There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true. —Soren Kierkegaard. "…truth is true even if nobody believes it, and falsehood is false even if everybody believes it. That is why truth does not yield to opinion, fashion, numbers, office, or sincerity–it is simply true and that is the end of it" – Os Guinness, Time for Truth, pg.39. “He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Several times in the Scriptures the Lord hath said this. He has often repeated it to make our assurance doubly sure. Let us never harbor a doubt about it. In itself the promise is specially emphatic. In the Greek it has five negatives, each one definitely shutting out the possibility of the Lord’s ever leaving one of His people so that he can justly feel forsaken of his God. This priceless Scripture does not promise us exemption from trouble, but it does secure us against desertion. We may be called to traverse strange ways, but we shall always have our Lord’s company, assistance, and provision. We need not covet money, for we shall always have our God, and God is better than gold; His favor is better than fortune.
We ought surely to be content with such things as we have, for he who has God has more than all the world besides. What can we have beyond the Infinite? What more can we desire than almighty Goodness.
Come, my heart; if God says He will never leave thee nor forsake thee, be thou much in prayer for grace that thou mayest never leave thy Lord, nor even for a moment forsake His ways.
In haste and joy, the Israelites gathered themselves and their possessions and passed out of the sore stricken land. Yet they did not forget the other behest of God that they were to “spoil the Egyptians,” to secure such earthly recompense as they might, for all their years of thankless labor. Once more they borrowed, or rather demanded, all they could of their neighbors. “And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required.” Little thought of refusing could there have been in the minds of crushed and despairing Egypt. Anything whatsoever would they pay to be rid of these death-bringing Hebrews.
So the children of Israel gathered, six hundred thousand of them, with their spoils. From all the land of Goshen they came up to the treasure city of Raamses or Rameses, which they had builded; and from there by way of Succom, they departed for the wilderness, Moses led them forth in files, marching as an army in triumph.
In this lesson we examine the universal phenomenon of the music of joy and celebration at Christmas.
One of the hallmarks of the Christmas season around the world is the playing and singing of holiday hymns and music. In light of that, have we ever stopped to ask ourselves why this is so? And even more important, where did this music of joy and celebration originate?
The answers to these questions—taken directly from the pages of Scripture—are sure to deepen their meaning.
There Is Joy and Music at Christmas Because Old Testament Prophecies Were Fulfilled
There Is Joy and Music at Christmas Because the Problem of Sin Has Been Resolved
There Is Joy and Music at Christmas Because the Pain of the Lowly and Forgotten Has Been Remembered
There Is Joy and Music at Christmas Because the Possibility of Peace Is Renewed in Our Hearts
There Is Joy and Music at Christmas Because the Purpose of Life Is Illustrated in the Songs of the Nativity
There Is Joy and Music at Christmas Because the Predictions of Christ’s Second Coming Are Secure
Christianity is a religion of song. Agnosticism has no carols. Confucianism and Brahminism have no anthems or alleluias. Dreary, weird dirges reveal no hope for the present or for the future. Christianity, however, is filled with music. Only the message of Christ puts a song in a person’s heart.
When you have Christ in your heart, when you know what Christmas is all about, something changes inside of you, and a melody starts to form that you can’t really control. It is unlike any other belief system.
As we read the stories of Christmas in the book of Luke, we find six different songs recorded almost back-to-back: the “Beatitude of Elizabeth,” when she was visited by Mary; the “Magnificat of Mary,” Mary’s song; the “Benedictus of Zacharias,” the father of John the Baptist; the “Song of Simeon,” when he was presented with the Christ Child at the temple; the “Evangel Song” of the angel of the Lord over the plains; and, finally, the “Gloria” of the angelic hosts. When Jesus came into the world, poetry expressed itself and music was reborn.
Why do we sing during the Christmas season? Everywhere we go, every time we turn on the radio or television, every time we go to a shopping center, someone is playing or singing Christmas music. If we didn’t know what it was all about, it could really be irritating! There’s nothing worse than knowing that somebody is truly filled with joy, but not understanding why—wishing you had it, but not understanding how to get it.
Why are we so filled with joy and music at this season of the year? What is it about Christmas that makes us want to sing?
Several reasons are illustrated by the songs in Luke 2.
There Is Joy and Music at Christmas Because Old Testament Prophecies Were Fulfilled
When Christ was born, one of the reasons for great songs in the hearts of people was that the prophecies of the Old Testament had at last been fulfilled.
In Simeon’s song recorded in Luke chapter 2:25–32, we get some understanding of the Jews’ longing for the fulfillment of prophecy. “And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”
Somehow, for some reason, Simeon had been given a word from the Lord that he would live until the Messiah was born. Every day he probably wondered, “Is this the day when prophecy will be fulfilled?” All of his life he had longed for the Messiah. Simeon was well-acquainted with Isaiah 40–55, which tells about the nature of the coming of the Messiah. The joy of seeing those prophecies fulfilled kept Simeon alive until at last, one day, in the temple, he had the joy of seeing the Messiah Himself. Simeon, then, is an illustration of all those who awaited the coming of Christ.
The Old Testament is filled with prophecies of the coming of Messiah in such a specific way that most Jewish people had a tendency to read right over it and miss the significance of what the prophets were saying. Micah, for instance, said that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Daniel actually gave a timetable of how this was going to happen. Isaiah said that Messiah would be born of a virgin, something that had never happened before. Jeremiah said Christ’s birth would be accompanied by the slaughter of many children. Hosea revealed that at a certain time they would have to go into Egypt to spare the life of the Child.
All of these prophecies were given 500 to 700 years before the birth of Christ; and there were devout Jews who every day would read the Scriptures, ponder these verses, and wonder, “Will that happen in my lifetime? Will I see the Messiah?”
So, when Christ was born, and it became apparent that this was indeed the Messiah, they were filled with joy, and they burst forth into song and excitement.
Consider the incredible nature of the prophecies concerning the coming of Christ. For example, in 700 b.c. Micah prophesied that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. What possibility is there of any man, by his own wisdom, predicting the birthplace of someone not yet born? There is no possibility at all. If we examine every piece of American literature down to the year 1830, we will not find one phrase even suggesting that a future president of the United States would some day be born in Harlan County, Kentucky. But Micah the prophet put his finger on one of the smallest countries in the world, Israel, designated one of the twelve provinces in which the Messiah was to be born—namely, Judah—and within that province, put his finger on one small village called Bethlehem, and said it was there that Messiah would be born. David is the only king of Judah who had ever been born in Bethlehem. All the other kings, generation after generation until Judah fell, were born in the royal city of Jerusalem. Most of them probably were born in the palace. So, if prophets of Micah’s day had guessed the birthplace of Jesus, they never would have guessed Bethlehem. They would have guessed Jerusalem, where kings would normally be born.
It was only due to a Roman edict concerning taxation that Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. It was a pagan edict that sent them to the very place where Micah said Jesus would be born.
When Christ was born and it became apparent to the few who gathered around the scene that this was indeed the Messiah, we can understand why they were filled with joy and became so excited they couldn’t do anything but burst into song.
We sing at Christmastime because the prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled, and we are reminded of that truth.
There Is Joy and Music at Christmas Because the Problem of Sin Has Been Resolved
Once and for all, the sin problem has been solved. If we look back to Bethlehem and back to the birth of Jesus, we have to look back through the empty tomb. We have to look back through the Cross. We have to look back through the Garden of Gethsemane. And as we look back, we come to the manger, and we know that Bethlehem was the answer to the question that plagued every heart: How can a man know God?
In the Old Testament, in faith believers brought sacrifices in order to know God in the Old Testament way. But there also was the promise of the Lamb of God who would come and be slain for everyone, thus sin could forever be put to rest for those who would trust in the Messiah.
I think that’s what Zacharias was talking about in Luke 1:68–79:
Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us … that we should be saved from our enemies … , to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant … , to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies … , to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God …
Zacharias understood that the coming of Jesus Christ was for a specific purpose, that He might ultimately be the Redeemer.
Why is there joy and singing at Christmas? For the same reason that there is joy and singing in heaven when one sinner repents. When salvation becomes a reality, when we understand what it truly means to be forgiven, to have the burden of sin lifted off us, to know that we never have to stand in judgment for our sin, that is a reason for song.
There Is Joy and Music at Christmas Because the Pain of the Lowly and Forgotten Has Been Remembered
Listen to Mary’s song, beginning in Luke 1:46:
‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel …’
Every Christmas, God is saying to the downtrodden, the oppressed, and the exploited of mankind, “Be of good cheer. I am your friend, and I am your champion. I have sent My Son with good news for the poor, to proclaim and release captives, and to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
Why is there joy at Christmas? Because no matter who we are, no matter how poor we are, no matter how unimportant we may feel, every Christmas there is a renewal within us of this message: Christ has chosen to be among the common people. He came in a common way, not born in a palace but in a manger, not surrounded by kings but by shepherds, to make sure that none of us, no matter who we are, no matter how insignificant we may think ourselves to be, none of us are out of the sphere of the love of God at Christmas.
There Is Joy and Music at Christmas Because the Possibility of Peace Is Renewed in Our Hearts
In more than a few past wars, the warring nations would call a cease-fire for Christmas Day. They would agree that on Christmas Day they wouldn’t shoot at each other, drop bombs on each other, or try to destroy one another. Then, of course, the day after Christmas they would start killing each other again.
As strange as that custom has been, in a wonderful way it is a mute testimony to the purpose for which Christ came—to bring peace. Wasn’t that the message that the angels proclaimed in Luke 2:8–14?
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
We sing at Christmas because within our hearts there is hope of peace. Today, there are many places in our world where peace is not a word in anyone’s vocabulary. Yet every Christian knows that there is coming a time when peace will reign on this earth. Each Christmas season, a kind of new hope is born in our hearts—that though the outlook may be dark, and the only darkness we may see is out there, we may not feel it here. The Prince of Peace has come, and with Him the faith that someday men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and we shall be at peace.
There Is Joy and Music at Christmas Because the Purpose of Life Is Illustrated in the Songs of the Nativity
Throughout all of the songs we find this note of glory and praise to the Father. Mary’s song begins, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”
Elizabeth was so full of joy and praise for her God that when she met Mary, the baby jumped in her womb for the joy of being in the presence of the Messiah.
Zacharias, in his “Benedictus,” said, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel.”
And the message of the angels was “Glory to God in the highest!”
What is the real purpose of life for all of us? According to the Westminster Catechism, it is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. And in the message of Christmas we find that wonderful story. Everywhere we read the songs of Christmas in the Book of Luke, they are extolling the glory of God, praising God, and blessing God.
There Is Joy and Music at Christmas Because Predictions of Christ’s Second Coming Are Secure
As we read the prophecies of Micah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Daniel, and Isaiah, and we follow them through 600 or 700 years, all the way up to when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, we are amazed at the accuracy of prophecies that could reveal exactly where Messiah would be born. Or that Isaiah could say, “Born of a virgin.” Or that Jeremiah could foretell a slaughter of children connected with that birth. Or that Hosea could reveal a flight into Egypt to avoid danger. Yet all of those same prophets have told us that Messiah who came the first time is coming again.
How accurately will those prophecies be fulfilled? Just as accurately as the first prophecies were fulfilled. Many things mentioned in the songs of Luke weren’t fulfilled at Bethlehem—because they are yet to be fulfilled when Christ comes again.
Why is there joy at Christmas? Because the same Jesus who came the first time is coming again.
Make a list of all the Bible-based Christmas hymns you can think of, then answer the following:
Which songs mention the Divine nature of Jesus Christ at His birth?
Which specific phrases?
Which songs refer to the fulfillment of prophecy at His birth?
Which specific phrases?
Which songs refer to His eventual reign as King and Messiah on earth?
Which specific phrases?
Which songs refer to His love and care for all mankind?
Which specific phrases?
Which songs refer to the songs found in the Bible?
Which specific phrases?
In Mary’s song (Luke 1:46–55):
What is Mary’s emotional response to the message she is given?
Upon whom is her focus?
How do you know?
What future personal circumstances does she not mention?
What is the significance of her statement in verse 55?
In the song of Zacharias (Luke 1:68–79):
How many future deeds or activities of the Messiah does he mention?
What are those, in which verses?
Why is God doing these things, according to the words of Zacharias (vv. 72–73)?
What office will his son (John the Baptizer) fill, according to vv. 76–77?
How does this relate to the last Old Testament book (see Malachi 3:1; 4:5–6)?
