Monthly Archives: October 2021

Global elites flying private jets to COP26 climate conference emit more CO2 than hundreds of citizens would in a year – UK media — RT World News

Global elites flying private jets to COP26 climate conference emit more CO2 than hundreds of citizens would in a year – UK media


President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are shown arriving in Rome on Friday for the G20 summit. They will fly on Air Force One again to attend COP26 in Glasgow.
  © Reuters / Kevin Lamarque

The bigwigs heading to Scotland for the COP26 climate summit – where they ostensibly aim to help save the planet from greenhouse gases – will generate outsized emissions themselves by employing private jets for the trip.

More than 400 private jets carrying politicians and business executives to this week’s conference will belch out 13,000 tons of carbon dioxide, exceeding the emissions of 1,600 average Scots for a full year, according to an estimate by the UK’s Sunday Mail.

 Read more

© (L) Reuters/Toby Melville; (R) Wikimedia CommonsHuman civilization could ‘collapse’ like Roman Empire if climate change not addressed, UK PM Boris Johnson warns

“Private jets are very prestigious, but it is difficult to avoid the hypocrisy of using one while claiming to be fighting climate change,” environmental activist Matt Finch told the newspaper.

Heads of states and other leaders from across the globe will be among the private jet-setters – from Japan to India to Israel to even the UK itself. US President Joe Biden is reportedly scheduled to arrive on Air Force One on Monday.

That trip will follow the American president’s flight from Washington to Rome for this weekend’s G20 summit, where leaders pledged “meaningful and effective” climate action but offered few specifics on how they will keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It’s not clear whether Biden will again deploy a massive motorcade, such as the 85-car parade of gas-guzzling vehicles that chaperoned his visit to the Vatican on Friday to meet with Pope Francis. Biden is expected to tout more than $500 billion in proposed US spending on environmental programs when he gets to Glasgow.

 Also on rt.com

US President Joe Biden leaves after meeting Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi ahead of the G20 summit in Rome, Italy‘Very green’: VIDEO of Biden’s massive 85-car motorcade ahead of climate summit leaves critics stunned

Critics blasted the COP26 participants for professing to fight climate change while doing nothing to pare their enormous carbon footprints. “Every world leader or dignitary that arrives to COP26 by private jet is an eco-hypocrite,” former member of the European parliament Nigel Farage said on Sunday in a Twitter post.

Britain’s Prince Charles and Prime Minister Boris Johnson were among those targeted for criticism, inasmuch as they took private jets to Rome and Scotland. Johnson also drew political pushback in June, when he traveled to Cornwall by private jet for the G7 summit rather than taking a train from London.

According to Finch’s Transport and Environment NGO group, CO2 output from private jets is soaring, which helps account for the fact that 1% of the population generates half of global aviation emissions. Flying by private jet emits about 40 times as much CO2 per passenger as commercial air travel, according to a study by Lund University.

Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, has been another alleged environmental hypocrite for globe-trotting by private jet while warning that “we cannot afford further delay” in solving the climate crisis. His family’s Gulfstream GIV-SP reportedly emitted an estimated 116 metric tons of CO2 in the 11 months leading up to Biden’s inauguration in January – equivalent to the annual emissions of 25 passenger cars.

Kerry’s explanation for traveling by private jet might resonate with many of the COP26 dignitaries. After traveling to Iceland by private plane to receive an environmental award in 2019, he said in an interview that there was really no other option for someone like him.

“The time it takes me to get somewhere, I can’t sail across the ocean,” Kerry said, without mentioning such options as commercial airlines. “I have to fly, meet with people and get things done.” He added, “If you offset your carbon, it’s the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle.”

 Also on rt.com

RT‘The only choice for SOMEBODY LIKE ME’: US climate czar John Kerry defends flying PRIVATE JET to Iceland to receive enviro award

— Read on www.rt.com/news/539018-cop26-private-jet-hypocrisy/

Watch: MEPs Protest “Oppressive” Vaccine Passports, Question Why “Political Elites Push This Agenda This Hard” | ZeroHedge

Via Off-Guardian.org,

In the latest editions of This Week in the New Normal, we mentioned a group of Members of the European Parliament who held a press conference where they opposed mandatory vaccination and the “Green Pass”.

On the 28th five of those same MEPs held another press conference, and while the whole thing is worth watching (embedded above), the highlight is definitely German MEP Christine Anderson who speaks for two of the truest minutes in the EU’s history:

Full Transcript (emphasis ours):

All through Europe, governments have gone to great length to get people vaccinated. We were promised the vaccinations will be a “game changer”, and it will restore our freedom…turns out none of that was true. It does not render you immune, you can still contract the virus and you can still be infectious.

The only thing this vaccine did for sure was to spill billions and billions of dollars in the pockets of pharmaceutical companies.

I voted against the digital green certificate back in April, unfortunately it was adopted nonetheless, and this just goes to show there is only a minority of MEPs who truly stand for European values. The majority of MEPs, for whatever reasons unbeknown to me, obviously support oppression of the people while claiming – shamelessly – to do it for the people’s own good.

But it is not the goal that renders a system oppressive it is always the methods by which the goal is pursued. Whenever a government claims to have the people’s interest at heart, you need to think again.

In the entire history of mankind there has never been a political elite sincerely concerned about the well-being of regular people.What makes any of us think that it is different now? If the age of enlightenment has brought forth anything then, certainly this: never take anything any government tells you at face value

Always question everything any government does or does not do. Always look for ulterior motives. And always ask cui bono?, who benefits?

Whenever a political elite pushes an agenda this hard, and resort to extortion and manipulation to get their way, you can almost always be sure your benefit is definitely not what they had at heart.

As far as I’m concerned, I will not be vaccinated with anything that has not been properly vetted and tested and has shown no sound scientific evidence that the benefits outweigh the disease itself in possible long-term side effects, which to this day we don’t know anything about.

I will not be reduced to a mere guinea pig by getting vaccinated with an experimental drug, and I will most assuredly not get vaccinated because my government tells me to and promises, in return, I will be granted freedom.

Let’s be clear about one thing: No one grants me freedom for I am a free person.

So, I dare the European Commission and the German government: Throw me in jail, lock me up and throw away the key for all I care. But you will never be able to coerce me into being vaccinated if I, the free citizen that I am, choose not to be vaccinated.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/political/watch-meps-protest-oppressive-vaccine-passports-question-why-political-elites-push-agenda

A Secular Sacrament: Why Mandates Violate Liberty of Conscience and Enforce a New Religion — The Aquila Report

The Covid vaccine, unlike every other mandated vaccine, has a religious connotation to it. For this reason, Christians in our day need to be instructed by Revelation 13 as much as Romans 13. And I pray this essay might help us to see what is going on and to respond in freedom and faith—whatever that means for you and the vaccine.

Since the Biden Administration mandated soldiers and federal workers to be fully vaccinated, while also requiring private businesses larger than 100 employees to require vaccines, chaos has ensued. Defending the freedoms of Americans, many have begun to address the constitutional problems this mandate creates.[1] Others have begun seeking a religious exemption for this mandate based upon the fetal cells used in the research and production of these vaccines.[2] Still others object to the mandates because they have already contracted Covid, have natural immunity, and believe (with a long history immunology supporting them) that taking a vaccine is unnecessary and may be potentially harmful to their body.[3]

At the same time, other Americans, and many Christians among them, have opted to get the vaccine, even arguing for its morality. Add to this the difference between seeking a vaccine exemption on medical grounds versus moral and religious grounds, and the complexity multiplies.[4] Not surprisingly, with all of these arguments out there, people of faith are led to ask: What should I do?

To answer that question, I am putting myself in the shoes of the men and women in the military and federal government who are now ordered to get vaccinated. Some of them have willingly received the vaccine, and done so in faith. Many others, however, are not able to receive the vaccine in faith. As I have spoken to church members and other Christians about this, many are crushed in spirit at the thought of injecting a serum that has come about by the use of stem cell lines that ultimately trace back to cells derived from aborted babies. Others are not bound in conscience by the use of fetal cell lines, but are nevertheless are unable to take the vaccine in good faith. It is for this latter category, I am writing.

In what follows, I offer a twofold argument for why this vaccine mandate should lead some men and women to seek a religious exemption (not just a medical exemption). These two arguments are based upon a genuinely held religious belief that this mandate (1) eliminates the free exercise of their faith and (2) forces upon them the faith another religion. Along the way, I will show why this vaccine and its accompanying mandate is different in nature than previous vaccines. Unlike previous vaccines, like Jonathan Salk’s polio vaccine or the more recent anthrax vaccine, the Covid vaccine comes with a moral imperative that is downright religious, complete with Fauci prayer candles and vaccine jewelry.

At the outset, I admit that this argument may not resonate with everyone, and that is fine. I am not writing to persuade everyone to seek a religious exemption. Seeking a religious exemption is deeply personal and should be based on one’s genuinely held beliefs. So, I am not seeking to bind anyone’s conscience regarding the vaccine. At our church, we have labored hard to stress the liberty Christians have to receive or reject the vaccine, because we really believe that one’s health care decisions are matters of personal responsibility and liberty, not public morality and coercion.

That said, as a pastor with many members seeking religious exemptions, I am writing to Christians to offer biblical rationale for why Christians can—and in many cases should—seek a religious exemption. So, to the text of Scripture we go.

The Mandate Replaces Faith with Coercion

In the Bible, the locus classicus for liberty of conscience is Romans 14. And while the whole chapter provides a rich resource for understanding the biblical view of human conscience, the last verse provides a starting point for distinguishing faith from coercion, as well as offering a connection between conscience, faith, and sin.

Summarizing his argument on conscience and religious devotion to God, Paul writes: “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (v. 23). This simple principle needs to guide Christians at all times, but especially in moments when governing authorities are binding consciences by way of coercive actions that do not proceed from God’s truth. In fact, the first point to make is that coercion always makes faith null and void.

There are many ways to get at this argument, but one of them has to do with faith, thanksgiving, and using the good gifts of God. Here’s how Paul puts it in 1 Timothy 4:1–5,

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

While Paul’s words take aim at false teachers who forbid marriage and require abstinence from food, his argument stands upon a universal truth: Christians are those who give thanks to God for every good gift. While those in rebellion against God take his gifts and refuse to acknowledge him or give thanks to him (Rom. 1:23), Christians are those who give thanks to God (Luke 17:19) and praise him for every good and perfect gift that comes down from our Father in heaven (James 1:17). These gifts include, food and drink, sex and marriage. But they also include sunshine and rain (Matt. 5:45), agricultural wisdom (Isaiah 28:26), and medicine (James 5:14).[5]

Accordingly, for Christians to receive the vaccine in faith means that Christians can give thanks to God for the good gift that he has given. And more than that, Christians must give thanks to God for anything they put in their body. Not only are we called to glorify God with our bodies (1 Cor. 6:20), but if we refuse to give thanks to God, we are not exercising faith and are by definition sinning (see Rom. 14:23).

