Daily Archives: May 6, 2020

May 6th The D. L. Moody Year Book

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.—Acts 2:4.

IN Exodus we read that when Moses had finished the Tabernacle in the desert, the Shekinah came and filled it with the presence of God—that was the Holy Spirit. The moment the tabernacle was ready it was filled. And when the Temple was built, and the priests and the Levites were there singing with one accord, the cloud came and filled the Temple; the moment the Temple was ready it was filled.

These were two of His dwelling places; but where does He dwell now? Ye are the temples for the Holy Spirit to dwell in, and the moment the heart is ready, the Spirit of God will fill it.[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. 84). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

May—6 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

The top of Pisgah.—Deut. 34:1.

There is somewhat truly interesting in this account of Pisgah, to which Moses ascended before his death. The relation, no doubt, was intended to convey seasonable instruction of a spiritual nature, to all true believers in Christ, in their Pisgah-contemplations of the promised land. My soul! sit down, this evening, and see what, under divine teaching, thou canst make of it. Probably, thy Lord, thy Jesus, may grant to thy faith sights yet more glorious than even Moses beheld in open vision, when he went up to mount Nebo. “The top of Pisgah” afforded to the man of God a beautiful prospect of Canaan; and as we are told, that “his natural force was not abated, neither his eye become dim,” he might doubtless view the boundaries of Israel’s dominions; which, in point of extent, reached but little more than fifty miles in one direction, and about three times that length in another. Indeed, we are informed, that “the Lord showed him all the land;” and the same power which gave him the prospect, would doubtlessly give him a suited strength of vision for the purpose. But what, my soul, are thy views on Pisgah’s heights? The utmost extent of the imagination cannot be sufficient to take in what is opened before thee, of that “length, and depth, and breadth, and height, of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge!” And if he, who led Moses to the top of Pisgah, go with thee; if the same Lord that showed him all the land, show thee also “the glories to be revealed;” think what blessings will pour in upon thee, “of joy unspeakable and full of glory.” It is true, thy Pisgah views are in distant means of grace, and the ordinances of worship, where, very frequently, clouds arise, and darken thy prospects, nevertheless the word of God opens a true map of that Judea, which is above, and which “is the glory of all lands;” and God the Holy Ghost can, and will give the “seeing eye” to see, and the awakened heart “to believe the glorious things which are spoken of the city of God.” And if Moses, from the first moment that the Lord spake to him “from the bush,” when the visions of God began, had been accustomed to contemplate in every thing the view of Jesus, and, like the other patriarchs, had seen “his day afar off,” so as “to rejoice and be glad,” surely, since the Lord first called thee by his grace, and was pleased to reveal his Son in thee, thou hast had increasing desires after Jesus, and increasing knowledge of, and communion with Jesus; and therefore, on Pisgah’s top, in thy evening meditation, thou mayest find sweet anticipation of the glories of that kingdom, which, ere long, thou hopest to enter into the full enjoyment of, amidst the heirs of God, and the joint-heirs with Christ. One sweet thought more the top of Pisgah opens to the mind, in beholding the man of God going up to it: I mean in that he went alone, the divine presence only being with him. Here indeed is the very life of communion. The blessings Jesus imparts, in Pisgah views, to his redeemed, are all personal and alone. They are joys with which a stranger cannot intermeddle. The “white stone,” and the “new name,” and the “hidden manna,” which Jesus gives, are all in secret: “no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth.” (Rev. 2:17.) My soul! art thou acquainted with these things? Are these among the privileges of the true believer; and dost thou hope, after a few more revolving suns have finished their daily course, and the shades of night are done away, to realize these glories, and enter upon the everlasting possession of them?—Get up then, by faith, in thy evening meditations; yea, hear Jesus calling thee by name, as he did moses, and saying, Get thee up into this mountain, Abarim, and behold the land which I have taken possession of for Israel! Oh! for grace and faith in lively exercise, to look often “within the veil, whither our glorious forerunner is for us entered,” and there behold Jesus on his throne, and speaking in the same precious words as to the Church of old: “To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3:21.) And while these soul-ravishing triumphs of faith are upon the mind, with all the warmth of holy joy, from Pisgah’s heights, surely, like Simeon, the soul will then cry out in the same language as he did, when he caught Jesus in his arms; “Lord, let thy servant now depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 139–140). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

May 6, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

Alertness

For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. (24:37–42)

Jesus used the Flood to illustrate the point He was making about the coming of the Son of Man, namely, that the attitude that prevailed during the days of Noah … before the flood will also characterize most people living during the end time just before Christ returns. They will not be expecting His coming and will not care about it. Despite the perilous signs and wonders, they will simply be unconcerned about the things of the Lord, especially the prospect of His imminent return to judge them.

Many people doubtless will try to explain the extraordinary end-time phenomena on a scientific and rational basis, expecting to discover a natural cause for the cataclysms. Like their counterparts today, they will look everywhere for answers except to the Word of God.

At Jesus’ first coming, most men refused to recognize Him for who He was. He healed every sort of disease, cast out demons, made water into wine, stilled a raging storm, and raised the dead, but even most of His own people refused to believe in Him. In fact the Jewish religious leaders were so determined to discredit Jesus that they accused Him of casting out demons in the power of Satan (Matt. 12:24).

Sinful, materialistic, hypocritical, godless mankind is willfully blind to God’s truth, no matter how compelling that truth may be. And when God’s truth exposes their wickedness, they make every effort to oppose and condemn it.

On one occasion “the Pharisees and Sadducees came up” to Jesus, “and testing Him asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He answered and said to them, ‘When it is evening, you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.” And in the morning, “There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.” Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?’ ” (Matt. 16:1–3). By that time in His ministry the Lord had performed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of miracles, all of which testified to His divinity and His messiahship, yet those religious leaders refused to acknowledge Him. Because their hearts were determinedly set against Jesus, no sign could have brought them to belief. He therefore said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah” (v. 4). As Jesus explained on an earlier occasion, the sign of Jonah was His resurrection from the dead (12:39–40). That sign did not convince unbelievers, either. Just as most of their forefathers had done, they shut their minds to God’s Word and God’s messengers, even ignoring the teaching and miracles of the very Son of God. Worse even than ignore Him, they put Him to death.

During the time of the Tribulation, mankind will be hardened to sin and ungodliness as never before in history. As evil men get worse and worse (2 Tim. 3:13), the world then becomes spiritually darker and even physically darker. Unbelieving people will more intensely indulge their sins and more vehemently oppose God’s truth and God’s people. During the Tribulation the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth, and evil and Satan will be unrestrained (2 Thess. 2:6–7). During the fifth trumpet judgment, demons bound in the bottomless pit will be unleashed on the earth to wreak unprecedented torment on unbelieving mankind, being forbidden to harm God’s people (Rev. 9:1–5).

As people run amok in sin and every form of debauchery and ungodliness, they will become more and more impervious to God’s truth and resentful of His standards of righteousness. They will be so vile, wretched, and preoccupied with sex, drugs, alcohol, materialism, and pleasure seeking that they will believe every explanation for the end-time signs except the one given in Scripture. Rather than turning to God in repentance, they will curse Him (Rev. 9:21).

In the days of Noah before the Flood, they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage. While Noah built the ark, he also preached (2 Pet. 2:5), but the people were just as unconcerned about his preaching as about the ark he was building, thinking both were meaningless and absurd. They laughed when he spoke of the coming flood. They had never seen rain, much less a flood, because until that time the earth was apparently covered by a vapor canopy that provided all the moisture necessary for life to flourish. Because they had never seen such a calamity, they discounted the idea that it could happen. They therefore went about their daily routines of eating and drinking and of marrying and giving in marriage. It was business as usual until the day Noah entered the ark and it started to rain.

Even when his prediction began to be fulfilled before their eyes, they did not take his warning to heart. Noah had built and preached for 120 years, yet without having the slightest impact on anyone outside his immediate family. The people were so untouched by God’s truth that they did not understand their perilous situation until the flood came and took them all away into a godless eternity. Flood translates kataklusmos, which means deluge or washing away, and is the term from which the English cataclysm is derived. Only after it was too late did the people of that generation understand their tragic destiny.

That is precisely the attitude and response that will prevail before the coming of the Son of man. The perilous signs, the abomination of desolation, the disruption of the heavenly bodies, and the preaching of God’s witnesses during the Tribulation will have no effect on the majority of men. They will see God’s signs but attribute them to natural causes or to supernatural causes apart from God. They will hear His Word, in one instance supernaturally preached worldwide by an angel (Rev. 15:6–7), but they will respond with disdain or indifference. They will heed neither warnings nor appeals from God up until the very moment the Son of Man appears to confront them in righteous judgment.

During the Tribulation there will be multitudes won to Christ (Rev. 7:9–14), including the 144,000 Jewish witnesses who will preach His gospel (Rev. 7:1–8), and there will be marvelous revival in the nation of Israel (Rom. 11:26). But that time will be dominated not by belief but by unbelief, not by holiness but by wickedness, not by godliness but by ungodliness. It will be epitomized by secularism and false religion, even as most of the world is today, but to an immeasurably worse degree.

Like the people of Noah’s day, the generation of the Tribulation will be warned and warned and warned again. Some of them will have been warned many times before the Tribulation, while the church is still on earth proclaiming the gospel.

When the Son of Man finally appears in His second-coming judgment, then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Jesus is giving a figure parallel to the unbelievers of Noah’s day being taken away by the judgment through the Flood. When He returns, one will be taken to judgment and the other will be left to enter the kingdom. This is the same separation described in the next chapter by the figures of sheep and goats (25:32–46). The ones left will be Christ’s sheep, His redeemed people whom He will preserve to reign with Him during the Millennium.

But even until the very end, as Peter declared in his sermon at Pentecost, just “before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come … it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:20–21). In that final moment when the King comes to establish His kingdom, some people will turn to Christ in sincere faith and be redeemed. They will be set apart as the Lord’s sheep by the angels and will inherit the kingdom prepared for them.

Therefore be on the alert, Jesus said, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. The phrase be on the alert translates a present imperative, indicating a call for continual expectancy.

When the Lord comes, the ungodly will be swept away, having forever lost their opportunity for salvation. Just as believers today do not know at what time the Lord is coming to take them to Himself in the rapture, the generation alive during the Tribulation will not know the exact time of His appearing to judge the ungodly and to establish His kingdom.

Malachi envisioned believers in the last day apparently discussing among themselves the possibility that they would inadvertently and mistakenly be separated out with the wicked and be condemned. But “the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. ‘And they will be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’ So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Mal. 3:16–18).

Peter declared,

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation [or trial], and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment. (2 Pet. 2:4–9)

Christians at that time must be alert, even though they will be secure and have no cause for dread.[1]


42 This is the only call to “keep awake” in Matthew’s version of the discourse (except for its inappropriate insertion at 25:13; see comments there), as compared with its insistent repetition in Mark 13:33–37 (together with the related charge to avoid sleep in the verb agrypneō). The following parables, with their message about being prepared in advance and living a continuously good life, suggest that Matthew had a less frenetic approach to “readiness” than Mark (and Paul; see 1 Thes 5:1–7), and the acceptance in 25:5 that it is alright to sleep suggests a different perspective. But the call to be ready at any time is nonetheless appropriately symbolized by staying awake, as the simile in the next verse will show.

