During the 1990s in the UK, women were pushing for private gentlemen’s clubs in Pall Mall, London, to admit ladies as members.

Many did. Those that did not continued to receive opprobrium from females.

Twenty years later, in the United States, women are paying dues to be able to partake of ladies-only ‘workspaces’.

You can’t have it all, ladies. Be consistent in what you want. If you want your own private space, then allow men to have their own clubs.

Bloomberg explains these women-only workspaces:

Co-working is hardly new; industry trade magazine Deskmag estimated there would be 10,000 co-working spots worldwide by the end of 2016. But female-focused spaces have become a niche in the industry as a response to contemporary feminism and a reaction against fratty venues that advertise kegs and pingpong. “Women are craving community, connection, and confidence, and that’s what we’re going to give them,” says Stacy Taubman, 38, founder of Rise Collaborative, which is set to open in St. Louis this month and will offer members networking events, a book club, and a chance to mentor teens. Then there’s SheWorks Collective, also in Manhattan; New Women Space, in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Hera Hub, in Phoenix, Southern California, Washington, D.C., and Stockholm.

The Bloomberg article focusses on The Wing in Manhattan, founded by 29-year-old Audrey Gelman:

the co-working space and social club she co-founded this October [2016] in New York. A man walks through the elevator doors, and Gelman throws him a friendly wave. “That’s our AV guy,” she says. “He’s basically the only man that comes through here.”

Admittedly, when the English controversy over gentlemen’s clubs was going on, Gelman was in primary school — and in the United States. Nonetheless, what if 29-year-old male contemporaries of hers wanted men’s-only clubs? The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

Bloomberg pointed out an interesting fact from the 19th century (emphasis mine):

A hundred years ago, there were more than 5,000 women’s clubs nationwide whose aim was self-improvement and social reform. Membership in these clubs peaked in the mid-1950s but has been on the decline ever since. “We’re resurrecting this concept,” Gelman says, an assertion reinforced by the Wing’s location on Manhattan’s historic Ladies’ Mile, where women were first allowed to shop without a male escort in the late 19th century.

One wonders if women looking forward or backward.

The other day, I ran across an old link to Percy Dearmer‘s Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, first published by Mowbray in 1912.

Percy Dearmer was an Anglican priest who lived between 1867 and 1936. He was a High Church Anglican, although one who championed the English Use rite used before the Reformation over Roman Catholic rubrics.

Dearmer was an avowed Socialist (unfortunately). That said, he served in various London parish churches and wrote several books about the Book of Common Prayer, liturgy as well as a history of King Alfred and a travel book about Normandy. In later years, he was a canon at Westminster Abbey, where his ashes are interred.

Dearmer was also a lecturer in ecclesiastical art at King’s College, London from 1919 until his death at the age of 69.

He was also interested in composing and compiling hymns. He and Ralph Vaughan Williams published The English Hymnal in 1906. Two more hymnals followed: Songs of Praise in 1926 and the Oxford Book of Carols in 1928.

Incidentally, when Songs of Praise was expanded in 1931, Dearmer wanted a hymn of daily thanksgiving, which is how Morning Has Broken (made famous 40 years later by Cat Stevens) first became known:

In Songs of Praise Discussed, the editor, Percy Dearmer, explains that as there was need for a hymn to give thanks for each day, English poet and children’s author Eleanor Farjeon had been “asked to make a poem to fit the lovely Scottish tune”. A slight variation on the original hymn, also written by Eleanor Farjeon, can be found in the form of a poem contributed to the anthology Children’s Bells, under Farjeon’s new title, “A Morning Song (For the First Day of Spring)”, published by Oxford University Press in 1957. The song is noted in 9/4 time but with a 3/4 feel.

“Bunessan” had been found in L. McBean’s Songs and Hymns of the Gael, published in 1900.[3] Before Farjeon’s words, the tune was used as a Christmas carol, which began “Child in the manger, Infant of Mary”, translated from the Scottish Gaelic lyrics written by Mary MacDonald. The English-language Roman Catholic hymnal also uses the tune for the James Quinn hymns “Christ Be Beside Me” and “This Day God Gives Me”, both of which were adapted from the traditional Irish hymn St. Patrick’s Breastplate. Another Christian hymn “Baptized In Water” borrows the tune.

Dearmer, his wife Mabel and their two sons all served in the Great War. Dearmer and his wife were stationed in Serbia where he was a chaplain to a British Red Cross Ambulance unit. Mabel served as a nurse with that unit and died of enteric fever in 1915. Their younger son Christopher died in battle that year. However, their elder son, Geoffrey, survived and died at the age of 103, and, at that age, was one of the oldest surviving war poets.

Dearmer remarried in 1916. He and his wife Nancy had three children: two daughters and a son. Sadly, their son died in active service with the RAF in 1943.

The reason Dearmer’s book Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book caught my eye is that the second chapter is called ‘The Question of Set Forms of Prayer’.

One of my personal bugbears is going to a traditional liturgical service and hear a priest substitute his own improvised prayers for the special intentions which precede the prayer of consecration. If he (or she) simply prayed them out of the Prayer Book, he would find that all his prayer needs were satisfied outside of names of national leaders or the sick and dying.

Their waffling — ‘uhh, mmm’ — and their poor prose has me praying for patience and calm just as we are about to reach the apex of the service with Holy Communion.

This is what Dearmer had to say about that and also dispensing with set prayers altogether. Remember, he wrote this in 1912, so this is somewhat surprising (emphases mine):

It is worth while, therefore, asking ourselves at the outset, Is liturgical worship a good thing, or ought the minister to make up his own prayers?

Now, there is very much to be said for extemporaneous worship in church; it is often a most useful instrument in mission work, it is an indispensable way of bringing the idea of worship to the ignorant, it secures the necessary element of freedom; furthermore, it may bring spontaneity and vitality into a service, and be a good corrective to formalism …

Nor is there anything alien to Church ways or wrong in principle about extempore services. Indeed in the earliest days of the Church the celebrant at the Eucharist used to pray thus. The service went on certain general lines, but the “president” filled it in according to his own ideas, and offered up “prayers and thanksgivings with all his strength,” the people saying “Amen” (as is told on p. 185). it was only by degrees that the prayers thus offered became fixed. Those, therefore, who argue that everything which was not done in the first two or three centuries must therefore be wrong, should logically include liturgical worship among the things they condemn. But perhaps sensible people in the 20th century no longer argue thus.

Well, often, that was because the celebrant could not read very well. Also, parchment was highly expensive and there were no printing presses until much later, in 1439.

Dearmer then mentions John Milton, an irregular churchgoer. Milton was all for extemporaneous prayer. Dearmer points out:

Milton’s mistake, was, in fact, a very simple one. He thought that every minister, would be a Milton. He did not realize what a deadly thing average custom can be, what a deadly bore an average man can make of himself when compelled to do continually a thing for which he has no natural gift. He did not foresee the insidious danger of unreality and cant. We should all, of course, flock to hear Milton praying extempore, if he were to come to life again ; but there are many mute, inglorious ministers whom we would rather not hear.

To put the prayers as well as the sermon in the hands of the officiating minister is indeed a form of sacerdotalism which the Church most wisely rejected many centuries ago. We know what a joy and help it would be to hear an inspired saint, with a genius for rapid prose composition, make up prayers as he went along; and opportunities for extemporization do exist outside the appointed services. But the Church has to provide for the average man, and has to guard against that form of clerical absolutism which would put a congregation at the mercy of the idiosyncrasies and shortcomings of one person. For extempore services, which should be a safeguard for freedom, can easily degenerate into a tyranny.

Indeed!

Before defending a set liturgy, Dearmer points out the importance of a sensory church service, one which will escape people who worship in plainly:

history and a wide knowledge of Christendom show us that good ceremonies are a great preservative against Pharisaism. The reason for this is that action, music, colour, form, sight, scent, and sound appeal more freely to the individual worshipper, and more subtly, relieving the pressure of a rigid phraseology, and allowing the spirit many ways of rising up to God, unhampered by the accent of the workaday voice of man. It is only thus that the wonderful intensity of devotion among the Russian people, for instance, can be accounted for: we have no popular religious affection in the West which can compare with the evangelical spirit of this hundred million of Christians, who yet have used nothing but their very ancient forms of prayer during the thousand years since their race was first converted.

Precisely. This is what old school churchgoers refer to as the mysterium tremendum, which is very rare in our time.

Although he allows for some extemporaneous prayer, Dearmer concludes:

we may be confident that liturgical worship is the best of all. There is some loss in the use of printed words; but there is a greater gain. We have in them the accumulated wisdom and beauty of the Christian Church, the garnered excellence of the saints. We are by them released from the accidents of time and place. Above all we are preserved against the worst dangers of selfishness: in the common prayer we join together in a great fellowship that is as wide as the world; and we are guided, not by the limited notions of our own priest, nor by the narrow impulses of our own desires, but by the mighty voice that rises from the general heart of Christendom.

Our Lord had the ancient forms of the Church in which he lived often on his lips, and in the moment of his supreme agony it was a liturgical sentence, a fragment of the familiar service, that was wrung from him— “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” We have a richer heritage, for it is a heritage dowered by his Spirit; and from our treasure-house come things new and old …

… there is a place and a real use for extemporary prayer, and a still greater use for the silent prayer which is above words altogether. These very things will keep fresh and sweet for us those old set forms, in which we can join so well because we know beforehand what they are about, and in which for the same reason all the people can come together in the fellowship of common prayer.

My advice — and my hope — for clergy improvising their own prayers is to sit down and write out the text in full, revising and perfecting it for however long it takes.

I was a member for several years of a large Episcopal church which had perfect prayers. The curates wrote them themselves or read them from books by other ministers. They were beautiful prayers, worthy of God. The congregation also listened and silently prayed intently. You could hear a pin drop.

Here in the UK, things are different. I blame it on the seminaries. However, if they feel it so necessary to express themselves, Anglican priests should take up the challenge to have an outstanding set of prayers of their own that fit with the language being used in the liturgy.

