“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
Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson said on “The Sharyl Attkisson Podcast” that Big Tech “is censoring factual and truthful information while propagating false information” about the safety of COVID vaccines.
COVID vaccines are being used on an “emergency basis,” said Attkisson, meaning they weren’t subjected to the same safety trials vaccines normally go through before hitting the market. “That’s why we’re learning things in real time as we go,” she said.
Attkisson said the fact that some scientists are calling for an immediate halt to the use of COVID vaccines, at least until new safety measures are put in place, is evidence of mounting concerns about the safety of the vaccines.
Attkisson cited a paper by 57 scientists from 17 countries warning of the potential risks of vaccinating the world with shots that lack adequate safety testing. The authors of the paper, published in Authorea, demanded answers from international health agencies, regulatory authorities, governments and vaccine developers.
The authors wrote:
“Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the race for testing new platforms designed to confer immunity against SARS-CoV-2, has been rampant and unprecedented, leading to conditional emergency authorization of various vaccines. Despite progress on early multidrug therapy for COVID-19 patients, the current mandate is to immunize the world population as quickly as possible. The lack of thorough testing in animals prior to clinical trials, and authorization based on safety data generated during trials that lasted less than 3.5 months, raise questions regarding vaccine safety.
“Given the high rate of occurrence of adverse effects that have been reported to date, as well as the potential for vaccine-driven disease enhancement, Th2-immunopathology, autoimmunity and immune evasion, there is a need for a better understanding of the benefits and risks of mass vaccination, particularly in groups excluded from clinical trials.” Source
It amazes me that the general leftwing public tunes into CNN where they get the script which was written for them to tout the jabs. That’s all many people feed on all during the day.
My sister is one of these people. She believes that ONLY CNN gives truthful reporting.
It’s senseless for me to argue with her any longer. Now I simply pray for the Lord to open her eyes.
Today we are seeing great divisions in politics where bills are often the result of great party line splits. Then there are the provocateurs that are causing great turmoil based upon the idea of skin color. Neighbors are rising up against each other. There’s a great divide within our educational institutions and also the church.
Why is this happening to the culture and the church? As believers in Christ, how can we become engaged and be effective in erasing the division?
Tackling this critical issue was Ken Ham. Ken is the president, CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis-US, the highly acclaimed Creation Museum, and the world-renowned Ark Encounter. Ken is one of the most in-demand Christian speakers in North America and is author of numerous works including his latest book, Divided Nation: Cultures in Chaos & A Conflicted Church.
For years Ken, along with researchers like George Barna, have been communicating that we’ve been losing the younger generations from the church. Ken in particular has been warning the church that if they don’t stand on God’s Word, teaching generations how to defend the Christian faith against the attacks of today, and that Genesis is the foundation to look to concerning marriage, gender, etc., we will continue to lose younger generations. Absent the teachings of this foundation, the world will become increasingly secularized. That will result in more antagonism toward Christianity.
Ken believes the church has become reliant upon entertainment and a feelings based approach to keeping younger generations interested. Music in particular has become the centerpiece, God’s Word has been watered down and we’ve lost younger generations from the church. So overall, Ken blames the church for the current problems we’re seeing in the culture.
So how does he believe we are to handle issues like gender or gay marriage? Many people believe those are separate issues when actually they’re symptoms of a larger problem. It’s the idea that people no longer build their thinking on God’s Word but instead look to man’s word.
When did this exodus from the truth begin? Are people hungry for the truth? How many generations does it take to lose a culture? Are non-Christians really worldview-neutral or does the Bible say otherwise? These and other questions are answered as Ken digs deep to reveal why America is so divided today.
Ken’s newly released book: Divided Nation: Cultures in Chaos & A Conflicted Church is a powerful compact hardcover book. It’s release price is $15.99. Through July 31st, the VCY Bookstore is offering this book at 40% off for just $9.59 plus any applicable tax and shipping. It’s available at vcy.com or by calling the bookstore at 414-463-1770 or 1-888-722-4829.
As nations around the world continue to battle outbreaks of Covid-19, and many long for a return to normal life, ‘vaccine hesitancy’ has become a major talking point. Increasingly, frustration is being expressed by those who have been vaccinated, and who wish that others would be just as enthusiastic about the procedure.
What many overlook is the vast range of factors that are causing vaccine hesitancy. To blame all of it on ‘selfishness’ or ‘conspiracy theories’ is to mostly miss the point — and therefore to exacerbate the problem. Name-calling and finger-wagging is never productive.
Look at the discussions taking place on social media and elsewhere — actually take the time to lean in and listen — and you will discover quite nuanced and varied reasons for people’s doubts about the vaccine.
Some of those you’ll encounter have been consistently ‘anti-vax’ long before the Covid-19 vaccinations were developed. Those convictions can be very deeply held.
Others express mistrust in the messaging of political leaders. They point to constantly changing rules and broken promises; coercive ad campaigns; and doubts about once-secure freedoms ever being fully restored.
Some are simply principled libertarians, believing that a medical decision is a matter to be discussed between the individual and their physician, and not a matter for collective debate.
And yes, there are some absurd conspiracy theories out there that are deeply counterproductive. Truth be told, some of those ideas will probably never go away, given how conspiracy theories tend to behave.
But here’s another overlooked factor: the role of the media.
An honest and independent media is a non-negotiable of any healthy democracy. Without a truthful media, a nation’s leaders cannot be properly held to account, and its citizens cannot be properly informed.
Research on this would be fascinating, but I would bet on a strong correlation between media distrust and vaccine hesitancy. People who feel that the media have been dishonest about issues in the past will naturally find it hard to believe what the media says about issues in the present — and that includes the vaccine.
Whether they are right or wrong in that distrust, it is a serious phenomenon that must be comprehended and not simply shrugged off.
Early outbursts of ‘Covid hysteria’ among the media class can be forgiven. When the outbreak began, none of us knew much about Covid-19 or how it would ultimately impact the world. Now we know far more about the virus. It is deadly, and it is serious. But it is nowhere near as diabolical as the media has led us to believe.
Want proof? A recent poll found that people believe on average there is a 38 per cent chance of dying from the Delta strain. This perception is so far from reality that it is both laughable and tragic. It has ruined many friendships, and left too many people cowering in debilitating fear.
Many who are vaccine hesitant have seen all of this unfold. They feel betrayed by the journalist class who are supposed to be giving us accurate and proportionate information, but who instead have capitalised on clickbait and newspaper sales.
But media distrust predates Covid. Consider three other issues where the corporate press has been less than honest, and has undermined the public’s trust.
First, there was the allegation that Donald Trump was a Russian asset — a ‘Manchurian candidate’ who was installed in the White House with the likely help of collusion from Vladimir Putin. This narrative was told and re-told by the American press for the better part of three years. Here in Australia it was repeated verbatim by some of our most ‘trusted’ outlets.
Then the Mueller report was released in April 2019, exposing these claims as baseless. It turned out that the Russian collusion myth had its origins in a mostly-fabricated dossier paid for by Hillary Clinton’s election campaign. Those false claims were then subsequently leaked to a media all-too-eager to report that Orange Man Bad.
Then there was the Hunter Biden laptop fiasco. With just weeks to go before the 2020 U.S. election, the New York Post published bombshell evidence from an abandoned laptop apparently belonging to Joe Biden’s son Hunter. NYP’s revelation was that Hunter had acted as the family’s bagman, collecting cash from shady business deals in Ukraine and China, and that Joe knew all about this.
Soon afterwards, a whistleblower independently verified these claims about the Bidens. He maintained that Hunter had little relevant experience for those business ventures, and that he had gained power and influence only because his father was Obama’s Vice President, giving business partners lucrative access to the White House. Critical observers could see a clear case of family corruption and the monetising of America’s second-highest office.
Nevertheless, America’s corporate press first ignored — and then sought to discredit — the evidence incriminating the Biden family. Twitter and Facebook likewise showed their hand by censoring the story from their platforms.
This unprecedented response from Big Media and Big Techwas not owing to any countervailing evidence. Rather, it was obvious that their preferred presidential candidate Joe Biden needed help at a crucial moment in the election cycle. Repeating an old smear, the mainstream press dismissed the evidence as a ‘Russian disinformation campaign’.
In fact, it was all true. To date, no one has been able to explain how or why Russians would photoshop countless half-naked photos of Hunter in compromising settings, along with an intricate web of text messages and emails that incriminate the family — all perfectly planted at a computer repair shop in Delaware.
Finally, there is the ‘lab leak theory’. At the beginning of the pandemic, anyone who suggested that the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was dismissed by the prestige press as a conspiracy theorist.
All of these stories have major geopolitical implications far beyond just the United States. Australians were paying attention — and they noticed that the big players in Australian media simply parroted the mainstream narrative rather than interrogating it and going after the truth. Indeed, this is just a sampling of the brand of media bias now entrenched in Western corporate journalism.
At the time, it may have been comforting — even entertaining — for those who wanted their biases confirmed about the evils of Donald Trump, the innocence of the Biden family, and the lunacy of the ‘conspiracy theorists’. But that comfort and entertainment, besides being wildly incorrect, came at a steep price.
Everyday people feel lied to and betrayed by the mainstream media. Many have switched it off entirely, assuming that if the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, The Guardian or Australia’s ABC is saying it, it’s probably not true — whatever it is.
Again, everyday people might be wrong about this, but they are more than justified in feeling this way. Trust is earned. If it’s betrayed, it’s hard to get back.
This is the unspoken reason so many remain vaccine hesitant. Decrying those people as conspiracy theorists is only adding fuel to the fire, repeating the same errors that brought us to this moment.
Where to from here? In any relationship, if trust is broken, it can be regained — but not without remorse or hard work.
Corporate media outlets might rebuild some of their lost trust by admitting where they have been wrong about key global events — and indeed, where they have been disproportionate in their reporting on the pandemic. Enough remorse and enough honesty into the future could change not just the media landscape, but the cultural landscape too.
It is in everyone’s best interests that we have an honest media. When trust in this key institution breaks down, the social fabric is torn and everyone is negatively impacted. Vaccine hesitancy is only the latest proof of this.
Is time finally running out for “the bubble to end all bubbles”? Over the past year, we have seen stock prices rise to levels that are completely and utterly absurd, and many have pointed out that we are currently in the largest stock market bubble in the entire history of our nation. Of course this bubble will end the way that all of our other stock market bubbles eventually ended, and recent market activity has a lot of people wondering if the time for that is drawing near. Signs of trouble have been percolating on Wall Street for weeks, and on Monday we finally witnessed an eruption of full-blown fear. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 725 points, and that represented the worst day for the index since last October. But one really bad day is not a crisis, and even though many individual stocks have already plunged into bear market territory, we have a long, long way to go before people start using the word “crash”. In fact, I don’t think that anyone should even think of using the word “crash” until the Dow drops below 30,000.
But without a doubt, a crash is inevitably coming.
Whether it happens this month, next month or next year, stock prices will plummet from these ridiculously inflated levels.
