“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
As Christianity wanes in America, a national poll reveals that fewer people think religion matters than ever before. What is motivating people to adopt this position? Why are fewer people interested in God in this “Information Age”? What is the real reason fewer Americans think religion matters? J. Warner answers these questions in this episode of the NRBtv Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast.
Every religion outside of Christianity essentially offers the same thing: a way to salvation through our own human effort. The parable of the prodigal son explodes that damnable lie. It illustrates instead the simple truth of how and why repentant faith is the only means by which any sinner can find justification before God. Forgiveness is not a reward for merits we earn by good works but rather the gracious and lavish gift of our loving Creator.READ MORE
Herein appears the shameful ingratitude of men. Though they have in their own persons a factory where innumerable operations of God are carried on, and a magazine stored with treasures of inestimable value—instead of bursting forth in his praise, as they are bound to do, they, on the contrary, are the more inflated and swelled with pride.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
One way in which the secular mind-set has made inroads into the Christian community is through the worldview that assumes that everything happens according to fixed natural causes, and God, if He is actually there, is above and beyond it all. He is just a spectator in heaven looking down, perhaps cheering us on but exercising no immediate control over what happens on earth. Historically, however, Christians have had an acute sense that this is our Father’s world and that the affairs of men and nations, in the final analysis, are in His hands. That is what Paul is expressing in Romans 8:28—a sure knowledge of divine providence. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Immediately thereafter, Paul moves into a predestination sequence: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (vv. 29–30). Then Paul concludes: “What then shall we say to these things?” (v. 31a). In other words, what should be our response to the sovereignty of God and to the fact that He is working out a divine purpose in this world and in our lives? The world repudiates that truth, but Paul answers this way:
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (vv. 31b–37)
One of the oldest sayings of the ancient church summarizes the essence of the relationship between God and His people: Deus pro nobis. It means “God for us.” That is what the doctrine of providence is all about. It is God’s being for His people. “What then shall we say to these things?” Paul asks. If God is for us, who can be against us, and who can separate us from the love of Christ? Is it going to be distress, peril, the sword, persecution, suffering, sickness, or human hostility? Paul is saying that no matter what we have to endure in this world as Christians, nothing has the power to sever the relationship we have to a loving and sovereign providence.
The word providence is made up of a prefix and a root. The root comes from the Latin videre, from which we get the English word video. Julius Caesar famously said, “Veni, vidi, vici“—”I came, I saw, I conquered.” The vidi in that statement, “I saw,” comes from videre, which means “to see.” That is why we call television “video.” The Latin word provideo, from which we get our word providence, means “to see beforehand, a prior seeing, a foresight.” However, theologians make a distinction between the foreknowledge of God and the providence of God. Even though the word providence means the same thing etymologically as the word foreknowledge, the concept covers significantly more ground than the idea of foreknowledge. In fact, the closest thing to this Latin word in our language is the word provision.
Consider what the Bible says about the responsibility of the head of a family: “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). The responsibility is given to the head of the household to be the one who provides and makes provision; that is, that person has to know in advance what the family is going to need in terms of the essentials of life, then meet those needs. When Jesus said, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on” (Matt. 6:25), He was not advocating a careless approach to life. He was talking about anxiety. We are not to be frightened; we are to put our trust in the God who will meet our needs. At the same time, God entrusts a responsibility to heads of households to be provident, that is, to consider tomorrow and to make sure there is food and clothing for the family.
The first time we find the word providence in the Old Testament is in the narrative of Abraham’s offering of Isaac upon the altar. God called Abraham to take his son Isaac, whom he loved, to a mountain and offer him as a sacrifice. Quite naturally, Abraham anguished under a great internal struggle with God’s command, and as Abraham prepared to obey, Isaac asked him, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Gen. 22:7). Abraham replied, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son” (v. 8). Abraham spoke here of Jehovah jireh, “God will provide.” That is the first time the Bible speaks of God’s providence, which has to do with God’s making a provision for our needs. And of course, this passage looks forward to the ultimate provision He has made by virtue of His divine sovereignty, the supreme Lamb who was sacrificed on our behalf.
I answered an email this morning from a woman whose husband recently committed suicide.
I was so sorry for her loss and pain, and, of course, I prayed for her and the family. I also wrote to her (as I’ve said to so many in this situation) that guilt and regret weren’t appropriate. While there are different circumstances to each suicide, nobody is responsible for someone else’s decision to take his or her life. In fact, I have taught a whole lot of seminary students to respond to suicidal calls with, “I’m so sorry you’ve made that decision. If you go ahead, I’ll do a nice funeral for you, say some positive things about you, and probably shed some tears, but I won’t feel guilty for the stupid decision you made.” That may not sound compassionate or pastoral, but it is necessary. (Just so you know, I also tell students to pray that the caller doesn’t hang up before more needed things are said. But even if the caller does hang up, they will have separated themselves from responsibility for someone else’s sin.)
We live in what someone has said is a culture of victimization. That’s true, and the victimization has created a mother lode of guilt and shame. Everything bad that happens is someone else’s fault. Lawyers have made a pile of money on that proposition (sometime read John Grisham’s book, The King of Torts). And almost all of us have been affected by critical race theory, intersectionality, wokeness, charges of white privilege (if you’re white), and the debates surrounding those issues. Political conservatives, with the same passion of the left, charge the left with hatred of America, destroying the Constitution, and ignoring equal treatment under the law. When someone has experienced bullying, abuse, the burning of a business in a riot, or an attack on the Capitol, it’s not the fault of the bully, the abuser, the arsonist, or the extremist who attacked the Capitol . . . it’s your fault. There is a whole lot of guilt to go around.
On top of that, we also live in a culture that cuts very little slack for anybody. If you say the wrong thing (even if you said it years ago), you can lose your job and your reputation. And even if you’re dead, you can be still be cancelled. They’ll take a name off a building, tear down a statue, or burn a book. Pretty soon they will go after Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln. Wait, they already have.
Steve, where are you going with this?
Not where you think. While I have some strong political views about what I wrote, that isn’t so much my concern. My concern is with Christians who often mimic the culture, spread the guilt and shame, and parrot the nonsense.
Fundamentalism was an early twentieth century movement referring to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity (e.g. biblical authority, the virgin birth, the resurrection, the atoning death of Christ, etc.). However, over the years, the word “Fundamentalism” morphed. It now refers to a mindset of very narrow, condemning, arrogant, self-righteous, and mean-spirited advocates of a particular (mostly) religious attitude who are intolerant of anybody who dares to disagree or offers an opposing viewpoint. I would suggest that there is not only religious fundamentalism, but political fundamentalism as well. Because we are essentially a religious country that has long since lost our belief in God, sin, forgiveness, and redemption, a good many people have made their political and social views a new kind of religion pursued with a religious and fundamentalist passion. R.R. Reno wrote in First Things (April 2021) that politics have been divinized where there is “a preoccupation with the affairs of state [which] eclipses the old, passing-away consensus that matters of the soul are what matter most . . . and invariably politicizes everything.”
Guilt and shame are the result. You can see it in the public confessions of people who brought offense with their comments, in the way church people discipline those who have fallen, and in the way that some Christians start every sentence with “I’m sorry.” I know, I know, confession is good for the soul, we should be civil and kind in what we say, discipline is one of the marks of the true church, and sometimes being sorry is appropriate. Still, sometimes I find the whole shame and guilt syndrome insufferable. I wish that someone who broke the rules would say, “Okay, I confess. It was wrong, but I’m not going to eat dirt because of it.” Or maybe after causing offense, “Yeah, I said it because it is true, so deal with it.” Or maybe be brave enough to say, “This isn’t discipline . . . It’s revenge and arrogance designed to shame and kill.” I just wish that only one person would be honest enough to say, “I did it and, frankly, if I had to do it again, I would.”
Actually, I just read what I wrote above and I suspect that it is offensive to some. Frankly, I wouldn’t change a word.
If you’re tired of feeling guilty all the time, I’m here to help. I want to remind you about the law of God. The law of God was given not to create more shame, but to banish it. The Psalmist says in Psalm 19:7-10:
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. (:
So, how does the law help?
First, God’s law defines right and wrong, good and evil, love and hate, and truth and lies. God—and only God—has the job description of definition . . . not a preacher, a neurotic uptight Christian, a woke professor, a guilt-ridden friend, a politician, or a television talking head. God is God and he decides what legitimate sin is. Someone has said that one should never confess a sickness or attempt to cure a sin. That’s true. The law of God is the only place the Christian should go to know when to feel guilty and when not to feel guilty.
Second, healthy guilt is magnified by the law of God. That’s not a curse; it’s a blessing. Repentance (i.e. knowing who you are, who God is, and what you’ve done, and going to God with it) is power. Repentance is the road to God. The Holy Spirit reveals those areas where we have sinned and failed, and then points us to Jesus and the cross. And at the cross, we are amazed that we aren’t beaten over the head with our sin; but instead, hugged, loved, and forgiven. Jesus always says, “I’m glad you came. I won’t bring it up again.”
Third, the law makes us bold and free. Any Christian who lives with Romans 8:1 in their heart can’t be manipulated with guilt. If you don’t know that verse, memorize it: “There is therefore now no condemnation—zippo, not even a little bit—for those who are in Christ Jesus.” That reality makes Christians dangerous. We can’t be manipulated by guilt (don’t let anybody do that to you) and we have no desire to manipulate anybody else (sinners, even forgiven sinners, set others free). Sin is universal and the Bible teaches that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and “none is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:23, 11).
Self-righteousness is dangerous and destructive.
Self-righteousness for a Christian is an oxymoron.
Do we need to have a certain degree of remorse for our sin before we can truly become a Christian? In this brief clip, Derek Thomas explains how a proper understanding of the gospel helps us understand the right place of repentance in the Christian life.
Subscribe to Ligonier’s YouTube channel to watch hours of free biblical teaching.
How much sin do you need to forsake in order to come to Christ? How much remorse do you need to have? How much sense of guilt do you need to have before you can come to Christ? And all of a sudden, repentance—and repentance is a requirement, of course—but the quality of my repentance can become the standard, the marker of my justification. And all of a sudden, I’m justified not by faith alone, but I’m justified by the quality of my repentance. And all of a sudden, it’s a performance. It’s our obedience. It’s our works. And you can dress that up in very fanciful, spiritual language that sounds very biblical. “Do you need to repent in order to be a Christian?” Yes and no. Yes, we need to repent, but it’s not our repentance that justifies us. It’s not the quality of our repentance that justifies us. In the history of the church, this has sometimes been labeled “preparationism,” that you need to prepare yourself in order to come to Christ. You need to be in a certain frame of mind. You need to have gone through various stages in your recognition of your sinfulness before you can come to Christ. And this affected certain aspects of Puritanism, particularly in New England in the late 1600s, early 1700s. And Thomas Boston was adamant that this was incorrect, that it violated, it undermined the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. Paul hadn’t come to Galatia to offer “religion,” a moral code of behavior that would produce a certain kind of citizenship in Europe. He had come to offer a message of grace. He had come to offer freedom in Christ. He had come to emancipate those who by nature are slaves and in bondage and to set them free, to be what God intends them to be, to become children of God and heirs of God.
The setup of the cultural assimilation project was completed by the end of verse 7. The young men of Judah would be persuaded to forsake their old god and old culture by living a life of comfort, culture, and advancement. They would take on their identities expressed in the names of the pagan gods Bel and Nebo which were woven into their new names. They would become good Babylonians.
This is what makes verse 8 so awesome! The food and wine from the king’s table were linked with the religious rituals of the king’s gods and therefore Daniel and his three friends resolved to have no contact with it. The actions of these godly youths were to serve as an object lesson for an exiled people of what the fear of God looks like in action.
Every time that this story is read of their refusal to participate in cultic religion, God’s people are shown what the fear of God looks like in action. Daniel and his friends stand in the godly fear of Noah in Genesis 6:8 and they foreshadow the righteous man, Jesus Christ, who would not turn aside to the left or the right or be defiled in any way. In the story of Daniel, a portrait of Christ emerges. He too was given a new name, Son of Man. He came to a worldly place, the world of sinners. He too was tested and tried in every way so that we might receive His unblemished and undefiled righteousness.
Suggestions for prayer
Praise God that He sent His Only Begotten Son into the world so that we might be saved! Pray that the LORD will build us up in the fear of God so that we will face challenges with godliness and wisdom.
Rev. Norman Van Eeden Petersman is the pastor of the Vancouver Associated Presbyterian Church and he is the husband of Rosanna and father of Elliott. Prior to being ordained in the Associated Presbyterian Church, he was the pastor of Adoration United Reformed Church in Ontario. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.
“The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”(13)
And the Lord God said to the woman,
“What is this you have done?”
The woman said,
“The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
This is the blame game! Adam is blaming Eve, and Eve is blaming the serpent for deceiving her. What is not as evident is that God is also being blamed, because God gave Eve to Adam.
It’s interesting to note that in the creation story, Adam is so delighted to have Eve in his life. But now, when God is holding him accountable for his bad choice, he is only too happy to throw Eve “under the bus.”
Although from my point of view, the serpent truly was to blame, I find it interesting that God gives each of them (Adam, Eve and the serpent) their “punishment” for the bad choices they made.