By contrast, when Christians eat, drink, or take a vaccine, they do so with personal thanksgiving to their Lord. And over the course of the last year, this is what many Christians have done. In faith, they have prayed against Covid and for a vaccine. Covid is a real threat and one that continues to cut short the lives of those whom we know and love. Accordingly, Christians have given thanks to God for the vaccine, and no one who has taken the vaccine in faith should feel condemned.

My argument here is not anti-vaccine; it is anti-mandate. Because thanksgiving for the vaccine is predicated on a free conscience, I am making the case for personal freedom to making wise choices for one’s health. Remove that freedom of conscience, by forcibly causing someone to do something against their will (and their body), and the ability to offer genuine thanksgiving is gone.[6] And without thanksgiving to God, faith is eliminated, and sin remains. Those who deny God may make light of this thinking, but for those who seek to do all things to the glory of God, this way of thinking stands at the core of their being. And this why liberty of conscience has always been protected in our nation.

Going back to the early church, Christians from many faith traditions are on record for defending the rights of individuals, Christians or otherwise, to live according to their faith.[7] Likewise, Andrew Walker, in his recent book on religious liberty, has argued that making religious choices freely is part of what it means to be made in God’s image.[8] Accordingly, religious liberty “is not a political question,” but a question of what it means to be human. Religious liberty, he argues, “arises from a theology of creation—that humanity bears a unique origin, design, and purpose in its constitution” (Liberty for All110). More confessionally, the Second London Confession (1689) puts it this way.

21.2. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his word, or not contained in it. So that to believe such doctrines, or obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring of an implicit faith, an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also.

Christ alone is Lord of conscience. This is the critical point of tension in our moment. This tenet of our faith is in sharp conflict with state and health officials who exalt themselves as conscience-binding-lords.[9] They refuse to give room for religious exemptions or conscience, and thereby seek to bind the conscience which is free in Christ.[10] As state and health officials masquerade as conscience-binding-lords, we must reply: Solus Christus.[11]

Protestants have always opposed church or state pronouncements that coerce action or bind conscience. In 1769–70, six Baptists were jailed in Culpeper, Virginia for this conviction, and James Madison worked with likes of John Leland, another Virginia Baptist, to instantiate in the  Constitution of the United States (1789) a clause protecting religious liberty—what we know as the First Amendment. Thus, religious liberty has been a defining feature of America, and one that reflects the human dignity and personal freedom set forth in Scripture.[12]

Sadly, with the recent vaccine mandates, liberty of conscience has been withdrawn and in its place the state has eliminated the chance for citizens to live according to their religious convictions. As a result, many Christians, still unconvinced by the need for this vaccine, have lost the chance to be persuaded of its goodness and the chance to receive it with thanksgiving. Hence, the first reason that many Christians should seek a religious exemption is because instead of the state using the power of persuasion, which could preserve personal liberty and would lead to thanksgiving, the state has used its power of coercion to eliminate personal freedom for the sake of its religious belief that the vaccine is the savior we all need.

This is the second argument to be made, that instead of merely eliminating personal liberty and the chance to offer thanksgiving to God for this vaccine, the Biden administration and its various agencies have forced upon Christians a medical procedure that is championed as a secular sacrament. Still, before getting into that argument, the fact remains that many Christians who are called to do everything from faith and to give thanksgiving to God for every good gift, including vaccines, are not able to do that. And for that reason, those who cannot take the vaccine in faith, should not take the vaccine at all. Instead, they should seek a religious exemption and band together with others who share their convictions to stand for personal liberty.[13]

Read More

A Secular Sacrament: Why Mandates Violate Liberty of Conscience and Enforce a New Religion — The Aquila Report

The Truth About Transgenderism — CultureWatch

The lies of the trans militants must be resisted and exposed:

It was not all that long ago when hardly anyone was talking about homosexuality. Then it seemed that everyone was. And more recently, transgenderism was also not being talked about by most folks, but then – seemingly overnight – it was a topic that we could not escape discussing.

As but one indication of this, my first article on the trans revolution appeared back on April 5, 2008. This is now my 230th piece on the topic. Such is the power of very small and very vocal activist groups who are hellbent on completely changing everything – society, culture, politics, law, morality, history, biology and reality – into their own revolutionary image.

As always in such wars – including the war of ideas – there is the need to be armed with proper ammunition in order to fight back. Facts and truth are a major part of our arsenal. We must have the courage to resist by sharing truth and resisting the lies. Therefore I want to do two things here: present you with a list of recommended books on this topic, and highlight three of them.

Let me start with these three very important books, all published by secular publishing houses (I offer the details of them in the reading list below). The author certainly cannot be accused of being part of the religious right, with avid atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Douglas Murray and Ayaan Hirsi Ali praising their books.

The first book to be aware of is The End of Gender by Dr Debra Soh. In this very significant book Soh – who has a PhD in neuroscience and sexuality – examines nine myths being pushed by the trans activists, such as:

-biological sex is a spectrum
-gender is a social construct
-there are more than two genders
-gender-neutral parenting works

As to the first one she says this:

Biological sex is either male or female. Contrary to what is commonly believed, sex is defined not by chromosomes or our genitals or hormonal profiles, but by gametes, which are mature reproductive cells. There are only 2 types of gametes: small ones called sperm that are produced by males, and large ones called eggs that are produced by females. There are no intermediate types of gametes between egg and sperm cells. Sex is therefore binary. It is not a spectrum.

I have mentioned Dr Soh before, eg.,: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/08/02/the-trans-assault-on-everything/

Image of The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths about Sex and Identity in Our Society
The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths about Sex and Identity in Our Society by Soh, Debra (Author)

The second must read volume is Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality by Helen Joyce. The emphasis of her important volume is to look at all the anguish, trauma and hurt people have gone through as they ran with trans ideology and bought the transition line. Says Joyce:

What finally pushed me to write this book, however, was meeting some of gender-identity ideology’s most poignant victims. They are detransitioners: people who took hormonal and sometimes surgical steps toward transition, only to realise that they had made a catastrophic mistake. At the inaugural meeting of the Detransition Advocacy Network, a British self-help group, in Manchester in late 2019, I met some in person. When I heard their stories, I knew I had to amplify them.

I have quoted before from this key volume, eg: billmuehlenberg.com/2021/10/15/the-trans-war-on-children/

Finally, let me mention Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier. This book primarily examines how teenage girls are being impacted by the trans agenda. The author looks in great detail at the tragic horror stories of so many of these young girls, and says this in her closing chapter:

The fanatics – both transgender and, just as often, not – exploit an honest struggle that besets this tiny few to bully and harass any who might point out the sudden craze captivating our despairing young. Many trans adults I talked to apologised for the trans activists that claim to speak in their name. It’s important to remember that activists are the most extreme members of any group.

 

All the institutions we’ve built to keep young people from making irreparable mistakes have failed them. The universities, the schools, the doctors, the therapists, and even the churches have been won over by a dogged ideology that claims to speak for a more important class of victim.

 

Girls who’ve been sold the promise of metamorphosis hold in their hands a bill of goods. But they retain one last redeemable asset: the parents who have never stopped worrying and still hope for a call. As far as I can tell, this card never expires.

I discussed her book here: billmuehlenberg.com/2021/03/17/maniac-radicals-rule-and-normal-people-are-imprisoned/

What to read on the trans revolution

There are of course a number of other books to be aware of on this subject. Here is a brief list of some of the best books out there, divided into two sections: those by Christian authors and non-Christian authors. These are also very good titles that you need to add to your arsenal.

Consider three more of these books. Although now a few years old, Ryan Anderson’s volume is still a first-rate discussion of the issues. See my review of his very useful book here: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/02/21/review-harry-became-sally-ryan-anderson/

And the volume edited by Lisa Nolland features a number of experts dealing with various aspects of the issue. See my review here: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/05/08/a-review-of-the-new-normal-by-lisa-severine-nolland-et-al/

You will note that I offer six volumes by Walt Heyer. He is a crucial voice in this debate because he has been there and done that: he has transitioned, and then detransistioned. See my review of his 2018 volume here: billmuehlenberg.com/2019/02/10/a-review-of-trans-life-survivors-by-walt-heyer/

Here then are twenty key books on transgenderism:

Christian authors

Anderson, Ryan, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. Encounter Books, 2018.
Branch, J. Alan, Affirming God’s Image. Lexham Press, 2019.
Heyer, Walt, Gender, Lies and Suicide. Make Waves, 2013.
Heyer, Walt, Paper Genders. Make Waves, 2011.
Heyer, Walt, Perfected with Love. Xulon Press, 2009.
Heyer, Walt, Trading My Sorrows. Xulon Press, 2006.
Heyer, Walt, Trans Life Survivors. 2018.
Heyer, Walt, A Transgender’s Faith. CreateSpace, 2015.
James, Sharon, Gender Ideology. Christian Focus, 2019.
McGuire, Ashley, Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female. Regnery Publishing, 2017.
Nolland, Lisa Severine, et. al., The New Normal. Wilberforce Publications, 2018.
Roberts, Vaughan, Transgender. The Good Book Company, 2016.
Sprinkle, Preston, Embodied: Transgender Identities, the Church, and What the Bible Has to Say. David C. Cook, 2021.
Strachan, Owen and Gavin Peacock, What Does the Bible Teach About Transgenderism? Christian Focus, 2020.
Walker, Andrew, God and the Transgender Debate. The Good Book Company, 2017.
Yarhouse, Mark, Understanding Gender Dysphoria. IVP, 2015.

Non-Christian authors

Barrett, Ruth, ed., Female Erasure: What You Need To Know About Gender Politics’ War on Women, the Female Sex and Human Rights. Tidal Time Publishing, 2016.
Blade, Linda and Barbara Kay, Unsporting: How Trans Activism and Science Denial are Destroying Sport. Rebel News, 2021.
Joyce, Helen, Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality. Oneworld, 2021.
Moore, Michele and Heather Brunskell-Evans, eds., Transgender Children and Young People, 2nd Edition. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018.
Shrier, Abigail, Irreversible Damage: Teenage Girls and the Transgender Craze. Swift, 2020.
Soh, Debra, The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths about Sex and Identity in Our Society. Threshold Editions, 2020.

The Truth About Transgenderism — CultureWatch

Pope Francis At Vatican On Hindu Feast Of Diwali Warns Against ‘Religious Fundamentalism’ Calls Catholics And Hindus To ‘Join Hands In The Light’ — Now The End Begins

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has published a message wishing Hindus a happy feast of Deepavali (Diwali), which represents the victory “of light over darkness.”