As for the plunge that happened on Monday, many are blaming it on fears about the “Delta variant”…
“It’s a bit of an overreaction, but when you have a market that’s at record highs, that’s had the kind of run we’ve had, with virtually no pullback, it becomes extremely vulnerable to any sort of bad news,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading & derivatives at Charles Schwab. “It was just a matter of what that tipping point was, and it seems we finally reached that this morning” with worries about the delta variant.
To me, there are other issues that are of much greater concern, but apparently this is what is spooking investors this week.
According to CNBC, the number of newly confirmed COVID cases per week has more than doubled over the past month…
Covid cases have rebounded in the U.S. this month, with the delta variant spreading among the unvaccinated. The U.S. is averaging nearly 26,000 new cases a day in the last seven days through Sunday, up from a seven-day average of around 11,000 cases a day a month ago, according to CDC data. Cases were already flaring up around the world because of the delta variant.
Now that the market has started to fall, some experts are warning that the drop could be quite substantial.
For example, one Morgan Stanley strategist believes that we could eventually see a “correction” of 10 to 20 percent…
“The market appears ready to take on a more defensive character as we experience a meaningful deceleration in earnings and economic growth,” Morgan Stanley chief U.S. equity strategist Mike Wilson said in a note Monday. “Market breadth has been deteriorating for months and is just another confirmation of the mid-cycle transition, in our view. It usually ends with a material (10-20%) index level correction.”
Actually, if that is the worst that happens we will be quite fortunate.
In recent days, the mood on Wall Street has shifted dramatically. In fact, the CNN Fear & Greed Index is now sitting at 16 which is considered to be in the “extreme fear” range, and the VIX has been soaring.
As our friends at Zero Hedge have pointed out, the last time we witnessed this much fear on Wall Street the S&P 500 was absolutely plummeting…
With the S&P 500 around 3.5% off its record highs, we note that fear has exploded. The last time fear was this high, the S&P was down 40%!…
We shall watch and see what happens this time around.
Zero Hedge has also pointed out that Goldman Sachs has been aggressively selling off billions of dollars worth of stocks recently…
What is even more remarkable is just how much Goldman has harvested so far in 2021: as shown below, having started with a $20BN equity portfolio which has enjoyed a $5BN increase in market prices, Goldman dumped a whopping $5.5 billion of its equity assets so far (excluding a modest $1.5BN in purchases) or more than a quarter of its entire portfolio as of Dec 31.
The last time Goldman was “aggressively” selling into a “supportive” market? Well, we have to go back all the way to 2007 and 2008 when Goldman was busy creating the very CDOs which its prop desk would then “aggressively” short.
We all remember how prophetic that particular move turned out to be…
That is “interesting” to say the least.
But as big financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs are dumping stocks, talking heads on television continue to assure all of us that a wonderful new era of great prosperity is just ahead. Just check out what Bill Ackman told CNBC on Monday…
Billionaire investor Bill Ackman said Monday that the spread of the delta variant doesn’t pose a significant threat to the economic reopening, and he sees interest rates rising on the back of the big comeback.
“I hope what it does is that it motivates anyone who doesn’t get the vaccine to get the vaccine. I don’t think it’s going to change behavior to a great extent,” Ackman said in a interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “You are going to see a massive, my view, economic boom. … We are going to have an extremely strong economy coming in the fall.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if he was right?
I would love to see a “massive” economic boom.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe that is going to happen. In fact, I believe that we are rapidly approaching some of the most difficult economic times that we have ever seen.
The laws of economics cannot be ignored forever. The federal government is now 28 trillion dollars in debt, we are in the midst of the greatest corporate debt binge of all time, and U.S. consumers continue to go into debt as if tomorrow will never arrive.
But tomorrow always arrives eventually, and our “tomorrow” is going to be a day of reckoning that is going to be far more painful than most people would dare to imagine.
Francis Schaeffer’s view of the church in modern culture is multifaceted yet cuts straight to the point. He does not mince words or play clever evangelical games. He believes one major problem with Christians is that they see things in bits and pieces. They have failed to see that modern man’s despair has come to fruition because of a shift in worldview. He contends that Christians should begin to think in terms of the big picture. They should have a view of spiritual reality that is authentic and covers all areas of life. Indeed, the Lordship of Christ covers all life and all life equally.
The Church in Postmodern Culture: Marks of Postmodernism
It is interesting to note that Dr. Schaeffer may have been the first to write in-depth about post-Christian culture. It is important to understand Schaeffer’s view on culture in order to understand his position on the church in these perilous times.
Postmodernism essentially posits the view that there is nobody in the universe. There is “nobody to love man, nobody to comfort him, even while he seeks desperately to find comfort in the limited, finite, horizontal relationships to life (Death In The City, 215). The result is that “God has turned away in judgment as our generation turned away from Him, and He is allowing cause and effect to take its course in history” (Death In The City, 216).
The postmodern generation is inherently humanistic. Schaeffer mentions six key planks of the humanistic worldview including:
A rejection of the doctrine of creation.
A rejection of total depravity.
Sees human nature as part of a long, unfolding process of development in which everything is changing.
Casts around for some solution to the problem of despair that this determinist-evolutionist vision induces.
Can only find a solution in the activity of the human will.
Therefore, encourages manipulation of nature and tinkering with people (Whatever Happened To The Human Race, 288).
Humanism in a nutshell. This is what the church must contend with. She cannot isolate herself or flee the surrounding culture. Rather she must face it head on or lose any chance of influencing the culture for the sake of the kingdom.
Hope For a Post-Christian Culture
Despite the degradation of the culture, Schaeffer believes there is hope for the Christian church. But if the church is to truly thrive, not merely survive, she must boldly proclaim and defend at least seven foundational truths including the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, the deity of Christ and His Virgin Birth, the substitutionary atonement of Christ’s death, the literal resurrection of Christ from the dead, and the literal return of Christ (The Great Evangelical Disaster, 350).
The Christian Perspective on Postmodernism
Schaeffer helps clarify the Christian perspective on postmodernism. First, he notes that much to the chagrin of many evangelicals, our culture and country is under the wrath of God. The net effect should not be alarming. Man has forgotten his purpose and consequently forgets the meaning of life.
Second, Schaeffer helps Christians understand that turning away from the truth of God not only results in decay but ends ultimately in death.
There will be death in the city until people turn to the truth . . . This must be our perspective [emphasis added], for only as men turn back to the One who can really fulfill, return to His revelation, and reaffirm the possibility of having a relationship with Him as He has provided the way through Jesus Christ, can they have the sufficient comfort which every man longs for (Death In The City, 222, 224).
The Christian Response to Postmodernism
First, he warns the church to guard against using worldly methods. If the church chooses to engage in “worldly” ministry the already cynical post-modern generation will surely reject the organized church. Rather, the church must stand strong in this age and boldly proclaim the mysteries of God. “Our generation needs to be told that man cannot disregard God, that a culture like ours has had such light and then has deliberately turned away stands under God’s judgment. There’s only one kind of preaching that will do in a generation like ours – preaching which includes the preaching of the judgment of God” (Death In The City, 232-233).
Second, he alerts Christians to the danger of compromising the truth. “Here is the great evangelical disaster – the failure of the evangelical world to stand for truth as truth. There is only one word for this – namely accommodation; the evangelical church has accommodated to the spirit of the age” (The Great Evangelical Disaster, 320).
He notes two general areas of accommodation, namely, the accommodation of Scripture (which Schaeffer calls the watershed – the inspiration and authority of Scripture) and accommodation on the issues, with no clear stand being taken even on matters of life and death. He points out that the results of this accommodation has been costly, first in destroying the power of God’s Word to confront the spirit of the age; and second, in allowing the further slide of our culture. Dr. Schaeffer regularly takes the church to task for accommodation and makes it clear that the two sure ways to destroy the church are to compromise the truth and to engage in a “dead orthodoxy.”
Schaeffer’s Challenge to Christian’s Living in a Postmodern Generation
Given Dr. Schaeffer’s scathing indictment of the church, it should come as no surprise that his greatest challenge concerns not only believing the truth but standing for the truth. He recognizes the potential risks involved in this endeavor. He writes, “We must realize that to know the truth and to practice it will be costly . . . We must keep on speaking and acting even if the price is high” (Death In The City, 254).
Schaeffer calls Christians to infiltrate the culture for God rather than being molded and corrupted by it. “As evangelicals, we need to stand at the point of the call not to be infiltrated by this ever-shifting fallen culture which surrounds us, but rather judging that culture upon the basis of the Bible” (The Great Evangelical Disaster, 340). Schaeffer holds that Christians should penetrate the culture and engage the political arena, the justice system, the media and the arts just to name a few.
53:6 “All” is a reference not only to the entire nation of Israel, which wandered in the wilderness in sin, but also to the whole race of mankind, who wandered from God’s perfect way (cf. 66:3; Prov. 12:15; 14:12). God the Father “laid” the burden of redemption upon the Son, who willingly and voluntarily accepted the burden. His redemption was as universal as man’s sin.
53:6 All we. Even as we all sinned, so He died for all of us (2 Cor. 5:14, 15). See “Definite Redemption” at John 10:15.
sheep … astray. See 1 Pet. 2:25. See “Original Sin and Total Depravity” at Ps. 51:5.
laid. The guilt of our sins was transferred to Jesus, and He offered Himself as a sacrifice in our place. As Paul wrote, God “made him to be sin who knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21).
53:6All of us have wandered about like sheep The metaphor of wayward Israel as a flock of sheep without a shepherd is a common motif used in prophetic literature (see Isa 56:11; Jer 13:20; 23:1; 49:20; Ezek 34:1–10; Zech 10:2).
This imagery emphasizes Israel’s willful wandering from Yahweh, their punishment of scattering through exile, and the future hope of the ingathering under a new divinely appointed shepherd (see Isa 40:11 and note, and note on Ezek 34:11).
have wandered about Sheep tend to get lost and be unaware of the consequences of their actions. Israel (and by extension all humanity) have wandered away from God.
let fall on him the iniquity of Rather than people suffering the consequences for their own sinful actions, their iniquities are placed upon the Servant. He bears the punishment for their mistakes.
53:6All we … every one. The servant, who alone was sinless, was uniquely qualified to bear the sins of others, and all people contributed to his pain. like sheep. Stupid and helpless. the Lordhas laid on him the iniquity of us all. See Lev. 16:21–22; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:25.
53:6 All of us … Each of us … us all. Every person has sinned (Ro 3:9, 23), but the Servant has sufficiently shouldered the consequences of sin and the righteous wrath deserved by sinners (cf. 1Ti 2:5, 6; 4:10; 1Jn 2:2). The manner in which God laid our iniquity on Him was that God treated Him as if He had committed every sin ever committed by every person who would ever believe, though He was perfectly innocent of any sin. God did so to Him, so that wrath being spent and justice satisfied, God could then give to the account of sinners who believe, the righteousness of Christ, treating them as if they had done only the righteous acts of Christ. In both cases, this is substitution. See notes on 2Co 5:21.
