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The three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.
Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy omit — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
When we left off last week, the captain of the temple and the prison officers took the Apostles away once more. However, they were gentle, because they feared that the crowd might stone them (verse 26).
The Apostles appeared before the council, where the high priest questioned them (verse 27). Matthew Henry tells us they considered the Twelve:
John MacArthur says this was a momentous occasion for the Apostles:
here they are right back and the stage is set for sermon number two to the Sanhedrin, and the attendance has grown because now the senate is there. This is even better.
The high priest charges them with three offences (verse 28): disobeying the order not to preach about Christ Jesus, filling Jerusalem’s people with enthusiasm for Him and accusing the Jewish hierarchy of sentencing Him to death.
Henry offers this analysis (emphases mine):
Thus those who make void the commandments of God are commonly very strict in binding on their own commandments, and insisting upon their own power: Did not we command you? Yes, they did; but did not Peter at the same time tell them that God’s authority was superior to theirs, and his commands must take place of theirs? And they had forgotten this. 2. That they had spread false doctrine among the people, or at least a singular doctrine, which was not allowed by the Jewish church, nor agreed with what was delivered form Moses’s chair. “You have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and thereby have disturbed the public peace, and drawn people from the public establishment.” Some take this for a haughty scornful word: “This silly senseless doctrine of yours, that is not worth taking notice of, you have made such a noise with, that even Jerusalem, the great and holy city, is become full of it, and it is all the talk of the town.” They are angry that men, whom they look upon as despicable, should make themselves thus considerable. 3. That they had a malicious design against the government, and aimed to stir up the people against it, by representing it as wicked and tyrannical, and as having made itself justly odious both to God and man: “You intend to bring this man’s blood, the guilt of it before God, the shame of it before men, upon us.”
Henry points out the hypocrisy of these accusations:
See here how those who with a great deal of presumption will do an evil thing yet cannot bear to hear of it afterwards, nor to have it charged upon them. When they were in the heat of the persecution they could cry daringly enough, “His blood be upon us and upon our children; let us bear the blame for ever.” But now that they have time for a cooler thought they take it as a great affront to have his blood laid at their door. Thus are they convicted and condemned by their own consciences, and dread lying under that guilt in which they were not afraid to involve themselves.
MacArthur says the Apostles would have willingly agreed with the charges brought upon them:
So the first indictment was disobedience. The second charge they made against them was that they had accused them of the death of Christ. Notice it at the end of the verse: “And you intend to bring this man’s blood on us.” You’re saying all over the place that we are guilty. That’s right. That’s exactly what we’ve been saying. You guys have really gotten it right. Your charges are totally accurate. We’ve been disobedient and we’ve been indicting you …
They had the indictment right. They were disobedient and in fact they were accusing them of crucifying Christ. Then this wonderful commendation in the middle of the verse: “And behold you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine.” Praise the Lord! That’s what we’ve been trying to do. Mission accomplished! Saturation evangelism! What a commendation.
Episodes such as these make Acts an irresistible book of the New Testament. With the Holy Spirit descending upon them at that first Pentecost, the Apostles were spiritually on fire — and unabashedly taking the Good News to the temple!
They were teaching and healing with a consistent and singular message, as the angel who freed them directed (Acts 5:20):
20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”
MacArthur retraces Peter’s consistent indictment of the religious authorities in Acts:
Chapter 2:23 he says, “You have taken and by wicked hands crucified.” Chapter 2:36 he says, “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom you have crucified, Lord and Christ.” Chapter 3:15, “You killed the Prince of life.” Chapter 4: verse, I think it’s 10 and 11, “Be it known unto you all, all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified.” Sure, we’ve been saying that all along. You did it.
He also points out the hypocrisy of the religious leadership:
But have you forgotten Matthew 27:25? Jesus was to be crucified and they all screamed crucify Him, crucify Him and then they said this, “His blood be,” where, “On us.” They wanted it. Peter is not accusing them of anything that they didn’t desire to be accused of.
However, something else troubled the Jewish hierarchy: the miracle of the Apostles’ prison escape. It was too much for them to handle:
… there’s no question about the miracle of the escape. You know what? They don’t dare to ask them about it because they don’t want to hear about it. They’re so sick of hearing about miracles they’re already so messed up in their minds that another miracle would just really be too much to handle. So in all of that conversation they don’t even ask them how in the world they got out of jail. You know, my mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with facts.
So you see the effective evangelism of the early church was built on purity, power, and persecution. Let me give you a fourth one and then we’ll wrap it up. And I changed it while I was sitting here. The fourth one in your outline is preaching. Put down persistence. That’s a better word for it. That reflects what it’s really saying.
Persistence! And this again is the idea of the cork that keeps popping back up. They just never quit.
The next few verses, providing the proof of persistence, are in the three-year Lectionary, but without the rest of Acts 5, the average pewsitter is lost in a big cloud of ‘So what?’ Understanding all of Acts 5 makes the next few verses really powerful. Consider all of the following verses highlighted:
29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
Peter went back to righteously defy the religious leaders with truth. He was following the directives of God, not those of men.
May we follow his example in our own lives, trusting in the Holy Spirit to provide the right words at the right time.
Next time: Acts 5:33-42
On January 27, 2017 I wrote about the Deep State, which included an abridged description of it from former Congressional staffer and author Mike Lofgren.
On Wednesday, February 22, Alex ‘Infowars’ Jones gave an AMA — Ask Me Anything — interview to Reddit’s The_Donald. Questions and the transcript are here. Below is the full YouTube AMA, which was the highlight of a special Infowars broadcast:
The AMA starts at the beginning of the video and lasts for nearly three hours, ending at 2:54:00.
