notes) suggest that the reference here is to the church or the people of God. Just as the term could refer to a part of the foundation, the whole foundation, or even to the building,77 here in figurative usage the language of the part, denoting stability and strengthened by the adjective (“firm”), comes to represent the whole edifice built upon it.

In the themelios imagery an echo of Isa 28:16 is probable:

2 Tim 2:19a: “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation (themelios) stands firm”;

Isa 28:16 (LXX): Therefore thus says the Lord, “Behold, I lay for the foundations (themelia) of Zion a costly stone, a choice, a corner-stone, a precious stone, for its foundations (themelia); and he that believes on him shall by no means be ashamed.”

In the early church, this OT text became an important OT christological testimony (Rom 9:33; 1 Pet 2:6). Its application here as an ecclesiological testimony appears at first to be a departure from the christological trend, but it is rather an adaptation of it. Paul responds to the turbulent situation facing Timothy by drawing on the part of the well-known OT statement that emphasizes the certainty of God’s acts, and applies it to the stability of the church. Yet as the context suggests (2:8, 11), it is precisely the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that anchors this “foundation” and that can stabilize the tottering “faith of some” (v. 18); and the application of the Isaiah text elsewhere allows its fainter christological echo here to be heard. The reference to Isa 26:13 in the next part of the verse (see below) strengthens the likelihood that this echo of the Isaiah themelios text is intentional, however light.

In demonstration of the truth of the statement just made, Paul extends the architectural imagery further, by inviting Timothy to imagine a “seal” authenticating the foundation (v. 19b). Seals were used commonly to identify legal ownership of property and, like signatures in modern practice, to guarantee authenticity, genuineness and integrity or to preserve the secrecy of the contents of a letter or of some product. From the actual custom of placing a seal on something for these purposes (with a signet ring, cylinder seal, or carved stone) there developed the figurative use of the concept. In the NT both the literal (e.g. Matt 27:66; Rev 5:1; et al.) and figurative uses are evident: Paul speaks of the Corinthian believers as his “seal” of authentic apostleship (1 Cor 9:2) and of the Spirit as the “seal” of God’s ownership of the believer (verb; 2 Cor 1:22). In ecclesiological contexts, such as 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30, it is often argued that “sealing” refers to water baptism through which God’s ownership was professed and the Spirit conferred, but this is debatable and the linkage between the belief in the gift of God’s Spirit to believers and the rite of water baptism remains unclear.83 In any case, the emphasis is on that which the metaphor of sealing denotes, namely, ownership and authenticity. Similarly, in the present passage “seal” is used in a figurative sense to denote God’s ownership of “the foundation” (= the church) just mentioned. The metaphor functions flexibly here (for “sealing” did not usually pertain to stones), calling to mind a mark or inscription in the stone of the foundation that identifies the builder. Since the introduction of the imagery into this discourse is meant to assure Timothy of the permanence of God’s church despite the presence in it of false teachers and their followers, it is rather difficult to bring baptism into the thought of “sealing.”85

The content of the “seal” follows in two statements constructed of traditional biblical materials. These statements in effect bring together theology in what is affirmed and ethics in the response Timothy (and others) is called to make in the crisis situation. The first statement is:

2 Tim 2:19c: “the Lord knows those who are his” (egnō kyrios tous ontas autou).

This repeats the LXX wording of one part of Num 16:5, making only one change from “God” (ho theos) to “Lord” (kyrios):

Num 16:5: “And he spoke to Korah and all his assembly, saying, ‘God has visited and known those that are his (egnō ho theos tous ontas autou) and who are holy, and has brought them to himself; and whom he has chosen for himself, he has brought to himself’.”

The reason for that change is debated. But with the “stone Christology” already latent in the discourse, it seems likely that the shift from theos to kyrios reflects another case in which an OT feature linked with YHWH is transferred by Paul to Christ (cf. Titus 2:14). The anarthrous kyrios (frequent in the LXX and typical in Numbers) that occurs here is best explained as conforming to the LXX pattern.

Both the OT context and the present context must be compared to appreciate the full weight of the citation’s claim that “the Lord knows those who are his.” In both cases authority is disputed. Then, there is the issue of loyalty—to God in the OT context and to Christ in the present setting (vv. 9–13) and to their appointed servants. The situation in Numbers 16 is one of dispute and confrontation: Moses and Aaron, leaders chosen by God, had been challenged by Korah and his companions (Levites to whom the privilege of the priesthood had not been given), who demanded the right to serve God as priests in the community. In response, Moses declared that God knows those who truly belong to him, meaning the people God had chosen, and that he would make it known. Korah presented a challenge to Moses’ and Aaron’s authority, and in so doing rebelled against God; God confirmed his choice of Moses and Aaron by the destruction of Korah and all who sided with him.