As a parent, this story reminds me of when my children were young. They would be playing well together, but then a choice would be made by one of them that would cause a “domino effect” of bad choices, ending in a fight. Coming into the disagreement, I would ask what happened, and each child would blame another for the conflict. This is human nature, even from a young age!
Who is responsible for the choices that we make? Is it fair to blame God or someone else when we make wrong decisions, even if we felt pressured or influenced by another?
Spiritual maturity hopefully teaches us that we all make bad decisions, so when we do “give in to temptation,” we need to own those choices and not blame someone else for our unhappiness in the consequences that come as a result.
Father God, I am your child! When I make a wrong choice, please help me to “own it” and not blame you or someone else for the trouble I get into!
Today ask God to show you if you are blaming him, the devil, or your spouse today for any situation in which you find yourself. Release your defensiveness and pride, and let God restore you to a right relationship with him and those around you. Accept his loving discipline and learn from it.
We Also Have Faults Others Must Endure Matthew 7:1–5
Try to bear patiently with the defects and infirmities of others, whatever they may be, because you also have many a fault which others must endure. If you cannot make yourself what you would wish to be, how can you bend others to your will? We want them to be perfect, yet we do not correct our own faults.
THOMAS À KEMPIS
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Jesus Speaks Concerning the Cross 1 Corinthians 2:2; Galatians 6:12
Turn not away, brothers, your eyes from the Cross of Christ; turn not away your ears from His words. Behold, He speaks concerning the Cross, and He speaks to you; for you He suffered.
HILDEBERT OF LAVARDIN
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
(Fox News) Back in March, Joe Biden gave his first prime address as president. Almost all 24 minutes of the speech were devoted to promoting the new coronavirus vaccines – the miracle of medicine. One of the administration’s main priorities, Joe Biden told the country, was making sure every American got a COVID shot. And yet, the administration later took pains to explain, universal vaccination was not the same as a federal mandate, they’re very different. “The government is not now, nor will we be,” requiring vaccine passports – that’s what Joe Biden’s flack assured reporters. As important as vaccines may be, the question of whether to take them, whether to have powerful drugs injected into your body is the most intimate kind of personal health decision
Politicians and bureaucrats should have no role in a decision like that. These decisions are for the individual alone to decide, in consultation with family, physicians and clergy. When it comes to medical care, it is your body, your choice — just as it’s been since 1973. That seemed to be, consistently enough, the Biden Administration’s position on vaccines. Many people assumed that it was their position. But it was not. On the questions of vaccines, Joe Biden is not pro-choice. He is pro-mandate. You may have missed that. View article →
New Jersey Catholic high school promotes alumna’s homosexual ‘wedding’ Immaculate Heart Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school owned by the Archdiocese of Newark, is promoting an alumna’s “marriage” to another woman. Newark’s Cardinal Joseph Tobin has a history of promoting homosexuality and heterodoxy. In 2017, Tobin personally welcomed actively homosexual “pilgrims” to his cathedral. In a 2019 interview, Tobin called the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality “unfortunate” and “hurtful.”
China’s Rocket Debris Set for Uncontrolled Re-Entry Last week’s launch of the Tianhe space station module was a great leap forward for China’s space program—but the Long March 5B rocket used for the launch could cause some major problems back on Earth. The 21-ton core of the rocket is now orbiting Earth and slowly losing altitude. It is expected to crash at an unknown location between May 8 and May 12 in the biggest uncontrolled re-entry in decades, the Guardian reports.
British Royal Marines wear jetpacks and fly between ships in new boarding raid drill members of the British Royal Marines conducted boarding training exercises using an experimental jet pack suit. The jet pack suit was developed by Gravity Industries, and the trial showed a test pilot launch from inflatable speedboats trailing a larger patrol ship, the HMS Tamar. The pilot used the suit to launch from a speedboat and skim low across the water, before landing on the deck of the British warship and toss a boarding ladder to Royal Marines in the speedboats below, allowing them to quickly board the ship.
McMaken: Vaccine Passports Are Just A Way For The Regime To Expand Its Power Conservative politician named Matthew Parrish, apparently believes that the forever lockdowns are an inescapable feature of reality, and that the only way around them is for the regime to enact a vaccine passport scheme. For Parrish, covid lockdowns are just a force of nature, like gravity. Now, if only we could find a way to get around these nature-imposed lockdowns! By now the flaw in Parrish’s logic should be clear. There is nothing natural or inescapable about lockdowns. They are an invention of the state. They are so unnatural, in fact, that they require the use of the state’s police powers to enforce them. They require policemen, handcuffs, courts, prisons, and fines to ensure they are followed. Those who ignore this supposed “force of nature”—and these scofflaws are many—must be punished.
California’s 2021 Fire Season Could Be “Like Armageddon,” Officials Warn La Nina, the cooling of the equatorial Pacific waters that creates volatile weather worldwide, has produced dryness for California and contributed to a record-setting year of wildfires in the state in 2020. This week, Red Flag Warnings have been posted in the Bay Area, an ominous warning of things to come, according to local news ABC7. California’s top fire officials warn conditions are already ripe for wildfires – way ahead of schedule – and could quickly transpire into the worst wildfire season on record –
Media concealing profile of anti-Asian attackers The media profile of the perpetrators fomenting a rise in anti-Asian hate-crime attacks is a Trump supporter who blames the COVID-19 pandemic on the Chinese people. But police in cities where the attacks are most common tell a different story, … The data show a black New Yorker is more than six times as likely to commit a hate crime against an Asian as a white New Yorker.
U.S. Trade Deficit Rises to Record $74.4 Billion in March, Driven By Consumer Demand for Imports The U.S. trade deficit rose in March to a record $74.4 billion, driven by demand from American consumers for goods and services from overseas, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday. The deficit with China increased $6.7 billion to $36.9 billion in March, while the gap with Mexico increased $1.6 billion to $8.4 billion in March. The deficit with the European Union decreased $2.1 billion to $16.9 billion.
Mexico City metro overpass collapses onto road; 23 dead An elevated section of the Mexico City metro collapsed and sent a subway car plunging toward a busy boulevard late Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring about 70, city officials said. Rescuers initially searched a car left dangling from the overpass for anyone who might be trapped.
House Republicans Demand Answers from FBI on FISA Abuse Revelations House Republicans have called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to provide a “detailed accounting” of every instance since 2019 that the agency has used warrantless surveillance authority to obtain information unrelated to national security, while accusing the FBI of “illegal spying activities.” Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), in a joint letter to Wray, cited a 67-page opinion from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which they said shows the FBI has been “seriously and systematically abusing its warrantless electronic surveillance authority”
Time for a Persian Spring The 2021 Persian Spring is in bloom, the insurrection has begun: No to the Islamic Republic of Iran (N2IR)! Time is of the essence, and action is required now before the Iranian elections; action is required before the re-signing of the JCPOA nuclear treaty; action is required before sanctions are lifted; action before more journalists are taken into custody forever. All the signs of a revolution are there and there are enough underground renegades, all unified, to make this thing really happen. I can tell you that the proverbial writing is officially on the wall.
Netanyahu’s mandate ends in failure, blames Bennett Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government for the third time in two years, as his mandate from President Reuven Rivlin ended on Tuesday night. Netanyahu had until midnight to ask Rivlin for an extension.
1 killed, 6 injured in alleged Israeli airstrike targeting Syrian coast An alleged Israeli airstrike targeted a site near Latakia and Tartus along Syria’s Mediterranean coast on Tuesday night, according to the Syrian state news agency SANA. The strikes also hit the town of Hifa, east of the port city of Latakia, and Misyaf in Hama province. A civilian was killed and six were injured, including a child, according to Syrian media.
Yemen flash flooding causes large-scale damage Torrential rains and flash flooding in Yemen have left several people dead and caused large-scale damage to homes and infrastructure, the UN says. Thousands of families have been affected by the flooding, which started in mid-April and has worsened as rainfall intensified in recent days. On Sunday, four people were reportedly killed in Tarim, in the government-held eastern province of Hadramawt.
Shadowy Hamas terror chief issues warning to Israel over Jerusalem The shadowy figure who heads Hamas military wing leader on Tuesday issued a rare public statement, waring Israel of retaliation if it doesn’t change its East Jerusalem policy. Mohammed Deif, the leader of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said Israel will pay a “heavy price” if it doesn’t stop the eviction of Palestinian families living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of the capital.
Millions staring at famine as food insecurity soars: Report Food insecurity in the world’s poorest countries reached record highs in 2020, with millions staring at famine, a situation exacerbated in part by the COVID pandemic, according to a UN report. From Haiti to Syria, some 155 million people across 55 countries who rely the most on humanitarian assistance were classified as being in “crisis” – meaning in urgent need of food – a 20 million increase since 2019…
Residents Furious at Release of 500 Million Gene-Hacked Mosquitoes ..“I don’t even know what I signed. I just signed my name,” she said. “I was like ‘Oh, mosquito control, yeah whatever.’” Without realizing it, Donaldson had agreed to participate in a genetics experiment during which a British biotech company called Oxitec will release half a billion gene-hacked mosquitoes, engineered to kill off the local bloodsucker population along a lengthy swathe of the Florida Keys.
Widespread flooding hits Afghanistan, leaving 22 people dead, 10 missing At least 22 people have lost their lives as widespread flooding hit Afghanistan over the past couple of days, the country’s disaster management authority (ANDMA) reported Tuesday, May 4, 2021. More than 200 homes have been damaged or destroyed, as well as wide swaths of farmland. 10 people are still missing.
Major Television Network ‘Snitch Central’ In The Time Of Covid Major Canadian news outlet, CTV London has become ‘Snitch Central’ for Premier Doug Ford’s Lockdown Regime. Golfers from surrounding municipalities, identified by the television network as “rogue” golfers, saw themselves as the night “news” on CTV London.
“The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.” —James Madison (1788)
A more self-aware politician would resist the urge to continually antagonize her party’s base.
Liz Cheney is a smart, tough, serious conservative. But she doesn’t seem to know when to shut up. And it’s probably going to cost her a leadership position in the Republican Party.
Cheney has become the darling of the mainstream media and a bevy of fair-weather Democrat friends for her belief that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election fair and square. Of course, those “friends” of hers would love nothing more than to see the GOP torn asunder by a civil war from now until Tuesday, November 8, 2022 — the date of our next midterm election.
Most recently, Cheney was suckered into a war of words with former President Donald Trump, who’d said in an email to supporters, “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”
Cheney, for whatever reason, couldn’t help but take the bait. “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” she tweeted. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE.”
Translation: Those tens of millions of Americans who aren’t satisfied that the issue of fraud in the 2020 election was fully and properly investigated and adjudicated are “spreading THE BIG LIE.”
The 2020 election is indeed history, but only The New York Times and other idiotic leftists believe Sleepy Joe Biden got all 81 million of his votes on the up-and-up. (Remember: That total is millions more population-adjusted votes than Barack Obama got in 2008.)
Republicans need to move on, it’s true, but they do themselves a deep and potentially mortal disservice by failing to heed the lessons of 2020 and by failing to push for voting reform to keep it from happening again. As our Mark Alexander noted on January 6, “While President Trump has been focused on electronic hardware and software manipulation, which could account for election fraud, I believe those concerns, while legitimate, are a diversion from the real mass-voting fraud — millions of bulk-mail votes that have, ostensibly, been authenticated.”
In short, Trump, Cheney, and every other Republican should be focused on fixing our broken election system and getting rid of the Democrats’ fraud-rich scheme of bulk-mail balloting.
Of course, the 2020 vote dispute hasn’t been Cheney’s only misstep. Recall, too, that she was one of just 10 Republicans to side with Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and Adam Schiff and vote to impeach President Trump for having “incited” the January 6 Capitol riot. You remember — for the high crime of having told his supporters, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
That impeachment vote was, in our eyes, unpardonable. It was a gift of aid and comfort to a deceitful, mean-spirited, and viciously hyper-partisan enemy.
And so, in terms of addressing the Cheney issue, it’s probably a good thing that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy got caught speaking his mind yesterday. As National Review’s Caroline Downey writes, “McCarthy was caught on a hot mic Tuesday saying he has ‘lost confidence’ in Representative Liz Cheney. ‘I think she’s got real problems,’ McCarthy told host Steve Doocy off-air just before a Fox and Friends interview. … ‘I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence. … Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place,’ the California Republican commented.”
That motion, we can safely assume, would be one to remove Cheney from her leadership position as the party’s House conference chair.
“This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on January 6,” Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler said in a statement. “Liz will not do that. That is the issue.”
We’d beg to differ. The issue is whether Liz Cheney can lead while continually staking out deeply unpopular positions with her party’s lifeblood, its base.
Leaders must lead. And to be successful, they must have the pulse of their people. Liz Cheney simply doesn’t seem to understand this. And she does herself no good by continually putting her thumb in the eye of tens of millions of Republican voters.
Jen Psaki falsely claims that the current border crisis is Trump’s fault.
One of the first measures Joe Biden took upon assuming office was to systematically rescind nearly all of Donald Trump’s successful border control and immigration policies. By doing so, Biden effectively laid down a welcome mat inviting illegal aliens to come to the U.S. Predictably, masses of Central American migrants responded by illegally flowing across the southern border, overwhelming U.S. Border and Customs Protection. There were record numbers of unaccompanied minors, housed in overcrowded cages facilities, and a genuine border crisis was ignited. No matter the terminology games members of Team Biden play with their border “challenge” rhetoric, their attempts to shift blame expose the fact that they know it’s a crisis.
