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
We don’t possess the original New Testament papyrus scrolls. They deteriorate too quickly to have survived this long. So how do we know that the manuscripts we have now are accurate representations of the originals? Is it reasonable to believe that they have been corrupted and embellished to falsely say that Jesus rose from the dead?
Detective J. Warner Wallace joins Frank to answer those questions. He cites a technique that law enforcement uses to ensure that evidence from murder or any crime isn’t corrupted. It’s called the Chain of Custody. Is there a chain of custody that secures the evidence about the identity of Jesus from the time of the eyewitnesses all the way to the fourth century when manuscript evidence was more abundant? Listen to find out. This is fascinating!
An interval of peace succeeded to the civil wars of Abimelech; but gradually the Israelites again fell into idolatry and folly and weakness. In consequence, they again failed to maintain themselves against their surrounding enemies. Chief of their oppressors now were the Ammonites, the people of the highlands east of Jordan. These ravagers so desolated the land of the tribes along the Jordan, that the Israelites there were in utter despair. The three eastern tribes, Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, who were now known as Gileadites, had become widely separated from the tribes in Canaan. Their miseries touched their brethren but slightly, and they were left to their own defense. The fair Jordan valley became almost a wilderness.
Even Gilead, the chief of all the Gileadites, could not support his family in comfort. Hence his sons turned upon one of their number, Jephthah; and, because he was but an illegitimate son, they drove him out from among them. “Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land to Tob.” He became an outlaw, a leader among homeless men like himself, living by plunder in the desolated Jordan valley.
Of the natural features of this valley, the deep hollow with steeply rising walls, the accompanying picture is an accurate rendering.
We live in a world where we have lost the art of asking questions. Often, we don’t engage with people to learn and listen, but instead, we accept what people say or we are on the defensive and want to prove our point. What better way to learn about someone than to ask questions!
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
He left us, and yet we are not left orphans. He is our comfort, and He is gone; but we are not comfortless. Our comfort is that He will come to us, and this is consolation enough to sustain us through His prolonged absence. Jesus is already on His way: He says, “I come quickly”: He rides posthaste toward us. He says, “I will come”: and none can prevent His coming, or put it back for a quarter of an hour. He specially says, “I will come to you”; and so He will. His coming is specially to and for His own people. This is meant to be their present comfort while they mourn that the Bridegroom doth not yet appear.
When we lose the joyful sense of His presence we mourn, but we may not sorrow as if there were no hope. Our Lord in a little wrath has hid Himself from us for a moment, but He will return in full favor. He leaves us in a sense, but only in a sense. When He withdraws, He leaves a pledge behind that He will return. O Lord, come quickly! There is no life in this earthly existence if Thou be gone. We sigh for the return of Thy sweet smile. When wilt Thou come unto us? We are sure Thou wilt appear; but be Thou like a roe, or a young hart. Make no tarrying, O our God!
God calls believers to live in holiness and purity. That’s a pretty tall order, especially when so many contrasting views bombard our thinking! Listen to Truth For Life as Alistair Begg reminds us of who we are and what we need to meet God’s standards.
44:24 On the image of God stretching out the heavens and spreading the earth, see note at 42:5. This description demonstrates God’s control over the cosmos. He puts it up like a Bedouin erects a tent.
44:25 The sovereign God confuses and destroys those who claim to reveal the future. Such people are condemned and contrasted with true prophets in Dt 18:9–22. The type of prophets this verse has in mind were diviners, not those who received revelation from God. Diviners manipulated or observed such things as sheep livers, cloud formations, and the stars to determine the future.
44:24Thus says the Lord: Because the Lord says this, it will come to pass (43:1, 14; 44:2, 6, 24). Redeemer: This same title is used in 41:14. It pictures the Lord’s zeal to defend, protect, and purchase back His people. who formed you: That God formed Israel pictures His desire for them as a nation and His constant loving care on their behalf. For a similar idea, see 43:1.
44:25Babblers refers to the diviners (2:6, 8; 8:19; Deut. 18:10, 11). wise: These were people wise in their own eyes, but not wise toward the Lord. For a similar description, see 29:14.
24 The message begins with identification of the speaker. He is the redeemer, the one who formed Israel. He is indeed the Lord who made not just Israel, but everything! It was he who stretched out the heavens and the earth by himself alone. Was anyone with him? The question reminds us of the earlier ones in chapter 40:12–14. This verse is an emphatic declaration of the creative power of God, and serves to introduce the following statements.