In the song of the angelic host (Luke 2:14):
Who ultimately is glorified by the birth of Messiah?
What do you think the phrase “on earth peace” refers to specifically?
To what does “goodwill toward men” refer?
Which of the events or circumstances displayed in these three songs do you think have already taken place?
Which events or circumstances do you think are yet to occur?
If biblical “hope” is the present assurance of a future certainty, how would you describe the “hope” of the Christmas season?
Did You Know?
Some of the traditional Christmas hymns are tremendous repositories of Christian theology. For example, if one reads all the verses of Wesley’s “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” there can be found such doctrines as the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the incarnation, the depravity of mankind, the kenosis (humbling) of Christ, His sinlessness, and His Second Coming, to name a few. Perhaps the next time we celebrate Christmas, it would serve us well to acquire and read all the words to some of the historical hymns of the season.
Gingerbread Cookie Ornaments
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 teas. baking soda
1 teas. salt
4 tbls. sugar
1 cup molasses
1 teas. cinnamon
½ teas. ginger
¼ teas. nutmeg
¼ teas. cloves
3 cups flour
Cream together butter and sugars. Add molasses and blend well. Add remaining ingredients to mixture and stir well. (If dough is too soft, add a little flour; if too crumbly, add a few drops of milk or water.)
Divide dough into fourths and wrap each section in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least two hours.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough, one fourth at a time, to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with flour-dusted cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Punch a hole for hanging on top of each cookie with a drinking straw or wooden skewer.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until set.
Cool completely on wire rack, then decorate the cookies using icing, candies, and colored sugars. Let the children express their creativity.
It is fun to make a custom cookie ornament by writing a name in icing and tying it to a package for a teacher or special friend. Remember: Don’t worry about making mistakes; you can eat them!
Have you given much thought to your ancestry or the roots of your family tree lately? Probably not during the past few days or weeks. But chances are, if you’re typical of most people, you or someone in your family has done some genealogical research during the past ten or fifteen years.
Many books, articles, and Internet sites are available to help us delve into our genealogical records and identify the famous, the infamous, and the merely obscure people of our ancestries. For a small but dedicated number of people, this activity has become an all-consuming obsession that helps them fill a psychological void in their lives or build up their self-esteem. But for most of us, it is little more than a nice curiosity or at best simply a recreation. And it can be an expensive activity if you travel back to your hometown to look up records and obituaries concerning your family members.
The Importance of Genealogies to the Jews
To the Jews of Bible times, however, genealogies were extremely important. Interest in such matters went beyond the realm of curiosity, recreation, meeting psychological needs, or even consideration of family identity and religious solidarity (which we see with present-day groups such as the Mormons). There were four major reasons that accurate and complete genealogies were so critical to the ancient Jews. And as you’ll see in this chapter, two such genealogies were important to the story of Jesus’ birth.
First, ancestry determined one’s claim on land, based on the original tribal allocation of the land of Palestine. When the Israelites first settled in the Promised Land, God divided it into parcels for each tribe (Num. 26:52–56).
Second, ancestry determined claims to the right of inheritance. If a person claimed he had a right to property, servants, an estate, crops, or other material possessions, the validity of such claims was determined by the genealogies of those involved. For example, in Ruth 3–4, ancestry allowed for the transfer of property.
Third, ancestry in Israel established the basis of taxation. When Mary and Joseph went to be taxed in Luke 2, they traveled to Bethlehem because that was the hometown of David, and they were of the house and line of David. They were aware of their lineage because certainly their parents and other older relatives would have described how their family heritage went all the way back to King David. And though they were young, Mary and Joseph loved God and Scripture and surely knew what the prophets wrote concerning Messiah’s relationship to the line of David. Based on that knowledge of Scripture and their family’s genealogical records, which were kept in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph made the journey to receive their tax assessment.
Last, and most important, any claim to the priesthood or royalty had to be verified by genealogy. In Ezra 2:61–63, for example, a number of men were excluded from the priesthood when the records did not verify their claims. Likewise, any claim to be king (and ultimately, Messiah) would be rejected if the one making the assertion could not prove he had direct lineage from the great king David himself.
Therefore, in the theocracy of Israel—a kingdom ruled by God, with its legal statutes outlined in Scripture and led by God-ordained priests and kings—genealogies were very critical. That’s why the Jews kept careful, accurate, and fastidious genealogical records. The genealogies of Jesus Christ in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke reflect those characteristics. The writers’ use of such records demonstrates not only that the Holy Spirit guided them, but also that they had access to actual, verifiable public records that proved the true and accurate genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus’ genealogy makes a crucial contribution to His credentials as Messiah. If He is to be verified as the King, David’s greater Son who will rule, He must have Davidic lineage.
The Two Genealogies of Jesus
The New Testament contains two lists that outline for us the genealogy of Christ. Matthew records his in Matthew 1:1–17, and Luke presents his in Luke 3:23–38. The apostle Matthew included his genealogy as the first part of his chronological account of the life of Jesus. By contrast, Luke waited until the end of the third chapter of his Gospel to include a genealogy of Jesus. He placed it between the accounts of Jesus’ baptism and His Temptation as a key element of establishing the Messiah’s credentials. There are also other differences between the two genealogies that are worth examining briefly.
The Differences in the Lists
First of all, the two genealogies take different chronological views of Jesus’ family tree. Luke goes from the present to the past, beginning with Jesus’ grandfather and going all the way back to Adam and God. Matthew, however, approaches matters in the opposite fashion. He goes from the past to the present, starting with Abraham and ending with Jesus.
Here are the two separate, but equally inspired and valid, versions of the genealogy of our Lord. Notice some of the differences as you read the two lists consecutively:
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.
David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations. (Matthew 1:1–17)
Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah, the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er, the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:23–38; italics inserted by nkjv translators)
I believe Luke’s method gives his genealogy more of a dramatic element than Matthew’s. By starting at the present and working back to the past, the beloved physician turned historian and theologian offers us a sense of wonder and excitement as we try to anticipate how far back his genealogy of Jesus will take us.
Matthew’s list, on the other hand, is much more predictable as it starts with Abraham and traces the Messiah’s line forward to Jesus. Matthew’s goal in his list was to satisfy the Jews’ concern about Messiah’s legality. Judaism began with Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel. Therefore, it was only necessary to prove Messiah’s credentials to the Jews by tracing His line from Abraham, through David, right down to Jesus. That’s more specific than Luke’s universal approach, which shows how Christ the Son of Man and Son of God links with all humanity clear back to Adam and finally to God Himself.
Between the two records there are also some differences in the names. First, Luke traces Jesus’ line back to David through Nathan (3:31), David’s third son born to Bathsheba. But Matthew traces Jesus’ line back to David through Solomon (1:6), David’s first son born to Bathsheba. Second, Luke identifies Jesus’ grandfather as Heli (3:23), whereas Matthew says that His grandfather was a man named Jacob (1:16). Finally, there are major differences in the genealogies going from David to Christ. Whereas the lists of names are identical from David to Abraham, the two are completely different when you work your way from David to the Lord Jesus.
Explaining the Differences in the Lists
It’s amazing that people often struggle to explain the differences in the two genealogies. But it’s not really that difficult, and there is certainly no problem with having two genealogies for Jesus. In Matthew, the genealogy is paternal, going through Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph; and Joseph’s father, Jacob; back to David. In Luke, the genealogy is maternal, going through Jesus’ mother, Mary; and Mary’s father, Heli; back to David.
When you look at the genealogies this way, the reason for the differences is clear. Everyone has two genealogies—one paternal and one maternal. And Jesus, like everyone, had a paternal and maternal grandfather. So essentially Jesus’ family tree, in exhibiting certain basic differences, follows the pattern of every human genealogy. That is the simplest way to account for the discrepancies in the names.
The necessity to establish His legal right to the throne of David is another very important reason the two Gospel writers gave us two different forms of Jesus’ family tree. And that legal right came through the father; therefore, Matthew’s paternal genealogy proved that Jesus came from a line that proceeded from David through Solomon. That proof is true even though Jesus was not the human son of Joseph. Because Joseph married Mary, the mother of Jesus, he became the legal father of Jesus. As a result, Jesus received from Joseph the full legal right to the throne of David.
Luke’s maternal genealogy further solidifies Jesus’ claim to the throne of David by proving that He has the blood of David in His veins because of His mother, Mary. So, either way, Jesus is a genuine, legitimate descendant of King David.
The Messiah is king legally through Joseph and naturally through Mary. His scriptural credentials are thorough, clear, and irrefutable. From every perspective, we can crown Jesus King of kings and Lord of lords.
Critical Reactions to the Lists
The two genealogical lists have certainly been the unfair targets of doubt, questioning, and disbelief during the past two centuries by so-called scholarly critics of the Gospels. And that has been true for all portions of Scripture. But any in-depth discussion of such matters is outside the scope and purpose of this book. However, I do find it interesting how Jesus’ contemporary critics and opponents among the Jewish leaders responded to what His genealogies concluded.
The Pharisees, Sadducees, high priests—and all the enemies of Christ—sought to discredit Him as their Messiah. The thought that Jesus of Nazareth, the son of plain folks like Joseph and Mary, was their Messiah was offensive to them, and that’s why they ultimately had Him killed.
That’s why Jesus’ foes did everything possible to dishonor Him and disqualify Him from His Messianic claim. And it’s certainly reasonable to assume that, soon after the Lord made that claim, the Jewish leaders scrambled to find the official scroll containing His genealogical information. They would have had to make just a short trip south of Jerusalem to the town of Bethlehem, where the lineages and tax records for the line of David were kept. Once they got hold of those records, they could have determined rather quickly if Joseph and Mary’s ancestry really was Davidic. And discovering that Jesus didn’t actually belong to the line of David would have been all His opponents needed to discredit Him as Messiah. Even though Jesus did numerous miracles, preached and taught persuasively, and claimed to be sent from the Father, discovering that He was not an ancestor of David would have been enough to disprove His Messianic claim.
However, it’s striking that a study of the entire New Testament does not once report anyone claiming that Jesus didn’t come from David. As much as Jesus’ enemies may have wanted to make His ancestry an issue, they never did. That’s because the records supported His claim to be the Son of David. So there was never an official denial that Jesus was from the Davidic line. In fact, here is what the crowds exclaimed during the Passover season just before Jesus’ death, when He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (the day we commonly call Palm Sunday): “‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” Hosanna in the highest!’” (Matt. 21:9). There was simply no denying our Lord’s rightful ancestry and position of highest honor.
Highlights of Luke’s Genealogy
Luke’s presentation of Jesus’ family tree, using the names of His maternal line, contains several fascinating details and highlights. First of all, the opening verse of the genealogy includes the significant expression, “being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph” (3:23). That is a way of saying that Jesus was not actually the son of Joseph and therefore by implication that He was the son of Mary. Luke used “(as was supposed) the son of Joseph” to conform to the classic genealogical style of referring solely to male relatives. He wanted to maintain that format for his readers, and yet, by this implicit reference to Mary, he emphasized that his genealogy would follow the maternal line. All of that counters any erroneous notion that Jesus’ genealogy could only be paternal to be valid. But just as important, by indicating that Jesus was not the physical son of Joseph, Luke is once again affirming the Savior’s virgin conception and birth.
Another distinctive of Luke’s genealogical format is worthy of mention. If you look at Luke 3:23–38 in a copy of the New King James Version of the Bible (or the nkjv quotation of that passage earlier in our chapter), you’ll notice that in front of all the names but one, “the son” is italicized. That means the Greek text omitted all those occurrences. Only before Joseph’s name does “son” appear in the original. But why did Luke structure his genealogy that way?
The answer is not that complicated. Luke wanted to separate Joseph’s name from the rest of the genealogy. Actually verse 23 should more literally read like this: “Jesus Himself, the son of Joseph (as was supposed), began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being of Heli.” This rendering allowed the original readers to jump directly from Jesus to His earthly grandfather, Heli, the father of Mary. Thus Luke maintained, as he preferred, the classic male-names-only format to the genealogy and still underscored that the genealogy was truly Mary’s.
Luke’s version of Jesus’ family tree contains another interesting feature: Many of the names are unfamiliar to us. From Heli back to Nathan, the only names we recognize or know anything about from elsewhere in Scripture are Zerubbabel and Shealtiel, two leaders of the Jews who returned from the Exile in Babylon. The other names were common Hebrew names in ancient times, and we can trust that they belong in the genealogy as the actual names of Jesus and Mary’s forebears. However, the Holy Spirit did not deem it necessary for us to know anything about the individuals. Only in the section from David to Adam do we find predominantly familiar names that we can also find recorded in the Old Testament.