The reader familiar with the OT background is compelled to view the present situation in a similar light: characters such as Hymenaeus and Philetus with their false teaching present the apostolic ministry with a leadership challenge. So, the points of contact are apparent. But how much of the paradigm is to be brought across to the situation in Ephesus? The result of the OT story was the dramatic destruction of the rebels; it is not hard to see how the story accessed by the citation might function as a warning in the way that the wilderness allusions in 1 Corinthians 10 did for the Corinthian community. The statement of Moses quoted here was a statement of vindication, and pointed forward to judgment. Because God distinguishes, one must ensure one’s proper alignment with him. Positively, for Timothy and other readers the force of the citation comes in the reminder that the Lord knows his people personally and will distinguish between true and false followers and preserve the community of faith formed around him. Finally, the OT story serves as a paradigm that acknowledges the rebellion of some within the community and the Lord’s continued presence within it; but the statement is both a consolation and a warning. Christ is present as protector and redeemer but also as a judge who will vindicate his truth and his people. The parenetic force of this reminder for Timothy (cf. 1:6–8) should not be missed.

The second segment of OT materials (2:19d) serves a function similar to 1 Cor 10:14, which follows the OT story there with the admonition to “flee from idolatry.” Here the next OT citation completes the content of the “seal”:

2 Tim 2:19d: and “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” (kai apostētō apo adikias pas ho onomazōn to onoma kyriou).

Echoes of several OT texts are possible in this statement, and they must be traced as we decide its thrust.

First, “to confess [name] the name of the Lord” is an idiom occurring in the LXX on several occasions.91 Although presumably the basic sense was to make entreaty to the Lord (more typically expressed with “call upon [the name of] the Lord”; cf. Rom 10:13), it denotes acknowledging the name of YHWH (Isa 26:13) or mentioning the name as if to summon him (Amos 6:10), and in one case is used to describe blasphemy of the Lord (Lev 24:16).

This variety of usage leads to two suggested sources of the phrase cited here. Most regard the reference as an echo of Isa 26:13, where a positive acknowledgment of God is implied:

Isa 26:13: “O Lord our God, take possession of us: O Lord, we know no other beside you: we name your name” (to onomo sou onomazomen).

In this case, the statement, extending the thought of the previous line, calls on the faithful to keep themselves separate from evil and so show their allegiance to God. If, however, “naming the name” intends an echo of Lev 24:16 (11), where the phrase is descriptive of blasphemy, the reference would be to the false teachers in the community, who are then to heed the warning of v. 19d and repent before judgment is executed:

Lev 24:16: “And he that names the name of the Lord, let him die the death” (onomazōn de to onoma kyriou thanatō thanatousthō).

While the presence of false teachers in the community makes contact with the Leviticus text tempting, an echo of Isa 26:13, where a positive acknowledgment of God is implied, is more likely. That acknowledgement signifies covenant membership. Only here, as in 1 Cor 1:2 and Rom 10:9–13, Christ the Lord has replaced YHWH as the object of confession and the determiner of covenant membership. The renewed contact made with the story in Numbers 16 at its point of climax (see below) strengthens this positive connection. It occurs where the people are instructed to choose sides. The command added to the “naming” text in 2 Tim 2:19d is:

“turn away from wickedness” (apostētō apo adikias).

This command in itself recalls several similar LXX texts, but due to the choice of adikias (“wickedness”) over anomian (“lawlessness”) might seem at first glance closest in form to the citation of Ps 6:9 preserved in Luke 13:27. Three differences from our text are to be noted: (1) Ps 6:9 (Luke 13:27) addresses the command to evildoers; (2) the speaker (David; in Luke it is Jesus describing eschatological judgment) is concerned to be separated from them; and (3) both Luke and 2 Timothy employ adikias instead of anomian:

Ps 6:9: “Depart from me all you who do lawlessness” (apostēte apʾ emou pantes hoi ergazomenoi tēn anomian);

Luke 13:27: “Depart from me all you workers of injustice” (apostēte apʾ emou pantes ergatai adikias);

2 Tim 2:19d: “turn away from wickedness” (apostētō apo adikias).

However that lexical choice is to be explained, the main difference is one of perspective. The personal perspective adopted in Ps 6:9 (“turn away from ME”; “YOU who do lawlessness”; also Luke 13:27) equates “separation” with judgment. The perspective adopted in 2 Timothy, however, compares more closely with that of Sir 17:26; Ps 33:15 and Prov 3:7, which equate “separation” with purity and a return to the Lord, so that “separation” from “wickedness” preserves the Lord’s people from judgment:

Sir 17:26: “Return to the Most High and turn away from wickedness” (apostrephe apo adikias).

The sharp focus on God’s people, and indeed on their identity as God’s people, as well as on their preservation, is produced by the allusion to Isa 26:13 and the image of “naming the Name.” The command of separation, although paralleled in various OT texts, is without a precise textual match. But bearing in mind the essential matter of perspective, the climactic command at the end of the story in Numbers (which would have been well known), that orders the people to separate from the rebels, does provide both the thematic (perspective) and verbal contact point (in the verb “turn away”). Num 16:26–27 reports the visit of Moses and the elders of Israel, at the Lord’s command, to Dathan and Abiram, companions of Korah, to urge the people to get away from the rebels before judgment:

“He said to the congregation, ‘Separate yourselves (aposchisthēte) from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, or you will be swept away for all their sins.’ So they got away (apestēsan) from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the entrance of their tents, together with their wives, their children, and their little ones.”

