“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
All Depends on Faith Galatians 5:22–23; Romans 5:1–5
All other graces, like birds in the nest, depend upon what faith brings in to them; take away faith, and all the graces languish and die: joy, peace, hope, patience, and all the rest, depend upon faith.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Cranmer’s Definition of the True Christian Faith Habakkuk 2:4; Galatians 2:20; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 2:17; 7:25; 9:11; 1 Peter 1:21
The very sure and lively Christian faith is not only to believe all things of God that are contained in holy Scripture, but also is an earnest trust and confidence in God, that he does regard us, and has care of us, as the father of the child whom he loves, and that he will be merciful unto us for his only son’s sake, and that we have our Saviour Christ, our perpetual advocate and priest, in whose only merits, oblation, and suffering we trust that our offences are continually washed and purged, whenever we, repenting truly, return to him with our whole heart, steadfastly determining with ourselves, through his grace, to obey and serve him in keeping his commandments, and never to turn back again to sin. Such is the true faith that the Scripture does so much commend.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
At a PGA Tour tournament in October 2015, Ben Crane disqualified himself after completing his second round. He did so at considerable financial cost. No matter—Crane believed the personal cost of not doing it would be greater (encouraged by a devotional article he had read that morning by Davis Love III, the distinguished former Ryder Cup captain).
Crane realized he had broken one of the more recondite rules of golf. If I followed the story rightly, while in a hazard looking for his ball, he leaned his club on a stone. He abandoned the ball, took the requisite penalty for doing so, played on, and finished his round. He would have made the Friday night cut comfortably; a very successful weekend financially beckoned. Then Ben Crane thought: “Should I have included a penalty for grounding my club in a hazard?” Sure enough (Rule 13.4a). So he disqualified himself.
(Got it? Hopefully, no readers will lie awake tonight now knowing the trophy was won illegally.)
Crane has been widely praised for his action. No avalanche of spiteful or demeaning attacks on cyberspace or hate mail for being narrow-minded. All honor to him. Intriguingly, no one seems to have said or written, “Ben Crane is such a legalist.”
No, we are not starting a new sports column this month. But how odd it is to see so much praise for his detailed attention to the rules of golf, and yet the opposite when it comes to the rules of life, the (much more straightforward) law of God, even in the church.
There is a problem somewhere.
Neither Jesus nor Paul had a problem with the law. Paul wrote that his gospel of grace upholds and establishes the law (Rom. 3:31)—even God’s laws in their negative form, since the “grace of God . . . teaches us to say ‘No'” (Titus 2:11–12 NIV). And remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17–19? Our attitude to the law is a litmus test of our relationship to the kingdom of God.
So what is the problem? The real problem is that we do not understand grace. If we did, we would also realize why John Newton, author of “Amazing Grace,” could write, “Ignorance of the nature and design of the law is at the bottom of most religious mistakes.”
There is a deep issue here. In Scripture, the person who understands grace loves law. (Incidentally, mere polemics against antinomianism can never produce this.)
Think again of Ben Crane. Why keep the complex rules of golf? Because you love the game. Something similar, but greater, is true of the believer. Love the Lord, and we will love His law—because it is His. All is rooted in this beautiful biblical simplicity.
Think of it in terms of three men and the three “stages” or “epochs” they represent: Adam, Moses, and Jesus.
At creation, God gave commandments. They expressed His will. And since He is a good, wise, loving, and generous God, His commandments are always for our best. He wants to be a Father to us.
As soon as God created man and woman as His image (Gen. 1:26–28—a hugely significant statement), He gave them statutes to follow (v. 29). The context here makes clear the rationale: He is Lord; they are His image. He made them to reflect Him. He is the cosmic Overlord, and they are the earthly under-lords. His goal is their mutual enjoyment of one another and creation in a communion of life (1:26–2:3). So, He has given them a start—a garden in Eden (2:7). He wants them to extend that garden to the ends of the earth, and to enjoy it as miniature creators, images imitating the great original Creator (1:28–29).
God’s creation commands then had in view our reflecting His image and glory. His image-bearers are made to be like Him. In one form or another, all divine commands have this principle enshrined in them: “You are my image and likeness. Be like me!” This is reflected in His command: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev. 19:2).
Implied here is that God’s image-bearers are created, hardwired as it were, to reflect Him. Yes, there are external laws given to them, but those laws simply provide specific applications of the “laws” inbuilt in the divine image, laws that are already on the conscience.
It was instinctive then for Adam and Eve to imitate God, to be like Him, because they were created as His image and likeness—just as little Seth would instinctively behave like his father, Adam, because he was “in his likeness, after his image” (Gen. 5:3). Like father, like son.
But then came the fall: sin, lack of conformity to God’s revealed law, and distortion of the image resulted in malfunctions of the inner human instincts. The mirror image turned away from the gaze and the life of God, and since then all people (except Christ) have shared in this condition. The Lord remains the same. His design for His image remains the same. But the image is marred. The under-lord who was created to turn the dust into a garden has become dust himself:
By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return. (Gen. 3:19)
We remain the image of God, and the laws that govern how we live best are unchanged. But now we are haggard and spent, twisted within, off center, distorted, carrying the aroma of death. Once chief operating officers, we are now vagrants who survive only by stealing from the Owner of the company (Yahweh and Son) who provided for us so generously. The law within functions still, but unreliably at best, not because the law is faulty but because we are.
For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them. (Rom. 2:14–15; see also 7:7–25)
But God wants His portrait—His image—back.
In essence, the Mosaic law—summarized in the Decalogue—was a rewriting on tablets of stone of the constitution written on man’s heart in creation. But now the law came to fallen man, and included sin offerings to address the new condition of humanity. It came to one distinct nation in one specific land. And it came until the coming of the Redeemer promised in Genesis 3:15. Therefore, it was given largely in negative terms, with added applications relevant for one specific nation in a single land, until the day when the types and sacrifices of the law would be fulfilled in Christ.
The law was given to people as “under-age children” (Gal. 3:23–4:5)—largely in negative form. We, too, teach our children: “Don’t stick the screwdriver into the electric socket!” long before we explain to them how electricity works. It is the simplest and safest way to protect them.
But it was already clear to old covenant believers that the law’s negations enshrined positive commands. The negative “No other gods before me” implied the full-color, developed picture of loving the Lord with all of one’s heart, and commandments two through four fleshed out that picture. The rest of the commandments were negatives to be developed in “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In addition, since the animal sacrifices substituted for humans’ sins, they clearly lacked in proportion and could not deliver the forgiveness they pictured. An old covenant believer could work that out by going to the temple two days in a row: the priest was still standing at the altar, sacrificing all over again (Heb. 10:1–4, 11). The final adequate sacrifice was still to come.
And then the Decalogue was given civil application for the people in the land. But these local laws would no longer function in the same way for God’s people when they would be scattered throughout all the nations. The preservation and advance of His kingdom would then no longer be dependent on them.
All of this is well expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith’s teaching that the “moral law” continues, the “ceremonial law” is fulfilled, and the “civil law” is abrogated, although we can clearly still learn a great deal from the ceremonial and civil legislation (19.3–5). An old covenant believer could understand this, albeit with less clarity. After all, only the Decalogue was placed in the ark, as an expression of the very character and heart of God. Yes, the law was one because the God who gave it is one. But the law of Moses was not monolithic—it was multidimensional, having a foundation and also spheres of application. The former was permanent; the latter were interim arrangements until the coming day dawned.
Old covenant believers really did love the law. They delighted in it. Their covenant God cared so much that He had rephrased His original instructions for them so that they could guide the people as sinners. Old covenant believers who knew and meditated on the Decalogue and the whole Torah (the law) would grow in their ability to apply it to every providence of God in their lives (Ps. 1). With all its rules and regulations, God’s law provided security and direction for the whole of life.
At the end of my freshman year, I taught in a school for young criminals. Their lives were heavily circumscribed. But surprisingly to me, there was an extraordinary esprit de corps, a pride in and common loyalty to the school. At first this puzzled me. And then I realized that these boys knew where they were. They were safe and safeguarded from themselves and their waywardness. The teachers disciplined them with affection. Perhaps for the first time in their lives, they were getting regular meals. Yes, the rules sometimes irked them—they were sinners, after all. But they were safe. Some of them even transgressed again just to get back to the environs of the school. I understood why even if I could not condone it. There they had care and security.
Paul uses a not-too-dissimilar illustration in Galatians 3–4. Old covenant believers were underage heirs, living in the restricted environment of the Mosaic law. But now in Christ, redemptive history has come of age. There is a new dimension of freedom. You don’t need to check the calendar to see if it is a holy day. You don’t need to check the meat or the label on your clothes. You don’t need to bring yet more sacrifices to the temple. Now that Christ has come, we have been let out of reform school. “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24). Yet, the undergirding law—why would it change? Why would we be any less obedient to the same Father?
We are already discovering that we cannot fully understand the law of Moses without thinking about Jesus. God intends to get His portrait back.
Jesus came to re-create a new and true humanity marked by a restored internal love for the Lord and a desire to be like Him. The law itself cannot accomplish that in us. It takes forgiveness, deliverance, and empowerment to do it. This God provides in Jesus Christ and by the Spirit.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Rom. 8:3–4)
Perhaps because He knew people would draw the wrong conclusions from His teaching (they did), Jesus explained that He did not come to abolish but to fulfill the law. He would fill to the fullest the “shell” that Moses had given (Matt. 5:17–20). He made clear that He also meant to restore God’s portrait and image in us (Matt. 5:21–48). As we know, He drew a series of contrasts. But His words were not “It is written . . . but I say . . .”; rather, they were “You have heard that it was said. . . but I say. . . .” He was not contrasting His teaching with God’s law but with the rabbinical interpretations and distortions of it.
Yet, there is an important difference in the new covenant. Moses ascended the earthly mountain of God and came down with the law written on tablets of stone. But later, he expressed a longing that all the Lord’s people might have the Spirit (Num. 11:29). The law of Moses could command but it could not empower. By contrast, Jesus ascended the heavenly mountain of God and came down in the Spirit to write His law on our hearts.
The book of Hebrews twice explicitly states this by quoting Jeremiah 31:31 (Heb. 8:10; 10:16—the only “law” that can be in view here is the Ten Commandments). The Lord of the law has rewritten the law of the Lord onto our hearts by His Spirit. Empowered from within by the Spirit of the law-keeping Jesus, we love the law because we love the Lord. Just as in the old covenant, the principle of life was “I who love you am holy, love me in return and be holy as well,” so in the new covenant the principle of life can also be summed up in one sentence: “God’s Son Jesus is the image of God in our human nature; so be like Jesus.” After all, our becoming like Christ has always been the Father’s ultimate goal for us.
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. (Rom. 8:29–30)
Loving God’s Law
“You’ve got to love the law” has a double meaning. You’ve got to love it—it is a command. But at the same time, “you’ve got to love it” because it is so good. Of course it is. It is a gift from your heavenly Father. It is meant to keep you safe and well and give you security and help you to negotiate life. Pick up the Westminster Shorter Catechism (or better, the Westminster Larger Catechism) and read the section on the commandments. There you will learn how to use and apply the rules of the game of life. They are much easier to understand than the rules of golf. When Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15), He was only echoing the words of His Father. Actually, it is simple, yet all-demanding. As the hymn by John H. Sammis states:
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.