The final question you may be inclined to ask in view of Luke’s detailed genealogy is, “So why all of this?” The answer is simple. A general awareness of the details of Christ’s genealogy helps us appreciate the God-ordained credentials for the person of our Lord and Savior. Four basic elements of Luke’s genealogy summarize those credentials.
First and most important, Luke asserts that Jesus is the Son of God (3:38). Adam was the original son of God by creation, and he fully bore the divine image unmarred, unspoiled, unpolluted, and uncorrupted until he fell into sin. When that happened, the initial image of God in humanity was shattered, and every one of Adam’s descendants has been stained by his original sin and born with a corrupted image of God. But Jesus came into the world fully pleasing to God, as the kind of man Adam once was—sinless, bearing an absolutely perfect image of the Father, and obeying His will in every respect. As God said in Luke 3:22, “‘You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.’”
Second, Luke’s genealogy makes it clear that Jesus is a Son of Adam. While on earth, He was fully human. And just like His followers, He was tempted, troubled, persecuted, hated, reviled, and subjected to all the normal difficulties of life (Heb. 4:15). Like Adam, Christ descended from a higher plane to a lower plane; but unlike Adam, He descended into obedience, not disobedience (Phil. 2:5–8). Nevertheless, He was every bit of what Adam was—fully human, fully attached to the earth as the Son of Man. And Jesus was also firmly connected to heaven as the Son of God. Thus, Luke affirms that Jesus in His incarnation was at the same time fully God and fully man—the Son of God as to His deity and the Son of Adam as to His humanity.
Last, Luke’s genealogy attests to a third and fourth truth about the person of Jesus. Ethnically, He was the Son of Abraham. That is, He was and is the promised Seed. When God made a promise to Abraham, it was to a Seed: “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). Christ is the promised Seed who will bring about all the Abrahamic blessings. And, as we have already discussed, concerning royalty Christ is the Son of David. He is the promised King who will usher in the glory of all the Davidic promise.
The family tree of Jesus Christ consists of far more than two lists of ancient Hebrew names. It is also much more than boring paternal and maternal lists of Jesus’ earthly ancestors. It is a wonderful testimony to God’s grace and to His Son’s earthly ministry. Jesus was born the friend of sinners, as He stated in his admonishment to the Jewish leaders: “‘I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance’” (Luke 5:32). The Messiah presented in the genealogies is truly the Lord of grace.
1:20 Every one of God’s promises in Scripture is fulfilled directly or indirectly in him (Rm 1:2; Eph 2:12). Amen means “so be it” or “this is true.” The glory of God is displayed in Christ as well as in believers’ confession of him.
1:20 find their Yes in him. Christ fulfills all the promises of God to us, and all our confidence in God’s promises must come from our trust in Jesus Christ as a person whom we know and can rely on.
1:20promises of God Refers to all of God’s promises in the ot. Paul also mentions God’s promises in 2 Cor 7:1, where he cites a series of ot quotations that highlight God’s adoption of His people (see 6:16–18 and notes). Elsewhere Paul refers to God’s promise to Abraham (see Rom 4:13 and note).
in him they are “yes” Indicates that God’s promises are true, trustworthy, and fulfilled in Christ.
1:20 God’s promises find their fulfillment in Christ, indicating that the OT Scriptures should be read as pointing to Christ (see the Overview of the Bible). Paul expresses his agreement—i.e., his Amen (the Gk. form of the Hb. word meaning “to confirm”)—thus confirming what God has done through Christ (through him) not only by preaching Christ (v. 19) but also by acting like Christ toward the Corinthians, including changing his plans in order to minister to them.
1:20 in Him they are yes. All God’s OT and NT promises of peace, joy, love, goodness, forgiveness, salvation, sanctification, fellowship, hope, glorification, and heaven are made possible and fulfilled in Jesus Christ (cf. Lk 24:44). Amen. The Heb. word of affirmation (cf. Mt 5:18; Jn 3:3; Ro 1:25). Paul reminded them that they had said a collective “yes” to the truth of his preaching and teaching.
1:20All of God’s promises concerning Christ are true and trustworthy: a Yes.
1:20. Jesus Christ is God’s eternal Yes to the believer. For all the promises of God concerning the Messiah given to the OT patriarchs and prophets are fulfilled (Yes and Amen) in Him. Their execution and fulfillment prove God to be reliable. God fulfills all these promises for His own glory.
1:20All the promises of God, no matter how many they are, find their fulfillment in Christ. All who find in Him the fulfillment of God’s promises add their Amen:
We open our Bibles at a promise, we look up to God, and God says, “You can have all that through Christ.” Trusting Christ, we say, “Amen” to God. God speaks through Christ, and we believe in Christ; Christ reaches down and faith stretches up, and every promise of God is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In and through Him we appropriate and take them to ourselves and say, “Yes, Lord; I trust You.” This is the believing yes.
All of this is to the glory of God through us. Denney writes: “He is glorified when it dawns on human souls that He has spoken good concerning them beyond their utmost imaginings, and when that good is seen to be indubitably safe and sure in His Son.”
The two words through us, remind the Corinthians that it was through the preaching of men like Silvanus, Timothy, and Paul that they had ever come to claim the promises of God in Christ. If the apostle was a fraud, as his enemies charged, then could it be that God had used a cheat and a liar to effect such marvelous results? The answer, of course, is no.
20. For as many promises of God as there are, in him they are Yes. Wherefore also through him we say Amen to God for his glory.
a. “For as many promises of God as there are.” Paul reflects on the numerous promises God has given his people. He knows that ultimately all of them have been and are being fulfilled in the Son of God. Replete with God’s promises, the Old Testament points to their fulfillment in Christ. Peter mentions that the prophets were “trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Peter 1:11). The Old Testament message is that God who makes promises ultimately fulfills them through the coming of the Messiah.
b. “In him they are Yes.” The entire New Testament is a testimony that God’s promises have been and are being fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 5:17–18), to remove the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13), to grant the gift of righteousness (Matt. 6:33), to give eternal life (John 17:3), and through the Father to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26; 15:26). In Jesus Christ God’s promises have been realized, and the Corinthians will have to acknowledge the truth of this matter.
c. “Wherefore also through him we say Amen to God for his glory.” The Greek construction of this part of verse 20 is cumbersome if we provide a literal translation and follow the sequence of the verse: “Wherefore also through him the Amen to God for glory through us.” But the word Amen is uttered “through us,” and this affirmation serves to glorify God. When we understand that the phrase through us carries the meaning of the verb we say, the subsequent translation is smooth. This is how, in the first few centuries, some Christians whose native tongue was Syriac, a sister dialect of Aramaic, understood the text. Writing “yes” and “Amen” in this passage, Paul is expressing a parallelism that was current in his day. Among speakers who were conversant in both Greek and Aramaic, the “yes” and the “Amen” meant the same thing.
When Paul, his associates, and the Corinthians say “yes and amen” through Jesus Christ to God, no one legitimately can accuse Paul of vacillating. Those who attest to the veracity of God’s Word respect one another’s personal integrity. As Paul indicates, when believers say “Amen” to the promises of God in Christ, they glorify God.
Ver. 20. For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.—
All the promises:—
I. The dignity of the promises. They are “the promises of God.” 1. They were each one made by Him according to the purpose of His own will. 2. They are links between His decrees and His acts; being the voice of the decree, and the herald of the act. 3. They display the qualities of Him who uttered them. They are true, immutable, powerful, eternal, &c. 4. They remain in union with God. After the lapse of ages they are still His promises as much as when He first uttered them. 5. They are guaranteed by the character of God who spoke them. 6. They will glorify Him as He works out their fulfilment.
II. The range of the promises. “All the promises.” It will be instructive to note the breadth of the promises by observing that—1. They are found both in the Old and New Testaments; from Genesis to Revelation, running through centuries of time. 2. They are of both sorts—conditional and unconditional: promises to certain works, and promises of an absolute order. 3. They are of all kinds of things—bodily and spiritual, personal and general, eternal and temporal. 4. They continue blessings to varied characters, such as—(1) The Penitent (Lev. 26:40–42; Isa. 55:7; 57:15; Jer. 3:12, 13). (2) The Believing (John 3:16, 18; 6:47; Acts 16:31; 1 Pet. 2:6). (3) The Serving (Ps. 37:3; 9:20; Prov. 3:9, 10; Acts 10:35). (4) The Praying (Isa. 45:11; Lam. 3:25; Matt. 6:6; Psa. 145:18). (5) The Obeying (Exod. 19:5; Psa. 119:1–3; Isa. 1:19). (6) The Suffering (Matt. 5:10–12; Rom. 8:17; 1 Pet. 4:12–14). 5. They bring us the richest boons: pardon, justification, sanctification, instruction, preservation, &c. What a marvellous wealth lies in “all the promises”!
III. The stability of the promises. “All the promises in Him are yea, and in Him Amen.” A Greek word “Yea,” and a Hebrew word “Amen,” are used to mark certainty, both to Gentile and Jew. 1. They are established beyond all doubt as being assuredly the mind and purpose of the eternal God. 2. They are confirmed beyond all alteration. The Lord hath said “Amen,” and so must it be for ever. 3. Their stability is in Christ Jesus beyond all hazard; for He is—(1) The witness of the promise of God. (2) The surety of the covenant. (3) The sum and substance of all the promises. (4) The fulfilment of the promises, by His actual incarnation, His atoning death, His living plea, His ascension power, &c. (5) The security and guarantee of the promises, since all power is in His hand to fulfil them.
IV. The result of the promises. “The glory of God by us.” By us, His ministers, and His believing people, the God of the promises is made glorious. We glorify—1. His condescending love in making the promise. 2. His power as we see Him keeping the promise. 3. Him by our faith, which honours His veracity, by expecting the boons which He has promised. 4. Him in our experience which proves the promise true. Conclusion: 1. Let us confidently rest in His sure word. 2. Let us plead the special promise applicable to the hour now passing. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
The promises:—1. A promise is the antithesis of a threat. The Bible abounds in both. 2. When God more apparently guided the courses of man personally, promises were made to individual men. To patriarchs, prophets, and apostles; and by such they were upborne through trial. But when this became impossible the promises were made applicable to whole nations and generations. 3. Thus the Word of God is filled with assurances of blessings as no other book is. Promises cover the whole period of human life. They meet us at our birth; they cluster about our childhood; they overhang our youth; they go in companies into manhood with us; they divide themselves into bands and stand at the door of every possible experience. Therefore there are promises of God to the ignorant, poor, oppressed, discouraged, &c.; to every affection, to every sphere of duty, to all perils and temptations. There are promises for joy, sorrow, victory, defeat, adversity, prosperity, &c. Old age has its garlands as full and fragrant as youth. All men, everywhere, and always—have their promises of God. 4. They belong to mankind. There have been periods when, for special and beneficent reasons, God’s promises seemed to belong only to His own people. 5. And they are fresh with everlasting youth. The stars never wear out; the sun is not weary from the number of years. The heaven and the earth, however, shall pass away, but God’s word shall not pass away. 6. Not one promise has ever been unfulfilled. There is not a witness in God’s universe that can testify that he has leaned on a promise of God, and that God forgot to be gracious to him.
I. What are the uses to which we are invited to put God’s promises? 1. To make rude duties more attractive. It is affecting to see with what tenderness God has taken care of those that no one else cares for. How He goes down to the poor, and the ignorant, and the enslaved. How He goes down to those that can find no motive for right living in their ordinary experience, and says to them, “Be faithful, if not for the sake of your master, then for My sake.” And once let us know that we are serving One that we love, and One that loves us, and love vanquishes difficulty. 2. To fortify our faith. Duty is often surrounded by peril or hardship, and is often apparently without adequate result. It is needful, therefore, that there should be some promise which shall assure us that a perilous duty well performed will bring down upon us the Divine blessing. You are oftentimes brought into trials when it seems as though everything would be wrecked, and the world says, “Prudence”: experience says, “Draw back”; policy says, “Change a little”; and expediency says, “Compromise”; but the Word of God, which is yea and amen, says, “He that will lose his life for a right principle shall save it.” And in the end, when you come to count the wrecks along the shore, you will find those men who would save their lives by losing their principles are the men that have lost their lives. 3. To equalise the conditions of life. Men are of different calibre, and, owing to this, men follow Christ in different ways. Now, if a party of men are going to California assured that each shall be the possessor, in five years, of one million dollars, the differences between them are annihilated while they are going across. One may have twenty-five dollars in his pocket, another a hundred; one may have almost no conveniences, and another all that heart could wish; and yet, if they are assured that in five years they shall each have a million dollars, they do not care for these inequalities. And let the promises of God rest on the poor man’s lot, and he forgets the inequalities of life. For that man who is ere long to be crowned in eternity cannot find the road there so hard that he will complain of it. 4. To redeem secular life from barrenness, and make it worth our while to continue faithful to the end. And while there are promises of God that run through our whole lower life, the promises grow broader and deeper as you go up to those spheres where a man is obliged to live by faith, and above the ordinary affairs of life. So the promises of God are in proportion to our exigencies.