25 False prophets did not take the creator into consideration when they made their prophecies. When they gave signs, he was able to thwart them, so showing that they were indeed false prophets. Diviners were no more successful in their divinations. They used methods such as throwing arrows from a quiver (cf. Ezek. 21:18–23), but the outcome showed that they were devoid of wisdom. The verb used to describe them (Heb. hâlal III) is used to depict someone who is mad, or acts like a madman (see its use in connection with David, 1 Sam. 21:13–15). God is able to overturn the wise (cf. what was said earlier in 29:14), and make a mockery of their knowledge.
24. Thus saith Jehovah. The Prophet will immediately describe in his own manner the strength and power of God; because the bare promises would have little authority and weight, if the power of God were not brought forward, in order to remove all doubt from our hearts. By our distrust and obstinacy we are wont to lessen the power and goodness of God, that is, to ascribe to it less than we ought; and, therefore, the Prophet, by remarkable commendations, which we shall soon afterwards see, will encourage believers to learn to hope beyond hope.
Thy Redeemer. He begins by praising the goodness and fatherly kindness with which God has embraced his Church, and which he intends to exercise till the end; for the declaration of his power and strength would have little influence on us, if he did not approach to us and assure us of his kindness. We ought not therefore to begin with his majesty, nor to ascend so high, lest we be thrown down; but we ought to embrace his goodness, by which he gently invites us to himself. The name Redeemer in this passage refers to past time, because the Jews, who had once been brought out of Egypt, as from a gulf, by an incredible miracle, ought to have been strengthened by the remembrance of that “redemption” to expect continual advancement. (Exod. 12:51.)
And thy Maker. He calls himself the “Maker,” in the same sense which we formerly explained; that is, because he regenerates by his Spirit those whom he adopts, and thus makes them new creatures; and therefore he mentions, in passing, the former benefits which they had received, that they may conclude from them, for the future, that God will abide by his promises. When he added from the womb, it was in order that the people might acknowledge that all the benefits which they had received from God were undeserved; for he anticipated them by his compassion, before they could even call upon him. By this consolation David comforted his heart in very severe distresses, “Thou art he who brought me out of the womb; I trusted in thee while I was hanging on my mother’s breast; I was thrown on thee from my birth; thou art my God from my mother’s womb.” (Ps. 22:9, 10.) Yet here he does not speak of the favour generally bestowed, by which God brings any human beings into the world, but praises his covenant, by which he adopted the seed of Abraham to a thousand generations; for they were not at liberty to doubt that he would wish to preserve his work even to the end.
Who alone stretcheth out the heavens. Now follow the commendations of his power, because he has measured out at his pleasure the dimensions of heaven and earth. By the word “stretcheth out” he means that he has in his hands the government of the whole world, and that there is nothing that is not subject to him; for the power of God ought to be united to his word in such a manner as never to be separated.
25. Frustrating the signs. The Prophet expressly added this, because Babylon surpassed other nations not only in the force of arms, and in troops and resources, but likewise in some remarkable sagacity, by which she appeared to penetrate even to heaven. What injury could befall those who foresaw at a distance future events, and could easily, as was commonly supposed, ward off imminent dangers? The astrologers, who were celebrated among them, foretold all events; and from them sprung that bastard Astrology which is called Judicial, by which even now many persons of great abilities are led astray. They assumed the name of Mathematicians, in order to recommend themselves more to the approbation of the people. The Egyptians boasted of being the authors of that science, and of being the first who taught it; but let us leave them to settle their dispute. It is certain that the Babylonians practised that art from the very commencement, and esteemed it highly, so that both the Greeks and the Romans gave to those astrologers the name of Chaldees. Since, therefore, they placed much confidence in that science, the Lord threatens that he will overthrow all that belongs to it.
By the word signs he means the positions, conjunctions, and various aspects of the stars, about which Astrologers speculate; and he afterwards says that he maketh them mad. Some take the word בדים (băddīm) to mean lies, as if he had said that the divinations to which the Astrologers pretend are nothing but absolute delusions; but I choose rather to interpret it diviners, as we frequently find it used in that sense.