The Apostle Paul teaches that in Christ’s humiliation, He “emptied Himself” (Phil. 2:6–7). How should we understand this statement? From one of our Ask Ligonier events, John MacArthur articulates what Paul is saying here—and what he isn’t saying.
19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Th 2:19–20). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
2:19–20 Paul viewed the Thessalonian church as his crown of boasting, which would be evident at Jesus’s coming. The reference to a “crown” carries the image of a laurel wreath worn on the head in reward for victory at a Greek athletic contest.
2:19–20 Presenting his converts to Jesus at the second coming is an integral part of Paul’s Christian hope. crown. Crowns or wreaths were given to winning athletes.
2:19, 20 In spite of persecution and satanic opposition, Paul looked beyond the present trials (2 Cor. 4:16–18) to the joy of being in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ and being with the Thessalonian Christians who had found the Lord through him. The Thessalonians would be Paul’s crown (the wreath presented to the winner of Greek athletic contests) because they would prove the genuineness of his work for Christ.
2:19–20. Paul’s affection rose to its climax in this almost lyrical passage. The Philippian believers were the only others who received such warm words of personal love from Paul.
He voiced a rhetorical question to heighten the intensity of his fervor. In effect he asked what would be the greatest blessing he could possibly receive at the judgment seat of Christ. They were! They were everything that was worth anything to Paul. They were his hope; their development was what he lived for as a parent lives to see his children grow up to maturity, to produce and reproduce. They were his joy, they filled his life with sunshine as he thought of what they used to be, what they had become, and what they would be by the grace of God. They were his crown; they themselves were the symbol of God’s blessing on his life and ministry. They were his glory and joy, and not only his but also the glory and joy of his companions in labor. Paul said in essence, “When life is over and we stand in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming, you Thessalonians will be our source of glory and joy; you mean that much to us.”
This profession of affection should have removed any thoughts from the Thessalonian Christians’ minds that Paul had not returned because he was unconcerned or selfish.
2:20. To Paul, the Thessalonian believers were our glory and joy. God is interested in people. The heavens are his, the mountains are the work of his hand, the oceans are his handiwork—but people are his pride and treasure. Like Paul, we should express our love to others, treasuring the moments when people come to faith in Christ.
19, 20. For who is our hope or joy or glory-wreath—or are not also you—in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? Indeed, it is you who are our glory and (our) joy!
Paul and his companions love these Thessalonians, and “are proud” of them. It must be borne in mind that amid severe persecution these people had turned away from their idols and had turned to God, the living and true One, and that they are now waiting for the glorious coming of the Lord.
At this coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (for this full title see on 1:1) for the purpose of blessing his people with his abiding presence the missionaries will see the ultimate realization of their hope, and will experience supreme joy when they behold the fruits of their missionary efforts standing there, with gladness, thanksgiving, and praise, at Christ’s right hand. For these missionaries this will be the glory-wreath, the prided victor’s chaplet.
The term coming (in at his coming) is Parousia (παρουσία). This word is sometimes used in the non-technical sense of a. presence; for the use of the term in that sense the following passages come in for consideration: 1 Cor. 16:17; 2 Cor. 10:10; Phil. 1:26 (?); 2:12; or of b. a coming, advent, or arrival: 2 Cor. 7:6, 7; Phil. 1:26(?); 2 Thess. 2:9. In other passages—and 1 Thess. 2:19 is one of them—it definitely refers to the Return or Advent of the Lord, his “coming” in order to bless his people with his presence. See Zech. 9:9. In addition to 1 Thess. 2:19 to illustrate this meaning, the following should be studied: 1 Thess. 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1, 8; Matt. 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Cor. 15:23; Jas. 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 1:16; 3:4, 12; and 1 John 2:28. This meaning may be viewed as a modification of the sense: “the arrival” or “the visit” of the king or emperor.
Paul and his companions, stirred by the slanders of those who insinuate that the missionaries are people who do not care a whit about their converts, express the deepest conviction of their hearts in the form of a question, but that question requires an affirmative answer. It may be paraphrased as follows: “For who is our hope or joy or glory-wreath? Others only? Or are not also you (along with others; see, e.g., Phil. 4:1) in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” And that there may be no doubt about it, Paul himself supplies the answer: “Indeed (this is the meaning of γάρ here) it is you (note the emphatic position of ὑμεις) who are our glory (that is, our reason for glorying in the Lord) and (our) joy!”
Vers. 19, 20. What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?—
Those we lead to Christ an element of our final reward:—Paul wrote this letter from Corinth. He had, probably, just witnessed the Grecian games and the crowning of the victors. Then, says he, “What is our crown? Are not even ye?” They were also his glory. God desires and expects honour. We have a right to desire it. His prayer was that his pupils might be perfect in Christ at His coming. The “coming” is associated with the resurrection. Then the apostle’s hope was to see his pupils complete in Christ at the resurrection. 1. Paul was not concerned about his own salvation. That was as far behind him as that spot on the way to Damascus. His hope, his joy, was in the salvation of others.
II. He expected to know them in the resurrection. For this would be the source of his joy. They, for whom he laboured, would then be his crown. The indefinite thought that somewhere in the universe were a crowd of persons who had been saved through his labour would not have satisfied. There follows the inference that identity will not be destroyed. To destroy identity is to destroy the person. Nor is there continuity of existence save in memory. We go into the other world with the totality of our natures. There can be no reward save there is a consciousness of work done, and this consciousness will depend on the memory being intact. Otherwise, God may give joy, but that will not be reward; He may torture, but that will not be punishment.
III. Then it will be known to these saved ones what Paul had wrought for them. Else, how could their salvation be his joy and his crown? He would need more than the unselfish thought of what he had done. God will have glory. Christ was never more unselfish than when on the cross, despising the shame, yet He thought of the “joy that was set before Him.” An element in Paul’s joy will be the honour and praise given him by those who will be conscious of the good he did them.
IV. Paul was not a mere instrument, but a co-worker with God. He was a factor in the power that saved his pupils. He speaks of God and the Holy Spirit, and also of himself, and claims for himself a crown of rejoicing in the work wrought Then God, Paul, and you are to work out the salvation of men.
V. Paul will take his crown in the presence of the Lord. Christ will recognize him as a factor. Christ will not be jealous. The elder brother goes out to find file prodigal. Observe—1. Selfish motives are admissible in our Christian work. The Lord, perhaps, never had a more self-sacrificing servant than Paul. He cultivated such familiarity with the spiritual world as to make it present. He thought Christ might come any minute. His was a personal hope, a personal joy, a personal crown. Heaven to us is a pretty place, talked about in Revelation, or by Milton. It is not to us sufficiently real to dry our tears. 2. The selfish interests we aim at in this world are but trifles, compared with the crown, the joy, the hope, we may have. We take from this life nothing but our characters, and there await us cycles of eternities upon eternities, and yet what time we devote to our wardrobes, to trifles. Think of our translation to that other world; think of meeting men, women, and children leaping for joy, harp in hand, singing praises to God, and, at the same time, acknowledging us, with grateful hearts, as factors in the power that secured their salvation. 3. What dignity this gives the work of the Church. We are living in a time when the dignity of Christianity seems endangered. (T. T. Duryea, D.D.)
The grand reward anticipated by the genuine gospel minister:—It is natural for men to work for rewards, to have an eye in all their labours to compensation. There is a selfish and a disinterested aim after rewards. The selfish is not only seen in the mere worldling, whose rewards are confined to the present life, but also in the religious professor, who here works, sacrifices, and prays in order to get for himself a blessed heaven at last. The disinterested reference to rewards is peculiar to the genuinely Christian worker, and is exemplified in the text. Notice—
I. The nature of the good which he regarded as a reward for his labours. It was not wealth or enjoyment on earth, nor his own heaven in the future, but the spiritual excellence of those for whom he laboured; their deliverance from moral evil; their restoration to the image of God. He sought nothing higher as a recompense. This was his highest hope—his joy. Nothing thrilled him with a keener delight than to see sin crushed and virtue triumphant. This was his crown of glorying. The pleasure which the victor in the Grecian games felt in the garland he had won was nothing compared to Paul’s.
II. The period when this good would be manifested to his admiring eyes. “Are not ye,” &c., which implies—1. His belief in the final advent of Christ. Paul never doubted this, nor did the early disciples. They were not inspired as to its specific time; hence the latter mistook and thought it just at hand. 2. His belief that at that period when he should meet and recognize all his converts, and they would be presented to the Great Head “without spot or wrinkle,” filled him with joy. (D. Thomas, D.D.)
The minister’s joy:—1. Numerous causes of depression are connected with the lives of faithful ministers. Their office necessarily brings them into collision with the passions of others. Hostility to the truth frequently assumes the character of personal spite against the preacher, who is misrepresented, contemned, and persecuted. 2. During these seasons the apostles were able to state their possession of supports and consolations which had imparted to them animation and perseverance (2 Cor. 4:8, 9, 16; 6:9, 10). These are comforts permanently provided for the work of the ministry, and not the least is that of the text.
I. There is a strong religious affection cherished by ministers of the gospel towards their relieving hearers. This is well illustrated by previous expressions in this Epistle. 1. The relation of ministers to their people must of necessity always involve the exercise of kindly solicitude on their behalf. This is clear from Scriptural designations of their vocation. It is impossible to fulfil that vocation without feeling towards those whom they feed as shepherds, protect as watchmen, instruct as teachers, lead as guides, an affectionate interest. 2. This affection is also founded, as is all intelligent affection, on the possession of some common property. Both have been “called in one hope of their calling,” received the same Divine grace in their hearts, brought from the same spiritual bondage, washed in the same fountain, justified by the same righteousness, &c. 3. This affection becomes still more powerful when pastors have reason to conclude that to their instrumentality believers have been indebted for their introduction to spiritual life. Thus it was here. This connection is more close than others. It is not the relation of a friend to a friend, but of a father to a son (3 John 2–4).
II. There is an important event which it becomes ministers and their believing hearers to anticipate. Those who are united in the bond of Christian attachment ought to hold in remembrance that their communion on earth must soon terminate. But we have not to stay our contemplation of the future with the point of death. We have to look beyond to a period of high restoration. Throughout the Epistle the thought of the Lord’s coming is associated with the wellbeing of the saints. 1. Let the minister habitually anticipate this, and he cannot but be careful that he may answer the claims and fulfil the obligations of his office. 2. Let private Christians regard this, and they, too, will earnestly cultivate the graces appropriate to their station.
III. The event anticipated will involve the mutual recognition of those who have been spiritually related on earth. This involves the general principle that all pious friendships will be restored to be perpetuated for ever. 1. The ultimate recognition of the saints is a truth adapted to administer substantial consolation amidst the numerous and painful separations inflicted by death. What gratitude should arise towards that religion which affords such a hope! 2. This doctrine is applied to the recognition of preachers and believers. That connection which on earth is the parent of so much pure enjoyment will then be restored.
IV. This recognition will to ministers be connected with elevated joy (2 Cor. 1:13, 14; Phil. 2:15, 16; 4:1). In contemplating the reasons for ministerial joy we may name—1. The consideration of the unspeakable misery which believers have avoided, and the happiness to which they are exalted. 2. Saved believers will be a public testimony to the universe of official faithfulness and success. What a transcendent honour to be acknowledged in the presence of the Father and the holy angels. Here we do not witness all the results of our ministry. 3. The salvation of others will add new and permanent value to ministerial reward. (James Parsons.)
Culture of character the work of the Christian pastor:—How thoroughly Paul’s work is charged with personal feeling. There are times in which this personal feeling should be allowed its proper expression.