Under a painting of the New Age Jesus sporting a Luciferian split beard and flashing Masonic hand signs, Pope Francis welcomed the prime minister of India to the Vatican to wish him a Happy Diwali. Not only that, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue issued an official proclamation calling for Catholics to join with Hindus and Buddhists and to ‘walk in the light’ together. Oh, that kooky One World Religion of Chrislam is just so darn cute. Not.

“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:4,5 (KJB)

Pope Francis is the pope over the world’s Catholics, but he has higher ambitions than just a small thing like that. Frankie is aiming to be the pope over not just Catholics, but over Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, transgenders and everyone else that has a hankering for worshiping a christ, just not Jesus Christ. If Pope Francis was actually a born again Christian, he would nicely tell the Hindus that without Jesus Christ as their Saviour, they are lost and headed for the fires of a literal, endless, burning Hell. That’s what the pope would say if he was saved.

POPE FRANCIS IS THE LEADER OF THE ONE WORLD RELIGION OF CHRISLAM

Vatican Congratulates Hindus for the Feast of Diwali

FROM BREITBART NEWS: The Vatican “extends its most cordial greetings to you on the occasion of Deepavali which falls on 4 November this year,” states the October 29 message addressed to the Church’s “Hindu friends.”

“May the observance of this feast even in the midst of anxiety and uncertainty arising from the present pandemic, and its resultant worldwide crises, light up your lives, homes and communities with the hope for a better future!” the message states.

In its message, the Vatican proposes to offer thoughts on how Christians and Hindus can together “bring the light of hope in people’s lives in such challenging times.”

The Vatican’s message was sent one day prior to the arrival of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Saturday. Human rights groups have insisted that Christians suffer increasing violence and persecution since Modi ascended to Power in 2014.

In its message to Hindus, the Vatican warns of a widespread “sense of resignation, despair and despondency” caused by factors “ranging from terrorism to ecological degradation.”

Following the coronavirus pandemic, “it is within our ability to demonstrate that we can be ‘together’ and overcome every crisis with resolve and love, even the seemingly insurmountable,” the message reads.

“The power of solidarity unleashed in alleviating the suffering and assisting the needy, more so with an interreligious character and responsibility, gives visibility to the light of hope by putting in evidence the response which adherents of all religious traditions are called upon to make in times of despair and darkness,” it asserts.

Among pressing global issues that threaten to disrupt the harmonious co-existence of people, the Vatican lists “climate change, religious fundamentalism, terrorism, hyper nationalism, xenophobia,” several of which may hit a nerve with India’s current administration.

Religious traditions have the capacity to help individuals and communities “reset” their life’s compass with hope, the Vatican message states, with their gaze fixed beyond their present despair.

“As believers grounded in our own respective religious traditions and as persons with shared vision for and shared responsibility towards humanity, in particular the suffering humanity, may we Christians and Hindus, individually and collectively, and joining hands with people of other religious traditions and of good will, reach out to people who are in despair, to bring light into their lives!” the message concludes. READ MORE

Mystery, Babylon

“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:” Revelation 3,4 (KJB)

Pope Francis At Vatican On Hindu Feast Of Diwali Warns Against ‘Religious Fundamentalism’ Calls Catholics And Hindus To ‘Join Hands In The Light’ — Now The End Begins

If We Forget How Tyranny Began, We Will Repeat It — Daily Declaration

In the West, our obsession with the present causes us to forget the mistakes of the past. In this excerpt from Cross and Culture, Kurt Mahlburg warns that some of the worst atrocities of history could be repeated if we fail to remember how they came about.

The view of history that is now widely embraced across the West declares that humanity conquers the past to build a better future. We alone are responsible for the world’s progress, the logic goes, and every period of time is by definition better than what went before.

But this conception of history comes with a dangerous blind spot. Our preoccupation with what is yet to come has given us amnesia about the past. Younger generations are disconnected from their family histories; in fact, most Westerners know very little about the story of their own culture or nation. As Rod Dreher explains,

In the twentieth century, every totalitarian government knew that controlling people’s access to cultural memory was necessary to gain dominion over them. Today in the contemporary West, our cultural memory has not been taken from us by dictators. Rather, like the comfortable, pleasure-seeking drones in Brave New World, we have ceased caring about the past because it inhibits our ability to seek pleasure in the present.

History is vital to our self-understanding, our freedom, and our future. Parents and teachers encourage children to learn from their mistakes. But how can we do this on a collective scale if we’ve forgotten what our mistakes were?

Communism, Fascism and the False Hope of Politics

Terrible things have been done by the human race under the guise of progress. Some of the worst atrocities in history took place within the lifetimes of people still alive today. Because of our involvement in World War II, most of us in the English-speaking world have some idea about the Nazis and the eleven million people they killed in the Holocaust, six million of whom were Jews.

Less well-known to us, but far more deadly, were the regimes last century in lands like Russia, China, Cambodia and North Korea that collectively killed over 100 million people. As communist or socialist states, they were committed to Karl Marx’s idea that a society’s wealth should be redistributed and shared by everyone: a very noble aim.

But the only way that governments can make good on promises as grand as this is to become totalitarian—to make every aspect of life the concern of the state. This is precisely what happened, and it paved the way for horrors on a scale never seen before. Everywhere that they have been trialled, Marxist ideas have produced far more injustice than they have sought to eradicate. C.S. Lewis sagely observed that,

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. […] Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Perhaps the most vital lesson to learn from both Hitler’s fascism and the results of Marxism is that we must resist turning to politics as an all-encompassing answer, or as a leap of faith towards meaning and hope. With good intentions—and in a secular context especially—it is very easy to make a religion out of politics, and a god out of the state. Handing over increasing levels of power to government would be a shortcut to all sorts of progress, and this is a real temptation in times of cultural upheaval like our own. But as last century showed time and time again, it doesn’t end well.

Totalitarianism and the War on Truth

In the midst of World War II, British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990) cautioned, “We are living in a nightmare precisely because we have tried to set up an earthly paradise. We have believed in ‘progress’. Trusted to human leadership, rendered unto Caesar the things that are God’s.”

Like many, Muggeridge was very attracted to communism in his youth—so much so that he moved to Soviet Russia in the 1930s. But before long, he had fled back to Britain, later converting to Christianity. He had witnessed the dark consequences of filling the God-shaped hole with dreams of utopia and an all-powerful state.

A 2020 Wall Street Journal column described what Soviet Russia’s “utopia” looked like in practice:

Totalitarianism strips men and women of their liberty, transforming them into “affirmative cogs” in service of the state and obliterating what had taken centuries of Western political development to achieve. Totalitarianism not only enslaved people physically but crippled their spirit.

It did so by replacing ordinary human language, in which words signify things in the outside world, with ideologically sanctioned language, in which words signify the dominant party’s ever-changing ideas of what is and is not true.

A Freedom From Within

Western governments play an important role in minimising injustice. But this is a double-edged sword. The more power we give the state, the more it will tend towards corruption and tyranny, since governments are made up of fallen people just like us. Muggeridge was insightful in identifying that “the depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.”

America’s Founding Fathers accounted for this. Thomas Jefferson warned that “the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” Where last century’s totalitarian states went so wrong was actually in their excessive optimism about human nature. They neglected the crucial insight at the heart of Christianity: without checks and balances, humans in power will abuse that power, leading to tyranny and despair.

The founders of the United States believed something we seem to have forgotten: the best antidote to injustice isn’t more law imposed on us from without; but more virtue rising up from within. In the words of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Patrick Henry (1736-1799) likewise warned that “it is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.”

Cross and Culture is currently on sale for $24.95 with free shipping. You can purchase a copy here.

If We Forget How Tyranny Began, We Will Repeat It — Daily Declaration

The Biden Regime’s Assault On the Nuclear Family — Daily Declaration

The nuclear family has been under constant attack since the rise of Marxism. The Biden administration’s view on the nuclear family is only the most recent manifestation of this.

“There is no respite in the war on the family,” said Dr Jennifer Roback Morse, PhD, President of The Ruth Institute. “Progressives are absolutely committed to destroying the nuclear family and taking every opportunity to advance their cause.”

Last Friday, the Biden administration released a 42-page “National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality,” which pushes the feminist agenda but short shrifts the family.

“In 42 pages, there are only six mentions of ‘marriage.’ None of them are relevant to the alarming decline of marriage and the nuclear family in the United States. ‘Forced marriage’ is mentioned six times, while ‘marriage equality’ and ‘child marriage’ are each mentioned once,” Morse noted.

The National School Board Apologises

Also last week, the National School Board Association finally apologised for labelling parents “domestic terrorists” for protesting what their children are exposed to in school.

“This is an empty gesture,” Morse observed. “Families have every right to object to what’s being done to their children in the name of equality. In Loudoun County, VA, a parent was put in handcuffs and forcibly removed from a school committee meeting for charging that the district’s transgender policies were partly responsible for the rape of his daughter in a school restroom.”

“How can a father’s understandable outburst be equated with terrorism?” Morse asked. “And, as far as we know, the Justice Department is still investigating parents who speak out at school meetings about the indoctrination of their children.”

Marxism and the Decay of the Nuclear Family

In a recent commentary, Ruth Institute Communications Director Don Feder said this is all part of Marxism’s ongoing war on the family. “For Marxists, killing the family is the key to everything. The war on the family isn’t peripheral. It’s central to the revolution.”

In “A Socialist Attack on the Family,” a booklet later expanded into a lecture for the Acton Institute, Morse noted:

“Socialists are just as committed to abolishing the universal institution of marriage as they were to abolishing the universal institution of private property,” also, “The socialist program of eliminating sex differences and abolishing marriage has serious consequences for economic and personal freedom.”

“How is it possible to look at all of this and not see it as a part of a pattern? Progressivism attempts to dismantle the family, that institution on which society depends for its continued existence,” Morse said.

Originally Published at the Ruth Institute. Image by Jakob Owens at Unsplash.

The Biden Regime’s Assault On the Nuclear Family — Daily Declaration

“I’m Told I Should Start with AP, Zeke Miller” – Joe Biden Calls on Pre-Approved List of Reporters at His First Press Conference in Months (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Joe Biden is a total embarrassment on the world stage.

Joe Biden on Sunday evening held his first press conference in months in Rome, Italy after delivering empty words on supply chain resilience at G20.

Biden held a special event with world leaders at G20 and only 181 people tuned in to watch.

Joe Biden hasn’t held a press conference in over 100 days because of his severe cognitive decline.

He also wants to dodge questions about the poor economy, his dismal poll numbers and the supply chain crisis he created.

Joe Biden called on a pre-approved list of reporters.

