Coronavirus and the Country’s Future (11)

Christians should never be complacent about the state of their country. Why?

Because every nation is either moving closer to God, or away from Him. This was Israel’s situation for the 1,500 years from the Exodus, till Jesus came. For about 90% of that period, it was actually moving away from the Lord, finally being handed a terrible judgment in AD 70, by God, via the Romans.

Today, show me a nation that’s moving closer to God? Maybe China is, behind the façade of the Communist government, but the West is going nowhere, fast.

This is why believers ought to be capitalizing on their opportunities to both preach the gospel, and be salt and light in their communities. And that means standing for Christian liberties.

In both Czarist Russia and in pre-Nazi Germany, the church was in an anaemic, compromised and utterly ineffective state. Humanism had made its inroads. The salt and light had essentially gone, and that made those nations ripe for a violent and totalitarian takeover, and that’s what they got. The Lutherans in Germany were a State church, so that Ministers’ wages were paid by the government. How easy was it to control them? In both cases, a weak and silenced church that lacked publicly expressed Biblical convictions, led the way for degenerative and socially destructive revolutions.

Is that what I’m predicting? Well, I hope I’m not.

But look what’s happened with coronavirus? Lockdowns almost everywhere, predicated by a silenced church, which has forgotten the meaning of the term Christian liberty. The politicians have just gone ahead with their social deprivations of the church and the community, and the church has said, “Oh well,” and laid down and taken it.

How easy. If they’d had a bus, they could have driven over us, we were all so silent. I don’t know of an Australian church that has resisted the social restrictions, or even is willing to.

Political leaders know the church is weak, feminized, and a bunch of wimps. They’ve had it confirmed for them in the last eight months.

What will be next? There will be more, because they know they’ll get away with it.

This means we in the church will have to do something a bit radical. We’ll have to grow a backbone, and begin to stand up for the truth, resisting the incursions of government into individual, family, church and community freedoms. We’d better to come to the basic fact, that

Jesus Christ is Lord.

Consequently, scripture should be setting the boundaries for every community, not power-hungry politicians and bureaucrats, intent on forms of social domination.

For this much is clear:

…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (II Cor.3:17).

As for the matter of infectious diseases, scripture laid down how to control these, using quarantine. The priesthood was responsible for this, and they had the power to require separation from the community for leprous people (Lev.13:40-46). The difference was that only the people with the disease were to be separated from the community. Everyone else was free to go about their business, how they pleased, and this is how quarantine has been traditionally handled.

But today, we have “social lockdowns” of everyone, over a flu virus. Really? They are simply a means of oppression by power-hungry political leaders and bureaucrats, and they must be resisted by the church. Don’t we have church leaders who are willing to go to gaol for their faith, anymore?

It hasn’t got to stay this way. It mustn’t stay this way. It’s time for the remnant of God’s people to arise, and make their case for change.

God’s always had a remnant. In the case of the children of Israel after they’d left Egypt, it was two men out of 603,000: Joshua and Caleb. They essentially said,

God’s promised us the land, and we’ve seen it. It’s waiting for us. Let’s go in and inherit it!

They were shouted down, nearly stoned, then ignored. But when all those that opposed them had died, Joshua and Caleb did go in.

Unfortunately, the church’s response to the coronavirus has been neither faithful nor fruitful. When David came up the battlefield with supplies from their father, he discovered the truth. They’d been inactive and afraid, which are not the characteristics of winning soldiers, and his brother Eliab didn’t appreciate his confident attitude. He responded to David,

Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart… (I Sam.17:28).

This may well be the response of most of Christendom today, who resent a challenge been put to them for their fears and inaction. It’s common enough.

Conclusion:

The church must be a catalyst for godly change, and resistance in the community. We’ve ignored this crisis for too long, putting up with the intrusions to our freedoms. Now is the time to speak again of re-gaining our Christian and constitutional liberties, which it seems, a host of political leaders have determined to take from us.

This will mean resistance and disobedience to a host of restrictions, along with refusal to pay fines, and willingness to go to gaol. And the church must lead the way.

Will you be a part of the problem, or part of the solution?

Secular Nationalism is all the Rage

By Gary DeMar, 14th September, 2020

On September 10, I attended and participated in the “‘Get Louder’ Faith Summit: Fighting for the Soul of the Nation” at Liberty University with Mike Huckabee, Eric Metaxas, Mark David Hall, Jay Reynolds, Tom Ascol, Rod Martin, Ralph Reed, Virgil Walker, Aubrey Shines, Charlie Kirk, former U.S. Rep. Dave Brat, Kim Klacik, Jenna Ellis, Kathy Barnette, and many others.