The event for which they must be ready is described as the day when “your lord comes.” The language anticipates the following parable (vv. 46, 50) where the kyrios is the returning master of the slaves; so also in 25:19. Indeed in the parallel at Mark 13:35 this kyrios is explicitly the “master of the house” (referring back to a different mini-parable in Mark 13:34 which Matthew does not include). But the Christian reader will naturally identify the “Lord” as Jesus, and so will think of the “day” (cf. v. 36) of the parousia of the Son of Man, even though the term parousia will not be used again. In its place here is the ordinary verb erchomai, “come,” but not now with the accompanying terms “the Son of Man” and “on the clouds of heaven” which in v. 30 indicated a primary allusion to the enthronement scene in Dan 7:13–14. In v. 44 the same verb will be used with the Son of Man as subject and clearly also with reference to the parousia as here, and it may be that in these uses of erchomai we have an allusive hint that the parousia may be viewed as a further and final fulfillment of that enthronement vision. That would tally with the use of Dan 7:13–14 language in 19:28 and 25:31–34 with reference to the “new age” and the final judgment (see comments on 10:23): the heavenly authority of the Son of Man which is to be demonstrated through the events of the Roman war according to v. 30 will be finally consummated in his parousia at the end of the age. But that may be to read too much into so everyday a word as erchomai here, especially when the following parable gives it a sense quite appropriate to the story line without demanding also an OT allusion.[2]


Ver. 42.—Watch therefore. The end will be sudden, the final separation will be then completed; be ye therefore always prepared. Few exhortations are more frequently and impressively given than this of the duty and necessity of watchfulness. Of course, the Christian has to watch against many things—his own evil heart, temptation, the world, but most of all he must watch and be always looking for the coming of his Lord; for whether he be regarded as Redeemer, Deliverer, or Judge, he will come as a thief in the night. What hour. Very many good manuscripts and some late editors read “on what day.” This is probably the genuine reading, “hour” being an alteration derived from ver. 44. What (ποίᾳ) means of what kind or quality—whether sudden, immediate, or remote.[3]


42. Watch therefore. In Luke the exhortation is more pointed, or, at least, more special, Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life. And certainly he who, by living in intemperance, has his senses overloaded with food and wine, will never elevate his mind to meditation on the heavenly life. But as there is no desire of the flesh that does not intoxicate a man, they ought to take care, in all these respects, not to satiate themselves with the world, if they wish to advance with speed to the kingdom of Christ. The single word watch—which we find in Matthew—denotes that uninterrupted attention which keeps our minds in full activity, and makes us pass through the world like pilgrims.

In the account given by Mark, the disciples are first enjoined to take heed lest, through carelessness or indolence, ruin overtake them; and next are commanded to watch, because various allurements of the flesh are continually creeping upon us, and lulling our minds to sleep. Next follows an exhortation to prayer, because it is necessary to seek elsewhere the supplies that are necessary for supporting our weakness. Luke dictates the very form of prayer; first, that God may be pleased to rescue us from so deep and intricate a labyrinth; and next, that he may present us safe and sound in presence of his Son; for we shall never be able to reach it but by miraculously escaping innumerable deaths. And as it was not enough to pass through the course of the present life by rising superior to all dangers, Christ places this as the most important, that we may be permitted to stand before his tribunal.

For you know not at what hour your Lord will come. It ought to be observed, that the uncertainty as to the time of Christ’s coming—which almost all treat as an encouragement to sloth—ought to be felt by us to be an excitement to attention and watchfulness. God intended that it should be hidden from us, for the express purpose that we may keep diligent watch without the relaxation of a single hour. For what would be the trial of faith and patience, if believers, after spending their whole life in ease, and indolence, and pleasure, were to prepare themselves within the space of three days for meeting Christ?[4]


42. The practical conclusion to be drawn from vv. 36–41 is that of constant readiness, which will also be the focus of the rest of the chapter and of 25:1–13. The parallel verse in Mark (13:35) is the conclusion to a short parable about a door-keeper, which Matthew omits (no doubt because it makes the same point as Matthew’s longer parable in vv. 45–51). Your Lord (kyrios) is in the Marcan version ‘the master (kyrios) of the house’, referring back to the parable; Matthew has drawn out the latent Christological overtones of the word (cf. on 7:21).[5]


24:40–42 one will be taken, the other left. The illustration from the days of Noah is now applied to the days of Jesus’ return (cf. Luke 17:34–35). The twin scenarios of 24:40–41 are expressed as exact parallels. Two men will be in the field, cultivating crops for food and drink, and the return of Jesus will suddenly overtake them, taking one and leaving the other. The same experience will overtake two women grinding grain at home. The prospect of such unexpected events underlines the absolute necessity of alert expectancy of the return of Jesus. Ignorance as to the time of his return must not lead to ambivalence as to the fact of his return, which will cause a sudden separation between those who alertly expect it and those who do not (25:31–46). The NT as a whole makes much of the necessity of watchful preparation for Christ’s return (1 Cor 16:13; 1 Thess 5:6; 1 Pet 5:8; Rev 3:2–3; 16:15). There will be no leisure for repentance.[6]


42. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

The coming of the Son of Man:

  1. The warning. Christ’s coming is compared to that of a thief in the night. Seems disparaging, but is remarkably apt (1 Thess. 5:2–4). The dispensation under which we live is emphatically that of night, in comparison with the dispensation which is to be introduced at the day of the Lord, &c. The plans of the housebreaker are all laid beforehand, and yet studiously concealed. So the coming of the Lord and the day of His appearing are fixed with infinite wisdom, but kept secret with a profound reserve. That mystery wears a pleasing or repulsive aspect, according to the preparedness of those to whom the Master comes.
  2. The caution. It is remarkable that the Evangelist Luke, while omitting the parable, gives us the most lucid account of its application (Luke 21:34).

III. The precept. A personal preparation for the coming of our Lord is to be regarded as a matter of imminent motive with us all. You may be deceived as to the signs; but you are not to be negligent of the event. “Watch and pray.” Watchfulness is the habit of keeping the eye constantly alive to events; prayer is the habit of keeping the heart constantly lifted up to God. Taking into account the conditions under which we are admonished to watch and pray, the intent becomes palpable that things we are not permitted to know beforehand will be gradually unfolded to us as the events are about to transpire. But the chief motive defies analysis. The holy instinct of loving hearts prompts that ardent expectancy with which “hope” anticipates the appearing of the Lord. (B. W. Carr.)

Watchfulness:

  1. The unexpected arrival. 1. Of what person? 2. In what manner? 3. For what purpose? 4. At what time? Date unknown (ver. 36), knowledge might induce carelessness, &c.
  2. The unforeseen disclosure. 1. To many, of the character of others. It will be a day of great surprises. We only judge by appearances. God knows thought, intention, character. 2. To many, of their own destiny. Judge not. Leave the judgment with God.

III. The needful watching. 1. With increasing prayer. 2. With unfaltering diligence. 3. With unfailing patience. Biding the Lord’s time submissively. He will not always tarry. (J. C. Gray.)

Temptations demand watchfulness:

  1. Temptations may enter the senses without sin, for to behold the object, to touch, or taste, is not to commit sin, because God Himself hath thus ordered and framed the senses by their several instruments and organs. He hath kindled up light in the eyes, He hath digged the hollow of the ear, for hearing, and hath shut up the taste in the mouth or palate, and hath given man his senses very fit for the trial and reward of virtue. Therefore, we may make a covenant with our eye, bridle our taste, bind our touch, purge our ears, and so sanctify and consecrate every sense unto the Lord, which is indeed to watch.
  2. They may enter the thoughts, and be received into the imagination, and yet, if we set our watch, not overcome us; for as yet they are but, as it were, in their march, bringing up their forces; but have made no battery or breach into the soul. III. The sense and fancy may receive the object with some delight and natural complacency, and yet without sin; if we stand upon our guard, and then oppose it most, when it most pleads for admittance. (Anthony Farindon.)[7]

42. Be on the alert, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. To be (constantly) on the alert or watchful—a Greek word from which the proper name Gregory (the watchful or vigilant one) is derived—means to live a sanctified life, in the consciousness of the coming judgment day. Spiritual and moral circumspection and forethought are required; preparedness is necessary. The watchful person has his loins girded and his lamps burning (Luke 12:35). It is in that condition that he looks forward to the coming of the Bridegroom. For more on this subject of watchfulness and its implications see N.T.C. on I and II Thessalonians, pp. 124, 125. Note that Jesus refers to himself as “your Lord.” So glorious, powerful, and clothed with authority and majesty is he; also, so condescending, so closely united with those whom he is pleased to call his own, and who are loyal to him. Cf. Isa. 57:15. Let them therefore persevere in being vigilant.[8]


24:42. Therefore means, “because the time of my return will be sudden and unpredictable.” This is the central turning point in the discourse. As Noah spent time and energy preparing for the Flood, so people living prior to Christ’s return must spend themselves in being alert and ready for his coming.

The command is, Keep watch (cf. 1 Cor. 16:13; 1 Thess. 5:6; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev 3:2–3; 16:15). The reason for this exhortation to continual diligence was in the preceding teaching (24:36–41), which Jesus summarized in the next clause, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. “Your Lord” is significant, drawing attention to the fact that we do not belong to ourselves. Rather it is our master and creator who will return. He will call us to account.[9]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 4, pp. 72–76). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew (pp. 941–942). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.

[3] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. Matthew (Vol. 2, p. 443). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[4] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Vol. 3, pp. 160–161). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] France, R. T. (1985). Matthew: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 351–352). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Turner, D., & Bock, D. L. (2005). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 11: Matthew and Mark (p. 320). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[7] Exell, J. S. (1952). The Biblical Illustrator: Matthew (pp. 553–554). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[8] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 870–871). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[9] Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, p. 407). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

May 6 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

May 6.—Morning. [Or September 8.]
“David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”

1 Samuel 30:1–13; 15–18

DAVID again stepped aside from his right position, and went over to Achish the Philistine king, who received him kindly. War soon arose against Israel, and David was expected to march against his own people. When we walk by sight and not by faith, we are sure to be placed in embarrassments ere long, and so was David! Out of this difficulty the Lord delivered him, for the Philistine lords distrusted him, and therefore Achish sent him back to Ziklag, the city which he had allotted to him as his dwelling-place; but the Lord took care to chasten him, for on his return to Ziklag a sad scene awaited him.

1, 2, 3 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.

Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. (A sad sight to see strong men weep like women, but who would not do so in such a case.)

And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

Some time before, he had said, “There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines,” but having proved the vanity of all human helps, he turns unto the Lord his God. How different from Saul, who at this time was looking to Satan for aid, and consulting the witch of Endor.

And David said to Abiathar the priest, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. (It was well that David kept the priest and the ephod always near him, or they would have been carried off with the rest. Whatever we lose, let us hold fast to Christ and his word.)

And David enquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all. (David proved that the God of truth may be trusted, and that the heart which waits upon the Lord will be comforted.)