“I’m told I should start with AP, Zeke Miller,” said Biden while reading from a list of reporters.

Pathetic.

VIDEO:

“I’m Told I Should Start with AP, Zeke Miller” – Joe Biden Calls on Pre-Approved List of Reporters at His First Press Conference in Months (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

In 2022, “Things Aren’t Gonna Get Done” On An Absolutely Massive Scale — The Economic Collapse

Are we about to witness one of the greatest self-inflicted economic wounds in history?  Vaccine mandate deadlines are starting to arrive, and large numbers of very qualified people are losing their jobs as a result.  Of course this comes at a very bad time, because we are already in the midst of the most epic worker shortage in U.S. history.  Despite the biggest hiring push that I have ever seen in my entire lifetime, businesses all over America are still desperate for workers.  The funny thing is that lots of available workers should theoretically be out there somewhere.  The number of Americans that are currently working is still about five million less than the peak that was hit just before the pandemic arrived.  So where did all of those missing workers go?  That is a question that we desperately need an answer for, because millions of workers seem to have evaporated from the system.  Now the vaccine mandates are going to make things far worse, because millions of Americans that are actually good at their jobs are going to be ruthlessly terminated, and finding replacements for them is going to be exceedingly difficult.

For instance, you can’t just pull guys off the street and have them fly planes.  Very soon, large numbers of pilots will be sent packing on a permanent basis, and pilots for American Airlines gave us a taste of what is coming by engaging in a “sick out” over the weekend…

American Airlines canceled another 634 flights on Sunday, more than 12% of its total operations for the day, the company said Sunday.

The airline has now canceled more than 1,500 flights since Friday, as it deals with weather issues and staffing shortages that started last week.

Of course American Airlines is trying to blame “the weather” for these canceled flights, but everyone knows what is really going on.

And I greatly applaud the pilots for taking a stand.

If these airlines don’t reverse their mandates, pretty soon we will have widespread air travel headaches on a permanent basis in this nation.

In New York City, Friday was the deadline for municipal workers to get vaccinated, and more than 26,000 of them have refused to comply

Twenty-six percent of municipal employees in New York City were still unvaccinated following a Friday deadline that mandated workers get the COVID-19 vaccine.

A significant jump in vaccinations occurred among city employees due to the deadline, the city said, according to The Associated Press, but more than 26,000 workers have not uploaded proof of their vaccination status and face unpaid leave as a result.

Moving forward, all of the work that those 26,000 workers used to do simply will not get done.

Already, a total of 26 fire companies have had to be completely shut down

The FDNY shuttered 26 fire companies citywide on Saturday due to staff shortages caused by the COVID-19 vaccination mandate, according to furious elected officials, who ripped the move as “unconscionable” — and warned it could have catastrophic consequences.

So will this cost lives?

Of course it will.

In fact, a seven-year-old boy just died in an apartment fire…

A seven-year-old boy died and his grandmother was seriously injured in an apartment fire in New York City as the FDNY deals with staff shortages in response to a vaccine mandate.

Firefighters responded to a 1:30 a.m. call Saturday at a building in Washington Heights, where fire broke out in the building superintendent’s basement apartment. First responders quickly contained and extinguished the fire.

Meanwhile, trash is starting to pile up around the city at a very alarming rate

Trash bags can be spotted all over the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, where some residents said that it has been days since their trash was last picked up. A few said they realized something was off earlier in the week, as one missed pickup happens, but they started to think there was a problem after the second missed time.

On both residential streets and commercial areas, the trash bags on the sidewalk are piled several feet high in some instances. One resident who has lived in the area for about 40 years said she has never seen the area as dirty as has been the past few days.

So what is the city going to look and smell like in a few months once we get into the early portion of 2022?

The sad thing is that none of this had to happen.

The vaccine mandates are absurd, and they are going to cause enormous problems all over the country.

Countless supply chain workers are going to be pulled out of our supply chains in the coming months, and we are already facing painful shortages from coast to coast

Supermarket chains are revamping their operations to navigate persistent product shortages, expanding storage space and curbing discounts to make sure they don’t run out.

Companies are planning for shortages of popular brands of food and staples to continue for months and managers are trying to keep up as different products run short from week to week, industry executives said.

A lot of Americans are still expecting these shortages to go away eventually, but Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is now admitting that there will be supply chain problems “as long as the pandemic continues”

Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the supply chain crisis will continue at least until the COVID-19 pandemic ends amid fears of shortages ahead of the winter holidays.

‘There are definitely going to continue to be issues, especially as long as the pandemic continues,’ Buttigieg told Fox News Sunday. ‘If you have, for example, the third-largest container port in the world in China shutting down because of a COVID outbreak in late summer you’ll feel that in the fall here on the West coast.’

Of course there is no end in sight for the pandemic.  The virus is constantly mutating, and any immunity to it is very temporary.

So just like the common cold and the flu, COVID will be with us indefinitely.

If Biden administration officials want to reverse recent polling trends, they better find a way to address our supply chain issues, because right now their numbers are really dismal.  Here is just one example

“Americans have lost their confidence in President Joe Biden and their optimism for the country.”

That, according to Chuck Todd, is the top takeaway from a just-released NBC News poll out Sunday. Breaking down the numbers on Meet the Press, Todd pointed to data from the survey that he deemed “shocking.”

“Just 22 percent of adults say [the U.S. is] headed in the right direction,” Todd reported. “A shocking 71 percent say we’re on the wrong track.”

The only surprise from that survey is that there are 22 percent of Americans that are still gullible enough to have a positive outlook.

The Democrats have cooked up a recipe for national suicide, and they are setting the stage for so many of the things that I warned about in my latest book.

If Joe Biden had any sense, he would rescind all nationwide vaccine mandates immediately.

But he isn’t going to do that.

And major cities like New York and Los Angeles are not going to rescind their mandates either.

So “things are not gonna get done” on an absolutely massive scale in 2022, and we will all suffer deeply as a result.

In 2022, “Things Aren’t Gonna Get Done” On An Absolutely Massive Scale — The Economic Collapse

Mask Theatrics at G20: Global Leaders Remove Masks After Posing for Cameras — The Gateway Pundit


These people really mock you.
They only wear masks when they know the cameras are on them. Then immediately remove the masks after the cameras are off.

Mask Theatrics at G20: Global Leaders Remove Masks After Posing for Cameras — The Gateway Pundit

Truthbomb Apologetics: Worldview and Apologetics in the News

 The conversion of the great CS Lewis—captured on film

Portland first in nation to offer bereavement leave for employees who get an abortion

‘Faith Against Science’: The Last Myth Standing

No, Mr. Obama, This is Not ‘Fake Outrage’

Psaki Dodges ‘Abortion Is Murder’ Question about Pope Francis-Biden Meeting

PRAY: Tim Keller Shares ‘Encouraging’ Cancer Update

Podcast: Dealing with Doubt After Losing Trust

Video: The Minimal Facts Argument for the Resurrection is Too Minimal

Critical Race Theory doesn’t go far enough

C. S. Lewis and the Argument from Reason

It Begins At Last… T. H. Huxley, Darwin’s Bulldog, About To Be Cancelled – Other Early Darwinists To Get The Chop Soon?

Video: The Basic Building Blocks

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad

Our last edition is here.

The Bible and its Story: Genesis – In the Beginning

This opening sentence of the Bible is simple in its wording, but heavy with stupendous thought. It stands as the opening of all history, the boundary line back of which the human mind cannot hope to reach and understand. “In the beginning” there was only God. He had existed always, infinite, unknowable. Then He willed; and mind and matter appeared. Heaven and earth uprose as material things, the realization of His thought. Space spread itself out, unending. Time started on its ceaseless flight. The universe, so far as we can ever know it, began. Of all the works of creation, Heaven is mentioned first. But the Bible is not the story of the heavenly world of faith and purity and joy. Its theme is the sin-scarred, stormy course of man. Hence the narrative does not pause to speak of Heaven, but passes at once to describe the molding of the earth, that earth which, in Doré’s picture, surges upward out of darkness, out of the illimitable unknown, and lies waiting, dimly expectant, at the feet of the Creator.

by Julius A. Bewer; Charles F. Horne

‘I found God’: Jordan Peterson’s daughter Mikhaila talks finding peace in prayer, reading the Bible

The daughter of author and speaker Jordan Peterson recently revealed that she has come to believe in God and that her conversion to Christianity was “very sudden.”

Source: ‘I found God’: Jordan Peterson’s daughter Mikhaila talks finding peace in prayer, reading the Bible

Limitless Riches — VCY America

My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

Paul’s God is our God and will supply all our need. Paul felt sure of this in reference to the Philippians, and we feel sure of it as to ourselves. God will do it, for it is like Him: He loves us, He delights to bless us, and it will glorify Him to do so. His pity, His power, His love, His faithfulness, all work together that we be not famished.

What a measure doth the Lord go by: “According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The riches of His grace are large, but what shall we say of the riches of His glory? His “riches of glory by Christ Jesus”-who shall form an estimate of this? According to this immeasurable measure will God fill up the immense abyss of our necessities. He makes the Lord Jesus the receptacle and the channel of His fullness, and then He imparts to us His wealth of love in its highest form. Hallelujah!

The writer knows what it is to be tried in the work of the Lord. Fidelity has been recompensed with anger, and liberal givers have stopped their subscriptions; but he whom they sought to oppress has not been one penny the poorer, nay, rather he has been the richer; for this promise has been true, “My God shall supply all your need.” God’s supplies are surer than any bank.