Jesus is our friend, but let us not forget the many Bible verses about our rightful awe we owe to Almighty God. This is the second part of Ecclesiastes 12:13 (ESV):

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

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.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 7:2b-8

“Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child. And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. ‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.

—————————————————————————————————–

Before we come to today’s reading, it is worthwhile recapping Acts 6, which is part of the three-year Lectionary readings for St Stephen’s feast day. He was the first martyr.

Because the first Pentecost took place during the Jewish feast of the first harvest, Jews from all over the ancient world had gathered in Jerusalem.

Among them were many new converts, including Jews from Greece, the Hellenists (Acts 6:1). The Hellenists complained that their newly converted widows were receiving less in charity than the widows of Jerusalem and surrounds. Whether this was a sound complaint, we do not know. However, the Apostles decided that keeping track of charity and collecting funds for the new Church would limit the time they spent teaching and healing.

Therefore, they instituted deacons to take on the charity work — to ‘serve tables’ (Acts 6:2). The word ‘deacon’ is not used as such in Acts 6, but this essentially was what the position involved. Matthew Henry tells us that the Greek words for serving tables are

diakonein trapezais–to be deacons to the tables, Acts 6:2.

The Twelve directed all the disciples — which now included several thousands of converts — to name seven men who were (Acts 6:3):

of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom …

Henry explains:

These must be, First, Of honest report, men free from scandal, that were looked upon by their neighbours as men of integrity, and faithful men, well attested, as men that might be trusted, not under a blemish for any vice, but, on the contrary, well spoken of for every thing that is virtuous and praiseworthy; martyroumenous–men that can produce good testimonials concerning their conversation. Note, Those that are employed in any office in the church ought to be men of honest report, of a blameless, nay, of an admirable character, which is requisite not only to the credit of their office, but to the due discharge of it. Secondly, They must be full of the Holy Ghost, must be filled with those gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost which were necessary to the right management of this trust. They must not only be honest men, but they must be men of ability and men of courage; such as were to be made judges in Israel (Exodus 18:21), able men, fearing God; men of truth, and hating covetousness; and hereby appearing to be full of the Holy Ghost. Thirdly, They must be full of wisdom. It was not enough that they were honest, good men, but they must be discreet, judicious men, that could not be imposed upon, and would order things for the best, and with consideration: full of the Holy Ghost, and wisdom, that is, of the Holy Ghost as a Spirit of wisdom. We find the word of wisdom given by the Spirit, as distinct form the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:8. Those must be full of wisdom who are entrusted with public money, that it may be disposed of, not only with fidelity, but with frugality.

Henry says that the seven men chosen were not among the disciples at the first Pentecost but those who had converted and received the Holy Spirit afterwards. Furthermore, their names were Greek, implying they were Hellenists (Acts 6:5). Perhaps this was a better way of ensuring charity was distributed equally to Hebrew and Hellenist alike.

Henry tells us more about these men:

Nicolas, it is plain, was one of them, for he was a proselyte of Antioch; and some think the manner of expression intimates that they were all proselytes of Jerusalem, as he was of Antioch. The first named is Stephen, the glory of these septemviri, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost; he had a strong faith in the doctrine of Christ, and was full of it above most; full of fidelity, full of courage (so some), for he was full of the Holy Ghost, of his gifts and graces. He was an extraordinary man, and excelled in every thing that was good; his name signifies a crown. Philip is put next, because he, having used this office of a deacon well, thereby obtained a good degree, and was afterwards ordained to the office of an evangelist, a companion and assistant to the apostles, for so he is expressly called, Acts 21:8. Compare Ephesians 4:11. And his preaching and baptizing (which we read of Acts 8:12) were certainly not as a deacon (for it is plain that that office was serving tables, in opposition to the ministry of the word), but as an evangelist; and, when he was preferred to that office, we have reason to think he quitted this office, as incompatible with that. As for Stephen, nothing we find done by him proves him to be a preacher of the gospel; for he only disputes in the schools, and pleads for his life at the bar, Acts 6:9,7:2. The last named is Nicolas, who, some say, afterwards degenerated (as the Judas among these seven) and was the founder of the sect of the Nicolaitans which we read of (Revelation 2:6,15), and which Christ there says, once and again, was a thing he hated. But some of the ancients clear him from this charge, and tell us that, though that vile impure sect denominated themselves from him, yet it was unjustly, and because he only insisted much upon it that those that had wives should be as though they had none, thence they wickedly inferred that those that had wives should have them in common, which therefore Tertullian, when he speaks of the community of goods, particularly excepts: Omnia indiscreta apud nos, præter uxores–All things are common among us, except our wives.–Apol. cap, 39.

The Apostles prayerfully laid their hands on this group of seven men (Acts 6:6), which also included (Acts 6:5):

Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas …

Thus ordained, the first deacons went about their duties.

Stephen was filled with such grace and faith that he performed (Acts 6:8):

great wonders and signs among the people.

Henry tells us that wonders and signs were not restricted to the Apostles:

It is not strange that Stephen, though he was not a preacher by office, did these great wonders, for we find that these were distinct gifts of the Spirit, and divided severally, for to one was given the working of miracles, and to another prophecy, 1 Corinthians 12:10,11. And these signs followed not only those that preached, but those that believed. Mark 16:17.

A group of devout Jews from abroad — Greece, Asia Minor and freemen (freed slaves) from Rome — took issue with Stephen’s actions (Acts 6:9). However, he responded with such divinely inspired wisdom that they had nothing more to say. So, they took their hostility further and made up lies about him, saying he had blasphemed Moses and God (Acts 6:11). Having cooked up a lie, they then used it to agitate the scribes and elders in the temple (Acts 6:12), which produced the desired result. Stephen was brought up before the council at the temple. Acts 6:15:

15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

This brings us to Acts 7, which begins with the high priest asking Stephen to explain himself.

John MacArthur tells us about the charges of blasphemy levelled against Stephen:

He had been charged with blasphemy against God, Moses, the law and the Temple, the most sacred things in the mind of any Jew. And he had to answer the charge. But he knew what he believed, and he knew why he believed it. And he answered it. And I think it’s important to notice that he answered the charge with Scripture. He defended the faith not in vagaries of philosophy, not in logic, but in verbal testimony to the Scripture. And he even quotes it repeatedly verbatim, which shows something of what he must’ve known about Scripture.

Historical Jewish tradition says that the great rabban Gamaliel — from last week’s post on Acts 5:33-42 — trained Stephen in Scripture. Gamaliel certainly taught St Paul and he might well have taught Barnabas also.

Stephen’s speech is a magnificent lesson in apologetics, a defence of the Christian faith, not being sorry for it, as apology generally means today.

Before we look at it in more detail, MacArthur posits that Stephen’s ministry to the Hellenists was a means of moving the thrust of the new Church along and out of Jerusalem:

It was now time for operation number two, which was Judea and Samaria, moving out from Jerusalem. Now, Stephen became the key to this thrust, for many reasons. In the first place, they needed to get better organized in order to step out. The church was falling into some internal problems because they weren’t structured right, so in chapter 6 they got organized. They chose seven Spirit-filled men to handle the business of the church so the apostles could be free to preach and to pray …

And so Stephen was important to the progress of the church because he was taking over responsibility that freed the church to go. Secondly, he was important because he was a preacher, a New Testament prophet, and he preached to foreign Jews. So he began to extend this from the Palestine Jews to the Hellenist, or Grecian, Jews, who would come into Jerusalem.

Ultimately, Stephen’s ministry ended in martyrdom, which further assisted the Church at that time:

immediately following his death, chapter 8, verse 1 says, “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem.” The death of Stephen precipitated the persecution of the church. And, as you know, when the church gets persecuted, the church gets going.

And so the persecution came, and immediately they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, which is right on target, right on schedule, exactly where God wanted them to go. Phase two begins to move. And it isn’t because God sent them out there directly. It’s because the people in Jerusalem started persecuting them and they fled to those places.

Stephen’s speech explains early Jewish history concerning the covenant and promises that God fulfilled for the people of Israel. Today’s reading is only the first part, relating how Abraham was called by God from Mesopotamia to inhabit a new land (verses 2, 3).

Note that Stephen addressed those gathered as ‘brothers and fathers’. In other words, ‘I am one of you’. Left unspoken for now is that he understood that God wanted them to believe in Jesus, the Messiah.

He also referred to ‘the God of glory’ and ‘our father Abraham’, further evidence that he was not blaspheming and that he had reverence for the Almighty and the great persons in Scripture.

Stephen went on to say that Abraham accepted God’s instructions and moved to Haran, then on to the present land ‘where you are now living’ (verse 4). Yet, God didn’t leave Abraham an inheritance of land, but told him it would belong to his offspring (verse 5). This was incredible, because Abraham and his wife Sarah had no children. She was sterile. Furthermore, they were advanced in age. So, Abraham spent time alone with their servant Hagar. Nine months later Ishmael was born. However, Ishmael was not part of God’s plan for Abraham.

Yet, Abraham’s faith was such that, even though his understanding of that plan was imperfect, he did not question God or His design for him and his people.

Then, as Stephen related (verses 6, 7), God had more news for Abraham: his offspring would be slaves to others, toiling in a foreign land for 400 years. (MacArthur tells us that it was 430.) Then, His people would be released from bondage and come to worship Him in their own land.

God made a covenant with Abraham, one of circumcision (verse 8) for every male in his family down through the generations, including slaves and foreigners. Abraham circumcised Isaac eight days after he was born. Circumcision continued with Isaac’s son Jacob and so on, encompassing all twelve tribes of Israel and their descendants.

What Stephen did here was to express his faith in God’s sovereignty. MacArthur explains:

Stephen’s saying, “I realize the destiny of Israel’s in the hands of God.” Do you see what he’s saying? That’s what he’s recognizing. “I know that God is running the show. I believe in the God of Israel, who called Abraham, who took the children of Israel into Egypt, who brought the plagues on Pharaoh and got them out of Egypt, who presented the great deliverer, Moses. I believe it all,” is what’s saying. He’s establishing himself in relation to the God of Israel.

