Daily Archives: January 23, 2022

The Dross Purged — VCY America

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.

Zechariah 13:9

Grace transmutes us into precious metal, and then the fire and the furnace follows as a necessary consequence. Do we start at this? Would we sooner be accounted worthless, that we might enjoy repose, like the stones of the field! This would be to choose the viler part—like Esau, to take the pottage and give up the covenant portion. No, Lord; we will gladly be cast into the furnace rather than be cast out from Thy presence!

The fire only refines; it does not destroy. We are to be brought through the fire, not left in it. The Lord values His people as silver, and therefore He is at pains to purge away their dross. If we are wise, we shall rather welcome the refining process than decline it. Our prayer will be that our alloy may be taken from us rather than that we should be withdrawn from the crucible.

O Lord, Thou triest us indeed! We are ready to melt under the fierceness of the flame. Still, this is Thy way, and Thy way is the best. Sustain us under the trial and complete the process of our purifying, and we will be Thine forever and ever.

The Dross Purged — VCY America

How the Psalmist Learned | Today in the Word Devotional

Mental health is an important dimension of our well-being that we sometimes don’t like to address. In any given year, an estimated 26 percent of adults have a diagnosable mental illness. During our lifetime, at least half of us will have a mental health issue, but less than one-third of adults who need help will get it. The writer of Psalm 73 was going through a time of skewed spiritual perceptions and dejected feelings. The introduction affirms a foundational truth: God is good (v. 1). But then there’s a long emotional descent in verses 2–14. To Asaph, God no longer seemed good or loving or just. Instead, it looked like the wicked were doing just fine. Asaph knew the truth, but he wasn’t “feeling it” in his everyday life. He was discouraged and depressed. His faith was weakened (v. 2). It seemed like his quest for purity or righteousness was a waste of time (v. 13). These thoughts “afflicted” him day after day (v. 14). But notice a turn that comes in verses 15–17. Asaph “entered the sanctuary of God” and joined in congregational worship (v. 17). Worship kept his negative thoughts from becoming words and harming others. It corrected his distorted perceptions. Alone, his feelings could be mistaken and lead him astray, but in community his faith was strengthened. The resulting ascent follows in verses 18–28. The truth is that whatever it looks or feels like now, the wicked will indeed be judged by the Lord. God has not left Asaph alone but holds his discouraged child by the hand (v. 23). He is faithful even or especially when we lose heart or are tempted to give up (v. 26). The bottom line: “It is good to be near God,” worshiping together with fellow believers (v. 28). >> There are times when we’ve all felt like Asaph. Why does it sometimes seem that evil is winning? At those times, you may ask, “Where is God?” If you feel that way now, spend extra time meditating on verses 23–26.

The Bible and its Story: Samson Captured

Such is the weakness and folly of man that despite all Delilah’s proven and repeated treachery Samson had at length placed himself really in her power. His strength did indeed lie in his wonderful long locks of hair. By command of the angel, given before his birth, he had been dedicated to God. He had become what was called a Nazarite, and one of the vows imposed upon him had been that he would never let a razor or other blade cut off his hair. If shorn of the glory of his locks, he would be shorn also of his physical glory.

‎So when for the fourth and final time Delilah raised her eager cry, “The Philistines be upon thee!” there was no escape for the foolish giant. He had betrayed God’s trust as well as man’s; he was helpless among his enemies.

‎Eagerly they bound and dragged him forth; and, as the artist here conceives the scene, they must have haled the raging, despairing Samson through the streets, with Delilah perchance peeping after them through the window, already half regretful at the loss of her lover.

by Julius A. Bewer; Charles F. Horne

January 23 – Why was Jacob afraid to go to Egypt? — VCY America

January 23
Genesis 46:1-47:31
Matthew 15:1-28
Psalm 19:1-14
Proverbs 4:14-19

Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing

Genesis 46:3. “Fear not to go down into Egypt.” Abraham went down into Egypt because there was a famine in Canaan (Genesis 12:10). But he lied about his wife there (Genesis 12:12), and likely picked up Hagar there whom he sinned with (Genesis 16:3). Ishmael did not take a wife of the believers, but of Egypt (Genesis 21:21). God forbade Isaac from going to Egypt (Genesis 26:2). Joseph was sold into Egypt (Genesis 37:28). Perhaps that’s why Jacob/Israel was scared to go back to Egypt. He had learned that before you go – seek God’s face, and God gave Israel wisdom.

Matthew 15:1/28 – Jesus accused the Scribes and Pharisees of sin, but had mercy on the gentile woman. God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5, James 4:6, Proverbs 3:34).

Psalm 19 – Patch the Pirate composed a great song based on this Psalm – The Heavens Declare. 


Psalm 19:7 – If you have time it’s worthwhile to do a quick search on the phrase “the Law of the Lord” in the Old Testament. And if you haven’t memorized Psalm 19:14 – that is a great verse to hide in your heart to keep your life pure!

Proverbs 4:18-19 – The path of the just is as the shining light…. the way of the wicked is as darkness. A pretty clear contrast. Which path do you want to take?

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

January 23 – Why was Jacob afraid to go to Egypt? — VCY America

January 23 – The danger of backsliding — Reformed Perspective

“Your evil will chastise you, and your apostasy (backsliding-NKJV) will reprove you…” – Jeremiah 2:19 

Scripture reading: Jeremiah 2:1-19

Backsliding is a grave danger. It never comes overnight. It is little by little. The devil is content to use small measures so long as we move in the wrong direction. Before you know it, you are in a bad place.

Time and again, people of the Old Testament Church turned their backs on the LORD. They wanted to be so much like the culture all around them. They lived with a false confidence.  They thought that because the temple stood in their midst they would be saved from threatening enemies. They listened to false prophets. Their ears were tickled. They “went after worthlessness, and became worthless” (verse 5).

The LORD uses His servant, Jeremiah, to contend with His people, to call them back over and over again. He lamented for His people and urged their repentance. The call fell on deaf ears.

The Lord’s Day we are given is filled with many blessings. In freedom, we are unhindered from attending public worship services to be served by God’s Word. But if we are backslidden and refuse to heed God’s Word to us, we lose the blessing. Sitting in the church pew is of itself no guarantee of salvation. Faith needs to be living and lively.

Be on your guard.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you would not be complacent. If you find yourself lukewarm, pray for rescue.

Rev. Peter Vellenga is presently serving as itinerant preacher waiting upon Lord for continued assignment. 

January 23 – The danger of backsliding — Reformed Perspective

January 23 Evening Verse of The Day

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6:46 ‘Lord, Lord’ A confession of Jesus’ authority. Jesus states that this confession is meaningless unless it is accompanied by obedience to His commands.[1]

6:46 you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord.’ It is not sufficient to give lip service to Christ’s lordship. Genuine faith produces obedience. A tree is known by its fruits (v. 44). See notes on Mt 7:21–23.[2]

6:46 Lord, Lord: Jesus pointed out that those who called Him by this title of respect acknowledged submission to Him. However, when these same people ignored His teaching, they were guilty of hypocrisy.[3]

6:46. Proper and fruitful discipleship will do what Jesus says and not simply call Him “ ‘Lord, Lord’ ” (Jas 1:21–27; cf. Matt 7:21).[4]

6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” The word Lord means Master; it means He has complete authority over our lives, that we belong to Him, and that we are obligated to do whatever He says. To call Him Lord and then to fail to obey Him is absurdly contradictory. A mere professed acknowledgment of His lordship is not enough. True love and faith involve obedience. We don’t really love Him and we don’t really believe on Him if we don’t do what He says.

Ye call me the “Way” and walk me not,

Ye call me the “Life” and live me not,

Ye call me “Master” and obey me not,

If I condemn thee, blame me not.

Ye call me “Bread” and eat me not,

Ye call me “Truth” and believe me not,

Ye call me “Lord” and serve me not,

If I condemn thee, blame me not.

Geoffrey O’Hara[5]

6:46 “Lord, Lord” The rabbis said that the doubling of a name shows affection (cf. Gen. 22:11).

The Greek word Kurios was used in several distinct ways in the first century. It could simply mean (1) “sir”; (2) “master”; (3) “owner”; or (4) “husband.” But, in theological contexts, it is usually interpreted with its full meaning derived from the OT substitution of the Hebrew term adon (owner, master, husband, lord) when reading Scripture for the covenant name YHWH (cf. Exod. 3:14). In this context these men were making a theological statement about Jesus but did not have a personal relationship with Him. It is difficult at this early stage in Jesus’ ministry to know how much theological weight to attach to this term. Peter uses it early as a theological title for Jesus (cf. Luke 5:8), as does this verse, where Jesus links one’s verbal affirmations with obedience.[6]

46. Now why do you call me Lord, Lord, but do not put into practice what I say? When these people address Jesus as “Lord, Lord,” the very least one can say is that they acknowledge the fact that they owe their allegiance to him. The suggestion that they even ascribed to him divine glory and majesty cannot be ruled out. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament—the rendering called the Septuagint (LXX)—the tetragrammaton (four consonant name YHWH) is reproduced by the Greek word Kurios, that is, Lord. But whatever may have been the degree of honor these people bestowed upon Jesus when they addressed him as “Lord, Lord,” he stresses that they were dishonest; for, while confessing him to be their Lord, they failed to render obedience to him. So Jesus puts the question directly to them, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’?”

That, with a view to man’s salvation, the actual doing of the Lord’s will is of supreme importance is now set forth, namely, in the unforgettably impressive parable of The Two Builders. As already indicated, this parable is found also in Matthew (7:24–27). In both Gospels it forms the conclusion of the discourse, just as in both The Beatitudes constitute the beginning. The resemblances between the two reports of this parable are so many and so striking that it is generally admitted that we are dealing with the same story illustration.