Limitless Riches — VCY America

October 31 Evening Verse of The Day

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11:1 Some people object that this refers to blind faith. In this verse, however, the writer described faith as a conviction of certainty about what cannot be seen. This kind of faith motivated men and women in the past to live for God and to trust him to fulfill his promises.[1]

11:1 Faith is the only mandatory and essential initial response of man to the grace of God. A man void of faith cannot please God (v. 6). Faith is the nominal form of the verb “to believe.” “Faith” is pistis (Gk.), while “to believe” is pisteuein (Gk.). Both connote the idea of “trust” and “confidence.” Justification is the result of the believer’s faith in the grace of God and in His provision for salvation (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 3:28; 4:3). The lives of the biblical heroes and heroines enumerated in this chapter reflect the behavior that God approves. The text affirms two primary characteristics of faith: (1) Faith is the substance (hupostasis, Gk.) or foundation of things for which we hope (see note in center column). The meaning is that faith is the solid, unshakable confidence in God which is built upon the assurance that He will be faithful to His promises. (2) Furthermore, faith is the evidence at work in life itself that God and other unseen things do in fact subsist. However, this does not imply that faith is a blind leap in the dark. Rather, faith is a confident commitment to One about whom abundant evidence bears ample testimony. Faith is a leap—a leap forward into light and comprehension.[2]

11:1 things hoped for … things not seen. For the time being, only faith can see the future, as it receives the promises of God.[3]

11:1 assurance. Greek hypostasis, also translated “confidence” (3:14). hoped for. On hope, see 3:6; 6:11, 18; 7:19; 10:23. conviction of things not seen. By defining faith (Gk. pistis) as “assurance” and “conviction,” the author indicates that biblical faith is not a vague hope grounded in imaginary, wishful thinking. Instead, faith is a settled confidence that something in the future—something that is not yet seen but has been promised by God—will actually come to pass because God will bring it about. Thus biblical faith is not blind trust in the face of contrary evidence, not an unknowable “leap in the dark”; rather, biblical faith is a confident trust in the eternal God who is all-powerful, infinitely wise, eternally trustworthy—the God who has revealed himself in his word and in the person of Jesus Christ, whose promises have proven true from generation to generation, and who will “never leave nor forsake” his own (13:5). Such faith in the unseen realities of God is emphasized throughout ch. 11 (e.g., 11:7, 8; cf. v. 3) and has provided confidence and assurance to all who receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.[4]

11:1 This verse is written in a style of Heb. poetry (used often in the Psalms), in which two parallel and nearly identical phrases are used to state the same thing. Cf. 1Pe 1:7—God tests our faith in the crucible. assurance. This is from the same Gr. word translated “exact representation” in 1:3 and “assurance” in 3:14. The faith described here involves the most solid possible conviction, the God-given present assurance of a future reality. conviction of things not seen. True faith is not based on empirical evidence but on divine assurance, and is a gift of God (Eph 2:8).[5]

11:1 — Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is not wishful thinking or “believing what you know isn’t true,” to paraphrase Mark Twain. Instead it is the conviction that God will always do what He promises to do, regardless of the circumstances.[6]

11:1 This verse is not a definition of faith, but a description of what faith does. Substance means “essence” or “reality.” Faith treats things hoped for as reality. Evidence means “proof” or “conviction.” Faith itself proves that what is unseen is real, such as the believer’s rewards at the return of Christ (2 Cor. 4:18).[7]11:1. The author begins by defining faith and the value it has. He says it is the substance of things hoped for. The word translated substance (hupostasis) is quite flexible in meaning, but in this context it probably stresses the confidence or assurance that one has in something (cf. the synonym parrēsia in 10:35). This active sense would fit the description of faith in 11:6 as something that believers do that pleases God (cf. v 39). Also this is consistent with the author’s concern in 10:38 that believers “live by faith” (i.e., be confident in what God has said and act accordingly).

The word translated evidence (elegchos) would better be understood as “a conviction about” something. The NIV’s translation is accurate: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” In light of the examples cited the author has in mind an assurance about things God has revealed or called a person to do (not things one wishes to happen).[8]

11:1 This chapter deals with the vision and endurance of faith. It introduces us to men and women of the OT who had 20/20 spiritual vision and who endured tremendous shame and suffering rather than renounce their faith.

Verse 1 is not really a formal definition of faith; rather it is a description of what faith does for us. It makes things hoped for as real as if we already had them, and it provides unshakable evidence that the unseen, spiritual blessings of Christianity are absolutely certain and real. In other words, it brings the future within the present and makes the invisible seen.

Faith is confidence in the trustworthiness of God. It is the conviction that what God says is true and that what He promises will come to pass.

Faith must have some revelation from God, some promise of God as its foundation. It is not a leap in the dark. It demands the surest evidence in the universe, and finds it in the word of God. It is not limited to possibilities but invades the realm of the impossible. Someone has said, “Faith begins where possibilities end. If it’s possible, then there’s no glory for God in it.”

Faith, mighty faith the promise sees,

And looks to God alone;

Laughs at impossibilities

And cries, “It shall be done.”

Author unknown.

There are difficulties and problems in the life of faith. God tests our faith in the crucible to see if it is genuine (1 Pet. 1:7). But, as George Müller said, “Difficulties are food for faith to feed on.”[9]

11:1. Eyesight produces a conviction about objects in the physical world. Faith produces the same convictions for the invisible order. Faith shows itself by producing assurance that what we hope for will happen. Faith also provides an insight into realities which otherwise remain unseen. A person with faith lets these unseen realities from God provide a living, effective power for daily life.[10]

11:1 “faith” This is not a theological definition of faith, but a picture of the practical outworking of it. The term is used twenty four times in this chapter. From the OT the primary idea is “faithfulness” or “trustworthy.” This is the opposite of apostasy. The Greek term for “faith” (pistis) is translated by three English terms: “faith,” “belief,” and “trust.” Faith is a human response to God’s faithfulness and His promise. We trust His trustworthiness, not our own. His character is the key.

©     
NASB, NRSV  “assurance of things hoped for”  
NKJV  “substance of things hoped for”  
TEV  “to be sure of the things we hope for”  
NJB  “guarantee the blessings that we hope for”  

This Greek term for “assurance” (hupostasis) basically means “to place under” or “to stand under” thereby giving the underlying basis or foundation of something. It, therefore, had a wide variety of meanings in the ancient world. It was especially common in Greek philosophical writings to denote the clear manifestation of something. It was that which was real and true versus the unrealized.

1.    in Heb. 1:3 it refers to essence

2.    in Heb. 3:14 it refers to the reality of the believers’ confession/profession

3.    in Heb. 11:1 it refers to the promises of the gospel lived out in the present, but not consummated until the future

This term has been found in the Egyptian papyri meaning “a title deed” (cf. NJB). In this sense it reflects Paul’s usage of the Spirit as an “earnest” (cf. 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:4).

Some have seen the clearest meanings in this context reflected in the OT quote in 10:38. Chapter 11 is a list of examples of those who did not “shrink back.” This text is the opposite of what the first readers were in danger of doing.

© “conviction” This word occurs only here in the NT. It refers to “proof by test.” The two phrases in v. 1 are parallel (both PRESENT PASSIVE PARTICIPLES); therefore, “assurance” and “conviction” are tied closely together and out of them the faithful live their lives.

© “things not seen” The following examples are of people who live in (1) hope in the present and future acts of God and (2) confidence in the spiritual promises of God. Their worldview guides their daily decisions, not circumstances, materialism or self-centeredness.

Physical reality is subservient to the unseen spiritual reality (cf. v. 3). Physical reality is known by the five senses, and is not eternal, but fleeting. True, eternal reality is unseen (cf. v. 27) and; therefore, must be held by faith, not sight. However, it is so real and true to believers that it controls and demands their priorities.[11]

1. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

As we study this verse, let us note the following points:

a. Faith

The word faith in the New Testament has many aspects. For example, when the Judean Christians, whom Paul had sought to destroy, spoke of their belief in Christ, they said, “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy” (Gal. 1:23). Faith, then, is a confession, much the same as we call the Apostles’ Creed the articles of our Christian faith. However, this is not the meaning of faith that the writer of Hebrews conveys.

For the evangelists who wrote the Gospels, Jesus Christ is the object of faith. John summarizes this emphasis when he states the purpose of his Gospel, namely, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). Also, the Acts show that in the first century, “a personal faith in Jesus was a hallmark of the early Christians.”

Still another aspect of faith is Paul’s emphasis on appropriating, that is, claiming salvation in Jesus Christ. Paul contends that God puts the sinner right with him through faith: “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom. 3:22). And Paul explains that faith comes from hearing the Word proclaimed (Rom. 10:17).

The author of Hebrews recognizes these same aspects of faith featured by other writers of the New Testament. However, his use of the concept faith must be understood primarily in the context of the eleventh chapter of his epistle. The heroes of faith have one thing in common: they put their undivided confidence in God. In spite of all their trials and difficult circumstances, they triumphed because of their trust in God. For the author, faith is adhering to the promises of God, depending on the Word of God, and remaining faithful to the Son of God.

When we see chapter 11 in the context of Hebrews, the author’s design to contrast faith with the sin of unbelief (3:12, 19; 4:2; 10:38–39) becomes clear. Over against the sin of falling away from the living God, the writer squarely places the virtue of faith. Those people who shrink from putting their trust in God are destroyed, but those who believe are saved (10:39).

b. Assurance

What is true faith? In 1563 a German theology professor, Zacharias Ursinus, formulated his personal faith:

True faith—

created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel—

is not only a knowledge and conviction

that everything that God reveals in his Word is true,

but also a deep-rooted assurance

that not only others, but I too,

have had my sins forgiven,

have been made forever right with God,

and have been granted salvation.

These are gifts of sheer grace

earned for us by Christ.

The author of Hebrews expresses that same assurance in much more concise wording: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for.” The expression being sure of is given as “substance” in other translations. The difference between these translations arises from understanding the original Greek word hypostasis subjectively or objectively. If I am sure of something, I have certainty in my heart. This is a subjective knowledge because it is within me. Assurance, then, is a subjective quality. By contrast, the word substance is objective because it refers to something that is not part of me. Rather, substance is something on which I can rely. As one translation has it, “Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for.” That, in fact, is objective.

To come to a clear-cut choice in the matter is not easy, for the one translation does not rule out the other. The translation confidence or assurance has gained prominence, perhaps because 3:14 also has the same word: “We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” In the case of 11:1, even though the objective sense has validity, the subjective meaning is commended.

The author teaches the virtue of hope wherever he is able to introduce the topic (3:6; 6:11, 18; 7:19; 10:23). Hope is not an inactive hidden quality. Hope is active and progressive. It relates to all the things God has promised to believers: “all things of present grace and future glory.”

c. Certainty

Although the brief statement on faith consists of only two phrases, they are perfectly balanced. Note the structure:

Faith

is

being sure of  certain of  
what we hope for  what we do not see  

In short, assurance is balanced by certainty. These two nouns are in this text synonymous. Certainty, then, means “inner conviction.” The believer is convinced that the things he is unable to see are real. Not every conviction, however, is equal to faith. Conviction is the equivalent of faith when certainty prevails, even though the evidence is lacking. The things we do not see are those that pertain to the future, that in time will become the present. Even things of the present, and certainly those of the past, that are beyond our reach belong to the category of “what we do not see.” Comments B. F. Westcott, “Hope includes that which is internal as well as that which is external.”8 Hope centers in the mind and spirit of man; sight relates to one of his senses (Rom. 8:24–25).

Faith, therefore, radiates from man’s inner being where hope resides to riches that are beyond his purview. Faith demonstrates itself in confident assurance and convincing certainty.[12]

       Faith accepts God’s word (11:1)

In this chapter, as elsewhere, faith is man’s response to what God has said. It takes seriously the message of God’s revealed truth in holy Scripture. It does not merely agree with God’s word, but acts upon it. Our writer narrows his interest to the two aspects of faith which are of immediate relevance to his readers, what might be described as the future reference and present function of Christian faith.