This accomplished two things for those listening to Stephen in court:

He has captured their attention by reciting the history they love to hear. And I’ll bet you he was a dynamic speaker. It says that they couldn’t resist his spirit. And I think they just ate it up. And the second thing he accomplished was, he defended himself against the charge that he blasphemed God. He did believe in God. He did not believe God was unholy, unsacred. He believed God was the holy God of glory, the very God of Israel.

What Stephen was moving towards by recounting their common history as Jews was this:

The third thing he wants to do is indict them for sinfulness and rejection. The fourth thing is to present Messiah.

The story continues next week.

Next time: Acts 7:9-16

On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks dumped Part 1 — Year Zero — of Vault 7.

Each part of Vault 7 concerns the CIA.

This is going to be fun.

The WikiLeaks Twitter feed is particularly informative and educational on this topic. My favourite is this one:

Of course, very little of Vault 7 has made Big Media and their smaller acolytes:

Senator Rand Paul (R – Kentucky) thinks that the content will alarm the public:

ZeroHedge has the best summary of Vault 7, Part 1. A summary and excerpts follow. Emphases in the original:

A total of 8,761 documents have been published as part of ‘Year Zero’, the first in a series of leaks the whistleblower organization has dubbed ‘Vault 7.’ WikiLeaks said that ‘Year Zero’ revealed details of the CIA’s “global covert hacking program,” including “weaponized exploits” used against company products including “Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.”

WikiLeaks tweeted the leak, which it claims came from a network inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.

Among the more notable disclosures which, if confirmed, “would rock the technology world“, the CIA had managed to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram. According to the statement from WikiLeaks, government hackers can penetrate Android phones and collect “audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.”

Another profound revelation is that the CIA can engage in “false flag” cyberattacks which portray Russia as the assailant. Discussing the CIA’s Remote Devices Branch’s UMBRAGE group, Wikileaks’ source notes that it “collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.

From this introduction it is clear that the average consumer can be monitored easily:

The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware. This includes multiple local and remote weaponized “zero days”, air gap jumping viruses such as “Hammer Drill” which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ( “Brutal Kangaroo”) and to keep its malware infestations going.

Just as important is the story that ‘Russia’ hacked the DNC and the US election. Could it be that ‘Russia’ is actually the CIA? Given Vault 7’s information, who would find that surprising?

Indeed.

In Europe, the CIA operates out of the US consulate in Frankfurt:

a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa. CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ( “Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe” or CCIE) are given diplomatic (“black”) passports and State Department cover.

The strangest — and most sinister — CIA technology involves motor vehicles:

As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.

This might explain the mysterious death of investigative journalist Michael Hastings in 2013. In 2015, WhoWhatWhy published an article positing that Hastings’s car turning into a fireball while he was behind the wheel was an assassination. Many thought such an accusation was the stuff of conspiracy theory, even though experts said it was possible. Emphases mine below:

At the time of Hastings’ death, counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke told The Huffington Post that it was possible that Hastings’ car had been hacked; that the known details of the crash were consistent with a car cyber attack.

“There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers”—including the United States—know how to remotely seize control of a car, Clarke said.

At the time, however, Clarke’s suggestion received little attention from the mainstream media. In the past two years, the issue of automobile cybersecurity has entered the mainstream arena.

Since 2013, scientists have proven the possibility of hacking a car, and lawmakers are revealing the lack of cybersecurity against these types of threats built into today’s digital cars.

“Your car may have as many as 30 separate electronic control units, some of them built for wireless access. Hackers have shown that they can disconnect brakes, kill acceleration and more—although most hacks currently require direct, wired access to the car’s systems. Even so, a lab technician turned off our test car while we were driving it—from a cell phone,” Chris Meyer, Vice President of Consumer Reports, said in an email to WhoWhatWhy.

This is worth noting:

At the time of his death, Hastings had been working on a story about CIA Director John Brennan. The president of Strategic Forecasting Inc. (“Stratfor”), a CIA contract global intelligence firm, has described Brennan in secret emails as someone on a “witch hunt” of investigative journalists. Brennan, of course, has denied these claims: a CIA spokesperson told reporter Kimberly Dvorak in an email that notwithstanding WikiLeaks, “any suggestion that Director Brennan has ever attempted to infringe on constitutionally-protected press freedoms is offensive and baseless.”

Is it possible that Brennan felt threatened by the content of Hastings’ would-be story? If yes, how would the CIA have responded to such an expose?

Hastings was worried that someone had tampered with his Mercedes. He told his friends and colleagues. Then:

at 4:20am on June 18, on Highland Avenue in Los Angeles, Hastings’ silver Mercedes C250 exploded and hit a palm tree. There were no apparent attempts to brake before the collision.

Expert opinion was split in 2013 and in 2015 as to whether this was intentional or an accident.

No doubt Vault 7, Part 1 — Year Zero — will get people talking once more about Hastings’s horrific death.

Meanwhile, please be sure to read the ZeroHedge article in full. It is horrifying that an intelligence agency would commit all these acts against innocent civilians around the world.

In opening remarks to his staff on March 6, 2017, the Secretary for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Dr Ben Carson, commented on slaves, saying they were ‘immigrants’.

The media and other ‘experts’ verbally ganged up on the retired brain surgeon, best known for his pioneering surgery on conjoined twins. Those outside the United States will be interested to know that Carson is black and grew up in Detroit.

Yet, Obama made the same comment in 2015, and no one said a word. Why is it that Carson was criticised but Obama was not?

The Daily Caller had an article on the media storm:

“That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity,” Carson said during a speech at HUD’s offices.

“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

Liberal pundits blasted Carson’s remarks, saying that it is insensitive to use the term “immigrant” to describe people taken to a new country against their will.

This is what Obama said two years ago at a naturalisation ceremony:

“Certainly, it wasn’t easy for those of African heritage who had not come here voluntarily and yet in their own way were immigrants themselves,” Obama said.

“There was discrimination and hardship and poverty. But, like you, they no doubt found inspiration in all those who had come before them. And they were able to muster faith that, here in America, they might build a better life and give their children something more.”

That was not the only time. He spoke at an earlier naturalisation ceremony in 2012:

“We say it so often, we sometimes forget what it means — we are a nation of immigrants.  Unless you are one of the first Americans, a Native American, we are all descended from folks who came from someplace else — whether they arrived on the Mayflower or on a slave ship, whether they came through Ellis Island or crossed the Rio Grande,” Obama said at the ceremony.

The Daily Caller looked for media mentions of the 2012 and 2015 speeches. There were none.

Everyone harping on about Carson is simply angry that he is a black Republican in the Trump administration. ‘How dare he?’ they think.

Of course, Carson had to issue a statement. He said this (emphases mine below):

“I think people need to actually look up the world ‘immigrant,’” he said in an interview with Armstrong Williams. “Whether you’re voluntary or involuntary, if you come from outside to the inside, you’re an immigrant. Slaves came here as involuntary immigrants.”

Obama’s family and slavery

It is highly possible that both sides of Obama’s family owned and sold slaves in the past.

In 2009, Cynthia Yockey, a former Democrat turned conservative, wrote ‘Obama’s Kenyan ancestors sold slaves’, which is a remarkably well researched article not just on Obama’s ancestors but also on the nature of the slave trade in general. It continues today and is a Muslim practice in certain countries. This is a good article to share with older children and summarise for younger members of the family.

Yockey wrote about the topic because, on July 12, 2009, Obama visited Ghana. She said that he had to:

hope no one in the state-run media would think to wonder why he didn’t choose Kenya in East Africa, the land of his father and his father’s tribe, the Luo, which also was a major slave-trading center.

She added:

One reason may be that New World blacks would be descended from West Africans. However, I am suspicious that another reason is that on both his mother’s AND his father’s side of the family, Obama is descended from people who owned and/or sold black African slaves. How ironic that Obama received almost universal support from blacks who are here because their ancestors were grabbed up and sold into slavery by other black Africans, including Obama’s father’s tribe.

Yockey notes that, in 2007, the Baltimore Sun fully researched the slavery angle involving Obama’s white side of the family.

Having read the Baltimore Sun article, I want to point out to you this interesting bit near the end:

Author and essayist Debra J. Dickerson wrote in a January salon.com article that she had previously refrained from opining about the senator because “I didn’t have the heart (or the stomach) to point out the obvious: Obama isn’t black.”

” ‘Black,’ in our political and social reality, means those descended from West African slaves,” Dickerson said.

Back now to Cynthia Yockey’s research. She saw that there was an article on About.com — no longer there in 2017 — which was reproduced elsewhere, called ‘Obama’s African Forebears Were Slave Traders’. It describes the thriving Muslim slave trade in Africa in the 18th century:

Muslims encouraged warring tribes, Obama Jr’s Luo ancestors included, to capture “prisoners of war” and sell them into slavery.

Kenya tribe leaders, also exported slaves and ivory that had been exchanged by Africans from the interior for salt, cloth, beads, and metal goods. The slaves were then marched to the coast and shipped to Muslim Zanzibar (an island South of Kenya), to be traded again.

The British ended the practice by law in 1847.

However, Yockey reproduced other articles saying that African Muslims had traded slaves for centuries before that. Furthermore, European buyers had to go through a Muslim slaver to buy black slaves. They could not operate independently.

Yockey’s research uncovered another important point: Muslim slavers from Kenya looked African but, in fact, were Arab, just like the Luo tribe of Obama’s ancestors.

White indentured and enforced servitude

In the history of the United States, black slaves were not the only people who arrived involuntarily. White Britons did, too.

I don’t know if history books still include indentured servitude in their coverage of Colonial history. If not, they should re-introduce it.