The event was a great success because it ticked off a lot of people, in particular Messiah College historian John Fea who live-tweeted much of the event. Then there was this from Right Wing Watch:

Liberty University’s Falkirk Center held “Get Louder,” a day-long “faith summit” Thursday that included Christian Reconstructionist Gary DeMar among its speakers. DeMar’s presence at “Get Louder” reflects the widespread influence of Christian Reconstructionism and ​contemporary religious-right leaders’ embrace of Christian nationalism.

RWW was nice enough to include a screen shot from the panel discussion I participated in that was led by Eric Metaxas.

Gary DeMar on Panel Discussion at Faith Summit
with Eric Metaxas, Mark David Hall, and Jay Reynolds

If it were only so that the principles of Christian Reconstruction were influentical, except the “Christian nationalism” dig since I don’t know a single person who ever describes Christian involvement in every area of life in such a way. The kingdom of God is not defined by national borders. The United States is not the kingdom of God, but it is bound by God’s law as it applies to the civil magistrate. This is true for all nations.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance
 (Psalm 33:12).

The goal of Christian involvement in the civil sphere is to limit the power and authority of civil magistrates. Critics of Christian involvement want to empower the State to dictate and enforce a Secular Nationalism, something we are seeing in states like California, New York, and elsewhere.

For example, in addition to other secular initiatives, California’s legislature passed SB 145, a bill that is being sold as a way to give “judges discretion in cases of voluntary anal and oral sex between a teenager age 14 and 17 and an adult no more than 10 years older.” How many of you remember that a seemingly anti-abortion law was proposed and signed by then Governor Ronald Reagan that included an exception for the “mental health of the mother.”

This was a huge loophole that remains with us today. All a woman had to do to get a legal abortion was declare that going through with the pregnancy would result in her diminished mental health. New York, New Jersey, and Virginia have passed pro-abortion legislation that permits a woman to kill her unborn baby up until birth and in some cases even after.

Men who identify as women are beginning to dominate women’s sports. Try to refuse to make a cake for a same-sex wedding or photograph a same-sex wedding. Heavy fines will greet you with full force. The Secular Nationalists are against freedom of expression and deny simple biology and anatomy, and if you don’t agree with their insanity, you are a bigot, and this coming from those who are all about science.

Consider how the state of California has treated churches by threatening them with massive fines and legal expenses if they open their churches. Pastor John MacArthur is standing up to Secular Nationalism.

The participants at the Summit aren’t looking to swap power and control with those now ruling and ruining our nation. We aren’t seeking power and authority over other people. Personally, I am not working to take over public education and impose my religious beliefs of other people’s children. (That’s what Secular Nationalists are doing.) I want it out of the hands of civil governors and the bureaucrats.

Since the unborn child is a human being, and human beings are persons, therefore, killing a human being is murder. It’s no wonder that the unborn baby must be redefined like black people and Jews were redefined. Modern-day Secular Nationalists have a long history where laws are based on an established elite that redefines everything in terms of human autonomy. In fact, if the Bible had been followed instead of some naturalistic premise based on Aristotelianism in the West where some people are by nature slaves, there never would have been slavery since it’s a form of “manstealing” (Ex. 21:16).

One of my special interests is eschatology. The Summit hardly if ever mentioned that we are living in the “end times” or the “last days. The irony is that the event was held in a building built with Left Behind money. The thing of it is Tim LaHaye would have agreed with nearly everything said at the Summit, although he might not have been thrilled that I was asked to be a participant since I wrote the book Left Behind: Separating Fact from Fiction, critical of the Left Behind theology.

The Room Where the Faith Summit was Held

The pressure secularists are putting on Christians is forcing them to pick sides. We are seeing some bad reasoning from Christians who should know better. Some are calling on Christians to vote for Joe Biden and the Democrats, even though it is the Party of wholesale abortion, failed economic policies, sanctioning same-sex everything that will be forced on their children and grandchildren.

What they are voting for is a form of Secular Nationalism.

Coronavirus and the Country’s Future (10)

Go through, go through the gates, clear the way for the people; build up, build up the highway, remove the stones, lift up a standard for the peoples. Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth, say to the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your salvation comes; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him (Isa.62:10, 11).

Christians, with all the promises of God in scripture, ought to be confident, outgoing people, who have faith in God and trust in His word. This should be normal for us.

On the day that David came up to visit his brothers on the battlefield, you’d think that the opposite was true. The Bible says that

When all the men of Israel saw the man [Goliath], they fled from him and were greatly afraid (I Sam.17:24).

What had happened? Did they have a sacred/secular dichotomy going, where they took one set of attitudes to church, but another set to everything else they were attending to? The confidence they could have taken from God’s word to Joshua,

Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go (Joshua 1:7).