I. The aim of a true ministry. To get men ready to stand in the presence of Christ. The apostle lived in expectation of the appearance of the Saviour. That great hope was his own perpetual inspiration, and by the teaching of it he ever urges his disciples to live holier and more consecrated lives.
II. The joy it gives the minister to work with this for his aim. There is a passionate kind of joy known by the man who is the means of many conversions. There is surely a deeper, holier joy known by him who watches over the growth of holy character, and the settling of holy principle, and the arrangements of a holy life—those further stages of the work of conversion. There must have been a great thrill of joy in the heart of the old alchemist as he watched the metals simmering, and changing form; and as he fancied he caught, again and again, signs that the long-sought elixir was yielding to the fires. How intense must be the joy of the sculptor who works at the rough quarry-block, and sees under each chisel-stroke a new proof that the image of his soul is gaining form before him! The artist must know true joy in his work as the bare canvas gradually fills with the creations of his genius. The architect watches stone laid on stone, and fair proportions and graceful forms growing up before him with ever-new delight, We know there is no joy on earth like that of the mother who watches the babe unfold in strength and intelligence; and on up through the stages of childhood and youth that mother watches with a perpetual soul-thrill as intelligence and character are developed and perfected. I have sometimes tried to conceive the inconceivable, and imagine I stood beside Jehovah, and felt the thrill of His great joy as He watched creation unfold all its fitnesses and beauties before His Divine commands: as chaos broke up into movement, and rocks gathered round their centre, and water-floods separated themselves from the land. Who shall tell the joy of Him who watched the stages of that wondrous growth? It is but suggested in the words, “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good.” But all these fail before the joy to God, and to the good, that is found in watching the new creation of a soul, the regeneration and sanctification of a soul. All these can be but images and suggestions of the far greater joy he knows who watches the growth of souls, and can say, “What is our joy?… are not even ye in the presence of the Lord Jesus at His coming?” God must have more joy in the sanctifying of a soul, for He gave His only Son to accomplish that end.
III. The hope the minister may cherish that in some his aim will be realized. When we stand in the presence of Christ we shall each have several persons to thank for helping us forward on the road to holiness and God. (R. Tuck, B.A.)
The minister’s joy:—
I. The reasons upon which Christ’s faithful ministers are so seriously engaged in saving souls, making it the great object of their desire and hope, the scope of their prayers, and the business of their lives. 1. The Divine command and charge laid upon them (Acts 20:28; Col. 4:17; 2 Tim. 4:1, 2; 1 Cor. 9:16). 2. The Spirit and Grace of Christ. They preach no unknown Saviour, but one in whom and in whose work they have a special interest (Rom. 10:1; Gal. 4:19; Acts 20:31; 2 Cor. 12:15). 3. The example of Christ, who came “to seek and save the lost”; and whose meat was to “do the will of His Father,” &c. 4. The worth of souls. 5. The danger they are in from the world without and corruption within. 6. The price paid for souls (Acts 20:28). 7. The strict account they will have to give of their ministry (Ezek. 3:17, 18). 8. Future glory.
II. The joy they will have in the souls they win in the presence of Jesus Christ. 1. Every recovered soul will be a jewel added to their crown. 2. Their converts will be eternally safe. 3. They will spend eternity in their company whom they have loved most below. 4. They will receive the special commendation of the Lord. Conclusion. 1. How important the work of labouring for souls. 2. The prospect should animate pastors and people in times of depression. 3. How heavy will be the doom of those who have despised the preached gospel. (D. Wilcox.)
The pastor’s joy and crown:—(Farewell sermon). Let us consider—
I. What you are to me in the present. 1. Some of you are my hope. Joy comes of anticipations realized, but we hope for that we see not. Some of you are my hope because there are possibilities which have never been developed, aspirations which have never been fulfilled, blessings not yet experienced. At the same time you have not yet turned your backs upon them. You and I are hoping that the seed may yet bear fruit. (1) Some of you young men have not yet become corrupted by a life of sin; but you have not yet given your hearts to God. Turn my hope into joy by deciding for Christ. (2) Some of you maidens have not yet yielded to the fashions and frivolities of the world, and have indeed been drawn after Christ; but you have not yet embraced Him. Make my hope joy by doing so now. (3) Whether old or young you are my hope if you are convinced that what I say is and has been true. No longer halt, then, between two opinions. 2. Some of you are my joy. My hopes have been realized. You have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. Cleave to Him and work for Him so that you may continue to be my joy, and be something more by and by.
II. What you may be to me in the future. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ: I as your pastor to render an account of my ministry. Whether I have done my work well or ill it cannot be altered now: but if you have been unprofitable hearers you may remember in days to come what you have heard, and by giving yourselves to Christ be my “crown of rejoicing.” Then I shall be able to point to you and others and say, “Here am I and the children Thou hast given me.” And if any shall say, “He did not feed the flock, comfort the sorrowful,” &c., I shall be able to point to you in refutation. (R. Davey.)
The pastor’s crown of rejoicing:—
I. The text points to the future. Instead of indulging in fond regrets, lamenting over the severance of old ties, and giving himself up to the fascination of sentimental reminiscences, Paul looks onward to the future—hopefully, cheerfully, anticipating renewed friendship, calculating on continued usefulness. But beyond the horizon of time, Paul’s eager gaze penetrates eternity. He and his brother believers did not forget the first Advent, but they seem to have been more mightily moved by the hope of the second. When this hope will be consummated they could not tell, neither can we; but it will be some day.
II. The text recognizes an everlasting bond of union between a Christian pastor and his flock. 1. Moral influences work for ever. Mind affects mind, and will affects will, and character character in everlasting consequences of action and reaction. People cannot live and work together without making one another different. All relationships may be said to be interminable, because the influence for good or evil is perpetually operative. 2. But the relation between pastor and people is noticed in Scripture in a way no other is. Nothing is said about the meeting of kings and subjects, brothers and sisters, &c. This relationship of ministerial labour and oversight is alone placed in the eternal light; because a preacher has to do a work which no others do. He toils for eternity; and the result of his employment will not appear till time shall end. Many kinds of efforts produce immediate results; but with our sacred occupation “the harvest is the end of the world.” III. The text suggests the conditions on which the apostolic hope expressed may be fulfilled. This hope is sublimely disinterested. Paul here stands before us, a true philanthropist, who loses himself in the good of others, whose heaven is to lead others to heaven. The hope of the salvation of others is his own great hope; their joy his own joy; their crowns his own crown. The conditions upon which such a lofty hope can be fulfilled are these—1. The conversion of men to Christ through repentance and faith. The feelings with which one regards a pupil or adopted child may be very tender and grow into the semblance of paternal affection, but it is only a semblance at best. A father’s love and joy no stranger intermeddleth with. And so there is pure ministerial satisfaction in being an instructor of Christianity; but to be really a father in God, to beget a soul for Christ through the gospel—that is a joy which no man knoweth save he who receiveth it. The thought of that fills an apostolic mind with ecstasy. 2. The edification, improvement, growth in holiness of those so converted, whether by the minister himself or his brethren. To educate one’s child is a most precious task; to have under one’s pastoral care a person who attributes to you his conversion is a similar and yet nobler employment. To carry on step by step the purifying and ennobling process; to help to polish pillars in the house of God that are to go out no more for ever; to add any touches to the likeness of Christ drawn in the lives of His people—that is to enter into the noblest kind of partnership, to share in the consummation of the grandest of purposes. And it all bears on the anticipated felicity at “the coming of the Lord Jesus.” 3. The consolation of the afflicted in this world of trial. No man entered more deeply into the feelings of others than did Paul. Perhaps the strongest of all ministerial power is sympathy in affliction; and the prospect of spending eternity together with the sons and daughters of sorrow in that world where tears are wiped from all faces will form no small part of our crown of rejoicing. (J. Stoughton, D.D.)
The way to the crown:—The crown of a man’s life is that which he desires above all things. A crown of rejoicing is that which gives him the greatest joy. The apostle’s life joy was bound up with the salvation of souls. If that failed his life was joyless.
I. The sweetest joy that earth gives is the joy of doing good. 1. Here is a high hill, its sides rocky, its surface sterile, its contour uncomely. Nobody wants it or values it. Presently a wise man walks over it, purchases it, cuts away at its sides, and after long and expensive toil lays bare a wealth of precious minerals. So there is many a deed of kindness that waits to be done; yet no one does it. It seems an unpleasant, hard, costly thing; yet he who at last does it finds in it a treasure. In every kindness there is a joy locked up for your own soul, and the more difficult it is the sweeter the joy. It is sweet to take a loaf of bread to the starving, although it may leave you hungry; to deny yourself of some ornament to clothe the naked; to lose your own sleep to watch beside the suffering. Pearls are found in the unsightly oyster, so pearls of joy are found in tasks from which we shrink. 2. But the sweetest joy is that of saving souls. A man once saved a child’s life by snatching it from under the feet of a galloping horse, and ever after that one deed illumined that man’s life. He lay for years in prison cells, but the joys of that heroic hour shone ever in upon his gloom. If it is so blessed to save from physical, how much more to save from eternal death! When Dr. Lyman Beecher was dying some one asked him what was the greatest of all things. He answered, “It is not theology; it is not controversy; it is saving souls.” As the Christian approaches the sunset of life he feels that this is the only work worth doing. A preacher may draw crowds, and be rewarded with academic titles, and achieve great fame; but if souls are not saved his ministry is a failure.
II. Those whom we lead to Christ will be our crown of joy in heaven. I. Reference is here made to the ancient games. At the end of the race the victor is crowned. So at the end of the apostle’s course he should receive a crown jemmed with saved souls. He who gives a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple will be rewarded, and he who saves souls will receive the most glorious rewards. 2. There seems also to have been in the apostle’s mind the thought that his spiritual children would be grouped round him as a glory, as children gather round a parent. Jesus is the Saviour around whom all the saved shall gather. But that one family will be broken up into countless groups gathered about those who have led them to Jesus. All whom we have helped to the Saviour will greet us as we pass inside heaven’s gates. Every Christian pastor or worker will, in heaven, be like a tree with many or few branches on which all the fruits of his life will hang. Conclusion: Our joy in heaven will be measured by our deeds of kindness on earth. The gold and silver we have spent in benefitting our race, will be transmuted into crowns of glory. Those who are spending themselves for Christ are weaving fadeless garlands for their brows. They who are saving souls are gathering and polishing jewels for their heavenly crowns. (J. R. Miller.)
Believers the joy of ministers:—
I. Inquire when Christian professors may be styled the hope, the joy, and the crown of their ministers. 1. When they appear to be truly converted to God. 2. When they grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. 3. When they walk worthy of their heavenly calling, and bring forth the fruits of righteousness, such as closet duties, family religion, love for Divine ordinances, and Christian ministers, and consistent deportment in the world.
II. The solemn time in which they shall be the hope, the joy, and the crown of their ministers. 1. The second coming of Christ. 2. Ministers and hearers must then meet. 3. Their hope is to meet them at the right hand of God. 4. Their joy to see them partakers of Divine glory. 5. Their crown of rejoicing to behold them as the seals to their ministry. (C. Evans, D.D.)
