“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
We must declare this God to be our God and own our relation to him, his dominion over us, and propriety in us.
Our souls have said to the LORD, “You are our Lord, we have no good apart from you; Psalm 16:2(ESV) neither if we are righteous are you the better.” Job 35:7(ESV)
You are our King, O God: Psalm 44:4(ESV) Other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. Isaiah 26:13(ESV)
We declare today that the LORD is our God, and that we will walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments and his rules, and will obey his voice and give ourselves to him, to be his people for a treasured possession, as he has promised, that we may be a holy people to the Lord our God; Deuteronomy 26:17-19 and might be to him for a name, a praise, and a glory. Jeremiah 13:11(ESV)
O Lord, truly we are your servants; we are your servants, born in your house, and you have loosed our bonds: Psalm 116:16(ESV) We have been bought with a price, and therefore we are not our own; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20(ESV) and so we yield ourselves to the Lord, 2 Chronicles 30:8(ESV) and join ourselves to him in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten. Jeremiah 50:5(ESV)
We are yours, save us, for we seek your precepts; Psalm 119:94(ESV) it is your own, Lord, that we give you, and that which comes from your hand. 1 Chronicles 29:16(ESV)
Gaudiness of Religion Not a Sign of Sincerity Matthew 6:5; 23:5–7; Luke 20:46–47
The gaudiness of men’s religion is not the best sign that it is sincere. Simplicity is the ordinary attendant of sincerity.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Those Who Live Well to the End Die Well Acts 20:24; 2 Timothy 4:7–8
Since death is nothing more than the end of life, it is certain that all who live well to the end, die well; nor can he die ill, who has never lived ill; as, on the other hand, he who has never led a good life, cannot die a good death.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
In this week’s lessons, we see what it means for Jesus to be the only mediator between God and those who have sinned against him.
Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:5-6
The second point is that we have such a mediator in Jesus Christ. He is the mediator, and He’s a perfect mediator. He’s precisely what we need. Anselm of Canterbury wrote a classic theological work, which goes by the Latin title,Cur Deus Homo?(translated in English as “Why the God-Man?”) In this book, Anselm is addressing why Christ needed to become man. Anselm’s answer deals with the matter of mediation. The only one who can be the mediator is one who is at the same time both God and man, which is why the incarnation is necessary.
Anselm talks about this in terms of debt. He says that we owe a great debt to God because of our sin. Because of God’s character, we need to be redeemed by him. Now who is going to pay the debt? Man is the one who needs to pay the debt because he is the one who owes it. But because of our sin we are unable to pay it. The only one who can pay the debt is God, to whom the debt is due. In order for this great problem of the debt to be resolved, there must be someone who is at the same time both man and God and, hence, the need for the incarnation. This is how Anselm puts it:
It would not have been right for the restoration of human nature to be left undone, and… it could not have been done unless man paid what was owing to God for sin. But the debt was so great that, while man alone owed it, only God could pay it, so that the same person must be both man and God. Thus it was necessary for God to take manhood into the unity of his Person, so that he who in his own nature ought to pay and could not should be in a person who could…. The life of this man was so sublime, so precious, that it can suffice to pay what is owing for the sins of the whole world, and infinitely more.1
Now we have to understand, of course, when we talk along those lines, that there are some qualifications, which Anselm well understood. God is not off somewhere, with his arms folded, waiting for somebody to pay the debt, until Jesus comes along to pay it. Remember that God himself was paying the debt in Christ. And this idea of the debt getting paid is not some merely abstract concept. Jesus is dying in our place for us. Jesus is the mediator who brings about the reconciliation between God and sinners. Only one who is both God and man can do this.
John Murray, in his bookRedemption Accomplished and Applied, has an analysis of the nature of the atonement, where he talks about what he calls the “antecedent necessity.” What Murray means is that there was no other way in which God could save the world, because there was no other one who could be both God and Man. Only the incarnate Son of God could redeem us and cancel the debt we owe to God. There was no other way that salvation could be achieved. There were not, as some have taught, an infinite number of ways available to God by which he could save men. It could only ever be through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, and trusting in him alone to save us from our sins. There was no other being or thing who could make atonement for us. As Paul says in our text, there is only one mediator, and that is Jesus.
1Eugene F. Fairweather, ed. and trans.,A Scholastic Miscellany: Anselm to Ockham, The Library of Christian Classics, X, (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1956), 176.
What is the main point of Anselm’s work,Cur Deus Homo?
How does Anselm explain his main point using the idea of debt?
Explain the concept of “antecedent necessity.”
Application:To help deepen your knowledge of these doctrines, read Anselm’sCur Deus Homo?and John Murray’sRedemption Accomplished and Applied.
As a shepherd Abel sanctified his work to the glory of God and offered a sacrifice of blood upon his altar, and the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering. This early type, a foreshadowing of our Lord, is exceedingly clear and distinct. Like the first streak of light that tinges the east at sunrise, it does not reveal everything, but it clearly manifests the great fact that the sun is coming. As we see Abel, a shepherd and yet a priest, offering a sacrifice of sweet fragrance unto God, we discern our Lord, who brings before His Father a sacrifice to which Jehovah ever has respect.
Abel was hated by his brother—hated without a cause; and even so was the Savior. The natural and carnal man hated the accepted man in whom the Spirit of grace was found, and did not rest until his blood had been shed. Abel fell and sprinkled his altar and sacrifice with his own blood, and therein sets forth the Lord Jesus slain by the enmity of man while serving as a priest before the Lord. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”1
Let us weep over Him as we view Him slain by the hatred of mankind, staining the horns of His altar with His own blood. Abel’s blood speaks. “And the LORD said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.'”2
The blood of Jesus has a mighty tongue, and the import of its prevailing cry is not vengeance but mercy. It is precious beyond all preciousness to stand at the altar of our Good Shepherd—to see Him bleeding there as the slaughtered priest, and then to hear His blood speaking peace to all His flock—peace in our conscience, peace between Jew and Gentile, peace between man and his offended Maker, peace all down the ages of eternity for blood-washed men. Abel is the first shepherd in order of time, but our hearts shall ever place Jesus first in order of excellence.
Great Keeper of the sheep, we, the people of Your pasture, bless You with our whole hearts when we see You slain for us.
53:5 The word “wounded” (meholal, Heb.) literally means “pierced.” The vicarious and substitutionary nature of His suffering and death, in which Jesus laid down His own life in behalf of every man who would accept His redemption, is set forth (cf. 1 Pet. 2:24, 25).
53:5 we are healed. The sufferings of Christ remove the penalty that His people would otherwise owe, and as a result He will undo the effects of sin in them. Death itself will be undone at last (1 Cor. 15:26).
53:5was pierced for our transgressions The people realize that the Servant is suffering for their wrongdoing, not being punished for his own sin.
crushed because of our iniquities The Servant suffers on behalf of other people. See note on Isa 53:11.
our peace The Servant brings people into right relationship with God (vv. 11–12) and others. This could also indicate that there is a spiritual component to the Servant’s healing ministry described in v. 4.
his wounds we were healed The Servant is able to heal people—metaphorically and physically—because he is willing to follow the will of Yahweh—even though it results in his suffering.
53:5But contrasts with “our” incomprehension in v. 4b. The servant’s anguish was “our” fault, not his own. our transgressions, our iniquities. His sufferings went to the root of all human woe (cf. Matt. 8:17; 1 Pet. 2:24). wounded, crushed, chastisement, stripes. Isaiah emphasizes how severely God punished the rejected servant for the sins of mankind.
53:5 pierced through for our transgressions … crushed for our iniquities. This verse is filled with the language of substitution. The Servant suffered not for His own sin, since He was sinless (cf. Heb 4:15; 7:26), but as the substitute for sinners. The emphasis here is on Christ being the substitute recipient of God’s wrath on sinners (cf. 2Co 5:21; Gal 1:3, 4; Heb 10:9, 10). chastening for our well-being. He suffered the chastisement of God in order to procure our peace with God. by His scourging we are healed. The stripe (the Heb. noun is singular) that caused His death has brought salvation to those for whose sins He died. Peter confirms this in 1Pe 2:24.
53:5 — But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
On the cross, Jesus willingly became our substitute. God made Jesus “who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
53:5 The repetition of the pronouns He, Him, and His for our and we underscores the fact that the Servant suffered in our place. The chastisement … His stripes: For a similar reference, see 1 Pet. 2:24. Peace sums up the Servant’s ministry of reconciliation, justification, adoption, and glorification (2 Cor. 5:17–21). By saying that they were healed (v. 4), the remnant expressed its faith in what God had announced in 52:13.
53:5. Pierced … crushed … punishment … wounds are words that describe what the remnant will note about the Servant’s condition on their behalf and because of their transgressions (peša‘, “rebellion”; cf. v. 8; 1:2) and iniquities. As a result those who believe in Him have inner peace rather than inner anguish or grief (see comments on “infirmities” in 53:4) and are healed spiritually. Ironically His wounds, inflicted by the soldiers’ scourging and which were followed by His death, are the means of healing believers’ spiritual wounds in salvation. Jesus’ physical agony in the Crucifixion was great and intense. But His obedience to the Father was what counted (cf. Phil. 2:8). His death satisfied the wrath of God against sin and allows Him to “overlook” the sins of the nation (and of others who believe) because they have been paid for by the Servant’s substitutionary death.
5 This verse expresses over and over again the truth that the servant not merely shares our griefs but actually suffers in our place as sinners. Four times the contrast between ‘he/him’ and ‘we/us’ appears.
He is pierced … our transgressions.
He is crushed … our iniquities.
The chastisement of our peace … upon him.
His wounds … we are healed.
On account of our transgressions he is ‘pierced through’ (i.e. mortally wounded), while for our iniquities he suffers under incalculable emotional and spiritual pressures (cf. the use of the verb dâkâ’ in Ps. 51:17, ‘a broken and a crushed heart’). Moreover, ‘the chastisement that makes us whole’ (RSV) is part of the redemptive judgment that he vicariously bears, while our healing is at the cost of his wounds. In this context ‘wounds’ implies death. The healing effected is spiritual, for the Messiah’s death brings believers into a new relationship with God. The verb ‘to heal’ (Heb. râfâ’) is used here as in 6:10; 19:22; and 30:26, since diseases and sorrows ultimately flow from sin. All these references probably go back to the promise, ‘I the Lord am your healer’ (Heb. ’anî yhwh rof’ekâ, Exod. 15:26). The servant is to suffer not simply as a consequence of sin but as an efficacious remedy for guilt.
Vers. 5. But He was wounded for our transgressions.—The sufferings of Christ:—
Three things suggest themselves as requiring explanation to one who seriously contemplates the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ.
1. An innocent man suffers.
2. The death of Jesus is the apparent defeat and destruction of one who possessed extraordinary and supernatural powers.
3. This apparent defeat and ruin, instead of hindering the progress of His work, became at once, and in all the history of the progress of His doctrine has been emphatically, the instrument whereby a world is conquered. The death of Jesus has not been mourned by His followers, has never been concealed, but rather exulted in and prominently set forth as that to which all men must chiefly look if they would regard Christ and His mission right. The shame and the failure issue in glory and completest success. What is the philosophy of this? Has any ever been given which approaches the Divinely revealed meaning supplied by our text? “He was wounded for our transgressions, etc. We learn here—
I. The sufferings of Jesus Christ resulted from our sins.
II. The sufferings of Jesus were related to the Divine law.
III. The sufferings of Jesus became remedial of human sinfulness. (L. D. Bevan, D.D.)
A short catechism:—
1. What is man’s condition by nature?
(1) Under transgression.
(2) Under iniquities.
(3) At feud with God.
(4) Under wounds and most loathsome diseases of a sinful nature.
2. How are folks freed from this sinful and miserable condition?
(1) In general, before the quarrel can be taken away, and their peace can be made, there must be a satisfaction.
(2) More particularly there must be a satisfaction, because there is the justice of God that hath a claim by a standing law; the holiness of God, that must be vindicated; the faith of God, that must cause to come to pass what it hath pledged itself to, as well in reference to threatening as to promise.
3. Who maketh this satisfaction? The text says, “He” and “Him.” The Messiah.
4. How does He satisfy justice?
(1) He enters Himself in our room.
(2) Christ’s performance and payment of the debt according to His undertaking, implies a covenant and transaction on which the application is founded.
(3) Our Lord Jesus, in fulfilling the bargain, and satisfying justice, paid a dear price: He was wounded, bruised, suffered stripes and punishment.
5. What are the benefits that come by these sufferings?
(1) The benefits are such that if He had not suffered for us, we should have suffered all that He suffered ourselves.
(2) More particularly we have peace and pardon. Healing.
6. To whom hath Christ procured all these good things?
(1) The elect;
(2) who are guilty of heinous sins.
7. How are these benefits derived from Christ to the sinner?
(1) Justly and in a legal way;
(2) freely. (J. Durham.)
Verses 5 and 6 are remarkable for the numerous and diversified references to sin which they make. Within the short compass of two verses that sad fact is referred to no less than six times, and on each occasion a different figure is used to describe it. It is transgression—the crossing of a boundary and trespassing upon forbidden land. It is iniquity—the want of equity: the absence of just dealing. It is the opposite of peace—the root of discord and enmity between us and God. It is a disease of the spirit—difficult to heal. It is a foolish and wilful wandering, like that of a stray sheep. And it is a heavy burden, which crushes him on whom it lies. So many and serious are the aspects of sin. (B. J. Gibbon.)