9, 10 So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor. (They were not all equally strong, neither are all the followers of the Lord Jesus equally full of grace. Yet our great leader is full of tenderness, and does not disdain to give the feeblest a share of the spoil.)

11, 12 And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights.

13 And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick. (Servants are to be cared for in their sickness. Only a heathen master would desert his servant because of illness.)

15 And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company.

16, 17, 18 And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah. And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled. And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.

Thus faith was honoured, and the clouds of trouble poured forth showers of mercy. To our faith the same blessings shall be granted.

May 6.—Evening. [Or September 9.]
“I am afraid of Thy judgments.”

1 Samuel 31:1–5; 7–13

NOW the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul’s sons. And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers.

Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

The unhappy king had forsaken the Lord, and had lost divine protection. He does not appear to have felt the slightest repentance, but to have been left to the hardness of his heart even to the end. His last thoughts had no reference to his sin and his God; his own poor honour before the world was still his dearest care, as it had been so long O that he had minded more his reputation in the sight of God, and cared less for human esteem, then had he never been driven to such envy in life or such despair in death. With his sons dead around him, and his bravest warriors slain, the wretched king, in order to escape dishonour, earned the dishonourable name of suicide.

And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. (While we earnestly condemn the self-destruction, we cannot but admire the faithfulness of the armourbearer—faithful unto death. He would not survive his master. Shall this man live and die for Saul, and shall we betray our royal master, Jesus the Lord?)

¶ And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.

8, 9 And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa. And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people.

10 And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. (To the fallen king there happened the disgrace which he slew himself to escape. The plundering bands of the Philistines came to strip the dead bodies of their clothing, and, lo, upon the mountain side, not far from the corpses of his three sons, they discovered the remains of Saul, swimming in his own blood. Hearts of stone might have softened at the sight, but these barbarians exulted at it. They separated the king’s head from the trunk, and stripped off his armour and weapons; sending the head from city to city as a trophy of their victory, fixing up the armour in the temple of their goddess, as a token of their gratitude to her, and leaving the body as an ignominious relic nailed to a wall.)

11 ¶ And when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul;

12 All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there.

13 And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days. (It was well and fitly done. Jabesh had been delivered by Saul from the Amorites, and it was honourable on their part to shew this mark of respect to his mangled remains. They burned his bones, that by no future accident they might again be treated with indignity, and then they buried the ashes, and paid the last mournful honours to their former monarch and deliverer.)

1 Chronicles 10:13, 14

13, 14 ¶ So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the Lord: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse. (We read that no one enquired at the ark of God all the days of Saul. His evil example did mischief to the whole nation, and therefore his sin was the more grievous. He began well, but his character was based upon love of human approbation, rather than upon the fear of God, and hence it came to nought. Let this be a warning to each one of us.)[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 264–265). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Esther: Trusting God’s Plan Week 5—The Tide Begins to Turn — Lies Young Women Believe

The book of Esther reads like a movie script.

The villain in the story, Haman, is prepping to destroy an entire people group, and then he decides he shouldn’t stop there: he wants to hang Mordecai on eight-story-high gallows.

Then King Xerxes can’t sleep, and this sleepless night is when he realizes Mordecai uncovered a plot to assassinate the king, but Mordecai was never honored. In walks Haman.

King Xerxes: “Haman, what are your thoughts: how should I honor a man deserving of the king’s recognition?”

Haman: “You should definitely adorn him with the king’s robes and have him ride the king’s horse through the city. That seems appropriate.”

Haman thinks he’s about to receive this extravagant honor.

Plot twist, Haman! It’s Mordecai who’s getting this honor. The king thanks you for all your good ideas!

Haman is miffed. He feels humiliated. He’s ticked that his attempt to off Mordecai fell to pieces. Then he’s summoned to a feast with King Xerxes and Queen Esther. Maybe he’ll receive the honor he thinks he deserves at this banquet . . .

Nope! It’s Esther’s time to speak up and request that the king reverse the horrific decree that would exterminate the Jewish people.

Second plot twist, Haman! Those gallows you built—well, you’ve just dug your own grave.

Those twists and turns and the split-second timing of crucial events seem like the most incredible coincidences, but something far better was at work in the midst of Esther’s story: the sovereignty of God.

God’s Plan Is Always on Time

This intense story in the Bible shows us that God keeps His promises to His people, and He can arrange any detail to change the course of events for His glory. The darkness is no match for His plans!

King Xerxes just happened to have trouble sleeping that night. He just happened to be reminded of Mordecai’s king-saving actions.

You never know how God can use something so seemingly insignificant like a sleepless night to turn the tide!

And things were looking dark at that moment, weren’t they? Haman was ready to hang Mordecai and execute genocide against God’s people! Couldn’t God have stopped this plan much earlier? He certainly could. But as we see throughout Scripture, sometimes God brings us to the end of ourselves in completely messy situations in order to let His power shine!

Here’s how this week’s study lesson in Esther: Trusting God’s Plan described it:

If you’ve ever seen the back of an embroidered design, it’s a mess. There’s threads of different colors that don’t resemble any clear picture at all. But when you turn it over to see the front . . . only then does the overall design become clear.

Our lives may sometimes look like the back of that embroidery—all tangled and messed up. We can’t see any purpose in it. But, we learn from Esther and Mordecai’s example this week, we have to trust that the Lord is orchestrating our lives and causing all things to work together for good, even if we can’t see it in that moment.

God often picks the time that looks the darkest and the most hopeless to show His power and glory. Why? Perhaps, so no human can take the credit. His grace always shines against the darkest backdrop. (p. 64, 67)

What looks messy in your life right now?

How are you waiting for God to show up—maybe with split-second timing?

Trust Him. Even as the horizon seems to get darker and darker, keep trusting.

God doesn’t abandon His people.God is in the business of turning evil into good. 

Esther’s Trust vs. Haman’s Pride

There’s another element to this story that deserves our attention. Not only can we rest in God’s absolute power to accomplish His purposes in His timing (like Esther did!), but we also need to run hard and fast away from self-exalting, self-protecting pride—the very brand of pride we see Haman exhibit over and over again.

God’s Word tells us to toss pride in the trash and to humble ourselves, because the consequences of puffing ourselves up are ugly.

Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. (Prov. 18:12)

Pride comes before a fall. And Haman fell hard, didn’t he? He was hanged on the very gallows he, in his pride, built for someone else.

Let his example show us what not to do and why it matters to God that we grow in humility.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

Your pride and my pride sets us at odds with God. He opposes—He fights, resists, combats—our proud hearts. Not a place I want to set up camp!

As much as my flesh may battle against it, I want to be in a position to receive God’s grace. So I have to humble myself! I have to live in a daily awareness of my smallness and God’s everything-ness.

As broken sinners desperately in need of rescue, the only way for us to live in the truth of who we really are is in humility.

The ground truly is level at the foot of the cross, and all the glory and honor belongs to Jesus, our Savior.

What would it look like for you and for me to drop-kick that Haman pride out of our lives and to live in humility?

What would we need to stop doing?

What should we start doing?

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matt. 23:12)

Let’s Dig Deeper

It’s time to dig even deeper into this study! Take some time to watch the Women of the Bible podcast episode that accompanies Week 5:

Then consider these questions:

  • Are there situations in your life that seem to be going from bad to worse? What fresh hope do you gain by knowing God often chooses to work in the darkest moments to show His power and glory?
  • Can you share a time in your life when you witnessed the split-second timing of God?

Keep going! It’s time to work on Week 6 of Esther: Trusting God’s Plan, and we’ll be back next Wednesday to wrap up our study!

via Esther: Trusting God’s Plan Week 5—The Tide Begins to Turn — Lies Young Women BelieveLies Young Women Believe

May 6 Life-Changing Moments With God

Mercy and truth have met together;

righteousness and peace have kissed.

Almighty Lord, You are a just God and a Savior.

You, Lord, are well pleased for Your righteousness’ sake; You will exalt the law and make it honorable.

Lord God, You were in Christ reconciling the world to Yourself, not imputing my trespasses to me. God, You set Jesus forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate Your righteousness, because in Your forbearance You had passed over the sins that I had previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time Your righteousness, that You might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. And He was wounded for my transgressions, He was bruised for my iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes I am healed. Who shall bring a charge against me, Your elect? It is You, Lord God, who justifies. If I do not work but believe on You who justifies the ungodly, my faith is accounted for righteousness.

What a picture of grace: You are the Just and the Justifier! I am thankful that righteousness and peace have kissed!

Psalm 85:10; Isaiah 45:21; Isaiah 42:21; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Romans 3:25–26; Isaiah 53:5; Romans 8:33; Romans 4:5[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 141). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Rev. Graham Thanks Trump For Denying COVID-19 Funds to Planned Parenthood | CNS News

(Getty Images)

A report from The Daily Signal reveals that no funds allocated through the Paycheck Protection Program to small businesses will go to Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, a step that Rev. Franklin Graham praised as truly pro-life and indicative of the overall agenda of the Trump administration.

“Thank you President Donald J. Trump for making sure that no COVID-19 recovery funds from the Paycheck Protection Program are going to Planned Parenthood,” said Rev. Graham in a May 4 post on Facebook.

(Getty Images)

“Money from this program should go to the many small businesses needing help to stay afloat because of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

“Although there have been more than 68,000 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in the United States, more than 295,000 babies have lost their lives to abortion in the U.S. this year alone, said the reverend. No part of taxpayer money or any kind of stimulus funds should go to this organization that exists to take life, not save life.”

Rev. Franklin Graham (BGEA)

Join me in prayer for our nation and for President Trump as he faces so many challenges and difficult decisions every day, said Rev. Graham.

As its own annual reports confirm, in 2017-18, Planned Parenthood performed 332,757 abortions (10/1/16–9/30/17) and received $563.8 million in government reimbursements and grants (for the year ending June 30, 2018). Adjusted for inflation from June 2018 to June 2019 = $573.09 million.

In 2016-17, Planned Parenthood performed 321,384 abortions and received $543.7 million in reimbursements and grants. Adjusted for inflation from June 2017 to June 2019 = $568.53 million.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups have insisted that killing babies by abortion is an “essential service.”

 

According to The Daily Signal, a senior administration official said, “President Trump is committed to ensuring Paycheck Protection Program money is used for saving jobs at small businesses, not getting the government into the business of funding abortion.”

The official further said, “While each Planned Parenthood affiliate has fewer than 500 employees, nationwide it has over 16,000 employees. So when applying PPP’s affiliation rules neutrally, it’s clear that Planned Parenthood is one large employer and not eligible for PPP money.

“The interim final rule made crystal clear that an organization with Planned Parenthood’s corporate structure doesn’t qualify.”

Source: Rev. Graham Thanks Trump For Denying COVID-19 Funds to Planned Parenthood

YouTube Deletes Video ‘Plandemic’ with Dr. Mikovits Accusing Dr. Fauci of Corruption and Suppression – Not Approved by Thought Police — The Gateway Pundit

Dr. Mikovitz

In late April we reported on the little known story is how Dr. Fauci ruined the career of a brilliant young doctor who blew the whistle on the harmful consequences attributed to vaccines.