Consistent Christians a minister’s joy:—I do not know when I ever felt more gratified than on one occasion, when sitting at a Church meeting, having to report the death of a young brother who was in the service of an eminent employer, a little note came from him to say, “My servant, Edward——is dead. I send you word at once, that you may send me another young man; for if your members are such as he was, I never wish to have better servants around me.” I read the letter at the Church meeting, and another was soon found. It is a cheering thing for the Christian minister to know that his converts are held in repute. Of another member of my Church an ungodly employer said, “I do not think anything of him; he is of no use to anybody; he cannot tell a lie!” (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Hope, joy, crown:—There are some who are our hope, who are not our joy; and others who are our hope and joy too, for a time, who will never be our crown; who hold not out to the end, and therefore will never be our rejoicing in the presence of the Lord at His coming. Some are under serious impressions, and excite a hope and joy, like that felt at the sight of blossoms in the spring, and yet are afterwards blighted. There are some that have made even a public profession, and yet, like the thorny and stony ground hearers, produce no fruit. The object desired, therefore, is not only your setting out, but your holding on, walking in the truth, and holding fast your profession to the end. Then, indeed, you will not only be our hope and joy, but our crown of rejoicing. (Andrew Fuller.)
Paul’s crown and glory:—That one word “glory” gathers up all the rays of light which stream from the others into its focus. They are his halo of glory now and evermore. Believers, or at least those who are specially engaged in His service, are described in 2 Cor. 8:23 as “the glory of Christ.” They are also in a lower sense the glory of Christ’s ministers. The pastor will find in his congregation either his glory or his shame. It was the boast of the Jews that to them had been given three crowns—the crown of the law, the crown of the priesthood, and the royal crown. These they highly prized, but they often added, better than these is the crown of a good name. Paul’s crown of a good name in the presence of Christ Jesus was his converts. The same crown is offered to us all, and is in keeping for us all if we are found faithful. History tells us that when in Philip II’s reign a rebel claimed and gained the crown of Granada, he bore at the ceremony of coronation in his right hand a banner bearing the inscription “More I could not desire, less would not have contented me.” These words cease to be presumptuous and become the utterance of truest wisdom only, when they refer to the crown of heavenly rejoicing, and when they are the legend of the banner under which he fights in “the sacramental host of God’s elect.” In view of the truth that converts are the crown of boasting in store for all faithful witnesses for Christ, the words are invested with a solemn significance “We live if ye stand fast in the Lord.” “Now, little children, abide ye in Him, that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” (J. Hutchison, D.D.)
Heavenly recognition:—It is natural for those who are travelling to an unknown land, in which they are soon to make their residence, to enquire frequently anent its manners, its customs, and its modes of intercourse; it is therefore not surprising that Christians, travellers to the kingdom of God, frequently endeavour to lift the veil which covers futurity, and to learn what are the holy delights of that heavenly world in which they hope to dwell for ever. To these inquiries, Paul’s statement to the Thessalonians affords the most precious consolation: it teaches that the friendship founded on piety is imperishable—that those who were friends to the Redeemer, as well as to each other, shall have mutual knowledge and recollection in the future world, which shall result in intercourse with each other and the whole triumphant Church.
I. The doctrine of heavenly recognition. 1. The enjoyments and occupations of heaven are uniformly represented as social; but where is the charm of society without mutual knowledge? 2. Heaven is uniformly represented as perfecting all our faculties. Is it then probable that it will diminish, nay, entirely abolish memory, one of the most important of them? 3. The chief grace that will be exercised in the regions of the blest, next to love to God, will be love to our companions in glory. But what kind of love is that which is felt for an object which we know not? 4. In the general judgment which is appointed to vindicate the ways of God to man, it is certain that every individual will be known to the vast assembly as distinct from all other persons. Is it probable that God, after thus making the blessed acquainted with each other, should immediately afterward obliterate this knowledge? 5. It is certain that we shall see and know the glorious manhood of our blessed Saviour, elevated above all the heavenly powers; and if we shall know one body, why not more? During His abode on earth, He afforded to three favoured disciples a glimpse of His Divine glory. He was transfigured, and Moses and Elias descended in celestial brilliancy: the disciples knew them distinct from the Saviour, and each as distinct from the other; and if they knew them on the solitary mount, why should they not know them in the New Jerusalem? 6. We find the apostle Paul very frequently consoling himself under the sufferings and persecutions which he had to endure, by the prospect of meeting in heaven those who had been converted by his ministry on earth.
II. The teaching of this doctrine. 1. What a delightful idea does it give of the felicity of the celestial world! Surely nothing, except the vision and enjoyment of God and the Lamb, can equal the joys of knowing and being known to all the Church triumphant above—of living in an eternal brotherhood—of forming an indissoluble connection with all the good men that ever have existed, or that ever shall exist, till the trump of the archangel shall shake the earth to its centre. Who can even conceive the raptures of such an intercourse? 2. The doctrine that in heaven we shall know each other, and all the pious who have preceded us, affords one of the sweetest consolations to the Christian against the natural fear of death. To a soul that has made its peace with God, death has nothing so terrible as those agonizing adieus which are to be given to those whom we love; but the anguish arising from this source is removed when the dying believer can strain his closing eyes upon those who surround his bed of death, and say to them, “Suffer me to go and join you heavenly company with the bright hope that you will ere long come to me, and we shall be beyond the reach of death, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 3. The doctrine of future recognition teaches relatives and friends how they should act in order that the sentiments of affection which they entertain for each other may have their greatest force, and they be saved from the severest pains. Form your attachments for eternity; build them on the basis of religion; strive to cement the ties of relationship by the more indissoluble bonds of grace; and then your future will be ineffably blessed and glorious. (H. Kollock, D.D.).
20. There is emphasis on both you and are. The Thessalonians (and no other) are (not will be) Paul’s cause for pride and joy. Of the two words he uses, glory refers to their giving him cause for honouring them before other people and joy to his own feelings of delight. Outwardly and inwardly the Thessalonian converts crowned his ministry.
Ver. 20.—For ye are our glory and joy. Some refer this verse to the present, and the former verse to the future; not merely at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but even now ye are our glory and joy. But there is no reason for this distinction; the words are merely confirmatory, and added from the fulness of the apostle’s emotions.
2:20 / This verse offers the answer to the question of verse 19, “Is it not you?” Indeed, says Paul (indicating the affirmative by the interrogative ouchi), it is you. You are our crown because (gar) you are our glory (doxa) and joy. Kauchēsis (2:19) indicates the activity, doxa the grounds of his glorying in the Thessalonians. As we might say, “They did him credit.” (For a similar use of doxa, cf. 1 Cor. 11:7; 2 Cor. 8:23). The Thessalonians are his pride; they are also his joy. This is why he sends Timothy to them.
Their crown of glory (vv. 19–20)
By using expressions of endeared affection and of the highest estimation, Paul assures the Thessalonians that they mean everything to him. Just as a father dotes over his beloved child, so Paul glories in what God has done in the Thessalonians through his ministry. It is similar to when Jesus was baptised and the Father declared to the watching world, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’ (Matt. 3:17). The Father was so proud of his Son that he announced his complete satisfaction with Jesus to all those who were prepared to listen.
At God’s coming, the missionaries will experience the realization of their ‘hope’, supreme ‘joy’, and the ‘glory’—wreath of victory. The word ‘comes’ either points to a state visit by a sovereign, whose arrival was marked by the presentation of an appropriate gift, or to the contributions that were collected for a crown of gold that was presented to a king at his coming. The Thessalonians are the crown, which the apostles will present to Christ when he returns to usher in the new age.
Paul again expresses the strength of his feelings for the Thessalonians when he says, ‘you are our glory and joy’. The Thessalonians are the reason why the missionaries are glorifying in the Lord with great jubilation.
20 Paul now follows his rhetorical question with the answer already implied in the rhetoric itself. “For you yourselves,” he now affirms, “are our glory and joy.” Four matters are noteworthy about this positive response to his own question. First, the repetition lacks the eschatological dimension of the prior question. What he says here is not about what they will be for him at the Lord’s coming, but about what they are for him now. And that is probably, second, why the word “hope” is not repeated. That word had altogether to do with their being present with him at Christ’s coming; here he is focussing on what they mean to him currently. And that leads in turn, third, to the probable reason for “glory” being substituted for “ ‘crown’ of boasting,” since the “crown” in view is that of the victor at the end of the race. Here he is interested only in what they presently mean to him. They are also his “glory,” probably in the sense of what he had already said about them in 1:8, that what the Lord had done in Thessalonica for them had resounded throughout the Grecian provinces; and he will therefore gladly “wear them” as his “glory” now. And that leads, fourth, to the one repeated word from the preceding enumeration: above all else, “you are our joy.” They are so in much the same way that new parents beam with delight over a newborn; and one cannot long be around such parents without experiencing their joy as well. Paul and Silas may themselves have felt “orphaned” by the many months of absence from their Thessalonian “newborns” (v. 17); but the reality is that the Thessalonian believers are their “children” in the Lord, who are also therefore their present joy.
In some ways this is a remarkable paragraph, while it is also thoroughly Pauline. Paul’s concern is that of ordinary friendship—to tell them how greatly they have been missed and how he feels about the absence. But typical of the Apostle, everything his hand/pen touches turns into some word about Christ and the gospel. In this case his (barely) hidden concern is for their perseverance in Christ. Now written from the perspective of Timothy’s return, he thus overflows with joy that they are remaining faithful, an overflow that is expressed ultimately in eschatological terms—his intense longing for them and him to be together in the Lord’s presence at his coming. Such a desire on his part is thus a scarcely subtle urging them on to continued perseverance. Everything for Paul has to do with “salvation,” and salvation for him has to do with both present and future realities.
Paul’s Joy in the Thessalonians (2:19–20)
19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
It is important for the apostle that the Thessalonian Christians be aware of the high esteem in which he holds them. His later exhortations must be understood in the light of that esteem. So now he has a little section in which he makes it clear that he is proud of them.
19–20 Paul brings this section to a climax with an excited outburst of esteem for his converts. It is probable that the two questions in NIV should be regarded as one, with a shorter little question as a parenthesis: “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory (are not you?) in the presence of our Lord Jesus …?” It is possible that we should read “and” instead of “or,” as Best does;91 it is not easy to think that Paul is choosing between hope, joy, and crown as he thinks of his friends. There were two words in common use in Greek for “crown.” That used here commonly denoted something like a festive garland or a laurel wreath awarded to the victor at the games. It is likely that Paul has in mind thoughts of joyfulness and victory93 as being symbolized by the crown (though we cannot be dogmatic on this point, for the word is sometimes found in the sense of a royal crown also). It is described as “the crown in which we will glory,” the last word giving the thought of the outward expression of the feeling of joy. It denotes a rather exuberant activity, and is sometimes rendered “boasting.” It is from a different root and expresses a different idea from that rendered “glory” in the next verse. Paul is not engaging in an outburst of pride, but saying forcefully that his joy is rooted in what God has done in these converts. Moore sees the Thessalonians as “Paul’s emblem of work well done and of victory achieved.” This high place assigned to the Thessalonians in Paul’s esteem is further emphasized with the insistence that it is “in the presence of our Lord Jesus” (which raises it to the highest level) and “when he comes” (which sounds the eschatological note and makes it permanent).