Taking a page right out of Barack Obama’s playbook, on Tuesday White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki falsely asserted, “After coming into office, our administration immediately jumped into action to address the influx of migrants at the border, something that began during and was exacerbated by the Trump administration.” Don’t believe your lying eyes, she insists; the current border crisis is all Trump’s fault.
Not only does Biden take credit for Trump’s effective work via Operation Warp Speed to develop multiple coronavirus vaccines in record time, but he also conveniently blames Trump for the damage created by his own foolish policy decisions. And make no mistake, it’s charitable to describe Biden’s border decisions as foolish. The truth is that they were intended to produce exactly the effect they have produced. That is nefarious.
Back to Psaki. She not only disingenuously spun blame onto the Trump administration, but she also insisted that the Biden administration is actually handling the crisis well. Psaki claimed, “At the end of March, there were more than 5,000 children in Customs and Border Protection patrol stations. Today, that number is approximately 600. … And just [Monday], the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will begin the process of reuniting a number of families who were separated by the polices of the previous administration.”
So, what explains the decreasing numbers in Border Patrol facilities? The answer appears to be the resumption of an Obama-era policy, only worse. As Fox News reported back in March, “Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV) have begun to process and release illegal border crossers who claim asylum without issuing a Notice to Appear (NTA) — allowing them to depart custody without scheduling a court date for a hearing. The unprecedented move places the responsibility of seeking an asylum hearing on the migrants through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or legal assistance.”
Meanwhile, it has been over 40 days since Biden tagged Kamala Harris as his new “border czar,” and she still has yet to hold a press conference or even visit the U.S. southern border. What’s this all about? It may be a strategic attempt to continue fueling the Democrats’ dubious narrative that Trump’s decision to cut back on millions in funds given to “Northern Triangle” countries in Central America is entirely to blame for the border crisis. It’s a globalist response to a national crisis.
The American Federation of Teachers certainly doesn’t have kids’ best interests in mind.
Former American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Al Shanker was once asked if he was concerned about the impact that a series of walkouts by his unionized teachers was having on schoolchildren. He infamously replied he “would start representing kids when they started paying union dues.”
Today, AFT President Randi Weingarten, head of the nation’s second-largest teachers union, is just as apathetic toward America’s struggling schoolchildren. Yet she masquerades her apathy behind a façade of concern for teacher health, using the political power that comes with having donated $20 million to Democrats in 2020 alone to successfully pressure the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), with the complicity of Joe Biden’s White House, to alter a CDC recommendation on school reopenings just days before it was released.
“First of all, that’s false,” insisted Press Secretary Jen Psaki, because “it’s actually long-standing best practice for the CDC to engage with organizations and groups that are going to be impacted by guidance and recommendations issued by the agency.”
Is that really what happened?
In early February, the CDC was set to announce its recommendation that all schools reopen regardless of community spread of COVID-19. All available data showed children are at extremely low risk for contracting the virus and at even lower risk for transmitting it, along with generally avoiding severe cases.
However, according to emails between CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, her top advisers, Biden White House officials, and senior AFT union leaders — which were only exposed as a result of a FOIA request by watchdog group Americans for Public Trust — we now know there was a “full-court press” by the AFT to pressure the CDC to recommend keeping thousands of middle and high schools closed.
This “flurry of activity” came just days before a CDC article was published in the highly respected Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluding that schools could reopen safely with minimal safety precautions, like social distancing.
In a February 1 email to the CDC, Kelly Trautner, AFT senior director for health issues, wrote, “Thank you again for Friday’s rich discussion about forthcoming CDC guidance and for your openness to the suggestions made by our president, Randi Weingarten, and the AFT. … We were able to review a copy of the draft guidance document over the weekend and were able to provide some initial feedback to several staff this morning about possible ways to strengthen the document.”
In these email exchanges, the AFT pressured the CDC to include exemptions from in-person work for teachers and staff, and even family members of teachers and staff, who were arguably more susceptible to the virus.
It’s bad enough that union leaders pressured a supposedly science-based agency to modify its guidelines and recommendations to accommodate the union agenda, but it’s atrocious that the CDC adopted some of the union’s recommended language nearly verbatim, not once, but twice.
In later emails, Trautner thanked CDC Director Walensky for her “genuine desire to earn our confidence and your commitment to partnership.”
If, as Biden claims, Democrats and the CDC are “following the science,” then why is the CDC taking direction from an explicitly political organization on science-based matters?
Maybe because AFT has donated more than $100 million to political campaigns since 1990, with 99.74% going to Democrats. Democrats, in turn, this year gave $213 billion in additional funding to union-controlled schools, with no requirement that they reopen.
That’s a 2,130-to-1 return on investment for the unions!
Walensky laughably claimed the CDC guidelines are “free from political meddling,” but later admitted that was a lie.
Again, it is critical to stress that the science doesn’t support school closures, and Democrats and their union bedfellows know it. In leftist-run countries like Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands, schools reopened last year after just a short time closed, with no major (or even minor) COVID-19 outbreaks.
Continued school closures in America have nothing to do with teacher safety, or even student safety, but are about union power and control of education. Unions have secured vast new funding while affording many teachers the ability to work at home.
In the meantime, these lockdowns are taking a devastating toll on our children. Suicide rates among youth have climbed as children suffer the psychological effects of pandemic fearmongering and are forced to wear masks, social distance, and hear those they should be able to trust claim they and their family are just one careless handshake away from death.
That’s not to mention the stress they suffer watching parents lose their jobs and their life savings, turn to drugs or alcohol, and deal with depression. Some children are suffering from child abuse, but fewer cases are detected because these children are stuck at home with their abusers.
As of this week, less than half of America’s schools are back to full in-person learning, but it is poor, minority school districts, controlled by Democrats, where the situation is worst. By the end of February, between 54% and 69% of minority children were still engaged in remote learning. These schools are already plagued by extremely poor academic performance.
Wouldn’t that be considered evidence of “systemic racism,” committed by Democrats themselves?
The selfishness of the teachers unions, and the complicity of the Democrats, could harm America’s schoolchildren for the rest of their lives, resulting in long-term emotional problems, social anxiety, and a drastic reduction in lifetime earnings.
Our children deserve better than to be held hostage by union leaders and Democrat politicians.
The Left’s obsession with race has infected our politics and our lives, and there are signs that the American people are getting sick of it.
“It does not take a majority to prevail,” said our favorite Founding Father, “but an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
And are those brushfires we see out there in Southlake, Texas? And in Tallahassee? And in Chicago? And in, of all places, Manhattan?
It appears so, as little pockets of people are starting to speak out against woke supremacy. We’re nowhere near what columnist John Hinderaker calls “a preference cascade,” but folks are beginning to pull off the veil of silence. “One person turns to another and says, ‘I want this to end.’ Pretty soon — amazingly soon, once it starts to spread — it turns out that most people agree.”
We can dream, can’t we?
In Southlake, which is northwest of Dallas, Republicans organized, swept local elections, and threw woke Democrats off the school board as voters rebelled against a proposal to add Critical Race Theory to the curriculum.
In Tallahassee, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has given Republicans a blueprint for strong and principled pushback against the woke elite and a hostile press.
In Chicago, Jason Fried, the CEO of a software company called Basecamp, told his employees that political discussions will no longer be allowed on the company platform. “It can’t happen where the work happens anymore,” said a fed-up Fried.
And in Manhattan, parents began rebelling against the poisonous racist claptrap being fed to their children at some of the borough’s most elite schools. “The administration and the Board of Trustees have displayed a cowardly and appalling lack of leadership by appeasing an anti-intellectual, illiberal mob,” wrote one parent to some 600 fellow parents. “I cannot tolerate a school that not only judges my daughter by the color of her skin, but encourages and instructs her to prejudge others by theirs. By viewing every element of education, every aspect of history, and every facet of society through the lens of skin color and race, we are desecrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and utterly violating the movement for which such civil rights leaders believed, fought, and died.”
Bold, powerful stuff.
Steven Hayward, Hinderaker’s colleague at Power Line, thus wonders whether wokery is starting to wane. We don’t think so — at least not just yet. But, he writes, “More and more the woke pandemic afflicting our elites … is reminding me of forced busing back in the late 1960s and early 1970s — a project to which liberals (and compliant federal judges) were fiercely dedicated … and which was hugely unpopular. Then, as now, many Republicans spoke in subdued tones about their opposition to busing for fear of being called ‘racist.’”
But eventually someone speaks out. And in this case, it was the Democrats’ Cue-Ball Cassandra, James Carville, who last week pointed out the 800-pound canary in the coal mine: “Wokeness is a problem, and everybody knows it It’s hard to talk to anybody today — and I talk to lots of people in the Democratic Party — who doesn’t say this. But they don’t want to say it out loud … because they’ll get clobbered or canceled.”
Cassandra, it should be noted, was not only gifted with prophecy but also cursed. Her visions, however true, were never believed. The American people — the vast majority of them — seem to have a real problem with wokeness. But the Democrats haven’t given us any sense that they believe Carville or that they’re willing or able to correct course.
It’s no wonder they’re behaving like they know their days in leadership are numbered.
The Biden administration is wrecking DC traditions with its “security” theater.
“Deeply troubling.” That was the Reverend Patrick Mahoney’s response when he was denied a permit to hold a prayer service at the U.S. Capitol on the National Day of Prayer tomorrow. “For 70 years, there has been a public witness on the National Day of Prayer at the U.S. Capitol Building. Until today! Our request to have prayer service was denied,” read a statement by Mahoney. He further observed, “The ‘People’s House,’ as the U.S. Capitol Building is so rightly called, must be a place where all Americans are afforded the right to come and peacefully celebrate and express their First Amendment rights. Tragically, those rights and freedoms are being denied and prohibited.”
Remind us which political party runs DC and controls the “People’s House”?
Mahoney has now filed a lawsuit contending that “free speech is in danger all across America.” Moreover, he argues, “There’s a misconception out there that many people think the Capitol is closed, and it’s not.” That’s true. Members of Congress continue to meet, while grounds crews and other workers fulfill their duties. Of course, the Capitol building is still under virtual lockdown, and for five months DC has been occupied by National Guard troops.
Nevertheless, there is no legitimate justification for denying Mahoney’s request, and yet he isn’t the only one being denied access in our nation’s capital.
Joe Biden’s Defense Department denied a parking permit to the group American Veterans, or AMVETS, to access the Pentagon’s parking area, which for 32 years has served as a rallying point for the Memorial Day motorcycle riding tradition formally dubbed Rolling Thunder, now known as Rolling to Remember. The DOD’s reason was, of course, The All-Purpose Excuse™ — coronavirus.
A statement from the Pentagon reads in part, “Substantial community transmission of COVID-19 in Arlington County, Virginia; number of Americans fully vaccinated across the nation; nature of this event with its decreased ability to maintain physical distance; and large crowds in one location for an extended period of time. This event draws national attention and participation; therefore the risk of exposure from participants from other communities extends well beyond the National Capital Region.” No, that wasn’t an anti-vax ad, though you could be forgiven for thinking it was.
AMVETS had contacted the Pentagon about a parking permit nearly a year ago and received approval in March, only to have that permit subsequently revoked. Meanwhile, local news outlet ABC 7 News reports, “The Pentagon’s denial comes on the heels of the Smithsonian announcing last week that it will reopen eight of its facilities to the public in May, starting with the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly on Wednesday, May 5.” Great timing by the Pentagon.
AMVETS National Executive Director Joe Chenelly noted the general response from veterans: “It’s very disappointing … for our members. There’s been shock and deep disappointment expressed to us.” Nevertheless, veterans still plan on riding. “We are seeing it on websites and on social media all over the place,” he said. “Much smaller groups. They’re planning their own smaller rallying points and they’re coming in.” Indeed, more than a few of our Patriot veterans may be familiar with the phrase, “Improvise, adapt, and overcome.”