One of my best friends has ancestors who arrived in the US in the 17th century as indentured servants.

Indentured and enforced servitude were one up from slavery. However, sometimes slaves were treated better than indentured servants.

Indentured servitude involved someone in debt or other hardship becoming the temporary property of the person to whom he owed a debt or a better off person. The person who acquired them — the master — worked them for a certain number of years, after which the indentured servant became a free person.

However, it should be noted that there were also cases where men just wanted to leave their homeland for a new future in the colonies. They voluntarily sought and signed such agreements.

USHistory.com has an excellent article on indentured servitude, which came at a time of severe unemployment in England and a boom in the new colony of Virginia. These bonded servants worked in the tobacco fields or as house servants. A summary and excerpts follow.

Most indentured servants were men, however, women also signed these agreements. The master paid for their passage to the American colonies and provided them with food, clothing and shelter during the years of their servitude:

Perhaps as many as 300,000 workers migrated under the terms of these agreements. Most were males, generally in their late teens and early twenties, but thousands of women also entered into these agreements and often worked off their debts as domestic servants.

There was also enforced servitude, involving miscreants:

Vagrants, war prisoners, and minor criminals were shipped to America by English authorities, then sold into bondage.

The masters’ treatment varied, just as it did with slavery:

In some areas, slaves were treated more humanely because they were regarded as lifetime investments, while the servant would be gone in a few years.

There were also terms and conditions the servant had to abide by:

The length of servitude could legally be lengthened in cases of bad behavior, especially for those workers who ran away or became pregnant

Masters retained their right to prohibit their servants from marrying and had the authority to sell them to other masters at any time.

The only upside to indentured or enforced servitude was access to the courts and the possibility of owning property, provided one hadn’t died from overwork.

Upon being given their freedom:

many workers were provided with their “freedom dues” — often consisting of new clothes, farm tools and seed; on rare occasions the worker would receive a small plot of land.

Some former servants could not find jobs after being given their freedom. Men in such a position often ventured westward, which, in the 17th century, would have been as far as Kentucky or Tennessee. (The big move to the West did not begin until the 19th century.)

Servitude, slavery and the law

Each colony — later, state — had their own laws governing indentured or enforced servitude and slavery.

The Law Library of Congress has a detailed and interesting article on how colonial and state law applied to indentured servants and to slaves. The article focusses mainly on Virginia but provides a useful overview. Excerpts and a summary follow.

Both practices ended on January 31, 1865 with the Emancipation Proclamation, however:

many laws and judicial precedents that had been established before that date would not be changed until the mid- or late-twentieth century.

Before that happened, most of the laws around these two groups of people involved women, illegitimate children and racial intermingling.

In 1662, Virginia:

passed two laws that pertained solely to women who were slaves or indentured servants and to their illegitimate children. Women servants who produced children by their masters could be punished by having to do two years of servitude with the churchwardens after the expiration of the term with their masters. The law reads, “that each woman servant gott with child by her master shall after her time by indenture or custome is expired be by the churchwardens of the parish where she lived when she was brought to bed of such bastard, sold for two years. . . .”37

The second law, which concerned the birthright of children born of “Negro” or mulatto women, would have a profound effect on the continuance of slavery, especially after the slave trade was abolished—and on the future descendants of these women. Great Britain had a very structured primogeniture system, under which children always claimed lineage through the father, even those born without the legitimacy of marriage. Virginia was one of the first colonies to legislate a change:

Act XII

Negro womens children to serve according to the condition of the mother.

WHEREAS some doubts have arrisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a Negro woman should be slave or free, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shalbe held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother, And that if any christian shall committ ffornication with a Negro man or woman, hee or shee soe offending shall pay double the ffines imposed by the former act.38

Because of this law, slave masters were keen to procreate with young female slaves, so they would have a steady supply of slaves to come:

There are a number of court cases concerning slave women who either killed their masters who forced them to have sexual relations or killed the children rather than have the children enslaved.39

Racial mixing, including sexual congress, was not unknown in that era. In 1691, Virginia amended their aforementioned 1692 birthright law, under which a child born to a white woman and a black man was free:

This amendment stated that a free white woman who had a bastard child by a Negro or mulatto man had to pay fifteen pounds sterling within one month of the birth. If she could not pay, she would become an indentured servant for five years. Whether or not the fine was paid, however, the child would be bound in service for thirty years.

Conclusion

Both slaves and indentured servants had a miserable life.

And, there was nothing that Ben Carson had to apologise for, especially as Obama had spoken similarly on two occasions during his time in office.

I hope this brief foray into American history, past and present, has helped to enlighten and fill in gaps on what was known as ‘human chattel’ and immigration, regardless of race or origin.

The Riverwalk has appropriate Bible readings for the Emancipation Proclamation — 152 years on — that we would do well to read and remember today.

On Monday, March 6, 2017, Fox News host Tucker Carlson was one of the speakers who addressed the International Association of Fire Fighters at their annual legislative conference in Washington, DC.

Fox 10 Phoenix has the entire 34 minute video — recommended viewing:

For decades, average Americans have wondered why there is such a gulf between Washington and most of the United States.

Carlson explains the DC disconnect.

Starting with Trump’s surprise win in 2016, Carlson said that the middle class was simply fed up with the DC elite ignoring their cries for help regarding immigration and trade.

He said that the DC elite are oblivious to average Americans. Washington DC has full employment and more people working as housekeepers than ever before. Conversation revolves around the theoretical, e.g. economic theory, rather than reality.

He explained that two things that people in DC love are immigration and free trade. Immigration is great because DC residents can get servants very cheaply. In some cases, he said, they are paid a child’s allowance as a salary. DC residents then feel they are being virtuous towards the less fortunate.

However, what works for DC doesn’t work for the rest of the nation. The middle class tried time and time again to point that out to the elite, who dismissed them as being racist and stupid.

The same scenario occurred with trade. The middle class are losing their jobs. The elite in DC do not care.

This broad swathe of dissatisfied Americans took to the ballot box in November 2016. They mounted a peaceful revolution by electing Donald Trump to the White House.

Carlson talked about the rabid hate of Trump in Washington, where 90%+ of voters plumped for Hillary Clinton. Carlson said that, out of three million government employees, only 50 actually like Trump. Whether that is numerically accurate is beside the point. Trump faces an uphill climb.

Furthermore, as much as Democrats loathe Trump, it’s even more entrenched on the Republican side.

He said that Trump can come up with the most sensible policies — buying cheaper drugs from Canada — and politicians simply shut him out. They cannot hear what he is saying. I call that Trump Derangement Syndrome. The term was used about Bush and Obama’s opponents in their time.

Carlson said that nothing in this world is 100% good. Immigration and market-driven trade are two of these things. They work well for the top one per cent but are disastrous for everyone else. He pointed to other examples of where people have noticed and vote accordingly: the UK, with Brexit, and France, with Marine LePen (doing well in the polls).

Carlson spoke about the disaster coming from mass unemployment, particularly among men. Unemployment, he said, drives men crazy. Men need to work in order to feel that they have value and purpose in life.

He said that the current immigration model — and this is true for other Western countries — is predicated on a large manufacturing base. Unfortunately, that manufacturing base no longer exists. Therefore, immigration policy must change accordingly to fit reality.

This also holds true with regard to war and trade. Trump opposes needless American intervention in other nation’s affairs. Trump supports trade deals that will help, not hinder, America.

Carlson also warned about driverless vehicles. Once again, all of Washington waxes lyrical about how ‘cool’ these are. Yet, they will put 8 million people out of jobs overnight if they become reality on the nation’s roads. Carlson pointed out that the most popular occupation among recent high school graduates is driving a truck.

If truck drivers — and taxi drivers — become obsolete, what are they going to do for work? Carlson correctly surmised that they won’t be retraining to become computer programmers. He said that the Trump administration should ban them outright. I agree, in part. They should be banned for commercial use, at least.

He also talked about the Tea Party, which failed, in his estimation, because it lacked a leader. The Tea Party, he explained, was a way for conservative Republicans to express their dissatisfaction with the Republican Party, which clearly does not share their interests.

Then along came Donald Trump. Carlson found it interesting that Trump has never really issued a concise statement about what his movement or ideology stands for. Yet, he struck a chord with millions of Americans who felt he spoke for them.

I’ll conclude with something that Carlson opened with. He said that Republicans and Democrats must really take in and understand what upsets Americans and why they voted for Trump. He said that serious soul searching must take place in the two main political parties. Unfortunately, he noted, that has not yet begun.

As for what Trump’s ideology is with regard for America, I predict we will all be able to articulate it by 2020.

I nearly forgot to mention Carlson’s opinion of the media: ‘dumb’, except for his colleagues at Fox. He told the fire fighters that he has worked for every cable news network and knows whereof he speaks. He said that no one with an ounce of intelligence goes into media. (That should tell us something about students in Media Studies.)

Carlson’s speech was great. He spoke for 13 minutes then took three questions from the audience, for the next 20. He’s much livelier giving a speech than he is in interviews on Tucker Carlson Tonight. And rightly so. This address shows a different side to his personality.

Many American conservatives are trying to figure out President Donald Trump’s game plan.

Common comments I have read over the past three months on a conservative site, which will go unnamed, typify the uncertainty:

  • If Trump wants to drain the swamp, why is he employing people closely tied to it?
  • He doesn’t seem to be very alert as to what is going on.
  • Why isn’t he doing anything?

Two online comments — one from The_Donald and another from 4chan — clarify the 4-dimensional chess game that Trump is playing. Emphases mine below. I have also slightly edited spelling and grammar to make the messages clearer.

It’s far more strategic than the average person can appreciate.

This is the analysis from a commenter at The_Donald:

Donald Trump our president is a pragmatist and a businessman, a highly successful international one at that. Everything he does, for the most part, is part of a larger strategy [and people] would be foolish to think otherwise.