The sufferings of Christ:—
I. Attend to the sufferings of the Son of God, as described in the text. The sufferings of the Saviour are described in the Scriptures with simplicity and grandeur combined. Nothing can add to the solemnity and force of the exhibition.
1. The prophet tells us that the Son of God was “wounded.” The Hebrew word here translated “wounded,” signifies to run through with a sword or some sharp weapon, and, as here used, seems to refer to those painful wounds which our Lord received at the time of His crucifixion.
2. The prophet tells us that the Son of God was “bruised.” This expression seems to have a reference to the labours, afflictions, and sorrows which our blessed Lord sustained, especially in the last scenes of His life.
3. The prophet tells us that the Son of God bore chastisements and stripes.
II. Consider the procuring cause of the sufferings of the Son of God. “Our transgressions.” “Our iniquities.”
III. Attend to the gracious design and happy effects of the sufferings of the Son of God. “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.”
1. One gracious design and blessed effect of the sufferings of the Son of God was to procure for us reconciliation with God.
2. The renovating of our nature. ( Dickson, D.D.)
There is no more remarkable language than this in the whole of the Word of God. It is so clear a statement of the doctrine of the substitution of the innocent for the guilty, that we do not hesitate to say, no words could teach it if it be not taught here. We are distinctly told—
I. That there belongs to us a sad and grievous weight of sin. There are three terms expressive of what belong to us: “our transgressions,” “our iniquities,” “gone astray.” These three phrases have indeed a common feature; they all indicate what is wrong—even sin, though they represent the wrong in different aspects.
1. “Transgressions.” The word thus translated indicates sin in one or other of three forms—either that of missing the mark through aimlessness, or carelessness, or a wrong aim; or of coming short, when, though the work may be right in its direction, it does not come up to the standard; or of crossing a boundary and going over to the wrong side of a line altogether. In all these forms our sins have violated the holy law of God.
2. “Iniquities.” This word also has reference to moral law as the standard of duty. The Hebrew word is from a root which signifies “to bend,” “to twist,” and refers to the tortuous, crooked, winding ways of men when they conform to no standard at all save that suggested by their own fancies or conceits, and so walk “according to the course of this world.”
3. The third phrase has reference rather to the God of Law, than to the law of God, and to Him in His relation to us of Lord, Leader, Shepherd, and Guide. There is not only the infringement of the great law of right, but also universal neglect and abandonment of Divine leadership and love; and as the result of this, grievous mischief is sure to follow. “Like the sheep,” they find their way out easily enough; they go wandering over “the dark mountains,” each one to “his own way,” but of themselves they can never find the way home again. And so far does this wandering propensity increase in force, that men come to think there is no home for them; the loving concern of God for the wanderers is disbelieved, and the Supreme Being is regarded in the light of a terrible Judge eager to inflict retribution. And all this is a pressure on God. He misses the wanderers. And through the prophet, the Spirit of God would let men know that the wanderings of earth are the care of Heaven. Nor let us fail to note that in these verses there is an entirely different aspect of human nature and action from that presented in the verse preceding. There, the expressions were “our griefs,” “our sorrows.” Here, they are “our transgressions,” etc. Griefs and sorrows are not in themselves violations of moral law, though they may be the results of them, and though every violation of moral law may lead to sorrow. Still they must not be confounded, though inseparably connected. Grief may solicit pity: wrong incurs penalty. And the sin is ours. The evil is wide as the race. Each one’s sin is a personal one: “Every one to his own way.” Sin is thus at once collective and individual. No one can charge the guilt of his own sin on any one else. On whom or on what will he cast the blame? On influences? But it was for him to resist and not to yield. On temptation? But temptation cannot force. In the judgment of God each one’s sin is his own.
II. This Servant of God being laden with our sins, shares our heritage of woe. How remarkable is the antithesis here—Transgressions; iniquities; wanderings, are ours. Wounds; bruises; chastisements; stripes, are His. There is also a word indicating the connection between the two sides of the antithesis, “wounded for our transgressions”—on account of them; but if this were all the explanation given, it might mean no more than that the Messiah would feel so grieved at them that they would bruise or wound Him. But there is a far fuller and clearer expression: “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” This expression fixes the sense in which the Messiah was wounded and bruised on our account. In pondering over this, let us work our way step by step.
1. The inflexibility of the moral law and the absolute righteousness and equity of the Lawgiver in dealing with sin are thoughts underlying the whole of this chapter. The most high God is indeed higher than law; and though He never violates law, He may, out of the exuberance of His own love, do more than law requires, and may even cease to make law the rule of His action. But even when that is the case, and He acts χωρὶς νόμου (“apart from law,” Rom. 3:21), while He manifests the infinite freedom of a God to do whatsoever He pleaseth, He will also show to the world that His law must be honoured in the penalties inflicted for its violation. This is indicated in the words, “The Lord hath laid on Him,” etc. Nor ought any one for a moment to think of this as “exaction.” Exactness is not exactingness; it would not be called so, nor would the expression be tolerated if applied to a judge who forbade the dishonouring of a national law, or to a father who would not suffer the rules of his house to be broken with impunity.
2. It is revealed to us that in the mission of this servant of Jehovah, the Most High would act on the principle of substitution. When a devout Hebrew read the words we are now expounding, the image of the scapegoat would at once present itself to him.
3. The Messiah was altogether spotless; He fulfilled the ideal typified by the precept that the sacrificial lamb was to be without blemish. Being the absolutely sinless One, He was fitted to stand in a relation to sin and sinners which no being who was tainted with sin could possibly have occupied.
4. The twofold nature of the Messiah—He being at once the Son of God and Son of man, qualified Him to stand in a double relation;—as the Son of God, to be Heaven’s representative on earth—as the Son of man, to be earth’s representative to Heaven. Thus, His offering of Himself was God’s own sacrifice (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10; Rom. 5:8; 2 Cor. 5:19), and yet, in another sense, it was man’s own sacrifice (2 Cor. 5:14, 21; Gal. 3:13).
5. By His incarnation, Christ came and stood in such alliance with our race, that what belonged to the race belonged to Him, as inserted into it, and representative of it. We need not use any such expression as this—“Christ was punished for our sin.” That would be wrong. But sin was condemned in and through Christ, through His taking on Himself the liabilities of a world, as their one representative Man who would stand in their stead; and by the self-abandonment of an unparalleled love, would let the anguish of sin’s burden fall on His devoted head. Paul, in his Epistle to Philemon pleads for Onesimus thus, “If he hath wronged thee or oweth thee ought, put that to my account.” So the Son of God has accepted our liabilities. Only thus can we explain either the strong language of the prophecy, or the mysterious sorrow of Christ depicted in the Gospel history. On whatever grounds sin’s punishment was necessary had there been no atonement, on precisely those grounds was an atonement necessary to free the sinner from deserved punishment. This gracious work was in accord with the appointment of the Father and with the will of the Son.
6. Though the law is honoured in this substitution of another for us, yet the substitution itself does not belong to law, but to love! Grace reigns; law is not trifled with; it is not infringed on: nay, it is “established.”
III. Christ having accepted our heritage of woe, we receive through Him a heritage of peace. (C. Clemance, D.D.)
In a large family of evil-doers, where the father and mother are drunkards, the sons jail-birds and the daughters steeped in shame, there may be one, a daughter, pure, sensible, sensitive, living in the home of sin like a lily among thorns. And she makes all the sin of the family her own. The others do not mind it; the shame of their sin is nothing to them; it is the talk of the town, but they do not care. Only in her heart their crimes and disgrace meet like a sheaf of spears, piercing and mangling. The one innocent member of the family bears the guilt of all the rest. Even their cruelty to herself she hides, as if all the shame of it were her own. Such a position did Christ hold in the human family. He entered it voluntarily, becoming bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh; He identified Himself with it; He was the sensitive centre of the whole. He gathered into His heart the shame and guilt of all the sin He saw. The perpetrators did not feel it, but He felt it. It crushed Him; it broke His heart. (J. Stalker, D.D.)
With His stripes we are healed.—The disease of sin:—
I. It is a wasting disease; it bringeth the soul into a languishing condition, and wasteth the strength of it (Rom. 5:6). Sin hath weakened the soul in all the faculties of it, which all may discern and observe in themselves.
II. It is a painful disease, it woundeth the spirit (Prov. 18:14). Greatness of mind may support us under a wounded body, but when there is a breach made upon the conscience, what can relieve us then? But you will say, They that are most infected with sin feel little of this; how is it then so painful a disease?
1. If they feel it not, the greater is their danger; for stupid diseases are the worst, and usually most mortal.
2. The soul of a sinner never sits so easy but that he has his qualms and pangs of conscience, and that sometimes in the midst of jollity; as was the case of Belshazzar, while carousing in the cups of the temple.
3. Though they feel not the diseases now, they shall hereafter.
III. It is a loathsome disease.
IV. It is an infectious disease. Sin cometh into the world by propagation rather than imitation: yet imitation and example hath a great force upon the soul.
V. It is a mortal disease, if we continue in it without repentance. ( Manton, D.D.)
Recovery by Christ’s stripes:—
1. None but Christ can cure us, for He is the Physician of souls.
2. Christ cureth us not by doctrine and example only, but by merit and suffering. We are healed by “His stripes.”
3. Christ’s merit and sufferings do effect our cure, as they purchased the Spirit for us, who reneweth and healeth our sick souls (Titus 3:5, 6). ()
Healed by Christ’s stripes:—
“With His stripes we are healed.” We are healed—of our inattention and unconcern about Divine things. Of our ignorance and unbelief respecting these things. Of the disease of self-righteousness and self-confidence. Of our love to sin, and commission of it. Of our love to the riches, honours and pleasures of this world. Of our self-indulgence and self-seeking. Of our lukewarmness and sloth. Of our cowardice and fear of suffering (1 Pet. 4:1). Of our diffidence and distrust, with respect to the mercy of God, and His pardoning and accepting the penitent. Of an accusing conscience, and slavish fear of God, and of death and hell. Of our general depravity and corruption of nature. Of our weakness and inability; His sufferings having purchased for us “the Spirit of might.” Of our distresses and misery, both present and future. (J. Benson, D.D.)
This chapter is not mainly an indictment. It is a Gospel. It declares in glad while solemn language that, terrible as sin is, it has been dealt with. The prophet dwells purposely upon the varied manifestations of the evil in order to emphasize the varied forms and absolute completeness of its conquest. He prolongs the agony that he may prolong the rapture.
I. Our need of healing. There is no figure which more aptly represents the serious nature and terrible consequences of sin than this one of bodily sickness. We know how it prostrates us, takes the brightness out of life, and, unless attended to, cuts life short. Sickness in its acutest form is a type in the body of sin in the soul. Sin is a mortal disease of the spirit. A common Scriptural emblem for it, found in both Old and New Testaments, is leprosy—the most frightful disease imaginable, loathsome to the observer and intolerably painful to the sufferer, attacking successively and rotting every limb of the body, and issuing slowly but certainly in death.
1. It is complicated. It affects every part of the moral being. It is blindness to holiness, and deafness to the appeals of God. There is a malady known as ossification of the heart, by which the living and beating heart is slowly turned to a substance like bone. It is a type of the complaint of the sinner. His heart is hard and impenitent. He suffers, too, from the fever of unhallowed desire. The lethargy of spiritual indifference is one of his symptoms; a depraved appetite, by which he tries to feed his immortal soul on husks, is another; while his whole condition is one of extreme debility—absence of strength to do right. In another part of the book our prophet diagnoses more thoroughly the disease of which he here speaks (chap. 1:5, 6). No hospital contains a spectacle so sickening and saddening as the unregenerate human heart.
2. The disease is universal. “There is none righteous; no, not one.” What the Bible declares, experience confirms. The ancient world, speaking through a noble literature that has come down to us, confesses many times the condition expressed by Ovid, “I see and approve the better things, while I follow those which are worse.” Christendom finds its mouthpiece in the apostle Paul, who, speaking of himself apart from the help of Christ, mournfully says, “When I would do good, evil is present with me.” And modern culture reveals its deepest consciousness in the words of Lowell, the ambassador-poet, “In my own heart I find the worst man’s mate.” It is a feature of the malady that the patient is often insensible to it. But from every lip there is at least occasional confession of some of its symptoms. There is discomfort in the conscience; there is dissatisfaction at the heart; and there is dread in the face of death and the unknown beyond. The Scriptures are the Röntgen rays of God, and their searching light reveals behind an uneasy conscience, behind a dissatisfied heart, behind the fear of death, behind all the sorrows and evils of life, that which is their primary cause—the malady of sin.
3. This disease is incurable—that is, apart from the healing described in the text. “The end of these things is death”—spiritual death; insensibility to God, and absence of the life of fellowship with Him which is life indeed—physical death, in so far as that natural process is more than mere bodily dissolution, and is a fearful and hopeless leap into the dark; for “the sting of death is sin”—and eternal death. Men are great at quack remedies, and the world is equally flooded with nostrums for the disease of sin. And what is the result of these loudly-hawked specifics? They are as useless as the charms which our grandmothers used to scare away diseases. The Physician is He who gave His back to the smiters; the balm is the blood which flowed from “His stripes.”