Dr. Judy Mikovits was a brilliant young doctor with a promising career, until she discovered what she considered to be harmful consequences with vaccines.  After she came out with her warnings, she was jailed for identifying the link between vaccines and chronic diseases.

In the first part of the video below, Dr. Mikovits explains how she was jailed for speaking out about her concerns.

Bobby Kennedy Jr. was on a podcast recently where he dropped some bombs about the perils of vaccinations. In his interview he also discussed Dr. Mikovits in depth and how her boss Tony Fauci had her fired and destroyed her. At the 109:00 minute mark, Kennedy shares the following:

But now YouTube is deleting the video of Dr. Mikovits attacking Dr. Tony Fauci.
The original video was taken down.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojkicki recently told CNN the social media giant would not allow information that goes against the World Health Organization.
Far left YouTube wants to control what you can see and read.

Obviously, this video attacking Dr. Fauci is not approved by the elites controlling the information to the masses.

via YouTube Deletes Video ‘Plandemic’ with Dr. Mikovits Accusing Dr. Fauci of Corruption and Suppression – Not Approved by Thought Police — The Gateway Pundit

Hidin’ Biden? Dem presidential candidate hasn’t held a news conference in over a month

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has gone 33 days without a news conference and critics have taken notice, with one media watchdog comparing him to a famously silent game show sidekick.

Source: Hidin’ Biden? Dem presidential candidate hasn’t held a news conference in over a month

New York Is Charging Samaritan’s Purse Income Tax After the Charity Worked for Free — Faithwire

Samaritan’s Purse has no expectation of receiving a single penny for the weeks of work they did in Central Park to combat the coronavirus. But now New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is asking them to pay up.

Earlier this week, the Rev. Franklin Graham, president of the nonprofit organization, told Faithwire, “They’re the ones who called us originally. We didn’t call them; they called us. And we agreed to go and we have not charged them one penny. All of our services have been paid by God’s people.”

Samaritan’s Purse workers were on the ground, setting up a 68-bed field hospital right after receiving a call from officials at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, and now they’re being held financially liable for their goodwill because, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), he’s “not in a position to provide any subsidies right now.”

So even though New York lawmakers and hospital executives asked workers to come from out of state to help in the fight against the coronavirus, they will now have to pay state taxes — even on income they might have made from their home state while they were temporarily living in New York, according to WPIX-TV.

“We have a $13 billion deficit,” he said during a press conference Tuesday. “So there’s a lot of good things I’d like to do, and if we get federal funding, we can do. But it would be irresponsible for me to sit here looking at a $13 billion deficit and say I’m gonna spend more money, when I can’t even pay the essential services.”

The issue first arose when Samaritan’s Purse arrived in Central Park on April 1.

Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs and government relations for the faith-based humanitarian group, told WPIX-TV he first learned about the tax issue when the organization’s financial comptroller called him about it.

“I said, ‘What?’” Isaacs recalled. “[The comptroller] said, ‘Yeah, there’s a law. If you work in New York state for more than 14 days, you have to pay income tax.’ I didn’t know that.”

More than the money, though, Isaacs told the local news outlet he and his fellow Samaritan’s Purse staffers are concerned about “the bureaucracy, and the paperwork, and I think that once that’s unleashed, once you start filing that, you have to do that for, like, a whole year or something.”

Lawrence Spielman, a certified public accountant in New York City, told WPIX-TV groups like Samaritan’s Purse, which is headquartered in Boone, North Carolina, “will have to register in New York and do withholding here in New York.”

It’s difficult to separate this matter from the backlash Samaritan’s Purse faced from a loud minority of progressive politicians in New York City who were angered by the group’s Christian bonafides, particularly regarding the mainstream biblical perspective that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

Despite having provided free medical care to more than 300 patients fighting coronavirus infections, state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D) described the faith-based group’s relationship with Mount Sinai as “poisonous” and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson found it “extremely troubling” Samaritan’s Purse was ever in New York to help.

Asked about the backlash, though, Graham told Faithwire they were there “to save lives” and not “argue with people.”

“Everybody in the city of New York knows about the tent hospital. We are there in Jesus’ name,” he said. “It’s just something God has done and it’s given us the opportunity to magnify His name in the middle of a crisis.”

Faithwire reached out to Samaritan’s Purse for comment. If a representative for the charity responds, this story will be updated to include their statements.

Graham told Faithwire earlier this week that LGBT activists were not the reason for the charity to leave NYC:

via New York Is Charging Samaritan’s Purse Income Tax After the Charity Worked for Free — Faithwire

CPAC host report says number of ‘radical left’ Democrats in Congress surging

A new report by a top conservative group says that the number of “radical left” Democrats in Congress is surging and that the vast majority of freshman Democrats who ran on moderate platforms ended up embracing far-left ideas once in D.C.

Source: CPAC host report says number of ‘radical left’ Democrats in Congress surging

Rep. Will Hurd: Where are the Democrats demanding the FBI explain the Flynn prosecution?

Rep. Will Hurd said on Wednesday that the Democrats’ lack of response to the FBI’s mishandling of the Russian investigation and the prosecution of former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is “outrageous.”

Source: Rep. Will Hurd: Where are the Democrats demanding the FBI explain the Flynn prosecution?

So when does the LGBT movement stop getting a pass for their blatant bigotry? — Christian Research Network

“The LGBT political movement is working very hard to expose the American people to their intolerance and narrow-minded prejudice against people of faith.”

(Peter Heck – Disrn)  As the entire country has marveled in recent days at the raging hypocrisy of political activists who attempted to destroy the life and reputation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh over alleged sexual assault, now suddenly turning a blind eye to the alleged sexual assault circling the life and reputation of former Vice President Joe Biden, the speaker of the New York City Council Corey Johnson bellied up the microphone and, with a wink, boasted, “Hold my beer.”

If there has ever been a clearer case of someone void of even a sliver of self-awareness, I don’t know who it would be. Feast your eyes on this steaming pile of literary excrement:

It is time for Samaritan’s Purse to leave NYC. This group, led by the notoriously bigoted, hate-spewing Franklin Graham, came at a time when our city couldn’t in good conscience turn away any offer of help. That time has passed.  View article →

via So when does the LGBT movement stop getting a pass for their blatant bigotry? — Christian Research Network

Andy McCarthy: Adam Schiff’s job was to ‘spin’ for FBI, intel community and Christopher Steele during Russia probe

The former assistant U.S. attorney told “America’s Newsroom” that Schiff’s decision to block the release traces back to the time when the Democrats were the minority party in the House.

Source: Andy McCarthy: Adam Schiff’s job was to ‘spin’ for FBI, intel community and Christopher Steele during Russia probe

Secularism, COVID-19, & the “Non-Essential” Church — Cross Examined – Christian Apologetic Ministry | Frank Turek | Christian Apologetics | Christian Apologetics Speakers

Secularism, COVID-19, & the “Non-Essential” Church

Part of the answer lies in worldview analysis. Everyone, whether a person realizes it or not, has a worldview.  Everyone thinks with their worldview. And our worldview assumptions drive the decisions we make. For instance, if we believe that God is real, knowable, and cares for mankind, we will pray to God because our basic worldview assumption tells us that God hears our prayers. If, on the other hand, we don’t believe that God is real, knowable, or caring, then we won’t pray because we would consider doing so a waste of time. It’s my assertion that the average person in the US holds to a worldview that I call “Popular Secularism.”[i] Popular Secularism (PS) is a softer version of classic Secular Humanism (SH). SH flatly denies God’s existence. It also explicitly denies any spiritual realm beyond the physical, material world. PS, on the other hand, allows for a person to believe in whatever spiritual realm and religious view that he/she chooses. God may or may not exist. PS, however, considers spiritual concerns as being less important than physical, material concerns. Thus, a person can believe whatever he wants with regards to spiritual things. But PS treats a person’s spiritual beliefs like a parent views a child’s fairy tale. These are nice things to believe, but when its time to get serious, there is little-to-no room for certain spiritual practices.

Thus, enter the current discussion about why church gatherings are deemed “non-essential” while restaurants and other retail businesses are deemed “essential.” Because the average person in the US is a Popular Secularist, and because our politicians are elected from the general populace, we see Popular Secularists making the decisions for our country. And since PS views spiritual concerns as less important than physical and material concerns, church gatherings are deemed “non-essential” while food concerns are deemed essential.

Someone might object, “It makes sense to limit gatherings of people to protect the populace from getting sick.” Yes, but the question raised is this: If the populace is already gathering together (several hundred at a time) once or twice a week at the grocery store, how is the church gathering together once a week any different? The answer from the Popular Secularist might be that “people need to eat but they don’t need to go to church?” Here, though, we see the Popular Secularist reasoning from his worldview, which considers spiritual things less important than physical and material concerns. Again, the point of making this statement is not to say that I don’t think food is essential; it’s to point out WHY church gatherings are officially considered “non-essential.” PS considers spiritual things less important than the material.

When the dominant worldview of culture says, “This world is all that we can be sure exists,” of course, those who think with that worldview will prioritize this life, the here and now. PS reasons, “This life is all there is. We need to make sure that we extend it as long as possible.” While the Biblical Christian worldview says, “Life is a gift from God. We will take precautions to stay healthy and to help others stay healthy. But gathering as a church is just as important as going to the grocery store because spiritual things are just as important as the physical. And we are confident that eternity with God is far greater than life here and now.” As the Apostle Paul said, “To live is Christ; to die is gain.”

Notes

[i] [i] Popular Secularism is the dominant worldview in the West today. Popular Secularism holds the following assumptions about reality:

  1. God may or may not exist.
    1. If God does exist, no one knows which god is true.
    2. No one can rightly say one religion is right and another wrong.
    3. To make such claims is intolerant.
  2. As such, no one can claim to know what God wants mankind to do to the exclusion of the claims of others.
    1. Thus no religious book (the Bible, the Koran, etc…) can rightly claim to be the word of God.
    2. Each book carries the same weight, but less weight than the wisdom of elite educational progressive knowledge today.
  3. Morality is probably real but has more to do with the survival of society rather than the pleasure of God.
    1. It’s undeniable that “evil” is real.
    2. Yet since we don’t know if God is real or who he is, no one can rightly say that someone’s actions are objectively wrong unless the majority of society agrees.
    3. Thus, morality is a construction of society rather than a product of God’s revelation to us.
  4. Comfort and happiness are the highest human considerations.
    1. Humans should work to make sure that everyone is comfortable and happy.
    2. Anything that denies comfort and happiness should be avoided and possibly forbidden.
  5. Economic considerations should always be held in higher regard than religious claims.
    1. Public policy/laws should be decided by considering whether something will provide more money for society rather than based upon “religious” claims about morality.
    2. As a contemporary example: If legalized gaming with brings added revenue to a city to alleviate budget shortages, that knowledge should be considered more important than religious claims that added gambling opportunities are not “good” for society.
    3. “The good” is defined in economic, sexual, and environmental terms.
  6. (Near) total sexual freedom is something to which everyone is entitled.
    1. Homosexuality, Transgenderism, sex outside of marriage, are all legitimate lifestyle choices as people should have the right to do what they want.
    2. Only those sexual activities that “harm” others are wrong.
    3. A growing number of Popular Secularists believe that each person should be entitled to freedom from being offended, including silencing dissenting voices.
  7. Ignorance and the abuse caused by “the rich” are mankind’s two main problems.
    1. If we educate people, many of the world’s evils and inequities will disappear.
    2. Governments also need to pursue income redistribution to bring about economic justice.
    3. If all would cooperate, we could usher in near utopian conditions, and life would improve for everyone.
  8. No one knows what happens when we die.
    1. If there is no God, there is no Judgment Day to worry about.
    2. On the other hand, some believe that just about everyone goes to heaven.
    3. In the minds of those, only the really bad people go to hell, if there is such a place.