53:6. The redeemed remnant (and others) will acknowledge that they were guilty and that the Lord made the Servant the object of His wrath in order to take away their guilt. Sheep tend to travel together, so if the leading sheep turns aside from the path for grass or some other purpose, usually all the sheep do so. They tend to follow the lead sheep which is often dangerous. Similarly all Israel had turned aside (cf. 1 Peter 2:25) from following the Lord, from keeping His commandments. The essence of sin is going one’s own way, rather than God’s way. That iniquity had to be punished, so the Lord … laid the punishment for that iniquity (cf. Isa. 53:11) not on the “sheep” (Israel and other sinners) that deserved it, but on the Servant who died in their place.
(3) Israel’s account about the Servant’s death (53:7–9). The Servant died willingly (v. 7) and for others’ transgressions (v. 8), even though He is righteous (v. 9).
6 The verse begins and ends with confession of sin, and places emphasis on ‘all of us’ (the Hebrew text starts and finishes with the same word, kullânû). Comparison is made with sheep who go astray, but the wonder is that there is a shepherd who will care for such wandering sheep (Isa. 40:11; cf. also the prayer in Ps. 119:176). Not only do sinners leave God, but they also break relationships with one another. The remedy that God provides is to place human iniquity on the servant. The verb used (Heb. pâga‘ Hif.) is a strong one, denoting laying a burden on someone (for another use of this verb in the sense of ‘intercede’, see verse 12). Many echoes of this whole passage are found in 1 Peter 2:21–25, that speaks of the suffering of the sinless Christ, bearing our sins in his own body up to the cross. His wounds provide healing for us, straying sheep, who are now safely in the fold of the good shepherd. This verse ends the portion of the song using ‘we/us’, and hereafter the third person is used.
d. The Servant’s Submissiveness and Purity (53:7–9)
The picture presented in this fourth stanza is of a meek servant who is silent in the face of accusations, and then who dies for the transgressions of others. Though he himself committed no violence, he is condemned unjustly and does not react to the physical violence done to him.
Ver. 6. All we like sheep have gone astray.—Astray from the fold:—
I. The first part of my text is an indictment. “All we like sheep have gone astray.” Says some one, “Can’t you drop the first word?” And some one rises and looks off and says, “There is a man who is a blasphemer, he is astray. Yonder is a man who is impure, he is astray. Yonder is a man who is fraudulent, he is astray.” Look at home, for the first word of the text takes you and me as well as the rest.
1. I have studied the habits of sheep, and I know they lose their way sometimes by trying to get other pasture. There are many of you who have been looking for better pasture. You have wandered on and on. You tried business successes, you tried worldly associations, you tried the club-house. You said that the Church was a short commons, and you wanted to find the rank grass on the bank of distant streams, and to lie down under great oaks on the other side of the hills. Have you found the anticipated pasture that was to be so superior?
2. I have noticed, also, that the sheep get astray by being frightened with dogs. Oh, man, that is the way you got astray. You said, “Where is God, that He allows an honest man to go down, and thieves to prosper?” You were dogged by creditors; and some of you went into misanthropy, and some of you took to strong drink, and some of you fled from all Christian associations; and in that way the sheep got astray.
II. But the last part of my text opens a door wide enough to let us all out, and wide enough to let all heaven in. “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Says some one, “That is not generous. Let every one bear his own burden.” And there is something in that. If I owe a debt, and I have money to pay it, and I come to you and ask you to cancel my obligations, you will be right in saying to me, “Pay your own debts.” If I am walking along the street with you, and we are both hale and hearty, and I want you to carry me, you are right in saying, “Walk on your own feet.” But suppose you and I were in a regiment together, and I was fearfully wounded in the battle, and I fell unconscious at your feet with gunshot fractures and dislocations, five bullets having struck me at once—you would say to your comrades, “Here, this man is helpless. Let us carry him to the ambulance; let us take him out to the hospital.” Would it have been mean to let you carry me then? You certainly would not have been so unkind as not to carry me. Now, that is Christ to the soul. If we could pay our spiritual obligations we might go up to God and say, “Lord, there is so much debt, and here I have the means with which to cancel it. Now cross it all out.” But the fact is we are pierced through and through with the sabres of sin. We have gone down under the hot fire, and we are helpless and undone. We will die on the field unless some help comes to us. God sends His ambulance, yea, He dispatches His only Son to carry us out, and bind up our gashes, and take us home. Is there any man who is under the delusion that he can carry his own sins? You cannot. You might as well try to transport a boulder of the sea, or carry on one shoulder the Alleghanies, and on the other shoulder Mount Washington. Then let us shift the burden. (T. de W. Talmage, D.D.)
Salvation for the straying sheep:—
I. Look at the sheep that have gone astray. The text implies they were once in the fold. You cannot go astray except you have been in the right place first.
II. Each sheep walks its own path. There is almost an infinite variety in sinning. Some go along a path of licentiousness; others the money-making road; others the gamester’s path; others take the Christless morality road.
III. What is god’s way of salvation? “The Lord laid on Him,” etc. Who is that “Him”? The One described in the previous verses. Let Christ be the object of your trust, and you shall be saved. (A. G. Brown.)
Our misery and its remedy:—
I. Our misery by sin.
1. Our sin is charged upon us collectively in common: we have all gone astray.
2. Distributively. “Every one to his own way.” We all agree in turning aside from the right way of pleasing and enjoying of God; and we disagree, as each one hath a by-path of his own, some running after this lust, some after that, and so are not only divided from God, but divided from one another, while every one maketh his will his law.
II. Our remedy by Christ. “The Lord hath laid,” etc. (T. Manton, D.D.)
Departing from God:—
This departing from God and His ways is fitly represented by the straying of sheep. In the general it implieth—
1. That we are brutish in our sin and defection from God: it could not be expressed but by a comparison fetched from the beasts.
2. Proneness to err. No creature is more prone to wander and lose his way than a sheep without a shepherd.
3. Our inability to return, or to bring ourselves into the right way again.
4. Our readiness to follow evil example. Sheep run one after another, and one straggler draweth away the whole flock. Austin saith, “I could wander by myself, and could not return by myself.” And God saith as much (Hosea 13:9).
5. The danger of straying sheep, which when out of the pasture are often in harm’s way, and exposed to a thousand dangers (Jer. 50:6, 7). (Ibid.)
We have turned every one to his own way.—Every man to his own way:—
Though there be one path to heaven, yet there are several ways of sinning and going to hell. The reasons how this cometh to pass are—
1. Because of the activeness of man’s spirit. It is always a-devising wickedness.
2. It happeneth through diversity of constitution.
3. It happeneth from their business and occasions in the world. Many men are engaged to ways of sin because they suit best with their employments, the sin of their calling, as vainglory in a minister.
4. Custom and education.
5. Company and example. (T. Manton, D.D.)
His own way:—
This is the sin of men in their natural condition, that they turn to their own way. The phrase implieth these two things—
1. A defect or want of Divine guidance.
2. A rejection of the ways of God when made known to us. (Ibid.)
Caiaphas: Cephas: Jesus:—
The forms of human sinfulness are as numerous and varied as are men’s natural inclinations: but near the cross may be found a representative of every one of these. Three figures will demand our attention—Caiaphas, the high priest, with his surroundings; and then, amidst the obscurity of the twilight scene, and the crowd of spectators, we must single out the figure of Simon, then at the moment of his deepest shame. And then, turning our eyes away from these subordinates, we must fix them lastly on Jesus of Nazareth Himself.
I. Caiaphas is the president of the High Ecclesiastical Court then assembled, and no judge ever could produce higher credentials than he. The Gospels all acknowledge him, without the slightest apparent doubt, as the legitimate successor of Aaron. He is descendant of a priestly dynasty some 1,500 years old, whose origin was confessedly Divine. Besides, the highest power of all had owned his legitimate position, by giving to him the spirit of unconscious prophecy. Now the priesthood of Aaron, which he bore, had never been a bloodthirsty one. There are, I think, only two examples of that priesthood shedding blood. One of these was the stroke of the spear of Phinehas—an act of wild justice, suited to the times, which received praise and blessing from above; and the other, the just punishment by Jehoiada of Athaliah, who had murdered all the royal family but one. Whatever other faults they may have had, the priests, the sons of Aaron, had never erred before on the side of intolerance and cruelty. And Caiaphas himself was no fanatic. Like all the family to which he belonged, he was a Sadducee. He had the views of a politician rather than of an ecclesiatic; and, having coolly judged, several weeks before, that the proceedings of Jesus of Nazareth were politically dangerous, he had determined that it would be well to put Him out of the way. But, in the council that surrounded him, there were many, and perhaps a majority, of strong religious belief and feelings. So, for their sakes, he affected a horror which he could hardly have felt himself. The high priest asked Him, “Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am; and ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest rent his clothes—the original word in St. Mark seems to imply that one of these was the seamless tunic of the high priest—in sign of a horror, which can hardly have been otherwise than hypocritical in a cool man of the world like him, and said, “What need we any further witnesses. Ye have heard the blasphemy. What think ye?” And then the question being thus put, they all—the whole council, all the scribes, all the elders, all the chief priests, the whole representative body of the universal Church of God—condemned Him to be guilty of death. What a lesson for us arises out of this fact, that our Lord’s death was wholly a sin of the religious world under the guidance of their Divinely-appointed leaders. And in that religious world we may distinguish all the chief tendencies both of that time and of all times—the Sadducees and the Pharisees, the liberal and the orthodox, the men with the minimum of belief in the supernatural, and those with the maximum of that belief, the traditionists and the anti-traditionists—in fact, the High Church, and the Broad Church, and the Low. The lesson is for our times. In those days authority and tradition utterly failed those who relied upon them, while the light within the heart lighted those who possessed it to the cross and to the glory of the Lord of Truth.
II. Let us turn our eyes away now from Caiaphas and the splendid array around him to the lower end of the courtyard near the door, where the lower classes are collected. All these are within sight of the proceedings at the upper end of the hall, which no doubt is well lighted. Perhaps they are also near enough to hear. Amongst them is one whose speech betrays him to be a Galilean. We know his name (though those around him do not) to be Simon, son of Jonas, who has also the surname Cephas. He is thrice recognized as a follower of the accused, and thrice denies the charge. Then the cock crows at early morning, and the Master turns on him with a glance which he feels to single him out, even in the darkness and the crowd; and he goes out at the door, weeping bitterly. This strange character, so made up of contradictions as to have been pronounced by that Being who knew him best, at one moment a “rock,” and at the next a Satan, full of boldness and full of cowardice, the first to confess and the first to deny; this picture of the weakness of all human strength, of the frailty of all earthly goodness, is now at the very depths of his weakness and shame. He stands there a sinner who has just committed a sin—a very mean and cowardly sin. Yet there is an eye upon him, searching for him, busied with him. We who have betrayed Him and denied Him, the Lord hath turned and looked on. He is seeking, let Him find.