II. Our means of healing. “With His stripes.” “Stripes” does not mean the lashes that fell on His back, but the weals which they left. We remember how He “suffered under Pontius Pilate” before He “was crucified, dead and buried.” His back was bared, His hands were tied to a low post, and a coarse, muscular giant flourished a whip above Him. It was a diabolical instrument, that Roman whip—made of leather with many thongs, and in the end of each of them a piece of iron, or bone, or stone. Every stroke fetched blood and ripped open the quivering flesh. The Jewish law forbade more than forty stripes being given, but Christ was scourged by Romans, who recognized no such merciful limit. But as we know that Pilate intended the scourging to be a substitute for crucifixion, and hoped that its severity would so melt the Jews to pity that they would not press for the worse punishment—which end, however, was not reached—we may infer that He was scourged until He could bear no more, until He could not stand, until He fell mangled and fainting at His torturer’s feet. Nearly two thousand years have passed since that awful affliction, but its significance is eternal. But how can the sufferings of one alleviate the sufferings of another?
1. Because the sight of them moves us to sorrow. There are certain maladies of the mind and heart for which there is hope if the emotions can be stirred and the patient made to laugh or cry. There is hope for the sinner when the thought of his sin melts his heart to sorrow and his eyes to tears. Sorrow for sin—repentance of wrong-doing—is the first stage in recovery. And there is nothing that will cause penitence like a sight of the Saviour’s wounds.
2. The sight of them relieves our consciences. For as we look at those livid weals we know He did not deserve them. We know that we did merit punishment direr far. And we know that He endured them, and more mysterious agonies of which they were the outward sign, in our stead. Then, gradually, we draw the inference. If He suffered for us, we are free. If our load was laid on Him, it is no longer upon us. Conscience accepts that logic.
3. The sight of them prevents further outbreaks. This cure is radical. It not only heals, it also strengthens. It gradually raises the system above its tendency to sin. For the more we gaze upon those livid stripes, the more intolerable and hateful sin, which caused them, appears, and the more difficult it becomes for us to indulge in it. Our medicine is also a strong tonic, which invigorates the spiritual nature and fortifies its weaknesses. Stanley, in one of his books on African travel, tells of the crime of Uledi, his native coxswain, and what came of it. Uledi was deservedly popular for his ability and courage, but having robbed his master, a jury of his fellows condemned him to receive “a terrible flogging.” Then uprose his brother, Shumari, who said, “Uledi has done very wrong; but no one can accuse me of wrong-doing. Now, mates, let me take half the whipping. I will cheerfully endure it for the sake of my brother.” Scarcely had he finished when another arose, and said, “Uledi has been the father of the boat boys. He has many times risked his life to save others; and he is my cousin; and yet he ought to be punished. Shumari says he will take half the punishment; and now let me take the other half, and let Uledi go free.” Surely the heart of the guilty man must have been touched, and the willing submission by others to the punishment he had merited must have restrained him from further outbreaks as the strict infliction of the original penalty never could. By those stripes he would be healed. Even so, the stripes of our Lord deliver us from the very tendency to sin. For the disease to be healed the medicine must be taken. Our very words “recipe” and “receipt” remind us of this. They are related, and signify “to take.” The selfsame word describes the means of cure, and commands that it be used. Look upon His wounds! And let those of us who have looked for our cure, still look for our strengthening. We should not have so many touches of the old complaint if we thought oftener of the stripes by which we are healed. Look all through life, and you will grow stronger and holier. ( J. Gibbon.)
The universal remedy:—
Not merely His bleeding wounds, but even those blue bruises of His flesh help to heal us. There are none quite free from spiritual diseases. One may be saying, “Mine is a weak faith;” another may confess, “Mine is distracted thoughts;” another may exclaim, “Mine is coldness of love;” and a fourth may have to lament his powerlessness in prayer. One remedy in natural things will not suffice for all diseases; but there is a catholicon, a universal remedy, provided in the Word of God for all spiritual sicknesses, and that is contained in the few words—“With His stripes we are healed.”
I. The medicine itself which is here prescribed—the stripes of our Saviour. By the term “stripes,” no doubt the prophet understood here, first, literally, those stripes which fell upon our Lord’s shoulders when He was beaten of the Jews, and afterwards scourged of the Roman soldiery. But the words intend far more than this. No doubt with his prophetic eye Isaiah saw the stripes from that unseen scourge held in the Father’s hand which fell upon His nobler inner nature when His soul was scourged for sin. It is by these that our souls are healed. “But why?” First, then, because our Lord, as a sufferer, was not a private person, but suffered as a public individual, and an appointed representative. Our Lord was not merely man, or else His sufferings could not have availed for the multitude who now are healed thereby. He was God as well as man. Our Saviour’s sufferings heal us of the curse by being presented before God as a substitute for what we owe to His Divine law. But healing is a work that is carried on within, and the text rather leads me to speak of the effect of the stripes of Christ upon our characters and natures than upon the result produced in our position before God.
II. The matchless cures wrought by this remarkable medicine. Look at two pictures. Look at man without the stricken Saviour; and then behold man with the Saviour, healed by His stripes.
III. The maladies which this wondrous medicine removes.
1. The mania of despair.
2. The stony heart.
3. The paralysis of doubt.
4. A stiffness of the knee-joint of prayer.
5. Numbness of soul.
6. The fever of pride.
7. The leprosy of selfishness.
9. The fretting consumption of worldliness.
10. The cancer of covetousness.
IV. The curative properties of the medicine.
1. It arrests spiritual disorder.
2. It quickens all the powers of the spiritual man to resist the disease.
3. It restores to the man that which he lost in strength by sin.
4. It soothes the agony of conviction.
5. It has an eradicating power as to sin.
V. The modes of the working of this medicine. The sinner hearing of the death of the incarnate God is led by the force of truth and the power of the Holy Spirit to believe in the incarnate God. The cure is already begun. After faith come gratitude, love, obedience.
VI. Its remarkably easy application.
VII. Since the medicine is so efficacious, since it is already prepared and freely presented, I do beseech you take it. Take it, you who have known its power in years gone by. Let not backslidings continue, but come to His stripes afresh. Take it, ye doubters, lest ye sink into despair; come to His stripes anew. Take it, ye who are beginning to be self-confident and proud. And, O ye who have never believed in Him, come and trust in Him, and you shall live. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
A simple remedy:—
I. These are sad words. They are part of a mournful piece of music, which might be called “the requiem of the Messiah.”
1. These are sad words because they imply disease.
2. There is a second sorrow in the verse, and that is sorrow for the suffering by which we are healed. There was a cruel process in the English navy, in which men were made to run the gauntlet all along the ship, with sailors on each side, each man being bound to give a stroke to the poor victim as he ran along. Our Saviour’s life was a running of the gauntlet between His enemies and His friends, who all struck Him, one here and another there. Satan, too, struck at him.
II. These are glad words.
1. Because they speak of healing.
2. There is another joy in the text—joy in the honour which it brings to Christ.
III. These are suggestive words. Whenever a man is healed through the stripes of Jesus, the instincts of his nature should make him say, “I will spend the strength I have, as a healed man, for Him who healed me.” (Ibid.)
I. God here treats sin as a disease. Sin is a disease—
1. Because it is not an essential part of man as he was created. It is something abnormal.
2. Because it puts all the faculties out of gear.
3. Because it weakens the moral energy, just as many diseases weaken the sick person’s body.
4. Because it either causes great pain, or deadens all sensibility, as the case may be.
5. Because it frequently produces a manifest pollution.
6. Because it tends to increase in the man, and will one day prove fatal to him.
II. God here declares the remedy which He has provided.
1. Behold the heavenly medicine.
2. Remember that the sufferings of Christ were vicarious.
3. Accept this atonement and you are saved by it.
4. Let nothing of your own interfere with the Divine remedy. Prayer does not heal, but it asks for the remedy. It is not trust that heals; that is man’s application of the remedy. Repentance is not what cures, it is a part of the cure, one of the first tokens that the blessed medicine has begun to work in the soul. The healing of a sinner does not lie in himself, nor in what he is, nor in what he feels, nor in what he does, nor in what he vows, nor in what he promises. It is in His stripes that the healing lies.
III. The remedy is immediately effective. How are we healed?
1. Our conscience is healed of every smart.
2. Our heart is healed of its love of sin.
3. Our life is healed of its rebellion.
4. Our consciousness assures us that we are healed. If you are healed by His stripes you should go and live like healthy men. (Ibid.)
Healed by Christ’s stripes:—
Mr. Mackay, of Hull, told of a person who was under very deep concern of soul. Taking the Bible into his hand, he said to himself, “Eternal life is to be found somewhere in this Word of God; and, if it be here, I will find it, for I will read the Book right through, praying to God over every page of it, if perchance it may contain some saving message for me.” The earnest seeker read on through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and so on; and though Christ is there very evidently, he could not find Him in the types and symbols. Neither did the holy histories yield him comfort, nor the Book of Job. He passed through the Psalms, but did not find his Saviour there; and the same was the case with the other books till he reached Isaiah. In this prophet he read on till near the end, and then in the fifty-third chapter, these words arrested his delighted attention, “With His stripes we are healed.” “Now I have found it,” says he. “Here is the healing that I need for my sin-sick soul, and I see how it comes to me through the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be His name, I am healed!” (Ibid.)
Self-sufficiency prevents healing:—
I saw a pedlar one day, as I was walking out; he was selling walkingsticks. He followed me, and offered me one of the sticks. I showed him mine—a far better one than any he had to sell—and he withdrew at once. He could see that I was not likely to be a purchaser. I have often thought of that when I have been preaching: I show men the righteousness of the Lord Jesus, but they show me their own, and all hope of dealing with them is gone. Unless I can prove that their righteousness is worthless, they will not seek the righteousness which is of God by faith. Oh, that the Lord would show you your disease, and then you would desire the remedy! (Ibid.)
Sin deadens sensibility:—
It frequently happens that, the more sinful a man is, the less he is conscious of it. It was remarked of a certain notorious criminal that many thought him innocent because, when he was charged with murder, he did not betray the least emotion. In that wretched self-possession there was to my mind presumptive proof of his great familiarity with crime; if an innocent person is charged with a great offence, the mere charge horrifies him. (Ibid.)
5. The pronoun he is again emphatic, so as to bring the Servant sharply before us—‘He (and no other)’. Pierced: as in 51:9; when they called on the Arm of the Lord who dealt the monster Rahab a death blow, they did not know they were calling the Arm to his own death. Crushed: used of cruel agonies ending in death (Lam. 3:34). For … for: the preposition min means ‘from’, hence it is used of one thing arising from another, a relationship of cause and effect. Our transgressions were the cause, his suffering to death the effect. Like verse 4, this verse cannot be understood without the idea of substitution to which, here, the adjective ‘penal’ must be attached. Transgressions (peša’), wilful rebellions (1:2, 28; 43:25; 44:22; 46:8; 50:1); iniquities (‘āwōn), the pervertedness, ‘bentness’, of fallen human nature (1:4; 5:18; 6:7; 40:2; 43:24; 50:1). Punishment (mûsār): ‘correction’ by word or act, ‘chastisement’. Just as ‘covenant of peace’ (54:10) means ‘covenant which pledges and secures peace’ so (lit.) ‘punishment of our peace’ means punishment which secured peace with God for us. This peace was lost (48:18) by disobedience, and, since it cannot be enjoyed by the wicked (48:22), the Servant stepped forward (49:1) to bring us back to God (49:6). This is what he achieved by his substitutionary, penal sufferings. Upon: the same preposition as used in Leviticus 16:21–22. By: the particle of price, ‘at the cost of’. Wounds (ḥabbûrâ): used in 1:6 of open, untreated lacerations, hence the actuality of blows inflicted and experienced. Healed: (lit.) ‘there is healing for us’, the accomplished reality of restored wholeness.
5. And he was wounded for our iniquities. He again repeats the cause of Christ’s great afflictions, in order to meet the scandal which might have arisen from it. The spectacle of the cross alienates many persons from Christ, when they consider what is presented to their eyes, and do not observe the object to be accomplished. But all offence is removed when we know that by his death our sins have been expiated, and salvation has been obtained for us.
The chastisement of our peace. Some think that this is called “the chastisement of peace,” on account of men being careless and stupified amidst their afflictions, and therefore that it was necessary that Christ should suffer. Others view “peace” as relating to the consciences, that is, that Christ suffered, in order that we might have peaceful consciences; as Paul says that, “being justified by faith through Christ, we have peace with God.” (Rom. 5:1.) But I take it to denote simply reconciliation. Christ was the price of “our chastisement,” that is, of the chastisement which was due to us. Thus the wrath of God, which had been justly kindled against us, was appeased; and through the Mediator we have obtained “peace,” by which we are reconciled.
We ought to draw from this a universal doctrine, namely, that we are reconciled to God by free grace, because Christ hath paid the price of “our peace.” This is indeed acknowledged by the Papists; but then they limit this doctrine to original sin, as if after baptism there were no longer any room for reconciliation through free grace, but that we must give satisfaction by our merits and works. But the Prophet does not here treat of a single species of pardon, but extends this blessing to the whole course of life; and therefore it cannot be thus undervalued or limited to a particular time, without most heinous sacrilege. Hence also the frivolous distinction of the Papists, between the remission of punishment and the pardon of sin, is easily refuted. They affirm that punishment is not remitted to us, unless it be washed out by satisfactions. But the Prophet openly declares that the punishment of our sins was transferred to him. What, then, do the Papists intend but to be Christ’s equals and companions, and to lay claim to share with him in his authority?