Recommended resources related to the topic:

Economics, Environment, Political Culture CD by Kerby Anderson

Government Ethics CD by Kerby Anderson

You Can’t NOT Legislate Morality mp3 by Frank Turek

 


Rich Hoyer is the Senior Minister of Lyndon Christian Church in Louisville, KY. He is also the Chairman of the Board for the Reveal Conference which seeks to educate people in the Louisville area regarding the evidence for the truth of Christianity. Rich received his Master’s in Religion from Cincinnati Christian University. Christian Apologetics is one of Rich’s greatest passions.

Original Blog Source: https://bit.ly/2S4ZCSH

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Many have asked the question, “Why are churches considered ‘non-essential’ during the Coronavirus shutdown and places like restaurants considered ‘essential’? Why are churches closed while grocery stores and restaurants remain open (at least for carry-out orders)?” The insinuation is NOT that food isn’t necessary, but the focus of the inquiry is on why churches are not considered ‘essential.’ After all, if social distancing is practiced in the church building and if surfaces are sanitized, how is being around people in a church building any different than being around a few hundred people in the Walmart or Meijer or the grocery store (especially since most church gatherings in the US number 100 people or less)?

Secularism, COVID-19, & the “Non-Essential” Church

Part of the answer lies in worldview analysis. Everyone, whether a person realizes it or not, has a worldview.  Everyone thinks with their worldview. And our worldview assumptions drive the decisions we make. For instance, if we believe that God is real, knowable, and cares for mankind, we will pray to God because our basic worldview assumption tells us that God hears our prayers. If, on the other hand, we don’t believe that God is real, knowable, or caring, then we won’t pray because we would consider doing so a waste of time. It’s my assertion that the average person in the US holds to a worldview that I call “Popular Secularism.”[i] Popular Secularism (PS) is a softer version of classic Secular Humanism (SH). SH flatly denies God’s existence. It also explicitly denies any spiritual realm beyond the physical, material world. PS, on the other hand, allows for a person to believe in whatever spiritual realm and religious view that he/she chooses. God may or may not exist. PS, however, considers spiritual concerns as being less important than physical, material concerns. Thus, a person can believe whatever he wants with regards to spiritual things. But PS treats a person’s spiritual beliefs like a parent views a child’s fairy tale. These are nice things to believe, but when its time to get serious, there is little-to-no room for certain spiritual practices.

Thus, enter the current discussion about why church gatherings are deemed “non-essential” while restaurants and other retail businesses are deemed “essential.” Because the average person in the US is a Popular Secularist, and because our politicians are elected from the general populace, we see Popular Secularists making the decisions for our country. And since PS views spiritual concerns as less important than physical and material concerns, church gatherings are deemed “non-essential” while food concerns are deemed essential.

Someone might object, “It makes sense to limit gatherings of people to protect the populace from getting sick.” Yes, but the question raised is this: If the populace is already gathering together (several hundred at a time) once or twice a week at the grocery store, how is the church gathering together once a week any different? The answer from the Popular Secularist might be that “people need to eat but they don’t need to go to church?” Here, though, we see the Popular Secularist reasoning from his worldview, which considers spiritual things less important than physical and material concerns. Again, the point of making this statement is not to say that I don’t think food is essential; it’s to point out WHY church gatherings are officially considered “non-essential.” PS considers spiritual things less important than the material.

When the dominant worldview of culture says, “This world is all that we can be sure exists,” of course, those who think with that worldview will prioritize this life, the here and now. PS reasons, “This life is all there is. We need to make sure that we extend it as long as possible.” While the Biblical Christian worldview says, “Life is a gift from God. We will take precautions to stay healthy and to help others stay healthy. But gathering as a church is just as important as going to the grocery store because spiritual things are just as important as the physical. And we are confident that eternity with God is far greater than life here and now.” As the Apostle Paul said, “To live is Christ; to die is gain.”

Notes

[i] [i] Popular Secularism is the dominant worldview in the West today. Popular Secularism holds the following assumptions about reality:

  1. God may or may not exist.
    1. If God does exist, no one knows which god is true.
    2. No one can rightly say one religion is right and another wrong.
    3. To make such claims is intolerant.
  2. As such, no one can claim to know what God wants mankind to do to the exclusion of the claims of others.
    1. Thus no religious book (the Bible, the Koran, etc…) can rightly claim to be the word of God.
    2. Each book carries the same weight, but less weight than the wisdom of elite educational progressive knowledge today.
  3. Morality is probably real but has more to do with the survival of society rather than the pleasure of God.
    1. It’s undeniable that “evil” is real.
    2. Yet since we don’t know if God is real or who he is, no one can rightly say that someone’s actions are objectively wrong unless the majority of society agrees.
    3. Thus, morality is a construction of society rather than a product of God’s revelation to us.
  4. Comfort and happiness are the highest human considerations.
    1. Humans should work to make sure that everyone is comfortable and happy.
    2. Anything that denies comfort and happiness should be avoided and possibly forbidden.
  5. Economic considerations should always be held in higher regard than religious claims.
    1. Public policy/laws should be decided by considering whether something will provide more money for society rather than based upon “religious” claims about morality.
    2. As a contemporary example: If legalized gaming with brings added revenue to a city to alleviate budget shortages, that knowledge should be considered more important than religious claims that added gambling opportunities are not “good” for society.
    3. “The good” is defined in economic, sexual, and environmental terms.
  6. (Near) total sexual freedom is something to which everyone is entitled.
    1. Homosexuality, Transgenderism, sex outside of marriage, are all legitimate lifestyle choices as people should have the right to do what they want.
    2. Only those sexual activities that “harm” others are wrong.
    3. A growing number of Popular Secularists believe that each person should be entitled to freedom from being offended, including silencing dissenting voices.
  7. Ignorance and the abuse caused by “the rich” are mankind’s two main problems.
    1. If we educate people, many of the world’s evils and inequities will disappear.
    2. Governments also need to pursue income redistribution to bring about economic justice.
    3. If all would cooperate, we could usher in near utopian conditions, and life would improve for everyone.
  8. No one knows what happens when we die.
    1. If there is no God, there is no Judgment Day to worry about.
    2. On the other hand, some believe that just about everyone goes to heaven.
    3. In the minds of those, only the really bad people go to hell, if there is such a place.

Recommended resources related to the topic:

Economics, Environment, Political Culture CD by Kerby Anderson

Government Ethics CD by Kerby Anderson

You Can’t NOT Legislate Morality mp3 by Frank Turek


Rich Hoyer is the Senior Minister of Lyndon Christian Church in Louisville, KY. He is also the Chairman of the Board for the Reveal Conference which seeks to educate people in the Louisville area regarding the evidence for the truth of Christianity. Rich received his Master’s in Religion from Cincinnati Christian University. Christian Apologetics is one of Rich’s greatest passions.

Original Blog Source: https://bit.ly/2S4ZCSH

via Secularism, COVID-19, & the “Non-Essential” Church — Cross Examined – Christian Apologetic Ministry | Frank Turek | Christian Apologetics | Christian Apologetics Speakers

Mike Rowe on Coronavirus Lockdowns: ‘We’re Being Treated Like Children’ — Faithwire

As coronavirus-induced lockdowns continue across most of the country, Mike Rowe is calling for a balance between safety and liberty.

The former “Dirty Jobs” host said during an interview this week with conservative radio host and author Glenn Beck that it’s time to establish “risk equilibrium,” arguing the lasting damage that’s resulting from our forced economic recession could unleash an entirely different national crisis.

This was the crux of Rowe’s argument:

There are times when safety first is wise and prudent. You don’t drive 55 when there’s an ice storm. You adjust, you recalibrate, you take the temperature of the room and you adjust your behavior. It’s called homeostatic risk, risk equilibrium.

We’re all hard-wired to adapt and adjust our behavior to the circumstances around us. There are times when putting safety above all things makes absolute sense, but there has never been a time where arbitraging everything else out of the equation — and venerating safety to the point that nothing else is even allowed to be discussed — there’s never been a point in our history, at least as I understand it, where that’s made a lick of sense.

Earlier in his discussion with Beck, Rowe predicted Americans will soon reach a tipping point, at which time they will no longer just follow orders from the government without asking questions.

“I think most of the country is going to come through this with the realization that we’re being treated like children and we’re being fed platitudes, bromides, and bowls of warm milk by people who want us to look at them as parents,” he explained.

During a separate interview Tuesday afternoon with Fox News anchor Dana Perino, Rowe said politicians are in for a rude awakening if they continue to suggest the jobs lost by millions of Americans as a result of nationwide shutdowns are “nonessential.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) faced particular ire when he lashed out at those living in his state who were speaking out after having been laid off from their jobs because of the lockdown. In his comments, the governor told New Yorkers to stop complaining and “take a job as an essential worker.”

“The illness is death,” Cuomo lectured. “What is worse than death? Economic hardship? Yes, very bad. Not death. Emotional stress from being locked in a house? Very bad. Not death. Domestic violence on the increase? Very bad. Not death.”

That kind or rhetoric, Rowe told Perino, is out of touch and illogical.

“Thirty-four million people are out of work right now, and by definition, those people are out of work because, according to the governor, they are nonessential,” he said. “But if you look at the impact of removing those works from our economy, you know, our macro-economy, you can see that they’re absolutely essential.”

“So language matters,” Rowe continued. “This is one of those instances where the headlines have caught up to our vernacular, and if we don’t make some tweaks to our lexicon, we’re going to wind up sounding really — what’s the word? — stupid.”

via Mike Rowe on Coronavirus Lockdowns: ‘We’re Being Treated Like Children’ — Faithwire

May 6, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Confrontation

And when He had come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?” (21:23)

It was still Wednesday morning of Passover week. After Jesus and the disciples had passed the fig tree He cursed the day before and found it completely withered (vv. 18–22; cf. Mark 11:20–21), He had come with them into the temple.

The group of chief priests and elders may have included the high priests Caiaphas and Annas, who served concurrently for several years (Luke 3:2). Because of the seriousness of their confrontation of Jesus, it is likely that at least the captain of the Temple, the second highest official, was present. The elders comprised a wide variety of religious leaders, which definitely included Pharisees (Matt. 21:45) and scribes (Luke 20:1), and possibly Sadducees, Herodians, and even some Zealots and Essenes. Although those groups had many differences from each other and were constantly disputing among themselves, they found common ground in opposing Jesus, because He threatened the authority of the entire religious establishment.