This concern—for the people of God to demonstrate their purity—exactly parallels Paul’s concern in the seal-response portion of 2:19c–d. The initial allusion to Num 16:5 draws Timothy into that dramatic OT story of identity where the specter of impending judgment has been raised. The two situations are sufficiently close, and the Korah-story was well enough known in Judaism and the early church. The parallels are obvious: challengers to God’s/the Lord’s representatives (Moses/Paul) have been named, and the people must choose sides, thereby establishing their identity. Consequently, the verbal contact in “turn away”/“depart from” should be taken seriously as an echo of the Korah-story’s climax: the OT story provides a narrative illustration of the concept of “wickedness” (adikia) and the narrative source that gives meaning to the command in v. 19d.

Thus following on from the warning that supplies the first part of the “seal,” the second citation calls Timothy and the faithful of the congregation (“all who name the name of the Lord”) to dissociate themselves completely from the opponents and their teachings (adikia). What the rest of the passage confirms, however, is that the fate of the false teachers is not yet fixed, for they too may turn from evil (see below). The general call to separate from evil that occurs throughout the OT is given specific shape in this instance by the intertextual play between the apostasy faced by Timothy (and Timothy’s own temptation) and the story of Korah’s rebellion in the wilderness. As in the use of wilderness motifs in 1 Corinthians 10, the present passage issues a dire warning by way of Israel’s experience of God’s wrath. But throughout Paul’s churches the christological transfer has been completed and Christ is the Lord of the church’s confession (1 Cor 1:2; Rom 10:13). The Christ event and his installation as Lord make it possible for Paul to interact with this OT textual background christologically, and in the process to define covenant identity and purity of faith in relation to Christ. The equal need for the Lord’s grace and kindness is not passed over but is left to a later point (v. 25).[3]


2:19 / As always in Paul, Satan does not get the last word; God does. Just as in line 4 of the hymn/poem in verse 13, so here, the final word is not the faithlessness of some (v. 18), but the abiding faithfulness of God. With a strong adversative nevertheless, Paul affirms that, despite some defections and falling away, God’s solid foundation stands firm.

It is not altogether certain what, if anything, Paul intended by this metaphor. In other places (see disc. on 1 Tim. 3:15) Paul uses the building metaphor for the church and makes Christ (1 Cor. 3:10–12) or the apostles and prophets (Eph. 3:20) the foundation. In light of the further metaphor in verses 20–21, that may be what he has in mind. But it is altogether likely that he does not “intend” some specific point of reference. The emphasis, as the rest of the verse shows, is on God’s proprietary ownership, on the certainty of eschatological triumph for those who are his. Since the metaphor stands in sharp contrast to the fact that the faith of some is being overturned, Paul clearly intends it to affirm the opposite: What God is doing in Ephesus, saving a people of his own (cf. Titus 2:14) for eternal glory, cannot be thwarted by the activity of the false teachers. In that sense, of course, the implied “building” refers to the church in Ephesus, his chosen people (v. 10).

Those who are Christ’s and cannot be overthrown are recognizable by a double inscription. The Greek literally says, “having this seal” (on this word, see NIDNTT, vol. 3, pp. 497–501). What is intended is the “seal” of ownership that the architect or owner would have inscribed on the foundation stone (similar in some ways to our modern cornerstones).

The double inscription reads: “The Lord knows those who are his” (cf. Num. 16:5, lxx, from Korah’s rebellion). God’s building rests not on the shaky foundation that we know God but that he knows us (cf. 1 Cor. 8:1–3). This is the primary ground of all Christian confidence. God’s action is the prior one: He knows those who are his.

But God’s prior action demands response. Therefore the inscription also reads: “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” (the language, lit., “to name the name of the Lord,” comes from the lxx—Lev. 24:16; Isa. 26:13; the sentiment of the second part is found in Ps. 34:14; Prov. 3:7). Those who are known by God are in turn expected to turn away from wickedness, that is, depart from Hymenaeus and Philetus and their teaching, who are recognizably not God’s people because they persist in wrongdoing. In their case, false teaching has led to moral corruption (cf. 1 Tim. 6:3–10).

Thus, despite the devastating inroads made by the false teachers, Timothy and the church are to be heartened by this sure word (cf. also how the next two paragraphs conclude: 2:26 and 3:9).[4]


The Firm Foundation

2 Timothy 2:19

But the firm foundation of God stands fast with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’, and ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.’

In English, we use foundation in a double sense. We use it to mean the basis on which a building is erected, and also in the sense of an association, a college, a city which has been founded by someone. For instance, we talk about the foundation of a house; and we also say that King’s College, Cambridge, is a foundation of Henry VI. Greek used the word themelios in the same two ways, and the foundation of God here means the Church, the association which he has founded.

Paul goes on to say that the Church has a certain inscription on it. The word he uses is sphragis, whose usual meaning is seal. The sphragis is the seal which proves genuineness or ownership. The seal on a sack of goods proved that the contents were genuine and had not been interfered with, and it also indicated the ownership and the source of the goods. But sphragis had other uses. It was used to denote the brandmark, what we would call the trademark. Galen, the Greek doctor, speaks of the sphragis on a certain phial of eye ointment, meaning the mark which showed what brand of eye ointment the phial contained. Still further, the sphragis was the architect’s mark. Architects always put their mark on a monument, or a statue, or a building, to show that they were responsible for its design. The sphragis can also be the inscription which indicates the purpose for which a building has been built.