I don’t recommend many videos, but this one is particularly good as a) an explanation of how globalism works and b) a call to believe in Christ our Lord.
Even though I know most of the information Jones discusses, I found the 1:00:00 to 2:33:00 segment really worthwhile.
I’m going to summarise the high points of what Jones talked about, but will take them out of order, as the Q & A went back and forth on certain topics.
How globalism and the Deep State came about
Jones said that a global plan to control mankind came about in the 19th century. He mentioned Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a good example of the knowledge among a small group of people about what the future would bring. It was a very early time to bring electricity into a book, when most towns and cities would not have an electricity grid until decades later.
When the Fabians were established, they were interested in controlling mankind through eugenics and other means. They, other well-placed Europeans and America’s corporate elite got together to engineer these plans. The overriding theme was control over others — specifically the people they perceived as the lower orders.
Jones said that, in the early 20th century, the idea of machines controlling man intrigued this group of people. Thomas Watson — IBM’s founder — spent several years in Germany. He and his corporation became big players for the Third Reich. (I saw where someone online laughed at this the other night. However, it’s true. A number of well respected newspapers carried the story in the 1980s — pre-Internet. It was common knowledge for anyone who cared to read about it.) IBM was not the only corporation and Watson not the only wealthy man to aid, abet and make money off helping the Germans during that time and into the Second World War.
How the Deep State works today
Jones explained that people are bought off all the time. Many of the titans of technology have been compromised — receiving large sums of money — to do the Deep State’s bidding. The most recent examples of this have been the censorship and bans exercised by Facebook and Twitter.
Jones said that when he had a cable access television programme in the 1990s, critical of the Clinton administration in Washington, he was offered a trip to DC to meet then-president Bill Clinton — and $100m — if he would stop criticising Bill on air. Jones refused.
This leads him to believe that some of the biggest players aren’t making money off their genius and foresight alone. They are bought off by the Deep State (political, intelligence communities) and globalists to serve common elite interests.
Jones also mentioned that Bill Gates’s father was the chairman — not public president — of Planned Parenthood. Therefore, Bill had an ‘in’ to entrepreneurship via Dad’s connections. He was far from an ordinary guy writing computer programs in the family garage.
Jones tells his father’s story
Jones said that his father was a teenage engineering genius and had his own radio show in Texas during his adolescence.
Such brilliance brought him into contact with powerful people, who took him on private tours of various research facilities. They promised him the world if he would get a university degree. He could work for them and make a lot of money. They added, ‘But, you understand, you’ll also have to do some bad things.’
Jones’s father thought about the offer, what it entailed in the long run and politely refused. He pursued dentistry instead and became a dental surgeon.
How Jones got involved in investigative journalism
Those who regularly watch The Alex Jones Show know that he was a precocious teenager. At the age of 16, he was going to parties thrown by university students in a town in Texas, which he left unidentified (probably Rockwall, near Dallas).
He said that, at one of these, the mother of the student hosting the party was openly snorting cocaine. A sheriff’s car pulled up to the house. Jones was certain the house would be raided. But, no. The sheriff’s men brought in bags of cocaine and other drugs to sell, as if it were nothing. They had already established an arrangement with the woman.
He said that a week or so later, the same law enforcement officers spoke at a local anti-drug meeting, warning about the dangers of narcotics. When it came time for the public to ask questions, Jones — age 16 — got up and told them they were the same officers who sold drugs at the party he had recently attended.
Jones said that, afterwards, the officers pulled him aside and got him to a private room where they roughed him up. They told him to be quiet, otherwise, they would make sure he was gang raped by violent men whom they had already lined up. They told him to meet them again, but Jones did not go. Meanwhile, Jones’s father, a dental surgeon, had connections in town and managed to smooth things over. Nonetheless, those connections told him to move himself and his family out of town as soon as possible for their own safety.
The Jones family moved to Austin. Jones’s mother is from there originally and still has family there. That is why he remains there today with his own family.
How people get drawn into the Deep State
Jones said that players in the Deep State lure others in through the promise of influence, power and money.
Drawing new people in is easy when they find themselves in compromising situations through parties, perhaps involving paedophilia. The Deep State then has that person under their control. If that person wants to maintain his notional propriety — e.g. in public office — he must do as the Deep State dictates.
Jones said that it is better for intelligent or otherwise gifted people to resist friendly overtures from the Deep State at the outset. Be polite, say thank you, then walk away.
He said that once someone gets involved with the Deep State — even if they try not to become victims of blackmail — it is very difficult to walk away. He is quite certain, based on what insiders have told him, that Steve Jobs was murdered. He thinks that Jobs wanted out. However, because of what Jobs knew, he would have to be removed the picture entirely. Otherwise, he might have revealed what is really going on behind the scenes.
Jones also said that people in the highest echelons come across as very courteous and cordial. This is how innocent people get drawn into their web.
He made it clear that colluding with the Deep State was ‘selling a birthright’ and ‘selling your soul’. Never take money, favours or a position of influence from people allying with the powers of darkness, which is what the upper echelons are involved with.
Why globalists and the Deep State hate Trump
President Donald Trump wants everyone to have the same opportunity that he did to get ahead and make a good life for themselves and their families, Jones said. The globalists and Deep State, on the other hand, want everyone’s standard of living gradually lowered so that people have no more individual power over themselves, their families or their assets.
Jones said that Trump has always wanted what is right for people. Although, in some respects Trump has not been an angel, overall, he embraces a life-affirming philosophy. Jones said that the brutal presidential campaign humbled Trump and made him realise that there was no one he could rely on completely. Jones said Trump could only put himself in the hands of Almighty God, from whom all good things come.