Yet, there are also differences:

a. In Matthew’s report the first builder is called “sensible,” the second “foolish.” Luke omits these designations. But is it not obvious that in Luke’s view too the Master meant exactly that?

b. In Matthew’s report the first builder constructed his house on rock, the second on sand. In Luke’s the first builder, in constructing his house, “laid a foundation on rock,” the second omitted any foundation. He simply built his house on the ground. But does not any impartial reader immediately understand that in connection with the first builder Luke, without in any way disagreeing with Matthew, adds something?

c. Matthew mentions both floods and winds; Luke makes no mention of winds. Why should he? Were not the raging floods, considered by themselves, sufficiently violent to prove the stability of the first house and the instability of the second?

It is clear that those who discover “discrepancies” here are “splitting hairs.”[7]

Ver. 46. And why call ye Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Religion, the doing of God’s will:

I. In the first place, let us be warned against making our religion a matter merely of opinion. Said William Law to John Wesley, “The head can as easily amuse itself with a living and justifying faith in the blood of Jesus, as with any other notion.” It is even so. A truer word, pointed in warning against a greater peril, was never uttered. The mistake in question is a very subtle one, but very serious, and more common than, perhaps, we think. As thus of the doctrines, so also of the duties of our religion. These duties may be objects merely of belief, arranged in well-ordered systems, and acknowledged to be the proper code of life, without being actually reduced to practice.

II. In the second place, let us be warned against making our religion a matter merely of feeling. This piety of moods and feelings, which goes by spasms, and not by the even pulses of a robust life, is not the sort of piety we need, my hearers. It dishonours our Master, who has something larger to do for us than simply to make us happy in our religion. It wrongs our own souls, which ought to be looking higher than their own enjoyment.

III. Finally, let us be moved to make our religion a matter of the life; finding the test and measure of our discipleship, neither in what we believe, nor in what we feel, but in what we are, as announcing itself in what we do. Not that we counsel the disparagement of Christian doctrine. There must be religious opinions, more or less clearly defined, conditioning the religious life; and the more clearly defined, the better. And the nearer we come to the teachings of Scripture, as interpreted by the Christian consciousness of the successive generations of believers; the nearer we come to those grand settlements of doctrine effected by the great expounders of doctrine, as Athanasius, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Edwards, the nearer we shall come to the hidings of Christian power. Neither would we disparage religious feeling. The new life has its beginning in feeling; while to be past feeling is the surest mark of reprobation. It is impossible for a man to be convinced of sin by the Spirit of God without being profoundly agitated. (R.D. Hitchcock, D.D.)

Obedience—not profession:

I. Why is doing the will of god like building upon a rock? 1. Doing is the way to being. God’s doing flows from His being; His work is the outflow of His nature. He radiates outwards into all the departments of the universe from a settled centre; and because He is so gloriously good, all His works are gloriously good. The work derives its character from the being—the unchangeable being or nature of God. But there is a vast immeasurable distance between us and God; and the grand question is, How a nature so disordered, so miserably poor in knowledge, so shallow in thought and conviction, so low in aspiration, so uncertain in the use of its freedom, prostituting it so often to low ends, and so seldom using it for our emancipation from evil; how is such a nature as ours to find its way up to God till it shall have attained to His settled goodness and unchangeable excellence? The answer is, By exercising ourselves in those rules of goodness which Christ has given us as Divine. We must do in order to be. You must learn how to love your enemy, how to pray for them that despitefully use you. For there can be no true and perfect love in a nature that harbours hatred even towards an enemy. Self-denial and self-sacrifice, constraint and cross-bearing, are painful now, because we are only learning; but when we have left school, and our nature has reached the standard for the attainment of which it has been under discipline, to love God and all creatures will involve no effort or constraint or painful cross-bearing; for love in us will be as spontaneous as it is in God: we shall have become a law unto ourselves, and we shall instinctively, and of our own free impulse, choose the good, the right, and the pure. 2. Doing is the way to knowing. To know physical facts is the way to gain material power; to know the hidden laws that govern nature is to become its lord and master, able, as with a magician’s wand, to call forth her inexhaustible resources for the service and advantage of man. To know human nature in its prejudices and passions is necessary to the statesmen who would make laws that are to be beneficial to our empire. And Christ says, if you will do the will of God, you shall know what doctrine is Divine and what is not. Such knowledge—growing out of a hallowed experience—plants our feet immovably upon the Rock of certainty, and not all the storms of opinion and doubt will be able to dislodge us. 3. Doing is the way to bless others. Even when a man is not making his fellow-man the object of his thought or deed—when he is not directly fulfilling some social duty, but while he is more specially engaged in nourishing his own interior manhood, strengthening his own attachment to what is true, and pure, and brave—he is nevertheless blessing others. For such a man creates unconsciously a moral atmosphere around him which his neighbours breathe he loads the air with a sacred perfume; an influence goes forth from him, like heat from fire, which insensibly leavens the minds of others. But when such a man comes into contact with his fellows in the relations of life—in business, in friendship, and in religion—he strengthens and perpetuates his unconscious influence. He does the will of God; he does to others as he would they should do unto him. He upholds the laws of justice and generosity against injustice and meanness.

II. Hearing but not doing is like building on the sand. 1. It issues in a false self-deceptive life. “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?” “Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you.” One of the most portentous facts in the constitution of our nature is—the power we have of self-deception. And yet when we come to consider, there is nothing capricious or malignant in it. It begins in conscious unfaithfulness. We hear the Word of God, but knowingly neglect to do it. We do not obey, but we must come to terms with the conscience. 2. Hearers and not doers will be convicted of egregious folly. “I will liken him unto the foolish man.” Disobedience to known duty is not only a violation of the conscience, which is guilt; it is also a violation of the reason, which is folly. Reason says it is folly to choose the evil and reject the good. No man would prefer the delusions of madness to the realities of a healthy mind. Reason says it is folly to purchase the present at the cost of the future. But this is what men are doing who are only hearers. For if our life-house should fall, great will be the fall of it. A mighty catastrophe is the fall of a soul! (C. Short, M.A.)

The sin, folly, and danger of men’s calling Christ their Lord, and not yielding obedience to His laws; or the sinfulness and hazard of a profession of religion, without a correspondent practice:—Wherein we have—1. A concession. He grants they made a fair profession; they called Him Lord, their Lord. 2. A charge. He charges them with nothing like this in their practice. Though they called Him their Lord, they carried not themselves at all as His subjects and servants. 3. An expostulation. He puts them to consider the inconsistency of these things, and the unaccountableness of yoking together a profession and a practice that destroyed one another. Why will ye plead the relation and yet throw off the duty of the relation? “If ye call Me your Lord, why do ye not what I say or bid you? If you will not do what I say or bid you, why do ye call Me your Lord?” Two doctrines are deducible from the text thus explained.

I. There are who call Christ their Lord, owning His authority over them, and looking for benefit by Him, who yet make not conscience of doing the things which He as a Lord says to them, and requires of them. In discoursing this doctrine I shall—I. Consider men’s calling Christ their Lord. II. Consider their not doing the things which He says, notwithstanding of their calling Him their Lord. III. Show how it comes to pass that people call Christ Lord, and their Lord, and yet make not conscience of doing what He says. IV. Apply the doctrine. I. I will consider men’s calling christ their lord. Under this head, I will show—1. How men call Christ their Lord. 2. What they do call Christ, that call Him their Lord. 3. What is the import of their calling Him Lord. 1. I will show how men call Christ their Lord. Men call Him their Lord—(1) Professing Christianity. Christians is the name of Christ’s disciples who owned Him for their Lord and Master—“The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch” (Acts 11:26). “One is your Master, even Christ” (Matt. 23:10). Nay, at that rate ye take the name, and throw off the thing. (2) Being baptized in His name (Matt. 28:19). They are thereby externally marked for His subjects and servants, and renounce the devil, the world, and the flesh. (3) Praying unto Him, or to God in His name (Acts 7:59; Dan. 9:17). (4) Attending the assemblies of His people to hear His word (Ezek. 23:31). (5) Consenting personally to the covenant (Isa. 44:5). Thereby they say, He is, and shall be for ever their Lord, and that they shall be His only, wholly, and for ever. (6) Lastly, Partaking of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper. The very name of that ordinance bears the partakers to call Him so (1 Cor. 11:23, 26). 2. I will show what they do call Christ, that call Him their Lord. (1) They call Him their Lord God; as Thomas did—“My Lord, and my God” (John 20:28). (2) Their Lord Proprietor, Master, and Owner, however little regard they show to the will of His providence and precepts (Rom. 14:9). (3) Their Lord Redeemer (Exod. 20:2), however unsuitably they walk to the redemption purchased by Him. (4) Their Lord Husband, however refractory and disobedient they prove to Him (Jer. 3:14). (5) Their Lord King, however rebellious they be—“The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King, He will save us” (Isa. 33:22). 3. What is the import of their calling Him Lord? Men calling Him so, do in effect own, acknowledge, and profess—(1) His undoubted authority to command and prescribe duty to them: owning Him as their Lord Husband, King, and God, they cannot deny but He has authority to bind them with laws. (2) The justice and equity of His commands—“The law is holy; and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12). (3) Our absolute obligation to obey Him. As the clay is in the hand of the potter, so are we in His. The potsherds of the earth may strive with one another, but shall they strive with their Maker? (4) The strongest ties upon us to be for Him. If He is our Proprietor and Redeemer, are We not bound by all the ties of honour and gratitude to be wholly His? (5) The expectation of happiness from Him. Calling Him our Lord, we expect from Him and by Him the pardon of our sin, the favour of God, and a part in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21).