The Church has a sphragis which shows at once what it is designed to be. Paul gives the sign on the Church in two quotations. But the way in which these two quotations are made is very illuminating in regard to the manner in which Paul and the early Church used Scripture. The two quotations are: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’ and ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.’ The interesting thing is that neither is a literal quotation from any part of Scripture.

The first is a reminiscence of a saying of Moses to the rebellious friends and associates of Korah in the wilderness days. When they gathered themselves together against him, Moses said: ‘The Lord will make known who is his’ (Numbers 16:5). But that Old Testament text was read in the light of the saying of Jesus in Matthew 7:22: ‘On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?” Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.” ’ The Old Testament text is, as it were, retranslated into the words of Jesus.

The second is another reminiscence of the Korah story. It was Moses’ command to the people: ‘Turn away from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs’ (Numbers 16:26). But that, too, is read in the light of the words of Jesus in Luke 13:27, where he says to those who falsely claim to be his followers: ‘Go away from me, all you evildoers.’

Two things emerge. The early Christians always read the Old Testament in the light of the words of Jesus, and they were not interested in verbal niceties; but to any problem they brought the general sense of the whole range of Scripture. These are still excellent principles by which to read and use Scripture.

The two texts give us two broad principles about the Church.

The first tells us that the Church consists of those who belong to God, who have given themselves to him in such a way that they no longer possess themselves and the world no longer possesses them, but God possesses them.

The second tells us that the Church consists of those who have turned away from wickedness. That is not to say that it consists of perfect people. If that were so, there would be no Church. It has been said that the great interest of God is not so much in where someone has reached as in the direction in which that person is facing. And the Church consists of those whose faces are turned away from wickedness and towards righteousness. They may often fall, and the goal may sometimes seem distressingly far away, but their faces are always set in the right direction.

The Church consists of those who belong to God and have dedicated themselves to the struggle for righteousness.[5]


2:19. But God’s firm foundation stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord turn away from wrongdoing.’

In contrast to the disruption and disturbance caused by the false teachers, Paul assures God’s people that there is a ‘firm foundation’—God’s unchanging purposes for his people revealed in his eternal Word. It is possible that the ‘foundation’ here refers to God’s election (Calvin) or to the church (Stott, Knight). But the emphasis is on the constancy of God and the certainty that he will gather for himself a people, in spite of the defections of some. God’s people, therefore, should not be shaken when they encounter false teaching and apostasy. God is steadfast. He will complete the work he has begun.

The foundation, furthermore, is marked with a ‘seal’ of ownership or attestation. God’s character and purposes are inextricably bound up with his Word. The Scriptures, then, are the seal that infallibly attests to God’s purposes. Paul here quotes two passages in particular. The first assures God’s people that the eternal destiny of the elect is secure: ‘The Lord knows those who are his.’ As Jesus said, ‘I know my own and my own know me’ (John 10:14). Though some depart, Christ will preserve his righteous ones. These are great words of assurance. The second passage asserts the human responsibility in the light of divine sovereignty—those who belong to God must ‘turn away from wrongdoing’. This is the requirement of God—repentance. But it is also the evidence of election. The true people of God will turn away from false teaching and the immorality associated with it. Thus they will show themselves to be tried and true, and useful in God’s service—as the following metaphor makes clear.[6]


Ver. 19.—Howbeit for nevertheless, A.V.; firm foundation of God standeth for foundation of God standeth sure, A.V.; this for the (1611 copy), A.V.; the Lord for Christ, A.V. and T.R.; unrighteousness for iniquity, A.V. The firm foundation of God standeth; i.e., though the faith of some is thrown down like a wall built with untempered mortar, the foundation which God has laid fast and firm stands unmoved and unmovable. This is equally true of individual souls (the αἱ στερεαὶ ψυχαί of Chrysostom), and of the Church, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. Compare our Lord’s saying, when the Pharisees were offended at him, “Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15:13); and those in John 10:28, 29; and 1 John 2:19. Θεμέλιος in classical Greek is always an adjective agreeing with λίος expressed or understood. In the New Testament it is used only as a substantive (Luke 6:48; 1 Cor. 3:10; 1 Tim. 6:19, etc.). Here the word seems to be employed, not so much to denote a foundation on which a house was to be built, as to denote strength and solidity. The elect of God are like foundation-stones, which may not be moved. Having this seal. In Rev. 12:14 the twelve foundation-stones of the new Jerusalem were each inscribed with the name of an apostle. In like manner there are inscriptions, of the nature of seals, on God’s strong foundations, showing their immutable condition. One is, “The lord knoweth them that are his,” taken verbatim from the LXX of Numb. 16:5; the other is, “Let every one that nameth the Name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.” This is nowhere to be found in the Old Testament. The first part of the verse is indeed equivalent to Κύριε … τὸ ὀνομά σου ὀνομάζομεν in Isa. 26:13, but there is nothing to answer to the second part. The passages quoted by commentators from Numb. 16:26 and Isa. 52:11 are far too general to indicate any particular reference. Possibly the motto is one of those “faithful savings” before referred to. The two inscriptions, taken together, show the two sides of the Christian standing—God’s election, and man’s holiness (comp. 1 John 1:6; 3:7, 8).[7]


19. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth firm. We know too well, by experience, how much scandal is produced by the apostasy of those who at one time professed the same faith with ourselves. This is especially the case with those who were extensively known, and who had a more brilliant reputation than others; for, if any of the common people apostatize, we are not so deeply affected by it. But they who in the ordinary opinion of men held a distinguished rank, having been formerly regarded as pillars, cannot fall in this manner, without involving others in the same ruin with themselves; at least, if their faith has no other support. This is the subject which Paul has now in hand; for he declares that there is no reason why believers should lose heart, although they see those persons fall, whom they were wont to reckon the strongest.

He makes use of this consolation, that the levity or treachery of men cannot hinder God from preserving his Church to the last. And first he reminds us of the election of God, which he metaphorically calls a foundation, expressing by this word the firm and enduring constancy of it. Yet all this tends to prove the certainty of our salvation, if we are of the elect of God. As if he had said, “The elect do not depend on changing events, but rest on a solid and immovable foundation; because their salvation is in the hand of God.” For as “every plant which the heavenly Father hath not planted must be rooted up,” (Matt. 15:13,) so a root, which has been fixed by his hand, is not liable to be injured by any winds or storms.

First of all, therefore, let us hold this principle, that, amidst so great weakness of our flesh, the elect are nevertheless beyond the reach of danger, because they do not stand by their own strength, but are founded on God. And if foundations laid by the hand of men have so much firmness, how much more solid will be that which has been laid by God himself? I am aware that some refer this to doctrine, “Let no man judge of the truth of it from the unsteadfastness of men;” but it may easily be inferred from the context, that Paul speaks of the Church of God, or of the elect.

Having this seal. The word signaculum (which denotes either “a seal” or “the print of a seal”) having led into a mistake some people who thought that it was intended to denote a mark or impress, I have translated it sigillum, (a seal,) which is less ambiguous. And, indeed, Paul means, that under the secret guardianship of God, as a signet, is contained the salvation of the elect, as Scripture testifies that they are “written in the book of life.” (Ps. 69:28; Philip. 4:3.)

The Lord knoweth who are his. This clause, together with the word seal, reminds us, that we must not judge, by our own opinion, whether the number of the elect is great or small; for what God hath sealed he wishes to be, in some respect, shut up from us. Besides, if it is the prerogative of God to know who are his, we need not wonder if a great number of them are often unknown to us, or even if we fall into mistakes in making the selection.

Yet we ought always to observe why and for what purpose he makes mention of a seal; that is, when we see such occurrences, let us instantly call to remembrance what we are taught by the Apostle John, that “they who went out from us were not of us.” (1 John 2:19.) Hence arises a twofold advantage. First, our faith will not be shaken, as if it depended on men; nor shall we be even dismayed, as often happens, when unexpected events take place. Secondly, being convinced that the Church shall nevertheless be safe, we shall more patiently endure that the reprobate go away into their own lot, to which they were appointed; because there will remain the full number, with which God is satisfied. Therefore, whenever any sudden change happens among men, contrary to our opinion and expectation, let us immediately call to remembrance, “The Lord knoweth who are his.”

Let every one that calleth on the name of Christ depart from iniquity. As he formerly met the scandal by saying, “Let not the revolt of any man produce excessive alarm in believers;” so now, by holding out this example of hypocrites, he shews that we must not sport with God by a feigned profession of Christianity. As if he had said, “Since God thus punishes hypocrites by exposing their wickedness, let us learn to fear him with a sincere conscience, lost anything of that kind should happen to us. Whoever, therefore, calleth upon God, that is, professeth to be, and wisheth to be reckoned, one of the people of God, let him keep at a distance from all iniquity.” For to “call on the name of Christ” means here to glory in Christ’s honourable title, and to boast of belonging to his flock; in the same manner as to have “the name of a man called on a woman” (Isa. 4:1) means that the woman is accounted to be his lawful wife; and to have “the name of Jacob called on” all his posterity (Gen. 48:16) means that the name of the family shall be kept up in uninterrupted succession, because the race is descended from Jacob.[8]


Ultimate certainties (2:19)

19. In contrast to the insecurity of the false teaching, the stability of Christian doctrine is brought into focus. The opening word Nevertheless represents the Greek particle mentoi and brings out the certainty of this part of the antithesis. In the statement, God’s solid foundation stands firm, the emphasis falls on the immovable character of God’s foundation. It is never in doubt. It forms a vivid contrast to the defection which the false teachers represent.

The metaphor of a building to represent the Christian church appealed strongly to the apostle (cf. 1 Cor. 3:10–15; Eph. 2:19–22; 1 Tim. 3:15), and in the present case was admirably suited to inspire Timothy with renewed confidence in the ultimate triumph of the church. The foundation may here be the church as a whole, or the Ephesian community in particular, or the truth of God, or the deposit of faith. The word seems to be used to represent the whole structure, in order to show that the major question was the security of the building as a whole and not a few isolated ‘stones’.