It is asked, “Does he condemn the astrology of the Chaldeans universally, or only the abuse and corruption of it?” I reply, in this passage he merely condemns those signs by means of which the Chaldeans prophesied, and imagined that they knew future events; for the Lord declares that they are absolutely worthless. It was not without good reason that he forbade the people to consult Chaldeans, astrologers, diviners, soothsayers, or any other kind of fortune-tellers, and commanded that no one who practised that art should be permitted to dwell among the people. (Deut. 18:10.) Now, if any certain information could have been obtained from the position and aspect of the stars, the Lord undoubtedly would not thus have condemned that science. Since, therefore, he forbade it without exception, he shewed that it contains nothing but absolute delusion, which all believers ought to detest.
But the defenders of that absurdity argue that the Lord gave the planets and stars “for signs.” (Gen. 1:14.) Granting this principle, I reply, that we ought to inquire of what things they are the “signs;” for we do not condemn that Astronomy which surveys the courses of the planets, in which we ought to acknowledge the wonderful majesty of God. But we condemn men addicted to curiosity, who wish to learn from them how long any government shall last, and what shall befall this city or that people, or even this or that man; for they go beyond limits, and abuse “signs,” which were not given for the purpose of being omens of future events. I do acknowledge that we are sometimes warned by heavenly signs, to see that we have provoked the Lord’s anger, or that chastisements are hanging over our heads, but not to venture to give minute explanations or conclusions, or to determine those hidden and secret events which we have no right to search and explore. But above all, we ought to observe the cause and origin of impiety; for, as soon as that error prevails, that the life of man is governed by the influence of the stars, the judgment-seat of God is overthrown, so that he is not the judge of the world in inflicting punishments, or in restoring to life by his mercy those who were perishing. They who think that the stars, by their irresistible influence, control the life of men, immediately become hardened to the imagination of destiny, so that they now leave nothing to God. Thus the tribunals of God are buried, and consequently piety is extinguished, and calling on God is altogether at an end.
He calls them wise men, and speaks of their knowledge, by way of admission, because they boasted greatly of the title of “wisdom,” when they uttered those things which they had learned from the stars, as if they had been admitted into the counsel of God; and therefore he means that those empty masks of “wisdom” will not hinder the Lord from overturning their whole estate; for all their contrivances and tricks shall be brought to nothing.
Ver. 24.—Thus saith the Lord. This is not a new prophecy entirely unconnected with the preceding, as Delitzsch supposes but a declaration to which the prophet has been working up, and which he intends as the crown and climax of all that he has been announcing with respect to Israel’s deliverance. Not only is the deliverance absolutely determined on in God’s counsels, but the Deliverer himself is already chosen and designated. He that formed thee from the womb (comp. ver. 2). I am the Lord that maketh all things—rather, I the Lord am he that doeth all things; i.e. I am he that executeth whatever he designs—that stretcheth forth the heavens alone (comp. Job 9:8), that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself. God did not delegate the creation of the heaven and the earth to an inferior spirit, a δημιουργός, as the Greeks generally taught. He did not even call in the co-operation of a helper. Singly and solely by his own power he created all things.
Ver. 25.—That frustrateth the tokens of the liars;i.e. “who brings to nought the prognostications of the astrologers and sooth-sayers, that pretend falsely to a knowledge of future events” (see ch. 49:13; and comp. Jer. 29:8, 9); and maketh diviners mad;i.e. “shows them to be fools or madmen” (see Job. 12:17). That turneth wise men backward;i.e. “repulses them—puts them to flight.” Pretenders to wisdom, rather than truly wise men, are meant.
24 A characteristic of this segment (44:23–47:15) is the frequent recurrence of the phrase Thus says the Lord, which occurs here and again in 45:1, 11, 14, and 18. While no explicit reason for this recurrence is given in the text, a study of the other occurrences in this part of the book shows that the phrase is used to engender confidence in God’s promises to redeem and deliver.90 It is usually associated with statements of self-predication, as here (cf. 42:5–6; 43:1–3; 43:14–16; 44:6–7), but that is ancillary to the main point, which is the promises of redemption. Thus the use of this phrase underscores an insistence that these promises are not merely the ejaculations of a generally inspired prophet—they are the very words of almighty God. Here, where the rather surprising method of redemption is being unveiled, the insistence that these are the very words of God serves to confirm the reliability of what is being said.