II. I will consider men’s not doing the things which he says, notwithstanding all this. We may take it up in three things. 1. Christ as a Lord prescribes duty to His subjects. He has not an empty title of lordship and dominion, but is a Lawgiver—“He is our Lawgiver” (Isa. 33:22). And the law of the ten commands, in their spirituality and extent, is His law, binding by His authority on all that call Him Lord (Exod. 20:2, 3, &c.). 2. He intimates His will to them as to their duty. He says what He would have them to do. We have His written laws in the Bible, which is God’s Word to every one into whose hand it comes. 3. Yet men neglect it, and regard it not in their practice. They plead the relation to Him, but make no conscience of the duty of it. (1) They have no due sense of their being absolutely bound up to His will, but fancy themselves to be at some liberty to walk according to their own, as if the government were divided betwixt Christ and themselves (Psa. 12:4). They do not feel the tie of the yoke of Christ always upon them, but are like bullocks unaccustomed to the yoke, skipping at ease according to their own pleasure. (2) They frame not their life according to His will. (3) They never set themselves to do all that He says; contrary to what the Psalmist did (Psa. 119:6), who “had respect unto all God’s commandments.” (4) They habitually do against what He says, making their own lusts and inclinations their law; like those who said, “I have loved strangers, and after them will I go” (Jer. 2:25). They call Him their Lord; but Satan and their lusts are really their lords, to whom they yield their obedience, being captives at their pleasure. (5) They do nothing purely because He says it, else they would endeavour to do all. In what they do, they have other ends than to please Him: they do it to please themselves, for their own profit, pleasure, or safety.

III. The third general head is, to show how it comes to pass, text people call Christ Lord, and their Lord, and yet make not conscience of doing what He says. The springs of this ruining practice, that so prevails, are many: as—1. The want of a thorough change in their nature: “A good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit: neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Luke 6:43, 44). (1) Good education and religious company embalms some dead souls; but still they want the principle of the Spirit of life; like those of whom the apostle says (Jude ver. 19). (2) The gospel being new to some, makes a reel among their affections; as it did among the stony-ground hearers (Matt. 13:20, 21). (3) They get some new light into their heads, but no new life into their hearts. (4) Many get awakening grace, that never get converting grace. 2. Entertaining wrong notions of religion. They form to themselves such notions of religion, as leave them at liberty in the course of their walk. (1) They think that is religion to call Christ Lord in performing duties of worship, praying, &c., and consider not that the substance of religion lies in holy, tender walking (Tit. 2:11, 12). (2) They think that faith will save them, though it be dead, idle, and inactive; contrary to what the apostle saith: “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” (James 2:14.) “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (ver. 26). They do not consider that that faith is not saving faith which is so. 3. Reigning unbelief. Of this our Lord complained: “Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40). 4. Want of consideration (Luke 15:17). 5. The natural enmity of the heart prevailing against conviction (Rom. 8:7). 6. Unmortified lusts still keeping the rule and dominion over the soul, though Christ has the name of their Lord. Doctrine II. It lies on men’s consciences before the Lord, to take it home to themselves, to consider and answer it, how they come to call Christ their Lord, and yet not make conscience of doing the things which He as a Lord says to them, and requires of them. In discoursing this doctrine, I shall only show the import of the expostulation in the text, and then conclude with a word of application. I will show the import of this expostulation. It imports—1. That Christ is in earnest for our obedience. He is not indifferent what regard we show to what He says as our Lord (Psa. 119:4). (1) The evidence of our belonging to Christ, in a saving relation, lies upon it. “Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). (2) The evidence of your right to heaven lies on it. “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they might have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into tire city” (Rev. 22:14). 2. It is possible for us in this life to get the things that Christ says, done acceptably, in all the parts thereof. If it were not so, then, by the text, nobody at all would be allowed to call Him Lord; which is certainly false (Matt. 7:21). So there are two sorts that call Him Lord; some that do, some that do not what He says; the former allowed, the other rejected. The doctrine of the imperfection of the saint’s obedience is a stone of stumbling to many a blind soul. To prevent your stumbling—(1) Distinguish between doing the will of Christ in all its parts, and in all its degrees. A whole family hears so many particular pieces of work prescribed to them all by the father and master of the family. His grown children do them all exactly to his mind; the younger children, who are but learning to work, put hand to every one of them, and baulk none of the pieces; but they do none of them exactly. Refractory servants do some of them, but others of them they never notice. Just so it is with the saints in heaven, true believers on earth, and hypocrites. (2) Distinguish between doing the will of Christ perfectly, and acceptably. No man in this life can do the former (Philip. 3:12). But every true believer does the later (Acts 10:25). (3) Distinguish between ability in ourselves to do the will of Christ acceptably, and ability for it in Christ, offered to us in the gospel, and to be brought in by faith. No man, saint nor sinner, has the former. “We are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves” (2 Cor. 3:5). But all true believers do get the latter (Phil. 4:13). 3. Notwithstanding the things that Christ says may be got done acceptably, yet many that call Him Lord will not do them. “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him,” &c. (Tit. 1:16). (1) Obedience to sin, and disobedience to Christ, is their choice. (2) They have neither heart nor use for the grace and strength that is in Christ Jesus (John 5:40; Psa. 81:11). 1. Christ is highly displeased with the disobedience of those that call Him Lord, who will not do what He says (Psa. 50:16–22). But to persuade you of it, consider—(1) His infinite purity and holiness (Isa. 6:3). He is the Holy One of Israel. (2) The dreadful strokes He has brought on such as called Him Lord, for not doing the things that He says. (3) Does he not refuse communion with such persons in holy ordinances, and thereby testify his displeasure against them? “I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face” (Hos. 5:15). Lastly, Consider how He will treat them at the last day (Luke 19:27). 5. There is a great evil in calling Christ Lord, and not doing what He says; an evil that highly provokes Him, as casting dishonour on Him in a very special manner. (1) Their sins and looseness of life reflect a peculiar dishonour on Him, as pretending a relation to Him (Rom. 2:24). (2) They do Satan a peculiar pleasure. (3) They wound the heart of the real children of God, and make the whole family sigh more heavily than the sins of others would do (Psa. 55:12). But there are three things they do not consider. (1) What inconsistency is in this course: “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial?” (2 Cor. 6:14, 15). (2) How heinously the Lord Christ takes it, that men should yoke Satan’s service with His (2 Cor. 6:15, forecited). (3) What the end of such a course will be, what it will issue in at length. “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!” (Deut. 32:29). 6. People ought to consider it, see what account they can make of it, and how they will answer it. And—(1) How they will answer it to their own consciences. (2) How they will answer it to the Lord Christ in the judgment. (T. Boston, D.D.)

Practical obedience:

I. In the first place, outward obedience is the necessary fruit, and the absolute test of inward life. He alone will enter into the kingdom of heaven “that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” Let us pause over the words. They cannot refer to the man who accidentally does the will of God because it so happens that his pleasure coincides with God’s pleasure, just as a person may walk in the same path as another without intending to be his companion. In such an act there would be no inward element. But they must refer to the man who intentionally does God’s will; does it, that is, because it is God’s will; independently of any further consideration of whether it be pleasant or not in itself. Observe, therefore, there is no picking and choosing in such an obedience. The word “doeth” does not mean intention, profession, or promise, but action in those practical details of actual life, which make up the real sum total of human existence. A saving religion is not that which is up in the air, but that which plants its sacred feet on the solid earth of daily life. Such a religion is exceedingly difficult, and there is one power alone which can accomplish it in us. It is the power of God. To use an inspired illustration, “we are God’s workmanship.” Not only does an artist’s work show the genius of the artist, but every artist has his own touch and style. We look at an exquisite picture, and we recognize the hand of the painter: we exclaim, with undoubting confidence, “Raphael,” “Guido,” “Rembrandt.” Thus when we look at a true Christian who bears and reflects Christ all over him, we say, “God.” That is God’s work; God’s Spirit alone can have done that. God is “admired in His saints, and glorified in all them that believe.” And how can it be otherwise if we reverse the order, and, instead of looking from the act to the principle, trace the principle down into the act? For what is salvation, but deliverance from sin; and what is sin, but opposition to the will of God? To be saved, therefore, is to be brought into conformity with God’s will. A good man is full of the Holy Ghost. But the Holy Ghost can no more abide in a heart without making it holy, without compelling it by the most sweet inward necessity to do God’s will, than there can be a sun without light, a stream without water, a summer without flowers, a life without activity.

II. But there is another point of view from which the lesson may be regarded. Outward obedience may be, in the hands of the Spirit of God, the instrument of inward life, and therefore, where inward life already exists, the means and stimulant of a higher growth in grace. A man is truly in earnest, and sets himself without reserve to do God’s will as he finds it in His Word. What is the first experience that such a man will gain? what his earliest lesson, his first upward step Godward, although it be apparently a step downward into the dark? I say that it is a knowledge of failure and of sin. He cannot keep God’s will in its inward spirit and power through the weakness of his flesh. Must he not ask himself why he fails? Ah, why, indeed, but from indwelling sin! Thus there flashes upon the soul a sense of sin and a consciousness of guilt before God. And when the soul once stands face to face with this truth, the impossibility of self-righteousness and of doing God’s will as he fondly thought in his own strength must become clear as the flash of the sunshine. “Then I am a helpless sinner,” he exclaims, “vile and worthless, and where shall I find help and hope? If I cannot save myself, who can save me?” He flings the arms of his faith around the feet of the dying Jesus, and cries out, “My Lord and my God, my Saviour, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification.” (E. Garbett, M.A.)