Jones pointed out that Trump is continuing to undergo the same ordeals in the White House. Once again, he knows he can rely only on God.
The upper echelons trying to destroy humanity through Marxism, Communism, the family and sexuality see that Trump is a good man. Jones called him an ‘innocent’. He explained that Trump, whilst far from being naive, does not understand how evil people can work against their fellow human beings and oppose life-affirming policies and measures that will help the American people.
The spiritual battle
Time and time again, Jones emphasised the spiritual battle that America is going through right now.
He explained that he decided to do the AMA because he wanted to make it clear to those Americans ‘who are not worldly’ — meaning God-fearing — that there is real evil going on today and that they need to be aware of it.
He said that the evil is now out in the open. The Left, Big Media and others:
aren’t even trying to hide it any more, that’s how bad it is.
Someone from The_Donald asked if things would improve once George Soros passes away.
Jones replied that George Soros was one of only several at the top determined to destroy goodness in the world. He said that Soros has his own acolytes prepared to continue the fight. They have a battle plan and know what to do. Even worse, Jones asserted that Soros himself is controlled. He’s not the man in charge. There are people above him exerting their influence.
Jones also downplayed Soros’s influence by saying that although the man lives and breathes, he is spiritually dead, inferring that he really has no meaningful life anyway, so there is no need to worry about him.
Jones calls people to Christ
Jones gave two or three sermonettes on the importance of faith in Jesus Christ.
He was emotional — in his usual way at such points in his monologues — emphasising that the only way anyone can defeat the powers of darkness is through faith in Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Jones is not the biggest churchgoer and, perhaps rightly, finds that Satan lurks in most churches. So he stays away. That said, he does know his Bible and gave an interesting, modern update on what King David faced by way of sin and temptation. He pointed out that when David repented, God filled him with abundant grace and great courage.
Jones said we could learn from King David’s experience; the devil is the one who gets people to doubt whether God will forgive them. Jones said to ignore those doubts. They come from Satan. God forgives.
Therefore, pray regularly and ask for faith.
Jones would have made an excellent preacher. I wish we had thousands of clergymen like him. He spoke the truth. He spoke from the heart. He pulled no punches on explaining the darkness in world today. He explained that Jesus Christ — the Light of the World — is our only means of hope and salvation.
What people can do
Jones said that good people must speak up and tell unworldly people about the dark forces in our society.
He said to first believe in Christ, because without Him we can accomplish nothing. From that, we were to infer that secular humanism will not get the job done.
God-fearing people should start blogs, websites and/or video channels. We all have our own special talents that, with divine grace, we can use to reveal the vagaries of the Left, the globalists and the Deep State.
We must not remain silent. We must speak out. We must resist.
Above, all, if we want to defeat evil, we must be faithful Christians.
In 2012, the daughter of a member of the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellowship in Indianapolis donated a statue of Jesus to the church.
The statue stands near the door. CNN reports that, five years ago:
“The first time we put it up, they knocked it over,” Pastor Brad Flaskamp told CNN. The statue was put back in place and the church thought no more of it for years, he said.
Fox 59 in Indianapolis reported on February 20 that two weeks before, someone decapitated the statue and left the head lying nearby. Church members were able to repair the statue. However, on Sunday, February 19, someone broke the head off once again and made off with it:
“I can tell you that I don’t think it’s kids,” said Pastor Flaskamp. “It would have to be a kid that can wield a sledge hammer.”
Flaskamp and members of the 100-year-old church are mystified:
There’s no way to tell if it’s the work of somebody seeking a thrill, or somebody trying to send the church a message, or something else.
“I kind of think it’s someone new in the neighborhood that’s got some really deep problems,” said the church’s secretary, Sue Myers.
Her grandson Tony, who is also a member of the church, is equally puzzled.
“I think it’s somebody that just has fun destroying other people’s things, honestly,” Tony Myers said.
Despite the vandalism, Flaskamp is able to view the situation in a classically Christian way:
“Someone needs Jesus, that’s for sure,” he said. “And not just his head, that’s the truth.”
church members say they just want the head returned. Pastor Flaskamp says if the suspect brings the head back and confesses to the crime, the pastor won’t even call police on the person.
“I’d say we love you, we’d love to have the statue head back and we’d love to have you in our church,” Flaskamp said. “We’d welcome them, we’d forgive them. That’s what it’s all about.”
Just so. That’s the right response, although it’s hard to say whether welcoming that person in to church might not cause further problems.
Fox 59’s report states that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police opened an investigation when the head was first decapitated a fortnight ago. Unfortunately, they have no leads and would have to send detectives into the neighbourhood to gather intelligence. Police had hoped a nearby neighbour with a security system might have caught something on video. Alas, the homeowner said the system was installed after the vandalism. That said, he has the camera set up to capture the church.
It is interesting to see that this story got from Indianapolis local news to CNN. The Houston Chronicle also had a report on it.
I hope the congregation finds that the culprit returns the head of Jesus intact. May that person find the urge to repent and may he or she come to believe deeply in our only Mediator and Advocate.
Yesterday’s post concerned Melania Trump’s opening her husband’s February 18 rally in Melbourne, Florida with the Lord’s Prayer.
The following day, The_Donald — a welcoming forum for Trump supporters and ex-leftists — featured a long thread about the first lady’s call to prayer.
Most of The_Donald’s readers are Millennials and gamers. They also do not mince words. Sometimes their language is salty. Therefore, it was heartening to read their support of prayer.
Selected comments follow, demonstrating that perhaps the United States is returning to the Lord. And, as others know, where the US goes, the rest of the world often follows. Emphases mine below.