II. What are the obstacles in the way of using the promises of God? 1. We are ignorant of them. There is many a man that lives on his farm years and years without knowing the different growths that it produces. Many a man is buried within a yard of plants that, if their healing properties had been known, would have saved his life. Many a field is capable, if properly tilled, of producing fourfold as much as it is made to produce. God’s Word is like such a field. There are promises in it that no man has ever tried to find. There are treasures of gold and silver in it that no man has taken the pains to dig for. There are medicines in it, for the want of a knowledge of which hundreds have died. 2. When men find them they do not know how to use them. Tea was first served in England as greens. The people rejected it, and thought it rather an imposition. When potatoes were first introduced into Ireland they were rejected there, because they did not know how to use them. And many and many a man rejects, or fails to profit by, the promises of God’s Word, because he does not know how to gather them, and cook them, and use them. 3. We are afraid to venture upon using them. There is many and many a man that would be afraid to trust himself upon a single plank stretched across a deep chasm, though others had walked over on it often without accident. There is many a promise of God that is strong enough to carry men across the abyss of this life, but they do not dare to try it. In an emergency the promises of God are to many men what weapons of defence are to a man who does not know how to use them when he finds that he must fight for his life. 4. We wish the result without the fulfilment of the conditions attached. Many a child that is promised a vacation on condition that he will perform a certain amount of labour, would like the vacation, but does not like the condition on which it is promised. So many of the things promised we would like to steal, instead of working for them. 5. We do not appropriate them. The promise of “grace to help in time of need” comes to men thousands of times without benefiting them for this very reason. Many carry the promises as a miser carries bank bills, the face of which calls for countless treasures, but which he does not carry to the bank for presentation. Many a man holds bills for blessings of God, but does not present them. They enter upon a philosophical inquiry as to whether there is a presumptive argument in favour of prayer, and whether God will stop the laws of nature for our benefit, or so use them as to fulfil His promises to us. But the way to employ a promise of God is to comply with its conditions, and then wait for its fulfilment. 6. Many are afraid of presumption. Well, it may be presumptuous for you to go into a stranger’s house without an invitation; but if a man has invited you to come and see him it is presumptuous for you not to take him at his word. And to be afraid to appropriate the promises of God is to charge Him falsely. 7. Many would like to take the promises of God, but they fear they may be self-deceived. You may be, but God is not; and therefore you may rest upon the promises. 8. There are others that have a fear about their own unworthiness; which is as if a man should advertise that he would eure the infirmities of men free of expense, and a blind man should say, “I would go to this physician if I were not so blind.” Therefore plead the promises because you are sinful; the nature of goodness is to relieve want, even though that want be founded on sin. 9. Much of the want of faith in the promises comes from a neglect on the part of Christians to bear witness to the fulfilment of those promises in their own experience. There are hundreds of men whose life God has made significant and memorable, and they have never uttered a word about it to those around them. (H. W. Beecher.)
The promises, how they become ours:—
I. “By us” as ministers—publishing, explaining, applying them. A promise is often like a box of ointment, very precious; but the fragrance does not fill the room till the preacher breaks it. Or it is like the water that was near Hagar, which she saw not till God opened her eyes and showed her the well.
II. “By us” as believers realising the excellency and efficacy of them in our character and conduct. It is when these promises are reduced to experience—when they are seen cleansing us from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, making us partakers of the Divine nature, leading us to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, filling us with kindness and supporting us in trials—it is then they glorify God by us. (W. Jay.)
The promises of God:—Note—
I. That they are the promises of God. Because they are His promises they are utterly incapable of any failure. “God is not a man that He should lie,” &c. In our presumptuous readiness to liken the Almighty to ourselves, we may imagine instances in which Divine promises have failed to be accomplished. But—1. There may have been an incorrect apprehension as to the subject of the promise; and in the error cherished thereupon, something has been imagined and expected which has not been promised. The Jews misapprehended the meaning of prophecies concerning the Messiah. 2. There may have been some mistake or negligence on our part as to the condition on which the promise was suspended, and the circumstances under which it became actually due. 3. The time for its accomplishment may not be fully come. For the promises of God, though sure, are not in every instance designed for immediate fulfilment.
II. The truth and faithfulness of these promises as resulting from their connection with Christ. They are “in Him yea, and in Him Amen,” as He is the great foundation of the promises. God sees in Him, as our once suffering but now exalted Mediator, an unchangeable and everlasting reason why all His other promises should be fulfilled.
III. They are “to the glory of God by us.” 1. In the very circumstance of their original annunciation. 2. As they constitute a new and separate manifestation of His own character and attributes. 3. As in that very act of faith by which those promises are accepted and become available, God is glorified in that particular, in reference to which His glory was, in the first instance of man’s sin, insulted and invaded. 4. In the accomplishment of the promises. 5. As furnishing, to all who may be interested in it, an additional encouragement to exercise that faith, by means of which the God of the promises is glorified, and the result of which must be the reiterated accomplishment of the same promise. Conclusion: Learn—1. The true character of unbelief. It is—(1) Unreasonable. (2) Wicked. 2. The means by which alone the soul can rise to the exercise of that faith in the promises which is required as the condition of their accomplishment, and that it is only when, and in proportion as, we view them in their connection with Christ, that we can so believe them as to receive experimentally and savingly the benefit and comfort of them. (Jonathan Crowther.)
All God’s promises Yea in Christ:—God’s promises are His declarations of what He is willing to do for men, and in the very nature of the case they are at once the limit and inspiration of our prayers. We are encouraged to ask all that God promises, and we must stop there. Christ Himself, then, is the measure of prayer to man; we can ask all that is in Him; we dare not ask anything that lies outside Him. How this should expand our prayers in some directions, and contract them in others! We can ask God to give us Christ’s purity, simplicity, meekness, and gentleness, faithfulness and obedience, victory over the world. Have we ever measured these things? Have we ever put them into our prayers with any glimmering consciousness of their dimensions, any sense of the vastness of our request? Nay, we can ask Christ’s glory, His resurrection life of splendour and incorruption—the image of the heavenly, God has promised us all of these things, and far more; but has He promised all that we ask? Can we fix our eyes on His Son, as He lived our life in this world, and remembering that this, so far as this world is concerned, is the measure of promise, ask without any qualification that our course here may be free from every trouble? Had Christ no sorrow? Did He never meet with ingratitude? Was He never misunderstood? Was He never hungry, thirsty, weary? If all God’s promises are summed up in Him—if He is everything God has to give—can we go boldly to the throne of grace, and pray to be exempted from what He had to bear, or to be richly provided with indulgencies which He never knew? What if all unanswered prayers might be defined as prayers for things not included in the promises—prayers that we might get what God did not get, or be spared from what He was not spared? The spirit of this passage, however, does not urge so much the definiteness as the compass and the certainty of the promises of God. There are “so many” that Paul could never enumerate them, and all of them are sure in Christ. And when our eyes are once opened on Him, does not He Himself become, as it were, inevitably the substance of our prayers? Is not our whole heart’s desire, Oh, that I might win Him! Oh, that He might live in me, and make me what He is! Do we not feel that if God would give us His Son, all would be ours that we could take or He could give. (J. Denney, B.D.)
God’s certainties and man’s certitudes:—“Yea” and “amen” are in the A.V. nearly synonymous, and point substantially to the same thing—viz., that Christ is, as it were, the confirmation and seal of God’s promises. But the R.V. indicates two different things by the “yea” and the “amen.” The one is God’s voice, the other is man’s. When we listen to God speaking in Christ, our lips are, through Christ, opened to shout our assenting “Amen” to His great promises. Consider—
I. God’s certainties in Christ. Of course the original reference is to the great promises given in the O.T.; but the principle is good on a wider field. In Christ—1. There is the certainty about God’s heart. Everywhere else we have hopes, fears, guesses, inferences. Nothing will make us sure here but facts. We want to see love in operation if we are to be sure of it, and the only demonstration of the love of God is to witness it in actual working. And you get it where? On the Cross. “Herein is love, not that we loved God,” &c. 2. In Him we have the certainty of pardon. Every deep heart-experience has felt the necessity of having clear knowledge about this. And the only message which answers to the needs of an awakened conscience is the old-fashioned message that Jesus Christ the Righteous has died for us sinful men. All other religions have felt after a clear doctrine of forgiveness, and all have failed to find it. Here is the Divine “Yea!” And on it alone we can suspend the whole weight of our soul’s salvation. 3. We have in Christ Divine certainties in regard of life. We have in Him the absolutely perfect pattern to which we are to conform our whole doings. He stands the Law of our lives. We have certainties for life, in the matter of protection, guidance, supply of all necessity, and the like, garnered in Jesus Christ. For He not only conforms, but fulfils, the promises which God has made. Christ is protean, and becomes everything to each man that each man requires. And in some of those sunny islands of the Southern Pacific one tree supplies the people with all that they need for their simple wants, fruit for their food, leaves for their houses, staves, thread, needles, clothing, drink, everything—so Jesus Christ, this Tree of Life, is Himself the sum of all the promises, and, having Him, we have everything that we need. 4. In Christ we have the Divine certainties as to the future, over which, apart from Him, lie cloud and darkness. Here again a verbal revelation is not enough. We have enough of man’s peradventures. What we want is that somebody shall cross the gulf and come back again. And so we get in the Resurrection of Christ the one fact on which men may safely rest their convictions of immortality.
II. Man’s certainties, which answer to Christ’s certainties. The latter are in Christ, the former are through Christ. The only fitting attitude for Christians in reference to these certainties is that of unhesitating affirmation and joyful assent. 1. There should be some kind of correspondence between the assurance with which we believe these great truths, and the firmness of the evidence upon which they rest. It is a poor compliment to God to come to His affirmations, and to answer with a hesitating “Amen.” Build rock upon rock. Be certain of the certain things; for it is an insult to the certainty of the revelation when there is hesitation in the believer. The Christian verb is “we know,” not “we hope, we calculate, we infer, we think,” but “we know.” 2. I need not speak about the blessedness of such a calm assurance, about the need of it for power, for peace, for effort, for fixedness in the midst of a world and age of change. But I must point to the only path by which that certitude is attainable. “Through Him is the amen.” He is the Door. The truths which He confirms are so inextricably intertwined with Himself that you cannot get them and put away Him. Christ’s relation to Christ’s gospel is not the relation of other teachers to their words. You may accept the words of a Plato, whatever you think of Plato. But you cannot separate Christ and His teaching in that fashion, and you must have Him if you are to get it. 3. If thus we keep near Him our faith will bring us the present experience and fulfilment of the promises, and we shall be sure of them because we have them already. And whilst men are asking, “Do we know anything about God? Is there such a thing as forgiveness?” &c., we can say, “One thing I know, Jesus Christ is my Saviour, and in Him I know God, and pardon, and duty, and sanctifying, and safety, and immortality; and whatever is dark, this, at least, is sun-clear.” Get high enough up and you will be above the fog; and while the men down in it are squabbling as to whether there is anything outside the mist, you, from your sunny station, will see the far-off coasts, and haply catch some whiff of perfume from their shore, and see some glinting of a glory upon the shining turrets of “the city that hath foundations.” So live near Jesus Christ, and, holding fast by His hand, you may lift up your joyful “Amen” to every one of God’s “yeas”; and when the Voice from Heaven says “Yea!” our choral shout may go up, “Amen! Thou art the faithful and true witness.” (A. Maclaren, D.D.)
20.For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. With these words Paul clarifies what he meant by saying in the preceding verse that in Jesus Christ ‘it is always “Yes” ’. The Old Testament contains many promises of God that would find their fulfilment in Christ, including, for example, the seed of the woman who will bruise the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15), the raising up of one like Moses (Deut. 18:15; John 7:40; Acts 3:22; 7:37), one who will sit on the throne of David (2 Sam. 7:12–13), and the servant of the Lord who will bear the sins of the people (Isa. 53:4–11). Not one of these promises would fail to find its fulfilment in Christ. There is no equivocation as far as the promises of God are concerned. As Balaam said to Balak:
God is not human, that he should lie,
not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfil?