The necessity of doing the will of God:—Some of you, perhaps, suppose that you do enough to show that you are Christians if you come here on Sundays. One purpose for which you come here is to learn how to live elsewhere. It can be no excuse for breaking God’s commandments on Monday that you made a great effort on Sunday—came a mile and a half through the wind and rain—to learn what God’s commandments are. Suppose a man were caught trespassing in a gentleman’s private grounds, and when asked for a defence of his conduct answered that though no doubt he was trespassing, he hoped that it would be a palliation of his offence that once a week for twenty years he had taken care to read the notice on the board—“Private road. Trespassing forbidden.” Would that be a rational excuse? Or suppose you had a man in your works who was constantly breaking some of the printed regulations which are put up in the shops, what would you say if he asked you to look over his bad conduct because he always read through the regulations every Monday morning? We see the folly of a plea of that kind when alleged to cover a violation of any of our own rules and regulations; and yet so easily do we deceive ourselves, that we are all in danger of supposing that because we read the Bible and come to public worship in order to learn God’s laws we have something to set off against breaking them. Christ’s words are clear. We are none the better for knowing the will of God; we must obey it. We must do the will of God. Some men have such a keen admiration for moral goodness that they take it for granted that they are really good. You admire industry—good; but if you are to enter into the kingdom of heaven you must be industrious. Emotion of other kinds—good in its place—is also mistaken for actual well-doing. When we begin to hold political meetings in the winter there will be hundreds of men, belonging to both political parties, who will think that they are animated by a generous patriotism and a noble zeal for the public good, because they give enthusiastic cheers to the eloquence of their favourite orators; but ask them to do some canvassing, or to give a subscription towards the expenses of a contested election, and you will find that their patriotism and their zeal have all vanished. Doing God’s will is one thing, being sorry for not doing it is a different thing altogether. But suppose we resolve to do better—is not this satisfactory? Satisfactory? No; not unless we actually do better as the result of our good resolutions. Christ does not say that the man who resolves to do the will of God will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the man who does it; and between good resolutions and good deeds there is apt to be a very precarious connection. Some people appear to use up all their strength in making good resolutions, and they have no strength left to carry them out. We must do the will of God if we are to enter into heaven. However perfect our excuses may seem for not doing it, I cannot see that these excuses are admissible. One man pleads his natural temperament as a justification of the violence or irritability of his temper. Another pleads the sharp necessities of business as an excuse for resorting to accommodation bills and other illegitimate methods of raising money. Another pleads the bad treatment he has received from a relative or a friend in defence of rough and hard and uncharitable words about him. God who made us, knows our frame and He remembers that we are dust; Christ can be touched with a feeling of our infirmities, having been tempted in all points as we are. We may rely on the Divine tenderness and mercy. God will not deal hardly with us; He treats us more generously than we treat each other; sometimes He treats us more mercifully than we treat ourselves. But to allege temptation as an apology for sin is clearly to defy the authority of the Divine law and to dissolve all moral obligations. (R. W. Dale, LL.D.)

The folly of a fruitless profession:

I. Show who they are who deserve the censure in the text. 1. Mere nominal Christians. 2. Formal, self-righteous persons. 3. False professors.

II. Expostulate with them on the folly of their conduct. 1. Is not a conformity to Christ’s precepts practicable? 2. Is not obedience to Him necessary? 3. Will not a feigned allegiance be discovered by Him? 4. Shall we not wish at last that we had been sincere and upright. Application. (1) Let us all seek to become Christians indeed. (2) Let us not be afraid to confess our Lord before men. (3) Let our lives be consistent with our professions. (4) Let us trust in the Lord as simply as if obedience were not required. (5) Let us obey the Lord as zealously as if obedience only were required. (Theological Sketch Book.)[8]

46. Evidently some had already shown themselves to be false disciples. So Jesus asks why they call him Lord, Lord, but do not obey him. To call anyone ‘Lord’ is to admit that allegiance is owed. To repeat the address is to put a certain emphasis on the admission. But words are no substitute for obedience.[9]

Ver. 46.—And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? It is evident from this heart-stirring appeal of Jesus that he had already obtained a large measure of recognition from the people. We should hardly be prepared to aver that any large number of the Palestinian inhabitants looked on him as Messiah, though probably some did; but that generally at this period he was looked on by the common folk, at all events, and by a few perhaps of their rulers, as a Being of no ordinary power, as a Prophet, and probably as One greater than a prophet. It is scarcely likely that even they who regarded him with the deepest reverence when he spoke the mount-sermon would have been able to define their own feelings towards him. But underneath the Lord’s words lies this thought: “Those blind guides of whom I have been telling you, they with their lips profess to adore the eternal God of Israel, and yet live their lives of sin. You, my followers, do not the same thing.”[10]

6:46 Lord, Lord. The word kyrios may be used simply as a polite form of address: “sir.” But addressed to a Galilean villager, it is a notable mark of respect, and its repetition suggests a serious recognition of Jesus’s special authority. But authority demands obedience. Note the quiet assumption of authority in the phrase “do what I say” (not “do what God says”). Discipleship is a matter of following Jesus, and he claims authority equal to that of God.[11]

46 It is only one small step from the agronomical case studies in vv 43–45 to their application in v 46. If one assumes an essential consistency between the constitution of a plant and the nature of its yield, and if one allows the metaphorical application of that insight into the sphere of human affairs, then Jesus’ question has achieved its forceful aim: How is it that humans can be so inconsistent when it comes to their dispositions vis-à-vis the ways of God? In this instance, “Lord” is a term of great respect; those who use it would thus be designating Jesus as their patron, the one to whom they owe allegiance. How can they speak of allegiance and not grant it?

Within this co-text, one’s response to Jesus’ query is not simply to begin doing what he says! The issue is one of lordship, commitment, the offer of allegiance and fidelity. Hence, the initial question is, On what basis might people refer to Jesus as lord? Within the structure of Jesus’ message, the corresponding answer would be that they must embrace his topsy-turvy characterization of the world, be transformed in their dispositions, and engage in the loving of enemies, the doing of good, and lending without expectation of return—that is, in practices determined by the gracious character of God (vv 27–38).

At this juncture in the Third Gospel, only two characters within the narrative have referred to Jesus as lord, Peter and a leprous man (5:8, 12). Neither of these has entered into the narrative in such a way thus far as to merit Jesus’ rebuke. Nor should we imagine that his scolding words are directed at the Pharisees and scribes he has encountered thus far, for they seem not to have acknowledged his claim to lordship (6:1–11). To whom are Jesus’ words directed? Apparently we are to understand them as proleptic, spoken (like his words to the gathering in Nazareth, 4:23) in anticipation of those—whether internal or external to Luke’s narrative world—whose affirmation of his lordship would be no more than nominal. They might be eager to be the recipients of his gracious ministry, but only those who also embrace and internalize his message to the point that it has begun to generate such practices as those outlined in his sermon might be genuine in addressing Jesus with the words, “Lord, Lord.”[12]

The nature of the decision

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (6:46)

Religion thrives in the world because people want to live after death in heaven, however they define it. Whether conceived of as the nirvana of Buddhism, the paradise of Islam, the eternal progression to godhood of Mormonism, or the freedom from the cycle of reincarnation and union with Brahman of Hinduism, religions offer some form of bliss, happiness, fulfillment, or reward on a higher plane after this life.

In this age of tolerance and rejection of absolute truth (especially religious truth), there is a widespread belief that anyone who is sincere in their faith will go to heaven. Even many professing evangelicals hold to an inclusive view of the gospel. God, they maintain, will accept those who are sincere in their religious commitment, even if they never leave their false religions, or profess faith in Jesus Christ. In fact, some even argue that they may actually be aided in coming to God by those false religions.

But the gospel is uncompromisingly exclusive. Jesus declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). The early Christians proclaimed the truth that “there is salvation in no one else [other than Jesus Christ]; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

If there were any religion apart from biblical Christianity close enough to the truth that its followers might get to heaven, it would be Judaism. After all, Christians and Jews have much in common. Both believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Both believe that God is holy, sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, creator, sustainer, and judge. Both believe in the reality of sin and the need for righteousness. Both believe in virtues such as humility, honesty, kindness, and forgiveness. And Jews believe in the Old Testament Scriptures.

But it was to people who held those very beliefs that Jesus addressed this sermon. Many were fascinated by Him, as evidenced by the huge crowds that followed Him wherever He went. Some even identified themselves as His disciples and affirmed Him to be in some sense their master or teacher. Yet despite all of that, many fell short of salvation because, as the Lord’s pointed question “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” makes clear, they failed to obey Him.

Submission to Jesus Christ as Lord is a non-negotiable element of true salvation. Romans 10:9 says plainly, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (cf. 1 Cor. 12:3). Saving faith is obedient faith. Acts 6:7 relates that “a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.” Three times in Romans the apostle Paul spoke of obedience in connection with saving faith (1:5; 15:18; 16:26). Jesus is “to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9), and Peter wrote that the goal of salvation is “to obey Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2). Those who love Jesus will keep His commandments (John 14:15, 23; 15:10; cf. 1 John 5:3). On the other hand, “He who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36), because “not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matt. 7:21), Paul pronounced a curse on those who reject Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 16:22). “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves,” warned James (James 1:22). To have God on one’s lips but not in one’s heart is profane blasphemy.