I personally believe that he presents these charges such as voter fraud, Hillary’s illegal activities, the Obama wiretap and then purposely doesn’t follow up right away, because if he did they would try to bury them or slant the narrative. For example, they would be pushing the argument that it was legal for the wiretap if he provided based evidence.

Instead, however, by doing it this way all over the media, they are saying “well yes it would be wrong if it happened but it never happened.”

This saturates headlines for a few days to a week and gets in the public knowledge for most people.

He’s been doing this bit by bit and then, I believe, when he drops the hammer of evidence for these accusations, [there is] now much larger public knowledge tha[n] the[re] would have been otherwise, which can radically shift public opinion once he presents the evidence.

Additionally, who knows what other angles he has, but I guarantee you he’s not tweeting for tweeting’s sake.

The second analysis comes from a thread on 4chan, a forum mostly used by Millennials, particularly gamers. If what the Anons say, e.g. FBIAnon, is anything to go by, 4chan threads attract the attention of people working in some federal agencies, because they can find out what Americans are really thinking. It’s a far from politically correct forum and, at times, is actually offensive.

These government Anons also participate in 4chan political discussions to boost the morale of Trump supporters.

The following comes from such a conversation, which must have been hijacked by paid commenters for the Democrat propagandist David Brock, who is desperately trying to shut down anything that opposes the narrative of the Left.

Here is the screenshot, which was posted on Twitter. It comes from a Secret Service Anon. You can see the Secret Service lapel pin from the inauguration to the left of the post.

There must have been some discussion of World War III breaking out because of Iran. Also referenced is the investigative trip that congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) made to Syria and Lebanon after the election. Secret Service Anon says that the World War III narrative is a smokescreen for breaking open ISIS:

Iran and Trump have an agreementIran is going to release the names of US Officials that supported and supplied the terrorist groups. This is Trump’s plan to get Iran to release the evidence instead of him calling them out. This is why he sent Tulsi Gabbard to Syria, and she made the statement that there [are] no rebels, and Obama / Clinton / Kerry were sending guns to ISIS. This was required in advance of Iran releas[ing] the names, so it would not look like it was all made up, because it is 100% the truth. CNN and other media outlets will not be able to twist things to fit their narrative.

Everything you see about Iran is for show. Trump is a genius. Everything he does has been planned, everything that appears to go wrong, was planned.

Why do you think he hired Rex Tillerson? Rex Tillerson knows the inner workings of the entire system. He has met with every foreign leader, these leaders respect him, and, no, they respect Trump. Do you think that these leaders of other countries actually like these Globalists controlling every move they make? Of course not. On to Betsy DeVos, her brother is Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, the people Bush and Obama hired to deliver said weapons. Erik Prince was around Trump during his entire campaign.

Bannon has all of Breitbart’s research, Bannon knows people, and has [had] contact with CIA/FBI for years. That is why Trump hired him. Bannon is also not the “secret president” like you people claim. He is a well informed man that is completely red pilled.

Get with the program, people, Trump is 10 steps ahead, and once he kills ISIS, and release[s] free energy tech to the world, it will be the beginning of world peace. He will go down as a hero, and people will build monuments to remember his leadership [as] leader of the free world.

You [“]never[“] people that pretend to hate Trump, and make these CTR/CREW posts just want to watch the world burn.

The only problem is the Republicans are stalling approval of Trump’s cabinet appointments. It will then take several months for confirmed appointees to get their own staff in place. In some cases, that will take until the summer, at which point, half the year is gone.

Just as a point of comparison, by early March 2009, Obama was able to get four bills successfully passed — and signed into law.

Trump needs to put pressure on head Republicans — Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan — because Congressional elections are coming up in 2018 — 33 Senate and all 435 House seats — so, time is of the essence. If a large chunk of his platform does not pass this year, it will be an upward struggle next year and, possibly, in 2019.

That aside, these analyses explain Trump’s strategy. He’s dumb like a fox.

Yesterday, I profiled a Millennial who made the journey from the Left to becoming a Trump supporter.

Visit MAGA1776 for the full account in ‘My Story’.

The person contributes to The_Donald under the user ID CorruptionISTreason.

MAGA1776 has several sections tracking Donald Trump’s progress as president. There is also a news section. The latest items concern serious scandals from the Obama adminstration. Each has its own infographic and another user on The_Donald put these all together in one graphic, reproduced below.

These are the real reasons why Democrats — including Tulsi Gabbard, darling of Trump supporters until last week — want Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stand down. They do not want any of this investigated (click to enlarge):

BIGLY THANKS to /u//CorruptionISTreason - Combined Infographic: F&F, Uranium Ore, Iran Ransom, Martyr Transfer, Slush Fund & Tarp Heist

More details about all of these are online. More will come to light as the year progresses.

Fast and Furious

In 2009, Fast and Furious sounded good to millions of Americans. After all, it was supposed to root out Mexican drug cartels. Wikipedia describes the operation, which had also been done under another name during Bush II’s second term. Regardless of when these operations took place:

The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, with the expectation that this would lead to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels.[6][8][9]

However, the programme was such a disaster, that millions of other Americans wonder if it was deliberately planned to fail spectacularly.

As Judicial Watch explains:

The ATF ran the Fast and Furious experiment and actually allowed criminals, “straw purchasers,” working for Mexican drug cartels to buy weapons at federally licensed firearms dealers in Phoenix and allowed the guns to be “walked”—possessed without any knowledge of their whereabouts.

However (emphases mine):

The government lost track of most of the weapons and many have been used to murder hundreds of innocent people as well as a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, in Arizona.

Also:

A mainstream newspaper reported that a Muslim terrorist who planned to murder attendees of a Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas last year bought a 9-millimeter pistol at a Phoenix gun shop that participated in the ATF’s Fast and Furious program despite drug and assault charges that should have raised red flags. Judicial Watch has thoroughly investigated Fast and Furious and has sued the Obama administration for information about the once-secret operation.

Investigations into Fast and Furious have proven inconclusive and murky.

On June 20, 2012, Obama invoked executive privilege over 1,300 pages of documents that the Department of Justice had not turned over to Congress.

The following week — June 28, 2012 — Eric Holder, then Attorney General:

became the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in criminal contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives for refusing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena. The vote was 255–67 in favor, with 17 Democrats voting yes and a large number of Democrats walking off the floor in protest and refusing to vote. A civil contempt measure was also voted on and passed, 258–95. The civil contempt vote allows the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to go to court with a civil lawsuit to look into the US Justice Department’s refusal to turn over some of the subpoenaed documents and to test Obama’s assertion of executive privilege. Holder dismissed the votes as “the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided—and politically motivated—investigation during an election year,” and the White House called it “political theater rather than legitimate congressional oversight”.[19][20]

In September 2016, The Hill wrote about Fast and Furious in light of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death in December 2010.

Asking ‘What alarmed agent Brian Terry?’, The Hill states that, when clearing out Brian’s effects, his brother Kent Terry found notes in a pair of his work boots:

These notes are both confirmed to be those of Agent Terry and according to his family are completely consistent with his handwriting.

Before then, just after Brian Terry’s death:

and directly after his dad had discussed with U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke the three emails Brian had sent to the National Border Patrol Council, fourth amendment search and seizure violations ensued. The government ransacked Brian Terry’s residence without a warrant and removed all electronic media devices. The family received the devices back after approximately one year. The devices were thoroughly and completely wiped clean by the government. Again the persistent question remains: Why?

The agent ran across some curious things in his work, such as multiple weapons caches buried in the desert. His superiors did not seem concerned. Three weeks before his death, The Hill says he confided in his mother:

how concerned he was about “something bad was going to happen”

and that there were

“two bad agents,” as Brian described them to his mom on that same visit home, who “aggressively confronted him”.

Just as bad, possibly worse in some respects, is the alleged international reach of these ‘walked’ weapons — across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Hill states that the nexus of Fast and Furious was the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix:

These weapons have not only been involved in killings of hundreds in Mexico, but were found at Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s hideout, and could be linked to the Bataclan terrorist attack in France on Nov. 13, 2015.

‘Could be’. We don’t yet know. However:

Did Agent Terry unknowingly stumble not only upon Operation Fast and Furious but a larger, international gun-running operation as well? A July 1, 2011 meeting at a Border Patrol office in Las Cruces, New Mexico at which Border Patrol Intelligence personnel from all of the area sectors attended, suggests that might have been the case. Was the underlying reason for this meeting what alarmed Brian Terry? Or perhaps because in all of this there are more questions than answers; more people willing to “Let ‘em through” than to thoroughly investigate and more hollow words than meaningful action. Perhaps this is what truly alarmed Agent Brian Terry, and lead to his prescient action regarding his journal notes.

In June 2016, Judicial Watch gave details on the possibility — a certainty to them — that one of the firearms was used in the Bataclan attack:

One of the guns used in the November 13, 2015 Paris terrorist attacks came from Phoenix, Arizona where the Obama administration allowed criminals to buy thousands of weapons illegally in a deadly and futile “gun-walking” operation known as “Fast and Furious.”

A Report of Investigation (ROI) filed by a case agent in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) tracked the gun used in the Paris attacks to a Phoenix gun owner who sold it illegally, “off book,” Judicial Watch’s law enforcement sources confirm. Federal agents tracing the firearm also found the Phoenix gun owner to be in possession of an unregistered fully automatic weapon, according to law enforcement officials with firsthand knowledge of the investigation.

The investigative follow up of the Paris weapon consisted of tracking a paper trail using a 4473 form, which documents a gun’s ownership history by, among other things, using serial numbers. The Phoenix gun owner that the weapon was traced back to was found to have at least two federal firearms violations—for selling one weapon illegally and possessing an unregistered automatic—but no enforcement or prosecutorial action was taken against the individual“Agents were told, in the process of taking the fully auto, not to anger the seller to prevent him from going public,” a veteran law enforcement official told Judicial Watch.