III. We see Jesus in the midst of all this crowd of representative sinners, amongst whom a little honest search will soon enable each of us to detect himself. Betrayed by covetous Judas, forsaken by unwatchful, unprayerful, and therefore easily tempted disciples, denied by self-confident, self-willed Simon, condemned by worldly-minded, unscrupulous Caiaphas, condemned again by timid time-serving Pilate, persecuted to the death by sanctimonious, theologically-hating Scribes and Pharisees, shouted at by a rude, ignorant multitude, tortured in cruel sport by barbarous soldiers—what species of human sin is absent there? Let us consider the exceeding beauty of the figure presented to us, and also how that figure is produced. Compare for one moment any character in a work of fiction. These, too, are beautiful, but how is their beauty produced? By word-painting of the most exquisite kind. But in the narratives of the Gospels there is no word-painting at all, except perhaps a little in St. John. It is not the narratives that are sublime, but the Being who becomes known to us through their simple inartificial language. And now the end of this should be, that every one of us should bring the matter as closely as possible home. It was all done for me; it was I that created the necessity. Let Him, in each of us, see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied. (W. E. Rawstorne, M.A.)
The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.—Sin laid on Jesus:—
1. The verse opens with a confession of sin common to all the persons intended in the verse.
2. The confession is also special and particular.
3. This confession is very unreserved. There is not a single syllable by way of excuse; there is not a word to detract from the force of the confession.
4. It is, moreover, singularly thoughtful, for thoughtless persons do not use a metaphor so appropriate as the text: “All we like sheep have gone astray.” I hear no dolorous wailings attending this confession of sin; for the next sentence makes it almost a song. “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” It is the most grievous sentence of the three; but it is the most charming and the most full of comfort. Strange is it that where misery was concentrated mercy reigned, and where sorrow reached her climax there it is that a weary soul finds sweetest rest. The Saviour bruised is the healing of bruised hearts.
1. It may be well to give the marginal translation of the text, “Jehovah hath made to meet on Him the iniquity of us all.” The first thought that demands notice is the meeting of sin. Sin I may compare to the rays of some evil sun. Sin was scattered throughout this world as abundantly as light, and Christ is made to suffer the full effect of the baleful rays which stream from the sun of sin. God as it were holds up a burning-glass, and concentrates all the scattered rays in a focus upon Christ. Take the text in our own version, “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all;” put upon Him as a burden is laid upon a man’s back all the burdens of all His people; put upon His head as the high priest of old laid upon the scapegoat all the sin of the beloved ones that he might bear them in his own person. The two translations are perfectly consistent; all sins are made to meet, and then having met together and been tied up in one crushing load the whole burden is laid upon Him.
2. The second thought is that sin was made to meet upon the suffering person of the innocent Substitute.
3. It has been asked, Was it just that sin should thus be laid upon Christ? We believe it was rightly so.
(1) Because it was the act of Him who must do right. “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
(2) Remember, moreover, that Jesus Christ voluntarily took this sin upon Himself.
(3) There was a relationship between our Lord and His people, which is too often forgotten, but which rendered it natural that He should bear the sin of His people. Why does the text speak of our sinning like sheep? I think it is because it would call to our recollection that Christ is our Shepherd. It is not that Christ took upon Himself the sins of strangers. There always was a union of a most mysterious and intimate kind between those who sinned and the Christ who suffered.
(4) This plan of salvation is precisely similar to the method of our ruin. The fall which made me a sinner was wholly accomplished long before I was born by the first Adam, and the salvation by which I am delivered was finished long before I saw the light by the second Adam on my behalf.
4. Lying upon Christ brought upon Him all the consequences connected with it. God cannot look where there is sin with any pleasure, and though as far as Jesus is personally concerned, He is the Father’s beloved Son in whom He is well pleased; yet when He saw sin laid upon His Son, He made that Son cry, “My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
5. Think of the result of all this. Sin meets on Christ and Christ is punished with sin, and what then? Sin is put away.
6. The “us” here intended.
II. Application. There is a countless company whose sins the Lord Jesus bore; did He bear yours? Do you wish to have an answer? Let me read this verse to you and see if you can join in it. If there be in you a penitential confession which leads you to acknowledge that you have erred and strayed like a lost sheep; if there be in you a personal sense of sin which makes you feel that you have turned to your own way, and if now you can trust in Jesus, then a second question is not wanted; the Lord hath laid on Him your iniquity.
III. Contemplation. I will give you four things to think of.
1. The astounding mass of sin that must have been laid on Christ.
2. The amazing love of Jesus which brought Him to do all this.
3. The matchless security which this plan of salvation offers.
4. What, then, are the claims of Jesus Christ upon you and me? (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Going astray as sheep:—
1. The sheep is a creature exceedingly quick-witted upon the one matter of going astray.
2. The sheep goes astray, it is said, all the more frequently when it is most dangerous for it to do so; propensities to stray seem to be developed in the very proportion in which they ought to be subdued. Whereas in our own land a sheep might wander with some safety, it wanders less than it will do in the Oriental plains, where for it to go astray is to run risks from leopards and wolves.
3. The sheep goes astray ungratefully. It owes everything to the shepherd, and yet forsakes the hand that feeds it and heals its diseases.
4. The sheep goes astray repeatedly. If restored to-day it may not stray to-day if it cannot, but it will to-morrow if it can.
5. The sheep wanders further and further, from bad to worse. It is not content with the distance it has reached, it will go yet greater lengths; there is no limit to its wandering except its weakness. See ye not your own selves as in a mirror! (Ibid.)
Sin meeting on Jesus:—
I. The meeting-place of sin is the Cross of Christ. In the margin these words are rendered, “The Lord hath made to meet on Him the iniquity of us all.” The Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Persian, and Egyptian tongues were spoken about that cross. The inscription was in different languages that all might read. This is the representation of the world now looking upon the Crucified. His embrace encircled the race of man.
1. The cross was the focus of sins.
2. The burdens of sin here meet.
3. Here the responsibilities of the sinner are assumed by one competent to discharge them.
4. The sufferings of the sinner are gathered in the agonies of the cross.
II. The meeting-place of sin is the mercy-seat of sinners. Conclusion:
1. The imperative claim Christ has upon the soul.
2. If you will not consent that your iniquities shall meet on Christ, bear them you must yourself. (S. H. Tyng, D.D.)
The nature and power of the atonement:—
1. It has been suggested that there was injustice in the sacrifice of One who had never sinned in the place of sinners, and that it involved the idea that God liked suffering for its own sake. This statement is one-sided: it forgets mercy, it shuts its eyes to the truth that the power of any sacrifice is in its voluntary and representative character. Facts must be respected, and what is the fact which is before us all? Pain and sorrow!
2. The vicarious sacrifice of Calvary is the work of the Three Persons of the Trinity. Men speak as if the Son devised the plan of His own death to save man from the Father’s wrath. It was the work of the whole Three Persons in the Godhead. If the justice of the Divine life demanded the atonement, the mercy of the Divine love devised the means of pardon and the sacrifice on Calvary.
3. There is yet another thought which illuminates the gloom. We know the power of sin which, like some mysterious shape, some wild and wandering shadow in a forest, stands or flits about the portals of the opening life of man. Nature brings us within its reach, our own will places us in its iron grasp, it paralyzes the spiritual power, it chills our desires for better things; we cannot rise up as once we could when we are lying under the weight of unforgiven sin. This sense of the awfulness of sin illuminates the power of the atonement, for the sacrifice of the Son of God must at least be commensurate in its awfulness with what we know of human sin.
4. If the awfulness of sin and the majesty of God bring home the sense of what vicarious sacrifice is, and we are able in its power to raise our hearts to God and to feel renewed life and holier aspirations, how about the past? Florence rose and wept over the grave of Dante, but Florence could not then undo the edict which banished the man, and Dante’s ashes rest beside the pinewoods and the Adrian Sea, and Florence is undone. And for each of you there was a day when you told your first lie, a day when you acted your first pretence, a day when you did your first act of dishonesty, when you first degraded yourself with some burning vice and destroyed the innocency which God had given you. In your better moments you look back to such a day, and you feel as if you were standing by an open grave, as you remember the hard words, the unkind looks, the want of sympathy, to him or her who lies beneath. The past is gone beyond recall. How will you meet it? With scorn? Will you turn away and drown its memories in pleasure? You cannot. You have a spirit born for eternity. But there is one other way. Christ on the Cross bore man’s sin in all its intensity, gave Himself as a sacrifice, and purchased for the race complete forgiveness. No sorrow is so deep but He can assuage it, no memory so black but He can cleanse it. (W. J. Knox-Little, M.A.)
The universal burden and its bearer:—
It is of prime importance to mark that the only office which the prophet describes the Servant as filling is the function of suffering. He is neither Teacher nor Conqueror nor Lawgiver nor, here, King; he is only a Sufferer. That is what the Saviour of the world has to be, first of all. The rabbis have a legend, far wiser than most of their follies, which tells how Messias is to be found sitting amongst the lepers at the gate of the city. The fable has in it the deep truth that He who saves the world must suffer with, and for, the world He saves.
I. Consider the universal burden. Of course the speakers in my text are primarily the penitent Jewish nation, who at last have learned how much at first they had misunderstood the Servant of the Lord. But the “we” and the “all” may very fairly be widened out so as to include the whole world, and every individual of the race, and iniquity is the universal burden of us all. I believe that almost all of the mistaken and unworthy conceptions of Christianity which have afflicted and do afflict the world are directly traceable to this—the failure to apprehend the radical fact affecting men’s condition that they are all sinful, and therefore separated from God. The evil that we do, going forth from us as deed, comes back upon us as guilt. And so, we are all staggering under this burden. The creatures that live at the bottom of the doleful sea, fathoms deeper than plummet has ever sounded, have to bear a pressure upon their frames all inconceivable by the men that walk upon the surface of the earth. And the deeper a man goes in the dark ocean of wrongdoing and wrongbeing, the heavier the weight of the compressed atmosphere above him, crushing him in. And, yet, like those creatures that crawl on the slime, miles down in the dreary sea, where no light has come, they know not the weight that rests upon them, and never have dreamed of how blessed it is to walk in the lighter air with the sun shining above them. There are some of you, grovelling down at the bottom of the ocean, to whom the liberty and illumination, the lightness and lightsomeness of the pure life which is possible, would seem miraculous. If these things be at all true, then it seems to me that the fact of universal sinfulness, with all its necessary, natural, and inevitable consequences, must be the all-important fact about a man. What we think about sin will settle all our religious ideas.