This confidence had evaporated, in the face of Goliath. Yes, he was a threatening, very big man. And he had a lot to say concerning the men of Israel, and no one was willing to go after him.

It seems to me as if the church has done the same in the face of the coronavirus. There’s been a great deal of noise and threat concerning it, coming out of politicians and medical bureaucrats, but so what?

It’s another flu variant. People sometimes die from it, as they do from any flu, but if we consider the flu’s demographics, the fatalities resulting from it in the West (the last time I checked), are around four people in every thousand of those who contract it, and those four will probably be frail, elderly people.

Why has coronavirus become another Goliath? The Philistines wanted to intimidate Israel using Goliath: to dominate them. It seemed to be working, until David arrived with supplies for his brothers, and heard the big man’s shouts.

David wasn’t impressed. He didn’t believe in this sacred/secular dichotomy nonsense, because it had nothing to do with God’s Word. Rather, he chose to believe in the scriptures, and act upon them. He thought this intimidation tactic needed to be confronted, so he volunteered to do it.

The fact that he hardly seemed to be prepared for the kind of action that’d be required, seemed of little consequence to him. He thought he had God on his side: what more could he need?

What’s more, David had some form behind him. He told Saul that there’d been a lion and a bear before, that had taken a lamb, but he’d risen to the occasion then, and killed them. What should distinguish Goliath? (I Sam.17:34-37).

He went forth, found 5 smooth stones, and his leadership led to a great victory for Israel.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had almost nothing to do with public health and almost everything to do with separating, impoverishing, and disconnecting people inclined to vote against the ruling class.[1]

Let’s stop kidding ourselves: the vast majority of political leaders today internationally, are infected with Leftist dogma, so they are utterly hostile to God and His Word; they are His “enemies.”

Sometimes, Leftist politicians let their true colours show, but they commonly try to conceal them. Being a socialist, Hitler scorned the church, but he didn’t want his attitude to be known. He said of the German Protestants,

You can do anything you want with them…they will submit…they are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarressment when you talk to them.[2]

When Christians trust that their political leaders will always have their best interests at heart, we only display our abysmal ignorance, both of scripture and history. For most of the church’s history, it’s relationship with governments has been uneasy, at best. It’s all a matter of,

Who is Lord? Christ or Caesar?

Historically, the biggest intruder and violator the family, the church and a free society has confronted, has been the State. It was the State under Pharoah that kidnapped the Hebrews and murdered their babies, and sought to kill Moses (see Exodus 1-2). It was the State that murdered Jesus’ forerunner John, that tried to kill Jesus as a baby (see Mat.2), then murdered Him around AD 33. Not content with this, it then attacked His church (Acts 12:1-3; Rev.13:1-7).

It’s plain to me that the political leaders who’ve been willing to impose lockdowns on communities, and doing things like closing State borders, compelling a multitude of retail outlet closures for months on end, and forcing people to wear masks and restricting community movement, are not the slightest bit concerned about their community’s welfare. They are concerned (like all tyrants) to maintain and develop their personal power. The issue of oppression or the hardship of the needy, is of no consequence to them.

In fact, they see this as a challenge being put to them, for them to win. They want to put their thumbs down on those idiot people! Well, those “idiot people” will do well to realise what scripture says:

…All those that hate me love death (Prov.8:36).

The longer the lockdowns persist, the more entrenched the public health bureaucrats will become. They will not surrender authority. They will demand budget increases.[3]

Conclusion:

Goliath’s appearance demanded a response. For forty days, he got none, till David turned up. His brave, faith-filled and godly leadership suddenly changed things that day: wow!

Right now, we have merchants of death ruling us, scorning us and making demands of us, in what we thought were democratic nations. What’s to be done?

God’s people must raise a standard of resistance. Isn’t this a Christian duty?

Will we do it? There will be a reward.


[1] Gary North (www.garynorth.com), “Is the 2020 Election the Point of no Return?” 16/10/2020.

[2] Found in Rauschning, “The Voice of Destruction,” p.54, quoted in William Shirer,” The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” 1968, p.329.

[3] Gary North (www.garynorth.com), “No Unlockdowns This Year, or Next,” 16/10/2020.

Some Dangerous Voting Trends Among Christians

Sep 11, 2020 by Gary DeMar

The 2020 election has brought forth a number of cantankerous Christian groupings when it comes to voting patterns. Some of these have a longer history. The first group contends that there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties. It’s pretty clear that in 2020 there is more than a dime’s worth of difference even though the Republican Party has a lot of flaws. Republicans have squandered a lot of political capital when they had the presidency under George W. Bush and a majority in the House and Senate. It also didn’t help that GWB started an immoral and unconstitutional war with Iraq.