It is generally supposed that the ancient practice of engraving inscriptions on buildings to indicate their purpose is alluded to in the phrase sealed with this inscription (sphragis is a word used twice elsewhere by Paul in the sense of authentication; see Rom. 4:11; 1 Cor. 9:2). God has put his own seal on his church by a double inscription. There may be a confusion of metaphors here and the thought may have passed from the building to the sealing of individual members. If so, this would bring it closer to the normal meaning of sphragis, but since verses 20 and 21 continue the metaphor of a building or household, the former view seems more probable.

The first inscription (The Lord knows those who are his) comes from Numbers 16:5, from the account of the revolt of Korah and his associates, in which the people are reminded that the Lord is well able to differentiate between the true and the false. This knowledge of God’s infallible discernment is intended to provide strong encouragement to Timothy and all the others perplexed by unworthy elements in the church. It brings also its own restraint on all who take the responsibility of judgment upon themselves. Although it is not the primary purpose of this quotation to draw attention to the predestination of God, this thought cannot be entirely absent since the knowledge of God is so inseparable from his purposes. The writer’s main intention, however, is to show that God unerringly knows his true children.

The second inscription (Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness) is not a precise citation although it is possibly intended to express the sentiment of Numbers 16:26, from the same context as the first. But Isaiah 52:11 is nearer the sentiment and the lxx uses the same verb for turn away (aphistēmi) as here. The verb is in the imperative mood (apostētō), which as Bengel remarked implies the power to depart from wickedness, although this is somewhat obscured by the niv translation must turn away from wickedness. The reading of the received text on which the av ‘the name of Christ’ is based is not original since all the uncials and versions have the reading Lord. To name the name of the Lord implied for Israel identification with his covenant, and all true Israelites would wish to avoid what he abhors. The thought seems to be that since men like Hymenaeus and Philetus had not turned away from iniquity, as was clear from their injurious doctrine, they cannot be God’s true children.[9]


2:19 God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone. Lit., “the firm foundation of God stands.” The NLT converts the metaphor to a simile and makes explicit what is being compared. The Greek is open, however. It could be the truth (NLT), the church (1 Tim 3:15), God, Christ, the apostles, or some combination of these (Eph 2:19–22).

inscription. This translates sphragis [4973, 5382], meaning “seal, the impress of a signet, certification” (Rom 4:11; 1 Cor 9:2).

The Lord knows. The aorist (egnō [1097, 1182]) in this context is timeless (Porter 1989:237).[10]


2:19 “firm foundation of God” God’s people as a building built on Christ as the foundation is one of Paul’s favorite metaphors (cf. 1 Cor. 3:10ff; Eph. 2:20ff; 1 Tim. 3:15). In this context it refers to God’s truth remaining sure and solid in contrast to the false teachers. The believer’s hope is in the character of God and His trustworthiness to His promises.

© “stands” This is a PERFECT ACTIVE INDICATIVE. The United Bible Societies A Handbook on Paul’s Letters to Timothy and Titus, p. 210, lists four options as to the identification of this “foundation.”

  1. Christ Himself, the cornerstone (cf. Isa. 28:16; Rom. 9:33; 1 Cor. 3:10–12)
  2. the message about Christ (cf. Eph. 2:20)
  3. the Church, the body of Christ
  4. the Truth (sound teaching)

© “having this seal” This is possibly an allusion to the ancient custom of inscribing the purpose of the building on the cornerstone. Others see it as a reference to an official wax seal of ownership (cf. John 3:33; 6:27; Rom. 4:11; 15:28; 1 Cor. 9:2; 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30; Rev. 7:3–8).

© “The Lord knows those who are His” This may be an allusion to Num. 16:5 in the Septuagint, a historical setting of factions and division, as well as John 10:14, 27.

© “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord” This may be a purposeful ambiguity. Does the term “Lord” refer to YHWH or Jesus? In the OT, calling on YHWH’s name was a metaphor of worship. The NT author adopts this use of “the name” as a way of (1) asserting Jesus’ deity; (2) acknowledging Him as Savior and Master and (3) implying that to call on Him is to emulate His actions and character in daily life (as well as worship events).

This is a PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVE which refers to those who continue to claim a relationship with Jesus. The name in Hebrew was a way of affirming the character of a person. If believers call on Jesus’ name to be saved and reflect His name as followers, then they must believe and live as He did!

© “abstain from wickedness” This is an AORIST ACTIVE IMPERATIVE. This may be an allusion to Num. 16:26–27 in the Septuagint. In context this obviously refers to associations with the godless false teachers and their followers.[11]


19. Does this mean then that God’s true church can be destroyed? Says Paul, Nevertheless, the solid foundation of God stands firm, having this seal:

The Lord knows those who are his,

and

Let everyone who names the name of the Lord stand aloof from unrighteousness.