Every false religion has the common denominator of works righteousness, of salvation by human achievement, and is by nature offended by and opposed to the gospel of divine accomplishment by God in Christ. Although the religions of the world are divided by vast differences in theology and practice, they find common ground against the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as did the Jewish religionists in the Temple. They may presume to honor Christ as a prophet, a great teacher, or even as one among many gods, but they vehemently oppose the truth that He is the only Savior and that no person can come to God except through the merits of His sacrifice.

As He had the day before, when He so dramatically cleansed the Temple, Jesus now took center stage there again and was teaching as He walked about the courtyard (Mark 11:27). It seems certain that those whom He had driven out for making His Father’s house a den of robbers (Matt. 21:13) had not returned, and the entire spacious Court of the Gentiles was now available for those who came to worship. Many of them had probably followed Jesus there when they saw Him come into the city that morning.

We are not told what Jesus was teaching on this occasion, but He was likely reiterating some of the more important truths He had taught many times before. We can be sure that whatever He said was related to His kingdom, the subject with which His ministry began (Matt. 4:17) and ended (Acts 1:3). In His parallel account, Luke reports that Jesus was “teaching daily in the temple, … preaching the gospel” (Luke 19:47; 20:1), which was sometimes called “the gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 9:35). Whatever His specific theme, “all the people were hanging upon His words” (Luke 19:48).

The primary question the Jewish leaders now had for Jesus was the same as it had been from the beginning, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?” (cf. John 2:18). By these things, they probably meant everything Jesus had been teaching and doing, but they particularly had in mind His abrupt and, in their eyes, utterly presumptuous cleansing of the Temple the day before. Except for His similar act at the beginning of His ministry, He had never done anything that more clearly, forcefully, and publicly devastated the religious establishment. While it was happening, they were powerless to stop Him and apparently were even speechless. But now that they had recovered from the initial shock, they were on the offensive and were demanding an explanation.

Rabbinical candidates originally had been ordained by a leading rabbi whom they respected and under whose teaching they served a kind of apprenticeship. And just as the teachings of the leading rabbis varied greatly, so did their ordinations. Because of widespread abuses, and probably also to centralize rabbinical authority, the Sanhedrin, or high Jewish council, had taken over all responsibility for ordination.

At his ordination a man was declared to be rabbi, elder, and judge, and was given corresponding authority to teach, to express his wisdom, and to make decisions and render verdicts in religious as well as many civil matters. During the service various discourses and readings were given and hymns sung. Once ordained, the man had official recognition as a credentialed teacher of Israel.

Jesus had had no such ordination and therefore had no such recognition. By what authority, then, the leaders asked, did He not only teach and preach but even heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead? Most especially, why had He presumed to take upon Himself—an untrained, unrecognized, self-appointed rabbi—the task of casting the merchants and moneychangers out of the Temple? Although not themselves religious leaders, those men were operating their businesses under the auspices of the Temple authorities. “Who gave You … authority to throw them out?” those authorities asked Jesus.

Although they did not recognize the source and legitimacy of Jesus’ power, they never questioned that He had it. That His authority was unprecedentedly powerful was incontestable. No one had ever healed as many sick people, cast out as many demons, or raised people from the dead as Jesus had done. The miracles were so obvious, numerous, and well attested that the religious leaders never doubted that Jesus performed them, having seen many of them with their own eyes.

Those leaders knew that power such as Jesus displayed had to be of supernatural origin, and they knew He claimed it was from God, whom He repeatedly called His heavenly Father. When He forgave a paralytic’s sins, some of the scribes present “said to themselves, ‘This fellow blasphemes.’ ” Knowing what they were thinking, Jesus accused them of having evil hearts and proceeded to heal the man’s paralysis in order to show His critics that He, the Son of Man, had “authority on earth to forgive sins” (Matt. 9:2–6). The crowd of common people who witnessed what He did made the only sensible response: “They were filled with awe, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men” (v. 8). But the scribes refused to accept the obvious. No amount of evidence could penetrate their confirmed unbelief. And like the Pharisees on an earlier occasion (Matt. 12:24), the Temple authorities who now confronted Jesus no doubt preferred to believe that His power came from Satan rather than God.

The chief priests and elders in the Temple also knew, as the multitudes often acknowledged in amazement, that Jesus taught authoritatively, with a clarity, definitiveness, and certainty that was completely lacking in the pronouncements and interpretations of the scribes (Matt. 7:29; Mark 1:22). As in many liberal church circles today, a key qualification for acceptance was lack of dogmatism. Virtually every doctrine was open to reinterpretation and revision, and absolutes were shunned as presumptuous. Human wisdom had long since replaced divine revelation, and Old Testament Scripture was cited primarily to support their humanly-devised religious traditions. When Scripture conflicted with tradition, tradition prevailed (Matt. 16:6). In the minds of most Jewish religious leaders, there were many authorities but none that was exclusively authoritative, not even Scripture.

Yet Jesus’ ministry was nothing if not authoritative. He demonstrated authority to grant those who believe in Him the right to become children of God (John 1:12). His heavenly Father “gave Him authority to execute judgment” (5:27) and “authority over all mankind” to give eternal life to those His Father has given Him (17:2). He had authority over His own life, “to lay it down,” and over His own resurrection, “to take [His life] up again.” (10:18).

In all the things He said and did, Jesus never sought approval or support from the recognized Jewish authorities. He completely ignored their system for ordaining rabbis and approving doctrines. He did not ask approval for His teachings, His healings, or His casting out of demons, and certainly not for His forgiving sins.

Jesus had both dunamis (power) and exousia (authority). Dunamis refers to ability, and exousia to right. Jesus not only had great power but the right to exercise that power, because both His power and His authority were from His heavenly Father. “Just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life,” Jesus said, “even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes,” and “just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” (John 5:21, 26). “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (6:38; cf. v. 44, 57; 7:16, 28; 8:18, 54).

And because Jesus had the Father’s power and authority, He sought no human authority, accreditation, ordination, or credentials. By so doing, He pitted Himself directly against the Jewish religious system and incurred its unrelenting wrath. Its leaders were appalled and scandalized that He not only failed to consult the Sanhedrin and the Temple authorities but had the audacity to condemn them.

In asking Jesus to identify His authority, those leaders probably hoped He would say, as He had many times before, that He worked under the direct power and authority of God, His heavenly Father. That would give them another opportunity to charge Him with blasphemy, and perhaps to succeed in putting Him to death for it, as they had tried to do before without success (John 5:18; 10:31).[1]


23 Jesus’ teaching takes place in the “temple courts,” probably in one of the porticos surrounding the Court of the Gentiles. The chief priests were high temple functionaries, elevated members of the priestly aristocracy who were part of the Sanhedrin (see comments at 2:4); the elders were in this case probably nonpriestly members of the Sanhedrin, heads of the most influential lay families (cf. Jeremias, Jerusalem, 222ff.). In other words, representative members of the Sanhedrin, described in terms of their clerical status rather than their theological positions (e.g., Sadducees and Pharisees), approached Jesus and challenged his authority to do “these things”—namely, the cleansing of the temple, the miraculous healings, and perhaps also his teaching (v. 23). Their first question was not narrowly theological but concerned Jesus’ authority; yet their concern in asking who gave him this authority (cf. Ac 4:7) sprang less from a desire to identify him than from a desire to stifle and perhaps ensnare him.[2]


23 “The temple” (i.e. the Court of the Gentiles; see pp. 770–71) is the scene for all the remaining teaching and action until 24:1. The colonnades around the great courtyard offered ample shaded space for people to gather round a preacher. “As he was teaching” indicates that this was Jesus’ normal practice during these days before the festival, even though Matthew’s record of specific teaching will not begin until v. 28. We are therefore to assume a substantial crowd around Jesus when this official approach is made, so that the following dialogue takes place in public (as v. 26, “we are afraid of the crowd,” confirms).

We have heard of the “chief priests and elders” (together with the scribes) in 16:21 as the body who will bring about Jesus’ death. At this point Mark and Luke again give the full list of the component groups of the Sanhedrin, but Matthew abbreviates by mentioning only the two groups who were to take the “political” lead in responding to the threat Jesus posed to their official status as guardians of the temple and of the community affairs of Jerusalem. In chapters 26 and 27 he will regularly (except for 26:57) single out these two groups as the opponents of Jesus, though in 27:41 all three groups will again be mentioned as mocking him on the cross. Matthew, unlike the other evangelists, often gives the full title “elders of the people” (cf. 26:3, 47; 27:1), perhaps in order to emphasize their role in representing the whole people of God, just as it is only Matthew who in 27:25 will attribute the demand for Jesus’ death to “all the people,” using as here the term laos which spoke especially of the communal privilege of the chosen people.

The challenge as to Jesus’ “authority” is a more explicit expression of the suspicion which led the leaders in Galilee to ask for a “sign” (12:38; 16:1; see comments on 12:38). Jesus’ actions imply a personal authority greater than that of a mere village preacher from Galilee. In particular, his action in the temple implies a claim to authority greater than that of the priests who were responsible for its affairs. They had given him no such authority, so who had?[3]


The Challenge to Jesus (21:23)

As Jesus teaches in the temple, two groups approach him. ‘The chief priests’ (hoi archiereis) were ‘high functionaries of the Temple, former high priests, and members of priestly families—mostly Sadduceean.’ ‘The elders of the people’ (hoi presbyteroi tou laou) came from the lay nobility and were closely aligned with the priests. Mark 11:27 and Luke 20:1 (par. to 21:23) state that scribes (hoi grammateis) were also present. The three groups sat together on the Sanhedrin.

In Matthew 16:21 Jesus prophesied that he would suffer at the hands of the chief priests and the elders (together with the scribes). Yet the chief priests confront Jesus for the first times in 21:15 and 21:23; and the elders do so for the first time in 21:23. That they do so here and now is not in the least surprising. Neither group witnessed Jesus’ cursing of the fig tree (21:18–19). It is his actions in the temple on which they focus—just what chief priests and their lay allies would be expected to do. ‘By what authority are you doing these things [tauta]?’ they ask. The plural tauta suggests that the question encompasses all that Jesus has said and done in the temple: his expulsion of the merchants and money changers (vv. 12–13), his miraculous works (v. 14), his acceptance of the children’s praise (vv. 15–16) and his present teaching (v. 23). ‘And who gave you this authority [tēn exousian tautēn]?’—i.e. authority as exercised in these words and deeds. Verse 15 reported the chief priests’ indignation over Jesus’ marvelous works and the children’s acclaim. In all probability it is especially his action in verses 12–13 that prompts the interrogation of verse 23. The concern most directly voiced in the questions is this: ‘What gives you the right to take such action, and so severely to disrupt the workings of the temple, when you have no priestly credentials?’ Behind the questions is also anxiety over the stability and security of the temple, especially since Jesus takes this action so close to Passover.7 Perhaps the remainder of the passage will bring further concerns to light.[4]


21:23 By what authority are you doing these things? The challenge issued by the chief priests and elders sets the stage for the rest of chapters 21–22. The question of authority is at the heart of the conflict between Jesus and various groups of Jewish leaders that challenge him. But Jesus will confound them and evade their “traps” (22:15, 23, 34). His wisdom amazes those listening (22:22, 33), and his final riddle silences their interrogations (22:46). We can outline this as follows:

  1. Jesus’ authority is challenged by chief priests and elders (21:23–27).
  2. Jesus tells three parables to challenge the Jewish leaders: they will miss out on the kingdom because they reject him (21:28–22:14).
  3. Pharisees and Herodians test Jesus on the imperial tax (22:15–22).
  4. Sadducees test Jesus on resurrection (22:23–33).
  5. Pharisees test Jesus on Torah (22:34–40).
  6. Jesus confounds the Jewish leaders with a riddle (22:41–46).[5]

Ver. 23.—When he was come into the temple. The conversation recorded here belongs to the Tuesday of the Holy Week, and took place in the courts of the temple, at this time filled with pilgrims from all parts of the world, who hung upon Christ’s words, and beheld his doings with wonder and awe. This sight roused to fury the envy and anger of the authorities, and they sent forth sections of their cleverest men to undermine his authority in the eyes of the people, or to force from him statements on which they might found criminal accusation against him. The chief priests and the elders of the people. According to the other evangelists, there were also scribes, teachers of the Law, united with them in this deputation, which thus comprised all the elements of the Sanhedrin. This seems to have been the first time that the council took formal notice of Jesus’ claims and actions, and demanded from him personally an account of himself. They had been quick enough in inquiring into the Baptist’s credentials, when he suddenly appeared on the banks of Jordan (see John 1:19, etc.); but they had studiously, till quite lately, avoided any regular investigation of the pretensions of Jesus. In the face of late proceedings, this could no longer be delayed. A crisis had arrived; their own peculiar province was publicly invaded, and their authority attacked; the opponent must be withstood by the action of the constituted court. As he was teaching. Jesus did not confine himself to beneficent acts; he used the opportunity of the gathering of crowds around him to preach unto them the gospel (Luke 20:1), to teach truths which came with double force from One who had done such marvellous things. By what authority doest thou these things? They refer to the triumphal entry, the reception of the homage offered, the healing of the blind and lame, the teaching as with the authority of a rabbi, and especially to the cleansing of the temple. No one could presume to teach without a proper commission: where was his authorization? They were the guardians and rulers of the temple: what right had he to interfere with their management, and to use the sacred precincts for his own purposes? These and such like questions were in their mind when they addressed him thus. Wilfully ignoring the many proofs they had of Christ’s Divine mission (which one of them, Nicodemus, had long before been constrained to own, John 3:2), they raised the question now as a novel and unanswered one. Who gave thee this authority? They resolve the general inquiry into the personal one—Who was it that conferred upon you this authority which you presume to exercise? Was it some earthly ruler, or was it God himself? Perhaps they mean to insinuate that Satan was the master whose power he wielded—an accusation already often made. They thought thus to place Christ in an embarrassing position, from which he could not emerge without affording the opportunity which they desired. The trap was cleverly set, and, as they deemed, unavoidable. If he was forced to confess that he spoke and acted without any proper authorization, he would be humiliated in the eyes of the people, and might be officially silenced by the strong hand. If he asserted himself to be the Messiah and the bearer of a Divine commission, they would at once bring against him a charge of blasphemy (ch. 26:65).[6]


Matthew 21:23. By what authority doest thou these things? As the other schemes and open attempts to attack Christ had not succeeded, the priests and scribes now attempt, by indirect methods, if they may possibly cause him to desist from the practice of teaching. They do not debate with him as to the doctrine itself, whether it was true or not—for already had they often enough attacked him in vain on that question—but they raise a dispute as to his calling and commission. And, indeed, there were plausible grounds; for since a man ought not, of his own accord, to intermeddle either with the honour of priesthood, or with the prophetical office, but ought to wait for the calling of God, much less would any man be at liberty to claim for himself the title of Messiah, unless it were evident that he had been chosen by God; for he must have been appointed, not only by the voice of God, but likewise by an oath, as it is written, (Psalm 110:4; Heb. 7:21.)

But when the divine majesty of Christ had been attested by so many miracles, they act maliciously and wickedly in inquiring whence he came, as if they had been ignorant of all that he had done. For what could be more unreasonable than that, after seeing the hand of God openly displayed in curing the lame and blind, they should doubt if he were a private individual who had rashly assumed this authority? Besides, more than enough of evidence had been already laid before them, that Christ was sent from heaven, so that nothing was farther from their wish than to approve of the performances of Christ, after having learned that God was the Author of them. They therefore insist on this, that he is not a lawful minister of God, because he had not been chosen by their votes, as if the power had dwelt solely with them. But though they had been the lawful guardians of the Church, still it was monstrous to rise up against God. We now understand why Christ did not make a direct reply to them. It was because they wickedly and shamelessly interrogated him about a matter which was well known.[7]


23. The chief priests and elders together with the scribes made up the Sanhedrin, which was responsible for maintaining order in civil and religious affairs. This was, then, a high-level deputation. These things are presumably Jesus’ actions in vv. 1–13, but underlying the question are the ummistakable claims which those actions involved, which had led to the explicitly Messianic reaction of the crowd (vv. 9, 15) to which they had already objected.[8]


21:23 “the chief priests and elders of the people” Notice in verse 15 they are called “chief priests” and “scribes.” These three groups made up the Sanhedrin. Whether they were an official or unofficial delegation is uncertain, but they represented the Jewish leadership.

“while He was teaching” Jesus taught under Solomon’s portico in the Court of the Gentiles within the Temple area. He was still trying to reach the Jewish leadership.

“ ‘By what authority are You doing these things’ ” This was the central question! “These things” could refer to the cleansing of the Temple (cf. vv. 12–16), Jesus’ rejection of oral tradition, or His public miracles. They could not deny the miraculous acts, so they attacked the source of His authority. Apparently the religious leaders of Jesus’ day thought Jesus was an extremely powerful demon possessed person (cf. 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15; Jn. 7:20; 8:48, 52; 10:20–21).[9]


23. Now when he had entered the temple and was teaching there, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him with the question, By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority? Jesus was teaching, no doubt, in one of the “porches,” “porticos” or “halls” of the temple. These porches were beautiful and huge. They were covered colonnades that ran all around the inside of the wall of the vast temple complex. Or, to put it differently, these halls were bounded on the outside by the temple wall, on the inside by the Court of the Gentiles. Most splendid and widest of them all was “the Royal Porch” (Stoa Basilica)—built where according to tradition the palace of Solomon used to be—consisting of four rows of columns, 162 in all, forming three vast halls, on the south side of the temple complex. Famous also was Solomon’s Porch on the east side (John 10:23: Acts 3:11; 5:12).

While Jesus was teaching and “preaching the gospel” (Luke 20:1) in one of these places, “the chief priests and elders” (thus Matthew), “the chief priests and the scribes and the elders” (Mark 11:27; cf. Luke 20:1), came up to Jesus. See on 2:4 and 16:21 for a description of these three groups. Again, as in 21:15, it is impossible to say definitely whether these groups were acting on their own initiative or as a delegation sent by the Sanhedrin, though in the present instance—because they ask Jesus about his authority—the latter seems probable. Their question is clear. They want to know by what authority Jesus was doing these things, that is, who had given him this right. They were saying, “Show us your credentials!” It was an attempt to embarrass Jesus. If he admitted that he had no credentials the people could be expected to lose respect for him. On the other hand, if he considered himself authorized to do the things he had been doing, was he not arrogating to himself rights that belonged only to God? Could he not then be accused of being guilty of blasphemous behavior? By not assaulting him directly, for example by having him arrested, they reveal that they are afraid of him because of his following.

But what do they mean by “these things”? They must have been referring to recent or present activities, that is, to things he had done on Sunday or on Monday, or to what he was doing on this Tuesday. Among commentators there is general agreement that the cleansing of the temple was included in “these things.” This opinion is undoubtedly correct (cf. John 2:18). But was this the only thing to which these enemies of Jesus referred? There is a wide difference of opinion among commentators. Some would include Sunday’s royal entry into Jerusalem. Others say, “No,” for the ovation he received at that time was not his own doing. Over against this stands the fact that he did not at all oppose the hosannas of his disciples and of the children (see 20:16; Luke 19:39). The royal entry may therefore have been included in “these things.” And if we bear in mind the fact that Christ’s enemies ascribed his miracles to the power of Beelzebub operative within him, even the deeds of kindness to the blind and the lame may have been included. However, the context in Luke would seem to indicate that it was especially the teaching in the temple and the preaching of the gospel there that must have irked the Jewish leaders. To say, with some, that the chief priests, elders, etc., could not have had this in mind because “any rabbi had a right to teach” misses the point: these Jewish dignitaries certainly did not want “the gospel” preached there![10]


21:23. Jesus returned to the temple since this was the place in Jerusalem where people came to hear the Scriptures taught. And teach he did. But Jesus also returned to do battle, knowing that his opponents were waiting for him.

The chief priests and the elders of the people interrupted his teaching to challenge his authority. Both groups belonged to the Sanhedrin, the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Jewish government. These things that Jesus was doing included his purging of the temple on the previous day, but they may also have included other events (the triumphal entry, his acceptance of praise as the “Son of David,” his teaching in the temple, and his miraculous healings). They asked him to state the authority by which he did these things and the source of his authority (who gave you this authority?).[11]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 3, pp. 284–287). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 504). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew (pp. 797–798). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.

[4] Chamblin, J. K. (2010). Matthew: A Mentor Commentary (pp. 1030–1031). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[5] Brown, J. K. (2015). Matthew. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (pp. 250–251). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. Matthew (Vol. 2, pp. 320–321). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[7] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Vol. 3, pp. 21–22). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[8] France, R. T. (1985). Matthew: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 308–309). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[9] Utley, R. J. (2000). The First Christian Primer: Matthew (Vol. Volume 9, p. 176). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.

[10] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 776–777). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[11] Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, pp. 343–344). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

May 6, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

Without wearing a face-covering himself, President Donald Trump toured a new medical mask factory in Arizona on Tuesday, taking a rare trip out of Washington to visit a state he hopes to win in the November election even as Americans avoid travel to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The Trump administration is drafting a legal blueprint for mining on the moon under a new U.S.-sponsored international agreement called the Artemis Accords, people familiar with the proposed pact told Reuters.

The U.S. Senate convened in Washington for the first time in nearly six weeks on Monday, despite concern it might put lawmakers and staff at risk of contracting the coronavirus, but made clear it could take weeks to pass any new relief legislation.

A U.S. judge reinstated a presidential primary canceled last week by New York State, over concerns that voting would have been an unnecessary risk.

U.S. Republicans underscored the need for tax cuts and business liability protections in any new coronavirus legislation on Tuesday, while blocking a Democratic attempt to require transparency for a $650 billion-plus program for struggling small businesses.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday announced a range of steps agreed with Germany’s 16 federal state leaders to ease the coronavirus lockdown, saying the first phase of the pandemic had passed, although there was still a long way to go.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez looks set to secure enough parliamentary votes on Wednesday to extend a state of emergency for two more weeks as the country relaxes a lockdown imposed to control one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks.