In his wound (or, in his medicine) we have healing. He again directs us to Christ, that we may betake ourselves to his wounds, provided that we wish to regain life. Here the Prophet draws a contrast between us and Christ; for in us nothing can be found but destruction and death; in Christ alone is life and salvation. He alone brought medicine to us, and even procures health by his weakness, and life by his death; for he alone hath pacified the Father, he alone hath reconciled us to him. Here we might bring forward many things about the blessed consequences of Christ’s sufferings, if we had not determined to expound rather than to preach; and therefore let us be satisfied with a plain exposition. Let every one, therefore, draw consolation from this passage, and let him apply the blessed result of this doctrine to his own use; for these words are spoken to all in general, and to individuals in particular.
Ver. 5.—But he was wounded for our transgressions. This verse contains four asseverations of the great truth that all Christ’s sufferings were for us, and constituted the atonement for our sins. The form is varied, but the truth is one. Christ was “wounded” or “pierced” (1) by the thorns; (2) by the nails; and (3) by the spear of the soldier. The wounds inflicted by the nails caused his death. He was bruised; or, crushed (comp. ch. 3:15; 19:10; 57:15 Ps. 72:4). “No stronger expression could be found in Hebrew to denote severity of suffering—suffering unto death” (Urwick). The chastisement of our peace was upon him;i.e. “the chastisement which brought us peace,” which put a stop to the enmity between fallen man and an offended God—which made them once more at one (comp. Eph. 2:15–17, “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the Law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off;” Col. 1:20, “Having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself”). With his stripes we are healed; rather, we were healed (comp. 1 Pet. 2:24, “By whose stripes ye were healed”). Besides the blows inflicted on him with the hand (Matt. 26:27) and with the reed (Matt. 27:30), our Lord was judicially scourged (Matt. 27:26). Such scourging would leave the “stripe-marks” which are here spoken of.
5 Again, as in v. 4, the independent pronoun preceded by a disjunctive waw, But, emphasizes the contrast between him and us. We had thought God was punishing this man for his own sins and failures, but in fact he was pierced through as a result of our rebellion; he was crushed on account of our twistedness. The images have now shifted from illness to injury and have become more severe. While “pierced through” is not always specifically said to result in death, it is typically used in contexts with death (22:2; 51:9; 66:16; Ps. 69:27 [Eng. 26]). Delitzsch goes so far as to say that it is the strongest term for violent and excruciating death in the language. Similarly, “crushed” is stronger than that which Eng. “bruised” implies. It suggests at least breaking into pieces and in some cases even pulverizing (19:10; Job 22:9; Jer. 44:10; Ps. 90:3 [dakkāʾ, “dust,” a noun form of medukkāʾ, “crushed,” here]).
This effect in the Servant is the measure of how seriously God takes our rebellion and crookedness. We typically wish to make light of our “shortcomings,” to explain away our “mistakes.” But God will have none of it. The refusal of humanity to bow to the Creator’s rule, and our insistence on drawing up our own moral codes that pander to our lusts, are not shortcomings or mistakes. They are the stuff of death and corruption, and unless someone can be found to stand in our place, they will see us impaled on the swords of our own making and broken on the racks of our own design. But someone has been found. Someone has taken on himself the results of our rebelliousness, and we have been given the keys of the kingdom (2 Cor. 5:21; 8:9; 1 Pet. 2:24).
The metaphors of vv. 4–5 are precisely those of 1:5–6. As a result of its rebellion, the nation is desperately ill, a mass of open sores and unbandaged wounds. What is to be done? Not more hypocritical worship (1:10–15)! No, what is needed is just and righteous living (1:16–20). But can that atone for the past, cleanse the wounds, destroy the infection? No, writing new words over the old ones will not blot out the old ones. Someone must come to wipe the slate clean (4:4). Someone must take the disease and give back health, must bear the blows and give back wealth (in its original sense of “well-being”).
That this is precisely the intention of the first bicolon is shown by the second. If the first is taken alone, one could argue again that substitution is not being talked about, but only sharing in results. But the second bicolon will not permit that interpretation. What the Servant does in bearing the undeserved results of his people’s sin brings about positive results for the people. He is not merely participating in their suffering, he is bearing it away for them so that they may not labor under its effects anymore. He took the punishment that made it possible for us to have well-being, and he has taken the infected welts so that ours could be healed. No Judean prophet did that for sick, broken Israel; and sick, broken Israel did not do that for either itself or the world.
While mûsar does not always imply “punishment,” it frequently does (cf. Job 5:17; Prov. 22:15; 23:13; and the verb yāsar in Ps. 6:2 [Eng. 1]). It is the discipline of a child by a parent up to and including punishment. Here the context demands this understanding. The child has rebelled against the parent; not only has the relationship been disrupted, but justice is offended. There is no šālôm, well-being, because things are out of order, unbalanced. Until punishment has been meted out, all the good intentions in the world cannot restore that broken order. But when the parent’s authority has been recognized, when justice has been done, then both sides of the equation are balanced again, which is what shalom is all about. This is what the Servant has done for us. This is not a matter of a raging tyrant who demands violence on someone to satisfy his fury. It is a God who wants a whole relationship with his people, but is prevented from having it until incomplete justice is satisfied. In the Servant he has found a way to gratify his love and satisfy his justice.
The same point is made by the last colon. The back of the rebel is covered with the bloody welts of the lash. Yet his behavior seems only to ask for more (1:6). How can his back ever be healed? Only if someone takes those welts in his place. The elliptical language only intensifies the point; it is literally: “in his welts it is healed to us.” What can this mean but what it says? The Servant is not suffering with his people—he is suffering for them, procuring for them through his suffering what they cannot procure for themselves. This requires that the Servant does not deserve any welts of his own. Because he does not he can take those of his people and give them healing in return. Can any human do this?
 Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Is 53:5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
How can we help young believers think clearly about their Christian worldview? What steps can we tale to help young Christians assess and hold on to the truth? J. Warner Wallace and Sean McDowell are interviewed on 100 Huntley Street and answer these questions and more. View the entire episode and other great video interviews at the 100 Huntley Street episode page.
The Word of God Came Down to Our Level John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 4:4–5; Philippians 2:5–8
As a kind teacher who cares for His disciples, if some of them cannot profit by higher subjects, comes down to their level, and teaches them at any rate by simpler courses; so also did the Word of God.… For seeing that men, having rejected the contemplation of God, and with their eyes downward, as though sunk in the deep, were seeking about for God in nature and in the world of sense, feigning gods for themselves of mortal men and demons; to this end the loving and general Savior of all, the Word of God, takes to Himself a body, and as Man walks among men and meets the senses of all men halfway, to the end, I say, that they who think that God is corporeal may from what the Lord effects by His body perceive the truth, and through Him recognize the Father.
ATHANASIUS OF ALEXANDRIA
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Early Church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Free Will God’s Greatest Gift Genesis 2:15–16; Deuteronomy 11:26–28; John 8:36
Supreme of gifts, which God, creating, gave Of His free bounty, sign most evident Of goodness, and in His account most prized Was liberty of will; the boon, with which All intellectual creatures, and them sole, He has endow’d.
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism has an excellent definition of repentance in Question 87: “Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.”
In the heat of the Christian life, however, that definition may seem more theoretical than practical, not particularly helpful when seeking to live a life of repentance (See the first of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses: When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.) We recognize that repentance is a grace. That is, it is a gift from God. It is not something we work up for ourselves. It is not turning over a new leaf. It is a turning away from sin and a turning to God that is fueled, as it were, by the Spirit of God at work within us.
We all recognize that the first act of repentance is only the beginning. We recognize that sins must be mortified. We recognize that there is the problem of indwelling sin in the life of the believer. But I suspect that we don’t often attach repentance to these things. In part, this may be because we do not have a sense of what repentance looks like when God is working repentance in us.
Perhaps an illustration will help. Imagine repentance as a man walking in one direction who suddenly realizes that he is walking in the opposite direction from which he should be walking. He stops. He turns around. Then he begins walking in the new direction. It is a quick and simple process. He realizes. He stops. He turns. But imagine someone on a bicycle realizing he is going the wrong direction. In one sense, it is still obvious. He stops. He turns around. He begins bicycling in the new direction. But it is a longer process. He has to come to a stop. Depending on his speed, that may take some time. The turning around also takes longer. And it takes longer to get up to full speed in the new direction. The process is the same for a man in a car. But it takes longer than for the man on the bike, and it may require going somewhat out of his way before he gets back on the right track. The process is the same for a man in a speed boat. He has to slow down, enter the turn, and come back. But the time and distance required to do so is much longer than what was required for the man walking. Now imagine that the man is piloting a supertanker. It takes him miles to slow the ship down enough to even begin to make the turn. The turn itself is immense, taking him quite a distance from his intended course. Then again it also takes a large amount of time to get up to full speed in the new direction.
Now apply the images to repentance. Some sins are small and easy. We stop and walk the other way. Some sins, like the bicycle, are a little more difficult. In God’s work in the believer, He takes a little time to bring the believer to an awareness that his course is actually a sinful one. Then there is the process of coming to a stop, the process of the turn itself, and the process of getting up to speed in faithfulness. But some sins are enormous. We may not be aware that they really are sins. Or they may be so deeply ingrained in us that we are not willing, at first, to recognize them as sins. God works patiently with us, carefully slowing us down, as the captain does with the ship, so that He can bring us through the turn and into the new direction, where He can bring us up to full speed.
There are two things that I find helpful about this illustration. First is the fact that God does not work repentance in us instantaneously, but over time. So the awareness of sin and the desire to change come gradually. God brings us, as it were, to a full stop slowly and carefully. So there are going to be many slips and falls on the way to that stopping point. The second thing has to do with the turning itself. In the image of the ship turning, there is a long time when the ship is neither on the old course, nor on the new course but, as it were, dead in the water. So it may well be in the life of the Christian. The sin has been admitted. The slips and falls have gotten fewer. But there seems to be little progress. We seem to be dead in the water. At that point, we are in the turn. Speed will pick up. Godliness will grow. But it will do so slowly, as God patiently works with us.
So if you have prayed for repentance for some particular sin, and there has been no instantaneous change, keep praying. God has promised to work, and He will. And you will be glad in the end that He did it slowly and carefully.
Jesus called them together and said,You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you.
Jesus sees the cross waiting for Him. James and John see thrones waiting for them. And what do the other ten see? They see James and John! They are angry and upset at them. Why? Because they got to Jesus first. Obviously they wanted the same things that James and John did and were angry only because James and John beat them to it. This is often the explanation for our anger, is it not? We are so often upset because somebody thought of it before we did.
But notice how Jesus sets aside all this business of politicking and maneuvering and asking for special privileges. That is the way the world works, but it is not to be part of the kingdom of God. In the kingdom—the church, if you like—there is not to be struggling and striving for position and honor. Paul brings this out so beautifully in his development of the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12, where he says that because we have gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit and a ministry opened to us by the Lord Jesus and power granted to us by the heavenly Father, we do not need to be in competition with anybody.
This is what our Lord wants to set before His disciples, so He gathers them together and patiently says,Now, fellows, sit down. I want to say something to you. You’ve looked at the Gentiles. Have you noticed that when they exercise authority, it is always over somebody else? They measure their power by how many are under them. That is the mark of their authority.It is still true today. That is the way people do things, the way they judge their success. And although it produces all kinds of rivalry, competition, skullduggery, politicking, conniving, maneuvering, manipulating, and trying to undercut everybody else, nevertheless, you cannot blame people for that, because that is all they know.
The key is in these words:Not so with you.The church is not to be set up as a hierarchy of power. There is no chain of command in the church of Jesus Christ. Jesus had already said to these disciples,You have only one Master and you are all brothers(Matthew 23:8). Every apostle is careful to remind us of the danger of lording it over one another, the problems that arise when those in positions of authority think they have the right to tell others what to do or how to act or what to think or how to behave, believing they have the right to make decisions that others must follow. This is not true in the church. Paul is careful to say to the Corinthians,Not that we lord it over your faith(2 Corinthians 1:24). That is,You can do what you want. You stand before God, responsible to Him, not to me.But he is also faithful to point out what it is they need to do and to warn them of the results that may follow if they do not want to do it. But no one is ever to be commanded to do something by another person in the church. Only the Lord commands.
Thank You, Lord, that You are my Master, and You’ve made me a significant part of Your church.
9:2 The Assyrian invasion brought great devastation (darkness), but the people still had great reason to hope (light has dawned). The verbs in this section are in what is often called the “prophetic perfect.” Though the events were in the future, they are described as if they had already happened. Isaiah 9:1–2 is quoted in Mt 4:15–16 in reference to Jesus’s ministry.
9:2 light. See note 2:5.
deep darkness. The Assyrians cast their terrible shadow over the land and the people (cf. Ps. 23:4; 44:19; 107:10). Yet there is hope.
9:2a great light A symbol of hope in the midst of spiritual darkness.
9:2The people who walked in darkness. Such people as those who refused the appeal of 2:5 (cf. also 5:30; 8:22; John 3:19–20). on them has light shined. Not subjective wishful thinking but an objective, surprising joy breaking upon sinners through the grace of Christ (cf. Isa. 42:6; 49:6; John 1:5; 2 Cor. 4:6).