False prophets shall lead many astray (Matt. 24:11). In fact, if it were possible, they would lead astray even the elect (Matt. 24:24). But the Good Shepherd knows his sheep, and gives everlasting life to them, and they shall certainly never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of his hands (John 10:14, 28). Since God is in the midst of her, God’s city shall not be moved (Ps. 46:5). His kingdom cannot be shaken (Heb. 12:28). Though Paul has just pointed out that certain individuals have wandered away from the truth and have upset the faith of some (verse 18), it must ever be borne in mind that they are not all Israel that are of Israel (Rom. 9:6), and that, in spite of defections, “all Israel” shall be saved (Rom. 11:26; cf. 1 John 2:19).

In similar vein he now writes, “Nevertheless, the solid (or compact; cf. 1 Peter 5:9; Heb. 5:12, 14) foundation of God stands firm” (ἕστηκεν third per. sing., perfect indicative). But what is meant by this “solid foundation”? Among the many answers that have been given—such as, the Old and New Testaments, the bodily resurrection, the Christian religion, etc.—the following are, perhaps, the most important: (1) Election from eternity; (2) Christ himself; (3) the church.

With respect to (1): This idea cannot be altogether discarded. Paul has just made mention of election (verse 10). No doubt the idea of the divine predestinating love does enter in—notice especially the words, “The Lord knows (from everlasting) those who are his”—; nevertheless, nowhere else does the apostle call election a foundation. Besides, the second inscription on the seal (verse 19b) is hardly in keeping with this interpretation, and the context does not demand it.

With respect to (2): It is true that Christ is called the foundation in 1 Cor. 3:10–12. Nevertheless, this does not settle the matter. One cannot always ascribe exactly the same meaning to Paul’s metaphors. Thus, in Eph. 2:20 Christ is not called the foundation but “the chief cornerstone.” Here in 2 Tim. 2:19 there is nothing to suggest that Christ is regarded as the foundation.

With respect to (3): I consider this view to be correct. The church, established upon the bedrock of God’s predestinating love, is his foundation, his building well-founded. Reasons for adopting this view:

  1. This harmonizes most beautifully with the context: God’s true church consists of those who are his, those who stand aloof from unrighteousness (note the seal!). By calling the church “God’s solid foundation,” Paul stresses its permanency and immobility. Some, indeed, have wandered away, etc., but the true church is immovable!
  2. This is consistent with 1 Tim. 3:15. There, too, the church is called “the foundation” or “the support” (there ἑδραίωμα, here in 2 Tim. 2:19 θεμέλιος).

God’s foundation has a seal (not merely an inscription!). Now a seal may indicate authority and thus may protect or at least warn against all tampering. Thus, the tomb of Jesus was sealed (Matt. 27:66). Again, it may be a mark of ownership. “Set me as a seal upon thy heart” (Song of Solomon 8:6). Or it may authenticate a legal decree or other document, certifying and guaranteeing its genuine character. Thus, the decree of Xerxes was sealed (Esther 3:12; cf. 1 Cor. 9:2).

When we now read that God’s solid foundation, the church, has a seal, it is probably unwarranted to apply only one of these three ideas to this seal. The seal by which believers are sealed protects, indicates ownership, and certifies, all three in one! Cf. Rev. 7:2–4. God the Father protects them, so that none are lost. He has known them as his own from all eternity (the context calls for this idea). God the Son owns them. They were given to him. Moreover, he bought or redeemed them with his precious blood. This idea of ownership is clearly expressed here (“the Lord knows those who are his”). And God the Holy Spirit certifies that they are, indeed, the sons of God (Rom. 8:16). This divine protection, ownership, and certification seals them!

But how do believers experience the comfort of the seal? The answer is: by taking to heart what is written on the seal! The seal bears two closely related inscriptions. God’s decree and man’s responsibility receive equal recognition:

The first inscription deals the deathblow to Pelagianism; the second, to fatalism.

The first is dated in eternity; the second, in time.

The first is a declaration which we must believe; the second, an exhortation which we must obey.

The first exalts God’s predestinating mercy; the second emphasizes man’s inevitable duty.

The first refers to the security; the second to the purity of the church (Wuest, in agreement with Vincent).

Between the two there is a very close connection. That connection is interpreted beautifully in 1 Cor. 6:19b, 20: “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price (cf. the first inscription); glorify God therefore in your body” (cf. the second inscription).

The close relationship between the two inscriptions is evident also from the fact that the words of both were probably derived from the same Old Testament incident; namely, the rebellion by Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Numbers 16). Hymenaeus and Philetus, in their rebellion against true doctrine and holy living, resembled these wicked men of the old dispensation. In both of these instances of rebellion against constituted authority there was disbelief of what God had clearly revealed. In both cases the leaders involved others in their crime. The implication is that just as the rebellion under Korah, etc., ended in dire punishment for those who rebelled and for their followers, so also will the present rebellion of Hymenaeus and Philetus terminate in disaster for them and their disciples, unless they repent.

The similarity between the Old Testament references and Paul’s words will be seen by placing them in parallel columns:

Numbers 16:5, 26 (LXX):

 

2 Tim. 2:19:

 

“God … knows those who are his.”

 

“The Lord knows those who are his.”

 

“Separate yourselves from the tents of these wicked men … lest you be destroyed along with them in all their sin.”