And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God. The Greek underlying this sentence is difficult to translate and interpret accurately, although its general thrust is clear enough. It may reflect the worship of the early church in which ascriptions of praise to God were offered ‘through him’ (Christ) by members of the Christian community and confirmed by their ‘Amen’ (implying assent). A similar form is found in many of the ascriptions of praise elsewhere in the New Testament (e.g. Rom. 1:25; 9:5; 11:36; 15:33; 16:27; Gal. 1:5; Eph. 3:21; Phil. 4:20; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16; 2 Tim. 4:18; Heb. 13:21; 1 Pet. 4:11; 5:11; 2 Pet. 3:18; Jude 25; Rev. 1:6; 7:12), a fact which confirms the use of ‘Amen’ in this way in the early church. However, the immediate context (especially v. 19) suggests that the us by whom the Amen is spoken refers to Paul and his missionary colleagues.
20. For all the promises of God.—Here again he shows how firm and unvarying the preaching of Christ ought to be, inasmuch as he is the groundwork of all the promises of God. For it were worse than absurd to entertain the idea that he, in whom all the promises of God are established, is like one that wavers. Now though the statement is general, as we shall see ere long, it is, notwithstanding, accommodated to the circumstances of the case in hand, with the view of confirming the certainty of Paul’s doctrine. For it is not simply of the gospel in general that he treats, but he honours more especially his own gospel with this distinction. “If the promises of God are sure and well-founded, my preaching also must of necessity be sure, inasmuch as it contains nothing but Christ, in whom they are all established.” As, however, in these words he means simply that he preached a gospel that was genuine, and not adulterated by any foreign additions,3 let us keep in view this general doctrine, that all the promises of God rest upon Christ alone as their support—a sentiment that is worthy of being kept in remembrance, and is one of the main articles of our faith. It depends, however, on another principle—that it is only in Christ that God the Father is propitious to us. Now the promises are testimonies of his fatherly kindness towards us. Hence it follows, that it is in him alone that they are fulfilled.
The promises, I say, are testimonies of Divine grace: for although God shows kindness even to the unworthy, (Luke 6:35,) yet when promises are given in addition to his acts of kindness, there is a special reason—that in them he declares himself to be a Father. Secondly, we are not qualified for enjoying the promises of God, unless we have received the remission of our sins, which we obtain through Christ. Thirdly, the promise, by which God adopts us to himself as his sons, holds the first place among them all. Now the cause and root of adoption is Christ; because God is not a Father to any that are not members and brethren of his only-begotten Son. Everything, however, flows out from this source—that, while we are without Christ, we are hated by God rather than favourably regarded, while at the same time God promises us everything that he does promise, because he loves us. Hence it is not to be wondered if Paul here teaches, that all the promises of God are ratified and confirmed in Christ.
It is asked, however, whether they were feeble or powerless, previously to Christ’s advent; for Paul seems to speak here of Christ as manifested in the flesh. (1 Tim. 3:16.) I answer, that all the promises that were given to believers from the beginning of the world were founded upon Christ. Hence Moses and the Prophets, in every instance in which they treat of reconciliation with God, of the hope of salvation, or of any other favour, make mention of him, and discourse at the same time respecting his coming and his kingdom. I say again, that the promises under the Old Testament were fulfilled to the pious, in so far as was advantageous for their welfare; and yet it is not less true, that they were in a manner suspended until the advent of Christ, through whom they obtained their true accomplishment. And in truth, believers themselves rested upon the promises in such a way, as at the same time to refer the true accomplishment of them to the appearing of the Mediator, and suspended their hope until that time. In fine, if any one considers what is the fruit of Christ’s death and resurrection, he will easily gather from this, in what respect the promises of God have been sealed and ratified in him, which would otherwise have had no sure accomplishment.
Wherefore, also, through him let there be Amen. Here also the Greek manuscripts do not agree, for some of them have it in one continued statement—As many promises of God as there are, are in him Yea, and in him Amen to the glory of God through us. The different reading, however, which I have followed, is easier, and contains a fuller meaning. For as he had said, that, in Christ, God has confirmed the truth of all his promises, so now he teaches us, that it is our duty to acquiesce in this ratification. This we do, when, resting upon Christ by a sure faith, we subscribe and set our seal that God is true, as we read in John 3:33, and that with a view to his glory, as this is the end to which everything should be referred. (Eph. 1:13, and Rom. 3:4.)
The other reading, I confess, is the more common one, but as it is somewhat meagre, I have not hesitated to prefer the one that contains the fuller meaning, and, besides, is much better suited to the context. For Paul reminds the Corinthians of their duty—to utter their Amen in return, after having been instructed in the simple truth of God. If, however, any one is reluctant to depart from the other reading, there must, in any case, be an exhortation deduced from it to a mutual agreement in doctrine and faith.
Ver. 20.—For all the promises of God in him are yea; rather, For so many as be the promises of God, in him is the yea. All the promises of God find in him their unchangeable fulfilment. He was “a minister to confirm the promises” alike to the Jews and the Gentiles (Rom. 15:8, 9); and “the promise of the eternal inheritance” can only be fulfilled in him (Heb. 9:15). And in him Amen. The true reading is, “Wherefore by him also is the Amen to God, uttered by us to his glory” (א, A, B, C, F, G, etc.). In Christ is the “yea” of immutable promise and absolute fulfilment; the Church utters the “Amen” of perfect faith and grateful adoration. Here, as in 1 Cor. 14:16, we have a proof of the ancientness of the custom by which the congregation utters the “Amen” at the end of praise and prayer. But as the “yea” is in Christ, so it is only through him that we can receive the grace to utter aright the “Amen” to the glory of God.
1:20 / In verse 20a Paul explains (For, gar) why his message of Jesus Christ as Son of God was unequivocally confirmed to the Corinthians. Just as in verse 18 the faithfulness of God substantiates the veracity of Paul’s general apostolic “word” (including statements about his travel plans), so also here divine promises substantiate Paul’s more specific apostolic message of the gospel.
As Paul has mentioned repeatedly and in various ways in the previous context, the Corinthians are sons of God and thus brothers with Paul (cf. vv. 1, 2, 3). Hence, when Paul refers here to the “promises” that have already been confirmed to the Corinthians, he may have in view particularly the divine adoption of sons (cf. 2 Cor. 6:18, quoting 2 Sam. 7:14) that the Corinthians enjoy in Christ, the messianic Son of God promised beforehand through the ot prophets (Rom. 1:2–4). The only other use of the term in the letter comes at 2 Corinthians 7:1 and refers to an ot messianic adoption text (2 Sam. 7:14) as among the promises that Paul and the Corinthians already have. This does not, of course, exclude other promises from resonating with the text, especially since divine adoptive sonship includes Abrahamic heirship (cf. Gal. 3:26, 29; 4:1–7; Rom. 8:15, 17). Paul’s message of Jesus Christ as Son of God was unequivocally confirmed to the Corinthians, for the latter participate in the sonship of the Son of God, in whom the promises are affirmed by their fulfillment (“Yes”).
In verse 20b Paul draws an inference (And so, dio kai) from the fact that in Christ the Corinthians participate in the promises through Paul’s preaching. Whatever this line may mean in particular, it seems clear that Paul portrays himself as a revelatory mediator. Amen is a transliteration of a Hebrew word that serves to confirm what has been said before. The Corinthians were familiar with this use of Amen (cf. 1 Cor. 14:16). Here, the Amen is spoken by Christ (through him) in that the promises spoken beforehand are fulfilled in him. That affirmation is, in turn, communicated by Paul (by us) to others, including the Corinthians. All of this has a doxological purpose (to the glory of God).
20 A further amplification of the statement that “God is faithful” (v. 18)—and by implication that Paul also is faithful—is now given. The divine fidelity is demonstrated in “the Son of God … preached” as the fulfillment of promises made under the old covenant. “No matter how many33 promises God has made,” in particular to Abraham, thereby establishing a pattern of prophetic promise that became the characteristic of the old covenant, “they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.”
Few OT passages sum up God’s faithfulness to his word so clearly as
God is not a man, that he should lie,
nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill? (Num 23:19)
In Paul’s brief statement set out in v. 19 he allows us to see the panorama of God’s eschatological purposes expressed first as his word of promise and then by his “Yes” as the Son of God proclaimed by the apostles. Not only do the Corinthians need to be reminded that Paul is, like the God he serves, faithful to his promises, but sections of the Corinthian church need to return to the pathway of God’s now-revealed eschatological purpose from which in recent days they have strayed (“you bear with … someone who preaches another Jesus”).
The prepositional phrases “in him” and “through him” point to the significance of Christ to the apostle Paul. Christ is the fulfillment of all the promises of God made under the old covenant, and thus of that covenant in its entirety; no promise remains unfulfilled. “In him” God has spoken his “Yes.” His fulfillment is absolute, dimming whatever glory there had been in the old covenant (3:10). Those who are “toward” him have the Spirit (vv. 21–22); those who are “in him” have “become the righteousness of God” (5:21), and are “the new creation” (5:17). Now that God has pronounced his affirmation in Christ incarnate and exalted there can be no going back to the covenant that promised him, as the peddlers seek to do (3:7–11).
If Christ is God’s “Yes,” he is the church’s “Amen,” since “through him” the church prays to and praises God. Again we see a connection between the church’s praise of God and apostolic proclamation (see on v. 3). The words of the church’s worship echo back to God that gospel word through which the church has its existence. Speaking for God and from God the apostle proclaimed the Son of God (cf. 2:12, 19; 4:5; 5:19–20; 6:1, 7; 11:7; 12:19), God’s great “Yes”; the messianic assembly, gathered by that word, answers with its “Amen,” to the glory of God38 through Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor 14:16). Both from God’s side and ours everything is centered on Jesus Christ; for this reason the prepositions in and through are important. God has kept his promises in Christ and we say the “Amen” to God through Jesus Christ.
Each of the extant letters to the Corinthians contains an echo of Paul’s mission preaching in Corinth in c. a.d. 50. It is significant that in both cases the message of Jesus Christ is seen to be in fulfillment of the OT scriptures/promises. In the former letter, Paul repeats a received tradition that he handed on to the Corinthians, that Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, that he was raised the third day, and that he appeared alive on a number of occasions (1 Cor 15:3–8). In the latter, the proclamation was the Son of God, Jesus Christ. That Paul can remind the readers of two versions of apostolic preaching should caution us that the message had more facets to it than some simple reconstructions suggest.
In short, Paul has argued in vv. 18–20 that as God is faithful, so, too, is Paul’s “word.” His personal “word” is subsumed within his kerygmatic “word.” God’s faithfulness is to be seen (1) in the Son of God preached in Corinth as God’s unambiguous, unretracted, and now-eternal “Yes,” and (2) in the fact of all the promises of God having been kept in the Son of God, as proclaimed by the apostles. Likewise “faithful” is the “word” of Paul, the minister of the God who speaks unambiguously (cf. 1:13) and who keeps his promises. Their very existence is predicated on it.
 Easley, K. H. (2017). 2 Corinthians. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1841). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
“. . .he Himself has shared fully in all our experience of temptation, except that He never sinned.”
The next time your world goes from calm to chaos—ponder this: Jesus knows how you feel. His eyes have grown weary. His heart has grown heavy. He knows how you feel. You’re no doubt convinced Jesus is acquainted with sorrow and has wrestled with fear. Most people accept that. But can God relate to the hassles and headaches of your life? For some reason this is harder to believe.
Listen to Hebrews 4:15, “. . .he Himself has shared fully in all our experience of temptation, except that He never sinned.” The writer of Hebrews anticipates our objections. “God, it’s easy for you up there. You don’t know how hard it is from down here.” Listen again. He has shared fully. Not nearly. Not to a large degree, but entirely! In all our experience, in every hurt and every ache. Why? So that when you hurt, you’ll go to Him–who knows how you feel!
By Max Lucado Used by permission From: In the Eye of the Storm
Allow the Lord an opportunity to become your hiding place today.
“You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!” Psalm 32:7 (AMP)
Remember as a child having that one place you could hide and feel secure when you were afraid? It may have been under the bed, or in the closet. Wherever it was, you knew without a shadow of a doubt all would be well if you could just get there.