The non-negotiable requirements of confessing sin, repenting of it, and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Savior are necessary for salvation. Those who fail in those respects but trust in good works and religious ritual will not see heaven, no matter how sincere their religious beliefs.[13]

[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., Whitehead, M. M., Grigoni, M. R., & Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Lk 6:46). Lexham Press.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Lk 6:46). Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1263). T. Nelson Publishers.

[4] Valdés, A. S. (2010). The Gospel according to Luke. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 256). Grace Evangelical Society.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments (A. Farstad, Ed.; pp. 1391–1392). Thomas Nelson.

[6] Utley, R. J. (2004). The Gospel according to Luke: Vol. Volume 3A (Lk 6:46). Bible Lessons International.

[7] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, pp. 365–366). Baker Book House.

[8] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: St. Luke: Vol. I (pp. 646–652). James Nisbet & Co.

[9] Morris, L. (1988). Luke: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 3, p. 154). InterVarsity Press.

[10] Spence-Jones, H. D. M., ed. (1909). St. Luke (Vol. 1, p. 149). Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[11] France, R. T. (2013). Luke (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.; p. 118). Baker Books.

[12] Green, J. B. (1997). The Gospel of Luke (p. 280). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[13] MacArthur, J. (2011). Luke 6–10 (pp. 118–119). Moody Publishers.

God Our Shield — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

God protects us from harm’s way, guards us from danger, defends us against accusations, shelters us when we are weak, and screens everything that comes our way.

But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head” Psalm 3:3

I have been thinking about God being our shield. The word “shield” also means to protect, guard, defend, shelter, and screen. God protects us from harm’s way, guards us from danger, defends us against accusations, shelters us when we are weak, and screens everything that comes our way. Nothing can touch us until it goes through God’s screening process first.

Many of us have had the scary experience of a rock hitting our windshield. The windshield protected us from being hurt. Our homes shelter us from the elements of nature — rain, snow, extreme heat, and cold. But there is no shelter, no protector, like God Himself. The verse Deuteronomy 33:27 is a wonderful comfort to me: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

There may be times in your life when you feel like you have been hit by a ton of bricks. Believe it or not, that experience had to first go through God’s screening process. And His screening process is more accurate than that of any airport security system!

Painful experiences help us to trust God more. When our five-month-old grandson died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, (S.I.D’s), I felt like I couldn’t bare it. But several days after the funeral, God showed me the reason for taking our grandson home so early. I was reading
2 Corinthians 1, and suddenly the last part of verse 9 became alive to me. I read, “This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God . . .”    And yes, Spenser’s death did cause me to go to God for strength and comfort.

There are many verses in the Bible that refer to God as our shield. I encourage you to look them up and read them. Here are a few of my favorites.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart”
Psalm 91:4

Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word
Psalm 119:114

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly
Psalm 84:11

Father God, thank You for being a shield about us. Thank You for protecting us, sheltering us, defending us, and being a screen. You give grace and glory to each one of us and won’t withhold any good thing from us if we walk uprightly before You. We love You, Lord! Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
Used by Permission

Further Reading

 God is our Hiding Place

• God WILL take care of you

•  Salvation Explained

God Our Shield — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

The Bible and its Story: Delilah’s Triumph

How shall mere strength prosper without wisdom? There arose at last a woman of the Philistines able to lure Samson to destruction. Her name was Delilah, and she dwelled in the valley of Sorek, not far from Samson’s native home. When the huge Israelite wooed her, she answered him with wily words, as once his wife had done. If he really loved her, he would tell her all his secrets, the secret of his strength.

‎At first Samson was as wily as she. He pretended to tell her whence his strength arose, but told her falsely. If bound with new green withs, he said, he would be helpless. So Delilah, waiting till he was asleep, tied him with the supposedly magic bonds and called his enemies into the room. Then she cried in triumph “The Philistines be upon thee, Samson!”

‎“And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire.”

‎Three times she tricked him thus in vain, till at last he yielded and told her in very truth the secret of his strength. It lay in his long hair. So Delilah cut this off and then again summoned his enemies.

by Julius A. Bewer; Charles F. Horne

Dead to Sin but Alive to God — Christian Research Network

6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’  Romans 10:6-10 (NASB) See verses 8-10 on the site.

We are still in January, but Easter is coming. Of all the markers we celebrate as Christians, Easter was the one I had the hardest time understanding when I was a small child. It seemed so wrapped up in chocolate bunnies and Easter baskets, Easter egg hunts, dressing up in new clothes for church, et cetera….

My mother tried to help me see the Biblical connection with our Lord’s Resurrection, but I failed to make sense of it until I was older. I saw it as a teen and young adult but did not really “get it” until God had mercy on me, a sinner, and resurrected me unto new life as a Christian.

Even so, when God took me through spiritual boot camp in 2004, I found through it that I had also made the mistake after my salvation of attempting to be pleasing to God via obedience by my own will power (law keeping and/or works righteousness). After all, the Christian culture I was part of back then was that salvation was some sort of reward for believing and that that believing was within one’s own faith and was manifest via one opening the heart to Christ or believing the Gospel by “making up one’s mind,” et cetera. It is no wonder that those in that form of Christianity struggle so with the true nature of Christ’s Resurrection and the true impact it has on believers. One of the key passages God opened up to me during that that He used to line me up with His Word, His Truth, the true purpose of the Gospel, and how it works was Ephesians 2:1-10. Here are vv 8-10. View article →

Dead to Sin but Alive to God — Christian Research Network

John Hopper | Questioning God? | Steve Brown, Etc.

Will God judge people who never heard about Jesus? How can we know the Bible is true? This week, Steve and the gang sit down with author John Hopper to discuss these and other BIG questions and to explore why believers don’t need to fear them – even if they DON’T have all the answers.

Source: John Hopper | Questioning God? | Steve Brown, Etc.

Aaron Rodgers slams ‘fake White House’ after Biden’s vaccine joke

Unvaccinated Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers slammed President Joe Biden’s “fake White House” after the commander-in-chief joked last month about the quarterback remaining unvaccinated.

Source: Aaron Rodgers slams ‘fake White House’ after Biden’s vaccine joke

Revival Or Rapture? :: By Jonathan Brentner

Is this it? Are we at the end of human history as we know it? Is the Rapture next on God’s prophetic calendar? Or are we about to see a worldwide revival that will halt the world’s seemingly unstoppable path to the kingdom of the antichrist?

A song written and sung by Kari Jobe, Amen (Simple Gospel), affirms the later reality. The song contains these lyrics that point to the church as our hope in this current age:

“The church will arise / With power and love / Our cities will know / The glory of God / The future is bright / There’s nothing to fear / Revival is now / The Kingdom is here.”

The words to Jobe’s song sound wonderful on the surface, but does the Bible teach that the church will triumph over the current forces of darkness actively at work everywhere we look? No, it does not. Nor does it tell us that the future will be “bright” for planet Earth apart from the return of Jesus.

I believe the world has passed the point of no return; the coming day of the Lord will soon sweep over the earth and forever change life on the planet. Scripture teaches that God’s wrath is on its way to a Christ-rejecting world.

As believers, we have cause for much optimism, but such an expectation lies exclusively in Jesus’ imminent return for His church. Our hope rests in our departure from this world, which may happen very soon.

Yes, many have turned to Jesus as a result of the media-driven fear that resulted from the COVID-19 virus. We hear about pockets of revival in many places. Millions of Muslims have turned to Christ in the past two decades. I am not denying that many will continue turning to Jesus or that revivals will not happen.

However, because of the following considerations, I believe the imminent Rapture of the church represents the only real hope in our day.

The Converging of a Multitude of Signs

The main characteristic of today that sets it apart from any other time is the convergence of a multitude of prophetic signs found in the Bible.

Yes, the world wars of the past century were terrible, and the death toll from the communist regimes exceeded one hundred million. However, back then, the stage was not set for the antichrist as it is today.

Consider how the following conditions make today much different:

  1. Israel is flourishing as a nation.
  2. Israel is far along in its planning and preparation for the construction of the third temple.
  3. The technology that makes the mark of the beast possible has only emerged during the past five years.
  4. The globalists control many of the world governments.
  5. Lawlessness and widespread deception, marks of the coming Tribulation period, are already widespread across the earth and growing at an alarming rate.
  6. The world rests on the edge of all the conditions described in Revelation 6:1-8.

I could list several more as I did in a recent post, A Dozen Prophetic Signs that Tell Us We Live on the Edge of Eternity. Today is qualitatively different than any other period of history; the current prophetic signs of the Bible reveal the closeness of the seven-year Tribulation.

The Globalists Already Control Many Nations

Klaus Schwab, the founder and head of the World Economic Forum, is one of many leaders who have been pushing for a one-world government during the past several decades. His efforts have come to the forefront since the COVID-19 virus swept over the earth.

The Great Reset championed by the WEF is nothing less than a worldwide Marxist government that will enslave the people of the world. The virus and mRNA injections have become the backdrop for many nations imposing harsh restrictions on the populace. Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and many other countries have already imposed draconian restrictions on people that have all the earmarks of the coming Tribulation as described in the book of Revelation.

In America, Marxist governors and mayors are already seeking to restrict all public functions to the vaccinated.

The globalists already control much of the free world today, and they will only intensify their stranglehold on all those under their control. For more on this, please see my previous post, Transhumanism and the Nearness of the Tribulation.

It’s not a denial of God’s redeeming power that leads me to believe we live in the last days of human history; no, it’s a belief in what God’s Word says about the last days that drives me to that conclusion.