FullMetalSquirrel: Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
KrakNup (replied): It’s hard to believe that we can converse and post passages like this without being totally shut down. It’s been too many years since that was so.
GCMythix (further reply): Exactly, it’s amazing how this community is so open to all types of people. This is the first place on the internet I haven’t been completely disregarded for my faith. I’ve been made fun of and discredited just because of my beliefs and I’m so glad that we can come together as a nation. I’m glad atheists and Christians and those from every belief get along so well here🙂
An atheist chimed in:
Neo8Aeon (excerpted): I’m an atheist, spent much of 2 years ago explaining why atheism is better online and on forums, watched and read Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris and others and preached the message of rationality and science over all …
I love science and I’m still an atheist to the core, but I’m not of the anti Christian sect any more. I love what the Christian culture and values did in the America of my childhood. But for a few, highly over-publicized cases, the Christianity I’ve known has always been hate the sin, love the sinner, and we are all sinners, all worth loving.
Right now if the USA again moved toward prayer in schools, toward people who quoted the bible reverently, with malice toward none but charity for all I’d be on board for that. So I’ve become a pro-Christian atheist.
God Bless the USA!
Melania’s popularity went up with the act of prayer:
cequiceracera: I thought she seemed a little nervous, but was so glad she took the stage. I hope we hear more from her in the future!
Perhelion (reply): I think she will get used to it as she takes on more speaking roles as FLOTUS. But again, starting with the Lord’s Prayer won massive points with me. She may as well have walked on water today. That’s how highly I think of her now.
Another reader reminded the Left of America’s origins:
GoneGalt13: Reminder for triggering leftists: our official national motto is IN GOD WE TRUST. Also, for what it’s worth E Pluribus Unum refers to STATES. Out of many states, one country.
Some criticised the first lady’s detractors:
StillTraveling: Everyone on twitter talking about how she had to read it off a card…
They are retarded. English is not her first language. I’m sure she prays in her first language; therefore, it is to be expected that she would utilize the written English prayer to help her along.
ZippyTheChicken (reply): when you are not off the cuff like donald its always best to read off a card.. can you imagine if she missed a word the left would say horrible things.
the fact is … she said it.. and I have never heard anyone else in politics say it
FullMetalSquirrel (further reply): It is easy to get a prayer wrong though. I do this all the time in my head and have to start over. So stupid and mean.
I’ve gotta say, they will answer for mocking her for praying and it will be to the Lord himself.
From someone who was at the rally:
FL_MEGA_MAGA: I was there, it was awesome. DEUS VULT!
And from someone who wasn’t:
speaksdinosaur: I found myself doing the Sign of the Cross. Old habits die hard even if you’re not religious.
More positive comments followed:
Sleek_Bones: Finally, a president[ial] couple that worships the one and only.
locploc: It was a fantastic surprise. Very heart-warming.
dparks2010: For anyone who missed it – here’s a video which starts with Melania’s intro:
What a gorgeous and classy woman. I’m proud to have her as my First Lady.
ManOfTheInBetween: When was the last time you heard a Presidential family say something like this in public? Whether you believe or not we call all agree that the values of Christianity are valuable and benefited western culture. God Bless the USA!
In closing, some were inspired to seek a broader application in a time of growing unbelief:
FullMetalSquirrel: I am seriously thinking of starting a list of names of people here who say this or that they’re atheists and praying for them once a week at least.
My hope is always that people will find God and to do so in a way that doesn’t involve something painful or heart breaking.
ZippyTheChicken (reply, excerpted): you know I was thinking about that the other night .. the thing is everyone who says they are an atheist has all ready been told the good word and they intentionally reject the idea that God can exist.
Now I understand that they might not believe the bible and every word of it as hard core science .. that might be understandable.. some believers are exacting in their belief of every single word and there could be people that say that can’t actually be true.. well whatever .. let’s get past that …
But to reject God as a possibility? …
If you look at the atom it has very similar properties to a solar system.. there is the nucleus and orbiting planets which could be considered protons and then moons that represent electrons and then there are comets and asteroids that are similar to quarks …
The atom is infinitely small and the universe is infinitely large
you look into an atom and you find a quark.. well that quark can be divided..
you look at our solar system and you understand it is nothing in comparison to the milky way and then the milky way to the universe.
It’s just astounding .. and we believe that God said Let There Be Light….
I have 4 years of organic chemistry and many more of other sciences… I have been educated in engineering and taught it…. I have lectured at a half dozen Ivy League Schools to professors not students and I have known many people who are held up as the most brilliant in our society only to see that they are fricken idiots in some cases.
If someone uses science as a basis to reject God then they are an uneducated idiot.
If they follow the garbage that comes out of the mouth of someone like Bill Nye who was a failed Boeing Engineer that had a kids show on public access cable that was launched into a career because someone had to fill that spot of being the science guy… and he has no real scientific accomplishments of his own worth noting…
I mean its so exasperating and depressing to see someone reject God intentionally and then use Science or anything else as the basis to say God does not exist …
Accepting God is not Going to Church
its how you live your life
and Life is short.. 100 years or so at the most we get…
It is a job interview for Eternity
Eternity that is as vast and larger than the universe..
An eternity where you will find peace
God didn’t screw this world up People did
I deeply wish people would understand that God is real and that maybe God would show himself in their lives ..
But God Exists whether we believe or not
He was there before we were born and will be there for eternity
I say just do your best .. and only you know if you are doing your best.
And if you make a mistake or give into temptation .. ask for forgiveness and then try again to do your best.
It is evident that Melania Trump’s public recitation of the Lord’s Prayer last Saturday has inspired many people who normally would not discuss Christianity so openly. It has provoked useful and inspiring conversation.