Insight: “How should it happen that the individual should be without rights, but the combination of individuals should possess unlimited rights?” —Auberon Herbert (1838-1906)
Upright: “As a dogma, Critical Race Theory is contrary to 2 Corinthians 5:16a: ‘Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh.’ CRT promotes the divisive idea that human beings regard one another ‘according to the flesh’ (melanin) rather than the imago Dei (Gen. 1:27).” —Darrell B. Harrison
Politics is downstream of culture: “It should come as no surprise when young people raised by helicopter parents are hoodwinked by the false promises of socialism — promises such as free college tuition, free health care and student debt forgiveness. Is it any wonder young people who have never been required to work refuse to get jobs, even though most employers have ‘Help Wanted’ signs in their windows, are paying well above minimum wage and are offering hiring bonuses? Their parents conditioned them to expect to receive everything they might want without having to work for it. Pandering politicians in the Democratic Party reinforce this unhealthy perspective by promising to pick up where the parents left off. Young people who don’t learn personal responsibility and accountability in the home are sitting ducks for the false promises of socialist ideologues. Unprepared, thoroughly indoctrinated young people who choose socialism over capitalism are just doing what their parents taught them to do.” —Oliver North and David Goetsch
For the record I: “The conventional wisdom justifying Biden’s new FDR-sized ambitions is that the country is in crisis, and he has to meet the proverbial moment, which can only be done with 13-digit spending bills. The truth is, though, that there is no crisis, and there is no moment. There’s only an excuse, an occasion, and a procedure. The excuse is the supposed downtrodden state of the country such that only $6 trillion can save it from rack and ruin. The occasion is very slender Democratic majorities in Congress that are willing to contemplate levels of spending that, not too long ago, only the likes of Bernie Sanders and AOC openly agitated for. The procedure is reconciliation, the process that allows fiscal measures to pass the Senate with just 51 votes rather than the usual 60.” —Rich Lowry
For the record II: “In his speech to the joint session of Congress last week, Biden correctly stated we are in a competition with China, then declared the way to prevail is to spend on every single one of his domestic priorities, as if Beijing’s threat to Taiwan can be deterred by spending another $80 billion on Amtrak and $174 billion on electric cars and charging stations. No, none of this makes any sense. The real justification for the Biden spending spree is that Democrats, who have marched steadily to the left, are in a mood to do as much to transform the country as possible while their tenuous unified control of Washington lasts.” —Rich Lowry
Straight talk: “People will wear a mask everywhere for a whole year because they’re afraid of a disease but won’t lay off the fast food and lose a few pounds. The latter will do much more to preserve your health. But sure, you’re ‘health conscious’ with that mask and all that extra body fat.” —Matt Walsh
D’oh! “Anybody making less than $400,000 a year will not pay a single penny in taxes.” —Joe Biden, who probably meant to say “will not pay a single penny more in taxes.”
Non compos mentis: “There is not a rational actor on the Republican side now. … I really, really believe that the Republican Party, as currently constituted and run, is no longer a viable, productive part of the constitutional democratic republic.” —Jon Meacham (“This is the same Meacham that promoted WE ARE ALL SOCIALISTS NOW on the cover of Newsweek in 2009. That wasn’t true then, and it’s not true now.” —Tim Graham)
And last… “Are there individuals who are racist? Of course, but that doesn’t make the nation racist any more than having criminals among us makes us a criminal nation.” —Cal Thomas
On Newswatch AM May 5th: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fails to form a new government, so President Reuven Rivlin expected to give the task to Yair Lapid, whose party came in second in the recent elections; CBN Middle East Bureau Chief Chris …
For most people, propaganda has simply come to mean deception and lies. However, throughout history, the dark arts of media manipulation have long been known to be a far more powerful tool than falsehoods and dishonesty alone.
The concept of propaganda was seen by its pioneers, New York-born Walter Lippmann and Austro-Hungarian press agent Edward Bernays, as something of an exact science. Lippman cautioned that democracies have an inclination to use it to manufacture the consent of the public, while Bernays dubbed the growing discipline ‘public relations,’ in order to avoid the negative connotations.
As the world has become more complex, people have relied more and more on stereotypes and simplifications to help them interpret and filter events around them. Propaganda manipulates this desire for simplicity – handing people easy answers rather than winning them over with rational arguments. Society then rallies around these stereotypes and squashes dissents with ‘herd mentality’, an irrational set of psychological behaviors where individuals are swept along with a group, overriding their own rational assessments.
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Propaganda builds stereotypes that present a predictable, familiar and comfortable view of our place in the world. And, as Lippman himself noted, for those who buy into them, “any disturbance of the stereotypes seems like an attack upon the foundations of the universe.”
Anti-Russian conspiracy theories are impervious to objective facts
The former president of the US, Donald Trump, was a Russian secret agent, planted deep within the White House by a malevolent Moscow. Or at least that was the hoax ignited by ex-spy Christopher Steele, hired by Trump’s rivals at the 2016 election. The allegations took the front pages and dominated TV coverage for weeks, while reporters were far more interested in the smears than the evidence behind them.
In another round of finger-pointing, NSA Director Michael Rogers later announced that Russia was behind a major hack of French election infrastructure. However, the French themselves weren’t convinced, with Paris’ cybersecurity agency revealing that they found no traces of a shadowy hacking group, known as APT28, being behind the attack.
The revelations about Hunter Biden’s laptop and emails were, according to former intelligence officials, a concerted effort at Russian disinformation. The smear, despite its baselessness, was designed to cover up and override actual corruption allegations.
Again, Russia was a simple, stereotyped villain when the Washington Post accused the country of hacking into Vermont’s electric grid, a false story that had to be retracted. That comes despite the fact that multiple reports suggest the US openly attacks Russia’s electric grid.
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Likewise, it would appear that lazy propaganda was the pretext for the Magnitsky Act, introducing penalties against Moscow and its officials, which was revealed by Germany’s Spiegel to be based on dodgy information. Russia again is a convenient bogeyman for Sweden, which has a history of searching for mysterious Russian submarines when it’s time to boost defense spending or reopen the debate about joining NATO. They have variously turned out to be minks, a Dutch vessel, a broken buoy, and the detection of farts from various animals.
Russia supposedly paid bounties on the heads of American troops in Afghanistan, a key accusation during the US presidential campaign that has since been walked back. And, even more recently, what was thought to be a secret Russian energy weapon used against US forces in Syria turned out to be food poisoning.
Despite being debunked one by one, the allegations always get more airtime than the retractions, and no sooner has one conspiracy theory been shown to be false than another crops up to capture public attention.
A media committed to stereotypes and narratives
With alleged conspiracies that have not yet been debunked, there is a lack of interest in digging into the evidence and challenging the stereotypes at play. Conveniently, a number of truths that don’t fit the narrative have been ignored by the mainstream.
In Ukraine, leaked phone conversations show the US schemed to form a post-coup government and discussed how to make it legitimate, as they were supporting the toppling of the president. Following the Malaysian airliner being shot down in Ukraine, the Malaysian prime minister argued that the West’s effort to scapegoat Russia undermined a proper investigation. The Crimean referendum was continuously denounced as it was held under the “barrel of a gun,” yet every independent poll consistently demonstrates overwhelming democratic support for reunifying with Russia.
In Syria, several OPCW whistleblowers have sounded the alarm, claiming that evidence proving the Douma gas attack was staged. The former head of the OPCW, Jose Bustani, has backed the whistleblowers’ credentials and cautions that the media have created a ‘wall of silence.’ It’s not hard to see how the information gulf is then manipulated to justify bombings.
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In the UK, journalists appear completely disinterested in exploring why Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia passed out at the exact same time (irrespective of different age, gender, health and weight) several hours after being exposed to the chemical agent so neither could run for help. Also, the British government concealed for almost a year that the person who helped the pair on the park bench was the chief nursing officer of the British Army, a leading expert in chemical weapons. This could all be coincidental, but it should be of interest to the media.
Leaks reveal that the British and US government spend tremendous sums of money to manipulate the media, and that the state-financed Bellingcat spreads disinformation against NATO rivals. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights was also exposed a decade ago as apparently consisting of a single blogger based in the UK, yet they are both treated as trustworthy sources.
Recently, Russia was accused of orchestrating the explosion at a weapons depot in the Czech Republic in 2014, and the expulsion of diplomats commenced before the Czech president came out and claimed there was actually “no evidence” of Russian involvement.
When there are no allegations, the media randomly fantasizes about possible Russian mischief in the future, such as shutting off the heat in American homes or cutting undersea internet cables. Leading US publications have recently accused Russia of “weaponizing” social media, Eurovision, protests, corruption, racism, tradition, sports, Black Lives Matter, Charlie Sheen, Covid-19, law, postmodernism, the economy, history, its population, migration, finance, environmentalism, culture, metaphors.
Anything associated with Russia is “weaponized” and thus illegitimate and criminal. The West and its proxies rarely get the same treatment.
Accountability to stereotypes and narratives, not the truth
Rather than recognizing that propaganda – or creating stereotypes and overriding rationality – is something that they themselves take part in, the media simply throws the term around as a smear for anything it sees as malign.
Journalists and politicians are held accountable only to the stereotypes and narratives that they create, as opposed to the truth. Reporters and commentators committed to the Russiagate hoax have been rewarded with higher positions and salaries, while those who got it right are still accused of carrying water for the Kremlin. Those who exposed government crimes, such as Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, are branded Russian agents, while the crimes themselves go unpunished.
Even Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is denounced as a tool in the information wars as it creates a favorable view of Russia that breaks with the stereotype. A recent headline in UK newspaper The Guardian asks: “Is Russia’s Covid vaccine anything more than a political weapon? Observers say the Sputnik V jab is aimed more at sowing political division than fighting coronavirus.”
Like Pavlov’s dogs, the Western public is trained to respond to propaganda, and even the word ‘Russia’ is intended to trigger resentment and distrust that renders facts irrelevant. The science of mass media manipulation is explicit in showing that rational assessment of facts is not important, but that the herd is shepherded by stereotypes that offer them an easy path through the complexity of the world. Nazi Germany’s brutal propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, showed some foresight when he argued that “a lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.”
TODAY’S GUEST: Doreen Virtue, former New Age author, now believer in Christ. Doreen was raised in the religion of Christian Science, and then went into the new age. She became the top-selling new age author at a top-selling publishing house.
Doreen began studying the Bible and realized she was a sinner in need of a Savior. She surrendered her life to Jesus and left the new age. She has denounced her previous books and work, new age cards or practices.
Doreen Virtue holds a B.A. and M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Chapman University, and she is currently working on an M.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary to learn how to rightly divide the Word, and how to encourage other women to study the Bible.
In this brilliant, utterly captivating memoir, Doreen Virtue chronicles her journey in discovering everything she believed in was a lie. New Age teachings are based on concepts that sound almost irresistible, but she poignantly shares the price she’s paid for following Jesus.
Here is a riveting, personal confessional of how a former false prophet learned to trust God after nearly wasting a lifetime being independent and willful—trying to predict and control the future—and how Jesus saved her soul from deception and opened her eyes to His truth.
Deceived No More can help you learn how to spot New Age teachings, and why they’re dangerous; Biblical ways to deal with persecution, spiritual warfare, and other post-conversion issues, and how to witness to a New Ager.
We’ve been arguing for years that The Gospel Coalition (TGC) has abandoned the gospel — but it’s usually in favor of some form of social justice activism. There is a lot of useless debate on whether or not it is acceptable for churches to put off weekly assembly during this largely overblown coronavirus scandal that is still taking over the world right now. While some have argued that to neglect the assembly for any reason is serious treason against God while others have argued that we, as the Church, must submit to Caesar.
The Gospel Coalition, however, has repeatedly argued in favor of government-sponsored persecution. In the wake of a trial for Canadian pastor, James Coates, who was obedient to God and continued to hold worship services despite the fact that the government imposed draconian measures on the church to keep it shut down, The Gospel Coalition defends the government’s actions.
Preach More with Deeds Than Words Titus 2:7; James 2:18; 3:13; 1 John 3:18
Every preacher should give forth a sound more by his deeds than by his words, and rather by good living imprint footsteps for men to follow than by speaking show them the way to walk in.
GREGORY THE GREAT
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Early Church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Establishing the Habit of Giving 2 Corinthians 9:6–9
Only fix even the smallest amount you purpose to give of your income, and give this regularly; and as God is pleased to increase your light and grace, and is pleased to prosper you more, so give more. If you neglect a habitual giving, a regular giving, a giving from principle and upon scriptural ground, and leave it only to feeling and impulse, or particular arousing circumstances, you will certainly be a loser.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Modern church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
2:44 According to some critics, the author of Daniel predicted that God’s kingdom “that will never be destroyed” would appear with the collapse of the Seleucid Dynasty. As the record of history shows that did not occur, therefore these commentators assert that this prophecy was in error. But if the fourth kingdom referred to Rome, not Greece, the difficulty disappears. Jesus Christ set up his spiritual kingdom (Jn 18:36–37) in the Roman period and will establish a direct rule at his second coming (which some suggest will involve a later form of the Roman Empire).
2:44 One final feature of the vision records the ultimate reason for the dream. The vulnerable toes of the great image become the target of a stone which comes from nowhere. The stone has been “cut out” without hands, an indication that the stone, unlike the great image, is not of human origin. Striking the toes of the image, the stone renders a crushing blow to the iron and clay composition. The entire image falls, being utterly destroyed in that fall. This stone, which “became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (v. 35), is identified as the kingdom of God. Following the destruction of the image, the kingdom of God continues forever in full strength. Apparently, the dream had several results: (1) the dream and its interpretation brought Daniel to prominence in Babylon with Nebuchadnezzar (vv. 46–49); (2) the dream further served as an initial warning to Nebuchadnezzar that he, though great, was not invincible, and must prepare for the ultimate dissolution of his kingdom unless he humbled himself to the true God; (3) the dream must have provided immense consolation to Daniel and the Hebrew captives, assuring them that ultimately God’s kingdom would be triumphant, overcoming all of the ruthless reigns of earthly sovereigns; and (4) Nebuchadnezzar was thereby introduced to the true and living God (v. 47).
2:44 those kings. The most natural interpretation is that the kings are the rulers of the four powers making up the image just described. The other possibility is that they are a sequence of several rulers of the fourth kingdom only.
a kingdom that shall never be destroyed. The eternal kingdom is the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ (Is. 9:7; Luke 1:33; Heb. 1:8; Rev. 11:15). This kingdom was inaugurated and preached at the First Coming of Christ (Mark 1:15; Matt. 12:28; 24:14), but does not come in its fullness until His Second Advent. See “The Kingdom of God” at Luke 17:20.