II. Look at the one bearer of the burden. “The Lord has made to light upon Him the iniquity of us all.”
III. Mark the men that are freed from the burden. “Us all.” And yet it is possible for a man included in the “all” to have to stagger along through life under his burden, and to carry it with him when he goes hence. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked,” says the foremost preacher of the doctrine that Christ’s death takes away sin. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Every man shall bear his own burden.” So your sins, taken away as they are by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, may yet cling to you and crush you. There is only one way by which the possibilities open to all men by the death of Jesus Christ may become the actual experience of every man, or of any man—and that is, the simple laying your burden, by your own act of quiet trust, upon the shoulders of Him that is mighty to save. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)
God’s forgiving love in Christ:—
Rev. G. Barber, assistant to Dr. Dale of Birmingham says: I remember going to him on one occasion in great distress; I wanted to preach on “Christ died for our sins,” and I thought that if I could only show how, through the death of Christ, it was made possible for God to forgive sin, many whom I knew might be led to believe. He replied: Give up troubling, my friend, about how it was possible for God to forgive sin, and go straight and tell the people that God does forgive sin, and tell them straight that Christ died for their sins. It is the fact the people want most to know, and not your theory, nor mine, as to how it was or is possible.” (Life of R. W. Dale.)
Peace in the true knowledge of Jesus:—
I was sent for to see a lady—a stranger—who was dying in Brighton. I found her to be a person of means and education, but quite ignorant of the salient facts of the Christian faith. To her, Jesus was simply a great moral teacher, standing in line with other religious masters. Of Christianity, as the religion of redemption, she had no knowledge. Her life story had been a sad one, stained deeply by both sorrow and sin. “Oh,” she sighed, “that it were possible for some great, strong friend to take my conscience as though it were his own, that I might have a little peace!” I learned more from that sentence concerning the mystery of redemption than up to that moment I had ever thought of. Here was a soul who knew and stated the need of just such a salvation as we are bidden to proclaim. She asked, without knowing that there was any answer, for the Saviour who was made sin for us, who could take man’s conscience as though it were His own and leave in its place His peace. The sense of guilt had awakened with power in this poor dying woman. To have told her that the Most High could forgive her sins would have carried no comfort to her heart. The only possible relief for her was to hear of Him on whom the Lord hath laid the iniquity of us all. (R. J. Campbell, M.A.)
6. What the Servant did, the Lord did. After the concentration on the Servant in verses 4–5, the change of subject here is very striking, as is also the precedence given to us and our self-will as compared with the precedence of the Servant’s saving work in 4–5. Coupled with the new subject, this has the force of saying with astonishment, ‘To think that he would do that for people like us!’ We all at the beginning is matched by us all at the end: the perfect equivalence of remedy to need. All … each: common culpability, individual responsibility. Like sheep … astray: the folly and thoughtlessness of sin leading to the danger inherent in being sheep without a shepherd. Turned: the deliberateness of sin. And the Lord: with this emphatic subject Isaiah corrects the misunderstanding involved in ‘stricken by God’ (5)—revelation corrects incomprehension: he was indeed stricken by God, but with the astonishing purpose of laying our sin on him. Iniquity: as in 5. Laid: (lit.) ‘caused to meet’, descriptive of the divine act of gathering into one place, on to one substitutionary Victim, the sins of all the sinners whom the Lord purposed to save. The Servant is the solution of the Lord to the needs of sinners.
Voluntary acceptance of death (53:7–9). Matching the ‘narrative’ aspect of verses 1–3, Isaiah now records the procession to the place of execution (7), the execution (8) and the burial (9). Verse 7 stresses voluntary acceptance, 8 injustice, and 9 finality.
6. We all, like sheep, have gone astray. In order to impress more deeply on our hearts the benefit of the death of Christ, he shews how necessary is that healing which he formerly mentioned. If we do not perceive our wretchedness and poverty, we shall never know how desirable is that remedy which Christ has brought to us, or approach him with due ardour of affection. As soon as we know that we are ruined, then, aware of our wretchedness, we eagerly run to avail ourselves of the remedy, which otherwise would be held by us in no estimation. In order, therefore, that Christ may be appreciated by us, let every one consider and examine himself, so as to acknowledge that he is ruined till he is redeemed by Christ.
We see that here none are excepted, for the Prophet includes “all.” The whole human race would have perished, if Christ had not brought relief. He does not even except the Jews, whose hearts were puffed up with a false opinion of their own superiority, but condemns them indiscriminately, along with others, to destruction. By comparing them to sheep, he intends not to extenuate their guilt, as if little blame attached to them, but to state plainly that it belongs to Christ to gather from their wanderings those who resembled brute beasts.
Every one hath turned to his own way. By adding the term every one, he descends from a universal statement, in which he included all, to a special statement, that every individual may consider in his own mind if it be so; for a general statement produces less effect upon us than to know that it belongs to each of us in particular. Let “every one,” therefore, arouse his conscience, and present himself before the judgment-seat of God, that he may confess his wretchedness. Moreover, what is the nature of this “going astray” the Prophet states more plainly. It is, that every one hath followed the way which he had chosen for himself, that is, hath determined to live according to his own fancy; by which he means that there is only one way of living uprightly, and if any one “turn aside” from it, he can experience nothing but “going astray.”
He does not speak of works only, but of nature itself, which always leads us astray; for, if we could by natural instinct or by our own wisdom, bring ourselves back into the path, or guard ourselves against going astray, Christ would not be needed by us. Thus, in ourselves we all are undone unless Christ (John 8:36) sets us free; and the more we rely on our wisdom or industry, the more dreadfully and the more speedily do we draw down destruction on ourselves. And so the Prophet shews what we are before we are regenerated by Christ; for all are involved in the same condemnation. “There is none righteous, none that understandeth, none that seeketh God. All have turned aside, and have become unprofitable. There is none that doeth good; no, not one.” (Ps. 14:3.) All this is more fully explained by Paul. (Rom. 3:10.)
And Jehovah hath laid upon him. Here we have a beautiful contrast. In ourselves we are scattered; in Christ we are gathered together. By nature we go astray, and are driven headlong to destruction; in Christ we find the course by which we are conducted to the harbour of salvation. Our sins are a heavy load; but they are laid on Christ, by whom we are freed from the load. Thus, when we were ruined, and, being estranged from God, were hastening to hell, Christ took upon him the filthiness of our iniquities, in order to rescue us from everlasting destruction. This must refer exclusively to guilt and punishment; for he was free from sin. (Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22.) Let every one, therefore, diligently consider his own iniquities, that he may have a true relish of that grace, and may obtain the benefit of the death of Christ.
Ver. 6.—All we like sheep have gone astray. “All we” means either the whole nation of Israel, which “went astray” in the wilderness of sin (Ps. 107:4; 119:176; Ezek. 34:6), or else the whole race of mankind, which had wandered from the right path, and needed atonement and redemption even more than Israel itself. We have turned every one to his own way. Collectively and individually, the whole world had sinned. There was “none that did good” absolutely—“no, not one” (Ps. 14:3). All had quitted “the way of the Lord” (ch. 40:3) to walk in their “own ways” (ch. 66:3). The Lord hath laid on him; literally, the Lord caused to light upon him. God the Father, as the primary Disposer of all things, lays upon the Son the burden, which the Son voluntarily accepts. He comes into the world to do the Father’s will. He prays to the Father, “Let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). So St. John says that the Father “sent the Son to be the Propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10) And St. Paul tells us that God (the Father) “made him to be sin for us who knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21). It does not lessen the Son’s exceeding mercy and loving-kindness in accepting the burden, that it was laid upon him by the Father. The iniquity of us all (compare the initial “All we”). The redemption is as universal as the sin, at any rate potentially. Christ on the cross made “as full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice … for the sins of the whole world.”
6 Isaiah now reinforces his point with an extended simile (which also serves to introduce the next stanza). The entire people is compared to a flock of sheep. all of us both opens and closes the verse, emphasizing the extent of the problem, and by its lack of specificity inviting an extension to the whole human race. The point being illustrated includes the contrast between “us” and “him,” and the fact that the effects of our behavior were made to fall on him. (Note that nothing is said about his sharing the effects with us. The plain implication is that he took the effects and we did not.) Sheep are notoriously single-minded and at the same time unaware of their circumstances. Their minds are on the next clump of grass and not much else. Furthermore, when they are frightened, they have a tendency to bolt off in any direction. As a result of these two tendencies, sheep are prone to get lost. Like them, we humans seem not to be much aware of the consequences of our choices. And like them, we are frequently helpless in the consequences, especially the eternal ones. So what has happened? The consequences have fallen on the Servant. This is not accidental; the text says explicitly that God has made this happen. What a mystery! The conventional thought of the day said that if a person suffered it was because God was bringing his iniquity on him (Num. 32:23; Ps. 40:13 [Eng. 12]). Here God has made this person suffer for the iniquity of “all of us.” Who can this person be?
 Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Is 53:6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
“And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness— secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.” Isaiah 45:3
It was over a year of the deepest pain Joanna ever experienced. God had allowed a rift to appear in some of her dearest relationships. Nothing she tried could repair it.
But through prayer and Bible study, God began revealing the cause to her. She had a deep-seated need for approval. It caused her to look to people for her identity, rather than to Christ. It was in that difficult time that she discovered this truth.
Even in darkness there are hidden treasures. In the undoing of everything Joanna held dear, she found all she really needed was Christ.
Dear friend, you don’t need the favor of people. Because God loves you. You are His favored, His beloved. He uses difficult times and even attacks from the enemy, in order to work in you wholeness and maturity.
By Vonette Bright Used by Permission From: Having a Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver
“All who are oppressed may come to Him. He is a refuge for them in their time of trouble” Psalm 9:9
The late evangelist Henry Moorehouse once faced a disturbing dilemma. His little paralyzed daughter greeted him as he entered the house bearing a package for his wife.
“Where is Mother?” he asked, after kissing and embracing his daughter.
“Mother is upstairs,” the girl responded.
“Well,” Moorehouse said, “I have a package for her.”
“Oh,” the girl pleaded, “let me carry the package to Mother.”
“Why, Minnie dear,” her father replied, “how can you carry the package? You can’t carry yourself.”
With a smile, the girl continued, “That is true, Papa. But you can give me the package, and I will carry the package – and you will carry me.”
Taking her up in his arms, Moorehouse carried his daughter upstairs – little Minnie and the package, too. Then he saw his own position before the Lord; he had been carrying a heavy burden in recent days, but was not God carrying Him?
In similar fashion, you and I often feel the weight of heavy burdens – sometimes forgetting that even as we carry them we are being carried by our heavenly Father, who is a “refuge for them in their time of trouble.”
Bible Reading: Psalm 9:10-14
Thought: As I carry my burdens today – large or small – I will recognize that my heavenly Father is carrying me, and I will pass this wonderful truth on to others who are weighted down with the loads and cares of daily living.