9:2 a great light … light. The coming of the Messiah is synonymous with the coming of light to remove the darkness of captivity (42:16; 49:6; 58:8; 60:1, 19, 20).
9:2 — The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light .…
Jesus grew up in Nazareth of Galilee, where many gentiles lived. His parents learned that He would be “a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32), and He called Himself “the light of the world” (John 8:12).
9:2Have seen: The future event is described by the prophet, under the impulse of the Spirit, as having already occurred. Light stands for God’s blessings, presence, and revelation (2:5), that is incarnate in Jesus (58:8; 59:9; 60:1, 2, 19, 20; John 8:12). Shadow of death means “deep darkness” (compare 60:2; Ps. 23:4). Here this Hebrew word complements the more commonly used word for darkness.
9:2. With typical Hebrew parallelism the prophet described the effect of the Messiah on this northern part of Israel. The people were in darkness (cf. 8:22) and in the shadow of death. Then they saw a great light and light … dawned on them. Matthew applied this passage to Jesus, who began His preaching and healing ministry in that region (Matt. 4:15–16).
2 The same area that had experienced such darkness (described here by the parallel phrases ‘walking in darkness’=‘dwelling in the land of the shadow of death’, cf. Ps. 23:4, ‘the valley of the shadow of death’) will ultimately be radiated by glorious light. The word ‘light’ stands for all the blessings that the Messiah will bring.
Ver. 2. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.—The true Light:—
The prophet’s vision has been fulfilled. The true light now shineth; Jesus Christ as the Word made flesh is the true Light which lighteth every man. There is no light in any real sense but that which comes to man through Him.
I. Christ sheds light upon sin. By His words and by His life He testifies to the reality of sin.
1. In Him was exhibited for the first and only time a life perfectly obedient to the will of God, a life the one inspiring motive of which was love to God and love to man, a life in which every thought, every word, every act was influenced only by a regard to the glory of God, a life in which was manifested in perfect union and in perfect harmony every human virtue. Thus Christ has shown us what we ought to be, and in showing us this has shown us what we are. In the presence of His awful purity how deep our impurity appears.
2. And He has tracked sin to its secret hiding-place. He has discovered the fountain in the heart, the evil thought, the murderous hate, the impure desire, the covetousness, the malice, the bitterness which lurk within, and which no human law can touch. He has made us discern not only the evil done and the evil thought, but the good left undone. There is no part of our nature which He has not explored. Never had it been so profoundly, so truly judged, never had man been so discovered to us.
3. Is the light which Christ casts upon sin only a condemning light? Is it a light which shows us our misery only to leave us without hope, which shows us what we ought to be, but gives us no power to attain to the ideal set before us? No, the light which reveals to us our sin, reveals to us also the mercy of God, a love greater than our transgressions, a pardon greater than our sin. It is the light of the Cross that gives us hope. Never does God appear in more perfect holiness than when He pardons sin, and the sinner looking upon the Cross feels the malignity of that sin which nothing but the sacrifice of the Son of God could take away. All other religions, all other philosophies have failed here, all have made some compromise with sin, all have concealed its deep malignity; the Cross alone dares to reveal it, because the Cross alone takes it away.
II. And so, too, of human suffering. The Cross consoles sorrow, because it manifests to us a power of sympathy in God such as man had never dared to dream of. There is no suffering for which the Cross is not a precious balm, because there is no suffering which it does not surpass and consecrate.
III. And much more Christ’s light is a light cast upon death. Or rather let me say the light which He came to bestow is the light of life. He came that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Beyond the Cross there is the Resurrection. “Because I live, ye shall live also.” This is the grand prerogative of the Gospel. All other religions have failed here. All have spoken with stammering lips of the world beyond the grave. (Bishop Perowne.)
Experiences on a sick-bed:—
We are accustomed to conceive of our experience of bodily affliction as a land of “the shadow of death.” Just as there was a preparation for receiving good in the moral shadow which enveloped the Galileans, so is there also good in the pain and abasement of bodily suffering. There is a breaking down of pride, and a clearer insight into our own utter weakness. There is new openness to spiritual realities, and in this, at least a preparation for being dealt with according to the light of our relation to eternity.
I. One almost invariable sight revealed to us in the shadow of death is the imperishableness of the past. I remember reading some years ago an account of an exploration of one of the pyramids of Egypt. The impression of the darkness upon the explorers at first was very oppressive. On every side and overhead, piled one above another in prodigious lengths and masses, rose the polished blocks of granite which formed the walls and ceiling. There was not a window, nor open chink from top to bottom. The torches of the guides only deepened the sense of awe, blinking as they did like mere glow-worms in the gloom. As the travellers crept and slid along the dismal passages, through the almost solid darkness, an undefined and painful consciousness of something like terror arose within them, from the felt want of any really satisfactory knowledge of the purpose which could be intended in such a building. At length they came to what seemed to them a coffin of stone. When they struck it, it rung like a bell. Everything else had had a baffling and perplexing effect on their minds. Here was one object they could thoroughly understand—the monument of a purpose, even if not the main purpose, which the building was intended to serve. And in the midst of that darkness they found their minds summoned by that coffin into the presence of the past. Something not very unlike this takes place when we are sent in, under some serious illness, to explore the land of the shadow. At first we are oppressed by the mere darkness—the deepening out on every side of the possibilities of the disease. Then, the ignorance of the purpose for which we are afflicted perplexes us. But at last, more or less in every case, we find our minds settling upon the past. Sometimes it is our instinctive forward-looking, our attempt to penetrate the dim, unsounded future which thus leads us back into the past. The consciousness that we are passing onwards into its territory will not let sleep the question, “What sort of past am I carrying thither with me?” More frequently it is the consideration of unfinished purposes which recalls the past. Often, however, there is something in the very circumstances of the affliction, some appropriate word, perhaps, suggested and pressed upon our attention, which leads us in this direction of the past. Joseph’s brethren, g., in the Egyptian prison, by the simple utterance of the words, “Your youngest brother,” had the past which related to themselves and Joseph recalled to their minds. It was this which Job complained of when he cried to God: “Thou makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth.” His youth was not dead as he had supposed; nor had its actions altogether passed. The threads of these were still in His hand who was afflicting him. And now, in his distress, they are drawn up and placed like network around his soul. But there is good in this revision of the past. For one thing, the very sight of the fact is good that nothing of our lives passes utterly into oblivion. It is good to know that the past as much as the present is real, that our deeds lie there, imperishable, dormant, but not dead. For a second reason it is good. The remaining hours of our time here are more likely to be encountered and occupied with serious hearts. But, for a third and still deeper reason, it is good to have made this discovery. One of the main purposes of redemption is to deal with this imperishableness of the past, and solve the problems which arise out of that and our responsibility. Our Redeemer came to put away the guilt of our past lives, and to lift us into a position from which the consequences of our guilt would shut us out for ever. But nothing more disposes us to listen to the offers of Divine mercy, than a clear unambiguous view of the actual past of our lives.
II. Another and most important sight vouchsafed to us in serious illness, is the sight of the world we live in dwarfed to its true proportions. It is a great loss to any one to see the world he lives in only from the side of health. The true proportions of things are almost sure to be hidden from his view. This is especially the case with respect to the common pursuits of life. It requires the discipline of a sick-bed to reveal our error—to discover to us that we have transgressed the bounds of mere necessity, and have been giving them more thought than they demand. I would liken the false value which we put on our lower vocations to the shadow cast by a manor-house on the lawn. The house itself may represent the actual legitimate thought, which we may put into our daily toils. The shadow of the house is the added, illegitimate thought—the burdensome, down-crushing care, thrusting and pushing from their centres our higher affections and hopes. At two different moments there is no shadow. There is none when the sun is in the centre of the heavens, and pouring his light down upon the roof of the house; there is none until he bends from the centre. But then the shadow begins to lengthen out its neck. The sunlight comes forth in horizontal beams, and the shadow stretches out its arms and spreads its wings, and lies prone and black on all the colour of the neighbouring field. At last the sun goes down, and the shadow has disappeared again. Night has rolled its shadow over the land, and the greater has swallowed the less. The house is there, but not its shadow. A most true picture this of the different values we put on our pursuits in the hours of health and at the gates of the grave! For with us also there are two moments when no shadow falls. There is no false estimate so long as God is in the centre of our heavens. At last death is rolling his shadow over our earthly life. And we are enveloped in the gloom of that. And then, looking outward, we discover how all other shadows have disappeared, and have been to us but vanity and vexation of spirit.
III. A third experience in serious illness is, that away from the resurrection of Christ, there is no light for the world to come. The lights which surround us in our daily walks, when all is well with us, forsake us in the shadow. The light of friendship, for example. It cannot pierce the blackness of the shadow of death, nor search forward into the dimness of unrevealed futurity. Next to our friends, as lights of life to us, are our books. They are our inner lights. But away from the Book which specifically tells us of the resurrection of the Son of God, the light of no book in our keeping abides with us in the shadow to give us one gleam of hope. But it is worth while being sent into the shadow, if we come out with this experience.
IV. A fourth experience is generally reached in serious illness, of which it is not so easy to see the good. This is the loneliness of suffering. Our spirits are gadders-about too much. Our lives spread themselves too far upon society. A serious illness carries us away from this folly. It takes us out into the solitude, and leaves us there. This loneliness of great suffering is the shadow sent forth to bring us home. Society is not our home. The dearest, innermost circle of it is not our home. God is our home—our present home.
V. To the children of god affliction is in every way a good. Its shadow is a retirement for renewed and deeper insight into the character and purposes of their Father. As much as unspiritual sufferers they feel the distress of their circumstances. The difference is, that over and through this distress they discern the loving purpose towards themselves of Him who chasteneth. Every way their condition is different. The world which death is bringing close to them is the habitation of their best and most beloved Brother. Sustaining promises are suggested to them by the Spirit, which have new and unthought of appropriateness to their case. Light from heaven, in inexpressible fulness, comes down into familiar passages of the Bible, revealing unimagined depths of Divine love for human souls. There is a nearer, sweeter, more experimental view of the Cross of Christ. Sin is felt to be the evil thing on which God cannot look, in a way to deepen the abhorrence of it, and to excite a more cleaving love to Him who is making all things work together to deliver us from its marks and power. And glimpses of the sinless land, holy, beautiful as morning light, come glowing and reddening through the clouds. And the hour of weakness is changed into an hour of strength. ( Macleod, D.D.)
Christ as light:—
I. How this light may be appropriated to Christ.
1. Light is an all-necessary thing.
2. It separates—divides the night from the day.
3. It cheers.
4. Christ stands pre-eminently glorious as a great light. There is a fulness in Him commensurate with His Divinity; there is a brightness in Him that knows neither change nor diminution.
II. The description of persons to whom this light has been, or shall be, revealed.
1. In darkness.
2. Walking in darkness.
3. In the shadow of death. ( G. Crossman.)
Christ the true Light:—
I. The darkness reigning in the world beforehand was to be traced even in the land of Judæa itself. At the period of Christ’s nativity, there was the darkness of types, the shadows and mere secondary images of Divine truth. Some few only were partially enlightened to believe and understand the truth, and these exulted in the coming light, g., Simeon and Anna. But if some few in Jerusalem looked for redemption, what was the state of the heathen world? They, indeed, by all their wisdom, knew not God; they were immersed in the darkest idolatries and most cruel superstitions. There was, in all this mass of external darkness, something congenial to the inner corruption, the shadow of death, resting on our common sinful nature: never could the one have existed or taken effect without the other. We must look within our own hearts for that guilty ignorance, that wilful blindness and hardened indifference to God and His truth, which was the source alike of Jewish perversions and heathen abominations.
II. Christ was the light spoken of by the prophet. To the Jews, how well calculated was His appearance to clear up the obscurities of their own Mosaic ritual and prophetic declarations! To the Gentiles, no less did the coming of Christ present a religion able, for the first time, to resolve all their doubts, to satisfy all their wants, and unite the whole family of man under one great Head of all.
1. It was a sudden light; unexpected by most, and undeserved by all, the Sun of Righteousness, Jesus Christ, rose upon a benighted world.
2. It was a great light.
3. This was verily the true light. “It shines with a ray which,” saith St. John, “lighteneth every man that cometh into the world.” It is that which is adapted to man as man, beaming with an evidence only to be resisted by wilful blindness, and convincing all with a force which leaves the wanderer without excuse, who perishes in his sin.
4. It is a Divine light; one shining as if from the very throne of God Himself. ( J. Hoare, M.A.)
Darkness and the shadow of death:—
Picture to yourselves a traveller fallen into a defile, the heavens concealed from his view by clouds and darkness; and as he turns in his passage he hears the ravening beasts of night yelling around him, and ready to devour him; conceive his heart sinking within him, and seeking a refuge in vain! If to this man a glimmering light was raised from a distant cottage where he might find security, oh, what joy, what hope of escape would burst across his mind! But yet this will but faintly represent the scene, for the light here spoken of is not a transitory light which may soon be extinguished, but it is a bright light that arises in the land, a light that is raised in heaven to shine on benighted man. (J. Burnett, LL.B.)
Walking in darkness:—
Concerning the people it is affirmed—
I. That they walked in darkness. Darkness must be understood in the figurative sense in which it is often used in Scripture to signify a state of ignorance, sin, and misery. Ignorance, like a veil, continues upon their hearts until the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ shines into their minds. In this uncomfortable state they act under the influence of corrupt principles, committing those enormous transgressions which are justly denominated the works of darkness. From hence arise distresses and miseries of various kinds, which terminate in utter darkness and everlasting woe, unless prevented by the illumination of the true light.