This is the first occurrence in Christian literature of the important word rendered “coming” in RSV (NIV with “comes” makes a verb of it) and commonly transliterated parousia. Its basic meaning is simply “presence” (1 Cor. 16:17; 2 Cor. 10:10). This gives rise to the sense of “coming to be present,” “arrival” (2 Cor. 7:6–7). In the ordinary language of the people the term was especially used for the arrival of a great personage, a king or an emperor, and it was the usual word for a royal visit. In the New Testament it became a technical expression for the royal visit, the second coming of our Lord. From the New Testament it passed into Christian literature generally. Milligan maintains that, as distinct from other words for the second coming, it “lays stress on the ‘presence’ of the Lord with His people, which, while existing now, will only at that Return be completely realized.” So here Paul uses for the first time in Christian literature that term which was to be the characteristic designation of the Lord’s triumphant return.98 And even then, says Paul, the Thessalonians will be his hope and joy and crown of boasting. It may not be without significance that on the occasion of a royal parousia the people sometimes found themselves under the necessity of providing a crown. But at the coming of this King, the crown will be his people’s.
Paul rounds off this section with a further statement that the Thessalonians are “our glory and joy.” The word for “glory” could be used of human splendor (Matt. 4:8), but came to have its characteristic use in connection with the “glory” of God (as in Rom. 1:23). It could similarly be used of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4), and even of the glory that is won for the believer (Rom. 8:18 and elsewhere). It is a word with many overtones. Paul uses it here to indicate that the Thessalonians are the cause of great rejoicing to the apostles: “Yes, you are indeed our pride and our joy!” (Phillips). His “you” is emphatic: Paul is giving a special place to no other than the Thessalonians. And while he looks forward to continuing to esteem them right up to the time of the Parousia, he yet insists that at the moment of writing, right now, they are his pride and joy.
Paul’s Anticipation of Christ’s Return
For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy. (2:19–20)
The apostle Paul always lived and taught others to live in the light of Jesus Christ’s return (Rom. 13:12; Phil. 3:20; 2 Tim. 2:12; 4:8, 18; cf. 1 Cor. 1:7–8; Phil. 4:5; Titus 2:13), and he plainly stated to the Thessalonians that the glory to come to believers when Christ returned was powerful motivation for ministering. That anticipation of the future perfection of believers is the third reality in Paul’s relationship with the Thessalonians. To emphasize this point, he asked a threefold question and answered it. First he asked them who was the object of his hope in the promised future reward and eternal blessing (cf. Rom. 5:2; Col. 1:5, 27; 1 Thess. 1:3; Titus 1:2; 2:13; 3:7; Heb. 3:6; 6:11; 1 Peter 1:13). Then he asked who was the source of his joy, or eternal happiness and satisfaction (cf. Matt. 25:21, 23; Phil. 4:1; Jude 24). Finally he inquired concerning the identity of his crown of exultation. The crown (cf. Prov. 1:9; 1 Cor. 9:25; 2 Tim. 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Rev. 2:10; 3:11; 6:2) is the festive wreath or victor’s crown, awarded for athletic triumph, and exultation denotes the exuberant expression of joyful feelings, and sometimes is translated “boasting,” in the righteous sense. From the Greek, one can literally render this phrase, “the crown which is rejoicing.” Similarly, “the crown of life” (James 1:12) is “the crown which is life,” and “the crown of righteousness” (2 Tim. 4:8) is “the crown which is righteousness.” The “incorruptible” crown (1 Cor. 9:25 kjv) is the reality of salvation’s triumph over believers’ corruption. The crown or wreath denotes the overwhelming victory God gives His own over sin, suffering, death, and judgment (cf. 1 Peter 5:4).
Paul immediately answered the question of what brought him joy with a rhetorical question that is somewhat surprising. One might think the answer should be the Lord Jesus Christ. But the apostle said, Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Paul’s anticipation for the future was the assurance that he would be in the presence of his Savior (cf. 1:10; 1 Cor. 1:7; Rom. 8:19–20; Phil. 3:20; Titus 2:13), but a crucial element of the joy of that experience is that at His coming he would see all the believers to whom he had ministered, including the Thessalonians (cf. 2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 2:16).
Paul understood that when believers reach heaven, they do not receive literal crowns to place on their glorified heads. Instead, the Lord will crown all believers with life, righteousness, glory, perfection, and joy. A great part of heaven’s bliss for the redeemed will be the joyful presence of those whom they have been used to reach. The believer’s hope of such reward is in part what Jesus in His parable of the unjust steward alluded to: “Make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). Even as the unbelieving steward or manager used his master’s resources to purchase earthly friends, Christ said believers should use the resources their Master provides to bring people to salvation. Whether or not believers know those people now as friends, they will know them in glory as friends forever and as sources of eternal joy.
The time to receive in full the promised joys is still in the future, at Christ’s return. He has promised, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12). The Lord will officially render that reward individually to every believer at the judgment seat (bēma) of Christ (Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 3:12–15; 2 Cor. 5:10; cf. Matt. 12:36; 2 Cor. 9:6; Gal. 6:7, 9; Eph. 6:8; Col. 3:24–25). God will seal it at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6–9; cf. Matt. 25:1–13; Rom. 8:16–17; Gal. 3:29; Col. 1:12; 1 Peter 1:4).
Coming is the important New Testament word parousia, “presence,” which in the majority of its occurrences has an eschatological meaning (1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1, 8–9; James 5:7–8; 2 Peter 3:4, 12; 1 John 2:28). Sometimes it refers to the time after the Tribulation when Christ returns to establish His millennial kingdom (Matt. 24:3, 27, 37, 39). However, in 1 Thessalonians parousia refers more specifically to the Rapture because Paul was writing to believers whom he knew were already waiting for Jesus to return from heaven (1 Thess. 1:10). In addition to the present verse, this epistle uses parousia three other times to denote the Rapture (3:13; 4:15; 5:23).
So Paul encouraged the Thessalonians with the truth that he did love them, evidenced by his desire to see them, the supernatural opposition it took to keep him away, and his view of heaven in which they would be central to his eternal joy. They also were his glory, which is the true honor bestowed on him by God, who used him to reach them. The pronoun you is in the emphatic position so as to remove any doubt that Paul was identifying his Thessalonian brethren as the source of both his eternal honor and happiness.
 Davis, J. F. (2017). 1 Thessalonians. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1905). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
God reminds us that as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high His thoughts are above ours. They are altogether beyond the power of our comprehension. When God laid out all His promises to Abraham, they were indeed thoughts higher than the heavens.
God tells us that we are made in His image. By grace we are actually renewed again into that image. As we gaze upon God’s glory in Christ, we are changed into the same image by His Spirit. These, too, are thoughts beyond our comprehension – our minds cannot take them in.
God, by His Holy Spirit, convey to our hearts the life and the light that can make us feel at home with these thoughts dwelling in us. But we need daily, prayerful fellowship with God if we are to enter into His mind and to have His thoughts make their home in us. It is by faith that God will not only reveal the beauty and the glory of these thoughts but will actually work in us their divine reality.
Just think of what Paul writes: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). But as we pray God will reveal them through His Spirit.
“Make yourselves at home in my love.” John 15:9 (MSG)
I have lived in three countries and in many different places. For many years I was on a quest to understand what it means to be home. Home used to be the place where I grew up; later it became the place where I rested my head at night. After I got married, it became the life I shared with my husband.
Home may carry many different meanings for those who have crisscrossed the world. But even those who have stayed home all their lives, may not have come home yet.
Jesus makes it very simple. He says, “Make yourselves at home in my love.” We don’t need to go looking for home; we may simply come home to Jesus. He invites us in. Because of His great love, He has already prepared a place for us. Come in, today. Open the door wide and enter into Love.
Where are you standing in relation to Jesus today?
Are you at home in His love yet? If not, is there anything keeping you from entering in? What is it?
If you already know the Love of Jesus, what is He saying to you today?
Thank you, Jesus, that You have gone to prepare a place for me. I have a home in You, in Your everlasting arms of love. I come today, to be scooped up and embraced in your love. I am here, Your child. Amen.
Not Pious Because You Didn’t Intend It Exodus 19:8; 24:3; Numbers 32:31; Deuteronomy 5:27; Hebrews 10:23
If you will here stop and ask yourselves why you are not as pious as the primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Lack of Restraint in Speech Leads to Greater Evil Matthew 5:22; 12:36; James 3:2–12; 1 John 3:15
When we are unwilling to keep back the idle word, we soon pass to words that are really evil: we give way to grumbling and detraction—perhaps to disputes and strife, thence to anger and hatred.
HUGH OF ST. VICTOR
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Daniel provided this interpretation of the king’s vision and he assigns only one specific name – Nebuchadnezzar’s – to the kingdoms described in the sequence of dynasties that would arise before being brought low by the stone carved by the God of heaven. With historical insight and the comparison we find to this vision in Daniel 8, we can conclude that Daniel prophesies of the rise and fall of the Babylonians (head), the Medo-Persians (chest & arms), the Greeks (torso & thighs), and the Romans (legs & feet).
However, these kingdoms are relevant here because their boundaries would include the land of Judah. Consequently, the LORD’s message to Nebuchadnezzar must properly be seen as a message to the LORD’s people at the end of their period in exile and in the days of their return to Judah. He wants the children of God to know what the future holds. Not in absolute detail, but in enough detail to know how it ends: with the kingdom of heaven established upon the earth!
Though Daniel tells this to Nebuchadnezzar, he is commanded by God to write this down for God’s people. The LORD’s Word concerning the life to come is chiefly for His people who can find comfort and courage to withstand trials and temptations of various kinds (1 Peter 1). The vision is all about God’s people in the end as He establishes a proper dwelling place for the temple of God – His people!
Suggestions for prayer
Pray for humility in our nation’s leaders to see that their authority is from God. Pray for patience in our hearts as we await the return of Christ. Pray for the gospel to continue to spread throughout the earth.
The sun is getting stormier, and it’ll peak just in time for a total solar eclipse For all we’ve learned about the sun, our home star remains shrouded in mystery. Now, after seven years of relative calm, the sun is set to become more temperamental—and a fleet of sun-gazing spacecraft are ready to watch as it awakens. Those spacecraft are offering scientists an unprecedented chance to study our stormy star and the ways it can affect our cosmic neighborhood.
Summer Megadrought Expected To Bring Dust Storms, Water Restrictions & Wildfires The megadrought that has almost the entire western half of the country in a death grip is starting to become extremely painful. In some areas, irrigation water is being totally cut off for farmers, and that is going to result in a totally lost year for many of them. Extreme drought across the Western U.S. has become as reliable as a summer afternoon thunderstorm in Florida. And news headlines about drought in the West can seem a bit like a broken record, with some scientists saying the region is on the precipice of permanent drought.
Missouri lawmakers pass ban on enforcement of federal gun laws, sending bill to Parson Missouri Gov. Mike Parson will decide whether to prohibit state and local police officers from enforcing a host of federal firearms restrictions after lawmakers on Friday approved a ban long sought by conservative gun owners fearful of future overreach by liberal politicians in Washington. Gun registration requirements, firearm tracking rules and limits on certain people having guns — all of it would be “invalid” in Missouri under the sweeping Second Amendment Preservation Act.
Liz Cheney Lied About Her Role In Spreading The Discredited CIA “Russian Bounty” Story The Times story, citing anonymous intelligence officials, was then continually invoked by pro-war Republicans and Democrats — led by Cheney — to justify their blocking of that troop withdrawal. The story was discredited when the U.S. intelligence community admitted last month that it had only “low to moderate confidence” that any of this even happened.