A Description of Early Roman Persecution of Christians Matthew 5:10–12; 13:21; Mark 4:17; Luke 8:13; Hebrews 3:12
The method I have observed towards those who have been brought before me as Christians is this: I asked them whether they were Christians; if they admitted it, I repeated the question twice, and threatened them with punishment; if they persisted, I ordered them to be at once punished: for I was persuaded, whatever the nature of their opinions might be, a contumacious and inflexible obstinacy certainly deserved correction. There were others also brought before me possessed with the same infatuation, but being Roman citizens, I directed them to be sent to Rome. But this crime spreading (as is usually the case) while it was actually under prosecution, several instances of the same nature occurred. An anonymous information was laid before me containing a charge against several persons, who upon examination denied they were Christians, or had ever been so. They repeated after me an invocation to the gods, and offered religious rites with wine and incense before your statue (which for that purpose I had ordered to be brought, together with those of the gods), and even reviled the name of Christ: whereas there is no forcing, it is said, those who are really Christians into any of these compliances: I thought it proper, therefore, to discharge them. Some among those who were accused by a witness in person at first confessed themselves Christians, but immediately after denied it; the rest owned indeed that they had been of that number formerly, but had now (some above three, others more, and a few above twenty years ago) renounced that error. They all worshipped your statue and the images of the gods, uttering imprecations at the same time against the name of Christ.
PLINY THE YOUNGER*
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Forsake and Renounce Self Mark 10:21; Luke 10:42; 18:22; 1 Corinthians 13:1–3; Philippians 3:13–14
If a man give all his wealth, it is nothing; if he do great penance, it is little; if he gain all knowledge, he is still far afield; if he have great virtue and much ardent devotion, he still lacks a great deal, and especially, the one thing that is most necessary to him. What is this one thing? That leaving all, he forsake himself, completely renounce himself, and give up all private affections.
THOMAS À KEMPIS*
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Meanwhile, the administration plans to open the border even wider by ending Trump’s COVID migrant restrictions.
Joe Biden’s border crisis is surging. More than 188,000 migrants were caught illegally crossing the U.S. southern border last month, setting a 10-year record, and Customs and Border Protection agents have made more than a million arrests this fiscal year. Yet amidst all this, Americans received a bit of good news on Friday when U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was in violation of the Constitution.
In his ruling, Hanen, a George W. Bush appointee who’s been at the center of other key immigration rulings, explained, “As popular as this program might be, the proper origination point for the DACA program was, and is, Congress.” Precisely. Recall that Obama himself repeatedly recognized that he did not have the authority to create DACA, only to later issue his infamous executive order subverting Congress anyway.
Besides Obama unconstitutionally circumventing Congress to establish DACA, Hanen also faulted the Obama administration for its failure to allow for the public to weigh in before establishing the program.
Hanen’s ruling effectively hits the brakes on the Biden administration’s decision to reopen DACA to new recipients (Donald Trump had ended new applications in 2017), although the judge specifically highlighted that his decision would not have immediate impact on current DACA recipients in good standing.
Meanwhile, despite the growing flood of illegals surging across the border and an uptick in new COVID infections, the Biden administration indicated plans to end Trump’s use of Title 42, a law applied by Trump’s Centers for Disease Control to keep some migrants from entering the U.S. during a worldwide pandemic. The Washington Free Beacon reports: “As part of the preparation for that policy reversal, senior Department of Homeland Security officials warned staff that they will have to process up to 1,200 family units a day. That number of family units works out to 312,000 a year, assuming the border does not see any future surges. Following their release from custody, those migrants are in effect free to stay, said one DHS official, because many immigrants skip their immigration court hearings sometimes scheduled two years after they are initially detained.”
Yet even Biden’s de facto open-borders policy has its limits. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned anyone thinking about fleeing the Cuban communist government’s crackdown on people protesting for freedom that they’re not welcome. “The time is never right to attempt migration by sea,” Mayorkas stated. “To those who risk their lives doing so, this risk is not worth taking. Allow me to be clear: If you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States.”
Just to be clear, those individuals fleeing from genuine political oppression by a brutal communist dictatorial regime will not be welcomed, but Central American migrants simply pursuing better economic opportunity will essentially be given a free pass. Might political calculations be the actual factor here? Cuban Americans vote more solidly Republican compared to other Hispanics in the country.
Finally, regarding the oft-referenced number of 11 million illegals living in the U.S., the real number is likely double, if not triple, that, as was determined by Yale and MIT academics in a 2018 study. This further explains the Democrats’ amnesty push. It’s not 11 million more Democrat voters; rather, it’s perhaps 22 to 33 million.
A federal prosecutor’s decision to delay an investigation into Hunter Biden no doubt helped his dad and hurt Donald Trump.
The Democrat Party is The Party of Government. And the American people don’t trust their government. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center makes that abundantly clear, as less than one-fourth of Americans say they trust the federal government to do what’s right “just about always” (2%) or “most of the time” (22%).
And why should we trust Beltway politicos — especially if we believe in Liberty and limited government? After all, they spy on us, they lie to us, they sic the IRS on us, they collude with Big Tech to censor us, they discriminate against us based on race, and now we know — definitively — that they rig elections against us.
Last summer, federal officials in Delaware investigating Hunter Biden faced a dilemma. The probe had reached a point where prosecutors could have sought search warrants and issued a flurry of grand jury subpoenas. Some officials involved in the case wanted to do just that. Others urged caution. They advised Delaware’s U.S. Attorney, David Weiss, to avoid taking any actions that could alert the public to the existence of the case in the middle of a presidential election.
“To his credit, he listened,” said a person involved in the discussions, reported here for the first time. Weiss decided to wait, averting the possibility that the investigation would become a months-long campaign issue.
In short: They protected Hunter Biden, they suppressed the damaging truth, and they thereby rigged the election against Donald Trump.
If this sounds familiar, we’d point you to Big Tech’s censorship of another Hunter Biden bombshell just prior to the 2020 election. Were Hunter Biden a regular schlub, he’d be in prison, and his dad would be a deeply disgraced ex-politician. Instead, Hunter is publishing books and secretly selling “artwork,” and his dad is the president of the United States.
Is this a rotten country or what?
Sometimes we wonder whether the lefties at Politico even understand the gravity of what it is they’re reporting. Last week, for example, they published a piece about how “Biden allied groups, including the Democratic National Committee” are planning to work with SMS carriers to censor what we send via our personal text messages. But did Politico raise any alarms about the First Amendment issues of that revelation? Did the word “Constitution” even appear in the article? (Those are rhetorical questions.)
Politico, in fact, was one of dozens of media outlets that refused to talk about Hunter Biden in the run-up to the 2020 election. In fact, these “journalists” actually did the opposite: They helped our corrupt government spread disinformation about Hunter’s laptop. “More than 50 former senior intelligence officials,” they reported two weeks before the election, “have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son ‘has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.’”
No intelligent person ever believed this deceptively worded deep-state ruse. But the mainstream media dutifully reported it. Just before a presidential election. To help drag its guy across the finish line.
As for today’s news, let’s think about the information that was kept from we the people — the people who are supposed to make informed decisions when we cast our ballots. As National Review reports, “The U.S. Attorney’s office had been investigating allegations that the president’s son was engaged in pay-for-play Chinese business engagements, potential money laundering, violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and tax evasion.”
We’re not talking about jaywalking here. And it points — just as it always does — to our two-tiered justice system: one tier for the Left, and one for the Right.
As one of our colleagues quipped this morning, “Imagine if the person of interest had been Donald Trump Jr. I’m sure they would have extended the same courtesy, right? Right?”
Besides the pandemic, the leading reason is fentanyl smuggled across the border.
93,331. That’s how many Americans died of drug overdoses in 2020, and it represents an increase of 30% from the previous year. What changed?
That question is rhetorical, of course. The coronavirus pandemic changed a lot of things in this country, most of them for the worse. When you isolate everyone as social policy, take away their jobs or at least personal contact with their coworkers, give them wads of government cash, and essentially tell them “we’re all gonna die,” it’s predictable that many folks would turn to drugs. The biggest period of increase in overdose deaths was from March to May 2020 — the period of COVID lockdowns.
Let’s offer a little perspective. According to the CDC, “In 2020, approximately 3,358,814 deaths occurred in the United States.” That’s 20% more than in 2019. Though a lot of folks would put a big asterisk next to this number, the CDC also says, “COVID-19 was listed as the underlying or contributing cause of 377,883 deaths.” It’s over 600,000 now.
Murder also increased drastically in 2020 — about 25%. Preliminary FBI data puts the number over 20,000 for the first time in 25 years. Blame for that primarily falls on Democrat-controlled urban centers that descended into murderous chaos following the death of George Floyd.
All in all, 2020 was a bad year. Obviously, COVID itself bears a lot of the blame. A deadly and highly contagious virus took a lot of lives. So did the response to it.
But to bring this back to the epidemic of drug overdoses, it’s a topic we’ve addressed several times in recent years because it’s not a new problem. Opioids have been killing Americans for years, but it’s shocking to realize that we were appalled by 59,000 overdose deaths in 2016. The 93,000 last year dwarf that number.
Much of the deadliness is caused by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is often unwittingly consumed by people who purchase fentanyl-laced heroin or other drugs. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin. Where is the fentanyl coming from? The raw materials come from China and are shipped to the narco-terrorist nation of Mexico, where drug cartels manufacture it and traffic it across our southern border.
According to NBC News, reporting from El Paso (the opposite side of the border from Juarez), “Federal agents in this section of the southern border say they’ve seen a staggering 4,000 percent increase in fentanyl seizures over the last three years.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but policies that encourage employment, healthy social interaction (including healthy families), and a secure border would go a long way to save tens of thousands of American lives. Yet we have an administration and Congress pushing just the opposite.
The average American is being crushed by leftist Big Government and Big Business.
It’s no secret that the Democrat Party is obsessed with race. A racist and racially divisive Critical Race Theory has been introduced into every agency of the federal government, and President Joe Biden, who once promised to be a “uniter,” never misses an opportunity to tell Americans we live in a systemically racist nation — when he’s not busy labeling every effort to protect voter integrity as “Jim Crow 2.0,” or the greatest threat to democracy since the Civil War. Why the relentlessness — with an ample assist from a corporate media echo chamber? Because if the national conversation ever turned to class, all hell would break loose — and most of that hell would be directed at a Democrat Party that has abandoned working- and middle-class Americans in favor of globalist oligarch billionaires.
Make no mistake: The pandemic, in all its permutations — the lockdowns, the wholly arbitrary division of people into “essential” and “nonessential” workers, the suppression of drugs, therapies, and viral origination theories inimical to ruling class interests, the exponential increase in unconstitutional powers seized by megalomaniacal politicians, and a 2020 election in which at least four states violated their own laws and the U.S. Constitution to “facilitate” voting — has been an absolute boon for the billionaire class.
Quite simply, while ordinary Americans endured fear and hardship, people like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and a number of other billionaires saw their net wealth surge to dizzying heights: A devastating pandemic made the world’s richest people $5.1 trillion richer.
In stark contrast, ordinary Americans were bludgeoned. Between March 2020 and February 2021, a whopping 80 million became jobless, and from June to November 2020, approximately eight million dropped below the poverty line. Wages declined while inflation has soared. Small businesses that employed millions of Americans — and posed a serious problem for the Biden administration’s central planners — were also decimated.
Just as tragic, approximately 93,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2020, setting an all-time record. Opioids were the primary driver of those deaths, including fentanyl, which is made in China and smuggled across what used to be our nation’s southern border by drug cartels.