It is also apparent that the Lord was working through her in that rally. Contrary to what a substantial minority of Americans think, the Lord is also working through her husband in leading the United States — and possibly other places in the world — to a more righteous and just future for all.
The Left are in disarray. I am not the first person to say that they are akin to a vicious animal that finds itself cornered. It will attack for survival. In the end, it will be subdued.
Right now, the president sees the lashing out.
In the end, he will overcome it.
However, that is a perilous task, one that 99% would not be able to accomplish. It demands physical resilience and mental strength.
Donald Trump needs the prayers of the faithful right now. The high echelon of the intelligence community opposes him. One of them said in an interview last week that Trump ‘better watch his mouth’. Some Democrats want the president to undergo a psychological examination. Another faction wants the government — elected by the people — to be declared illegitimate.
These are very dangerous times. The media aid and abet Democrats and the GOP establishment, both of which have much to hide. The media have their sins, too.
Ultimately, Donald Trump’s enemies fear he and his men will expose their heinous sins and crimes not only to Americans but also to the world.
This is why it is so important to pray that God protects Trump, his administration and their families. The truth must come out — and a thorough cleansing must take place.
President Donald Trump held a rally on Saturday, February 18, 2017, early in the evening at the AeroMod hangar in Melbourne, Florida.
In a welcome move, First Lady Melania Trump introduced the rally with the Lord’s Prayer:
Big Media criticised the first lady for reading the prayer instead of reciting it from memory. What if she is accustomed to praying in Slovenian?
It must be difficult for her right now. She is holed up in Trump Tower most days and doesn’t even take ten-year-old Barron to school anymore because the Secret Service would have to lay on a big motorcade. It is easier on New Yorkers if the Secret Service do the school run every day. The first lady does not wish to be a burden on her fellow citizens.
It must also be heart-wrenching for her to watch or read Big Media every day. Nearly every news item is an attack on her husband. She is no doubt also worried about those in government in Washington DC. Who is supporting him? Who is betraying him?
Therefore, it seems a natural choice that she would begin with the Lord’s Prayer, one that every Christian knows and can be prayed together.
I like the Revd Franklin Graham’s take below (Image credit: The Conservative Treehouse):
After praying, the first lady gave a brief message about her role, which will involve supporting initiatives for women and children:
Those personal attacks come from the Left. Although she is a legal immigrant, they have no time for her.
Now for a few words about the rally. Those who do not understand Trump will wonder what the point is if he is already president. However, Trump enjoys being with the American people and always has done. Last July at the Republican National Convention, Franklin Graham described him as a ‘blue collar billionaire’. That describes him to a T!
Trump’s Deplorables also miss the rallies, so they welcome any occasion to see him speak to them in person.
The queue at the airport in Melbourne began forming early Saturday morning. The Conservative Treehouse (CTH) has a great report with pictures (emphasis in the original):
The crowd began as early as 5am this morning, and the line was building throughout the day. At approximately 1:00pm the massive line is well over 3 miles long and consists of thousands upon thousands of Trump Supporters. The event starts at 5:00pm
HOLY CATS !! The line of people is so long, it is now actually “lapping” around (meaning completely encircling ) the entire airport property boundary. It’s insane !
Another report from CTH has an RSBN video which features interviews with Trump supporters — and this comment:
There are massive crowds of people in attendance – not quite sure how the airport is going to fit them all in.
Here is a tweet of RSBN’s Margaret Howell (ex-Infowars) interviewing a Deplorable:
Approximately 9,000 people attended, according to Melbourne Police. Of course, this number did not go unnoticed by The Hill:
This rally was set up only a few days ago. Last September’s — before the election — was on Trump’s website for several days in advance. The Hill reports that 15,000 tried to get in to that one, but ‘some’ people were turned away (fire regulations). Remember that Hillary Clinton never attracted more than a few hundred people when she appeared. Her campaign sometimes had to bus people in to attend (e.g. Temple University).
Whatever the case with Trump’s numbers, it does not matter. Nine thousand people is huge. Matt Drudge hit the nail on the head:
The Trumps arrived on Air Force One:
The first lady looked resplendent in red:
CTH has close-up shots of the couple, particularly Melania.
Trump spoke about the media and their fake news. He said that Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln also had problems with press coverage during their time in office. He said that he inherited a ‘real mess’ but that the White House is running ‘so smoothly’. He reassured the audience that a replacement for Obamacare was on its way. He explained how the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the suspension of his Executive Order seeking to stop immigration from seven countries for a 90-day preiod. He also warned about social breakdown that occurred with uncontrolled immigration in Europe. He spoke about his efforts in the past three weeks to create tens of thousands of new jobs for Americans.
The biggest point of the evening came when he introduced top Deplorable Gene Huber, first in line for the rally. He was interviewed by CNN and Fox News afterwards. More about him in another post, as I am waiting to see if Big Media treat him as badly as they did Joe the Plumber in 2008. May God bless Mr Huber and give him strength in the days ahead.
The three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.
Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy omit — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.
22 But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, 23 “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. 25 And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
Today’s passage is a continuation of last week’s, wherein an angel of the Lord released the Apostles from prison for preaching and healing in Christ’s name. The angel told the Twelve to return to Solomon’s Portico — Solomon’s Porch — at the temple (Acts 5:20):
20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”
This is the first of the miraculous prison stories of Acts. An angel freed Peter again in Acts 12. An earthquake freed Paul and Silas from prison in Acts 16. God wanted the Church to expand. Prison was not going to stop the divine plan.
Acts 5:21 tells us that the high priest and the religious leaders around him sent for the Twelve to be brought from prison before them.
The prison officers went to the cell, but did not find them (verse 22). John MacArthur calls this:
the great escape.