Yet:

An ATF spokesman, Corey Ray, at the agency’s Washington D.C. headquarters told Judicial Watch that “no firearms used in the Paris attacks have been traced” by the agency. When asked about the ROI report linking the weapon used in Paris to Phoenix, Ray said “I’m not familiar with the report you’re referencing.” Judicial Watch also tried contacting the Phoenix ATF office, but multiple calls were not returned.

There we have it.

This is but one reason why Democrats want Sessions to resign — immediately.

Last week, I posted ‘A new generation renounces the Left’.

A Reddit poster on The_Donald — a Millennial who comments with the user ID CorruptionISTreason — has created a website called MAGA1776, devoted to the president’s progress.

This person has also provided a lengthy and helpful autobiography telling us how his or her worldview has developed over the past three decades. I highly recommend you read ‘My Story’ in full. It is in the lower centre of the page.

Excerpts and a summary follow. Emphases and subheads are mine.

This Millennial is:

an educator in California who grew up to divorced parents and who has mixed race children.

I have family and friends from all walks of life – race, sexuality, religion, and political leanings. I’ve personally held many spiritual, religious, and political view points throughout my life.

I am above all, a thinker. I love investigating topics, learning, and questioning my assumptions and ideas …

This person has found that challenging one’s assumptions may even result in changing one’s outlook on life. Regardless, they say that one becomes more knowledgeable in the process, which can only help.

Early memories

Going back to the Reagan administration — the latter days of the Cold War in the 1980s — what follows are this Millennial’s earliest geopolitical memories:

My earliest childhood memories are of the imposing power of the Soviet Union, the threat of global nuclear war, the subsequent collapse of the USSR, and the following Gulf War. I am an early Millennial. I vividly remember the role the media played in bringing these images into our home. I remember nightly scud missile attacks on Israel, endless reporting on biological and chemical weapons, and the babies being killed in incubators.

Above all, I remember Fear. I was weaned on it.

In the following years I grew to revere my country, for we were not only the saviors of western civilization for defeating the Soviets, but we were liberators. We saved Kuwait and made Saddam end his aggression. We brought peace to Bosnia, Serbia, and the other former nations of Yugoslavia through NATO. Top Gun was my family’s favorite movie.

Fear was replaced by Love.

As this Millennial matured, the political views of family members and other adults began to cloud this patriotism.

The Millennial’s father was born in the earlier half of the Baby Boom years (just after the Second World War ended) and came of age during the Vietnam War and the counter-culture of the late 1960s, which caused him to distrust government. Once he started working, he began to see how government affected his life personally:

my father, above all, hated the Democratic Party and Bill Clinton. He was a Ross Perot supporter and while I was too young to fully grasp what happened to his campaign, and was too naive to fully grasp the nature of the two-party political system, my young mind was waking up.

My father was a rancher and the regulations under Clinton’s presidency were taking away my father’s ability to maintain his livelihood

While my father’s distrust grew, and his ability to support his family failed, my own feelings toward my country changed also.

Education

What this Millennial learned in school further aided scepticism:

California education had instilled a lot of negative feelings in my heart for the past transgressions of our nation against peoples of the world. As I learned of The United States’ involvement in the Philippines, Vietnam, Chile, and elsewhere, I became troubled. I learned of the Military Industrial Complex, began listening to Rage Against The Machine, and I became a Netizen. The impeachment of Bill Clinton and the events of the 2000 presidential election further hardened my heart to our political system.

9/11

Things changed further on September 11, 2001.

The media’s focus altered:

I watched as our leadership and media used the attacks on our soil as a pretext for war.

A vial of anthrax was held up: Fear.

The same media which had brought the Gulf War and the Fake News of babies dying in incubators, now sold the American people a second Gulf War; this time with a side helping of Afghanistan.

As a result, people’s minds did, too:

Friends and family I had known my entire life became pro war. The media sold the initial bombardment as a fireworks show. The People lined up to buy front row tickets. I wasn’t educated enough to understand what was happening, but I sensed the deception and I was deeply disturbed.

Ultimately this remains the most troubled period of my entire life. I became obsessed with learning and I ventured far on the web in pursuit of truth. The Media shouted the words Conspiracy Theory. I didn’t care. I was a Conspiracy Theorist. I was an outsider and I wasn’t afraid to speak my mind about the Rothschilds and the puppet presidents and the assassination of Kennedy.

Adulthood and the Obama years

This Millennial reached adulthood at the end of the previous decade. They got a job, took out a mortgage and raised a family.

In 2008, this person was hopeful of Obama’s candidacy for president. Finally, things would change for the better.

A few years into Obama’s first term:

Something wasn’t right in America.

The promises of 2008 were not materializing like Jon Stewart had assured me they would under the gentle and benevolent leadership of the Left. Banks were not held to account for raiding the coffers of the people. We were still at war. Worse, we were at war with more countries than I could count …

I continued to watch the Media justify the failures of our leader on the opposition party. I knew that Stephen Colbert was right, the Republicans were evil warmongering obstructionist fundamentalists. And like a good citizen, I remained hopeful that their backs could be broken. We could withdraw ourselves from endless conflict, right our financial overrun, and fix the exploding education and health care costs while granting universal access.

Real Communism had never been tried!

Bernie Sanders

In 2016, our Millennial thought that Bernie Sanders would be the ideal president: the man who could not be bought.

However, the enthusiasm was short-lived:

Something wasn’t right in America.

The Media refused to grant Sanders airtime, Super Delegates were falsely included in the vote total, and the DNC refused to hold debates between Sanders and Clinton, or when they did, they were held during other highly televised events to mitigate viewership.

The Millennial signed up to the Reddit forum for Bernie’s supporters. That, too, increased the level of disillusionment, especially with one powerful online arm of Hillary Clinton’s campaign:

This was when I would first learn of CTR – Correct the Record

Suddenly the Internet was filled with Shills

These shills were new and they were obviously well fundedthey attacked Reddit in force. They almost simultaneously attacked Twitter, Facebook, 4chan, and the remaining comment sections that still existed in media outlets across the globe. The common theme was their support for Hillary Clinton.

It was this attack on my access to accurate information that triggered that old nagging feeling.

Each morning I’d see six televisions blaring the same message at me at the gym:

Trump is Racist
Hillary is Winning
Sanders is Losing

Over and over they repeated the narratives. Online, they spammed, harassed, slandered, and down voted.

Now for a personal note, because I was an avid follower online of both of Obama’s campaigns. Because this Millennial was in the Obama camp, they probably did not notice the online harrassment of McCain and Romney supporters in 2008 and 2012, respectively. That, too, was highly organised. It provided the model for Correct The Record.

The way David Axelrod and David Plouffe’s nasty keyboard warriors took down Sarah Palin in 2008, making fun of intelligence by quoting not the vice presidential candidate but Saturday Night Live‘s Tina Fey’s jokes and saying the most vile things about her mentally handicapped baby son was breathtaking in its evil.

They way they called anyone who questioned Obama’s identity or policies racist, sexist, ‘too stupid to live’ or ‘oxygen stealer’ was equally as bad. They really did hound a lot of Independents and Republicans offline. Obama voters never paid the slightest attention to any of this.

It was only to be expected that, because the DNC gave this tactic its blessing in 2008 and 2012, it would be redeployed in 2016.

Media distortions

Our Millennial began studying the media that more closely and could see the control of the narrative whether offline or online.

The Correct The Record army was present online to make sure no one could express any opposition.

But what was real news? Were stories being withheld from American voters on purpose?

All of those instances in my life suddenly came back to me. Shock and awe, the vial, and the babies. Fake News wasn’t the conspiracy theories. Fake News was the Mainstream Media!

Perhaps this seems too obvious, but this was a life shattering event. I realized that there was information that wasn’t being given to me. I wasn’t being allowed to see it.

Democratic National Convention

By the time July 2016 rolled around and the Democratic National Convention took place in Philadelphia, our Millennial knew Sanders could not win the nomination.

Too much had happened during primary season:

Each blow was confirmation to the Truth I had discovered. Virginia voter fraud, Arizona closing over half of its polling stations, wild swings in early and late voting, vote results not corresponding with exit polls. Boom. Boom. Boom.

At the convention, the Democratic National Committee replaced unhappy, angry Sanders supporters in the convention hall with people they had paid to come in and masquerade as Hillary supporters:

I saw as the DNC advertised for, bussed in, and paid people to fill the audience. I watched this on live streams and I watched as the Mainstream Media purposely did not air it.

My generation was stabbed in the back.

Donald Trump

The Millennial then wondered what was going on in the Republican camp with Donald Trump’s campaign.

(We know — and my posts from last autumn documented this in detail — how the media manipulated voters’ perceptions of Trump.)

The Millennial discovered that what the media did to Sanders and was doing to Trump.

What now?

Something really wasn’t right in America.

It seemed clear that I had only two options remaining: disengagement from Politics completely or support for Trump. I was anti-Establishment through and through. I was bred for it – it was in my DNA. Born of a hippy. Once a conspiracy theorist, always a conspiracy theorist. So the choice seemed reasonable at face value.

But was I willing, able, to get behind a racist? A misogynist?

Somebody who had mocked a disabled reporter?

I took several weeks to reflect.

Afterwards:

Cautiously, I returned to Reddit.

I entered the Lion’s Den – www.reddit.com/r/the_donald.

I gorged upon the memes and the Pepes [unofficial frog mascot], and I quickly discovered more. There was Truth.

I had been blind to it before, because I was ideologically driven by a hatred of Republicans to not see their message.

The Millennial discovered the media’s lies about Trump — fully explained — and saw how the media were covering for Hillary.

Ideological Subversion

The Millennial explored the Ideological Subversion that Yuri Bezmenov discussed in his lectures from the 1980s.