What’s the Biden administration doing about it? As of May, nearly 2,000 more pounds of fentanyl were seized by CBP officials compared to last year.
Even more devastating for America’s working class, the administration has effectively eliminated any effort to maintain secure borders. Data reveal that America is on track to endure 1.7 million illegals arriving at the border by the end of 2021. Moreover, a whistleblower has informed Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the Biden administration is using the U.S. military to secretly disperse illegal immigrants throughout the nation, without congressional knowledge or input.
These illegals will undoubtedly be competing with lower- and middle-class Americans for jobs, and anyone who objects to either the unnecessary competition for work or the fundamental transformation that arises from the addition of an illegal population larger than the population of Austin, Texas, in the first seven months of the year will be labeled racist and/or xenophobic.
Not that Americans can count on getting a reliable picture about this or any other topic the Biden administration considers “problematic.” In a stunning revelation made last Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted the administration is “in regular touch with the social media platforms” to make sure they are taking “faster action against harmful posts” that spread “misinformation” about COVID-19.
Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald put this contemptible collaboration between the government and Big Tech billionaires in the proper perspective: “If you don’t find it deeply disturbing that the White House is ‘flagging’ internet content that they deem ‘problematic’ to their Facebook allies for removal, then you are definitionally an authoritarian.”
Part of what irritates the administration is the pushback on its plans to go door-to-door in an effort to coerce Americans to get vaccinated. What should infuriate Americans on top of the apparent evisceration of privacy laws regarding their medical records is the reality that the same administration is apparently sanguine with the fact that 30% of illegals in ICE custody have refused to be vaccinated.
“During the 1980s cultural war, the left’s mantra was ‘race, class and gender,’” columnist Victor Davis Hanson reminds us. “Occasionally we still hear of that trifecta, but the class part has increasingly disappeared. The neglect of class is ironic given that a number of recent studies conclude class differences are widening as never before.”
What’s changed? “Some 65% of the Americans making more than $500,000 a year are Democrats,” he adds, “and 74% of those who earn less than $100,000 a year are Republicans, according to IRS statistics.”
Thus, the party that once promoted itself as the champion of working-class Americans has become “a bicoastal party of elites from corporate America, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, the media, universities, entertainment and professional sports,” Hanson concludes. “All have made out like bandits from globalization.”
How much have they “made out”? The six largest corporations in the world — Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (Google, YouTube, etc.), Microsoft, Tesla, and Facebook — each have a market cap larger than the gross domestic products of all but the top 17 nations in the world. And with the possible exception of Tesla, each of the others, along with a number of other billionaire-controlled corporate and Wall Street entities, are more than willing to promote and protect the interests of the Democrat Party — by any means necessary.
Thus, Americans can continue to expect a steady diet of belittlement, courtesy of bicoastal billionaires who decry the “white privilege” of millions of Americans who have never known privilege, white or otherwise. Or the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who dismiss those same people as “deplorables” and “bitter clingers,” respectively. Or the likes of BLM “revolutionaries” like cofounder Patrisse Cullors who speaks of “victimization” from the comfort of one of her four homes.
In the meantime, her fellow BLMers support the Communist regime in Cuba, and Democrats offer late and tepid support to the dissenters less than two weeks after spending the Fourth of July weekend denigrating the same American flag Cuba protesters are waving in defiance. Simultaneously, a corrupt FBI urges Americans to monitor their friends and family for “homegrown violent extremism,” and the same administration that has rolled out the red carpet for illegals pouring across the border tells Cubans not to “even think about” fleeing to America.
Why? Because unlike the avalanche of illegal border-busters, Cubans are not reliably Democrat.
This new reality has been a long time in the making. Columnist Angelo Codevilla warned us 11 years ago that “as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct.”
Eleven years later, the space between corporate oligarchs and the Democrat Party has become nonexistent. The Biden administration has taken everything that would be considered unconstitutional if government did it and “outsourced” it to (ostensibly private enterprise) oligarch allies.
Tragically, outsourced tyranny is still tyranny. And when the 2022 midterm elections take place, Americans of every race, religion, and ethnicity would be wise to remember they have far more in common with each other than they do with a corrupt, dysfunctional, America-hating ruling class and its corporate oligarch allies that use race to distract and divide them.
“Marxists often refer to socialism as the first, necessary phase on the way from capitalism to communism.” —History.com (November 2020)
“The goal of socialism is communism.” —Vladimir Lenin
Americans need to stand shoulder to shoulder in unity against socialism, now the economic platform of the political Left. The very ideology that has destroyed nations and millions of lives is at the core of the Democrats’ policy playbook and growing more and more popular among younger ideologues who are indoctrinated to believe Big Government cares for them.
Younger adults stupidly embrace socialism because they have not learned their history. Most Americans have some idea that more than six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust by Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers’ Party (the Nazis), though they’re under the grossly mistaken assumption that Nazis were “right-wing.” Yet few know that more than 100 million were put to death at the hands of communists — the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin, China’s Mao Zedong, Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh, North Korea’s Kim Il Sung, Cambodia’s Pol Pot, Ethiopia’s Mengistu Haile Mariam, and Cuba’s Fidel Castro.
A June 2021 Axios/Momentum poll of Americans showed 57% held positive views of capitalism. Looking at 18- to 34-year-olds, however, those with a positive view of the economic construct of freedom was only 49% — with 46% reporting a negative view. Narrowing the age to 18- to 24-year-olds, only 42% held a positive view of capitalism. And, no, this is not isolated to the Left. Among those surveyed age 18-34 who identified as “GOP leaners,” the positive view of our market system had fallen from 81% in 2019 to only 66% in 2021.
Socialism is in America now. It’s here because our focus was on winning elections and not hearts and minds as a Center-Right effort. In America today, socialism, the precursor to communism, begins with seeing handouts as a right. It’s important to remember that the top 1% of income earners pay 40% of all taxes, with the top 10% of earners paying 71% of all income taxes. Education is another mark of modern American socialism, with K-12 public education yielding 62% of students graduating without reading at grade level — though students can easily tell you all about Black Lives Matter, “white privilege,” and how to have safe sex.
With higher education, tuitions increase, ironically but predictably, as aid and support increases. Yet students are unable to find jobs that pay salaries to pay back their debt and sustain their lifestyle — a lifestyle consisting of an unlimited-data smartphone to go along with housing, food, and transportation. Many states are now offering at least two years of free college, and still the cry for tuition forgiveness and completely free higher education sounds in the promotions of the Left.
If you don’t think public education is being socialized, look at the tenth plank of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto: “Free Education for All Children in Public Schools … Combination of Education with Industrial Production.”
The process of socializing work and wages has been rushed on by the COVID pandemic. If there is a universal wage without work, the government competes with the private sector where merit is rewarded financially and with greater opportunity. With guaranteed income without work, the labor force shrinks. All the signs posted for hiring and the need for workers is due to government choosing what work is essential, with a base pay regardless of the work (or lack thereof). A quick lesson in a planned, government-run economy proved devastating.
The sixth goal of the Communist Manifesto is “Centralization of the Means of Communication.” The echo chamber created by broadcast and cable news programming, the censorship on social media platforms, and the selective reporting and biased framing of information corresponds directly to the rise of socialism’s popularity. When you add to that the public shaming and bullying in the form of cancel culture, you arrive at today’s cultural divide and destruction of our precious freedoms. Political dissent is banned and only propaganda is permitted.
The Democrat Party pushes to indoctrinate our students, redefine our families and genders for the purpose of sameness and government approval, and control our private property along with the ability to earn wealth based on merit and expertise, not sameness.
Patriots, the elections of 2022 are simple decisions between those on the Left working to destroy our Liberty and those candidates who are willing to fight for our constitutional republic.
The director-general gently calls on China to provide more access to investigate COVID.
The World Health Organization is having second thoughts about its dismissal last year of the lab leak theory origin for the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus admitted that there was a “premature push” to rule the lab leak theory as “extremely unlikely.”
Tedros sought to blame the unscientific rush to judgement on a multitude of “unintended errors” within the WHO and vowed to correct them. Something tells us these errors were more of the politically intended variety rather than accidental, but we digress. At least the WHO is finally admitting that the lab leak hypothesis is not some crack-pot conspiracy theory.
“I was a lab technician myself, I’m an immunologist, and I have worked in the lab, and lab accidents happen,” Tedros stated, adding, “It’s common,” therefore “checking what happened, especially in our labs” is important. Furthermore, “If we get full information, we can exclude [the lab leak theory].”
Well, good luck with getting full information. Beijing has already prevented a serious investigation into its Wuhan lab, which WHO officials seemed all to happy to play along with in their March report in which they suggest that a natural or zoonotic origin of COVID was “a likely to very likely pathway.” Again, what has changed between then and now to have the WHO essentially reverse itself?
The short answer appears to be a concern over credibility. As considerable consensus has grown among scientists for the possibility, if not probability, of the lab leak theory origin, the WHO seems to have also realized that it can’t simply succumb to Beijing’s propaganda. Tedros tacitly acknowledged as much when he stated, “I think we owe it to the millions who suffered and the millions who died really to understand what happened.”
The nation’s leading bookseller’s organization joins the Left’s fight against free speech and freedom of expression.
Abigail Shrier has written an important book. A really important book. And the organization whose job it is to sell such books is doing its best to keep it from being sold. The Wall Street Journal editorial board explains:
The American Booksellers Association apologized Wednesday for a “terrible” and “serious, violent incident.” What dastardly offense did it commit? The profound trauma occurred this month when the trade group dedicated to selling books sent out a paperback copy of a book some of its members don’t like.
The book at issue is “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” by Abigail Shrier. It argues, as Ms. Shrier explained in these pages last year, “that transgender identification among teen girls has become a social contagion,” and that medical intervention for teenage girls with sudden-onset gender dysphoria can cause serious and permanent harm.
So that was it. The “violent incident” was the sharing of a book by a 121-year-old organization that routinely shares books. As if the book weren’t a book at all, but a mail bomb instead.
If it’s not entirely clear what Shrier means by “a social contagion,” consider that, as she writes, “In the nearly 100-year diagnostic history of ‘gender dysphoria’ — severe discomfort in one’s biological sex — the disorder first appeared in early childhood (ages 2 to 4) and overwhelmingly afflicted boys. Today, teen girls with no history of childhood dysphoria are suddenly the leading demographic.”
“Leading,” though, doesn’t do justice to this situation. The data do. “From 2016-17,” she writes, “the number of gender surgeries on girls and women in the U.S. quadrupled, with biological females accounting for 70% of all gender surgeries.”
Important topic, no? And yet the nation’s leading bookselling organization is begging forgiveness from its members for having shared a complimentary copy of the book with them. Indeed, get a load of the ABA’s apology: “We apologize to our trans members and to the trans community for this terrible incident and the pain we caused them. We also apologize to the LGBTQIA+ community at large, and to our bookselling community. Apologies are not enough. We’ve begun addressing this today and are committed to engaging in the critical dialogue needed to inform concrete steps to address the harm we caused. Those steps will be shared in the next three weeks.”