Not only has the Lord made Israel, but he has made all things, and without assistance or advice. This statement reechoes the assertions of 40:12–14 and 21–22. That God is Israel’s maker suggests that he would not like to see her destroyed. But desire is hardly enough to guarantee deliverance. If he is also the sole maker of the whole world, however, then he can indeed be Israel’s redeemer. N. Habel has argued that stretches out the heavens probably derives from an ancient creation narrative in which the Creator made the heavens as a tent for himself in preparation for the creation of the earth. While this is possible in and of itself, none of the occurrences of the phrase in this part of the book depends on such an understanding.93 At most, this phrase might be a literary allusion making use of ancient imagery, but even this does not seem necessary to an understanding of the statement here. The physical universe is obviously being described on the analogy of a physical building, with the earth as a base and the heavens a canopy above. Habel’s conjectures as to the origin of this imagery do not shed much light on its use here. The point is that God alone is responsible for the existence of the world as we know it.95
who was with me is somewhat problematic since it breaks into the sentence abruptly. Already in the time of the Masoretes there was disagreement about the correct reading of the text, as the Qere and Kethib show. But the sense is clear in either case. Isaiah asserts that God is the sole creator of the universe, with neither consort nor adviser. Whatever the gods may be, they are not responsible for the existence or the nature of the world as it now is. Thus they cannot alter the course of events nor themselves diverge from that course. Only a singularly free Creator could do so.
25 If it is true that Israel’s God is the only Creator, then it follows that he alone is completely free. The work of the astrologers, diviners, and readers of omens is based on the absolute continuity of the present with the past. What happened before, given similar historical circumstances or similar configurations of elements thought to have a particular continuity with destiny, will of necessity happen again. But the Creator, the one God who is utterly discontinuous with his creation, is in no way bound to such continuities. He is able to do things that have never happened before (42:9; 43:19; 48:6, etc.), confounding all those whose skill is based merely on encyclopedic knowledge of past congruities. Guidance for the future can come only by direct revelation from the Lord (so also 8:16–20; 19:3).
 Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1107). Holman Bible Publishers.
Christians often define success in terms of numbers: the number of people converted, churches planted, church members in attendance, money raised, etc. Would you answer a ministry posting like this one? “Wanted: Person to speak for the Lord. All content provided. Failure guaranteed—no one will respond.” The job, of course, was “Old Testament prophet.” God sent Ezekiel to the Israelite exiles (v. 33). One would think that having already experienced God’s judgment—the Babylonian conquest—they would have been eager to listen and obey. Instead, they “listened” as if the prophet were an entertaining singer (v. 32), then went off and did as they pleased. Their mouths said the right words, but their hearts were in the wrong place (v. 31). They completely failed to put God’s words into practice (see days 9 and 10). Why did they fail to do so? They didn’t take sin seriously. The “detestable things” they had done were the reason for Jerusalem’s fall and their exile (vv. 27–29). We can infer that they didn’t take sin seriously because they didn’t take the Law seriously. Moses had taught repeatedly that keeping God’s covenant would lead to blessing, and breaking it would lead to judgment (see, for example, Lev. 26:14–45). Because they didn’t take sin or the Law seriously, they ignored God’s prophet as well. It seems they were presuming on God’s mercy and hoped their punishment would be over soon. As a result, they hypocritically “listened” to Ezekiel while focusing not on sin and repentance but on “unjust gain” or on their own advantage (v. 31). Though God knew the people wouldn’t respond rightly, Ezekiel’s ministry wasn’t a failure. God, whose standards are different from ours, counted him a success due to his faithful obedience. >> How much of your self-worth do you get from your earthly success? It’s difficult for us to escape this emphasis in our culture. Remember, God sees things differently!
Atheists who feel certain that there is no God are staking out a rather interesting position. As a corollary of their position, they are of course also convinced that those who believe in God are engaging in a form of wishful thinking, that their desire to believe in a “cosmic judge” of good and evil clouds their thinking, preventing them from following where “the science” actually leads, as they believe they have done. Indeed, many believe that religion is no more than the opiate of the masses. But a bit of careful consideration will lead to quite the opposite conclusion. Holding to atheism may have some superficial appeal, as the theist must concede that it is not possible to directly see or experience God. But pretending to know with certainty that there is no God, no supreme and perfect being, is itself an act of wishful thinking. Granted, completely eliminating doubt as to God’s existence is not possible, nor can we know fully or with certainty God’s character or attributes. But being certain he’s not there? That’s a decisive conclusion to draw.