2:44will never be destroyed The fifth and final kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is the kingdom God Himself will establish universally. This is the great hope for Daniel’s readers.
the kingdom will not be left for another nation While the Jews were exiled in Babylon, Jerusalem and Judah were left for others to inhabit. The kingdom of God would never be left desolate for others to occupy.
2:44 In the days of the fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire, the kingdom of God is established through Christ (Matt. 3:2), especially through his resurrection (Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:19–23).
2:44 endure forever. God’s kingdom ruled by Messiah is the final rule, never to be replaced. It has a millennial phase and an eternal future, but it is the same king who rules both.
2:44 — … The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed .…
When we face various difficulties and challenges, it can give us great hope to remember that, whatever happens, we are intimately connected to the winning side.
2:44 The kingdom which shall never be destroyed is the kingdom of God. There are at least two views as to what form this kingdom will take. Amillennialists suggest it is a spiritual kingdom introduced by Jesus Christ at His first coming. Premillennialists suggest that it is a literal kingdom to be established by Jesus Christ at the Second Coming, at which time He will destroy the kingdoms of this world (Rev. 19:15).
Ver. 44. Shall the God of Heaven set up a Kingdom.—
The Establishment of the Kingdom of Christ:—
The stone being cut out of the mountain without hands, is a phrase used in Scripture to convey to us the idea of spirituality; as, for instance, our present body represented as “the earthly house of this tabernacle,” it is material; but the house in the heavens is “a house not made with hands,” that is spiritual. The cutting out of the stone without hands marks, I apprehend, the spirituality of the kingdom. The material is very unpromising, when compared with the reality. Though the stone is represented here as possessing mighty power, it does not possess that from any inherent property which it possesses, but from the vigour of the arm by which it is employed. The material, too, is utterly contemptible when compared with the others; it is indeed contemptible in the eyes of those who are dazzled with the gold, the silver, the brass, and iron. It is intended by the idea coming under the figure of a stone to be contemptible and despicable; yet to be possessed of such a power as to break the image in pieces. You will look, in the first place, at the circumstances of the increase which is here predicted. The stone came from the mountain—either impelled through the air by an invisible hand or rolling along the plain—smiting the feet of the image, and destroying it; and then the stone gradually increased. Now, I think, the idea here is, gradual advancement. It did not suddenly start up and fill the whole earth; but I apprehend there is the idea of gradual increase. I do not know that in the dream that increase was represented as always advancing with the same rapidity. I do not know whether it was or was not, very likely it was not; and ere it filled the whole earth its increase might be sometimes gradual, and sometimes more rapid. But the idea presented to our attention is, the ultimate effect of the extent of that increase. Then there is its ultimate extent. It increased and increased until it filled the whole earth. I do not know how that was represented in the dream, but certainly the impression was conveyed to the mind of the man to whom God, by this figure, was setting forth what was to come to pass in the latter days. The ultimate extent of the kingdom was exhibited by the stone becoming a great mountain, and filling the whole earth, all other kingdoms and nations being destroyed and superseded, as it were, by it. I do not admit that there is to be such an alteration in the character and form of these kingdoms (God’s Kingdom is in the heart alone) as that there shall be no such things as nations and particular forms of government, or secular societies and confederacies; but, I apprehend, they will be very different sorts of nations to those represented by these metals. Men confederate together generally for the purpose of conquest, or tyranny, or selfishness; for their patriotism is selfishness, and the very profession of liberty among the ancients was the liberty of the few over the many, the liberty of the masters over the slaves. I apprehend, therefore, that though nations will exist to the end of time, yet this spiritual Kingdom of God will co-exist along with them; and it will be the unlimited spiritual reign of truth and piety conveyed to all hearts, operating upon all characters, regulating all movements, private, domestic, social, and public; and thus, while the confederacies of human beings will remain, this will be the grand universal reign of truth, godliness, and peace throughout the whole earth. Then the last idea is its perpetuity. It is to be continued for ever and ever. It is not to be left as these other nations successively were, to other people and other forms of government, or to other secular societies and confederacies; but it is to continue for ever and ever, never to be superseded. Now, I think, we should take this idea along with us; this kingdom that is to continue for ever and ever is to be co-extensive with the present system of things, and will continue also throughout eternity. This kingdom which is to last for ever and ever is that very same kingdom which begins in the stone; the kingdom of the mountain is the kingdom of the stone. We learn that this dispensation of ours, the Gospel dispensation, and the Gospel church, as it now exists, is an ultimate dispensation. It is not a preparatory dispensation; it is not to be superseded; it is not introductory to anything else. It is this very kingdom of the stone that is to last for ever and ever. Two or three observations will suffice on the circumstance of its certainty. The dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. Wherever you find man’s heart and man’s nature, you find something which Christianity is just adapted to meet; adapted to meet its wants, its capacities, and its aspirings, and to satisfy, direct, and cultivate them aright. There is an adaptation to the mind of every individual, and there is an adaptation to their external affairs, an adaptation to men existing under any particular form of government that may be set up in the world, to any particular form of secular administration. There is, therefore, a propriety in our indulging the delightful thought that the interpretation of the dream is sure, and that the Gospel shall go on conquering and to conquer, increasing and increasing until it shall fill the whole earth. Then there is another thought which lies on the surface of Scripture, which meets us perpetually, and is of great practical advantage, that although we admit, most unequivocally, the work to be God’s, we also admit, unequivocally, the mysteriousness of the movement under, as it were, the omnipotence of God, by which the stone is increased. We admit most unequivocally, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” We admit that God set up the kingdom, that God will carry it on, and that God will complete it; and we delight in thus referring everything to God. But we must never forget that God in his sovereignty, his condescension, and his benevolence, has determined that this shall be accomplished by human instrumentality. God could very easily do without us, He could convert the world without preachers; He could convert the world without Bibles; He could edify the church without the recurrence of Sabbaths and ordinances. God does not need to have His omnipotence aided (the very term is absurd) by your instrumentality. But God has chosen—and there is sovereignty, and condescension, and privilege, and kindness towards us in the very choice—to effect and fulfil His purposes by the instrumentality of His church. God is present, positively and personally present, in every scene of idolatry. God is positively present in every heathen temple; He is present at every idolatrous festival; He is actually present in the very midst of the worshippers of all man’s absurd and ridiculous superstitions. Aye, He is in the presence of His whole church; He is observing them, and His eye is upon them all; He is listening to their insults, observing their blasphemies, their fanaticism, their absurdity, and yet He does not put forth directly His power to enlighten, to convert, to sanctify, and to make them all that He could delight in. But He could do that, and why does He not do it? Let us remember always that human instrumentality is necessary in order that the little stone may become a mountain, and fill the whole earth. Now, why has not the stone grown larger? Why does it not fill the whole earth? A great many reasons may be found, some of which we have to refer to the Divine sovereignty, to the secret things that belong to God. But there are other things that belong to us, and causes to which we ought to give the most earnest heed. For my part, I have no hesitation at all about saying that I think the connection, alliance, and confederacy, unnatural and improper friendship of the church with the world has been a great obstacle in the past ages of Christianity, and in the present, to the going forth of God’s chariot in all its freedom and in all its power. Oh, no, the stone was cut out without hands. The Christian Church, before it was encumbered with wealth, went on with God in the midst of her, and the shout of a king accompanied her; and it will do so again! We exult in the thought—we feel confident in it. This great and delightful object has been impeded by the oblivion of the church. The church forgot both the duty and the privilege of the work; she soon forgot when she fell into luxury and ease the solemn obligation resting upon her from Christ, that so long as there was a corner of the earth in which there was not a preacher the command remained to be fulfilled—“Go into all the earth, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” We are not alive to the fulness and the intensity of this obligation yet. We want our sensibilities refined in order that we may perceive all the goodness of God towards us, in making the conversion of the world to rest upon the church. It will be well, then, to remember that the Gospel dispensation is here spoken of under the idea of a kingdom—the kingdom of God, setting up a kingdom. But if you and I are true Christians, as we profess to be, we are subjects of the Kingdom of God. A kingdom implies laws, authority, duty, respect, reverence for the government under which we live, under which we act, and by which we are protected. Let us feel that, and let us act as obedient, devoted, humble, faithful subjects of Him who is the Head and King of that government under which we live, and by which we are protected. There is something delightful both in thinking that we are under the government of God as subjects and that we have the Kingdom of God within us to give us vigour for the work of Christ. Then I think we may feel from this subject that we need have no fears about the ultimate realisation of the intentions of God, all our fear ought to be with respect to ourselves; our fear should be, whether we are faithful to our trust, faithful to our God, faithful to our country, faithful to our church, faithful to the world, faithful to posterity. (T. Binney, D.D.)
On the Nature and Extent of the Kingdom of Christ:—
I. We here observe that the Kingdom of Christ not only is to continue, but is to exist in a state of progress to farther dominion; struggling with enemies, but still prevailing. It is in a progressive manner that the ordinary plans of Providence are, in most cases, unfolded and accomplished. Almost all the objects around us pass through various states before they arrive at their full maturity and perfection. The same rule of progress is also generally followed, not only in regard to the nature, but the extent of the blessings. The discoveries, for example, of science and learning are at first only known to a few individuals. They afterwards extend to neighbouring communities and nations. From one nation they are communicated to another, and at last, in various degrees of fulness and excellence, they spread throughout the world, and affect the general condition and character of mankind. The Kingdom of Heaven is represented as carrying on, in a similar manner, its operations, and accomplishing its grand designs. It exists in various states of power and extent. Its blessings are experienced in various degrees of fulness and excellence, in different quarters and ages of the world; and the number of its true subjects are seen varying even among the same people, in different periods, during its progress to full glory and universal dominion. We cannot explain all the reasons for this part of the Divine procedure. But whatever difficulties may seem to our short-sighted eyes attending it, you will observe they are not confined to the dispensation of the Gospel; they attend the whole plan of Providence in the communication of its blessings. We are very ignorant of the means which are best for securing most extensively, and most lastingly, the ends of the Divine government. And this method of procedure may be found at the termination of the mighty and complicated plan, to have been the most effectual in producing on the whole, and in the greatest extent and degree, that excellence, and that happiness, which are suited to rational and immortal beings. It is obvious, also, that the blessings of Christ’s kingdom, being of a spiritual order, the knowledge which it conveys, and subjection of the heart which it requires, necessarily suppose that it may be neglected, perverted, and abused. Nay, the nature and design of the gospel must lead to the expectation that for some period, and on many occasions, it must struggle with difficulties and meet with much opposition. The obstinacy of ignorance; the slavery and errors of superstition; and all the perverted passions, depraved habits, and predominant inclinations of our corrupted race—all of them are opposed to the doctrines, spirit, and precepts of Christianity. In this contest betwixt the empire of darkness and of light, trial is made of the spirits of all flesh. The subjects of the Kingdom of God are trained, and sanctified, and perfected under the Captain of their salvation. The Church of Christ is founded on a rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The principle of renovation is infused into the corrupt mass; and by the direction and power of God it will spread throughout the world its heavenly influence. Amidst all the disorders and ragings of the nations, the Son of God is pursuing, with undeviating purpose, His mighty plan; nor will He cease from His great undertaking till ignorance and error yield before Him. And thousands, and tens of thousands, are now standing before the throne, whom Jesus hath redeemed, out of every tongue, and kindred, and people.
II. But from this mixed scene of opposition and success, which we now contemplate, let us turn to the view of the Kingdom of Christ, bringing all the kingdoms of the world under its power; and Gentile and Jew of every country acknowledging His sway, and experiencing the blessings of His reign. The Gospel has nothing in it of a local and temporary nature, and is fitted and destined for all nations, and for all ages. In the accomplishment of this great dispensation of grace, we thus contemplate the downfall of every system which exalteth itself against Christ, and the universal prevalence of that knowledge which is in Him. In the contemplation of this great renovation, the prophets break forth into strains of rapture, and in beautiful and affecting imagery, foretell its glory and its blessedness. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break forth, and streams in the desert. As the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Were we to confine our attention to those effects of the Gospel and Kingdom of Christ, on the temporal condition of mankind, we should still see a prospect so sublime, a change and amelioration so great, as should awaken our gratitude and admiration. The depravity and vices of men are the chief causes of the disorders which disturb the world, and lay it waste in every quarter. They have ruined the happiness of our race; they have, in various ways, brought misery even on the inferior beings with whom we are connected. Every mean of amelioration ought to be valued and employed; but never, my brethren, let it be forgotten that no mean will avail for our benefit which is not accompanied with a change and improvement in our moral and spiritual character—which does not tend to rescue us from the power of sinful passions and indulgencies. The Gospel presents the amelioration of mankind in connection with the only method by which that amelioration can be accomplished—the renovation and improvement of the character. The design of the Gospel and Kingdom of Christ is directed chiefly and ultimately to the salvation and eternal happiness of men. To these all other objects are subordinate and subservient; and faith in the Saviour is the great mean by which His power effectually operates for their accomplishment. In contemplating the progress and power of the Gospel, we contemplate the increasing numbers of our fallen race, delivered from their lost condition, received into the families of God, and raised to the privileges and joys of His children. How worthy are such views to engage your chief affections and your highest admiration! Again, the views which we have been considering should guard against security, and teach us that the progress and final triumph of the Messiah’s Kingdom do not prevent the apostasy and the rejection both of individuals and nations calling themselves Christians. But chiefly, and lastly, I observe that we learn from those views the way by which we shall promote most effectually the glory of God and happiness of man. It is by promoting the knowledge of the Gospel, and bringing the minds of men under the dominion of the Son of God. The source of misery is sin, and until Christian knowledge, and Christian holiness, be rendered prevalent among mankind, vain and ineffectual will be every mean to promote their happiness. Let every man do good as God has given him the opportunity—and in his own sphere, and among those over whom his influence extends, promote the cause of Christ’s Kingdom and oppose abounding iniquity. (S. MacGill, D.D.)