That is what worship, experiencing the presence of God, has become for me: a hiding place. As fear rears its ugly head I know that His presence is the one place I can run. While there, He comforts and reassures me that I am safe.
There is nothing more soothing than knowing the love of our Heavenly Father. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. Granted, there may be times we feel as though He has neglected us, but He is always there. His Word is filled with precious promises to assure us of that fact. Here is another gentle reminder from Psalm 27:5, ”For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; in the secret place of His tent will He hide me.”
Allow the Lord an opportunity to become your hiding place today. Whisper a prayer, read about His promises in the book of Psalms, or listen to songs of praise that glorify God and His ability to work on your behalf. Allow Him an opportunity to reassure you and provide the answers you need. Most of all, allow His love to overshadow you.
Father, wrap us in your arms today, and hide us as the storms of life rage round about us. Reassure us that we are the apples of your eye and that you will never leave us nor forsake us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
When you are feeling frenzied today, before running to others for answers and comfort, consult the Lord.
How has the Lord revealed Himself to you as a place of shelter in your daily life?
Imagine the sudden confusion that must have followed upon Pharaoh’s surrender, his cry of “Get you forth.” Then to all the awful tumult of that night of death, was added the tumult of departing Israel. “And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. “And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.” Therefore it is that their descendants still eat unleavened bread at the time of the “passover” feast of commemoration. The artist has tried to suggest to us in his picture all the confusion, the wailing in one place, the bustle in another. Even a dog lies stricken, and, as one biblical passage specially reminds us, “the captive that was in the dungeon.” Pharaoh, in the center, cries out in despair to Moses and Aaron, while those two alone stand firm amid the uproar, Aaron pointing up toward God, and Moses leaning on his staff, ready, as he had bidden his people be, for the departure.
There are all kinds of stories about the Christmas truce of 1914 during the First World War—so many that some people believe it is only a bit of wishful thinking that keeps the legend alive. Yet letters and other eyewitness accounts bear out the fact that, for a moment, human goodness won the day.
Here’s what we do know—starting on Christmas Eve, many German and British troops stationed along the western front sang Christmas carols to each other across the lines. On Christmas morning, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allies calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. The men exchanged presents such as cigarettes and rations. There are even stories of a football game breaking out.
Along with their quiet celebration, soldiers from both sides used the cease-fire to gather the bodies of their brothers who had fallen in the no-man’s-land between enemy lines.
THE BIRTH OF ADORATION
St. Francis is credited with creating the first living Nativity in 1223.
THE SWEET STORY
Tradition holds that around 1670, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral was frustrated by fidgety kids at the living Nativity. He made some white sugar-candy sticks—curved like shepherds’ staffs in honor of the shepherds at the stable—to keep the youngsters quiet.
CANDY CANES: WHITE FLOWER FARMHOUSE
KING SINGING: DAVE DONALDSON / ALAMY
THE POETRY OF CAROLS
Most of the “traditional” carols we sing today were not sung in church until the second half of the nineteenth century. In fact, many didn’t start out as songs at all. Isaac Watts wrote the words for “Joy to the World” in 1719, but it wasn’t set to music until Lowell Mason did so in 1839, possibly lifting pieces of the melody from Handel.
Charles Wesley wrote the words that would become “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” as a poem in 1739. In 1840, Felix Mendelssohn wrote a tune later adapted by William H. Cummings to fit Wesley’s words.
SALVATION ARMY KETTLE 1906: MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK / THE ART ARCHIVE AT ART RESOURCE, NY
RING THOSE BELLS
One of the first signs of the season is the arrival of the Salvation Army kettles that greet shoppers in big cities and small towns alike. Salvation Army captain Joseph McFee began the tradition in December 1891, hoping to fund a free Christmas dinner for San Francisco’s poor. He secured permission to place a pot at the Oakland ferry landing. Its success encouraged other local Salvation Army corps to do the same, and, by 1895, 30 corps on the West Coast were using the kettles to raise funds. Today, corps around the world solicit donations using the familiar red kettles, raising about one-third of the money the Salvation Army uses to aid more than 4,500,000 people a year.
Quake Swarms In Japan Raise Fears “The Next Big One Will Happen This Month” The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports that experts and government agencies have asked the public to remain calm. They said multiple earthquake swarms near Mount Fuji and the Tokara Islands do not suggest an impending disaster like the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Attempts to keep the public calm are not working as planned. Asahi newspaper alerted readers that “the frequency of tremors indicates that a megaquake could occur in the near future” and warning of “impending doom.”
Biden denies Israel military assistance against Iran Washington has denied an Israeli request to fast-track the shipment of two tanker aircraft that Israel ordered, as plans for a potential military strike against Iran should their nuclear plan move ahead, Ynet reported on Monday.
China Creates “Humanized Pigs” To Be Used In COVID Research Beijing has apparently found a new project for its best gene scientists: the country’s largest research institution has reportedly developed mutant “humanoid pigs” that are susceptible to the human strain of the coronavirus using the world’s premier gene editing technology. Once developed, the pigs will be used as test subjects as scientists test new remedies being developed to fight COVID. Though on this the Global Times, one of Beijing’s many state-controlled newspapers, didn’t go into much detail.
CDC: Roughly 75% of omicron cases are in fully vaccinated people The Omicron variant has been detected in at least 19 states in the U.S., and is striking mainly fully vaccinated people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Preliminary data from South Africa meanwhile show that people who have previously had COVID-19 have more protection against the Omicron variant than those who have been vaccinated, the UK Telegraph reported.
Huge 6.6 magnitude earthquake strikes near an Australian island An island between Australia and Antarctica has been rocked by a 6.6 magnitude earthquake. A tremor 10km below ground was recorded west of Macquarie Island in the South Pacific Ocean just before 7pm on Sunday. The Bureau of Meteorology said there was no tsunami threat to Australia.
China’s moon rover spots a mysterious cube-shaped object, and the internet is intrigued We have an update from Yutu-2 on the lunar far side, including an image of a cubic shape on the northern horizon ~80m away from the rover in Von Kármán crater. China officials are intrigued by the object, and Yutu 2 will be traversing through the region and avoiding craters to get closer to it. It will take the rover two to three lunar days, or up to three months, to approach the object.
Inflation Surges to 40-Year High The annual inflation rate last month reached its highest level in nearly 40 years, according to Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report. In November, prices were 6.8 percent higher than they were the year prior, according to the report. That price jump marks the highest 12-month rate of inflation since 1982. Much of the inflation is concentrated in the energy sector, where the price of gasoline is up nearly 60 percent, the highest annual increase in 41 years. Food prices have also risen significantly, particularly beef, which is 20 percent more expensive than it was a year ago.
Massive explosions in Palestinian camp in Lebanon: Hamas blames COVID Several large explosions rocked the Burj al-Shemali Palestinian camp in the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre on Friday, causing a number of casualties. The camp, located about three kilometers east of Tyre and 86 kilometers south of Beirut, is a suspected Hamas weapons depot.
Archaeologists discover second ancient synagogue on the shores of Sea of Galilee The historic synagogue was discovered in 2009 during a salvage dig conducted by Dr. Dina Avshalom-Gorni of the Israel Antiquities Authority at the location of a new hotel at Migdal Beach, the site of ancient Magdala, a fishing town that was mentioned in Jewish documents of the period as a major site during the first Jewish–Roman War …
Elon Musk declares greatest danger to mankind: anti-Bible zero population growth Billionaire genius Elon Musk is pursuing his dream of populating Mars but in a recent statement, he made it clear that his efforts are not due to a fear of the Earth becoming overcrowded. “There are not enough people. I can’t emphasize this enough. There are not enough people. I think one of the biggest risks to civilization is the low birth rate and the rapidly declining birthrate,” Musk said … the numbers support Musk’s assertion.
At least 30 tornadoes reported across 6 states, dozens dead Tornadoes and severe weather were blamed for several deaths and injuries across parts of the Midwest and the South as a storm system caused significant damage at a candle factory in Kentucky, an Amazon facility in Illinois, a nursing home in Arkansas, and numerous homes and buildings.
NEA Board Member Suggests Unvaccinated with Religious Exemptions Deserve to Die A member of the board of directors of the National Education Association (NEA) posted a message to Facebook that denounced unvaccinated individuals who claim religious exemptions and asserted they deserved to die, according to the Libs of Tik Tok social media account, which shared a screenshot of the post on Tuesday.
Israeli Health Ministry vaccination advisory committee member and deputy chief of Israel’s biggest hospital Professor Arnon Afek is telling the public to prepare not only to take their fourth “booster” shot but also their fifth, sixth and seventh.
Oakland City Council Approves Two New Police Academies as Homicides Surge The Oakland, California, City Council listened to dozens of residents and then voted Tuesday to approve two new police academies and hire a professional recruiter to attract experienced officers. The development is taking place on the heels of a nationwide defund police movement and as crime is surging in the city.
Gun Sales ON THE RISE Gun sales are on the rise across the U.S. with some experts predicting that gun reform policies championed by the biden administration, mistrust in the Government, as well as the continuing uncertainty around the planedemic, will keep gun sales high.
“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” —Joseph Story (1833)
Democrats never miss an opportunity to generate fear needing their “solutions.”
Friday night’s outbreak of deadly tornadoes in the middle of December was tragic. Multiple tornadoes hit Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, and Kentucky, killing people in each state. One tornado-producing storm cut a path of more than 200 miles across four of those states and could qualify as the longest single tornado tracked in U.S. history. Dozens were killed, though the final toll is not yet known.
This tornado outbreak was more deadly primarily because it struck at night. But big targets also added to the death toll, and authorities are still digging through rubble looking for survivors. The large tornado leveled a candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, where more than 100 workers were on night shift, while another tornado ripped through the St. Louis suburb of Edwardsville, Illinois, destroying an Amazon warehouse.
Death and destruction are bad enough without politicizing such things, but leftists routinely cross that line. Blaming these tornadoes on climate change while chastising “deniers” certainly qualifies, and it’s getting about as routine as tornadoes themselves.
In his remarks Saturday, Joe Biden didn’t get into climate until he was prompted by the very first media question: “Mr. President, does this say anything to you about climate change? Is this — or do you conclude that these storms and the intensity has to do with climate change?”
Biden tried to sound measured, but the implication was clear. “The intensity of the weather across the board has some impact as a consequence of the warming of the planet and the climate change,” he said. Biden declined to explicitly blame climate for this tornado outbreak, though he did say, “I’m going to be asking the EPA and others to take a look at that.” Gee, we wonder what conclusion the EPA will reach.
Others in his administration were more assertive: “This is going to be our new normal,” declared Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell. “The effects we are seeing of climate change are the crisis of our generation.”
Leftmedia outlets also added climate questions to coverage of the storms, but the funny thing is that most of them involve saying things like tying climate to storms is “complicated.” For example, ABC says, “Scientists are still trying to sort out the many conflicting factors about whether human-caused climate change is making tornadoes more common — or even more intense.” NBC adds that “meteorologists and climate scientists cannot yet say that tornado frequency is increasing globally due to climate change.”
That ambiguity is, nevertheless, seized upon by everyone on the Left to declare that climate change is affecting storms.
The earth’s climate has changed as long as there has been an earth, and it’s certainly possible that changing climate changes storms.
The problem is that, for Democrats and their allies in the media, just saying the words “climate change” necessarily implies that heavy-handed government response is needed. Biden and congressional Democrats are busy trying to cram through their way-more-expensive-than-advertised Build Back Better scheme, a big part of which is programs derived from the insanely expensive and intrusive Green New Deal. The climate “crisis” is all the justification they need.
Contrary to the pronouncements from the tyrants who use “science” to mandate whatever their preferred policy already was, the science isn’t settled (except that there are only two biological sexes). Even more importantly, science doesn’t dictate anything about the right policy prescription. That’s why Liberty and limited government should be the default.
Republicans get the CBO to expose Democrat accounting gimmicks in Biden’s socialist boondoggle.
Ronald Reagan loved borrowing a famous quip from economist Milton Friedman: “Nothing is more permanent than a ‘temporary’ government program.” Clearly, Republican senators haven’t forgotten this lesson, and they’re playing it smart in their efforts to prevent Joe Biden and the Democrats from saddling America with a massive socialist boondoggle.
The Congressional Budget Office just released its latest (and more realistic) report on Biden’s supposedly $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill. Republicans had specifically requested that the CBO review the cost of BBB if programs supposedly delineated for sunset were in fact (as Democrats intend) continued indefinitely.