II. In this condition the people are described as walking, which, in the Word of God, frequently denotes the whole course of man’s life, in which every action makes a step towards that everlasting state to which we are journeying.
1. Walking is a voluntary motion, the consequence of preceding choice and deliberate resolution.
2. Walking is a continued motion, in which one step regularly follows another, until the ground intended is gone over.
3. Walking is a progressive motion, by which a traveller still goes forward until he arrives at the end of his journey. ( Macculloch.)
The Light of the world:—
In the Arctic regions, after the long dark night of winter, the rising of the sun is especially welcome. So should Christ be to us.
I. the World without Christ sits in darkness.
1. The minds of the heathen are dark.
2. Their religion is dark and gloomy.
3. Their conduct is dark.
4. Their prospects after death are dark.
II. Jesus Christ is a “great light.” He is—
1. Great in Himself, for He is God.
2. He is a perfect light.
3. He shines into the heart (2 Cor. 4:6).
4. He gives happiness and healing as well as light (Mal. 2:2; John 15:11).
5. This light cannot be put out (Isa. 60:20).
6. It is the light of heaven as well as of earth (Rev. 21:23).
III. It is the will of God that the heathen as well as ourselves should see this great light (1 Tim. 2:1–6; 1 John 2:2; Mark 16:15). (R. Brewin.)
The land of darkness and the great light:—
I. Who are the people whom the prophet saw walking in darkness? By darkness, Scripture means spiritual alteration. Our normal condition is light; for God is light and we were made in His image. But this primitive state no longer exists; an astounding fact has overthrown Divine order; sin has changed all things. The alteration produced by sin is—
I. An alteration of truth. Our intellect is darkened “through the ignorance that is in us, because of the blindness of our heart.” The knowledge of God and of ourselves, which in the origin was pure, has been perverted by a spirit of error and replaced by a veil of darkness. Man has ceased to know God and to know himself. What light would you kindle to dispel these shadows of death?
2. An alteration of life. A false life has invaded the soul and driven away the light of life. The source of life is in God, but it is no longer God who holds dominion over the soul; it is self, the world, and sin
3. An alteration of joy. Light and joy are synonymous in Scripture: “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” But what becomes of joy if it is deprived of truth and life? It is turned into sorrow. Our earthly joys are but disguised sorrows.
II. What is the light spoken of by the prophet? Revert to the fall of the first man and woman in Eden; a promise shines. This promise henceforth accompanies humanity. (Homiletic Magazine.)
Darkness exchanged for light:—
The North American Indians used to hold a New Year’s feast with revolting ceremonies, the sick and aged being neglected, or even killed, to avoid trouble. But missionaries have taught them the Gospel They are Christians, and their New Year’s feast is kept in a different way. Before it begins a list is read of aged and sick unable to come. Bundles of good things are packed up and sent to each by the fleetest runners, who think it a joy and not a burden. Surely these people “have seen a great light.” (Egerton Young.)
2. What the Lord’s people enjoy: darkness become light. Walking: living out their lives. Darkness: the hiding of the Lord’s face, during which they persevered in believing expectancy (8:17). Shadow of death: the noun ṣalmût (‘darkness’) developed the extended poetic form used here, ṣalmāwet (‘death-shadow’). It means such trouble as casts a death-like shadow. The idea of death is in the background in an illustrative way; nevertheless it is a very strong word for life’s calamities. Seen … light … light has dawned: the motif of darkness becoming light points to a creative act of God. Those who have waited through the darkness will come to the objective reality of dawn and the subjective experience of seeing the light.
2. The people walking in darkness hath seen a great light. He speaks of future events in the past tense, and thus brings them before the immediate view of the people, that in the destruction of the city, in their captivity, and in what appeared to be their utter destruction, they may behold the light of God. It may therefore be summed up in this manner: “Even in darkness, nay, in death itself, there is nevertheless good ground of hope; for the power of God is sufficient to restore life to his people, when they appear to be already dead.” Matthew, who quotes this passage, appears to torture it to a different meaning; for he says that this prediction was fulfilled when Christ preached along the sea-coast. (Matt. 4:16) But if we take a just view of the comparison, it will be found that Matthew has applied this passage to Christ correctly, and in its true meaning. Yet it does not appear that the view generally given by our commentators is a successful elucidation of the passage; for they merely assert that it belongs to the kingdom of Christ, but do not assign a reason, or show how it accords with this passage. If, therefore, we wish to ascertain the true meaning of this passage, we must bring to our recollection what has been already stated, that the Prophet, when he speaks of bringing back the people from Babylon, does not look to a single age, but includes all the rest, till Christ came and brought the most complete deliverance to his people. The deliverance from Babylon was but a prelude to the restoration of the Church, and was intended to last, not for a few years only, but till Christ should come and bring true salvation, not only to their bodies, but likewise to their souls. When we shall have made a little progress in reading Isaiah, we shall find that this was his ordinary custom.
Having spoken of the captivity in Babylon, which held out the prospect of a very heavy calamity, he shows that this calamity will be lighter than that which Israel formerly endured; because the Lord had fixed a term and limit to that calamity, namely, seventy years, (Jer. 25:11, 12, and 29:10,) after the expiration of which the light of the Lord would shine on them. By this confident hope of deliverance, therefore, he encourages their hearts when overpowered by fear, that they might not be distressed beyond measure; and thus he made a distinction between the Jews and the Israelites, to whom the expectation of a deliverance so near was not promised. Though the Prophets had given to the elect remnant some taste of the mercy of God, yet, in consequence of the redemption of Israel being, as it were, an addition to the redemption of Judah, and dependent on it, justly does the Prophet now declare that a new light has been exhibited; because God hath determined to redeem his people. Appropriately and skilfully, too, does Matthew extend the rays of light to Galilee and the land of Zebulun. (Matt. 4:15)
In the land of the shadow of death. He now compares the captivity in Babylon to darkness and death; for those who were kept there, were wretched and miserable, and altogether like dead men; as Ezekiel also relates their speech, Dead men shall arise out of the graves. (Ezek. 37:11, 12) Their condition, therefore, was such as if no brightness, no ray of light, had shone on them. Yet he shows that this will not prevent them from enjoying light, and recovering their former liberty; and that liberty he extends, not to a short period, but, as we have already said, to the time of Christ.
Thus it is customary with the Apostles to borrow arguments from the Prophets, and to show their real use and design. In this manner Paul quotes (Rom. 9:25) that passage from Hosea, I will call them my people which were not my people, (Hos. 2:13,) and applies it to the calling of the Gentiles, though strictly it was spoken of the Jews; and he shows that it was fulfilled when the Lord brought the Gentiles into the Church. Thus, when the people might be said to be buried in that captivity, they differed in no respect from the Gentiles; and since both were in the same condition, it is reasonable to believe that this passage relates, not only to the Jews, but to the Gentiles also. Nor must it be viewed as referring to outward misery only, but to the darkness of eternal death, in which souls are plunged, till they come forth to spiritual light; for unquestionably we lie buried in darkness, till Christ shine on us by the doctrine of his word. Hence also Paul exhorts, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (Eph. 5:14) If therefore we extend the commencement of the deliverance from the return from Babylon down to the coming of Christ, on whom all liberty and all bestowal of blessings depends, we shall understand the true meaning of this passage, which otherwise has not been satisfactorily explained by commentators.
Ver. 2.—The people that walked in darkness (comp. ch. 8:22). All the world was “in darkness” when Christ came; but here the Jews especially seem to be intended. It was truly a dark time with them when Christ came (see Döllinger’s ‘Judenthum and Heidenthum,’ vol. ii. pp. 301–335). Have seen; rather, saw. The “prophetic” preterite is used throughout the whole passage. A great light. “The Light of the world,” “the Sun of righteousness,” “the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” first broke on man in that northern tract “by the way of the sea,” when Jesus came forward to teach and to preach in “Galilee of the Gentiles.” For thirty years he had dwelt at Nazareth, in Zebulon. There he had first come forward to teach in a synagogue (Luke 4:16–21); in Galilee he had done his first miracles (John 2:11; 4:54); at Capernaum. “upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim.” he commenced his preaching of repentance (Matt. 4:13–17). The “light” first streamed forth in this quarter, glorifying the region on which contempt had long been poured.
 Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1055). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
President Donald Trump’s term ends today at 12:01 p.m., and Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the nation’s 46th president. The peaceful transition of power is a feature, not a bug, in our great Republic, though we’ll issue this great caution: The incoming administration and its allies are bent on doing the utmost damage to that Republic, and it is up to those of us who still revere our Constitution to stand in the way.
For the last four years, President Trump has stood in the way of those who would dismantle our Constitution. His outstanding domestic legacy and his foreign policy achievements are praiseworthy. Thus, it’s no surprise that Trump used his farewell address to remind folks just how much he’s done for the country he loves.
An extensive list of his work is here, and a full video and transcript of his farewell address is here, but below are some highlights from his speech:
Four years ago, we launched a great national effort to rebuild our country, to renew its spirit, and to restore the allegiance of this government to its citizens. In short, we embarked on a mission to make America great again — for all Americans.
We must never forget that while Americans will always have our disagreements, we are a nation of incredible, decent, faithful, and peace-loving citizens who all want our country to thrive and flourish and be very, very successful and good. We are a truly magnificent nation.
It was about “America First” because we all wanted to make America great again. We restored the principle that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Our agenda was not about right or left, it wasn’t about Republican or Democrat, but about the good of a nation, and that means the whole nation.
We passed the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history. We slashed more job-killing regulations than any administration had ever done before. We fixed our broken trade deals, withdrew from the horrible Trans-Pacific Partnership and the impossible Paris Climate Accord, renegotiated the one-sided South Korea deal, and we replaced NAFTA with the groundbreaking USMCA.
Also, and very importantly, we imposed historic and monumental tariffs on China; made a great new deal with China. But before the ink was even dry, we and the whole world got hit with the China virus. Our trade relationship was rapidly changing, billions and billions of dollars were pouring into the U.S., but the virus forced us to go in a different direction.
We also unlocked our energy resources and became the world’s number-one producer of oil and natural gas by far. Powered by these policies, we built the greatest economy in the history of the world. We reignited America’s job creation and achieved record-low unemployment for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, women — almost everyone.
Incomes soared, wages boomed, the American Dream was restored, and millions were lifted from poverty in just a few short years.
We rebuilt the American manufacturing base, opened up thousands of new factories, and brought back the beautiful phrase: “Made in the USA.”
When our nation was hit with the terrible pandemic, we produced not one, but two vaccines with record-breaking speed.
When the virus took its brutal toll on the world’s economy, we launched the fastest economic recovery our country has ever seen.
We confirmed three new justices of the United States Supreme Court. We appointed nearly 300 federal judges to interpret our Constitution as written.
For years, the American people pleaded with Washington to finally secure the nation’s borders. I am pleased to say we answered that plea and achieved the most secure border in U.S. history.
We restored American strength at home and American leadership abroad.
And perhaps most importantly of all, with nearly $3 trillion, we fully rebuilt the American military — all made in the USA. We launched the first new branch of the United States Armed Forces in 75 years: the Space Force.
We revitalized our alliances and rallied the nations of the world to stand up to China like never before.
We obliterated the ISIS caliphate and ended the wretched life of its founder and leader, al Baghdadi. We stood up to the oppressive Iranian regime and killed the world’s top terrorist, Iranian butcher Qasem Soleimani.
We recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
As a result of our bold diplomacy and principled realism, we achieved a series of historic peace deals in the Middle East. … The Abraham Accords opened the doors to a future of peace and harmony, not violence and bloodshed. It is the dawn of a new Middle East.
As President, my top priority, my constant concern, has always been the best interests of American workers and American families. I did not seek the easiest course; by far, it was actually the most difficult. I did not seek the path that would get the least criticism. I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices because that’s what you elected me to do. Your needs were my first and last unyielding focus.
This, I hope, will be our greatest legacy: Together, we put the American people back in charge of our country.
We worked to build a country in which every citizen could find a great job and support their wonderful families. We fought for the communities where every American could be safe and schools where every child could learn. We promoted a culture where our laws would be upheld, our heroes honored, our history preserved, and law-abiding citizens are never taken for granted. Americans should take tremendous satisfaction in all that we have achieved together.
The key to national greatness lies in sustaining and instilling our shared national identity. That means focusing on what we have in common: the heritage that we all share.
At the center of this heritage is also a robust belief in free expression, free speech, and open debate. Only if we forget who we are, and how we got here, could we ever allow political censorship and blacklisting to take place in America. It’s not even thinkable. Shutting down free and open debate violates our core values and most enduring traditions.
In America, we don’t insist on absolute conformity or enforce rigid orthodoxies and punitive speech codes. We just don’t do that. America is not a timid nation of tame souls who need to be sheltered and protected from those with whom we disagree. That’s not who we are. It will never be who we are.
This is a republic of proud citizens who are united by our common conviction that America is the greatest nation in all of history. We are, and must always be, a land of hope, of light, and of glory to all the world. This is the precious inheritance that we must safeguard at every single turn.
I fought for America and all it stands for — and that is safe, strong, proud, and free.