First, it anticipates the future. It does not place its reliance on that which is merely visible to our physical sight. It is the assurance of things hoped for. The ‘faithful’ characters arrayed in chapter 11 did not simply live for the passing moment; they realized that there was far more to life than the immediate and temporary scene. Life was a pilgrimage. They knew that there were better things ahead because, in one way or another, God had told them so. And they preferred to believe that word rather than the flimsy promises and facile assurances of the world around them.

Secondly, it evaluates the present. It would be wrong to imagine that the believer has no interest whatever in contemporary life. Indeed, the Christian looks far more closely at the immediate scene than the unbeliever. The person without any clear faith often accepts things simply as they are. If money comes his way, then it is obviously his to enjoy. If he is confronted with an opportunity for sensual pleasure, he will take it, regardless of its immediate effects or ultimate consequences. He does not necessarily sit down to consider whether it damages him or hurts others; that is not his concern. But the man or woman of faith possesses the conviction of things not seen. Such people look beyond the situation as it can be perceived by natural vision or enjoyed by the physical appetites. They do not look simply at their circumstances; they discern the activity of the invisible God (11:27) in their present situation and are able to endure.[13]

1. There is no break between this verse and the previous one. The following survey of the effectiveness of faith in the history of the people of God is intended to provide an exposition based on ‘those who have faith and keep their souls’ (10:39). The writer wishes to illustrate the continuity between the Hebrew Christians and pious men of old. Their exploits are seen as a fitting prelude to the Christian era (as 11:39–40 shows).

This account begins with some general statements about faith (verses 1–3). We need not suppose that the writer is attempting a precise definition of faith in his opening statement. He gives rather those important aspects which are illustrated so vividly in the past experiences of the people of God. The statement, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, introduces the word ‘faith’ (pistis) without the article, which shows that the writer is thinking of faith in general and not specifically Christian faith. It has certain qualities which apply to both the pre-Christian and Christian eras. The word translated ‘assurance’ (hypostasis) has already been used in 1:3 in the sense of ‘nature’ or ‘essence’ and in 3:14 in the sense of ‘conviction’. These different uses could both apply in the present passage and it is a question for debate which meaning is best suited to the passage. If the former is right the statement would signify that faith gives reality to the things hoped for. If the second meaning is right (as rsv prefers), the sense is that faith consists of the conviction that what is hoped for will happen. The difference is that between a state and an activity. To decide which is preferable, the meaning of the further word conviction (elenchos) must be considered. This word basically means ‘proof, test’, which suggests that faith is seen as the proof of the reality of things not seen. If both parts of the sentence are to be regarded as parallel to each other, it would be best to regard both the key words as pointing to the demonstrating function of faith. Nevertheless the difference between things hoped for and things not seen weakens the parallel and suggests that the two key words may be taken, one of a state and the other of an activity. Bruce makes a comparison between physical eyesight which produces conviction about visible things and faith which does the same for the invisible order.

Things hoped for is quite general and focuses on hope rather than on any specific object of hope. It is not however hope in the abstract (elpis), but rather the result of the activity of hope. This close connection between faith and hope finds expression in Paul’s epistles, as for instance, in 1 Corinthians 13:13 (cf. also Eph. 4:4–5). Faith is the act of commitment on the part of the believer, whereas hope is the state of mind which he possesses. On the other hand, things not seen describes generally all that is beyond man’s normal knowledge or powers of comprehension. It includes, therefore, the whole range of spiritual experiences, although it is probably intended in a more restricted sense of those spiritual realities which relate to the future, in which case it approximates in some degree to hope. Faith provides a platform for hope and a perception into the reality of what would otherwise remain unseen. In the following discussion of men of faith, this pull of the unseen is particularly evident.[14]

1. Now faith, &c. Whoever made this the beginning of the eleventh chapter, has unwisely disjointed the context; for the object of the Apostle was to prove what he had already said—that there is need of patience. He had quoted the testimony of Habakkuk, who says that the just lives by faith; he now shews what remained to be proved—that faith can be no more separated from patience than from itself. The order then of what he says is this,—“We shall not reach the goal of salvation except we have patience, for the Prophet declares that the just lives by faith; but faith directs us to things afar off which we do not as yet enjoy; it then necessarily includes patience.” Therefore the minor proposition in the argument is this, Faith is the substance of things hoped for, &c. It is hence also evident, that greatly mistaken are they who think that an exact definition of faith is given here; for the Apostle does not speak here of the whole of what faith is, but selects that part of it which was suitable to his purpose, even that it has patience ever connected with it. Let us now consider the words.

He calls faith the hypostasis, the substance of things hoped for. We indeed know that what we hope for is not what we have as it were in hand, but what is as yet hid from us, or at least the enjoyment of which is delayed to another time. The Apostle now teaches us the same thing with what we find in Rom. 8:24; where it is said that what is hoped for is not seen, and hence the inference is drawn, that it is to be waited for in patience. So the Apostle here reminds us, that faith regards not present things, but such as are waited for. Nor is this kind of contradiction without its force and beauty: Faith, he says, is the hypostasis, the prop, or the foundation on which we plant our foot,—the prop of what? of things absent, which are so far from being really possessed by us, that they are far beyond the reach of our understanding.

The same view is to be taken of the second clause, when he calls faith the evidence or demonstration of things not seen; for demonstration makes things to appear or to be seen; and it is commonly applied to what is subject to our senses.

Then these two things, though apparently inconsistent, do yet perfectly harmonize when we speak of faith; for the Spirit of God shews to us hidden things, the knowledge of which cannot reach our senses: Promised to us is eternal life, but it is promised to the dead; we are assured of a happy resurrection, but we are as yet involved in corruption; we are pronounced just, as yet sin dwells in us; we hear that we are happy, but we are as yet in the midst of many miseries; an abundance of all good things is promised to us, but still we often hunger and thirst; God proclaims that he will come quickly, but he seems deaf when we cry to him. What would become of us were we not supported by hope, and did not our minds emerge out of the midst of darkness above the world through the light of God’s word and of his Spirit? Faith, then, is rightly said to be the subsistence or substance of things which are as yet the objects of hope and the evidence of things not seen. Augustine sometimes renders evidence “conviction,” which I do not disapprove, for it faithfully expresses the Apostle’s meaning: but I prefer “demonstration,” as it is more literal.[15]

11:1 / In his opening statement, the author makes it plain that faith is oriented to things not yet present or visible. Faith has in mind what (plural, “things”) we hope for, that is, what (plural, “things”) we do not see. What then is the nature of faith concerning these things? The answer hinges on the meaning of two key words in this verse. Both words are capable of being interpreted subjectively or objectively. niv opts for the subjective meaning in both cases, thus focusing on the assurance or inner certainty of faith with respect to things hoped for and not yet seen. Throughout this chapter, however, the emphasis concerning faith is not on the subjective confidence of the persons mentioned, but on the ways in which they acted out, or gave expression to, their faith.

The author’s argument is that faith results in conduct that points unmistakably to the reality of what is not yet seen. The first of these two words, which niv translates being sure, is a noun that can be understood (as niv does) in a subjective sense. Many translations choose this interpretation (rsv and nasb: “assurance”; gnb: “to be sure”). It is equally possible, however, as well as more natural, to understand the word in an objective sense, as expressing the basis or foundation of things hoped for. Some translations follow this interpretation (kjv: “substance”; neb: “gives substance”; jb: “guarantee”; cf. Geneva Bible: “Faith is that which causeth those things to appear in deed which are hoped for”).

The second key word, which niv translates certain, is a noun that means “a proving” or “a means of proof.” Many commentators have interpreted this word as referring to the subjective certainty or “conviction” of faith (cf. 10:22). But here too the objective sense is to be preferred, parallel with the first statement (so interpreted). The action produced by faith is a manifestation or a proving of the reality of things not yet seen.

The objective interpretation of these two words is in agreement with one of the major emphases of the entire chapter, that is, that faith is active in obedience. But when faith manifests itself in this way, the unseen and the hoped-for become real. Faith expressed in this way can be said to objectify what is believed. This in turn strengthens faith itself (which is why faith and obedience must accompany each other).

The objective understanding of this verse, of course, presupposes the reality of subjective assurance (itself dependent on the experience of God’s goodness) as the wellspring of acts of faith. But it is the expression of faith rather than the conviction of faith that is the author’s point in this chapter. The obedient response of faith substantiates what is promised. Effective faith, although directed to future realities, also in a sense makes the future present. Faith that is authentic recognizes the reality of the unseen and allows itself to be governed by that reality. In a similar vein, Paul can write, “so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). And he adds a little farther on, “we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). What our author provides here is not so much a technical definition of faith as it is a description of what authentic faith does and how God provides evidence in the practice of faith that what he promises will eventually come to pass. The future and unseen realities can be made real by Christians through faith. We may paraphrase this verse in the following words: Faith through its active character gives substance to, that is, expresses the reality of, things hoped for; it demonstrates the truth of things not yet seen.[16]

1 The pastor begins with a carefully crafted definition of faith designed to stimulate the perseverance of his hearers in a life of obedience through dependence upon God—“Now faith is the reality of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is oriented toward both the future, hoped-for realization of God’s promised reward (vv. 9, 11, 13, 26, 39–40) and the present, but unseen, reality of God’s existence, providence (v. 6), fidelity (v. 11) and power (v. 19). There is no reason to argue that, while the future hope is based on biblical categories, the “things not seen” are derived from Platonic dualism.3 Belief in the present power and faithfulness of God was the common heritage of all who accepted the OT.

Many English versions translate the first part of this verse “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for” (NASB; cf. T/NIV). However, this subjective understanding of the word translated “assurance” has little support in contemporary usage. “Reality” (HCSB) is more in line with linguistic evidence (see the comments on 1:3; 3:14). The philosophers used this term to distinguish “reality” from mere “appearance.” It was also used for the “guarantee” or “title deed” to property in the business transactions of ordinary life.7 We probably understand this statement best, however, if we remember that “faith” refers to a way of life and not to mere theoretical belief. Thus, one might paraphrase, “Faith is living in accord with the reality of things hoped for,” or “faith is living as if the things hoped for are real.” This interpretation is eminently appropriate for the immediate context: Abraham conducted his whole life on the assumption that the heavenly “homeland” (vv. 13–16) and permanent City (v. 10) were real; Moses lived for the eternal “reward” (v. 26). The pastor would have his hearers conduct themselves as if the promised “Unshakable Kingdom” (12:25–29) were real rather than in pursuit of worldly goods. It is true that such a life of faith does not bring the future, hoped-for salvation into existence. It is, however, the means the pastor would have his hearers pursue in order that this final salvation might become a reality for them. Perseverance in such faith is also the guarantee of future enjoyment. Thus, this understanding of the opening clause is in perfect accord with the author’s pastoral concern that his hearers live by faith in order to receive what God has promised. Such faith is no meritorious act, but simply utter dependence upon the living God.