After factoring in the Republicans’ request to remove all the Democrats’ timeline gimmicks, the CBO concluded that BBB would add nearly $3 trillion to the national debt over a decade — nearly 10 times the $367 billion that the CBO initially calculated.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who called for the CBO review, blasted Democrats with the new number. “They put a sunset on the program[s] to lower the cost. It’s a budget gimmick,” he said. “It’s going to be a death blow to our economy.”
Last month, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), another of the Republicans asking for a CBO review, likewise stated the obvious: “I am concerned that the CBO score of [BBB] is artificially low because of a number of timing gimmicks. Specifically, the legislation includes a number of arbitrary sunsets and expirations of several expensive programs, which disguise the true cost of making these policies permanent.”
The biggest example of this gimmick at play is the expanded child tax credit, which, according to the BBB legislation, would sunset after just one year. In reality, everyone knows Democrats clearly intend for this expansion to become a permanent fixture. So, instead of costing “just” $185 billion, the true expense would be (at least) $1.597 trillion over 10 years.
“The last thing I’m going to do is add more burdens to working families in South Carolina,” Graham said, laying into the Democrats further. “And here’s my message to the Democratic Party: Quit lying about this bill. They should revote it in the House. We need to stop Build Back Better before it destroys this country.” He then challenged his Democrat colleagues: “There is not a plan to pay for it. If there is, I missed it, so give it to me. Give it to the American people before we vote in the Senate. Show me how you pay for this bill.”
Remember, Joe Biden insisted it was so fully paid for that it would really cost “zero dollars.”
At least one Democrat senator continues to be a stick in the mud over the cost of BBB — West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. He again called out the Democrats’ smoke and mirrors: “One goes for three years, one goes for one year … one might go for the full 10 years. Do they not intend for those programs to last the full 10 years? Well, if you don’t intend for that to happen, what’s the real cost? Because we’re either going to debt-finance it if we’re not going to pay for it or come back and change the tax code again.”
Indeed, this latest CBO report vindicates Manchin’s reluctance to accept his colleagues’ absurd claims, primarily because yet another massive spending bill will only make rampant inflation even worse. The new score may also serve to pull Democrats like Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly to Manchin’s side. At a minimum, this latest CBO report effectively keeps Biden and the Democrats on the defensive over the cost of BBB.
A senior producer for the network has been indicted on some truly sickening federal charges.
There’s a human tendency to tune out bad behavior when it seems to be part of a recurring pattern. We become inured to it, desensitized to it. By now, this seems to be the case with CNN, which once called itself The Most Trusted Name in News™. Lately, the once-proud network has been beset by a disturbing drumbeat of sexual deviancy — so much so that we can’t keep track of it.
Just over two months ago, for example, we reported on the various perversions of some of the network’s most popular on-air talent: anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. We also suggested that perhaps CNN’s sexual deviancy was limited to those narcissists in front of the camera rather than the regular folks behind it.
We were wrong.
When news broke that John Griffin, a senior producer for CNN’s flagship morning program “New Day,” had been indicted on federal charges of coercing parents to allow their minor daughters to engage in sexual activity in his home, we realized that there must be something in the water there; that CNN’s creepiness was closer to the rule than the exception; that for every perverted on-air cockroach we see, there are dozens more cockroaches hiding off set and elsewhere around the newsroom.
Up to this point, we’d be lying if we said we’ve taken no pleasure in reporting on CNN’s ongoing sexual saga. We have taken pleasure in it — journalistic pleasure, mind you. But the charges that John Griffin is facing have wiped the smile from our face. If they’re even remotely true, this is one sick dude.
Read the next two paragraphs at your own risk.
As Fox News reports: “According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Vermont, the 44-year-old CNN staffer ‘attempted to entice two other children over the internet to engage in sexual activity’ and in April 2020, he ‘proposed to engage in a “virtual training session” over a video chat that would include him instructing the mother and her 14-year-old daughter to remove their clothing and touch each other at his direction.’“ It gets worse:
“According to the indictment, from April to July of 2020, Griffin utilized the messaging applications Kik and Google Hangouts to communicate with people purporting to be parents of minor daughters, conveying to them, among other ideas, that a ‘woman is a woman regardless of her age,’ and that women should be sexually subservient and inferior to men,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Vermont wrote in a statement. “On these communication platforms, Griffin sought to persuade parents to allow him to train their daughters to be sexually submissive. In June of 2020, Griffin advised a mother of 9- and 13-year-old daughters that the mother’s responsibility was to see that her older daughter was ‘trained properly.’”
To its credit, CNN reported on this story, too, noting that Griffin allegedly kept an online profile on a “BDSM [bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism] dating, Fetish, and Kink Site” for several years leading up to July 2020, on which he allegedly wrote he was looking for women who were “sexually ‘submissive’ and ‘open-minded.’”
Of course, given the sheer awfulness of the story, perhaps CNN simply made a calculation that it might as well drive much-needed traffic to its own website.
“The charges against Mr. Griffin are deeply disturbing,” a CNN spokesperson said Saturday. “We only learned of his arrest yesterday afternoon and have suspended him pending investigation.”
Of far more consequence to Griffin, though, is the statement from the FBI, which reads in part: “The allegations are deeply disturbing, and our office is committed to working with our partners at the United States Attorney’s Office District of Vermont to ensure Mr. Griffin is held accountable for his actions. The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to aggressively investigate those who victimize the most vulnerable in our communities.”
It’s a sick and disturbing story, to say the least. This guy worked at CNN for eight years, though. So we can’t help but wonder: What did his colleagues know, and when did they know it? And how much money did CNN have to pay Fox News’s Chris Wallace to come join this cesspool?
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A person carrying large sums of money is at risk of it being taken away by the government.
Asset forfeiture is an issue that needs to be addressed. This particular civil seizure of property is a form of robbery in need of serious reform.
Civil asset forfeiture is when the government or police seize property or cash if they suspect they’re being used for a crime. However, their victims are not necessarily behaving criminally as was the case last week.
A young woman was traveling from Chicago and had a layover in Dallas Love Field Airport. Her checked bag containing two blankets and $100,000 in cash were discovered by a K-9 unit. Her money was seized by the police, and now this woman has to jump through legal hoops to get it back.
It is not illegal to transport large amounts of cash. Yet the onus is on her to hire an attorney, take her case to court, and prove that she was not doing anything criminal with the money.
This is typically more trouble than it’s worth. If she is unable to prove her case, she is out even more money in legal fees.
Another person — a gentleman by the name of Jerry Johnson from North Carolina — recently suffered this same miscarriage of justice. Johnson wanted a third truck for his business, so he flew to Phoenix with $40,000 in cash with the purpose of buying a truck at auction. You guessed it — his money was confiscated when he landed at the airport. He claims he was coerced into signing a waiver for the civil asset forfeiture or face charges and arrest. He is a small business owner, and $40,000 and no third truck is a big financial hit. He is still in a legal battle to get his money back.
Cities, though, are relatively small players in this scheme. The U.S. government seizes assets routinely, taking in millions of dollars.
Asset forfeiture is unconstitutional. There is no due process to this type of seizure, which is a violation of the Fourth Amendment and runs against the very pillar of presumed innocence that undergirds our criminal justice system. This practice has been around for a long time and, frankly, there is not much bipartisan incentive to forestall it — though there are a lot of bipartisan voters who would love to see it on the ash heap of history.
Anti-religious bigots like Mikey Weinstein, that’s who. He’s vilifying a time-honored tradition.
According to the narrative of the woke Left, graves of the U.S. Armed Services national cemeteries will be desecrated this week by none other than the nonprofit Wreaths Across America (WAA), whose mission is to “Remember. Honor. Teach.”
If you are among the thousands expected to volunteer on December 18 during National Wreaths Across America Day, you’ll be the target of comments by Mikey Weinstein, the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). Weinstein declared the placement of the wreaths as “a sectarian religious symbol amounting to desecration.” In fact, he explained, “It’s almost like a fundamentalist Christian gang sign to put a symbol of the Christian season of Christmas on any grave.”
Desecration of a grave is a criminal offense, but the real offense these days is triggering disgruntled groups by showing patriotic unity through decent civic acts.
The actual crime of the WAA is offending a group that doesn’t like patriotic respect of the military and would never tolerate any faith other than its own. Meanwhile, Wreaths Across America, a 501(c)(3) that has no affiliation with any religion or religious group, responded to explain that the display of these evergreen garlands at the headstones of servicemen and women are “not decorating graves but honoring American heroes.”
The MRFF founder, described as a Jewish agnostic, has a successful record of not just ensuring the absence of proselytizing within the military but also of writing opinions that demonstrate a particularly familiar tone. “Trump Inauguration Looms, Bigots, Racists, And Dominionist Christians Rejoice” and “Of Trump, Transgenders, and Toilet Paper” are headlines of articles Weinstein published in far-left publications. The MRFF also published an article in another rag entitled, “New Doozy of a Trumpy Critical-Race-Theory-Obsessed Group Sets Sights on Polluting the Military.”
We shouldn’t be surprised by Weinstein’s outrageous statements and anti-religious bigotry. We live in a world where the National School Boards Association can send letters to the U.S. attorney general claiming that its members had been victims of “malice, violence and threats” that “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” This letter, written to tattle on concerned parents against teaching racism and bullying, offended those who have approved of teaching divisive systemic racism. In 2021, offending someone is a crime. We also live in a world and time where social justice smash-and-grab shoplifting is practically a protected act, the release of violent or repeat criminals bail- and bond-free is standard, and allowing protesters to loot and burn down entire city blocks and neighborhoods goes without prosecution.
Though the offended allege it a crime, thousands will bravely volunteer this weekend to participate in a time-honored demonstration of respect and honor by visiting the graves of American servicemen and women buried in America’s national cemeteries. As we put in place each “wreath in honor of or in memory of an American hero,” as the WAA website remarks, we will appreciate the freedoms that uniquely exist in America. And we’ll stand against the power-hungry intolerants, believing themselves to be wildly diverse and woke, who aim to destroy those freedoms.
If you serve as a Wreaths Across America volunteer, thanks for showing your devotion to Liberty over the tyranny to silence and criminalize patriotism.
Rachael Rollins is the latest in a series of soft-on-crime Soros-picked prosecutors trying to ruin our system of criminal justice.
Joe Biden has made some awful mistakes while in office, but this one is right up there.
If former Suffolk County prosecutor Rachael Rollins isn’t a straight-up racist, then she’s having a hard time demonstrating otherwise. And if you think it’s a good thing that she’s no longer in a position as consequential as the prosecutor of the county that includes Boston, think again. Thanks to Joe Biden, she’s your brand-new U.S. attorney for the state of Massachusetts.
How did this happen? Ask Kamala Harris. Last Wednesday, not a single one of the 50 Republican senators voted to confirm Rollins, so the vice president came in and broke a 50-50 tie. Normally, a president is given a degree of deference where his judicial appointees are concerned, but it’s clear that this one was different. As Boston’s WBUR reports:
The vote came Wednesday despite vocal opposition from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who urged his colleagues to deny Rollins’ nomination because of progressive policies she implemented as a district attorney. One of the hallmarks of her tenure in the role was not prosecuting some low-level crimes, in order to involve less people in the criminal justice system and divert resources to focus on serious crimes.
“This soft on crime advocacy should have earned the nominee a pink slip. Instead President Biden is giving her a promotion. I would urge all senators to vote no,” McConnell said. “Law abiding Americans don’t want prosecutors who refuse to prosecute. They don’t want city jails equipped with revolving doors and they need leaders who will defend the rule of law.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the Republicans made nearly enough of a ruckus. Rollins is yet another one of those hard-left Soros prosecutors — like Kim Foxx in Chicago, Kim Gardner in St. Louis, Larry Krasner in Philadelphia, Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, and George Gascón in Los Angeles — who’ve used campaign funding from anti-American socialist billionaire George Soros to win election as district attorneys and thereby pursue their “social justice” political activism with the power of law behind them. The Daily Signal reports that Soros has spent more than $17 million on campaigns such as these. And if anarchy is the desired result, he’s getting his money’s worth.
It’s called “reimagining prosecution,” and its proponents mean to reverse-engineer our criminal justice system. How does it work? As district attorney, Rollins issued a 65-page policy memo in which she said: “We start with a presumption that, in most cases, these charges don’t need to be prosecuted. Dismissal, diversion, treatment, and services are much more often the appropriate outcomes.”