As long as the American people hold in their hearts deep and devoted love of country, then there is nothing that this nation cannot achieve. Our communities will flourish. Our people will be prosperous. Our traditions will be cherished. Our faith will be strong. And our future will be brighter than ever before.
I go from this majestic place with a loyal and joyful heart, an optimistic spirit, and a supreme confidence that for our country and for our children, the best is yet to come.
Thank you, and farewell. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.
Prior to today, only 37 men had ever experienced what it’s like to leave the world’s most important job on a date certain. Four presidents — William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren Harding, and Franklin Roosevelt — died in office, while four others — Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy — were assassinated.
That number is now 38, as Donald John Trump has served out his term.
At some point before leaving the White House this morning, the president would’ve pushed himself away from the Resolute Desk one last time. One wonders what it must’ve felt like. And then, around 8:10 this morning, he and First Lady Melania walked hand-in-hand out of the White House and across the lawn to board Marine One for, again, the last time. He told reporters that the last four years have been “the honor of a lifetime.” Then the chopper took off and headed for Joint Base Andrews, where the Trumps were greeted by thousands of supporters.
“I will always fight for you,” he told the crowd at Andrews. “I will be watching. I will be listening. And I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better. I wish the new administration great luck and great success.”
He also weighed in with a remark that was pure Trump: “I hope they don’t raise your taxes. If they do, I told you so.” And then it was off to Florida.
Before leaving, though, Trump took care of some unfinished business: the official declassification and release of Crossfire Hurricane documents and a slew of presidential pardons.
As Jerry Dunleavy of the Washington Examiner reports, “The White House issued a memo Tuesday night, on the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, in which Trump said the Justice Department provided the White House with a ‘binder of materials’ tied to the Trump-Russia investigation on Dec. 30.”
Dunleavy’s piece provides a comprehensive summary of the Spygate affair. As he notes, “Trump previously called for all of the Russia investigation documents to be made public. … But following a federal court order, Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, told a judge that month that the president’s tweets were not declassification orders.”
The FBI, of course, objected to any further declassification, because the revelations therein will no doubt make the leadership of the once-proud agency look even worse than it now does. Still, the bureau has the final say on redactions, so we can expect pages upon pages of declassified blackness.
As we noted Monday, we’re not exactly bullish on justice being served, but perhaps Special Counsel John Durham will prove us wrong.
In other last-minute presidential prerogatives, Trump issued a slew of pardons. As James Antle, also of the Examiner, reports, “President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the federal sentences of 70 other people in the final hours of his administration, headlined by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Trump also granted relief to rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, who were convicted on weapons charges, as well as to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick, a Democrat, was convicted of mail fraud, wire fraud, and racketeering. He was serving a 28-year sentence. Trump through the White House press secretary cited Diamond and Silk and Pastor Paula White, strong supporters of his, as backers of commuting Kilpatrick’s sentence.”
Last but not least, President Trump issued a last-minute proclamation that speaks to an issue he fought for far beyond anyone’s expectations: life. To that end, you might mark your calendars for this Friday, January 22. Per President Trump’s direction, that day will be National Sanctity of Human Life Day.
That’ll do it. At noon, President Trump officially put the fate of the nation in the hands of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and a Democrat-controlled Congress. In the days and months ahead, we’ll see just how prophetic H.L. Mencken was when he spoke of the people deserving to get their democracy “good and hard.”
Soon after Joe Biden stands on the steps of the Capitol today and is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, Americans will quickly experience his agenda. And what will that agenda be? In short, it appears to be undoing as much of Donald Trump’s legacy as possible and returning to the leftism of the Barack Obama years.
A memo released by Biden’s incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain highlights the agenda items for the new administration’s first 10 days, which includes four big items hyperbolically referred to as “crisis” issues. These “crises” Biden plans to tackle include “the COVID-19 crisis, the resulting economic crisis, the climate crisis, and a racial equity crisis.” Notably, only two of the issues listed can even arguably be classified as crises. Furthermore, it’s quite telling that regarding racial issues, the language used is not “equality,” which has arguably been achieved under the law, but the Marxist language of “equity.”
Immediately following his inauguration, Biden plans to sign 12 executive orders, with the majority of them aimed at directly reversing policies of the Trump administration. They include reentering the disastrous Paris Climate Agreement, ending the dubiously misleading “Muslim Ban,” rescinding Trump’s 1776 Commission that challenged the systemic racism myth, a mandate that noncitizens be included in the Census count, a halt to all construction of the border wall, and stopping the U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization, to name but a few.
Biden will also initiate his “100 Day Masking Challenge,” as he has frequently referred to the wearing of masks as a “patriotic duty.” The “challenge” mandates that masks be worn in all federal buildings and also issues guidelines pressuring all states to adopt similar measures. With language like this, it’s no wonder the issue of mask wearing has become so politically charged.
Meanwhile, Biden plans to express his desire to “heal” the nation and bring “unity” — even as he just recently vilified Republican Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz by comparing them to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Completely absent from Biden is any magnanimity and humility necessary for any genuine prospect for bringing unity. His failure to confront and condemn the ongoing demonization of Trump supporters by members of his own party — even participating in it himself — will only serve to further divide the nation. More than 74 million Americans voted for Trump and his America First agenda. If Biden were wise and genuinely sought unity, he’d reject or at least substantially moderate the extreme leftist agenda within his own party and move toward a more centrist agenda. However, if his recent rhetoric and planned executive actions are to be believed, such a move won’t happen.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” —Hosea 4:6
After toiling amid sweltering heat and vigorous debate for months, the Constitutional Convention finally concluded. Elder statesman Benjamin Franklin emerged from Independence Hall into the autumn sunlight and was asked by a local woman, “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?”
Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
One can be forgiven these days for believing America is a democracy. Politicians and media talkingheads endlessly refer to America as a democracy, yet it is not now, nor has it ever been, a democracy.
In fact, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, sternly warned in Federalist No. 10, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
And in 1814, John Adams wrote, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
Our Founding Fathers rightly saw democracy as little more than mob rule. And despite the months of Black Lives Matter and antifa-led riots last year, and mob violence at the Capitol two weeks ago, many still advocate for more democracy in our political system.
To safeguard against the excesses of democratic mob rule, the Founders crafted a federal constitutional republic, implementing a series of separations of power, checks and balances, and vetoes, which allow for majoritarian rule while also protecting the rights of the minority and the individual.
The Founders understood that in a pure or direct democracy, there exists a danger that demagogues of “factious tempers” and “sinister designs” would encourage public faction for their own selfish ends. But as Madison explained, delegating government power “to a small number of citizens elected by the rest” would “refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.”
Or, as National Review’s Thomas Koenig notes, “The role of the elected representative is to harmonize the interests and passions of his constituents with the dictates of reason and the common good. This requires a certain independence of mind and spirit, as well as a hefty dose of prudence.”
Unfortunately, such patriotism, independence of mind, and prudence is all too often lacking in our elected representatives of late.
Though our Constitution, and the republican form of government it established, has functioned remarkably well at tempering the impulses of the mob for nearly a quarter-millennium, many on the Left are eager to destroy our republic and replace it with a pure democracy (and socialism).
A few months ago, Utah Senator Mike Lee triggered outrage on the Left with two simple tweets: “We’re not a democracy,” followed by “Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prosperity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.”
Responses ranged from denial that America is a republic to assertions that we are a republic, but a deeply flawed one.
Writing in The Atlantic just before the election, Claremont McKenna College professor George Thomas said, “Dependent on a minority of the population to hold national power, Republicans … have taken to reminding the public that ‘we’re not a democracy,’ [and] have suddenly found their voice in pointing out that, formally, the country is a republic.”
Suddenly? Republicans have been making that point for decades.
Thomas continued, making a cogent argument as to how and why the Founders constructed a republican form of government that would “foster a complex form of majority rule, not enable minority rule.” However, Thomas then began to list what he sees as the failures of the republican form of government, arguing, “The greatest shortcoming of the American experiment was its limited vision of the people, which excluded Black people, women, and others from meaningful citizenship, diminishing popular government’s cause.”
He has a point, but thanks to near unanimous Republican support for the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments (but near unanimous Democrat opposition, save the 19th, which received but 41% of Democrat votes), these shortcomings were rectified.
Today, Democrats, now controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, are threatening to eradicate two of the powerful mechanisms employed for more than two centuries to protect the rights of the minority — the Electoral College and the Senate filibuster.
They argue that these things deny the will of the majority, as when President Donald Trump won a resounding Electoral College victory while losing the popular vote.
But if the Electoral College is abolished, then how will the rights of the minority be protected? After all, Los Angeles County, with a population of 10.4 million, has more people than all but the eight largest states.
At a time when Big Tech and the social media giants are censoring the half of the country that supports President Trump, and Democrats are assembling lists of Trump administration officials and prominent supporters in order to publicly ostracize them and deny them employment, the rising dangers of democracy are quite evident.
John Adams rightly noted, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” It was made for a people of temperance and moderation, not to contain a vengeful mob.
During his early years in office, one of Barack Obama’s little tics was his reflexive use of the word “unprecedented.” Whether borne out of need or narcissism or simply subpar speechwriting, it seemed that darn near everything he did was unprecedented. Until nothing was. Clearly, that word didn’t mean what he thought it did.
But here’s something that really is unprecedented: the Left’s latest attack on the Right. For scope and scale and downright dirtiness, the Left has outdone itself — which is saying something.
The jumping off point, of course, was the censorship of a sitting president and the coordinated curb-stomping of a rival communication platform. But from there, things spun out of control. Having taken out President Donald Trump, they worked with dizzying speed — from Internet service providers to book publishers to hotel chains to insurance companies to global banks to professional sports leagues — to go full Thought Police on us.
How bad is it? The Republicans’ lone hope for sanity in the Senate, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, seems to have lost either his mind or his man card. Or both.
PBS’s Margaret Hoover asked him point-blank about the Democrats’ wave of deplatforming: “Parler … has been booted off of Apple, Amazon, and Google. The PGA has pulled its 2022 Championship from the Trump National Golf Course in New Jersey, and Simon & Schuster has dropped Josh Hawley’s book. Do you support all these examples of deplatforming?”
This was a softball — a beachball, really — a chance for Manchin, the guy whose state went for Trump by 39 points, to simply put his foot down and say that the cancel culture has gone too far. Alas, Manchin whiffed. “I do. I really do,” he said. “I think there’s a responsibility they all have … and thank goodness they’re pushing back now.”
Oooooh, thank goodness. Who knew that the weight of conservative words could, like sticks and stones, break progressive bones?
Not content to have sided with the censors, Manchin went into projection mode. “Maybe this will give my Republican colleagues some support that they can be free,” he said. “The truth will set you free. Maybe they can break the bonds, these chains that they have of captivity within the Republican ranks, that they’re afraid they’re going to be primaried or there’s going to be challenges or things that they have to deal with that they’d rather not.”
Huh? Here’s a West Virginian whose party is anti-fossil fuel, pro-Paris Climate Accords, pro-Iran nuke deal, pro-China, pro-BLM, pro-antifa, and pro-biological boys competing in sports against our daughters. And he says Republicans are afraid?
Most despicable of all, though, was Manchin’s seeming willingness to remove two of his Senate colleagues, Republicans Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, merely for having objected to the Senate’s certification of the Electoral College results.
As The Hill notes, “The third section of the 14th Amendment reads that no lawmaker holding office ‘shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.’”
“Insurrection or rebellion”? Yeah, let’s heal the nation by removing two senators for having questioned the legitimacy of an election marred by the Democrats’ bulk-mail ballot strategy.
Setting aside the senator from the Mountain State, more than a few Republicans have also gone soft. And in doing so, they’ve hung President Trump and Senators Cruz and Hawley, among others, out to dry. South Dakota Senator John Thune, for one, must’ve endeared himself to the cocktail crowd in DC, but I suspect he disgraced himself back home. His state went for Trump by 26 points, but that didn’t stop him from kicking his party’s standard-bearer on his way out the door. “The president,” Thune said, “got a lot of people very spun up, and I think he did a disservice to people across this country, including many in South Dakota that I’ve heard from who believe that the election was stolen. It was not.”
It was not, he said with conviction. But he didn’t offer any evidence to address the concerns of his constituents — no investigation into improprieties in Detroit or Milwaukee or Philly, no Senate hearings, nothing like that. But a November 11 New York Times headline said, “Election Officials Nationwide Find No Fraud,” so it must’ve been a legit election. Joe Biden must’ve gotten all 81 million of those votes on the up-and-up.
Censorship is the way of the coward and the tyrant, and the Democrats and their Big Tech enablers have plenty of both. Facebook’s former chief security officer, Alex Stamos, for one, is calling on the cable TV providers to cancel conservative networks Newsmax and One America News Network.
“We have to turn down the capability of these conservative influencers to reach these huge audiences,” said Stamos to the friendlies at CNN. “There are people on YouTube, for example, that have a larger audience than daytime CNN, and they are extremely radical and pushing extremely radical views. … We’re gonna have to figure out the OANN and Newsmax problem that these companies have freedom of speech, but I’m not sure we need Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and such to be bringing them into tens of millions of homes.”
Where does all this end? Who knows? But too many folks think Big Tech hasn’t gone nearly far enough.
In an obvious nod to the radical identitarian Left, Joe Biden named Pennsylvania’s Health Secretary “Rachel” Levine as his new assistant secretary of health. Levine, formerly known as Richard, openly identifies as “transgender” and has been a member of the ironically named “Equality Pennsylvania,” an LGBT activist organization. Clearly for conservatives, there are serious problems with putting a demonstrably mentally ill science denier in the nation’s top healthcare position.