By the way, I covered Bezmenov in 2011. Readers might be interested in the following posts:

On protests, defection and the KGB

How Soviet propaganda worked on the US

Four stages of ideological subversion – videos and commentary

Leftists then and now‘there are no grassroots revolutions’

Returning to the Millennial, that person saw that what Bezmenov described is coming true in the United States: ideological subversion. Bezmenov said there are six ideological pillars to be attacked in the Demoralisation phase:

Religion
Economy
Social Life
Power Structure
Labor Relations
Law and Order

You can read the Millennial’s autobiography to gain their understanding of the attacks on those pillars. They added a seventh, which is brilliant:

Gender Identity. The architects of Soviet Ideological Subversion probably couldn’t have dreamed of the place we are at today with Gender Identity. A person unable to reconcile their biology certainly is unfit to maintain a defense against you any longer.

Our Millennial warns that the United States is well into the phase after Demoralisation — Destabilisation:

During this period all conflicts become irreconcilable between individuals and organizations. We are certainly well past this stage. Any union member, HOA member, parent, teacher, employee, or employer can understand where things are at right now. There is no capacity for reason, empathy, or reconciliation between parties anymore.

Individuals would rather terminate a friendship than accept that somebody has an alternate point of view. Facebook has made this entirely too easy.

Discourse is impossible. We are on the edge of Crisis.

Crisis would have led to Normalization which is the suspension of our Rights and the rise of a Totalitarian State.

This playbook has been seen again and again and again – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and more.

Had Hillary won, our Millennial reasons, Crisis surely would have happened because of the machinations not only of the Left, including Democrats, but also the globalist elite:

When I first heard Yuri’s words, it all became so clear.

This isn’t Republican versus Democrat or Capitalist versus
Communist.

This is Ideological Subversion.

This is about Freedom versus Totalitarianism.

However, things changed on Tuesday, November 8, 2016:

We have not had a free election in my lifetime.

Until now.

It is abundantly clear that President Trump stands against these forces. Every move he has made through this process has been to right each of the pillars. Love of Country, Love of God, Unity, Law and Order, Jobs, and returning the power of Government to the People. Every time he gives a speech or interview he reinforces this message. Each of these moments he is consciously unravelling years of damage that has been done to the fabric of our society.

Conclusion

This Millennial has taken the red pill and rightly concludes:

It is time to right the pillars, take back our government, and Drain the Swamp.

President Trump is doing exactly that.

The Establishment stands against our President.

But I, and the People of These United States of America, We stand with Him.

This person has some interesting sections to their website. Tomorrow, we look at one of them.

Tomorrow: Combined infographic with special concentration on Fast and Furious

Bible treehuggercomThe 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.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 5:33-42

33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.

——————————————————————————————–

Very little of Acts 5 is in the three-year Lectionary.

More’s the pity, because this chapter reveals much about the Church in infancy, as these events happened shortly after Pentecost.

The end of Acts 4 mentions a godly convert:

36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 5 opened with the stories of deceitful husband and wife Ananias and Sapphira, who attempted to imitate Joseph’s example by pledging money from a property sale. However, they decided to keep a share of the proceeds for themselves. Peter accused them of deceiving God and the Holy Spirit. They were so convicted that God took their lives, first Ananias, then Sapphira.

After their deaths, the Church’s purity was restored. The Apostles, particularly St Peter, attracted more converts with their healing miracles, performed through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Even the high priest and the Sadducees could not contain the Twelve. An angel of the Lord released our holy men from prison. Following the angel’s instructions, they returned to Solomon’s Portico — or Porch — to continue preaching and healing.

When the temple captain and prison officers brought them back for a hearing, they went peaceably. Once before the council, they were charged with disobedience. This is the only part of Acts 5 that is in the Lectionary:

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.”

The council members heard Peter and were furious. They wanted to kill the Apostles (verse 33). They were angry that he was telling them the truth, one they preferred to forget.

Matthew Henry explains the unrelenting dynamic that was going on in their minds (emphases mine):

instead of yielding to it, they raged against it, and were filled, 1. With indignation at what the apostles said: They were cut to the heart, angry to see their own sin set in order before them; stark mad to find that the gospel of Christ had so much to say for itself, and consequently was likely to get ground. When a sermon was preached to the people to this purport, they were pricked to the heart, in remorse and godly sorrow, Acts 2:37. These here were cut to the heart with rage and indignation. Thus the same gospel is to some a savour of life unto life, to others of death unto death. The enemies of the gospel not only deprive themselves of its comforts, but fill themselves with terrors, and are their own tormentors. 2. With malice against the apostles themselves. Since they see they cannot stop their mouths any other way than by stopping their breath, they take counsel to slay them, hoping that so they shall cause the work to cease. While the apostles went on in the service of Christ, with a holy security and serenity of mind, perfectly composed, and in a sweet enjoyment of themselves, their persecutors went on in their opposition to Christ, with a constant perplexity and perturbation of mind, and vexation to themselves.

John MacArthur says the same thing of the Gospel truth:

It’s a sword and it rips men open. Convicts them. And they just couldn’t stand it. The word “deperianto” means violently agitated. Cut to the heart. They were just torn up inside. You say, “What got them all messed up?” The persistent preaching of these Christians.

A highly learned Pharisee, Gamaliel, stepped up and asked that the Apostles be removed from the area (verse 34). (Incidentally, there is only one famous person I can think of who had this name: Warren Gamaliel Harding, US president from 1921-1923. He was a Baptist who died in office. His administration was scandal-ridden.)

Who was the Gamaliel from Acts 5?

Henry tells us:

This Gamaliel is here said to be a Pharisee by his profession and sect, and by office a doctor of the law, one that studied the scriptures of the Old Testament, read lectures upon the sacred authors, and trained up pupils in the knowledge of them. Paul was brought up at his feet (Acts 22:3), and tradition says that so were Stephen and Barnabas. Some say he was the son of that Simeon that took up Christ in his arms, when he was presented in the temple, and grandson of the famous Hillel. He is here said to be in reputation among all the people for his wisdom and conduct, it appearing by this passage that he was a moderate man, and not apt to go in with furious measures. Men of temper and charity are justly had in reputation, for checking the incendiaries that otherwise would set the world on fire.

Henry saw the value of moderation in all things, especially in making decisions. MacArthur says that Gamaliel was working on the wrong premise. More about that later in this post.

MacArthur has more on Gamaliel:

Now he’s an eminent man. It says he was a teacher of the law and in the Talmud, which is the rabbinical writings of the Judaism[;] the Talmud calls him Gamaliel, the Elder, and the word rabban is a word that it’s not like Rabbi, it’s saved for only seven men, the seven most eminent teachers of Israel. He was the first one who ever got that title, so he’s a pretty sharp guy. He was the greatest teacher of his day. He was the grandson of Hillel. There were two great Rabbis. Any Jew will tell you the two great Rabbis Hillel and Chaim, those two Rabbis founded the two branches of Phariseeism one a little more conservative than the other. Hillel was the little more liberal wing. He was the grandson of Hillel. His heritage was good; he was a sharp guy. The old writing[s] tell us he had great earning, he was noble, he studied Greek literature, he was culturally so far advanced from the other Rabbis they weren’t even in the same ballpark with him. He was called the Beauty of the Law. He died 18 years before the sack of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and in the Mishna it says, “Since Rabban Gamaliel, the Elder, there has been no more reverence for the law, and purity and abstinence died out at the same time.” So he was a very dominating guy. They felt that when he died everything went with him.

Interestingly enough in Acts 22:3, it says that the apostle Paul studied at his feet. So Paul had the best teacher of Judaism that was alive at that time, maybe one of the greatest that ever lived.

MacArthur also gives us valuable information about the organisational set up of the temple:

Now Gamaliel was a Pharisee and you’ll remember that the Sadducees controlled the Sanhedrin, the Sanhedrin was the 70-member counsel that ruled Jerusalem. But within the framework of the 70-member counsel there were Pharisees, it was just that the Sadducees had the rule, had the money, they were the political collaborationists. They were the ones that had sided with Rome. They were the ones that you might say were the theological liberals. They were concerned with social customs, they were concerned with getting along with Rome, they were very liberal in theology, they didn’t believe in the resurrection, and they didn’t believe in angels and that’s why God made sure that the Apostles preached the resurrection and got let out of prison by an angel because He was defying their theology.

But nonetheless, they were the theological liberals; they were the political liberals, whereas the Pharisees were the traditionalists. They were purists as regarding the law; they were nationalists as regarding Israel. They believed that Israel should exist apart from any connection with Rome. They were the ones who would have joined in any rebellion to get Rome off their necks because they were isolationists, nationalistic, whereas the Sadducees were political collaborators with Rome and they were theological liberals and they look at it from an economic standpoint, prestige standpoint, etc. etc. Very much like the dichotomy today between evangelicals and liberals.

So they were poles apart religiously and they were poles apart politically, which made for an interesting kind of dialogue within the framework of the Sanhedrin. Now the Sadducees were very influential with the Sanhedrin and very influential with Rome, but very uninfluential with the people. The people’s group were the Pharisees. They were the ones that really swayed the people. Now this is very important because it adds a little bit of kind of undercurrent by play to this thing that’s going to happen in a second.

Josephus says, and Josephus was a non-Christian historian about the time of Christ, who commented on a lot of things that were going on then, and Josephus says that because of the popularity of the Pharisees with the people, the Sadducees would always acquiesce to their demands.

In short, the Sadducees listened to Gamaliel, not only because of his wisdom, but also because he had his finger on the public pulse.

Gamaliel warned straightaway that careful consideration must be given in the handling of the Apostles (verse 35). Henry has this analysis:

It is not a common case, and therefore should not be hastily determined. He calls them men of Israel, to enforce this caution: “You are men, that should be governed by reason, be not then as the horse and the mule that have no understanding; you are men of Israel, that should be governed by revelation, be not then as strangers and heathens, that have no regard to God and his word.

MacArthur disagrees. Of Gamaliel, he says:

although he comes across theological, I think in the back of his brain is a political thought because if this is the best he can come up with in theology he’s hurting.

Gamaliel asked the council to remember two political and religious radicals of their lifetime: Theudas and Judas the Galilean (not the betrayer).