Faith is also “the evidence of things not seen.” Subjective renderings like “the conviction of things not seen” (NASB; cf. T/NIV) are even more inappropriate as translations of this term. Faith is the objective “evidence” or “proof” (HCSB) of unseen reality.9 How does faith “prove” the unseen reality of God, his power and faithfulness? As the examples of this chapter show, through trust in God the faithful experience his power in their lives and receive his approval. Thus, they confirm his reality. The pastor offers these examples of faith and the way God demonstrated his power in their lives as evidence for the reality of God and his present activity on his people’s behalf. He would also have his hearers live “by faith” that they might experience this power themselves and know this confirmation. During the earthly lives of the OT faithful the high priesthood of Christ was part of the “things hoped for.” For all who live since Jesus, his high priesthood is the very present expression of the real but “unseen” power and faithfulness of God to save. Thus, the faith enjoined by the pastor is profoundly Christ-centered. Both those who lived before his coming and those who come after enter the heavenly homeland only through him (11:39–12:3). If the pastor’s hearers would live “by faith,” they must persist in “drawing near” to God through Christ (4:14–16; 10:19–25).[17]

1 Our author might well have proceeded from 10:39 to the exhortation to “run with steadfast endurance the race for which we are entered” (12:1); but first he encourages his readers further by reminding them of examples of faith in earlier days. In Old Testament times, he points out, there were many men and women who had nothing but the promises of God to rest upon, without any visible evidence that these promises would ever be fulfilled; yet so much did these promises mean to them that they regulated the whole course of their lives in their light. The promises related to a state of affairs belonging to the future; but these people acted as if that state of affairs were already present, so convinced were they that God could and would fulfil what he had promised. In other words, they were men and women of faith. Their faith consisted simply in taking God at his word and directing their lives accordingly; things yet future as far as their experience went were thus present to faith, and things outwardly unseen were visible to the inward eye. It is in these terms that our author now describes the faith of which he has been speaking. It is, he says, the hypostasis of things that are hoped for. This word hypostasis has appeared twice already in the epistle. In 1:3 the Son was stated to be the very image of God’s hypostasis; in 3:14 believers are said to be Christ’s associates if they hold fast the beginning of their hypostasis firm to the end. In the former place it has the objective sense of “substance” or “real essence” (as opposed to what merely seems to be so). In the latter place it has the subjective sense of “confidence” or “assurance.”5 Here it is natural to take it in the same subjective sense as it bears in 3:14, and so the ERV/ARV and the RSV render it “assurance.”6 There is, however, something to be said for the objective meaning, represented by the AV/KJV (“faith is the substance of things hoped for”) and the NEB (“faith gives substance to our hopes”). That is to say, things which in themselves have no existence as yet become real and substantial by the exercise of faith. But on the whole the subjective meaning “assurance” is the more probable, especially as this meaning chimes in well with the companion word “conviction.” From another use of the word attested in the Hellenistic papyri Moulton and Milligan “venture to suggest the translation ‘Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for.’ ” In the instances which they cite from the papyri this meaning is indicated by the context. It might no doubt be said that if we adopt this meaning here, we have something comparable to Paul’s language about the Holy Spirit as the “firstfruits” or “earnest” of the coming inheritance of believers;9 but one would require stronger evidence from the present context before adopting it here. Our author is making much the same point as Paul makes in Rom. 8:24f.: “hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

The word rendered “conviction” (Gk. elenchos) has the same twofold sense as the English word. In 2 Tim. 3:16 it occurs as a variant reading for the cognate elegmos to denote the “conviction” or “refutation” of error which Holy Scripture provides; here it means “conviction” in much the same sense as “assurance” in the preceding phrase. Physical eyesight produces conviction or evidence of visible things; faith is the organ which enables people (like Moses in v. 27) to see the invisible order. Philo similarly links “faith towards God” with “apprehension of the unseen.”12[18]

The Essence of Faith (11:1)

1 These famous words are not so much a “definition” of faith as a declaration of the dual perspective from which our author intends to explain how the life of faith commended by Habakkuk 2:4 is to work out in practice. This verse thus gives us a framework within which to read the long series of examples of living by faith that he is now going to draw from the OT.

In the first clause, the NIV phrase “being sure of” represents the noun hypostasis (GK 5712), which we have already met in 1:3 and 3:14, where the NIV respectively translates the word as “being” and “confidence.” The note on 1:3 refers to its “more basic meaning of ‘real nature, fundamental reality’ (as opposed to outward appearance),” and that sense underlies its meaning here: faith is being sure that what is hoped for will in fact take place, that however discouraging present appearances may be, there is a solid reality underlying them—the reality of God’s utterly reliable promises. Faith, in other words, relies on what God has said and acts on the basis of this firm hope, even when circumstances are against it.

The second clause could be understood in the same sense, the things “we do not see” being again those promised blessings still in the future. But whereas “what we hope for” is explicitly about the future, “what we do not see” covers the present as well. The author’s two balancing clauses are therefore probably designed to convey two different (though closely related) aspects of faith. “What we do not see” includes also the unseen reality of the presence of God, indeed the whole spiritual dimension of life as opposed to the merely material. Faith takes the invisible world as seriously as the visible and, in particular, reckons on the reality of a God who cannot be proved by merely empirical observation. The NIV’s “[being] certain of” again represents a Greek noun, elenchos, “proof” or “conviction” (GK 1793), that belongs especially to the law court. What the eye cannot see, and therefore a materialistic worldview would deny, is in fact “proved” by the experience of faith.

So “faith” has a dual perspective that could be simply summed up as looking forward (to the fulfillment of God’s promises) and looking up (to the unseen reality of God’s presence). These twin dimensions enable people of faith to overcome the discouragements and obstacles of the “seen” world and its often hostile circumstances and to press on as the people of God to inherit all that he has prepared for them. As this chapter trawls through some of the more striking examples of men and women of God in the OT, all of them will in their own ways illustrate one or both of these twin qualities—as he will from time to time explicitly point out (see, e.g., vv. 6, 7, 10, 11, 13–16, 26, 27). Most of the OT accounts he draws on do not use the actual words “faith” or “believe”; he is not engaged in a word study but in a much broader survey of true men and women of God, whose characteristic attitudes he has chosen to classify under what he calls “faith.” This “faith” by which they overcame all opposition is what the readers need if they too are to fulfill the model of Habakkuk 2:3–4, to stand firm and not to “shrink back.”[19]

The Nature of Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (11:1)

In a form the old Hebrew poets often used, the writer expresses his definition of faith in two parallel and almost identical phrases. It is not a full theological definition, but an emphasizing of certain basic characteristics of faith that are important in understanding the message the writer is trying to get across.

the assurance of things hoped for

In Old Testament times, men and women had to rest on the promises of God. God had told them of a coming Messiah, a Deliverer who would take away sin. He told them that one day all Israel would be made clean and be ruled by this righteous Messiah. God’s faithful believed God’s promises, as incomplete and vague as many of those promises were. They did not have a great deal of specific light, by New Testament standards, but they knew it was God’s light, and put their full trust and hope in it.

That is what faith is. Faith is living in a hope that is so real it gives absolute assurance. The promises given to the Old Testament saints were so real to them, because they believed God, that they based their lives on them. All the Old Testament promises related to the future—for many believers, far into the future. But the faithful among God’s people acted as if they were in the present tense. They simply took God at His word and lived on that basis. They were people of faith, and faith gave present assurance and substance to what was yet future.

Faith is not a wistful longing that something may come to pass in an uncertain tomorrow. True faith is an absolute certainty, often of things that the world considers unreal and impossible. Christian hope is belief in God against the world—not belief in the improbable against chance. If we follow a God whose audible voice we have never heard and believe in a Christ whose face we have never seen, we do so because our faith has a reality, a substance, an assurance that is unshakable. In doing so, Jesus said, we are specially blessed (John 20:29).

Moses considered “the reproach of Christ [Messiah] greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward” (Heb. 11:26). Moses took a stand on the messianic hope, and forsook all the material things he could touch and see for a Messiah who would not come to earth for more than 1400 years.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were confronted with the choice of obeying Nebuchadnezzar, whom they could see very well, or God, whom they had never seen. Without hesitation, they chose to obey God. Man’s natural response is to trust his physical senses, to put his faith in the things he can see, hear, taste, and feel. But the man of God puts his trust in something more durable and dependable than anything he will ever experience with his senses. Senses may lie; God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

The philosopher Epicurus, who lived several hundred years before Christ, said the chief end of life is pleasure. But he was not a hedonist, as many people think. He was talking of pleasure in the long view—ultimate pleasure, not immediate, temporary gratification. He held that we should pursue that which, in the end, will bring the most satisfaction. Understood in the right way, this should also be the Christian’s objective.

Christians are not masochists. Quite to the contrary, we live for ultimate and permanent pleasure. We live in the certainty that whatever discomfort or pain we may have to endure for Christ’s sake on earth, will more than be compensated for by an eternity of unending bliss, of pleasure we cannot now imagine.

The Greek word hupostasis, translated here as assurance, appears two other times in Hebrews. In 1:3 it is rendered “exact representation,” speaking of Christ’s likeness to God, and in 3:14 it is rendered “assurance,” as in 11:1. The term refers to the essence, the real content, the reality, as opposed to mere appearance. Faith, then, provides the firm ground on which we stand, waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise. Far from being nebulous and uncertain, faith is the most solid possible conviction. Faith is the present essence of a future reality.

The Old Testament saints “died in faith, without receiving the promises, but … welcomed them from a distance” (Heb. 11:13). They saw the fulfillment of God’s promise with the eye of faith, which, when it is in God, has immeasurably better vision than the best of physical eyes. They held on to the promise as the ultimate reality of their lives, as the most certain thing of their existence.

the conviction of things not seen

Conviction of things not seen carries the same truth a bit further, because it implies a response, an outward manifestation of the inward assurance. The person of faith lives his belief. His life is committed to what his mind and his spirit are convinced is true.

Noah, for example, truly believed God. He could not possibly have embarked on the stupendous, demanding, and humanly ridiculous task God gave him without having had absolute faith. When God predicted rain, Noah had no concept of what rain was, because rain did not exist before the Flood. It is possible that Noah did not even know how to construct a boat, much less a gigantic ark. But Noah believed God and acted on His instructions. He had both assurance and conviction—true faith. His outward building of the ark bore out his inward belief that the rain was coming and that God’s plan was correct for constructing a boat that would float. His faith was based on God’s word, not on what he could see or on what he had experienced. For 120 years he preached in faith, hoped in faith, and built in faith.