What reasons or evidence do atheists provide in support of their conclusion? Most no doubt rely on their belief in Darwinian evolution as a satisfactory alternative explanation for how life appeared on this planet. Others might point to the existence of evil in the world and contend that an all-powerful and all-loving God would not allow evil to exist. Since evil does exist, God doesn’t. Still, others will attack the claims of theists, arguing for instance what they take to be contradictions in the resurrection accounts and concluding that all religion is just so much wishful thinking. But “knowing” that there is no God requires much more than any of these rationales could provide. In order to be entirely certain that there is no God, that in other words nowhere in the universe can God be found, one would have to have access to, well, the entire universe. Given the size and scope of the visible universe, this is quite a task. Add to that any aspects or dimensions that may elude our senses and the task becomes even more insurmountable.
Here is the odd thing about such a quest. In order to really satisfy oneself that the universe is devoid of God, the searcher must attain complete knowledge of the universe, for any lack of knowledge could relate to the very place that God is present. Moreover, since an all-powerful God would theoretically precede and transcend this universe, one would have to have the capability to examine anything that exists beyond the universe, a task beyond the reach of science. In short, then, one must become omniscient – possess total and complete knowledge of all places and all things – for only then could they know with the certainty atheism connotes that we are not in fact creatures of an intelligent and powerful creator but the products of mindless evolution.
Ironically, of course, at this point, the searcher would possess the very attributes of God. Proving the truth of atheism is, in the end, a futile quest, for one would need to be godlike to prove that God doesn’t exist.
Now to this conclusion some might object, arguing that by this reasoning, no one could be certain that unicorns or tooth fairies do not exist, since there is no way to prove these negatives either. But such a contention would miss the point. First, while there are no good reasons to believe in the existence of such mythical creatures, there are by contrast many logically compelling reasons to conclude that an uncaused first cause is necessary to explain that which we see around us. There are arguments from the design inherent in nature and the fine-tuning seen in the universe, as well as by the existence of evil. Each individual argument is logically sound and combined they are, to most who have considered them, sufficient warrant to believe that a Supreme Being must exist.
Moreover, the stakes involved are completely different. Being wrong about whether a unicorn can be found somewhere does not bring with it the same consequences as the question of whether there is a perfect being out there who created us. The former is simply a matter of intellectual curiosity. But the latter carries with it much weightier questions regarding who we are, why we are here, and most importantly, whether anything is expected of us by the One who brought us into being.
Weighty questions, worthy of our careful consideration.
Recommended resources related to the topic:
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Paperback), and (Sermon) by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek
Al Serrato earned his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1985. He began his career as an FBI special agent before becoming a prosecutor in California, where he continues to work. An introduction to CS Lewis’ works sparked his interest in Apologetics, which he has pursued for the past three decades. He got his start writing Apologetics with J. Warner Wallace and Pleaseconvinceme.com.
There is room in the kingdom of God even for those who are weak in faith. Today, Derek Thomas considers how the character named Mercy in The Pilgrim’s Progress shows the Lord’s care for His people amid their many doubts, fears, and struggles.
“For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds” Psalm 108:4 NLT
Those brief whispers, You could have done better, remind me of my shortcomings.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I mean well, but I don’t do as well as I could have.
In such moments, I can go to the secret place, to someone with whom I can be me. I can listen. I can share what’s in my heart, whether I did it right or not. As my heart meets the heart of God, I sense that pure love flowing towards me. He understands me.
And I always hear that he can handle me — no matter where I’m at on my life’s journey! Let’s sigh. What a relief! To know there’s someone who is always listening to me. And to you too, if you wish!
God forgives. God is love. And God is helping me. Yes, me! And you too! If you ask. Oh, I hang on to those truths. I treasure them. I hold them so close to my heart. They keep me close to God.
So, even if life throws lemons at you and me at times, look out for how God will clean it up and send a breakthrough.
I have seen a faithful God for decades. Even if there’s darkness around, God will switch the light on to brighten your journey somewhere along the line.
Rejoice and know you can always go to the God of love. Believe in his faithfulness towards you. It’s never too late. The Almighty God works in various ways — ways that are beyond our imagination.
Father God, help me to always run to you no matter where I’m at on my life’s journey knowing that you love me and will show your faithfulness, in Jesus’ name. Thank you.
It’s an aspect of salvation every Christian needs to understand . . . What does God deliver you from when He saves you? Well, John is taking a compelling look at all the things Christ delivers you from when He grants you salvation. . This series on the life-changing power of salvation is titled . . . Delivered by God.