The Resistance Will Fail

Like many of you, I have seen the tens of thousands marching in the streets across the world in protest of the “vaccine” mandates. In the United States, the resistance to the COVID-19 injections grows steadily as more and more evidence points to their ineffectiveness and severely harmful effects on those injected with them.

However, because of the time in which we live and the control that the globalists already have, I believe that the worldwide opposition to the mandates will eventually fail.

Initially, the news that the U.S. Supreme Court had blocked Biden’s vaccine mandate for large businesses encouraged me. However, the fact that they did not extend the same protection to healthcare personnel troubles me. Does that not suggest that they made their initial ruling on something other than individual freedom? Why should one group be exempt from these draconian measures while others suffer great harm from them?

Leo Hohmann, in his blog post, Brace yourself for Impact: Luciferian elite launch ‘Great Collapse’ of Western civilization, wrote the following:

“It’s all designed to happen by very powerful entities that operate at a level above our elected political leaders. The decisions that are leading to the collapse are being made by those buying into Klaus Schwab’s vision as put forth by the World Economic Forum and allied entities such as the United Nations, the Gates, Rockefeller, Soros and Ford foundations, and the corporate power elites on the interlocking boards of directors at Blackrock, Vanguard, State Street and Fidelity. Those four financial investment houses own a controlling share of almost every one of the world’s largest corporations, including the largest banks.” [i]

The multitude of prophetic signs combined with the stranglehold that the globalists already have on the governments and world commerce tell me that the resistance we see will fail. To date, the protests have made no impact whatsoever in changing the policies of the nations where they have occurred.

It’s Too Late for America

Noticeably missing from pages of biblical prophecy is any mention of the United States. Something must happen to remove America from its current position of power and influence in the world, and indeed it’s already happening.

Please know that I love my country and cherish the freedoms and protections it has afforded me during my life. However, the powers that control the U.S. are leading us down a dark path from which there will be no return. We are divided as never before from a self-inflicted wound that’s incurable.

I believe God’s judgment is already here and will only get worse in the coming months. Even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade later this year, it will be far too late to make a lasting impact. The wicked scourge of abortion will continue unabated in many of our states.

Unless we put an immediate, total, and abrupt end to the barbaric practice of abortion and the resulting infanticide, we will remain on the path of God’s judgment. I believe the destruction of the U.S. will happen soon after the Rapture, but the signs of America’s demise will continue to worsen until then.

Kari Jobe’s song, Amen (Simple Gospel), represents a false optimism that’s not found in Scripture, nor does it exist anywhere in our world where deception and lawlessness abound as never before in history.

The church will not arise victorious and make the glory of God known in our cities. How can anyone expect such a result with the church in its current divided and apostate condition? Most churches today preach a diluted or false Gospel that renders them powerless to affect life-giving changes in their cities. Many of them advocate the very sins that are tearing apart the fabric of our society. How can they be a light in the darkness?

I know of many pastors and teachers that advocate the church as our hope. I have heard this over and over from those with a wide variety of beliefs, even from those who say they believe the Bible.

However, the future only holds joy and wonder because of Christ. He’s coming soon to take us up to heaven. We have a glorious future because of Jesus.

It’s not just a matter of revival versus the Rapture; it’s that of trusting the only One with power to change the world in which we live.

Jesus is the One that will bring about the glorious time we know as the Millennium. Those that believe the church will bring about such a restoration either do not know, believe, or understand Scripture.

Source: Revival Or Rapture? :: By Jonathan Brentner

UK University Puts Trigger Warning on Orwell’s Novel 1984 Over ‘Explicit Material’

George Orwell’s iconic dystopian novel, “1984” was published in 1949 and has been hailed as one of the most impressive books on censorship, persecution of individual thinking, and total opinion control.

Source: UK University Puts Trigger Warning on Orwell’s Novel 1984 Over ‘Explicit Material’

Devin Nunes demands a ‘normal world’ where at least 300 people investigate Hunter Biden’s laptop

Former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Sunday said that at least 300 people would be investigating Hunter Biden’s laptop in a “normal world.” During an appearance on Fox News with host Maria Bartiromo, Nunes connected Russia’s possible invasion of Ukraine to the Biden family. “Where are we today?” Nunes asked. “Remember, the invasion of Ukraine started in 2014 under Obama and Biden.

Source: Devin Nunes demands a ‘normal world’ where at least 300 people investigate Hunter Biden’s laptop

Growing Number of European Countries Rolling Back COVID-19 Restrictions

Major economies in Europe have started to roll back COVID-19 restrictions that were implemented in recent weeks in response to a spike in cases and hospitalizations. In the United Kingdom, people won’t have to wear masks in public or show proof they’ve been vaccinated to enter some venues like restaurants or pubs starting next Thursday. “Because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A in England and allow Plan B regulations to expire as a result from the start of Thursday next week,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said several days ago.

Source: Growing Number of European Countries Rolling Back COVID-19 Restrictions

Democrats’ Fight For Voting Rights Is A Fake Issue | ZeroHedge News

Submitted by Elizabeth Vaughn,

Gesticulating wildly as she delivered remarks at the MLK Day Deliver for Voting Rights Press Conference, the wicked witch of Washington, Nancy Pelosi, told her audience: “Nothing less is at stake than our democracy.”

If only we could have thrown a pail of water on her.

She continued:

This is about suppressing the vote.  It’s about nullifying the elections, which Dr. King talked about that day, nullifying the election.  It’s about just doing so many things to be obstacles to participation.  That’s wrong.  The truth is, that’s wrong. …

And, as has been indicated by the King family this – this bill is supported by all of the Democrats, House and Senate. It’s just the filibuster in the way. So, in a way, if you really, truly want to honor Dr. King, don’t dishonor him by using a Congressional custom as an excuse for protecting our democracy. We have no right to honor this family, to visit the monument. Imagine, 30 – someone 36 years old, left this earth in such a way that he has a monument on the Mall along with Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson. All of them with tears in their eyes for the departure from our democracy that is happening right now – unless the truth is acknowledged and this legislation is passed.

Pelosi was spouting the Democratic party line. ’Our democracy is at stake if we don’t pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.’

At his Wednesday press conference, President Joe Biden was asked if he thought the forthcoming election would be illegitimate. He replied: “Oh, yeah, I think it could easily be illegitimate … The increase in the prospect of being illegitimate is in proportion to not being able to get these reforms passed.” [Emphasis mine.]

The whole Democratic Party is in on it. In the clip below, The View’s Ana Navarro asks White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki: “So without [voting rights] reforms, why should voters have faith in the legitimacy of the next election?”

Democratic leaders have gone all in on trying to gaslight the American people into believing that, unless these toxic measures are passed by the Senate, the 2022 midterm elections will be stolen by the Republicans.

They know, of course, that the opposite is true.

Democrats understand that without universal mail-in voting, ballot harvesting, federal control of elections, the elimination of voter ID requirements at the polls, and all the other mechanisms of fraud they’re trying to ram through, their party will lose.

They are also painfully aware that, outside of their base, Americans are disgusted by their unprecedented power grab over the past year. Among independent voters, support for Democrats has been cut in half over the past year.

Gallup released a poll on Friday that showed even Democrats have soured on 117th Congress.

According to the poll, approval of Congress among Democrats peaked in February 2021 at 61 percent and now stands at a meager 26 percent.

The report explains that typically, when one party controls both chambers, “approval of the legislative branch tends to be higher among partisans associated with the majority party than those whose party is in the minority.”

The party doesn’t stand a chance in November unless the Senate passes these two corrupt, unconstitutional bills. And the only obstacle in their path is the filibuster.

The filibuster, which Biden, Obama and Schumer once argued so eloquently to preserve when their party was in the minority, and that Democrats used literally hundreds of times throughout the Trump years, has now become “a relic of the Jim Crow era.” It’s racist.

The Democratic Party has grossly underestimated the intelligence of the American people. Their pretense that minority voters are being disenfranchised because they’re asked to show identification to cast a ballot is one of the biggest snow jobs in history.

It’s time for them to show us a list of all eligible voters who were disenfranchised in 2020. Give us a list of all legal U.S. citizens whose votes were suppressed in the last election.

Democrats have gone too far. Realizing their days in power are numbered, they are getting desperate. The only way for them to win is to cheat.

Democrats’ fight for so called “voting rights” is a fake issue. It’s another hoax that’s right up there with ‘Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election’ and ‘Jan. 6 was an insurrection.’

Please visit my archives: American Free News Network and The Western Journal

Follow me on Twitter.

Source: Democrats’ Fight For Voting Rights Is A Fake Issue

NBC Poll: 72 Percent Say US Headed ‘Downhill,’ GOP Wins on ‘Enthusiasm’

Americans continue to see the country headed in the wrong direction and Republicans are showing a double-digit advantage on voter enthusiasm just 10 months before the midterm elections, according to the latest NBC News poll.

Source: NBC Poll: 72 Percent Say US Headed ‘Downhill,’ GOP Wins on ‘Enthusiasm’

GOP Closing In on Hunter: Senators Demand to See Travel Records, Say Secret Service Hid Info

Hunter Biden is leading a quiet life now. He’s busy peddling his paintings to whoever wants them. People seem to, although that probably has more to do with the last name in the signature than the aesthetic value of what’s on the rest of the canvas.

In a former life, however, Hunter used to peddle influence — and not just at home. Between his activities in Ukraine, Mexico, China and Kazakhstan, inter alia, it seems the only continent where Hunter wasn’t selling the Biden name was Antarctica.