What kinds of cases is Rollins talking about? Try trespassing, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, receiving stolen property, minor motor vehicle offenses, breaking and entering a vacant property for the purpose of sleeping or seeking refuge, threats excluding domestic violence, minor possession of alcohol, drug possession, and resisting arrest in cases when the resistance is the only charge — this according to The Heritage Foundation.
As for the racism we mentioned, Rollins has a history of using skin color to bolster her arguments. Here’s how Rollins once scolded the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California during a panel discussion in which he had the temerity to suggest that prosecutors ought to, well, enforce the law: “I will say, as one of less than 1% of actual people with melanin that are in this role … I really don’t have much time for more white men telling me what communities of color need.”
Want more? Here’s how she dismissed the violence of last year’s Black Lives Matter riots: “It is completely ironic to have to say to you, ‘Please don’t be violent. Please keep your voice down. Please be silent and comply with all of the police’s requirements,’ when in fact it’s those very people that murder us with impunity.”
It’s not an over-reaction to suggest that we don’t want prosecutors at any level who are this obsessed with race. And, actually, the “us” she uses here is rather ironic, too, because Rollins herself is mixed race — she’s half black and half white. But it’s clearly more politically expedient for her to identify as all black.
Elections have consequences, and that’s certainly true of a Senate that’s no longer controlled by Republicans. When you lose two Georgia Senate seats, you end up with a racist, Kristen Clarke, to lead the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and you end up with a racist, Rachael Rollins, to enforce federal law across the state of Massachusetts.
Insight: “Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.” —Michael Crichton (1942-2008)
Belly laugh of the week: “I … confess that I’m a bit curious to learn if I am correct in thinking that Heaven will look a lot like Kansas. And to see, like others who have gone before me, if I will still be able to vote in Chicago.” —Bob Dole’s farewell letter
“What’s happened here over the last 20 years, since China was admitted to the World Trade Organization, is our economy and many of our most important companies have become heavily dependent on China. … We have American investors and we have people in this country who invest in companies that are building weapons designed to kill American soldiers in the future. And they do not care, because when forced to choose between billions more dollars in profits from China or the well-being of the country they live in and supposedly call ‘home,’ they choose the profits. And that’s incredibly damaging. And I think the Chinese played it that way. They understood that it’s a vulnerability and they continue to exploit it.” —Senator Marco Rubio
A blind squirrel finds a nut: “The NBA is up to its neck in China. China is a huge sports market. Basketball is especially popular there. But they will put up with not even the slightest criticism. … By the way, a lot of Nike’s goods that benefit the likes of Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James is made in China. And those outspoken individuals … are conspicuously mum when it comes to China, and no matter what the issues are here, and they are serious issues, they pale alongside what’s going on there.” —sports broadcaster Bob Costas
Good riddance: “The darkness on the edge of town has spread to the main roads and highways and neighborhoods. It’s now at the local bar, and the bowling alley, at the school board, and the grocery store. And it must be acknowledged and answered for. Grown men and women who swore an oath to our Constitution, elected by their constituents possessing the kinds of college degrees I could only dream of, have decided to join the mob and become something they are not while hoping we somehow forget who they were. They’ve decided to burn it all down — with us inside. That should scare you to no end as much as it scares an aging volunteer fireman.” —Brian Williams in his his final episode of MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour”
Grand delusions: “To me we have the strongest economy perhaps I have ever seen.” —CNBC’s Jim Cramer
Race bait: “Bitcoin surge was a windfall for white supremacists, research finds.” —NBC News
And last… “If ‘temporary’ provisions in the Build Back Better Act become permanent, US national debt will increase by 24%! There is a lot of accounting trickery in this bill that isn’t being disclosed to the public. Nothing is more permanent than a ‘temporary’ government program.” —Elon Musk
This Tuesday, Dec. 14, marks a big date in America’s history. It was on that the day in 1799 that our first president and the commander in chief of the Continental Army departed to Heaven.
Unfortunately, America’s founders are being overlooked, distorted and trashed among public academia, so too few students are learning about the real person, power and place Washington had in our history. There’s no way we would have our republic without him.
Washington’s contributions were many, to say the least, but let me summarize just a few.
In 1752, at 20 years of age, Washington joined the British army and served as a lieutenant in the French and Indian War. History.com explained, “After the war’s fighting moved elsewhere, he resigned from his military post, returned to a planter’s life, and took a seat in Virginia’s House of Burgesses.”
In 1759, Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, a wealthy widow, and adopted her two children (she had two other children, but they had passed).
In 1775, at 43 years old, Washington became the commander in chief of the Continental Army and, in 1783, led America to victory over the British after eight years of war.
As far as his political career, Washington served as a member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia from 1759–1774. He was also a member of the first and second Continental Congresses in 1774 and 1775. But while others were signing the Declaration of Independence, Washington was already on the battlefield fighting for independence. As the president of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, however, Washington was the first signer of the U.S. Constitution.
In 1789, Washington became the first president of the United States of America. He was unanimously elected by the 69 presidential electors to serve his first term from 1789 to 1793. He was then again unanimously elected for his second term from 1793 to 1797. He declined a third term.
What’s little known about George Washington is just how sincere his Christian faith and service were. Encyclopedias and internet sites, however, say virtually nothing about it. If comments are made, they are few and most relegate Washington to a deist, one who believed in a generic Divine Watchmaker who created the world then stepped back for it to take its natural course.
But the truth is there’s much more to his faith and practice than most know. In the midst of his military and political careers, he led a devoted Christian life through his service and attendance at five different churches, depending upon where he was at the time in the Colonies and the war.
If anyone knows about the real faith and practice of George Washington, it is the historians at his now national park of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate. In the museum and educational center there, one particular video display, which plays on a continuous loop for visitors, highlights some great points about his religious life and belief.
Mount Vernon’s official website describes the video display as “shown on the wall above the reconstructed church pew in the ‘Gentleman Planter Gallery,’ where visitors learn about the role religion played in Washington’s life and his encouragement of religious expression.”
The short video presentation is flanked by displays of the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer on the walls right next to it. The footage explains the following, with the voice of an actor as George Washington every time quotations appear below. It opens with the words:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” [A quote from Washington’s farewell address as president]
Then there’s a slight pause with the words on the screen “George Washington and religion.” Then the narrator proceeds with the following paragraphs:
George Washington was raised in the Anglican Church, the official church of Virginia and the other southern colonies. As in other Virginian families of this period, he appears to have received his spiritual education from his mother using the family Bible and other religious works at the time.
He was a member and vestryman of Pohick Church and Christ’s Church in Virginia. When he married Martha Dandridge Custis in 1759, it was in a Christian ceremony. At Mt. Vernon, their family home, the couple was known to say grace at meal times, and they provided a religious education to Martha’s children and grandchildren.
As president, Washington acknowledged the presence of a Divine hand in the fate of the nation by promoting the celebration of a Day of Thanksgiving: “I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”
During the Revolutionary War, General Washington encouraged the religious convictions of his troops and asked the Continental Congress to support payment for clergymen of many faiths [or Christian denominations] to tend to the spiritual needs of the men. “While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious of violating the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the Judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this case are they answerable.”
Washington believed that political and religious freedom went hand-in-hand, and he encouraged the new republic to embrace religious tolerance: “[For you, doubtless, remember that I have often expressed my sentiment, that] every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.”
Washington tried to set an example by worshiping with different sects [mostly Christian denominations]: Presbyterian, Quakers, Roman Catholics, Methodists, Congregationalists and Baptists. In a famous letter to Touro Synagogue, he made it clear that religious tolerance in a new nation was not for Christians alone: “May the children of the stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants; while everyone shall sit [in safety] under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”
It is clear in Washington’s writings that he was a deeply spiritual man, with a strong belief that a benevolent power was acting in his life and in the founding of the United States: “Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”
Wow! Does all that sound like it could have come from a deist, who doesn’t believe God intervenes in the affairs of men? If only other presidents and government officials were as religiously devoted as Washington!
Though his leadership and placement in the Revolutionary War prompted sporadic attendance at times, one former pastor at his Pohick Church did state that “I never knew so constant an attendant at church as Washington.”
Dr. George Tsakiridis, Ph.D, professor of religion at South Dakota State University, wrote for Mount Vernon: “Washington is reported to have had regular private prayer sessions, and personal prayer was a large part of his life. One well-known report stated that Washington’s nephew witnessed him doing personal devotions with an open Bible while kneeling, in both the morning and evening.”
For Washington’s extensive use and quoting of the Bible, please see “Bible” by Dr. and Professor Daniel L. Dreisbach, D.Phil., J.D., at Mt. Vernon’s official website.
It’s no surprise that the Washingtons celebrated Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ.
Mount Vernon’s website describes: “Religion played a significant part in the observance of the holiday at Mount Vernon as the Washingtons frequently attended church on Christmas Day. In 1770, for example, Christmas fell on a Tuesday. After going to nearby Pohick Church in the morning, the family returned to Mount Vernon for dinner. Similar patterns were followed in 1771 and 1772, when Dec. 25 fell on a Wednesday and Friday. … [Christmas] was an important celebratory and religious event at the Mount Vernon Estate.”
I am certain those precious Christmas memories were a great and personal encouragement to Washington during the years he was away from Mount Vernon fighting the Revolutionary War, and especially was the case during the battle for Trenton and the bitter-cold Christmas at Valley Forge.
No man is perfect, and that included George Washington. He himself confessed: “We must take human nature as we find it. Perfection falls not to the share of mortals.” Remembering that was likely the key to his humility, service and mercy to others. Maybe his own struggle to receive the Eucharist (Communion) after the war when he attended the Anglican Church was born from his wrestling with his own humanity and possibly even the human toll that incurred when sending men into countless battles.
In 1797, after winning the Revolutionary War and serving two presidential terms in office, Washington finally retired to Mount Vernon at 65 years of age, but he would only enjoy his rest for two years.
On Dec. 14, 1799, George Washington died of a severe respiratory sickness. His beloved Martha died only three years later, on May 22, 1802. They were married for roughly 40 years. Just prior to her own death, Martha destroyed nearly all of Washington’s letters to her, though three did survive.
At first, the Washingtons were laid to rest in an inconspicuous unmarked brick tomb at Mount Vernon. But their final resting place is in a crypt there that bears the title of him whom refused to be king. The engraved words over the tomb make known the title by which people knew Washington best back then – not as president but general.
The inscription reads: “Within this enclosure rest the remains of Gen. George Washington.” And over the door of the inner tomb is inscribed these large words from Jesus Himself in the Gospel of John (11:25): “I am the Resurrection and the Life, sayeth the Lord. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”
Washington’s good friend Henry Lee probably summarized his life, leadership and legacy best in the eulogy for the father of the United States: “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
And so he remains, or should remain, always. God rest and bless his soul.
Former Vice President Al Gore references computer modeling to suggest that the north polar ice cap may lose virtually all of its ice within the next seven years. “Some of the models suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years,” said Gore.
In January 2006, Al Gore pushed the theory that “within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return” and “a true planetary emergency” due to global warming.
Of course, this turned out to be nothing more than a lunatic conspiracy.
Joe Biden this week said the deaths of our 13 servicemembers in Afghanistan were inevitable and falsely claimed no one advised him on how to withdraw the troops safely.
“Everybody says, ‘you could’ve gotten out without anybody being hurt.’ No ones come up with a way to indicate to me how that happens,” Biden said.
Joe Biden also falsely claimed he was against the war in Afghanistan from the beginning.
FACT CHECK: “Biden did not oppose the US invasion of Afghanistan. As a US senator from Delaware, he joined his Senate colleagues in a unanimous vote in support of the 2001 resolution that authorized the use of military force against “nations, organizations, or persons” President George W. Bush determined were behind the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.”
FACT CHECK: In September Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about Biden’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal.
Both McKenzie and Milley confirmed, under oath, that they recommended against Joe Biden’s withdrawal timeline and warned of impending collapse of the Afghan government.
Their statements contradict Joe Biden’s previous claims that no one told him at least 2,500 troops should stay in Afghanistan.
The only reason why Biden is allowed to make these false claim is because we don’t have a real media.
Biden also said he’s willing to lose his presidency over sticking by his botched Afghanistan withdrawal.
TONIGHT, HISTORIC LEVELS OF INFLATION: THE HIGHEST CONSUMER PRICE INDEX IN 40 YEARS; PRICES AT THEIR HIGHEST POINT SINCE THE PREVIOUS MONTH’S RECORD-SHATTERING HIGHS. AND THE NATION REMEMBERS BOB DOLE. PLUS, A MILITARY VACCINE MANDATE … …