 

“Let everyone who names the name of the Lord stand aloof from unrighteousness.”

 

It is probable, however, that in addition to the story of rebellion so vividly portrayed in Numbers 16, Paul was thinking of other Old Testament references. Thus, the following (and other similar passages) may also have served as a basis for the first inscription: the Lord knows Abraham (Gen. 18:19), Moses (Ex. 33:12, 17), those who take refuge in him (Nah. 1:7). The aorist tense here in 2 Tim. 2:19, “The Lord knows or knew (ἔγνω),” may be called timeless. By virtue of his sovereign grace he from eternity acknowledged them as his own, and consequently made them the recipients of his special love and fellowship (in the Spirit). Cf. John 10:14, 27; Rom. 8:28. Hence, they are perfectly safe. They can never be lost (John 10:28).

But this security does not become their possession in any arbitrary or mechanical fashion. The first inscription has no meaning at all apart from the second, nor the second apart from the first. The Lord will tell the wicked that he has never known them (Matt. 7:23; Luke 13:27). The two inscriptions always go together if anyone is ever to become a truly sealed person. Security and purity dovetail. Read in this connection, 2 Thess. 2:13: “God chose you from the beginning to salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Cf. 1 Peter 1:1, 2: “Elect … according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience,” etc.

Hence, the second inscription follows hard upon the first. On the seal the two stand next to each other; or one on one side, the other on the other side. Compare an American coin, with its two sides, an inscription upon each, one pointing to God as the source of our liberty, the other reminding us of the fact that though there are many States, yet there is only one nation, and implying that all should co-operate. Obverse: IN GOD WE TRUST; Reverse: E PLURIBUS UNUM.

Basic to the words of the second inscription (“Let everyone who names the name of the Lord stand aloof from unrighteousness”) are, in addition to Num. 16:26, such Old Testament passages as Is. 26:13 (LXX: “We name thy name”); Ps. 6:8; and Is. 52:11; cf. 2 Cor. 6:17 (exhortations to depart from evil and from evil-workers). Whether the apostle derived the thoughts embodied in the two inscriptions directly from the Old Testament, or whether they had first become embodied in a Christian hymn, as some think, is a question that cannot now be answered, and is of little importance.

The meaning of the second inscription is this: expressed reliance on God must reveal itself in a life that is consecrated to God’s glory. A person’s confession must exemplify itself in a holy walk and conduct. The person who in prayer and praise “names the name of the Lord” thereby declares that he embraces God’s revelation of himself in the realm of nature (Ps. 8) and of redemption (John 16:24). Such a person must be consistent! That very consistency is what Hymenaeus and Philetus lacked. They named the name of the Lord, and promoted unrighteousness! Literally Paul says “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord apostatize.” But in this connection it must be borne in mind that the Greek uses this verb (to apostatize, stand aloof, withdraw oneself from) both in a favorable and in an unfavorable sense. Let him apostatize … not from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1), but from unrighteousness of every variety.[12]


2:19. It would seem gloomy indeed if Paul had stopped with the description of the growing influence of these false teachers. But he sounded a loud note of hope and courage as he wrote, Nevertheless. God’s solid foundation stands firm.

Despite what people may say or do, God’s work of salvation through Christ and his work of the church as established by the apostles and ministers of the gospel continues to stand firm. If the gates of hell will not overcome the church (Matt. 16:18), neither will the apostasy of some, the destructive teaching of others, or the militant arm of Rome. God has established the church, built on Jesus Christ “as the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20). Proof of the church’s endurance rests upon the guarantee made by God himself, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his.”

Paul took this quote from Numbers 16:5. It came out of the story of Korah’s rebellion and God’s affirmation of Moses’ leadership. Paul drew from across the centuries, from the Old Testament to the New Testament, confirming God’s changeless character and sovereign rule.

Only God knows the inward working of the heart, but everyone who confesses the name of the Lord will evidence increasing godliness—they must turn away from wickedness. Both inward and outward change are necessary components of a true believer in Jesus Christ. Timothy and others might have difficulty discerning the faithful from the faithless, but God cannot be fooled. He knows those who belong to him.[13]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1995). 2 Timothy (pp. 81–83). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Köstenberger, A. (2006). 2 Timothy. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 581–582). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Towner, P. H. (2006). The Letters to Timothy and Titus (pp. 529–537). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Fee, G. D. (2011). 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (pp. 257–258). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Barclay, W. (2003). The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (3rd ed. fully rev. and updated, pp. 197–200). Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press.

[6] Barcley, W. B. (2005). A Study Commentary on 1 and 2 Timothy (pp. 258–259). Darlington, England; Webster, NY: Evangelical Press.

[7] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 2 Timothy (pp. 22–23). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[8] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (pp. 226–229). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[9] Guthrie, D. (1990). Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 14, pp. 167–168). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[10] Laansma, J. C. (2009). Commentary on 2 Timothy. In Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Hebrews (Vol. 17, p. 168). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[11] Utley, R. J. (2000). Paul’s Fourth Missionary Journey: I Timothy, Titus, II Timothy (Vol. Volume 9, pp. 154–155). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[12] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles (Vol. 4, pp. 266–270). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[13] Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 287). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.