After Gaal’s flight, Abimelech showed the full savageness of his tyranny. He waited till the Shechemites had gone out into the fields, then he led his troops between them and the town, captured it and slew all within. Giving free rein to his fury, he destroyed the city utterly and “sowed it with salt,” that the ground might be worthless forever. Some of the people had escaped to a strong tower; and this he set on fire, so that all perished in the flames.
Even this terrible warning could not crush the fierce rebellion that spread everywhere against the tyrant. He attacked and captured the little Ephraimite city of Thebez. Here again the survivors shut themselves in a strong tower, while Abimelech tried to burn them up, as he had done at Shechem. But a millstone, hurled from the tower by a woman, killed him.
So perished Israel’s first king. The people, terrified by the miseries they had brought upon themselves, went back to their old style of rulers. Two judges, in succession, Tola of the tribe of Issachar and Jair from the region east of Jordan, guided the land through a long period of peace.
For people bent on working for everything in their life, God’s grace is very difficult to accept. Two kinds of people struggle with this: 1. those who feel they’re too unworthy because of their great sin and 2. those who feel they have a good shot at heaven because of their religious deeds. In this message, you’ll apply the characteristics of God’s grace to your life. Whether you tend towards despair or pride, no one earns God’s favor based on their merit.
42 When Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” 2 And he said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain for sale in Egypt. Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.” 3 So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might happen to him. 5 Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
6 Now Joseph was governor over the land. He was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. 7 Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” 8 And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9 And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them. And he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land.” 10 They said to him, “No, my lord, your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all sons of one man. We are honest men. Your servants have never been spies.”
12 He said to them, “No, it is the nakedness of the land that you have come to see.” 13 And they said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more.” 14 But Joseph said to them, “It is as I said to you. You are spies. 15 By this you shall be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. Or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies.” 17 And he put them all together in custody for three days.
18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19 if you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined where you are in custody, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households, 20 and bring your youngest brother to me. So your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they did so. 21 Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.” 22 And Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.” 23 They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them. 24 Then he turned away from them and wept. And he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes. 25 And Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, and to replace every man’s money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. This was done for them.
26 Then they loaded their donkeys with their grain and departed. 27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he saw his money in the mouth of his sack. 28 He said to his brothers, “My money has been put back; here it is in the mouth of my sack!” At this their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?”
29 When they came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, saying, 30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly to us and took us to be spies of the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we have never been spies. 32 We are twelve brothers, sons of our father. One is no more, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33 Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I shall know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain for the famine of your households, and go your way. 34 Bring your youngest brother to me. Then I shall know that you are not spies but honest men, and I will deliver your brother to you, and you shall trade in the land.’”
35 As they emptied their sacks, behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack. And when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid. 36 And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has come against me.” 37 Then Reuben said to his father, “Kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you.” 38 But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is the only one left. If harm should happen to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.”
Joseph’s Brothers Return to Egypt
43 Now the famine was severe in the land. 2 And when they had eaten the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” 3 But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. 5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.’” 6 Israel said, “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?” 7 They replied, “The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ What we told him was in answer to these questions. Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?” 8 And Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. 9 I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. 10 If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.”
11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12 Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. 13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. 14 May God Almighty<a style="color:#333333;text-decoration:none;border-bottom:1px solid #cccccc;" title="Hebrew El Shaddai” href=”https://www.esv.org/plans/through-the-bible/18/#f1-1″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>1 grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”
15 So the men took this present, and they took double the money with them, and Benjamin. They arose and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.
16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” 17 The man did as Joseph told him and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18 And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, which was replaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall upon us to make us servants and seize our donkeys.” 19 So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s house and spoke with him at the door of the house, 20 and said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food. 21 And when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it again with us, 22 and we have brought other money down with us to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.” 23 He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24 And when the man had brought the men into Joseph’s house and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, 25 they prepared the present for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there.
26 When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with them and bowed down to him to the ground. 27 And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28 They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves. 29 And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” 30 Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there. 31 Then he washed his face and came out. And controlling himself he said, “Serve the food.” 32 They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth. And the men looked at one another in amazement. 34 Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry<a style="color:#333333;text-decoration:none;border-bottom:1px solid #cccccc;" title="Hebrew and became intoxicated” href=”https://www.esv.org/plans/through-the-bible/18/#f2-1″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>2 with him.