Then again, he might have been doing business there, too. Hunter’s international contacts are extensive, after all — and we’ve been covering them at The Western Journal from the beginning, back when the establishment media was content to ignore his corruption. You can help us keep bringing readers the truth by subscribing.

Source: GOP Closing In on Hunter: Senators Demand to See Travel Records, Say Secret Service Hid Info

Durham going after reason FBI launched debunked ‘Russia collusion’ | WND

Hillary Clinton (Video screenshot)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Investigations.]

By Aaron Maté
Real Clear Investigations

As he documents the role of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in generating false allegations of Trump-Russia collusion, Special Counsel John Durham has also previewed a challenge to the FBI’s claims about how and why its counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign began. At stake is the completeness of the official reckoning within the U.S. government over the Russiagate scandal – and whether there will be an accounting commensurate with the offense: the abuse of the nation’s highest law enforcement and intelligence powers to damage an opposition presidential candidate turned president, at the behest of his opponent from the governing party he defeated.

The drama is playing out against the clashing approaches of the two Justice Department officials tasked with scrutinizing the Russia probe’s origins and unearthing any misconduct: Durham, the Sphinx-like prosecutor with a reputation for toughness whose work continues, and Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice inspector general, whose December 2019 report faulted the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe but nonetheless concluded that it was launched in good faith.

The bureau’s defenders point to Horowitz’s report to argue that the FBI’s Trump-Russia conspiracy investigation, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, is untainted despite its extensive use of the discredited Clinton-funded Steele dossier. Though highly critical of the bureau’s use of Christopher Steele’s reports, Horowitz concluded that they “played no role in the Crossfire Hurricane opening,” which he said had met the department’s “low threshold” for opening an investigation.

But Durham has made plain his dissent. In response to Horowitz’s report, the special counsel announced that his office had “advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.” Durham stressed that, unlike Horowitz, his “investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department” and has instead obtained “information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”

Durham’s office has not described the specific basis for its disagreement. But the Crossfire Hurricane advocates’ defense has a big problem: copious countervailing evidence in the public record – including in Horowitz’s own report. A considerable paper trail points to Steele’s political opposition research playing a greater role in the probe than the FBI has acknowledged:

  • Numerous officials received Steele’s allegations – some meeting with the ex-British intelligence officer himself – and discussed sending them up the FBI chain weeks before July 31, 2016, the Horowitz-endorsed date when the bureau claims it opened the Russia-Trump “collusion” investigation. These encounters call into question the FBI’s claim that Steele played no role in triggering Crossfire Hurricane and that its team only received the dossier weeks after their colleagues, on Sept. 19.
  • The FBI’s own records belie its claims that it decided to launch the Russia probe not because of the dossier, but instead on a vague tip recounting a London barroom conversation with a low-level Trump campaign volunteer, George Papadopoulos. Australian diplomat Alexander Downer’s tip, recorded in bureau records, was that Papadopoulos had merely “suggested” that Russia had made an unspecified “suggestion” of Russian help – a thin basis upon which to investigate an entire presidential campaign.
  • Upon officially opening Crossfire Hurricane on July 31, FBI officials immediately took investigative steps that mirrored the claims in the Steele dossier even though they were supposedly unaware of it. In August, the FBI team opened probes of Trump campaign figures Carter Page, Michael Flynn, and Paul Manafort – all of whom are mentioned in the dossier – based on predicates that are just as flimsy as the Downer-Papadopoulos pretext.
  • The FBI’s claim that Steele played no role in sparking the Trump-Russia probe is further called into question by top bureau officials’ previous false claims about the investigation, including Steele’s role. They not only lied to the public and Congress, but to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

‘Definitely of Interest
to the Counterintelligence Folks’

Durham’s November indictment of Igor Danchenko, Steele’s main source, was the final nail in the coffin for the Clinton-funded dossier. But to sympathetic media amplifiers of the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe, its origins were unscathed.

Horowitz’s report, wrote Mother Jones reporter (and early Steele media contact) David Corn, “concluded that the FBI investigation of Trump-Russia contacts had been legitimately launched” thereby proving that “there was no hoax.”

In an article attempting to demonstrate “Why the Discredited Dossier Does Not Undercut the Russia Investigation,” Charlie Savage of the New York Times said Horowitz’s report “established” that Steele’s allegations did not reach the Crossfire Hurricane team until Sept. 19, 2016, meaning that “they did not yet know about the dossier” when they launched the probe on July 31.

But if the Crossfire Hurricane team really did not learn of Steele until Sept. 19, then those leading the Russiagate probe were among the few high-ranking officials in Washington intelligence circles unaware of the dossier.

The first known Steele-FBI contact about the dossier came on July 5, more than three weeks before the Trump-Russia probe officially launched. Days before, Steele – working for the Clinton campaign via the Washington-based opposition research firm Fusion GPS – contacted Michael Gaeta, the senior FBI agent he had worked with on other matters. Gaeta was then serving in Rome as a legal attaché.

Steele, Gaeta recalled in congressional testimony, informed him that “I have some really interesting information you need to see … immediately.” Gaeta jumped at the chance: “I said, all right, I will be up there tomorrow,” and immediately caught a flight to London. At Steele’s office on that early-summer day, the former British spy briefed his eager FBI handler on the Trump-Russia conspiracy theories he had generated and handed over a copy of his first “intelligence report.”

Steele’s allegations did not stay in London, as Gaeta quickly shared them with FBI colleagues. “I couldn’t just sweep it under the rug, couldn’t discount it just on its face,” he told Congress, adding that Steele “was an established source.” On July 12, Gaeta told a colleague in the FBI’s New York field office, the then-assistant special agent in charge, about Steele’s allegations. According to Horowitz — the IG who concluded that Steele “played no role in the Crossfire Hurricane opening” – this agent then informed his superior about the Steele allegations “the same day.” The Steele material, Horowitz’s team was told, was seen by these FBI officials as “something that needs to be handled immediately” and “definitely of interest to the Counterintelligence folks.”

On July 28, at his FBI colleague’s request, Michael Gaeta passed along copies of the two reports he had received from Steele. As Horowitz later found, the first one (dated June 20, 2016) provided by Steele to Gaeta, would later become “one of four of Steele’s reports that the FBI relied upon to support” its surveillance applications for Carter Page.

Steele’s conspiracy theories quickly made their way up the FBI chain. According to the inspector general’s report, Gaeta heard from a colleague that high-level officials were already “aware of the reports’ existence,” including at the “Executive Assistant Director (EAD) level” at FBI headquarters in Washington. This occurred, Gaeta told Congress, “on maybe the 1st of August, right around then,” or “either the 31st of July.”

“I was told by the [assistant special agent in charge] at a very high level, he goes at the EAD level at headquarters they have the reports,” Gaeta said. According to the IG report, Gaeta emailed an FBI supervisor on July 28 to report that Steele had told him that contents of two of his reports “may already be circulating at a ‘high level’ in Washington, D.C.”

Gaeta also discussed the Steele dossier claims with the legal attaché overseeing his work at the U.S. Embassy in Rome. The unidentified government lawyer told the inspector general that he signed off on Gaeta’s discussions with the New York field office, and also recalled having the “expectation” that “Steele’s reporting” would be provided “to the Counterintelligence Division (CD) at FBI Headquarters within a matter of days.”

Before making the trip to see Steele in London, Gaeta also received the approval of Victoria Nuland, a senior Obama administration State Department official who now serves under President Biden. By her own telling, Nuland’s office then received information directly from Steele “in the middle of July.” Steele, Nuland recalled in a 2018 interview, “passed two to four pages of short points of what he was finding, and our immediate reaction to that was, this is not in our purview. This needs to go to the FBI.”

Yet another senior U.S. government official also shared Steele’s information with the FBI. It helped that he had a personal connection: Then-senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, whose wife Nellie worked alongside Steele at Fusion GPS, first made contact with Steele right before the former British spy’s meeting with Gaeta on July 5, and then shortly after. This led to a July 30 breakfast between the Ohrs and Steele at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. – one day before Crossfire Hurricane began. At this sit-down, Ohr recalled to Congress, Steele claimed that he had evidence that Russian intelligence “had Donald Trump over a barrel.”

According to Ohr, “I wanted to provide the information he [Steele] had given me to the FBI.” He immediately reached out to Andrew McCabe, the then-deputy director of the FBI. “I went to his office to provide the information, and Lisa Page was there,” Ohr recalled, referring to the FBI attorney who exchanged anti-Trump text messages with Strzok while both worked on the Trump-Russia probe. “So I provided the information to them.”

When exactly this pivotal meeting occurred has never been resolved, and all involved have a fuzzy recollection. The transcript of Ohr’s August 2018 House testimony shows him responding “Yes” to a question placing his meeting with McCabe and Page on July 30 – the same day he met Steele, and one day before the Trump-Russia probe officially began. Yet earlier in the deposition, Ohr guessed that he in fact met with McCabe and Page “in August.” When he spoke to the DOJ inspector general, Ohr “did not recall exactly when he contacted McCabe.”

Despite that testimony, Horowitz instead relied on an entry in Ohr’s calendar to determine the meeting did not take place until Oct. 18. McCabe, who was forced to resign from the department for lying about his contacts with the media, said he believes the meeting occurred in “fall 2016” and “did not remember Ohr calling him to set up the meeting or how it came to be scheduled.”