Christianity as a World-Power:—
“A dream, only a dream,” is likely to be the mocking language of the so-called practical men of the world, who regard it as an evidence of superior sanity to trust only facts and figures, when this immortal declaration is read in their hearing. True, in the visions of night royal Nebuchadnezzar had seen a gleaming colossus of different metals, not unlike the huge colossi guarding his own palace gates, which had been smitten by the mysterious fragment of rock cut from a mountain without hands, and which Daniel had interpreted in the passage before us. And what then? Are all such disclosures necessarily unworthy of credence? Was not Abimelech Divinely guided through a dream? Was not the immediate future of Egypt accurately foreshown to Pharaoh through the same means? Assyrian cuneiform inscriptions relate the accomplishment of various events that were anticipated in sleep. Thus Gyges, King of Lydia, had been admonished to enter on an alliance with Assurbanipal; and by this method Egypt had been encouraged to unite against the Assyrians. Likewise in Persian history, rulers, such as Afrasiab and Xerxes, were warned and directed when their senses were wrapped in slumber, and the scenes uncurtained were faithful counterparts of approaching realities. And what are all the successes of our modern era, all the conquests over nature, all the triumphs over tyranny, all the vindications of human rights, but the fulfilment of dreams dreamed by saints and sages, poets and philosophers, for the announcement of which they were derided and cursed, were shut up in prison and thrust out of life? My own opinion is, as far as chronology is concerned, that we are taught that during the rise and fall of ancient nations God was cutting out of the mountains a stone, was setting up a kingdom, and is still setting up a kingdom, which, in the fulness of time, shall prevail over all empires and shall fill the entire earth. But I am inclined to believe that the prime intention of the writer was not so much to fix times and seasons as to bring into relief the eternal antagonisms that exist between what the mighty image represents and what the stone denotes; and to create a just conception of the nature and history of Christianity as a world-power. The originality of Christianity as a world-power is worthy of serious thought.
1. This originality appears in the source of its inspiration. Whoever reads carefully the New Testament must have observed the prominence assigned the Holy Spirit. His presence and potency constitute likewise the distinguishing excellency of our faith. With the day of Pentecost came His advent and His incarnation in the church. Revivals of religion are not fresh processions of the Comforter from the Unseen. They are distinct manifestations of what is the perennial possession of God’s people. There are times when the tides of the sea rise higher, but we are not to suppose that there has been a new or larger supply of water, only a peculiar concentration and elevation. So revivals are only higher tides, more over-mastering demonstrations of power, and greater exhibitions of fervency; they are not a new descent or coming of the Paraclete. They are often needed, and are needed now, to recall the church to the source of her inspiration. Political world-powers are impelled onward, sometimes by lust of conquest, sometimes by desire for gain, sometimes by glory, or by what they vaguely term “manifest destiny.” They are at times governed by the spirit of the Chauvinist, of the French soldier, who could not conceive of anything wrong in the great Napoleon; and thus become fatuous idolaters of country and party. Frequently they are dominated by a Machiavelianism, which seeks, as Richelieu stated, to preserve the unofficial conscience separated from the state conscience, and which forms the habit of acting indirectly and crookedly so that nothing can be done without deception. Their statesmen are often incapable of the great thoughts which are necessary to precede great actions, and listen with ear to the ground for the whisperings of the crowd; or they are unpardonably indifferent to the needs of the people, and betray them when concentrated wealth demands the sacrifice and offers its dirty thirty pieces of silver. And whenever churches, in the remotest degree, approximate to such motives and methods, they lose their unique character. Then their originality is obscured, and the world treats them as they deserve, as mere lath and plaster. The Kingdom of Christ should always be moved from within, from the impulses of the Spirit who hath descended from above. Throughout the New Testament, from the birth of Christ to the separating of Paul and Barnabas to the ministry of missions, the Holy Spirit is the chief actor. Nothing is more impressive in the post-resurrection life of our Lord than His constant breathing of the Spirit on His followers. Without Him Pentecost would have been impossible, and without Him there would have been no adequate momentum toward the evangelisation of Samaria and the regions beyond. Almost every departure in new and aggressive work has been preceded by a spiritual quickening somewhere. It was so when the great missionary organisations came into being. They were not called into existence by human ingenuity to serve as organs for the work of the Holy Spirit; they were themselves begotten by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, I fear, we forget this. Sometimes we approach the work of the kingdom as though it were identical with that of the world. And soon we are tempted to boast that we administer churches and missions as leading business men manage business. In a sense this is very well; but after all, the kingdom cannot be administered merely as a vast corporation. Indeed, were this ideal paramount, corporations being what they are to-day in fact and in the popular estimate, the sympathies and prayers of the Christian masses would speedily be detached from the cause of Christ. No; it must seek to be guided by the Holy Spirit, to follow His leadings, yield to His inspirations, and become more and more a pliant instrument in His hand; and where this is done, the unique glory by which its Founder designed it to be for evermore distinguished will be displayed and recognised.
2. The originality of Christianity also appears in the power of its assimilation. Usually national types are fixed and definite. It is not an easy thing to overcome them, and after generations of intermarriages they are not always obliterated. What has been accomplished to render homogeneous this heterogeneous mass has been largely the work of the evangelical faith. That faith is like a magnificent furnace in which the representatives of various nationalities are melted down, fused, and are made capable of being moulded. What it has wrought in Fiji, in Polynesia, in Burma, in China, and Japan would have been impossible if Christianity were not wonderfully adapted to all races and tribes, the lowest and the highest. If the day ever comes when differences shall disappear and humanity be as one, it will be in consequence of the transforming grace of the Spirit. This religion alone seems to be gifted with the universal quality. It is broad enough, it is wide enough, it is deep enough. It knows the needs of the common heart of man. In it kings and princes find comfort, and in it barbarians and outcasts find hope. To confer its blessings it asks no man of what house, family, or clime he comes. His needs are recognised, and the provision is sufficient and abundant. This cannot be said of Hinduism, Brahmanism, Buddhism, and the rest. However numerous their adherents, these creeds nevertheless are provincial and narrow in their scope. They are only accepted by kindred peoples; and the more they are known the less charm they have for the European and American. By this test, if their claims are judged, they must yield to the superior merit of Christianity.
3. The originality of Christianity appears in the benevolence of its aspirations. This cannot be affirmed of worldly empires of the Babylonian or Roman type. Doubtless some among them in our day justify their interference in the affairs of inferior races on the ground that they would do them good. But every competent judge perceives that all this is reversed in the case of Christianity. Wherever she goes she blesses, and in pagan lands it is only her spirit and influence which mitigate the evils of foreign occupation. Sir Herbert Edwardes testified years since, as the result of his observations in the East: “That secular education and civilization will ever regenerate a nation I do not believe; as an able missionary once said, ‘He alone can make a new nation who can form a new man.’ ” In the same direction I quote Mr. Hawthorne: “The only salvation of India, even from an economic point of view … is its Christianisation.” And with him the Hon. Mr. Bryce evidently agrees, for he is quoted as saying that the Indian Empire could not last unless it were Christianised, and that nothing else can hold it together. Captain Mahan likewise perceives a peril in bringing together the East and the West on the basis of common material advantages without a correspondence in spiritual ideals. Men like Schwartz, Livingstone, Carey, and Ashmore are the real saviours of pagan lands. When their disinterested labours are understood, a new and regenerating idea begins to dawn and an uplift is experienced. Here lies the secret of Christian power. Religion asks for no man’s silver and gold, attempts not to rob him of his wealth, brings to bear on him no violence, does not shoot down his children or burn his villages; and the method is so novel, the intent so unselfish, that the hearts of multitudes are moved to repentance and faith. Sovereignty means right, authority, chieftaincy; the right to subdue, overcome, and sweep away whatever wrongfully is arrayed against it. But Christianity has no authority to fall on, to crush and annihilate by sheer force what she may regard as antagonistic to her reign. She is not permitted to appeal to the sword. Christ Himself decreed that the servants of the kingdom should not fight. They were not authorised to invoke the weapons of war for the advancement of the Cross. This inhibition likewise forbids them to encourage others, the secular powers, for instance, to invade distant lands, seizing them and occupying them for the sake of Christian evangelisation. Then the paucity of language appears again in the dream when the idea is suggested that these various empires are so blotted out as to obliterate their inhabitants, and that all human governments are to be supplanted by the church. Interpreting Scripture by Scripture, and symbols by common sense, I understand the action of the stone in falling on the huge form to denote the right of the church to efface and expunge everything in the State that is ungodly, unrighteous, and unjust, so that the actual administration of affairs will come to harmonise with her ideals. In other words, she is to incarnate herself in human society and in all of its mechanism, whether it be the machinery of government, of education, of commerce, or industry. She is not to remain for ever outside, a something distinct from the secular; but she is to take possession of it, transform it, become its very soul, and direct all of its movements from within. As Christianity is not to take the sword, the expression and action of her sovereignty must be moral; and we are to learn from the scene before us that this exceeds all other weapons in potency. We are all slow to learn this truth. And yet not an age passes without being demonstrated anew. A nation rushes into speculations which imperil industry, and encourages business methods which are pernicious, and dazzled by her successes sneers at the conservatives and the moralists. But the day of judgment comes. Some stone—the hard, inexorable law of rectitude asserts itself—falls on the entire mass of chicane and deceit, and collapse follows. It ought also to be noted that these indications which are making for the final triumph of Christianity are usually characterised by suddenness and occasionally even by violence. This violence is the natural overflow of the moral principles which have been generated through religion in the volcanic soul of humanity. The humiliation of Spain is a case in point. The Reformation under Luther was another illustration of what we should learn from this theme. What a crash it was? How unexpected though inevitable? What cruelty and horror it occasioned. And yet what marvellous progress it inspired. It was blowing up the barrier that impeded freedom of thought and the advance of civilization. Thus Christianity goes on demonstrating the sovereignty of the ethical and spiritual over the political and the commercial, developing moral crises in which her own influence comes to be recognised as potent. And it is questionable whether any vast upheaval has occurred since the birth of Christ which has not been in some real sense the result of His teachings and has not contributed to their wider dissemination. This I hold to be alike true of the convulsions that crushed the Roman Empire, of the agitations and struggles that wrecked the dominance of feudalism, of the catastrophies that characterised the French Revolution, and of all the strange and violent antagonisms which have led to the unity of Italy and to the conquest of the Soudan. But it may be asked, Is there to be a final and widespread crisis involving, not isolated nations, but the existing civil order everywhere, both east and west, among civilized and barbarous people alike! The probabilities point in that direction; and the Scriptures seem to be decisively on its side. “Sun and moon are to be darkened, the stars of heaven are to fall before the great and notable day of the Lord.” Armageddon precedes the millennium. Scenes of conflict and anguish are announced as opening the way to the final Gospel triumph. Anyone can see the utter impossibility of realising the reign of righteousness under present social and political conditions, whether in America or Europe, in lands civilized or lands blighted by heathenism. And there seems to be a growing consciousness that something critical is about to take place, because it ought to take place; and governments and leaders are apprehensive lest they should go down in the crash. They are voting more cannon, new explosives, fresh levies, stronger fortifications, and are encouraging inventors to devise novel means of destruction; but they are not adopting the true defence—“righteousness exalteth a nation”; “God is our refuge, a present help in time of trouble.” And yet with all their expenditures and preparations they are not at ease. “The hearts of the nations are failing them for fear.” Moreover, in all these lands, grave solicitude is felt regarding social inequalities. The control of business is rapidly passing through trusts into the hands of relatively a few chieftains in America, and the result is that opportunities for employment are diminishing, not increasing. Anyone can see that things cannot continue as they are. The social Vesuvius is already in a turmoil, and its fires and lava cannot be eternally suppressed. A crisis is inevitable. Some of the most passionless students of our times perceive the imminence of the danger. They work out this result as coolly and scientifically as a mariner works out his reckoning, and as deliberately as the weather bureau forecasts the atmospheric changes. With them it is not a question of feeling and sentiment, but of strict reasoning and logic. Given rapaciousness, heartlessness, and cold-blooded selfishness on the part of employers as the major premise in the social syllogism, and discontent, discouragement, and the ever-increasing sense of wrong on the part of the employed as the minor, and the outcome can hardly be anything else than chaos, though it may be chaos leading to a new industrial creation. I know that the taunt will not be lacking that I am preaching pessimism. No, I am an optimist and proclaiming optimism. Were I a pessimist, I should now be declaring that the image seen by Daniel’s sovereign never could be destroyed; and that it would go on trampling beneath its feet of iron and clay—a mixture of militarism and materialism—the best hopes of humanity. But I have no such doleful message to deliver. My song is that of the lark; I herald the day, not the night; but I dare not hide from myself the fact that night precedes the day. “The stone which the builders rejected,” aye, “the stone cut out of the mountains,” shall finally bring to an end all of these mischievous evils, and shall “fill the whole earth.” But not without a scene of conflict and experiences of sharp agony. Let us hope and pray that it may be without anarchical riots, incendiary outbreaks, and bloodshed, and may accomplish itself in one of those wonderful upheavals wrought by the patient determination of free peoples, who, enlightened by the Gospel, by their principles and convictions expressed at the polls, will bring down the lofty and exalt the lowly. Thus it may be; but however the result shall be accomplished, the spirit that shall compass it, that antagonises everything wrong at home or abroad, has been engendered by Christ’s Kingdom, and the ultimate deliverance will furnish the crowning evidence of its victorious sovereignty. The responsibility of Christianity as a world-power must now claim our attention, or this discussion would fail of its purpose. The prophet tells us that in the days of the ancient kings God set up a kingdom. To me the beginnings of this creation antedate the appearance of Christ. Every prediction that announced it, every psalm that chanted its glories, and every providence that prepared the world for its manifestations, were as the digging of foundations; or, better still, as the felling of timber in the forests, and the disinterring of rocks in the quarry for the construction of this everlasting sanctuary. And I believe that still the God of Heaven is setting up a kingdom. Generals and soldiers are lauded and rewarded as the builders of empires; but the missionaries and evangelists, with all the lowly souls that are helping in their enterprise, are usually ignored or are misunderstood by society that still walks by the light of its carnal vision. And yet these obscure labourers are building up a kingdom that shall not be moved, and are establishing a world-power whose beneficence and beauty transcends the highest excellencies of all earthly imperialisms. May I not remind you by what God has already wrought through His people that there is a responsibility resting on the kingdom to yet further fall in with His plans, and to co-ordinate itself to His Spirit? If the claims of humanity can appropriately be pressed home on the conscience of a secular power, how much more are they entitled to weight by the spiritual. Responsibility is an attribute of sovereignty. Do we, as Christians, realise ours? What we need to-day is a quickened conscience in our churches. An aroused conscience would solve all difficulties; provide adequate missionary income, supply the brightest type of workers, and provoke an activity at home and abroad which would speedily bring to an end the reign of darkness.