Theudas, he reminded them, claimed to be someone important and was able to assemble 400 men to do his bidding. He was then killed — possibly by the authorities — and his movement stopped (verse 36).

Around the time of Theudas, Judas the Galilean started an uprising in the days of the census and unfair taxation. He, too, met his death and so did his movement (verse 37).

What was Gamaliel talking about? Henry fills us in on events that took place around the time when Jesus was born, so, 30+ years before. However, Henry also points out there were another politically motivated men by these names, which makes the timeline tricky to place:

Observe, [1.] The attempt he made. It is said to be after this, which some read, besides this, or, Let me mention, after this,–supposing that Judas’s insurrection was long before that of Theudas; for it was in the time of the taxation, namely, that at our Saviour’s birth (Luke 2:1), and that of Theudas, whom Josephus speaks of, that mutinied, in the time of Cuspius Fadus; but this was in the days of Claudius Cæsar, some years after Gamaliel spoke this, and therefore could not be the same. It is not easy to determine particularly when these events happened, nor whether this taxing was the same with that at our Saviour’s birth or one of a later date. Some think this Judas of Galilee was the same with Judas Gaulonites, whom Josephus speaks of, others not. It is probable that they were cases which lately happened, and were fresh in memory. This Judas drew away much people after him, who gave credit to his pretensions. But, [2.] Here is the defeat of his attempt, and that without any interposal of the great sanhedrim, or any decree of theirs against him (it did not need it); he also perished, and all, even as many as obeyed him, or were persuaded by him, were dispersed. Many have foolishly thrown away their lives, and brought others into the same snares, by a jealousy for their liberties, in the days of the taxing, who had better have been content, when Providence had so determined, to serve the king of Babylon.

MacArthur gives us his version of historical events:

There are too many guys named Theudas to remember who this is. We don’t have any idea. Josephus talks about a later Theudas who had a rebellion, but his rebellion was so different from the characteristics here and it came so many years later that we know it’s not the same guy

After this man rose up Judas of Galilee,” and this one we do know a little bit about. This fellow led a revolt about 6 A. D. You remember that Herod the Great died in 4 A. D., I guess, 4 B. C. I can’t remember which, and after he died there about ten thousand robbers that popped up. They popped up all over everywhere. It just came to be a common thing see. 4 B. C. he died. It was kind of a common thing and they were just running around in the country.

A lot of times these little groups of robbers would get together and they’d find a leader and they’d crown him a king and they’d start a little revolution. Well one of these guys was Judas and in 6 A. D. he led a rebellion during the time of the census or the taxation under Quirinius, which just gives you a historical footnote. But his position was this: he said God is king; therefore to pay taxes to Rome is blaspheming God. None of us shall pay taxes anymore and he started spreading this around. Well this was a big threat to Rome so immediately the Roman IRS got activated and came down and stomped all over Judas and his people. And it’s interesting that verse 37 says, “In the days of those in the registration he drew away many people after him. He also perished and all even as many as obeyed him were dispersed.”

MacArthur says that after the Judas of 6 AD:

out of that movement came a group of people known as the Zealots. Did you ever read about the Zealots in the Bible? The Zealots were the super super nationalistic people, really believed in the purity and the isolation of Israel. And they grew out of Judas’ rebellion. So it wasn’t just as ineffective as [Gamaliel] said.

Gamaliel told the council to leave the Apostles alone and see if their following and their message peters out (yes, pun). If it is a temporal movement, he said, it will die out of its own accord (verse 38).

However, he added, if this is a movement borne of God, then it is better to leave the Apostles alone rather than to experience divine wrath (verse 39).

MacArthur does not like that reasoning at all:

That is one of the dumbest messed up principles I’ve ever read. Parts of it are true and that’s what’s so insidious. That’s the way all the cults are, you know. They’re right just enough to mess you up. They’re like a clock that doesn’t work. They’re right on twice a day. And so his advice is let them alone and it’ll all work out.

You know what principle being interpreted is? Listen. Whatever succeeds is of God; whatever fails is not. That’s what he’s saying isn’t it? When you put 38 and 39 together he says if it’s of God it’ll succeed, if it isn’t it won’t. So whatever succeeds is of God, whatever fails is not. That is a dumb principle. If you live by that principle you will be a mess. I’ll say this. It’s true in an ultimate sense, right? At the coming of Christ whatever is of God will remain, whatever isn’t will be wiped out. But it’s only true in an ultimate sense. That’s sure no way to evaluate something that’s going on in that moment. I mean there are kinds of successful [movements] that God hates. Illustration number one: the Sanhedrin. I mean if that principle is true, none of them would even be there. They say if it’s of God it’ll remain. They’re looking at each other here we all remain. They didn’t even know God. If we applied that principle that meeting couldn’t have taken place.

MacArthur went to mention bad religious and political movements that are a century, sometimes more than a millennia old, which are definitely not borne of God.

Henry’s assessment is a more charitable:

It is uncertain whether he spoke this out of policy, for fear of offending either the people or the Romans and making further mischief. The apostles did not attempt any thing by outward force. The weapons of their warfare were not carnal; and therefore why should any outward force be used against them? Or, whether he was under any present convictions, at least of the probability of the truth of the Christian doctrine, and thought it deserved better treatment, at least a fair trial. Or, whether it was only the language of a mild quiet spirit, that was against persecution for conscience’ sake. Or, whether God put this word into his mouth beyond his own intention, for the deliverance of the apostles at this time. We are sure there was an overruling Providence in it, that the servants of Christ might not only come off, but come off honourably.

I see merit in both, but agree more with Henry’s regarding providential intervention.

In any event, the Sanhedrin heeded Gamaliel’s advice (verse 39).

So, what happened to Gamaliel? Henry tells us:

The tradition of the Jewish writers is that, for all this, he lived and died an inveterate enemy to Christ and his gospel; and though (now at least) he was not for persecuting the followers of Christ, yet he was the man who composed that prayer which the Jews use to this day for the extirpating of Christians and Christianity. On the contrary, the tradition of the Papists is that he turned Christian, and became an eminent patron of Christianity and a follower of Paul, who had formerly sat at his feet. If it had been so, it is very probable that we should have heard of him somewhere in the Acts or Epistles.

Interesting!

Although Gamaliel presented a reasonable approach, the rage of the council was such that they themselves were not about to let the Apostles go off lightly. So, in addition to ordering them not to speak of Jesus any more, they had the Twelve scourged (verse 40). MacArthur describes this horrific punishment, which Jesus Himself endured before the Crucifixion:

Deuteronomy 25 tells about it. It’s a sad thing.

The Mishna says a guy would take the hands of the person and strap him to two posts like this. He would strip his shirt off. The stone was set behind the man or in front of the man on which the guy stood and he had to swing with all his might, the Mishna said. He wrapped the leather around his hand, two big long wide broad pieces of leather from the navel to the ground, that long, and they gave him one-third of the stripes on the front and two-thirds on the back and he did it to every one of those believers there. Then that brought us to the third and final reaction and we’ll close with this.

The Apostles must have been in unimaginable, unbearable pain afterwards.

However, as they left the council, bleeding, they rejoiced! They were so happy that their tormentors considered them worthy enough to suffer in the name of Jesus (verse 41). Henry expands on this:

(1.) They reckoned it an honour, looked upon it that they were counted worthy to suffer shame, katexiothesan atimasthenai–that they were honoured to be dishonoured for Christ. Reproach for Christ is true preferment, as it makes us conformable to his pattern and serviceable to his interest. (2.) They rejoiced in it, remembering what their Master had said to them at their first setting out (Matthew 5:11,12): When men shall revile you, and persecute you, rejoice and be exceedingly glad. They rejoiced, not only though they suffered shame (their troubles did not diminish their joy), but that they suffered shame; their troubles increased their joy, and added to it. If we suffer ill for doing well, provided we suffer it well, and as we should, we ought to rejoice in that grace which enables us so to do.

They duly returned to their ministry in Jerusalem, not only speaking in the temple but also going from house to house (verse 42). Henry explains:

Though in the temple they were more exposed, and under the eye of their enemies, yet they did not confine themselves to their little oratories in their own houses, but ventured into the post of danger; and though they had the liberty of the temple, a consecrated place, yet they made no difficulty of preaching in houses, in every house, even the poorest cottage. They visited the families of those that were under their charge, and gave particular instructions to them according as their case required, even to the children and servants.

Also:

They did not preach themselves, but Christ, as faithful friends to the bridegroom, making it their business to advance his interest. This was the preaching that gave most offence to the priests, who were willing they should preach any thing but Christ; but they would not alter their subject to please them.

Henry has this reminder:

It ought to be the constant business of gospel ministers to preach Christ; Christ, and him crucified; Christ, and him glorified; nothing besides this but what is reducible to it.

MacArthur has a good analogy, comparing a robust Church to the effervescence of a fizzy drink:

We went somewhere the other day for lunch and somebody said, “I’d like to have a Coke.” Well I’m sorry the carbonation machine doesn’t work and the Coke is flat.” And I kept thinking, “Oh that is just about how I often feel about the church.” What happened to the fizz? I mean there’s no effect. So much of our Christianity is in the walls, isn’t it? And where’s the influence?

This is what the early church had was influence. Everywhere they went the world shook because their step was so heavy and it shook for God. You remember they said of them, “These who turned the world upside down have come to our city also.” See! Influence. They became the issue. Boy, when Christianity gets to be the issue that’s exciting.

Clergy really do need to remember this. Forget the soft platitudes. Give us meat.

And, we laypeople can draw a lesson from this too, whether we teach, work with young people or are parents or guardians. Make Christianity come alive for children. Start them off early with Bible stories and explain their importance. Explain the life of Christ in the way the Apostles did and they will not stray from a love for our Saviour, our only Mediator and Advocate.

Next week, we will read of another great preacher of Jesus: Stephen — possibly one of Gamaliel’s students — who ended up being the first martyr.

Next time: Acts 7:2b-8

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