It’s been a rough week for the ABA, which also felt the need to apologize for a case of mistaken identity. As The Daily Wire reports, “In a note sent late Wednesday, the CEO of American Bookseller’s Association … apologized for accidentally including a cover image of Candace Owens’ book ‘Blackout’ in a publicity post on its website.” (The ABA, which called Owens’s book “racist” and equated it to “violence,” had meant to feature a collection of teen romances with the same title.)
Unfortunately, the ABA isn’t alone in its efforts to censor the marketplace of ideas. As the Journal reports, “On Thursday afternoon Ms. Shrier’s book no longer appeared to be available on the website of Target, the giant retailer. … This week NBC News reported that two Amazon employees resigned after the company continued to offer Ms. Shrier’s book. Hundreds more have called in a petition for the book’s removal from the online marketplace.”
Remember when the Left used to denounce prudish, proscriptive conservatives for complaining about a dung-splattered Virgin Mary, a urine-drenched crucifix, or a bull whip emerging from the alimentary canal of Robert Mapplethorpe? Those were the days.
These days, however, the Left is attacking one book after another, and one serious author after another. In May, we reported on book publisher Simon & Schuster’s shameful cancellation of Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley’s contract to publish The Tyranny of Big Tech, ostensibly because of “his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom” — which is another way of saying “his role in questioning the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.”
In light of the Left’s wholesale assault on free speech, we can’t help but wonder what, exactly, it’s afraid of. The weakness of its arguments, perhaps?
Insight: “We must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not attempt to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.” —Davy Crockett (1786-1836)
Re: The Left: “For most Americans, things like free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of movement are not ancillary. They are central to our lives. They can’t be traded away for a year of extra day care. The left does not share this view. Worse, as proven repeatedly in many corners of the world, the left is ready and willing to crush those who do.” —Neil Patel
Good question: “Most requirements found in H.R. 1 have never existed in most states. So how could failing to implement them bring us to the edge of the abyss?” —David Harsanyi
For the record: “Democrats have won numerous elections across the country and nationally under laws they now claim are authoritarian. They will likely win many more. The fact is that it is easier to vote today than ever before. Any citizen can obtain an ID and request a mail ballot in every state. No amount of cynically manufactured hysterics changes that fact.” —David Harsanyi
Observations: “I think it’s really scary to have the federal government of the United States [and] the White House compiling lists of people, organizations, whatever, and going to a private company that by the way is a monopoly — Facebook — and saying you need to censor. … At this point, you really have to wonder how private of companies they are. I mean, if you are taking direction from the federal government, openly coordinating with the federal government, you have got the government saying we think this speech ought to be censored and Big Tech if they carry out those instructions, I mean, that looks like they are starting to operate as a public utility and there are many people out there who say we ought to just treat them as public utilities.” —Senator Josh Hawley
The BIG Lie: “No Democrat has never been against voter ID.” —House Majority Whip James Clyburn
Credit where it’s due: “Communism is a failed system, a universally failed system, and I don’t see socialism as a very useful substitute.” —Joe Biden (On the other hands, the president’s statist actions speak louder than words…)
Non compos mentis: “We stand in solidarity with the Cuban people and condemn the suppression of the media, speech and protest. We also call for an end to the U.S. embargo and additional Trump-era restrictions that are profoundly contributing to the suffering of Cubans.” —Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
And last… “[Jen] Psaki says the White House has been flagging ‘problematic posts’ on Facebook they believe are misinformation about [the] Wuhan coronavirus. Reminder: [Anthony] Fauci worked with Facebook to ban the lab leak theory … for more than a year.” —Katie Pavlich
President Joe Biden has failed to meet his vaccination goals. There are several reasons for this. Facebook. FOX News. Climate change, maybe. Despite this, we have to convince the people who aren’t vaccinated to get the shot. So how do you convince someone to go against a deeply held belief? It’s hard to say, but I know how I want to convince someone: screaming at them how dumb they are until they change their ways. Thus I’ve decided that’s the best way to persuade people.
If we are to save everyone from this pandemic, we have to find all the people who aren’t vaccinated and scream at them as loudly and as angrily as we can. Remember: The louder and angrier you are, the more right you sound and the more likely you are to convince people.
And that means you also can’t show any doubt. I don’t care if all your knowledge comes from some article you only half-read or something that just popped into your head and seems right to you; you shout that with absolute religious certainty.
“COVID is spreading worse than ever!”
“The delta variant is twenty times as deadly!”
“If you don’t get vaccinated today, five hundred million kids will die tomorrow!”
And here’s the essential part: Make sure the people you are screaming at know that you hate them. If there is one thing that can convince people to change their ways, it’s that they don’t want to be hated by angry people ignorantly screaming at them. They want to be friends with those people.
So get out there, scream at the unvaccinated, and maybe together we can convince them all. And even if we don’t, at least we got to scream at people we hate.
On Newswatch AM July 19th: the controversy over the White House working with Facebook to target misinformation- which some are calling censorship; can Republicans retake the House and possibly Senate next year?; Dan Andros of Faithwire.com …
The Left wants to make life hell for the non-compliant.
Mark Tapson is the Shillman Fellow on Popular Culture for the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Nothing triggers Democrats quite like non-compliance with their collectivist agenda, because for all their blustery blather about saving democracy from fascist Trump supporters, and beneath their micro-thin veneer of “tolerance and inclusiveness,” Progressives are totalitarians. The slightest resistance to their transformative, utopian vision elicits authoritarian rage. Case in point: the left has run out of patience with Americans who are resisting the COVID-19 vaccination.
At the end of June, the propaganda rag TheNew York Timespublished an opinion piece whose title signaled the left’s growing frustration with the vaccine skeptics: “Vaccine Mandates Are Coming. Good.” Last weekend, The St. Louis Dispatchposted a letter that captured the mood of the totalitarians even more honestly. It was titled, “Enough already. Punish those who refuse the vaccine.”
Last Saturday on CNN, Leana Wen, former president of Planned Parenthood, tried to make the coercive case that life should be made difficult for those deplorable holdouts who still haven’t caved in to the increasing social and governmental pressure to receive a vaccine shot. “It needs to be hard for people to remain unvaccinated,” Wen stated baldly. “Right now, it’s kind of the opposite. Basically, we need to make getting vaccinated the easy choice.”
You would think that someone who ran an organization whose mantra was “my body, my choice” would be more supportive of Americans who are justifiably reluctant to accept an emergency-authorized-but-not-FDA-approved vaccine to combat a virus for which the survival rate hovers around 99%. But no. The left is determined to decide what choice you get to make, and when.
“It’s time for Biden to make the case for vaccine requirements,” Wen wrote on July 6 at the radical Washington Post, where she is an opinion contributor. She went on to lament that the White House’s Fourth of July celebration “could have been a chance to show that vaccination isn’t just an individual decision, but one that affects the health of others — including those already vaccinated.” That’s odd: shouldn’t the already-vaccinated be unaffected by the health of others?
The entertainment-media complex demonizes holdouts as too stupid to see the wisdom of unquestioningly accepting the government’s free-and-easy vaccine. Moronic Joy Behar, hateful co-host of the long-running, daytime gab-fest The View, opined recently that teenagers should be allowed to get vaccinated without the consent of their unwoke, “ignorant parents.” Funny how the left is always trying to drive a wedge between impressionable children and their un-Progressive parents, like offering them birth control or hormone therapy to get them started transitioning to a different sex.
Tuesday on CNN’s OutFront, former Obama administration Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that Americans who have not received their “Fauci ouchie” should not be allowed to go to work or be around children, and should be restricted in their movements.
“We’re in a situation where we have a wildly effective vaccine, multiple choices, lots available, free of charge, and we have folks who are just saying, ‘I won’t do it,’” Sebelius complained. She didn’t mention the reason folks “won’t do it”: the vaccine which the government and media are colluding to force Americans to accept has caused multiple serious health issues and thousands of deaths, and the long-term complications are a complete unknown as well. Nearly a quarter (23%) of those who have been vaccinated say they have experienced “negative reactions,” according to a poll from The Economist/YouGov.
Sebelius and her fellow totalitarians don’t understand that freedom-loving Americans have a kneejerk resistance to being pressured and threatened by the government, particularly when that government has demonstrated lethal incompetence in handling the pandemic, and when its medical “experts” have a political agenda and regularly contradict and/or refuse to abide by their own recommendations.
“I think that it’s time to say to those folks, it’s fine if you don’t choose to get vaccinated,” Sebelius continued, with a demeanor reminiscent of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’s Nurse Ratched. “You may not come to work. You may not have access to a situation where you’re going to put my grandchildren in jeopardy, where you might kill them, or you might put them in a situation where they’re going to carry the virus to someone in a high-risk position.”
If, after examining all the evidence and considering your personal medical condition, you choose to decline the vaccine and take your chances with the virus, the collectivist left wants you punished for the good of the society-at-large, because they don’t approve of individual freedom. Sebelius, Wen, Behar, and their fellow totalitarians want you to be unable to make a living, restricted in where you can go, and barred from contact with children – likely even your own.
Sebelius added, “I want to take off my mask. I want to be able to live my life with vaccination, and right now, I’m being impinged on by people who say, ‘I don’t want to get vaccinated.’” If the vaccine is so “wildly effective,” as she claims, why must the vaccinated continue to be masked and live in such fear of contracting the virus? Why must they live in total isolation from the unvaccinated? Questions like this don’t give vaccine skeptics much confidence.
The fact is, the COVID-19 pandemic is about government control of the populace, and has been from the very beginning when it was seized upon by the left as a strategy to torpedo Donald Trump’s 2020 election chances. Now that the Democrats hold the reins of political power, they continue to use it to manipulate Americans to live in fear and to accept greater and greater government control over every aspect of their lives. The totalitarian left needs to exaggerate and perpetuate the threat of this virus. It empowers them.
And it enables them to demonize, identify, and target their political opponents. In a not-so-veiled threat, the Biden administration wants to send Brownshirts – er, local community representatives – door-to-door across America like Jehovah’s Witnesses, purportedly to make sure everyone is informed about how easy it is to get vaccinated (“Did we mention it’s free?”). The real reason is to get literally in the faces of the non-compliant. According to a new poll, only 57% of Biden’s own party approves of this blatantly invasive plan (but only 31% disapprove). Non-affiliated voters disapprove 56% to 33%, and Republicans disapprove by a 74-to-20% margin (that 20% is disappointingly high).
This is certainly not to deny or even diminish the actual seriousness of contracting COVID-19. Individuals should make careful, apolitical decisions about the vaccine in relation to their own health condition – and that decision should and must be respected. The issue is that the disease has been so politicized by the left that the reality of it has been almost impossible to discern amid the panic-mongering, bullying, and media disinformation thickly surrounding it. One thing is certain, though: it is not the second coming of the Black Plague.
The overarching danger is not COVID-19 but the left’s weaponization, first of the virus itself, and now of the vaccine for it.
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