1. This responsibility can only be met by liberality, and not by retrenchment. The church should be as wise as the state. Alas! her financiers have too frequently been given, when financial emergencies have arisen, to talk approvingly of retrenchment. If there is a spectacle offensive to Heaven and contemptible before men, it is that of professed disciples living like Dives and begrudging the crumbs which fall from their affluence into the missionary collection for poor Lazarus. Let us recognise the truth. The truth is, the church has money enough to fulfil her responsibilities at home and abroad. She has not enough for wastefulness or extravagance, or even for sentimental experimenting; but she has ample resources for the evangelisation of the entire world. But this wealth was not bestowed that it might shut God out; and yet it will assuredly do so if it is not expended as He has planned and directed. Its accumulation ought once and for all to teach that the church is bound to prosecute her work, not by the measure of her offerings, but by the measure of her possessions.
2. But more than this, our responsibility can only be honoured by combination, and not by isolation. The unsocial communities have been violently disturbed of late. China’s great wall has fallen; Japan has emerged from her solitude; and it is claimed that the United States can no longer refrain from joining the European Powers in their confederate activities. The progress of this race is wonderful. It controls over one-third of the earth’s surface. Prof. Marsh has said: “More than one-half of the letters mailed and carried by the universal postal system are written, mailed, and read by the English-speaking populations”; and they distribute more than two-thirds of all Bibles and Testaments published; and in literature and general intelligence they excel all that is found among other people. But it must not be supposed that every aspect of this great branch of the human family is attractive or promising. Far from it. Even now, after centuries of training, it displays much of the spirit of the Vikings and of the Heligoland pirates, and it is constantly in danger of deifying force. For the history of its progress and aggrandisement is in no small measure the history of violence and aggression. If isolation is fast becoming impossible between nations, and particularly between Great Britain and the United States, it ought to be equally impossible between denominations. Fast is it becoming so. Missionary congresses and federation of churches are helping to draw into one holy alliance the diverse and separated forces of the living God. Something more than independency of action and enthusiasm of spirit is demanded, if the claims of Christianity as a world-power are to be substantiated. But while I speak thus, I realise that organisations, however complete and indispensable, can never supersede the zeal and personal endeavour of the individual. Man is grander than a machine, and the religious machine is, after all, only a supplement to the man. What we need to-day is, that while we sustain our missionary societies we likewise develop all the resources of the individual. Obligations cannot be vicariously met. The hour has arrived for personal decision and consecration. Two tendencies are observable to-day. The one is toward secular imperialism. It is the dream of nationalities in the old world, and is not without charm for ourselves in the new. Success along this line apart from religion is freighted with ultimate mischief and peril. But the other trend is more encouraging and more ennobling; it is toward the triumphant imperialism of Christianity. For which shall we labour? I am not saying that they are necessarily inconsistent with each other; but so far as grandeur and sublimity are concerned, I would rather devote myself to the second than to the first. Would not you? As for me, I would rather stand with Livingstone, Carey, Marshman, Judson, than I would with Clive, Hastings, and Lawrence; and I would rather in the end be associated with Christ and His apostles than I would with Cæsar and the legions thundering at his heels. (J. G. Lorimer, D.D.)
The Kingdom of Christ:—
This image, then, represents to us the kingdoms of the earth, such as they are without the fear of God, in all their pride and stateliness. You see them, in it, condensed and combined into one vast body, glittering, as we behold them with our eyes, with silver and gold, and lifting up their heads to Heaven itself, with the insolence of a giant strength and the godlessness of an unrebuked security. The eye of flesh and blood, obedient to its instincts, and, ignoble, like them, is dazzled at their looks; and the heart of man, like that of the Babylonish king, is not only moved with a momentary awe, but crouches down with a real servile terror at their outward grandeur. But all this has nothing substantial in it, notwithstanding—no more than the show of solidity which you see in the summer clouds—how suddenly, like them, do they dissolve, nay, consume, perish, and come to a fearful end! The reason is that, being unbased on that reality of power which belongs to God alone, they have no essential and true strength; they stand on feet of iron and clay, unharmonizing materials, ill mixed, and uncompacted. And they break away into a thousand fragments the moment they come into collision with the Almighty’s purposes, and the smiting of His avenging rod. “But,” you say, “it is difficult to draw a practical lesson from so mystic a warning”; true, but the whole Bible is full of such warnings, as well as its great interpreter, the history of the world. When, therefore, learned and worldly men talk of this great kingdom and of that, as being ruined by a mistake in policy, or a mismanagement in war, and so on, and puzzle themselves and others in the vain attempt to unfold, by external and secondary events, what they are pleased to call the real causes of this great ruin; the humblest Christian man, with the Bible in his hand, may say, “I cannot deny what you tell me, nor can I, indeed, understand the difficult operation of those fine-sounding things on which you make the adversity or prosperity of kingdoms to depend; but I know this, which is far better than all your science and philosophy put together, that nations, like individual men, only prosper while they love and obey God; and that when they refuse or cease to do so, He punishes and destroys them for their sins. And if you ask me why I dare contradict one so much more learned than myself, and am so sure of this conclusion, touching, as it does, the very mysteries of politics, I have but one reason to give, though that is the best of all—God says so—I find it plainly written in the Bible.” Well, then, all the kingdoms of the world are represented by the prophet Daniel as finally crushed beneath the weight of that everlasting kingdom which God shall set up among the nations, and which they shall resist—not recognising as Divine a power so unlike their own, nor discerning that penal ruin, which, by ways beyond the scan and compass of the carnal politician, its rejection necessarily involves, even during this earthly dispensation. But is not God love, and the Gospel merciful, and Christ, the Saviour, meek and gentle beyond the meekness of man, not so much as quenching the smoking flax, or breaking the bruised reed? it is not to be denied, so He is; yet He shall tread out, notwithstanding, in His wrath, the wine-press of Almighty God. And, if you will think for a moment of God’s goodness and of man’s wickedness, and the exceeding guilt of rejecting such great salvation, you will no longer marvel that the Gospel, with its revelations of unspeakable love, and the blood of the cross, whose sprinkling cleanseth from all sin, should be presented to us under an aspect so tremendous, or should exercise in the world at large, in its final development, a condemnation so awful, and a ruin so sweeping! And I say a ruin so sweeping, because the words of the prophet seem to indicate that all nations, from the empire of the Chaldees downwards, shall, in their turn, share the same fate; and that our native land, therefore, with all its privileges, may ultimately be added to the catalogue of nations blotted out or tormented in fire for incorrigible wickedness. Our Lord himself, perhaps in intended allusion to these very words of the prophet, describes thus the result of resistance to His eternal kingdom: “Whosoever shall fall upon this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.” “A stone cut out without hands”; that is, without human and visible agency, any power mensurable by carnal calculation, but by the power of Almighty God himself, operating when and where He wills, with or without the instrumentality of subordinate agents; a stone so guarded and so blessed by all Heavenly graces, as to lay a meet foundation for an everlasting church. Such, then, is the Christian kingdom, coming out from God, and of God; it goes forth, from age to age, in spite of evil spirits and evil men, conquering and to conquer. What though the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? Nay, but I put it to yourselves; have not the prophet’s words been gloriously fulfilled? Has not the stone become a mountain, and filled the whole earth? it is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. Who would have ventured to pronounce that the crucified Jesus, hanging between two thieves, on the accursed tree, the despised and rejected of men, would, after a few years had passed, have been worshipped as a God and a Saviour from one end of Heaven to another? “O the depth of the riches both of the power and the wisdom of God; how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” Now, all that I have been laying before you of God’s eternal purpose to raise the Kingdom of His Son on the ruins of an unbelieving world, is the clear word of God; so clear that they who run may read, confirmed, too, in the history of the world, by many infallible and terrible proofs; and, therefore, it is as certain to be fulfilled in what is to come, as it has been in all that is past. Moreover, there is not an attribute of Almighty God which is not pledged, and actively engaged in the issue of it. There are His unchangeableness and truth—for, from all eternity He has planned this spiritual kingdom to be carried on in the midst of the kingdom of the prince of this world; and, by no less an oath than His immutable self, hath He sworn to preserve it unto the end. There is His justice, for by the same solemn engagement, He has announced in the ears of Heaven and earth, that He will punish all the guilty, and cast out from that presence, in which alone is light and life, the enemies of Him who reigneth on His hill of Zion. There is His love, and with it, His abhorrence of sin; for with such incredible earnestness, and love for man, has He wrought for the establishment of this kingdom that He has given His blessed Son to die for us, and by His death, to open the gates of life. (J. Garbett.)
The Kingdom of the Saints:—
Daniel’s interpretation is: “In the days of these kings, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces, and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” This prophecy is fulfilled among us at this day. Look into the details of this great providence, the history of the Gospel dispensation.
1. Observe what it was that took place. Many kingdoms have been set up and extended by the sword. This, indeed, is the only way in which earthly power grows. But the propagation of the Gospel was the internal development of one and the same principle in various countries at once, and, therefore, may be suitably called invisible, and not of this world. Apostolic efforts do not provide adequate explanation. See what really happened. In the midst of a great empire, such as the world had never seen, powerful and crafty beyond all former empires, more extensive, and better organised, suddenly a new kingdom arose. Suddenly, in every part of this well-cemented empire, ten thousand orderly societies, professing one and the same doctrine, and disciplined upon the same polity, sprang up as from the earth. This was a new thing, unprecedented in the history of the world before or since, and calculated to excite the deepest interest and amazement in any really philosophical mind. When men began to interrogate this enemy of Roman greatness, they found no vague profession among them, no varying account of themselves, no irregular and uncertain plan of action or conduct. They were all members of strictly and similarly organised societies. They all refused to obey the laws of Rome, so far as religion was concerned. At the same time they professed a singular patience and submission to the civil powers. They did not stir hand or foot in self-defence. They avowed, one and all, the same doctrine clearly and boldly, and they professed to receive it from one and the same source. They were bound to one another by the closest ties of fellowship. And, in spite of persecutions from without, and occasional dissensions from within, they prospered.… If there be a moral governor over the world, is there not something unearthly in all this, something which we are forced to refer to him from its marvellousness, something which from its dignity and greatness, bespeaks his hand?
2. Consider the language of Christ and His apostles. From the first they speak confidently, solemnly, calmly, of the destined growth and triumph of the kingdom. Christ contemplated the overshadowing sovereignty of His Kingdom. He spoke also of the disorganisation of society which was to attend the establishment of His Kingdom. In like manner, St. Paul takes for granted the troubles which were coming on the earth, and the rise of the Christian church amidst them, and reasons on all this as if already realised.
3. If the Christian church has spread its branches high and wide over the earth, its roots are fixed as deep below the surface. The intention of Christ and His apostles is itself but the accomplishment of ancient prophecy.