Matthew Henry surmises the Apostles’ absence was all the more confusing because:
It is probable that they found the common prisoners there.
No doubt the officers were fearful that the religious leaders would accuse them of being lax, so they quickly said that everything was secure, yet there was ‘no one inside’ (verse 23). Having no more information available, we do not know whether Henry’s assumption is correct or whether all the prisoners escaped. It seems unlikely that the angel would have also released common criminals. Perhaps by ‘no one inside’, the officers meant the Twelve. It is impossible to know for certain.
Hearing this, the religious leaders were ‘perplexed’ (verse 24). That is probably an understatement. Henry explores the permutations going through their minds. First, they were they figuring out how the Apostles escaped imprisonment. Secondly, they also wondered what the impact of this meant long-term (emphases mine):
They were extremely perplexed, were at their wits’ end, having never been so disappointed in all their lives of any thing they were so sure of. It occasioned various speculations, some suggesting that they were conjured out of the prison, and made their escape by magic arts; others that the keepers had played tricks with them, knowing how many friends these prisoners had, that were so much the darlings of the people. Some feared that, having made such a wonderful escape, they would be the more followed; others that, though perhaps they had frightened them from Jerusalem, they should hear of them again in some part or other of the country, where they would do yet more mischief, and it would be yet more out of their power to stop the spreading of the infection; and now they begin to fear that instead of curing the ill they have made it worse. Note, Those often distress and embarrass themselves that think to distress and embarrass the cause of Christ.
Worse came when someone told the leaders that the men were back preaching and healing in the temple (verse 25). Think of it, these men — released — have not sought shelter elsewhere as ordinary ex-prisoners often do. They are right back where they were arrested: in plain view. Henry says:
Now this confounded them more than any thing.
It scared them, too. MacArthur says:
They were scared to death and they couldn’t stop this thing and they knew they couldn’t stop it. And they knew that their authority was being disregarded, heresy was being preached. God was opposing them by miracles.
Nonetheless, they wanted to get to the bottom of this, so the captain of the temple and the officers went to bring the Twelve in. However, they did it peaceably (verse 26). This was because they feared the wrath of the people, especially that of the new converts.
The Apostles did not mind going with them, because they knew that whatever might happen, God was watching over them and would protect them, just as He had sent the angel to free them.
MacArthur has a good analysis:
… I mean just think of the thrill of going through a jail cell when it was locked. Not too many have that opportunity for several reasons. They don’t usually get in, hopefully, but nevertheless there was no resistance. They could have resisted at that point very easily, but they went so willingly. And probably on the way Peter is plotting out his sermon outline because he knows that the Lord is going to give him a second, this is the second service that they’ll be holding in the Sanhedrin. He’s probably getting it all outlined, of course, and figuring out the order of worship, or whatever.
The story continues next week.
Next time: Acts 5:27-28
Maybe I can just squeak by with this, as a local eatery near us is advertising Valentine’s Day dinner specials through the weekend.
I saw Jamie Glazov’s Front Page article about Valentine’s Day on February 15: ‘Hating Valentine’s: Why Islamists and the Radical Left loathe the Day of Love’.
Glazov starts by giving a near-comprehensive review of penalties for and protests against celebrating Valentine’s Day in Muslim countries. I’ll let you read that in your own time.
The more puzzling aspect, which he explains nicely, is why the notionally tolerant Left don’t like February 14. Aren’t they the ones in favour of love?
Glazov tells us (emphases mine):
As an individual who spent more than a decade in academia, I was privileged to witness this war against Valentine’s Day up close and personal. Feminist icons like Jane Fonda, meanwhile, help lead the assault on Valentine’s Day in society at large. As David Horowitz has documented, Fonda has led the campaign to transform this special day into “V-Day” (“Violence against Women Day”) — which is, when it all comes down to it, a day of hate, featuring a mass indictment of men.
Why, oh why, oh why?
Islam and the radical Left both revile the notion of private love, a non-tangible and divine entity that draws individuals to each other and, therefore, distracts them from submitting themselves to a secular deity.
Valentine’s Day is a day of two people celebrating their love and devotion to each other — not to a collective or to a government regime. Therefore, opponents want it stopped.
Incidentally, I wrote about the St Valentines various and the traditions behind the day. The following post from 2015 discusses the different St Valentines, all of whom brought two people together in the name of love:
The next post, from 2016, describes ancient traditions surrounding Valentine’s Day and the meaning of ‘x’, symbolic of the cross of St Andrew:
From its post-Lupercalian origin, Valentine’s Day has been about two people and their fidelity to each other.
This brings us neatly back to the present day and the totalitarian resistance — whether religious or socio-political — to the Day of Love.
The highest objective of both Islam and the radical Left is clear: to shatter the sacred intimacy that a man and a woman can share with one another, for such a bond is inaccessible to the order. History, therefore, demonstrates how Islam, like Communism, wages a ferocious war on any kind of private and unregulated love. In the case of Islam, the reality is epitomized in its monstrous structures of gender apartheid and the terror that keeps it in place. Indeed, female sexuality and freedom are demonized and, therefore, forced veiling, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, honor killings and other misogynist monstrosities become mandatory parts of the sadistic paradigm.
Totalitarian regimes are similar:
In Stalinist Russia, sexual pleasure was portrayed as unsocialist and counter-revolutionary. More recent Communist societies have also waged war on sexuality — a war that Islam, as we know, wages with similar ferocity. These totalist structures cannot survive in environments filled with self-interested, pleasure-seeking individuals who prioritize devotion to other individual human beings over the collective and the state. Because the leftist believer viscerally hates the notion and reality of personal love and “the couple,” he champions the enforcement of totalitarian puritanism by the despotic regimes he worships.