Shops and industrial enterprises in Bahrain can open from Thursday while restaurants will stay closed to in-house diners, the Health Ministry said, as the Gulf state eases restrictions designed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

A genetic analysis of samples from more than 7,500 people infected with COVID-19 suggests the new coronavirus spread quickly around the world late last year and is adapting to its human hosts.

U.S. private employers laid off a record 20.236 million workers in April as mandatory business closures in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak savaged the economy, setting up the overall labor market for historic job losses last month.

As Washington and Beijing trade barbs over the coronavirus pandemic, a longer-term struggle between the two Pacific powers is at a turning point, as the United States rolls out new weapons and strategy in a bid to close a wide missile gap with China.

Oil fell to around $30 a barrel as a report showing a higher-than-expected rise in U.S. inventories offset hopes for a recovery in demand as some countries ease coronavirus lockdowns.

The U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday it will launch a long-planned 20-year bond and increase securities auction sizes across a range of maturities to raise cash to meet record government borrowing needs caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

AP Top Stories

A medical researcher said to be on the “verge of making very significant” coronavirus findings was found shot to death over the weekend in Pennsylvania, officials said.

As states around the country move toward opening businesses and easing restrictions on mobility, President Trump Tuesday dismissed concerns that the number of deaths from the coronavirus could nearly double in the next three months.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has awarded Kim Jong Un a commemorative war medal marking the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, the Russian embassy in Pyongyang said Tuesday. The medal was awarded to the North Korean leader for his role in preserving the memory of Soviet soldiers who died on North Korean territory, the statement said.

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb believes the United States may not be able to reduce coronavirus transmission much more, saying we should prepare for a “new normal.”

The director-general of the U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA) says the criminals who prey on children online, and gangs behind serious and organized crime, are finding opportunities and adapting to the circumstances presented by the coronavirus pandemic. “We don’t want to scare parents, but there is no doubt that with more children online, we need to work harder to protect those children.”

China warned Hong Kong protesters Wednesday it would not tolerate them “stirring up trouble again” in the semi-autonomous territory that was rocked by months of pro-democracy demonstrations last year.

The U.S. Postal Service is approaching bankruptcy following 13 consecutive years of multi-billion-dollar deficits. Instead of a bailout, USPS needs structural reforms to return to solvency and to operate competitively in the digital age. Setting the Postal Service loose to become its own private entity carries the greatest promise for sustainable and effective operations, as successful privatizations in countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany demonstrate.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike will ask businesses in Japan’s biggest city to refrain from operating until the end of this month, following the central government’s extension of the state of emergency, a public broadcaster NHK reported.

Overnight strikes on positions held by Iranian-backed militias and their allies in eastern Syria killed 14 fighters, a war monitor said on Tuesday.

How a Navy destroyer operating in the Pacific picked up coronavirus cases remains a mystery, but the top defense official said this week that a drug-smuggling vessel could be to blame.

BBC

More than two-thirds of people surveyed in 20 African countries said they would run out of food and water if they had to stay at home for 14 days. Just over half of the respondents said they would run out of money.

Tom Cruise is hoping to blast into the Hollywood record books by shooting the first action movie in space. NASA is working with Cruise to film aboard the International Space Station. There are no details of the film, but it would not be a new instalment of Mission: Impossible.

The head of a charity which works on protecting African wildlife, Tusk, says the coronavirus pandemic is the biggest threat to conservation in his 30 years of working in the sector. His organization expects to lose $2m from cancelled fundraising events alone.

A lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus has seen 122 million Indians lose their jobs in April alone, new data from a private research agency has shown.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to reopen all shops as part of a deal with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states to ease restrictions on society. General contact rules will continue for another month. Schools will reopen gradually this term and Bundesliga football has been given the green light to restart.

WND

The 25 universities with the largest endowments were “allocated” more than $800 million in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, according to an analysis by open government watchdog OpenTheBooks.com.

A new article published Friday titled “What Is Democratic Socialism and Why Is It Growing More Popular in the U.S.?” and written by Samuel Arnold, an associate professor of political theory at Texas Christian University, pushed the growingly popular concept of “democratic socialism” to readers of Teen Vogue, the online magazine on a mission to be the “young person’s guide to saving the world.”

The man behind the dire coronavirus death forecast that prompted the strict lockdowns in the United States and the United Kingdom has a history of conflicts of interest, including ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Ferguson led the team at the Imperial College of London that published a report March 16 forecasting 2.2 million deaths in the United States and 500,000 in Britain from the coronavirus. However, just 10 days later, he told a parliamentary committee that the U.K. death toll is unlikely to exceed 20,000 and could be much lower. And more than half that number would have died anyway by the end of the year, because of their age and underlying illnesses, he told the panel. The current U.K. figure is more than 28,000 while the U.S. has recorded more than 65,000 deaths.


Mid-Day Snapshot · May 6, 2020

The Foundation

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government.” —George Washington (1796)

Trump Working to Cut China From Supply Chain

The administration aims to create an alliance of countries that won’t depend on Beijing.


Newsom’s $1B Shady Mask Deal With China

The California Gov. refuses to reveal the details of this deal he just put on the taxpayers tab.


Republican Governors Get High Marks for Handling Pandemic

An analysis of state responses gives some governors an “A” and others an “F.”


British Modeler Cheats, Breaks Lockdown

Neil Ferguson broke his own policy proposal by having an affair with a married woman.


Is India a COVID-19 Anomaly?

The world’s second-most-populated country has hardly been touched by the virus. Why?


The Faithful Response to Soft Tyranny

There were two Great Awakenings in America’s past. Are we due for another?


Video: Samaritan’s Purse Booted From NYC

You are only welcome if you grovel before the progressive social agenda.


Video: Coronavirus Cans the Bag Ban

Single-use plastic bags are more hygienic. Ninety-seven percent of people never wash their reusable bags.



Today’s Opinion

Kay C. James
Mothers Have an Impact That Goes Far Beyond Their Families
Ben Shapiro
What Are We Trying to Accomplish With Coronavirus Policy?
Betsy McCaughey
Prolonging the Shutdown Defies Science and the U.S. Constitution
Gary Bauer
Holding China Accountable
Walter E. Williams
The Nation’s Report Card
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Wednesday News Executive Summary

Task Force clarification, Neil Ferguson’s hypocrisy, worst fake news stories, and more.


Wednesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Andrew Sullivan, Nancy Pelosi, Bill de Blasio, and more.



Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

Headlines – 5/6/2020

Likud, Blue and White agree to revise coalition deal after High Court criticism

Netanyahu: I was elected by the majority, the court should not interfere

Abbas: Annexation will lead to cancellation of Oslo Accords

American envoy says US could recognize annexation in West Bank in coming weeks

Ambassador Friedman: ‘Deal of Century does not eliminate two-state solution’

Major upheavals due to coronavirus pose challenges for US-Israel relationship

Saudi cabinet affirms Palestinian cause will remain ‘central issue’ for Arabs and Muslims: SPA

IDF hits targets in Gaza Strip after rocket fired into Israeli territory

Western Wall reopens to worshipers after coronavirus restrictions relaxed

Top US Antisemitism Official Urges ‘Aggressive’ Response to Rise of Online Hate Speech During Coronavirus Crisis

14 dead, including Iranians, in Syria strikes attributed to Israel

Defense officials: Iran pulling out of Syria as Israel pummels its forces there

Iranian Airline Designated for Terror Links Spread Coronavirus Throughout Middle East, New Report Reveals

Lebanon summons German ambassador over Hezbollah ban

Despite ISIS Fall and Coronavirus, First Week of Ramadan Deadlier than 2019

Venezuela arrests two Americans for failed ‘invasion’

FBI: April 2020 Sets Record for Firearm Background Checks

Conspiracy theories run rampant when people feel helpless. Like now.

Coronavirus may have arrived in Sweden in November: Public Health Agency

Scientists say a now-dominant strain of the coronavirus appears to be more contagious than original

To find a coronavirus vaccine, can we ethically infect people with a disease with no cure?

Compulsory Vaccination in Africa? Bill Gates Allegedly Offered Nigeria House of Representatives $10 Million for Speedy Passage of Compulsory Vaccine Bill: CUPP Opposition Party

New York to work with Gates Foundation to ‘reimagine’ schools: governor

Coronavirus Latest: New University Of Penn Model Predicts 350,000 Deaths By End Of June If All States Fully Reopen

White House balks as models show frightening acceleration of future coronavirus deaths

Trump admits US reopening will cost more lives

Trump says coronavirus task force will wind down as focus shifts to reopening

Trump says Fauci, Birx will still be involved in COVID-19 efforts

President says Fauci can testify before GOP-controlled Senate, not House led by ‘Trump haters’

US stocks climb on economic reopening hope, oil-price rebound

Billionaire Sam Zell Sees Economy Permanently Scarred by Pandemic

18 Signs That We Are Facing A Record Breaking Economic Implosion In 2020

Apple borrows $8.5 billion, joins record corporate debt borrowing spree

California Is First State to Borrow From Federal Government to Make Unemployment Payments

Ari Fleischer warns ‘day of reckoning is coming’ as California borrows from feds for unemployment payments

Shock: ‘More Than 40%’ Of Small Businesses May Close In The Next Six Months

Trump executive order didn’t stop meat plant closures. Seven more shut in the past week.

Beyond Meat swings to profit as meat supply chain slammed by coronavirus

Dallas salon owner jailed for reopening in violation of court order

India’s capital reopens liquor stores, imposes 70 percent ‘special corona fee’ tax to crack down on crowds

Antitrust hawks take on Big Tech as pandemic persists

Revenge porn soars in Europe’s coronavirus lockdown as student fights back

Get Out, Bigots: NYC Council Speaker Says Franklin Graham’s Medical Charity Has ‘No Place’ in the Pandemic-Stricken Big Apple

States Trying to Force Nuns to Fund Abortion: Pro-Life Little Sisters of the Poor at Supreme Court Yet Again

Southern Baptist Convention expels Texas church for having sex offender as pastor

Israel threatens to shut down new evangelical GOD TV channel if it proselytizes

Former Pope Benedict XVI Just Connected Gay Marriage With The Antichrist

Trump Declares National Emergency As Foreign Hackers Threaten U.S. Power Grid

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hospitalized with infection, court announces

China launches new rocket into space as it steps up Moon landing plans

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Hihifo, Tonga

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Puerto San Jose, Guatemala

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ichihara, Japan

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 23,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 21,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Nevados De Chillan volcano in Chile erupts to 14,000ft


Apostasy Watch

Selwyn Duke – A Wizard of Oz virus: The COVID-19 hoax

Chip Brogden – Our God Delivers

How Heretics Shaped Alcoholics Anonymous

Jim Bakker claims his product sales are protected under 1st amendment religious liberty clause

Concerns over church in Australia selling bleach which its US leader claims can cure coronavirus

Israel threatens to shut down new evangelical GOD TV channel if it proselytizes

Pope Encourages Muslims to Pray to Allah During Universal Day of Prayer

“Price is Right” Show Will Raise Funds for Planned Parenthood Abortion Business

Mother Sings and Dances “I’m Going to Have an Abortion and You Can’t Stop Me”

Ellen DeGeneres: Parents who oppose kids’ sex ‘transition’ don’t love unconditionally


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