Following The ‘Science’? CDC Shifts From “Impending Doom” To ‘You’re Free’ In 6 Weeks At the time we pointed out that Walensky’s level of fearmongering is disgusting and disingenuous and the American people are growing more and more insensitive to such evocations. Now, just 6 weeks later, as all the doomsaying, fearmongering, panic-inducing double-speak was proven completely misplaced, and amid political pressure from even the leftest of leftists to “do something”, the masks are off and freedom (for the vaccinated) is offered back to ‘we, the people’. But Walensky assures the country that, “We followed the science here.” Political science?
Microsoft Board Members Wanted Gates Gone In 2019 After Investigation Into Sexual Relationship In a Sunday night bombshell, the Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft’s board of directors wanted Bill Gates gone following an internal investigation into an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female Microsoft employee. The investigation, conducted in late 2019, was launched after the woman in question – a Microsoft engineer, blew the whistle over a years-long sexual relationship she had with Gates – right around this time that Gates’ relationship with notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein had spilled into the public sphere and Melinda Gates began exploring divorce.
John Cornyn Seeking ‘Compromise Language’ for Democrat Gun Control Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is still seeking “compromise language” for Democrat gun control, the Washington Post reported. On April 20, 2021, Breitbart News pointed to Politico’s claim that Cornyn was talking gun control behind the scenes with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). Cornyn was having “quiet conversations” with Murphy for the purposes of “[finding] common ground,” Politico indicated.
Joe Biden Diverts Healthcare Cash to Help Illegal Migrants President Joe Biden has taken $2 billion from Americans’ healthcare programs to help deliver migrant youths and children to their illegal-migrant parents throughout the United States, press reports say. “The Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] has diverted more than $2 billion meant for other health initiatives toward covering the cost of caring for unaccompanied immigrant children,”
Israel has enough targets to keep striking Hamas in Gaza’ The targets hit by Israel range from rocket launchers, banks, homes of key commanders, drones, research and development facilities for rocket production and manufacturing, as well as senior commanders themselves and Hamas’s extensive “Metro” underground tunnel network. While the destruction of Hamas’s military infrastructure is the main objective of the IDF’s operations, the military is also striking Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and taking out dozens of military assets belonging to the Iran-backed terror group.
Rocket sirens continue to blare throughout night in Ashkelon, Beersheba Rocket sirens continued to blare throughout the night in Ashkelon and Beersheba, with two separate barrages being aimed at each city, as Gaza terror groups continue their assault on Israel late into the night. Hamas rocket barrages on southern Israel continued Sunday with almost 300 projectiles launched at Israel since Saturday, 120 on Saturday night alone.
Americans Waking Up To Reality That We Are Far More Vulnerable Than Most Believe Our enemies now understand that you can completely paralyze America by taking out just a handful of pipelines. Even though all of us knew that any gasoline shortages were just going to be temporary, the shut down of the Colonial Pipeline caused a frenzied wave of “panic buying” all along the east coast. But if something caused the gasoline to stop flowing for a longer period of time, not being able to fill up our vehicles would be among the least of our problems. Trucks need gasoline too, and if our trucks stopped running for an extended period it would virtually paralyze every part of our society.
Senior PIJ commander killed in IAF airstrike Monday afternoon Senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Hassam Abu-Arbid was killed in an Israeli airstrike in the northern Gaza Strip Monday afternoon as rockets fired from the blockaded enclave continued to be fired towards southern Israel communities. The IDF said that Abu-Arbid, was killed in a joint operation with the Shin Bet intelligence services, commanded over the northern Gaza Strip brigade of the terror organization…
Rockets continue to pound Israel as fighting continues As of Monday morning, since the beginning of operation “Guardian of the Walls,” approximately 3,150 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory, of which almost a seventh – about 460 – failed launches fell in the Gaza Strip. The Iron Dome Air Defense System has an intercept rate of approximately 90%.
Ceasefire between Israel, Hamas may be within reach – Egypt, Jordan Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Monday that a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas might be within reach. “Egypt is going to great lengths to reach a ceasefire between the Israelis and Palestinians – and hope still exists that a collective action could end the conflict,” he said in an interview to the Al Arabiya news outlet.
Cyclone Tauktae: Covid-battered India braces for storm India’s western state of Gujarat is braced for cyclone Tauktae, reported to be the strongest storm to hit the region since 1998. At least six were killed and thousands evacuated in the last two days amid heavy rains accompanying the storm. The meteorological department said the storm has now intensified into an “extremely severe cyclonic storm”.
Lebanon in free-fall: ‘For me, the country now is a large jail’ Lebanon is undergoing financial and economic collapse. The country’s currency has lost around 85% of its value and the majority of the population could soon face acute poverty. The BBC met one nurse who explains what the disintegration of the country means to him.
Fatah to West Bank Palestinians: Confront Israeli security forces Fatah, formerly the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, called on Palestinians in the West Bank to declare a general strike on Tuesday and “confront” the Israeli security forces in protest of continued fighting in the Gaza Strip. The current round of fighting entered its second week on Monday and there appeared to be no sign of any imminent end to the most serious hostilities in years…
Major damage after worst flooding in 11 years hits Cuenca, Ecuador Severe floods swept through Cuenca, capital of Azuay Province in Ecuador on Saturday, May 15, 2021, resulting in major damage that affected around 500 people. According to authorities, it was the worst flood the area has seen since 2010. Nearly 70 homes were damaged or destroyed by floodwaters more than 1 m (3 feet) deep, affecting around 500 people from 100 families, the National Risk and Emergency Management Service (SNGRE) reported.
UN Security Council Holds Useless “Emergency” Meeting on Israel and Gaza Violence …The Security Council meeting turned into a rehash of grievances, with the Palestinians more often than not portrayed as the victims and Israel portrayed as the heavy-handed oppressor. As always, the Palestinians used excuses for their terrorist violence – this time, a property dispute in East Jerusalem that the Palestinians and their advocates have repackaged as an illegal eviction by the “occupiers” and the Israeli police’s response to melees in and around the Temple Mount.
Del Bigtree declares covid is a biological weapon On May 11, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) grilled Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) about his agency’s illicit funding of dangerous gain of function research. Fauci of course denied that any such funding exists, even though there is an extensive paper trail proving it to be true.
NYC Pride bans police from events through 2025Posted: 17 May 2021 07:11 AM PDT(ETH) – Organizers of New York City’s Pride Parade have recently announced that police officers and other law enforcement officials will be officially banned from their events, including the annual LGTBQ march, until the year 2025.According to the report from Fox News, Heritage of Pride, who is responsible for organizing the annual march, is also working to reduce the presence of on-duty New York Police Department (NYPD) officers and first responders by attempting to keep law enforcement separated from any NYC Pride event by “one city block.”The group recently stated that it has increased its security budget for the June march and “will allow NYC Pride to independently build a first response emergency plan using private security and provide safety volunteers with de-escalation training.” According to the recent statement that was released on Saturday, the group stated that it “challenge[s] law enforcement to acknowledge their harm and to correct course moving forward.”“The sense of safety that law enforcement is meant to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most often targeted with excessive force and/or without reason,” the group added.Continue reading NYC Pride bans police from events through 2025 at End Time Headlines.
When it comes to covering the Biden administration, the mainstream media has thoroughly compromised itself.
Imagine the uproar if former President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, had insisted that the media could only quote her boss or members of his administration if they first sent the quoted material to her to approve, fix, or nix.
Because that’s exactly what Joe Biden’s communications team is doing. And has been doing since the 2020 presidential campaign. So while Trump was out there on the White House lawn, fearlessly taking on all comers, old Scranton Joe and his staff were cowering behind a team of media fixers.
We might call that an in-kind campaign contribution to Team Biden. And we might also call the mainstream media what they essentially are: a Biden administration super PAC.
The practice is called “background with quote approval,” and it’s tailor-made for an authoritarian administration whose policies are indefensible and whose communications are incoherent. Indeed, when Biden says something stupid to a reporter, or when one of his cabinet members accidentally utters an inconvenient truth, the Biden poop-scoopers insists on being able to approve, edit, or veto it before it ever sees the light of day. So if you think Team Biden has trouble getting its story straight now, imagine what its unexpurgated effluent would sound like.
Clean-up on aisle two … er, on aisle six … uh, and aisle three!
The policy runs so contrary to the notion of a free and independent press that even the New York Times’s chief White House correspondent, Peter Baker, is disgusted by it. As Politico quotes him, “What started out as an effort by reporters to get more transparency, to get people on the record more, to use fewer blind quotes, then got taken by the White House, each successive White House, as a way of taking control of your story. So instead of transparency, suddenly, the White House realized: ‘Hey, this quote approval thing is a cool thing. We can now control what is in their stories by refusing to allow them use anything without our approval.’ And it’s a pernicious, insidious, awful practice that reporters should resist.”
But let’s not tip our caps to Baker or the Times just yet. He admits that he’s guilty of the very practice he decries — even though his paper barred the practice back in 2012. That was when a Times reporter embarrassed the cage-liner of record by noting that quote approval had become “standard practice for the Obama campaign … in Chicago and at the White House.” And this is the same paper that made Biden campaign-dictated edits to its belated coverage of Tara Reade’s allegations that Biden sexually assaulted her.
Nor are the authors of the Politico piece squeaky clean. Both Alex Thompson and Theodoric Meyer admit to having prostituted themselves to White House communications director Kate Bedingfield. “Close to deadline and with our editors giving us side-eye about filing late, we agreed.”
The Trump team apparently used the practice, too, but Thompson and Meyer report that they “did so less frequently than Biden’s team.” How much less frequently? They don’t say.
What’s perhaps most remarkable about the corrupt practice, though, is that Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki makes it sound like she’s doing the normally supplicant Leftmedia a favor. “We make policy experts available in a range of formats to ensure context and substantive detail is available for stories,” she said. “If outlets are not comfortable with that attribution for those officials they of course don’t need to utilize those voices.”
Translation: If you don’t like our rules, we know plenty of other lickspittles who’ll be more than happy to play along.
Retranslation: Pound sand and like it, you toadies.
Pelosi, Cuomo, Newsom, and others once again reveal that this is mostly about power.
The clear message from Democrat tyrants is that vaccines don’t work. We’re only partly serious, of course, because while that is indeed the message Democrats are sending, the real story is that they just won’t let go of power.
We’ll start with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Despite the CDC’s big announcement Thursday to grant fully vaccinated Americans “permission” to go maskless, Pelosi says the House will still require masks. “No,” she said in answer to a question about ending the mandate. “Are they all vaccinated?” She added, “We cannot require someone to be vaccinated.” No, but she can cling to that mask mandate.
President Joe Biden did, after all, give every American an ultimatum: “The rule is now simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do. The choice is yours.”
One hundred percent of Democrat members of both chambers have been vaccinated, while the numbers are at least 45% and 92% for House and Senate Republicans, respectively. Many of those who’ve not been vaccinated have antibodies from already having had COVID, though Brian Monahan, the attending physician to Congress, insists that’s not good enough.
Thus, we’re left to conclude that Pelosi is deeply concerned about the health of her friends on the Republican side of the aisle.
Okay, we’ll admit to sarcasm. In truth, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise nailed what’s really going on, saying, “It’s about control.”
Next, we’ll move to New York, where both Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will not yet relax mask mandates despite the CDC guidance. Both explain that they’re “reviewing the guidance.” Cuomo boasted, “In New York, we have always relied on the facts and the science to guide us throughout the worst of this pandemic and in our successful reopening.”