Some may say that the earliest Communists promoted promiscuity — and abortion. Yes, they did, but note that a) promiscuity violates tender, loving fidelity between two people and b) abortion prevents the fruit of that beautiful union.
Glazov goes on to discuss famous dystopian novels, each of which involves a totalitarian state that forbids love between two adults. HG Wells’s novels described the totalitarian atmosphere. A Russian literary editor and novelist, Yevgeny Zamyatin, who had edited translations of Wells’s works in Russian, was inspired to take the concepts further in his 1924 novel We, which the early Soviet government banned. Zamyatin’s novel describes a couple who experience devotion to each other. Because this is illegal, the protagonist D-503 must undergo the Great Operation, which deadens the parts of the brain dedicated to passion, imagination and, by extension, love. D-503’s lover O-90 gives birth to his child. O-90 cannot bear to give their child up to the state, so D-503 manages to get her and their child smuggled out of the state to safety.
We inspired other dystopian works, the most famous of which are Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984. Those also contain story lines of forbidden love.
Totalitarianism encourages promiscuity, but not faithful love. Religious totalitarianism values sexual segregation, but not mutual devotion:
And that is why love presents such a threat to the totalitarian order: it dares to serve itself. It is a force more powerful than the all-pervading fear that a totalitarian order needs to impose in order to survive. Leftist and Muslim social engineers, therefore, in their twisted and human-hating imaginations, believe that the road toward earthly redemption (under a classless society or Sharia) stands a chance only if private love and affection is purged from the human condition.
However, as we know, that is impossible. We are hard-wired to be like Adam and Eve. God created them so they could be loving, supportive companions who could create a family.
This brings us to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Those of us who are old enough to remember recall slogans of ‘free love’ and so on. Various sexual positions, some of them non-procreational, were vaunted. If couples weren’t engaging in these, they were not ‘doing it right’. The Joy of Sex was a newlywed’s go-to book in the 1970s. Swingers’ clubs were popular amongst small segments of the middle class.
And, yes, there were swingers living near my home in the 1970s. My parents and I knew two. This middle-aged couple — second marriage for both, grown children — tried to recruit my parents. Mum and Dad were appalled. My mother tried to engage the couple in a philosophical discussion about the nature of love and marriage. Their response was, ‘Who needs it?’ Not surprisingly, they divorced and moved away within the year. If I remember rightly, the woman started cavorting with a fellow swinger and left her husband. He was very angry with her and changed his tune. ‘What happened to her fidelity to me?’ he asked my parents. Lesson learned? For him, yes. For her, it came afterwards when her swinger boyfriend dumped her. That was the last we heard of or about them.
The sexual revolution — still continuing today, with teenagers engaging in oral or copulative sex as if it were nothing — is something sensible people must resist. Sex education in schools is not designed to tell children about the birds and the bees in a biological way. It is intended to subvert the sanctity of married life and bringing children into the world.
During this same era, Bill Ayers — a longtime educator who goes on public speaking tours across America — was a radical who escaped a prison sentence on a technicality. You can read more about him here:
He was one of the leaders of the Weather Underground, a group of violent radicals. Glazov tells us:
as Peter Collier and David Horowitz demonstrate in Destructive Generation, the Weather Underground not only waged war against American society through violence and mayhem, but also waged war on private love within its own ranks. Bill Ayers, one of the leading terrorists in the group, argued in a speech defending the campaign:
Any notion that people can have responsibility for one person, that they can have that ‘out’ — we have to destroy that notion in order to build a collective; we have to destroy all ‘outs,’ to destroy the notion that people can lean on one person and not be responsible to the entire collective.
That was at the time of the ‘free love’ sexual revolution in the late 1960s.
Similarly, promiscuity was the order of the day in communes, also popular then, whether large or small. Invariably, even though they started out with an egalitarian programme, all of them ended up with an alpha male leader who seduced the women in the group, creating a harem. Other men ended up being marginalised. Couples were fractured. People got hurt emotionally. Some required deep therapy to bring them back to a trusting, loving state of mind.
Although I digress somewhat, these vignettes from half a century ago tell us that we should be wary of deviating from a biblical norm when it comes to love.
Now to the present day. A bewildering series of protests have been taking place over the past few months. The most bemusing involve feminists veiling themselves as if they were Muslim. Why?
Glazov explains that totalitarian regimes rely on clothing that conceals one’s sexuality. Historically:
As sociologist Paul Hollander has documented in his classic Political Pilgrims, fellow travelers were especially enthralled with the desexualized dress that the Maoist regime imposed on its citizens. This at once satisfied the leftist’s desire for enforced sameness and the imperative of erasing attractions between private citizens. As I have demonstrated in United in Hate, the Maoists’ unisex clothing finds its parallel in fundamentalist Islam’s mandate for shapeless coverings to be worn by both males and females. The collective “uniform” symbolizes submission to a higher entity and frustrates individual expression, mutual physical attraction, and private connection and affection. And so, once again, the Western leftist remains not only uncritical, but completely supportive of — and enthralled in — this form of totalitarian puritanism.
With regard to today’s female protesters:
This is precisely why leftist feminists today do not condemn the forced veiling of women in the Islamic world; because they support everything that forced veiling engenders.
As Glazov points out, even European law enforcement officers have been advising women to cover up so they won’t be targets of immigrant Muslim men.