The natural man cannot comprehend that kind of spiritual faith. We see Him who is invisible (Heb. 11:27), but the unsaved man does not, because he has no means of perception. Because he has no spiritual senses, he does not believe in God or the realities of God’s realm. He is like a blind man who refuses to believe there is such a thing as light because he has never seen light.

Yet there is a sense in which all men live by faith. As illustrated in an earlier chapter, society is built on a foundation of faith. We drink water out of a faucet, with perfect confidence it is safe. We eat food in a restaurant, confident that it is not contaminated. We willingly receive our pay in the form of a check or paper money—neither of which has any instrinsic value at all. We accept them because of our faith in the person or the company or the government that issues them. We put our faith in a surgeon, and in medical science in general, though we may not have the least training, competence, or experience in medicine ourselves. We submit to the surgeon’s knife entirely by faith. The capacity for faith is created in us.

Spiritual faith operates in the realm of that capacity. It willingly accepts and acts on many things it does not understand. But spiritual faith is radically different from natural faith in one important way. It is not natural, as is our trust in water, money, or the doctor. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). Just as natural trust comes by natural birth, so spiritual trust comes from God.[20]


[1] Wilder, T. L. (2017). Hebrews. In T. Cabal (Ed.), CSB Apologetics Study Bible (p. 1533). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] 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., Heb 11:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1793). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2379). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Heb 11:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Heb 11:1). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[7] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1654). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[8] Tanner, J. P. (2010). The Epistle to the Hebrews. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 1079). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[9] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2194–2195). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 200). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[11] Utley, R. J. (1999). The Superiority of the New Covenant: Hebrews (Vol. Volume 10, pp. 114–115). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[12] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 308–311). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[13] Brown, R. (1988). The message of Hebrews: Christ above all (pp. 197–198). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[14] Guthrie, D. (1983). Hebrews: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 15, pp. 227–228). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[15] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (pp. 260–262). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[16] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (pp. 179–181). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[17] Cockerill, G. L. (2012). The Epistle to the Hebrews (pp. 520–522). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[18] Bruce, F. F. (1990). The Epistle to the Hebrews (Rev. ed., pp. 276–277). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[19] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 147–148). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[20] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 286–289). Chicago: Moody Press.

Five Doctrinal Fruits the Reformation Bore — The Cripplegate

Have you ever wondered why people call themselves “Reformed”? The word “reformed” generally means “improved”—as in, desperate parents may send an incorrigible adolescent to a reformatory school to get them back in line; politicians promise economic reforms to undo the damage of their predecessors. In theological circles, the word is written with a capital and acts as a self-designation for those who consider themselves to be direct doctrinal descendants of the progenitors of the Reformation, namely Martin Luther, Jean Calvin, et al.

For example, plain vanilla Baptists get upgraded to “Reformed Baptists” if they embrace not only the tenets of Baptists but also the doctrines for which the Reformers risked life and limb.

Exactly 504 years ago, to the day (October 31, 1517), the Catholic priest, Martin Luther, nailed, to the door of the Wittenburg Castle Church, his list of 95 things the Catholic Church needed to reform/improve in order to be faithful to what the Bible teaches.

Reformed folk today come in various subspecies: some don’t hold to all five tenets of the Calvinist TULIP* scheme, others have shed the Reformers’ eschatology and ecclesiology, such as infant baptism. But all who brandish the prefix “Reformed” will share a profound commitment to the five slogans of the Reformation that functioned as the five-fold battle cry of essentials around which all Reformers united.

Ironically, these five mottos are commonly referred to by their Latin monikers. I say it’s ironic because the Reformers were committed to translating the Scriptures and theological writings out of the elitist Latin language and into any and every vernacular tongue imaginable. But the description of this commitment has come to us in Latin: Post tenebras lux,(after darkness light).

post-tenebras-lux

Any visitor to South Africa’s Kruger National Park wants to see the Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo. Though there are countless species to keep career game wardens busy for a lifetime, nothing trumps the satisfaction of spotting the Big Five.

Here is a quick primer on the doctrinal biggies of the Reformation, the so-called “Five Solas.”

  1. Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura)

While the Catholic church taught that authority lies in two main sources: the Scriptures (Old & New Testaments) and the magisterium (the official dogma of the Pope and his councils), the reform Luther wanted was that the church should recognize only one source of revelation: Scripture alone.

See 2 Pet 1:21; 2 Tim 3:16; Mark 7:71 Cor 4:6.

The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith articulates it this way:

Those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.” (1689 BCOF, Ch 1, Par 7).

  1. By Grace Alone (Sola Gratia)
5solas

Where the Catholic church taught that salvation came to an individual by means of Christ’s work on the cross and man’s work in response (including necessary sacraments such as baptism into the Catholic church and communion administered by an authorized Catholic), the Reformers insisted that salvation came by one means: God’s free, unmerited favor initiated by him, or simply put, by grace alone.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

See also, Titus 3:5; Romans 3:24

  1. Through Faith Alone (Sola Fide)

Similar to the previous one, this doctrine emphasizes that the instrument by which grace is administered is not faith in combination with the practice of certain sacraments, but faith alone. Good works follow salvation from sin, but those works are not accounted as the means of saving grace.

Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.” (1689 BCOF ch 11, par 1,2)

  1. Through Christ Alone (Solus Christus)

Integral to the Catholic system of salvation is the role of priests. These are men who mediate between sinners and the Savior. The Reformers emphasized that anyone can go directly to the Savior, and that he is the only needed mediator…

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Although priests did have a mediatorial role in the Old Testament, once Christ came he fulfilled that role once for all and is the only needed mediator (Heb 7:23-25). Especially relevant today is that this doctrine is the opposite of the Catholic assertion that Mary occupies an office of “co-redemptrix” alongside Christ.

  1. To God’s Glory Alone (Soli Deo Gloria)

Johan Sebastian Bach famously signed the written score of his compositions with this Latin dedication. The Reformers were ardent about reserving all glory for God (á la Jude 25) and not sharing it with deceased saints, Mary, the Pope, or anyone who occupied an elevated position in the Catholic system. See Isaiah 46:5-11.

Conclusion 

Please remember I called this post a primer. This is not meant to satiate your hunger for Reformation knowledge; it is meant to whet your appetite. But you do well for now if all you know about Reformed theology is that the Bible is the sole authority, grace is all that saves you, by nothing but faith, through Christ’s work alone, and exclusively for God’s glory.

Happy Reformation Day.

* Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints.

Five Doctrinal Fruits the Reformation Bore — The Cripplegate

How do We Wait? — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Nothing tries our faith like waiting on God for answers to prayer.  What do we learn while we are waiting?


Waiting on God was one of David’s secrets of being a man after God’s own heart. David went in and sat before the Lord (2 Samuel 7:18). God was his confidence, and he trusted Him in every aspect of his life: for guidance and instruction (Psalm 25:5), for help and defense (Psalm 33:20), for victory over his enemies and vindication (Psalm 37:7,9,34; 52:9), for deliverance from trouble and destruction (Psalm 40:1, 59:9), for His refuge from treachery and oppression (Psalm 62:1,5), for His forgiving love (Psalm 130:5-6), and much more.

Nothing tries our faith like waiting on God for answers to prayer. Waiting tests our submission to Him as our trustworthy Authority. Waiting is not necessarily resignation from all activity; it is submission to God’s better idea. Waiting on God means that all of our life is brought under God’s umbrella of authority and direction. If we run ahead of God, we will be painfully chastened by turmoil, exhaustion, and failure. Taking matters in our own hands has ample instructive precedent in God’s Word. Think of Abraham with Ishmael, Saul’s usurping the role of a priest, Israel looking to Egypt for help (Isaiah 30:1-3), or walking in the light of our own fire (Isaiah. 50:11.)

What do we learn while we are waiting? We learn God Himself. God is revealing His perfections, His impeccable ability to be in charge of every detail. His timing is split-second. He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omni-caring. He works all and in all. He gives confirmations of His ever-presentness. He gives us assurances of His real power over the enemy that is not seen. His Holy Spirit focuses us. We want proof, but faith is the substance (not the evidence) of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). The Holy Spirit says, “I am giving you the substance of faith.” He gives the grace to await His purposes until the precise moment when He gives evidence that He was working all along. Without this faith, it is impossible to please Him, for all who come to God must believe that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

In community with other believers, as we humble ourselves and open up to receive from the body of Christ, we will be strengthened to see the full kaleidoscope of His plan and be encouraged in the grace of waiting.

How Do We Wait?

  • Prayerfully –  Psalm 25:4-5
  • With strength and courage –  Psalm 27:14, 31:24
  • Rejoicing and trusting in His holy name – Psalm 33:21
  • Based on the fear of the Lord and His unfailing love – Psalm 33:18,22
  • With hope –  Psalm 33:20, 39:7
  • Patiently –  Psalm 37:7, 40:1; Habakkuk 3:16, Romans 8:25, Hebrews 6:15
  • Obediently –  Psalm 37:34, 119:166; Isaiah 26:8-9;
  • Desiring Him –  Isaiah 26:8-9
  • Single-mindedly – Psalm 62:5
  • Expectantly – Psalm 123:2, Micah 7:7
  • Believing His Word – Psalm 130:5
  • Assured He is all we need, He is our portion – Lamentations 3:24
  • Quietly – Lamentations 3:26
  • Always – Hosea 12:6
  • In anticipation of joy – John 3:29
  • Eagerly – Romans 8:19,23

By Sylvia Gunter
Used by Permission


Further Reading

•  Prayer – Asking Specifically
•  God Listens to Us
•  Salvation Explained

How do We Wait? — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

The Bible and its Story: Genesis – The Land of the Beginnings

A map intended to guide us as to the positions and geographical outlines of man’s earliest days must necessarily be imperfect. Of the location of the Garden of Eden we have no knowledge except from the biblical description which places it amid four rivers and names the Euphrates as one of these. Students have usually guessed its location as suggested on the map, near the mouth of the Euphrates, a region where the garden might include seashore, river-meadows, and mountains.

‎Noah’s landing place, Mt. Ararat, the centre from which his descendants went forth for the second peopling of the earth, is fairly settled upon as being in the great culminating range of Armenia, the tremendous peaks which tower at the Euphrates’ source. The site of Babylon or Babel has been definitely established by modern research, as has also that of Ur, the city whence Abraham set out upon his journeyings. These are traced on the map, showing how he went with his father to Haran, how he wandered as far as Egypt, and then finally settled in Palestine, the land promised to his descendants by the Almighty.

by Julius A. Bewer; Charles F. Horne