33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
Prophecy and Parables
34 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:<a style="color:#333333;text-decoration:none;border-bottom:1px solid #cccccc;" title="Some manuscripts Isaiah the prophet” href=”https://www.esv.org/plans/through-the-bible/18/#f1-1″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>1
“I will open my mouth in parables;
I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”
The Parable of the Weeds Explained
36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
The Parable of the Net
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
New and Old Treasures
51 “Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
53 And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, 54 and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
The CDC has revised its guidelines on masks, admitting that cloth masks do virtually nothing to stop the spread of COVID. The move prompted Senator Rand Paul to comment, reminding social media users that YouTube previously suspended him for saying the same thing.
The CDC announced that “loosely woven cloth products provide the least protection.”
“Does this mean snot-nosed censors at YouTube will come to my office and kiss my … and admit I was right?” Paul tweeted.
A video Paul posted last year in which he dismissed cloth masks as an effective method of preventing the spread of COVID landed him a YouTube suspension, with the company claiming the content violated its policy on COVID-19 misinformation.
Does this mean snot-nosed censors at YouTube will come to my office and kiss my … and admit I was right?https://t.co/0BZ2HZHiZW
YouTube said that it was misinformation to suggest “that wearing a mask is dangerous or causes negative physical health effects’ or that masks don’t play a role in preventing the contraction or transmission of COVID-19.”
While the CDC is finally admitting cloth masks are useless, it’s not part of a move away from masks. Instead, it’s intended to promote the use of stronger K95 masks that many find even more inhibiting.
The CDC notes that “well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s” provide more protection against the virus, and is now urging Americans to “wear the most protective mask that you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently.”
Two months ago, The New York Times published an article citing “experts” who say mask wearing is now “normalized” and could remain in place permanently even when the pandemic ends.
Governments have been accused of obsessively pushing face masks as both a constant visual reminder for the pandemic, and as a “punishment” for those who continue to oppose restrictions and vaccine mandates.
FILE PHOTO. Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attend an event in New York City in 2005. EJoe Schildhorn / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Disgraced pedo billionaire had ex-employees sign papers stating they never saw Bill Clinton at ‘orgy island’
Jeffrey Epstein reportedly had ex-managers of his ‘orgy island’ sign an affidavit affirming they never saw Bill Clinton visiting the place.
Miles and Cathy Alexander were employed by Epstein between 1999 to 2007. According to the Daily Mail, in 2016, they were contacted by Epstein’s lawyer Darren Indyke, who wanted them to sign, under oath, a paper stating they never saw Bill Clinton on Little St. James island while they were managing the financier’s Caribbean property.
The British newspaper linked the move to the then-ongoing presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, claiming Epstein went to “remarkable lengths” to “whitewash” her ex-president husband’s links to him.
Claims that Clinton visited the island, which was allegedly a place of hedonistic debauchery and sexual crimes against minors, came from Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre). She is one of Epstein’s victims, who is accusing Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, of taking advantage of her, an allegation the member of the British royal family denies.
Clinton admitted to having flown Epstein’s private jet, dubbed the “Lolita express” by the media, on several occasions, but denied he ever visited Little St. James island.
The Daily Mail said the Alexanders declined to speak to them, but that they managed to get some answers from certain people close to the couple, who currently live in South Africa. They reportedly didn’t witness any orgies on the island. Some of the girls visiting the place looked young to them, they told friends, but only one of them, a French model, was confirmed to be underage. She was “accompanied by a chaperone and had a letter of authority from her parents allowing her to travel,” according to the report.
The Alexanders resigned from their jobs a year after the FBI started investigating Epstein in what he described to his employees as a case of entrapment. Indyke, the lawyer who worked for the financier for two decades, contacted them in 2016. He brought a pre-written statement saying that “to the best of their knowledge” Bill Clinton had never visited the island during their tenure managing it, a source told the Daily Mail.
Miles reportedly slightly reworded the document before he and his wife signed it in the presence of a notary. According to the Daily Mail, what the couple told their friends about Clinton didn’t contradict the affidavit.
The source suggested that the move was linked to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. “There was a worry that the link between Epstein and Clinton and in particular the island could be used against Hillary,” the source explained.
Epstein died in a prison cell in 2019 as he was awaiting trial on multiple charges including sex trafficking. He pleaded not guilty. His death was described as a suicide by authorities. In December, his confidante Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty and convicted by a US federal court on several charges related to the sex trafficking of minors.