Yes, this from the guy who issued an order last spring sending thousands of New Yorkers to their COVID deaths in nursing homes. Regarding COVID in nursing homes, New York has a worst-in-the-nation death toll of more than 15,000. Not to worry, though — Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, who helped Cuomo cover up that deadly scandal, will be reviewing the CDC’s recommendations and advising Cuomo on what to do.
De Blasio? Don’t mind him — he’s just eating a burger at a press conference and offering free French fries to the vaccinated.
On the other side of the country, California Governor Gavin Newsom has been another of the strictest lockdowners. He says residents of his state can finally forgo masks … maybe after June 15.
Perhaps we’re being too hard on these Democrats for refusing to follow the science as decreed by the CDC. After all, this is the CDC we’re talking about — an agency that has dishonestly manipulated the numbers, colluded with the powerful teachers unions to keep schools hampered by unnecessary restrictions, and obviously timed its sudden announcement Thursday to relieve Joe Biden from a horrible week of inflation, gas lines, and Middle East violence.
Regarding schools, despite relaxing guidelines for most Americans, the CDC kept the least vulnerable among us — children — under strict orders of wearing masks for the remainder of the school year. Maybe that’s understandable because children under 12 still can’t be vaccinated. But the guidance applies K-12, and the same CDC also says, “Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all.” Forgive us for concluding this mandate is less about protecting children than about bowing to the teachers unions.
We’re hearing one thing from the CDC and another thing from CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “This is not permission for widespread removal of masks,” Walensky said Sunday, three days after the agency did indeed condone widespread removal of masks — at least if you consider the nearly 125 million Americans who are now fully vaccinated as constituting “widespread.”
The end result of all this? A lot of confusion in the public, including angry shoppers who simply want to follow the science but whose governors and mayors won’t let them.
This is America. The heavy hand of government has never been a good or acceptable tool for determining the behavior of free citizens. If the CDC had been actually reliable and respectable from the beginning, and if the ruling class hadn’t become so quickly addicted to power with COVID as an excuse, we’d all be better off today. We call it the ChiCom Virus pandemic because this virus has proven to be communist in more ways than one.
FBI and DOJ data shows that violent crime rates spike in cities following consent decrees.
If history is any guide, the residents of Minneapolis and Louisville may want to brace for a jump in violent crime. The reason? At the behest of President Joe “Unity” Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland initiated sweeping investigations into the supposedly systemically racist policing practices of these two cities last month and, historically, such probes end up yielding higher crime.
The day after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, Garland announced a Justice Department “pattern and practice” investigation to ascertain “whether there is a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing.” And with the near certainty that the DOJ will determine there are patterns or practices that are deemed unlawful, these police departments will be forced into consent decrees.
That’s where the trouble begins. As Axios reports, “Data on all 12 agencies under consent decrees since 2012 found that seven of them experienced jumps in violent crime rates in two years compared to the two years before they entered into the consent decrees.” In short, DOJ consent decrees are a recipe for increasing a large city’s violent crime rate.
These increases are not by small percentage jumps, either. Data shows Los Angeles experienced a 61% spike in violent crime following its consent decree in 2012, Albuquerque saw a 36% increase after its consent decree in 2014, and Seattle saw a 27% rise.
There is one caveat, and it has everything to do with the size of the city. Data indicates that those cities with populations of less than 50,000 do experience a drop in violent crime rate following a consent decree. But unless the cities of Minneapolis and Louisville have experienced a sudden massive population shift, this factor is moot.
Regarding the city of Albuquerque in particular, the current GOP candidate for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election, Mark Moore, contends, “Right now we are in crisis. Albuquerque is burning, and it seems like politicians are just playing the fiddle. We’ve got to be able to deal with this criminal element that has taken over the city right now.” Data shows that Albuquerque had been experiencing a 30-year low in crime prior to the DOJ’s consent decree.
If fighting violent crime is the goal, then it would seem that consent decrees are clearly not the way to go. But with the Biden administration embracing Critical Race Theory, which preaches that police are systemically racist, what could possibly go wrong?
A new woke recruiting ad sends all the wrong messages about America’s Armed Forces.
Just when Americans might think a CIA recruitment ad featuring a 36-year-old “cisgender Millennial” Latina CIA agent, who identifies as an “intersectional woman of color” and who has been “diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder,” might be the bottom of the woke barrel, the U.S. Army proves them wrong.
The Army’s latest recruitment ad features a girl raised by two mothers, a lesbian wedding, and a civil rights protest, all aimed at “shattering stereotypes.” It opens with some music and the cartoon pictures of a soldier morphing into their photos. Then comes the narrative. “This is the story of a soldier who operates your nation’s Patriot Missile Defense Systems,” an animated female soldier named “Emma” states. “It begins in California with a little girl raised by two moms.”
“Although I had a fairly typical childhood, took ballet, played violin, I also marched for equality,” Emma says, while images of a “Pride” demonstration are shown. “I like to think I’ve been defending freedom from an early age.”
Whether she knows it or not, Emma is already in trouble. As the Democrat Party and the Biden administration have made clear, “equality” and the meritocracy implied by it must give way to “equity” and mandated outcomes that ostensibly redress historic injustices.
Emma then tells the story of one of her moms becoming paralyzed after an accident that occurred when Emma was six years old. “Doctors said she might never walk again,” Emma says. But after tapping into the family’s pride and working hard, she adds, her mom was able to “to get back on her feet, eventually standing at the altar to marry my other mom.”
Emma then says she graduated at the top of her high school class, attended university, and joined a sorority “full of strong women,” but as graduation approached she felt empty, especially when compared to her sorority sisters who were “studying abroad in Italy” and “climbing Mount Everest.” “I needed my own adventures,” she decided. “My own challenge. And after meeting with an Army recruiter, I found it. A way to prove my inner strength, and maybe shatter some stereotypes along the way.”
Cartoon Emma then morphs into U.S. Army Corporal Emma Malone-Lord. “And I answered my calling,” she says.
The ad closes with the words, “What calls you?”
For a United States Army that is also determined to “morph” from a lethal fighting force into a social justice-besotted enterprise, it appears one’s “calling” has far less to do with protecting national security than ticking off the politically correct boxes that satisfy progressive sensibilities.
Moreover, those sensibilities countenance no deviation whatsoever from leftist dogma. That is precisely why Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued a 60-day stand-down order requiring military leaders to discuss “the importance of our oath of office; a description of impermissible behaviors; and procedures for reporting suspected, or actual, extremist behaviors.” Austin used the Capitol riot on January 6 as the impetus for doing so, because some of those rioters were active-duty service members and military veterans.
Perhaps Austin might have more credibility if he voiced concern that the only lethal force used during that riot was directed at 35-year-old Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a law enforcement officer. An officer whose identity remains unknown and whose actions have been deemed by the Justice Department as insufficient evidence to bring any charges.
He might also have more credibility if he voiced an equal amount of concern for the thousands of homeless military veterans afflicted with any number of combat-related disorders precipitated by fighting in endless wars, where equally “enlightened” military brass were far more concerned with “winning hearts and minds” than with defeating our enemies. So much so that American troops were required to remove the magazines from their weapons while quartered at bases with armed Afghans they were training to become policemen and soldiers. Astoundingly, it took more than 100 deaths for a military brass neck-deep in the PC swamp to figure out that the presence of armed Afghan trainees in the presence of unarmed American trainers gave our so-called “trusted Afghan partners” a decided tactical advantage.
That they’re still in the PC swamp is unsurprising. During the Obama administration, what could be best described as a purge of top military leaders took place. “I think they’re using the opportunity of the shrinkage of the military to get rid of people that don’t agree with them or not toe the party line,” a senior retired general said at the time.
And not just top generals. In 2013, Breitbart compiled a list of more than 197 military commanders, mostly at the rank of colonel or above, who were terminated by the Obama administration beginning in 2009.
No one should be surprised by those previous machinations, the current ones precipitated by Austin, or the production of woke recruitment videos. The military has long been perceived by leftists as the last bastion of conservative opposition to their agenda, and thus its ongoing bastardization proceeds apace, even if national security is compromised in the process.
It should also surprise no one that the military.com website offers the following assessment regarding the fact that nearly half of female soldiers taking the Army Combat Fitness Test are failing it, and that enlisted women are struggling the most. “The data again raises questions about whether the Army’s attempt to create a fitter force is creating more barriers to success for women,” it states.
Barriers to success for women? That such a contemptuous calculation would attach itself to putting men and women in harm’s way, where the only thing that should matter is the ability to do the job — one that requires a high degree of fitness — is highly indicative of the moral and intellectual rot that passes for military wisdom. The only thing worse is the apparent abandonment of anything resembling an effort to make our military wholly lethal — and wholly committed to achieving victory.
Here’s the U.S. Army’s recruitment video. Here’s a Russian army recruitment video. The differences couldn’t be starker — or more ominous — for America going forward. While the U.S. remains technologically superior, that superiority becomes an illusion when the will to win is supplanted by political correctness. Nothing makes that more obvious than Afghanistan, where the military spent two decades engaging a far less lethal force of guerrillas.
Guerrillas that will bring the Islamist status quo back to that nation — after we unceremoniously withdraw.
The current video is part of a series titled “The Calling.” It’s intended to be the first of a five-part video series following five “diverse” soldiers from different backgrounds who all joined the military. The bet here is that none of the five videos will “divert” from progressive orthodoxy.
It’s what happens when a PC-addled command structure prioritizes inclusion over readiness — and courts disaster by doing so.
Voters last November may have thought they just wanted Trump gone. Reality hurts.
As the four-month mark approaches of swearing in the 46th president of the United States, are campaign promises made by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris being kept and voter expectations being met?
The promise that COVID would be handled much differently is absolutely happening. President Donald Trump fast-tracked multiple vaccines through an unprecedented structure of research, development, and market introduction and tended to view one’s life and livelihood as valued things during the pandemic. On the other hand, President Biden continues to promote fear and government mandates. “The rule is very simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do,” Biden declared, ignoring those who may have active antibodies from having COVID and those who want more data demonstrating safety of the vaccines. Although COVID is a serious virus, its mortality rate is now at 1% for the elderly, and those with existing illnesses are most at risk.
Another Biden campaign promise was to “create jobs,” and there are plenty available. As a matter of fact, the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics stunned the Biden-Harris administration. There are, according to David Harsanyi’s analysis of the seasonally adjusted data, “7.5 million jobs available in the United States, but only 270,000 were filled.” A historic number of jobs have been left unfilled, with the labor participation rate being only 0.1% better in April 2021 than October 2020. Biden and Harris were supposed to reverse the dreadful economy because, as the political Left argues, capitalism had failed most Americans. Yet a four-month lurch of socialism is certainly proving a failure to American workers, business owners, and consumers.
As more businesses are forced to compete with big government welfare checks, the cost of labor has increased. That cost is being passed along to consumers, increasing the cost of goods and services across the board. The most recent Consumer Price Index tracked a 4.2% increase in inflation over the last 12 months. This doesn’t even take into consideration the greater price hikes on necessary items verses the lower ones for luxury items. Inflation has arrived in earnest, and citizens are getting less value for their earnings.
Meanwhile, when Donald Trump lost, all drama with Russia was supposed to cease, right? Last week’s gas crisis was caused by a ransomware attack on an American private fuel supplier, raising the cost of getting to work and school. David Kennedy, a former National Security Agency hacker, credits President Vladimir Putin as having ties to this cyberattack aimed to inflict economic pain and enrich those with energy ties outside of America.