“Suggested …
Some Kind of Suggestion”

According to the official narrative, while top-ranking FBI officials shared and discussed the Steele dossier with everyone but Crossfire Hurricane team members, the counterintelligence division decided to investigate the Trump’s campaign’s potential ties to Russia on July 31 based on an unrelated tip from Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat. At a London bar in May, campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos reportedly told Downer that Russia had offered to help the Trump campaign by anonymously releasing information damaging to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Although there was no evidence that the Trump campaign had pursued, received, or used this undefined material, FBI officials deemed this rumor sufficient grounds to investigate the campaign for potential involvement in Russia’s alleged theft of DNC emails published by Wikileaks.

“In other words,” Peter Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence agent who opened the Trump-Russia probe, wrote in his memoir, “Papadopoulos had somehow learned about the hacking operation before the public did and had advance knowledge of the Russian plan to use that information to hurt Clinton’s campaign. Even the FBI hadn’t known about it at that time.”

But when the Australian tip that reached the FBI in July 2016 was finally disclosed to the public in December 2019, Papadopoulos’ supposed “advance knowledge” about Russia’s alleged “hacking operation” turned out to be non-existent. The FBI’s tip from Downer contained no mention of the DNC hacking, a Russian interference campaign, or even the stolen emails handed to WikiLeaks. Nor did they even have any trace to suggest that a Russian intermediary had made an overture.

Instead, according to the FBI Electronic Communication (EC) that opened the Trump-Russia probe, the FBI only heard that Papadopoulos, in his conversation with Downer, “suggested” that “the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia” (emphasis added) that it could “assist” the Trump campaign “with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama).”

The FBI document acknowledged that the nature of the “suggestion” was “unclear” and that the possible Russian help could entail “material acquired publicly” – in other words, not emails hacked from the DNC, which, as Horowitz noted, were “not mentioned in the EC.” The FBI also acknowledged that it had no evidence concerning the Trump camp’s receptivity to the “suggested… suggestion”: It was “unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer,” the EC stated, and that Russia could act “with or without Mr. Trump’s cooperation.” Although Papadopoulos’ October 2017 guilty plea with the Mueller team suggested that he had told Downer about “thousands of emails” obtained by Russia, Downer later stated that the Trump campaign volunteer had made no mention of any stolen emails, and fact “didn’t say what it was” that Russia had on offer.

In other words, what Strzok wrote in his own book was untrue.

Because Downer’s tip was so thin, the FBI’s predicate was not only vague or even exculpatory, but also contained no indication that the “some kind of suggestion” actually came from the Russian government, or a Russian national, or anyone for that matter. When it opened the probe, the FBI did not even know that that the purported “suggestion” to Papadopoulos came from his conversation with Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic. For his part, Mifsud has denied making any “suggestion” of Russian help to Papadopoulos at all.

To accept that the FBI’s decision to open the Trump-Russia investigation was well-founded, one has to stipulate that the nation’s premier law enforcement agency decided to investigate a presidential campaign, and then a president, based on a low-level volunteer having “suggested”, during a barroom chat, “some kind of suggestion from Russia” that contained no mention of the alleged Russian hacking or stolen emails that the Trump campaign was supposedly conspiring over. One would also have to accept that the bureau was not influenced by the far more detailed claims of direct Trump-Russia connections – an alleged conspiracy that would form the heart of the investigation – advanced in the widely-circulating Steele dossier.

‘An Insufficient Basis’
for the Probe’s Supposed Predicate

Adding to the questions surrounding the FBI’s basis for opening a Trump-Russia counterintelligence probe is that, upon doing so, the Crossfire Hurricane team didn’t bother to contact the campaign volunteer whose vague “suggestion” supposedly triggered it. Instead, the FBI expanded the probe to multiple other figures in the Trump orbit. Although no intelligence connected them to Downer’s vague tip, all three shared the distinction of being named as Russia conspirators or assets in the Steele dossier.

Rather than just focusing on Papadopoulos – who was never wiretapped and not even interviewed until January of 2017 – the FBI quickly opened parallel probes of campaign volunteer Carter Page, campaign adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, and then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. According to Horowitz, Strzok described “the initial investigative objective of Crossfire Hurricane” as an effort “to determine which individuals associated with the Trump campaign may have been in a position to have received the alleged offer of assistance from Russia” (emphasis added) that Papadopoulos had “suggested.”

The FBI identified Page, Flynn, and Manafort as additional investigative targets, the IG found, not based on any new intelligence but because they had “ties to Russia or a history of travel to Russia.” They relied on a rarely used law – the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires Americans representing foreign governments to disclose these relationships – as the basis for their inquiries.

“Lacking any evidence — and admitting such in their own opening document — the team, nevertheless, proceeded to simply speculate who ‘may have’ accepted the Russian offer and subsequently opened up full investigations on four Americans,” Kevin Brock, the former FBI assistant director for intelligence and principal deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), opined in Congressional testimony in 2020. “This is unconscionable and a direct abuse of FBI authorities.”

On Steele, a Pattern
of FBI ‘Factual Misstatements
and Omissions’

Although Horowitz took the FBI at its word that Steele played no role in triggering Crossfire Hurricane, he did so after documenting multiple instances of FBI lies – including about Steele’s role in the probe.

When the FBI used the Steele dossier to seek surveillance warrants on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, the bureau made 17 “factual misstatements and omissions” to the FISA court, Inspector General Horowitz found in his December 2019 report.

These abuses included embellishing Steele’s established reliability as an FBI source; omitting information that undermined the credibility of Steele’s main source, Igor Danchenko, and the fanciful claims he told Steele about prostitutes and billion dollar bribes; concealing that Steele was a source for a Yahoo News article that the FBI also cited as source material; omitting that both Page and Papadopoulos had made exonerating statements to FBI informants; and, most notably, omitting that the Clinton campaign was paying for Steele’s services. The FISA court concurred with Horowitz, invalidating two of the four Page surveillance warrants on the basis of the FBI’s “material misstatements.”

When the FBI briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee on its use of the Steele dossier in 2018, it told similar falsehoods while presenting the Clinton contractor as credible. According to the FBI’s prepared talking points, the Senate was erroneously told that Steele’s main source Danchenko “did not cite any significant concerns with the way his reporting was characterized in the dossier.” Danchenko, the FBI additionally claimed, also “maintains trusted relationships with individuals who are capable of reporting on the material he collected for Steele.” The FBI also said that its discussions with Danchenko “confirm that the dossier was not fabricated by Steele.”

But the FBI concealed – just as it did with the FISA court – that Danchenko had in fact told its agents that corroboration for the dossier’s claim was “zero”; that he “has no idea” where claims sourced to him came from; and that the Russia-Trump rumors he passed along to Steele came from “word of mouth and hearsay” and “conversation that [he] had with friends over beers” that should be taken with “a grain of salt.”

When the FBI’s deceptive reliance on Steele was brought to light in a memo from then-House intelligence chairman Rep. Devin Nunes in early 2018, the FBI fought to prevent its release. Moreover, the FBI resorted to more deception: In an explosive Jan. 31 statement aimed at thwarting the Nunes memo’s release, the FBI claimed that it had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

The FBI’s tactic failed, and the memo was released two days later. When the first of the FBI’s Carter Page warrants was declassified in July 2018, it showed that the only material omissions of fact were made by the FBI. The FBI told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court  that it “believes that [Russia’s] efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with” the Trump campaign. Its source for this belief was Steele, whom it described as “Source #1” and “credible” – all while omitting that the Clinton campaign was footing the bill.

In addition, unidentified intelligence and law enforcement officials went out of their way to bolster Steele’s image via anonymous leaks to credulous news outlets. “U.S. investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier,” a CNN headline proclaimed in February 2017, weeks after the dossier’s publication. The FBI is “continuing to chase down stuff from the dossier, and, at its core, a lot of it is bearing out,” an unidentified “intelligence official” told The New Yorker later that month.

The FBI’s faith in Steele extended to sharing classified information with him. According to Horowitz, at an October 2016 meeting in Rome, FBI agents gave Steele a “general overview” of Crossfire Hurricane, including its then-secret probes of Manafort, Page, Flynn, and Papadopoulos. The FBI was so eager to enlist Steele that it offered to pay him $15,000 “just for attending” the Rome meeting and a “significantly” greater amount if he could collect more information.

This early FBI enthusiasm for Steele – and lengthy record of lying about it — is hard to square with the bureau’s subsequent claims that he only played a minor role.

Durham’s Dissent Could Become
a Political Flashpoint

Despite uncovering FBI deceptions, Horowitz acknowledged that he was relying largely on the word of the officials he was investigating. “We did not find information in FBI or Department ECs [Electronic Communications], emails, or other documents, or through witness testimony, indicating that any information other than the [Friendly Foreign Government] information” – Australia’s tip from Downer — “was relied upon to predicate the opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” his report states.

As his dissenting statement made clear, Durham is not limited to one department nor to its employees’ voluntary testimony.

Durham’s grand juries have already yielded indictments of two Clinton campaign-tied operatives for deceptive attempts to influence the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe. That Horowitz has already uncovered so many inconsistencies in the FBI’s account – and that Durham has gone out of his way to question the FBI predication that Horowitz accepted – suggests that the Steele dossier and the Alfa Bank “backchannel” story are far from the only fraudulent Trump-Russia activity in Durham’s sights.

If Durham does unearth additional evidence that the FBI did not launch the Trump-Russia probe in the way that it claims, then that would be yet another devastating revelation for a bureau that has already been caught relying on Clinton-funded disinformation and lying about it. Given how hard the FBI and Democratic Party allies have fought to shield this conduct from scrutiny, Durham’s probe could become a major political flashpoint as his probe reaches its final months and hones in on its final targets.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Investigations.]

Source: Durham going after reason FBI launched debunked ‘Russia collusion’