Levine, a pediatrician, was appointed as PA’s physician general in 2017 by Democrat Governor Tom Wolf, making him one of the few openly “transgender” individuals in public office.
In announcing his choice, Biden made it clear that he was motivated primarily by an agenda to push the Left’s sexual “ethic” into being accepted and adopted nationally. He stated, “Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond. … She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”
This perfectly underscores the Democrats’ radical agenda, which seeks to undercut the very fabric of truth. Levine may be a skilled pediatrician, but he clearly is suffering from serious mental delusions. In the recent past, placing an individual with such a serious mental issue in such a position of authority would have been unthinkable. Yet today it is not only celebrated, but anyone who dares to object is vilified as a bigot.
How long before Democrats further attack Americans’ right to free speech and their religious liberty by proposing legislation to “protect” those demanding that everyone acquiesce to delusional demands for preferred pronouns? How long before those of us who dissent and believe in God-designed science are charged with engaging in “hate speech”? It’s already happened on social media. And it will be coming to the federal government.
As a footnote, The Washington Free Beacon reports that Levine is also a hypocrite: “Levine directed Pennsylvania nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients — even as she pulled her own mother out of a longterm-care facility over pandemic concerns.”
It was dusk as I led our squad into the little village several kilometers north of the Marine base at Phu Bai, South Vietnam. This was a new area for us to patrol. As I entered the village, I came upon a villager squatting by the hedges surrounding some huts. He had been looking the other way when I came up to him and he was startled when he saw me. I tried to assure him I meant no harm.
Yet, in less than two minutes, he and two Viet Cong regulars were dead and my heart was both in my throat and beating wildly in my chest. It was not my first combat experience, but it was the first up this close. I saw the two armed Viet Cong, then noticed the “farmer.” I started backing away as he tried to pull a grenade out from under his shirt. My training kicked in. When it was over, three enemy were dead and I was alive. I spent days wondering, “What if?” I saw the danger this time. What about the next time?
The South Vietnamese Army had a reputation of trying to avoid the enemy if it could. It patrolled the countryside during the day, but at night, it retreated to its bases. The enemy “owned” the night. That’s why I startled the local farmer by day, guerrilla soldier at night. We weren’t expected. They learned quickly.
The South Vietnamese Army would be compelled by the government to do something. When it finally had to conduct operations, it “advertised” its movements to give the Viet Cong time to get out of the way. The philosophy was, “We’ll leave you alone if you leave us alone.” It worked until the Viet Cong forces grew to the point they didn’t run away when they were found. They stood and fought.
After years of our support and training, the South Vietnamese forces gained confidence. But eventually, our government decided to abandon them and go home. Their eventual failure to stand up for their own freedom cost them their country and the “bamboo curtain” of communism took over much of Southeast Asia. Several million would die in reeducation camps across Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Lessons learned? Apparently none!
Today, fully 40% of our country are deeply troubled by the recent elections and the tactics the far Left used to win. Why are we surprised? The Left has been playing offense for decades, while Republicans play defense. You don’t win wars, or elections, playing defense. We saw the deception, whined about their cheating, but we did nothing, and we lost.
Now, instead of getting some backbone, Republican leadership is playing the blame game and turning into a circular firing squad shooting at each other. Some lawmakers folded like a cheap suit, not wanting to be identified with Donald Trump, but are now turning on each other. The Left stands back and watches us with glee.
There will be a battle for the soul of our Republic. Our moral compass is broken. Republicans, when will you quit whining and blame-shifting and start fighting? Or will we, like President Ronald Reagan said many years ago, be telling our children and grandchildren what it was like when America was free?
Thomas Sowell vs. the Left — After last summer’s BLM protests, “experts” declared what America must do for black people: “Reparations!” “Abolish policing!” “Socialism!” These are awful ideas that will hurt blacks, says economist Thomas Sowell.
Hands Up or I’ll Tweet! — The best way to avoid being burned by the magnifying power of social media is to first recognize that you are under the glass.
Upright: “Woke-ism, multiculturalism, all the -isms — they’re not who America is. They distort our glorious founding and what this country is all about. Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker.” —outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
For the record: “The left fears dissent. And they do so for good reason. Leftism is essentially a giant balloon filled with nothing but hot air. Therefore, no matter how big the balloon — the Democratic Party, The New York Times, Yale University — all it takes is a mere pin to burst it. Leftism is venerated by intellectuals. But there is little intellectual substance to leftism. It is a combination of doctrine and emotion. The proof? Those with intellectual depth do not stifle dissent; they welcome it.” —Dennis Prager
On the mark: “The last time the Senate convened, we had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop Congress from doing our duty. The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. … We stood together and said an angry mob would not get veto power over the rule of law in our nation.” —Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell
What could possibly go wrong? “Other countries have domestic spy agencies to fight extremists at home. Does America need one, too?” —The Daily Beast
That’s racist! “It’s really important to understand Israel is a racist state in that they would deny Palestinians like my grandmother access to a vaccine; that they don’t believe that she’s an equal human being that deserves to live.” —Rep. Rashida Tlaib
Braying jackass: “There’s one other element that I have been talking about for a long time that gives me great grief as a Catholic. I think that Donald Trump is president because of the issue of a woman’s right to choose. … Many of these people are very good people; that’s just their point of view. But they were willing to sell the whole democracy down the river for that one issue.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Alpha jackass: “I did see a similar dynamic in the evolution of al-Qaida in Iraq, where a whole generation of angry Arab youth with very poor prospects followed a powerful leader who promised to take them back in time to a better place, and he led them to embrace an ideology that justified their violence. This is now happening in America.” —Gen. Stanley McChrystal, comparing conservatives to al-Qaida terrorists
And last… “For a side that is anti-gun and anti-wall, they sure bring in a lot of guns and walls for the inauguration.” —Kevin Sorbo
The US will come back into a nuclear accord with Iran if it returns to compliance, and Washington will eventually seek a stronger deal of greater duration, secretary of state-designate Antony Blinken said Tuesday.
Greenwald: The New Domestic War On Terror Is Coming
We have witnessed an orgy of censorship from Silicon Valley monopolies with calls for far more aggressive speech policing, a visibly militarized Washington, D.C. featuring a non-ironically named “Green Zone,” vows from the incoming president and his key allies for a new anti-domestic terrorism bill, and frequent accusations of “sedition,” “treason,” and “terrorism” against members of Congress and citizens.
Israel’s largest mobile Telecom provider leaving Wall Street
Israel’s largest mobile telecom provider, Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL) announced it will be voluntarily delisting its shares from trade in New York. The company will maintain its shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE: CEL) making it the primary and only listing.
If the US rejoins the Iran nuclear deal, it will hurt peace deals’
Freidman explained that the Abraham Accords came into being thanks to daily work by the Trump administration and that they had been made possible due to the trust all sides had shown the US in recent years – partly in due to the administration’s aggressive stance toward Tehran.
Iran to Begin Producing Uranium Metal For Nuclear Weapons Program
The International Atomic Energy Agency, an international organization for overseeing nuclear programs, announced last Wednesday that Iran has begun work on uranium metal-based fuel for a research reactor in contravention of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in 2015. It is expected that Iran will begin producing the uranium metal within five months.
Will NYC’s next Mayor outlaw Circumcision?
Andrew Yang is campaigning to be the Democrat candidate in June to replace Bill DeBlasio as mayor of New York City … But one controversial plank in his political platform may prove prohibitively controversial. Yang self-identifies as an intactivist, opposing nontherapeutic infant male circumcision.
Under Pressure, Southern Poverty Law Center Removes pro-Israel org from list of ‘Hate groups’
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is removing Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN) from its list of designated hate groups. In 2020, PJTN learned that the SPLC had designated their organization as “a hate group.” PJTN denounced and immediately objected to such a designation noting it as “untrue and antithetical to our belief that persons of faith are inherently decent and good, and should not be vilified or mistreated based on religious affiliation or any other reason.”
Tunisian President blames instability on ‘stealing Jews’
Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed accused Jews of being behind instability in the country, in a video which was posted to his Facebook page on Tuesday. While discussing the political situation with Tunisian citizens, Saïed referred to “the Jews who are stealing.” The edited, three-minute clip features Saïed meeting with members of the public on the street in a poor neighborhood, according to the video’s caption.
EU’s von der Leyen welcomes ‘friend in White House’
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said the EU is ready for a new start with the US. She has told the European Parliament that the relief many were feeling about the change of administration “should not blind us” to the fact that Donald Trump’s presidency may be history but his movement is not.
Biden inauguration: Democrat to be sworn in as Trump leaves office
Joe Biden is to be sworn in as US president, taking the helm of a nation wracked by political division, economic anguish and an unrelenting pandemic. Alongside him, Kamala Harris will make history when she is sworn in as the nation’s first female vice-president. Some 25,000 troops will guard the inauguration ceremony in Washington DC, which has been fortified after a deadly riot at the Capitol earlier this month.
MARK OF THE BEAST Makes Its Debut in 2020…
There’s a very good reason (actually very BAD reason) why THE GREAT SCAMDEMIC, THE GREAT RESET and THE GREAT STEALECTION were all carried out by the New World Order globalist cabal in 2020. It’s the very same reason why 2019 saw the military deployment of 5G in key power centers around the globe.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a moving display of support for incoming president Joe Biden, eleven flags were planted in the National Mall to represent the average number of supporters he was able to round up for a rally during his campaign.
The spectacle made a powerful statement to the nation, showing everybody just how amazingly popular and beloved our new president is.
“This is about how many people would be here if D.C. weren’t locked down,” said an inaugural team member as he solemnly planted a flag into the grass along the National Mall. “Look at this beautiful display of support for the most popular president in history! Truly a beloved president and spectacular leader.”
The flags were appropriately socially distanced and roughly looked like bored rally attendees watching Biden ramble incoherently. Many witnesses say the flags actually looked a little more lively than a Biden crowd, since they at least could flutter in the breeze and weren’t able to fall asleep.
At publishing time, seven of the flags had been stolen and three others had been knocked over.
Daily – if not hourly – for four years, the media, analysts, political figures, operatives, and ordinary folk spoke out against President Trump and what they believe President Trump has done wrong. In the eyes of many, it is quite literally: everything.
As Trump finishes his term in office, it’s easy to find negative, harsh assessments of virtually every facet of his policies and actions. The Atlantic, CNN and PBS are among those who have declared Trump to be the “worst president in history.” This side of the story has been well covered.
As we know, roughly half of the country feels differently, but their voices are not as well-represented on the news and the Internet. Most media outlets cannot seem to bear to publish anything that is not one-sided and negative about Trump and his term. This begs for a bit of balance, even if it’s dwarfed by the counter-narrative.
Built after consulting a variety of experts on the economy, national security, foreign policy and domestic issues, here is a short list that reflects “the other side” of the Trump presidency; one that is not so easy to find within today’s managed information landscape.
25 Top accomplishments of President Donald J. Trump
1. Executive order enacted Jan. 1, 2021 requiring hospitals to provide medical prices to patients upfront so they can shop around.
2. Reversing the ascent of the Islamic extremist terrorist group ISIS.
3. “Most Favored Nation” executive order so that the U.S. (through Medicare) would pay no more for a drug than what’s offered to foreign countries, saving the U.S. an estimated “$85 billion in savings over seven years and $30 billion in out-of-pocket costs.”
4. Moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to the capital of Jerusalem.
5. Building more than 450 miles of new and replacement border wall.
6. Leading U.S. to a level of energy independence (exporting more oil than importing for the first time in 70 years), allowing international policy decisions to be made with less regard to how an oil nation we once relied on would respond.
7. No new wars.
8. Drastic reduction in regulations, opening the door for entrepreneurs and businesses to succeed, expand, and hire more people. According to the Trump administration, they promised to eliminate two regulations for every new one, but actually wound up eliminating 8 old regulations for every 1 new regulation adopted, equating into an extra $3,100 a year for the average American household.
9. Expanding Republican reach among African Americans and other constituents who traditionally lean Democrat.
10. Cutting taxes in an initiative that benefitted every tax bracket.
11. Doubled the child tax credit.
12. Operation Warp Speed: accelerated development of coronavirus vaccines.
13. Eliminated the Obamacare penalty.
14. A series of trade agreements and changes seen as beneficial to Americans, including replacing NAFTA with USMCA.
15. Instead of 2-for-1, we eliminated 8 old regulations for every 1 new regulation adopted.
16. Provided the average American household an extra $3,100 every year.
17. Started the Space Force.
18. Instituted “Right to Try,” allowing terminally ill patients to use potentially lifesaving, unproven treatments.
19. Prioritized and made permanent funding for historically black colleges.
20. Brokered peace deals or normalization agreements between Israel and five Muslim and Arab-Muslim countries.
21. Banned the teaching of “Critical Race Theory” in the federal government.
22. Withdrew from Iran nuclear deal.
23. Withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord.
24. Instituted a Buy American policy within federal agencies.
25. Achieved a $400 billion increase in contributions by NATO allies by 2024 with the number of members meeting their minimum obligations doubling.
Border wall construction will be halted, the travel ban will be erased, and the 1776 Commission celebrating America’s founding will be disbanded all within hours after President-elect Joseph R. Biden is sworn in Wednesday.