Immigration was another hot issue during Biden’s campaign. According to Time magazine’s post-election piece in November 2020, the Biden-Harris pledge was to “undo Trump’s immigration policies” by halting deportation and construction of the border wall. Biden promised forcefully, “There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration!” Biden and Harris have absolutely done that. Biden’s promises included plans to “modernize America’s immigration system, welcome immigrants in our communities, and implement effective border screening.” Americans have witnessed these promises being fulfilled. Law enforcement encounters at the southern border have increased from 17,106 in April 2020 to a record-breaking 178,622 individuals just last month. Yes, last month.
We have to admit that Biden and Harris have kept their promises, and that is exactly why they are failing Americans. There is, however, one glaring exception: the promise of uniting our country. A meme circulated last week that captures the change of sentiment of so many in just four months: “I sure could go for a mean tweet and $1.79 gas right now.”
Rational Americans are now united around the reality that the “Anybody but Trump” vote has given us an administration bent on implementing failed socialist policies that will undermine and ultimately destroy the greatness of America.
Josh Hawley proposes legislation to bust up our Big Tech overlords before they bust up our republic.
“Our aim is not to do away with corporations. … We are not hostile to them; we are merely determined that they shall be so handled as to subserve the public good. We draw the line against misconduct, not against wealth.”
But for the words “shall” and “subserve,” which belong to a bygone century, the above quote could’ve been uttered by Senator Josh Hawley. It’s the Missouri Republican, after all, who’s been the most vocal critic of both the awesome influence and the political malfeasance of Big Tech. Those words, though, came from the 1902 State of the Union address of Teddy Roosevelt.
Perhaps it’s time we reconsider them.
In a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Hawley laid out a plan through which Republicans can return to TR and the party’s trust-busting roots. “The founders understood that concentrations of power in either government or the economy are dangerous, threatening the rule of the people,” he wrote. “That’s why they curbed monopolies and strictly limited the corporate form. … They wanted the people to govern the nation, not an elite, whether that elite resided in government or business.”
Hawley proposed three measures for pushing back against the plutocracy:
Breaking up Big Tech, which he calls “the most powerful corporations in the country and likely in American history.”
Limiting the size of the other corporate giants, in part by banning mergers and acquisitions of more than $100 billion, and by paying closer attention to their efforts to corner a given market.
Ensuring that our courts are asking the right questions — not just about low prices, but also about robust competition.
The first of these measures, cutting Big Tech down to size, would seem to be the most urgent in Hawley’s mind. Last month, to little fanfare, he introduced the “Bust Up Big Tech Act,” which he believes will restore accountability and competition to these industry titans. “Woke Big Tech companies like Google and Amazon have been coddled by Washington politicians for years,” says Hawley. “This treatment has allowed them to amass colossal amounts of power that they use to censor political opinions they don’t agree with and shut out competitors who offer consumers an alternative to the status quo. It’s past time to bust up Big Tech companies, restore competition, and give the power back to the American consumers.”
Concurrent with his campaign against our modern-day robber barons is a new book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, which was published by Regnery earlier this month after the original publisher, Simon & Schuster, shamefully canceled Hawley’s contract in January. (Despite the worst efforts of the speech suppressors at Simon & Schuster, Hawley’s book is already a bestseller, having finished its first week ranked sixth on the Publisher’s Weekly list and 15th on Amazon’s list.)
“The irony is, the book is about the control Big Tech has over our politics, and over our society,” notes Hawley, “and it was Big Tech that led the effort to get this canceled. … This is a book that corporate leftists don’t want anybody to read, and for good reason. This is all about how big tech and mega corporations are working hand-in-hand with big government to try to run our country, silence our speech, and take over our government.”
Hawley’s book has three parts: the first is a look at the original corporate monopolies of the Gilded Age — the rail, steel, and oil barons; the second is a look at today’s version of these giants — Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Twitter among them; and the third is a look at his antitrust ideas, including the aforementioned legislation, and his ideas for lessening the extraordinary influence of Big Tech in our daily lives.
Rather than being able to speak our minds and govern ourselves, we’re being silenced and crushed into compliance by Big Tech’s corporate leftists. As Hawley writes in his book, “Our republic has never been more hierarchical, more riven by class, more managed by an elite than it is today. That is corporate liberalism’s legacy. But it need not be our future.”
Israeli strikes kill dozens, topple buildings in Gaza City (Fox News) | Associated Press denies any knowledge Gaza office building was shared with Hamas terrorists (Breitbart) | CNN contributor deletes tweet saying “the world today needs a Hitler” (Washington Examiner)
Better late than never: FBI reclassifies 2017 shooting of Republican lawmakers as domestic terrorism (Washington Times)
Government & Politics
Maxine Waters among lawmakers accused of abusing privilege of air marshals on flights (Fox News)
House members announce bipartisan deal for January 6 commission (Washington Post)
Insight: “Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody.” —Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)
Sage advice: “We are already witnessing the poisonous fruits of Biden’s programs: inflation; an overrun border that threatens America’s sovereignty and security; a constant stirring of racial resentment; foreign policy weakness and a betrayal of our ally Israel; gas hikes partially caused by a war on domestic energy; a war on cops; a war on free, fair and honest elections; a perversion of our national security by preposterously identifying white supremacy as the greatest security threat; a weakened military obsessed with identity politics; a never-ending climate of fear over the pandemic that keeps schools and businesses shut down; rampant cancel culture; and our academic, cultural and digital institutions suppressing speech, demanding conformity and smothering academic inquiry. Note to Republicans: Don’t fall for this sham for the thousandth time. Democrats will promote their agenda zealously, without compromise, and with or without your support. Please surprise us and block them at every turn. You should not set your sights on crossing the aisle for a phony photo-op but on saving the country.” —David Limbaugh
Words have power: “Unlike conservatives, left-wingers understood the importance of language. They understood their branding was all wrong. Liberals were essentially unelectable in national races. So, they changed the brand and started going with ‘progressive.’ And who doesn’t want to be progressive? What’s the opposite? Regressive? The funniest part about the liberal attempt to rebrand themselves as the ‘progressives’ is who played along without even thinking. Read any conservative publication and you will read tons of references to ‘progressives.’ Nearly all are used purely as synonyms for ‘liberal’ or ‘left-wing.’ The left must love how easy these debates are to win. … When your policies are completely out of whack with what regular Americans favor, being able to label them as ‘progressive’ as opposed to ‘left-wing’ and having that endorsed by the ‘mainstream’ media is a godsend. For some reason, conservatives are only too happy to mindlessly play along.” —Neil Patel
For the record: “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey … saw no apparent contradiction in maintaining his permanent ban of former President Donald Trump while imposing a mere 12-hour suspension on Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh for celebrating the ‘bombing of Tel Aviv,’ and providing a platform for blue-checked Hitler nostalgia to percolate. … The American left and the media organs it controls are exporting their paroxysms of ‘1619 Project’ rage onto a foreign stage, expiating their ‘white guilt’ sins and armchair-quarterbacking a foreign conflict on a cosplayed chess board. In this perverse cosplay, Israel … is the ‘white’ Derek Chauvin; Hamas is the ‘brown’ George Floyd. And the left will not let facts or rudimentary morality get in the way of this preferred woke narrative, even if it means increasing willingness to openly side with a terrorist group.” —Josh Hammer
Re: leftist double standards: “A year ago: Harass the people in stores who aren’t wearing masks. Now: Please show grace to those who can’t give up their masks. The Pharisees always want grace for themselves and never want to extend it to others.” —Erick Erickson
Class warfare: “I feel like I’m going to have to rewire myself so that when I see someone out in the world who’s not wearing a mask, I don’t instantly think, ‘You are a threat.’ Or you are selfish or you are a COVID denier and you definitely haven’t been vaccinated. I mean, we’re going to have to rewire the way that we look at each other.” —MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow
A bridge to nowhere: “I’m … conscious of the fact that we can never rest on the issue of diversity. My feeling is, no matter how much progress we’ve made, it’s never enough.” —The Washington Post’s new executive editor, Sally Buzbee
Grand delusions: “After ousting Liz Cheney, Republicans prove they’re a bigger threat than 9/11 hijackers.” —column title by USA Today deputy editorial page editor David Mastio
And last… “If you’re not trying to cheat, there’s no reason to oppose voter ID laws. So why are Democrats trying to pass H.R. 1 to ban all voter ID requirements?” —Senator Tom Cotton
On Newswatch AM May 17th: Israel launches more airstrikes in Gaza following Hamas rocket attacks- while in Washington, Democrats are divided, with progressives opposing Israel, while party leaders like President Biden and Speaker Pelosi support …
In August 2020 The Gateway Pundit’s Joe Hoft posted an article about COVID-19 that sent shockwaves throughout the internet — The CDC website admitted that only around 6% of COVID recorded deaths were due entirely to the Coronavirus-
The gist of the reporte was that COVID-19 is not nearly as deadly as first projected by the WHO and then by Dr. Tony Fauci and Dr. Debra Birx. Based on CDC numbers in Ausust only 6% of all deaths attributed to COVID-19 were instances where the only factor in the individual’s death was due to COVI9-19.
From the CDC website.
For all the other deaths reported by the CDC linked to COVID-19, the individuals who passed away had 2-3 other serious illnesses or co-morbidities.
Twitter user Mel Q shared a calculation which showed that 6% of all COVID-19 deaths as reported by the CDC turned out to be 9,201 deaths at the time.
Only 9,201 people died in the US according to August numbers where COVID-19 was the only cause of death.
We used Mel Q’s tweet in our report and the President of the United States retweeted Mel Q’s tweet as well.
But Twitter took down the tweet claiming fake news. They notified Mel Q that the tweet that used actual CDC data “violated their policy on misleading information about COVID-19.” Her account was suspended from posting for 12 hours.
Of the people who died after being fully vaccinated, 42 were asymptomatic or not related to COVID-19, according to the CDC. Additionally, 342 of the hospitalizations were asymptomatic or not related to COVID-19.
“Many, many hospitals are screening people for COVID when they come in, so not all of those 223 cases who had COVID actually died of COVID. They may have had mild disease, but died, for example, of a heart attack,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Under the usual counting program, people who have not been vaccinated but who die of heart attacks or other causes are typically listed as a COVID-19 death.
Here is the video of CDC Director Walensky on CNN.
There is a Tribulation to come. It is not the Tribulation now. However, the terrible things we see happening on earth today remind us of God’s stored-up wrath that the Lord will pour out on the world during that time of judgment.
Do I refer to the judgments to come because I believe we are in the Tribulation now? Of course not. The rapture of the church will happen first, and then the judgments will be rendered by the Holy and Just Judge exactly and in the order as chronicled in Revelation.
Do I speak of the severe judgment to come in order to instill fear? A little. Holy fear and biblical knowledge of the power of God in wrath is a good thing. His judgment and His wrath are holy attributes of which we should be acquainted.
Franklin Graham, son of controversial universalist preacher, Billy Graham, says he is willing to join up with Joe Biden to push a controversial vaccine program that has reportedly caused the deaths of thousands of people. According to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), currently over 3000 deaths have occurred following administration of one of the three available COVID-19 vaccines.
That’s the future critics of “vaccine passports” fear as Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely live more normal lives, including spending time in most indoor settings without a mask.
The notion that a “passport” could separate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated has sparked fears of a dystopian future where people’s health decisions would limit where they could travel, where they could shop, what events they could attend and whether they would be asked to wear a mask.
Many states have taken a stand against that possibility.