(1) There was an existing belief among the heathen, at the time of its rise, that out of the east a new empire of the world was destined to arise. This rumour was known in Rome, the then seat of dominion; and it is recorded by a Roman historian. It became matter for heathen poetry. Full and varied are the predictions of it delivered by the natives of Judæa themselves. What would be our surprise if we, in the course of our researches into history, found any resemblance to this prophetic forecast in the annals of other kingdoms.
4. The course of providence co-operated with this scheme of prophecy. God’s word and hand went together. Notice the strange connection between the dispersion of the Jews and the propagation of Christianity. Does not such a manifest appearance of cause and effect look very much like an indication of design? (J. H. Newman, B.D.)
God’s Everlasting Kingdom:—
All that was foretold in this remarkable prophecy in due time came to pass. This universal and everlasting kingdom is distinguished by certain infallible marks and evidences which prevent it from being confounded with human institutions, which may resemble it in some respects.
I. The first note of this kingdom is its visibility. It has a visible ministry; visible scriptures; visible forms, and ceremonies, and observances; visible sacraments. The very idea of a kingdom implies its visibility.
II. Its perpetuity. It is expressly foretold of it in the text that it should “never be destroyed.” But that it should “stand fast for ever.” All temporal kingdoms are exposed to changes and decay. That kingdom, complete in all its parts, and vigorous and active in its operations, must now be found upon this earth. There does exist a great and Divine system, having the properties of vast dominion, distinguished privileges, and eternal endurance.
III. Its unity. This is a distinguishing mark of God’s Kingdom, and good men should never cease to pray that “all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the Faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.”
IV. Its sanctity. The Divine Head and Founder of the church gave Himself for His people that he might “redeem them from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
V. Its apostolicity. In other words, it must have a history, and be able to trace back its origin to the days of the Apostles of Christ. (John N. Norton.)
The Kingdom of Christ:—
1. The mediatorial action of the Son of God is of the nature of kingly rule. Christ rules in the first place within the church. He is King of Saints. His subjects are hearts willingly submissive to His sway. He rules by His word and Spirit. His dominion extends beyond the church; beyond even the world of men. Nature and the invisible world are beneath His feet.
2. The kingdom is of supernatural origin. The kingdom is one which the God of Heaven set up. It was Divine in its origin, so it was endowed with inextinguishable life.
3. The kingdom was insignificant in its commencement. The stone was small. Look at the Messiah himself, at the veil of obscurity which He assumed. He was “of a decayed and delapidated house; was ranked with the poor; was without powerful friends or political connections; of no uncommon advantage of learning; and was regarded with contempt and scorn by the great mass of His countrymen.”
4. The kingdom is destined for universal prevalence. It began by casting down that which would and did oppose its way. Significant as the destruction wrought by the stone may be, even more so is the displacement of the image by the stone. Man-created universal empire gives place to a universal empire God-created. The worldly rule gives way that Heavenly rule may speedily appear. That the stone which smote the image will become a great mountain and fill the whole earth we devoutly believe. The truth might be argued from the essentially aggressive character of the Gospel.
5. The kingdom is to be everlasting. It has stood for eighteen hundred years. Not, however, because no attempt has been made to annihilate it. Physical force, mental power, transcendent genius, have each and all done their worst. It is the great fact of the world still. (H. T. Robjohns, B.A.)
A Contrast between Paganism and Christianity:—
You will recall to your minds King Nebuchadnezzar’s wonderful dream, and the interpretation of it by Daniel. God can touch the heart of a person in sleep. He can touch the heart of a man dead in sin. How easily He gains His purposes—the forgetting of a dream raised Daniel next to the throne. In the dream we find revealed a contrast between paganism and Christianity.
1. Paganism is constructed; Christianity is a growth. The image was builded of gold, of silver, of brass, of iron, of clay. But the little stone grew.
2. Paganism is of human origin; Christianity, like the little stone, is made without hands.
3. Paganism divides men; Christianity unites. Disorganisation is inherent in paganism, and it cannot but crumble. How different with Christianity! Its centre is God, and that Centre is everywhere, and its circumference is nowhere. Every individual in this kingdom is at the very centre of power. We have even no need of one to stand between us and this Centre, for Christ is God. The advance of civilisation is destructive to error; but Christianity is fitted for the highest civilization. The greater the advancement, the more irresistible becomes this stone cut from the mountain. Its development is the crowding out and destruction of all false systems. There need be no fear that science will harm Christianity; it will, in the end, help it, not harm it. Literature is on this side. Never has Christianity exercised so great a power over the press as to-day, Education is also helping, not hindering, religion. Our colleges are nearly all in the hands of Christian people. Nine-tenths of all educational endowments are the gifts of Christian men and women. Art is not hostile to Christianity. The best of painting, the best of sculpture, the best of architecture, the best of music, is helping to roll this stone that is filling the earth.
4. The power which makes this stone irresistible is God. It is omnipotent as is the throne of Jehovah. No man-made power can resist it. Gold, brass, iron, are crushed beneath it. The great movement for the purification of the earth is going forward. God wishes us to join in this work. Blessed are we if we are found co-workers with Him. (Bishop Simpson.)
The Fifth Monarchy:—
I. What is the kingdom? By the kingdom we understand the gospel church or Christian dispensation. When John the Baptist commenced his ministry in the wilderness of Judæa, he preached, saying, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In this passage we evidently find the church represented as a kingdom. There are, we apprehend, sufficient reasons why she may be so represented. She has all the qualities peculiar to a kingdom. A kingdom consists of a number of men associated for purposes of mutual benefit, who have ordained a certain code of laws for the regulation of their lives, and who have elected a ruler to preside over their interests—to dispense law and preserve order—to act as “a terror” to evil-doers and a praise to them that do well. Similar in all these respects is the church. The revealed and written word of God contains the constitution and rules of their society. It contains laws for the regulation of their lives, as individuals, as congregations, as churches, and as nations—rules for all the relations into which man in this life of change can possibly enter. Christ is their King, Lawgiver, and Judge—“King of kings, and Lord of lords”—“Head over all things” to the church are titles conspicuously written on His vesture and on His thigh.
II. Some of the more obvious qualities of this kingdom. Every man has his distinguishing characteristics. In like manner, every community, every kingdom is distinguished by some special properties. Thus we find Russia, notorious for despotism; Spain, for bigotry; France, for fickleness and instability; Christ’s kingdom is distinguished by:
1. Its spirituality.
(1) It is entirely spiritual—spiritual as to its Author, spiritual as to its origin, spiritual as to its laws, ordinances, rewards, and punishments. The founders of all kingdoms of this world have been mere men, inheriting the same nature with ourselves. The founder of the kingdom under review is God; and “God is a Spirit.” Most kingdoms of men have been established by carnal means, by force, by rapine, and by blood. By the same means all false systems of religion. How different from this the manner in which the Prince of Peace extends his regal rule. He establishes His empire by the exhibition of love, by the manifestation of truth, by arguments and persuasion, adapted to operate on men’s mental and moral nature. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.”
(2) The laws also of this kingdom are spiritual. They take cognizance more especially of man’s moral nature. Human laws can take cognizance of the external conduct alone. The greatest tyrant on earth cannot command the sentiments of the mind, or desires of the heart. God requires the heart: “Son, give me thine heart.”
(3) The ordinances of this kingdom are spiritual. They are intended and adapted to remove the vices of sin from our nature, and to effect a spiritual change. Ordinances the result of human wisdom, or political sagacity, cannot correct an evil bias nor remove a sinful tendency. Human ordinances are powerless for such purposes. The ordinances of Christ’s Kingdom exert a higher and mote potent influence. When accompanied by the blessing of the Spirit they can transform the whole soul.
(4) The rewards and punishments of this kingdom are spiritual. Earthly rulers can confer only a material or temporal reward for obedience, or inflict a temporal punishment for disobedience. If we obey their mandates, they may confer riches, honours, something agreeable to our sentient nature. If we disobey, they may kill the body, but cannot destroy the immortal spirit. The rewards of Jehovah infinitely transcend temporal advantages however great or desirable. There are pardon of sin and acceptance in His sight, peace and joy in believing, and the crown of glory that fadeth not away. Similar also His punishments. Is not Messiah’s Kingdom, therefore, spiritual and consequently different from all worldly monarchies?
2. Light. Scripture informs us that “God is light.” Being light in himself He can never be the author of darkness. The kingdoms of men are kingdoms of darkness. Satan is the god of this world, and he is the prince of darkness. He knows that “Where there is no vision the people perish.” Hence he endeavours by all means to keep those subject to his sway in gross moral darkness. Whilst we doubt the Divine existence, or entertain wrong views of His character and law, of our present condition—our wants and requirements—we will never come to God that we may have life. Hence, when Jehovah wills the salvation of any sinner, he commences the work of grace on his heart by spiritual illumination, by opening the eyes of the understanding to see the wonderful things contained in the law. Thus, every believer, on receiving Christ, though formerly darkness, becomes light in the Lord. His soul is filled with light on all subjects affecting his interests for time and eternity.
3. Liberty. Freedom is sweet to every living being—to everything “in whose nostrils is the breath of life.” The entire animate creation rejoices in the free and unrestrained exercise of every power conferred by the Author of life. By man more especially is liberty prized. The mere mention of its name fills his soul with pleasurable emotions. Christ confers liberty in the highest and most extended sense of the term—liberty infinitely superior to that for which philanthropists have oftentimes sighed and patriots bled. Jesus confers spiritual and a right to temporal liberty on all His followers. These two kinds of freedom are intimately connected. When the former obtains the latter will in due time be sure to follow. When the former has no place the latter cannot possibly exist. When men are spiritually slaves they can neither understand nor enjoy temporal freedom. Jesus delivers all His people from the thraldom of sin and Satan. When Messiah “reigns in Mount Sion, and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously,” “He shall deliver the needy when he crieth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper.” A bright future is, therefore, in reserve for the oppressed nationalities of Europe; for the persecuted and oppressed of every clime.
4. Peace and happiness. Peace and prosperity are intimately connected. Without peace there can be no progress, no enjoyment, personal, domestic, or social. There can be no happiness to the man whose soul is filled with the tumult of contending passions, whose mind is agitated by fear, or distracted with doubt. There is no enjoyment in the family where alienation and strife reign. The kingdom or nation divided against itself will assuredly fall. Peace is thus of paramount importance; but unhappily it has long been banished from the world. The world has long been a scene of violence, of rapine, and of blood. There is no peace on its wide extent but that which prevails in the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ gives peace to all His subjects—peace with God and peace with man. The enmity of the carnal mind is slain and a spirit of love imparted—love to God as Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and love to all His people. Such a disposition obtaining in the mind—such a spirit pervading society—peace will prevail, and harmony reign.
5. Universal. It has at all times baffled the highest efforts of human genius to establish a universal empire. The experience of Alexander in ancient, and of Napoleon in modern times, is proof positive on the point. The honour thus denied the most gifted of our race is reserved for Him who is “Prince of the kings of the earth.” There will never be a universal kingdom but that of Immanuel. We learn from the context, and kindred portions of Inspired Writ, that His empire will embrace all the kingdoms of men.
6. Eternal growth and decay is the order of nature. This holds good both in regard to the animal and vegetable kingdoms. Every plant and every animal, every species of organic existence has its period of development, its period of maturity, and its time of decline. The majestic oak, monarch of the forest, once grew as a tender sapling; gradually and slowly it attained its noble dimensions; after having lifted on high its head for ages, and shaking out its green drapery to the breeze, seeming to bid defiance to the lightnings of Heaven and fury of the blast, at length it becomes gnarled and bare, and yielding to the violence of the storm, falls prostrate on the ground. In like manner with man, lord of the animate creation. As with man individually, so with man collectively, so with nations. Nations as such have their rise, their growth, their maturity, and decline. Thus with all the celebrated kingdoms of antiquity. They all prevailed for a time, and maintained their proud supremacy, but at last the elements of decay contained in their constitution wrought their ruin. Christ’s Kingdom, however, though it had a commencement, and an increase, will never be destroyed, nor suffer a decline. It is free from all elements of dissolution. Sin is the cause of all death, national as well as individual. The Redeemer’s Kingdom is distinguished for holiness, hence it “shall never be destroyed,” but on the contrary, “shall stand for ever.” The wicked may plot its overthrow; but their devices will redound to their own confusion. Observe:
(1) This kingdom, though long organised, is still in a very immature state. It is still in its infancy every way considered, as regards extent knowledge, liberty, in all the qualities that give dignity and importance to any society. When it may attain its complete development is a subject of uncertainty.
(2) If the last dread conflict between Christ and Belial, light and darkness be not far distant, it is our duty to be preparing for the contest. Jehovah calls all to whom His gospel comes in its fulness and freeness to His help “against the mighty.” He works by human agency in the prosecution of His plans. (G. Stewart, M.A.)
2:44In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom. The plural “kings” may refer to those within the fourth kingdom or to God’s longer-term work across the four kingdoms. The reference to the simultaneous destruction of the statue’s four parts suggests the latter. Christian commentators differ widely on the time and manner of the establishment of God’s kingdom (see “Additional Insights” following this unit).
 Miller, S. R. (2017). Daniel. In T. Cabal (Ed.), CSB Apologetics Study Bible (p. 1047). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
 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., Da 2:44). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.