Before I conclude, it is essential at this point to offer documented proof that, 40 years ago, Muslim women — except for those out in the sticks — wore normal Western clothing. I wrote about this in 2015 with loads of links to photographs:
Today, I saw two more items relating to Muslim women’s attire during that time. Rare Historical Photos has a good piece, ‘Women protesting forced hijab days after the Iranian Revolution, 1979’. Here’s an unrelated tweet from someone too young, perhaps, to know what I remember from my youth:
Glazov concludes that:
Valentine’s Day is a “shameful day” for the Muslim world and for the radical Left. It is shameful because private love is considered obscene, since it threatens the highest of values: the need for a totalitarian order to attract the complete and undivided attention, allegiance and veneration of every citizen. Love serves as the most lethal threat to the tyrants seeking to build Sharia and a classless utopia on earth, and so these tyrants yearn for the annihilation of every ingredient in man that smacks of anything that it means to be human …
This day reminds us that we have a weapon, the most powerful arsenal on the face of the earth, in front of which despots and terrorists quiver and shake, and sprint from in horror into the shadows of darkness, desperately avoiding its piercing light.
That arsenal is love …
Love will prevail.
Long Live Valentine’s Day.
With work schedules and business trips such as they are, some readers might be celebrating a Valentine’s weekend. I wish you a very happy time. May it be love-filled today and always.
Over the past week, President Donald Trump welcomed Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe of Japan, Justin Trudeau of Canada and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to the White House.
Before Trump welcomed Shinzo Abe and his wife to the United States last weekend, he already had a big fan club in Japan. This video was filmed on Inauguration Day:
The Abes were in Washington DC on Friday, February 10. Trump and Abe held a joint press conference, wherein Trump pledged ‘even closer’ relations with Japan, including reaffirming America’s security guarantee:
The two leaders met privately before posing for a photo op:
The Daily Mail reported that Mrs Trump did not guide Mrs Abe around Washington, because the latter already had plans for the day: a visit to Gallaudet University for the deaf and hard of hearing followed by a National Cherry Blossom Festival committee meeting at the Japanese Embassy. There is also a language barrier. Mrs Trump does not speak Japanese, and Mrs Abe does not speak English.
However, they rode together that afternoon to meet their husbands for a weekend at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach:
This video shows their arrival in Florida. Each leader had his own entourage. This was the roadside reception for Trump. Abe must have been impressed:
That evening, they had dinner with Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, Superbowl LI champions:
On Saturday, Trump and Abe discussed issues of the day over a round of golf:
Meanwhile, Melania Trump took Akie Abe for a tour of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden in Delray Beach, not far from Palm Beach, where the two couples spent the weekend.
Afterwards, the first lady took Mrs Abe to the Episcopal church where she and Trump got married, Bethesda-by-the-Sea:
A working dinner followed:
That evening, while the couples were having dinner, North Korea launched a missile into the Sea of Japan. The two leaders made an impromptu joint statement:
Trump met with Justin Trudeau on Monday, February 13. This was a day trip.
The neighboring leaders, polar opposites in nearly every way, took up the thorny subjects of trade and immigration, with Trudeau eager to build a relationship with the new U.S. president.
At a joint press conference after a series of meetings, the two emphasized their shared goals. Trump pledged to work with Canada “in pursuit of our many shared interests.” Trudeau spoke of a special bond and the “deep abiding respect” between the two countries, though he also said that “relationships between neighbors are pretty complex.”
While the two leaders stressed shared interests, their contrasting views were also on display. Responding to questions from reporters, Trump defended his refugee and immigration orders, saying that “we cannot let the wrong people in.” Trudeau, on the other hand, said Canada continues to “pursue our policies of openness.”
Trudeau later noted that there have been times when the two countries “have differed in our approaches.” But he said “the last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they chose to govern themselves.”
Trudeau gave the president a photo. It was of Trump and Justin’s father, the late Pierre Trudeau, also a prime minister of Canada.
Trudeau also met legislators at Capitol Hill.
Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara arrived at the White House on Thursday, February 16.
This is their formal welcome to the White House, followed by friendly conversation — they met at Trump’s residence in Trump Tower after the election — and the official photo op:
This short video from Netanyahu’s Twitter encapsulates the highlights of the day:
Trump and Netanyahu held a joint press conference before their private meeting:
NPR has a transcript of the press conference. Topics included the usual concerns, primarily peace in Israel and in the Middle East:
While the two leaders met, their wives went to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. This was apposite as February is Black History Month in the United States. Museum guides provided the two ladies with assistance in viewing important exhibits and interactive displays:
Trump’s meeting with Netanyahu was a sharp and welcome departure from the Israeli’s meeting with Obama in 2014. The Atlantic detailed the breakdown in the relationship, with one White House staffer calling Netanyahu a particularly vulgar word denoting a coward.
For that Obama staffer, if this is what a coward looks like, then I’m the pope. This is Bibi as a young man (courtesy of The_Donald):
As you can see below, Trump picked up on that at the time. Here’s a comparison between Obama and Netanyahu:
Now back to the 2017 visit. The Daily Mail has a complete rundown, including photos, of the Netanyahu visit to Washington.
Melania Trump’s white suit is a Karl Lagerfeld creation.
Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, thought to be a prime mover in strengthening US-Israeli relations, attended the press conference. The Kushners also know the Netanyahus well.
That evening, the Trumps co-hosted a dinner for the Netanyahus. Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) and his wife Jeanette were the other co-hosts.
Joel Pollak wrote a good article on Breitbart, detailing five ways in which this visit will improve relations between the US and Israel, not to mention the Middle East with regard to terror.
In closing, this was the fourth state visit Trump has hosted within the past three weeks.
I am not sure when we had such great presidential optics online. Despite all the slings and arrows the new president continues to take, this one best sums up his inner serenity. From the Abe visit to Mar-A-Lago (note Mike Flynn standing in front of the statue):
The Trump meetings have terrific photos and videos. Long may they continue.