The second group consists of those who claim they can’t vote for the lesser of two evils. This means they couldn’t vote for anyone except for Jesus since there is no candidate who is without some evil. No candidate is perfect. Every vote is a vote for the lesser of two evils. To vote for the lesser of two evils is to vote for less evil. Not to vote for the lesser of two evils is to make it easier for the greater evil to win.

The third group is made up of people who are going to vote for a third-party candidate who is going to lose. Ross Perot lost as a third-party candidate in the 1992 election between Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush. Perot received more than 19 million votes but did not receive a single electoral vote. As a result, Bill Clinton became President and his wife became a political nuisance.

The new group contends that it’s best to vote for the greater evil. In this case, Joe Biden and the Democrat Party. This is mind boggling. It is worse than irrational; it is immoral. The following article by Dr. Michael S. Beates,a Minister in the Presbyterian Church in America that was originally published as “My Thoughts on ‘Christians for Biden’” in the Aguila Report.

_________________________

On several occasions recently, I have encountered stalwart Christians who have posted links to stories covering other Christians (in a positive manner) who announce their intention to vote for Joe Biden. The conversation usually goes in three directions.

First, for example, Christianity Today recently reported on Richard Mouw, respected leader and former president at Fuller Seminary saying he “plans to vote for Biden, despite some qualms about the Democratic Party’s positions on abortion and religious liberty.”

When I read this, I replied to the post saying, “Qualms? QUALMS? Lord have mercy! Vote for Beelzebub for Pete’s sake. If you vote with the darkness of abortion, all your other virtuous commitments to justice are so much hot air. Such foolishness!”

The respected Christian brother posting the link said I was missing the point and that we all have to choose our qualms (true enough in a fallen world). He went on to say that President Trump has so egregiously transgressed the commandment against bearing false witness, that he, too (it seemed), must vote against Trump.

I do not have a record of my rejoinder to his comment because after I posted another response, he blocked me from his page. Yes, I was “canceled” because I showed so little patience with people who would vote for candidates who advocate the killing of unborn human beings (100% of the time, right up to birth). In fact, six months ago, only three Democrats had the moral courage to vote in the affirmative for cloture on the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” ― those against included 42 Democrats and 2 Independents. This is a political movement that cannot even bring itself to direct medical professionals to save the life of child who survives an attempted abortion. Let that sink in . . . they would rather the medical professional let the baby die ― essentially commit infanticide in a sterile back room by state decree in order to protect “reproductive choice.”

And Christian leaders have “qualms” about this stance?

Then there’s a Billy Graham granddaughter with a winsome piece in USA Today about how awful Trump is toward women and how those who support him are “spitting on the legacy” of Billy Graham (ouch!). Though she never clearly says in this opinion piece what her recommended alternative is, she does so in her Twitter account here: she will happily vote for Biden. So, again, due to Trump’s bad behavior, she is willing to throw her support behind those who advocate for and support those involved in the killing of unborn children. Makes. No. Sense.

One man on that comment stream said the following to me:

“But like many who are pro-life until birth you support a man who violated almost every commandment of the ten and never attends church or prays for forgiveness over a man who has spent his life trying to help the downtrodden, attends church weekly and constantly asks for forgiveness. You and Trump are a total contradiction.”

I have tried to reason with some followers of Jesus about what I call the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the law. Some will tell me we simply cannot vote for Trump due to his breaking so many commandments. Yes, every sin is an act of cosmic treason against a holy God (the vertical dimension of the law). And all sin deserves eternal punishment (regardless of how often we go to church). But we also must realize that while it is a sin to insult a man or even wish him dead, it is far worse (with respect to the horizontal dimension of the law) to plunge a knife in his chest and end his existential life. Thus, I gladly admit to Trump’s terrible behavior; but he is not advocating killing unborn babies made in God’s image.

Second, in another story, we read about an evangelical who is directing Biden’s “national faith engagement.” For this Moody Bible Institute graduate, “The key religious issue of this election is systemic racism.” My initial response to the posting was to say, “Sorry, can’t do a party whose primary commitment is abortion of black and disabled children. People (I’ll even say ‘believers’) who claim to be ‘pro-life Biden supporters’ are holding two completely contradictory ideas in their heads simultaneously. SMH”

Several dozen responses followed including the now predictable charge that I am merely “pro-birth” and I don’t care about the babies once they are born, so shame on me. I usually don’t dignify the charge with a response. I could talk about my four adopted black children (and several others who call me “papa”) and how my wife and I have been pro-life 24/7/365 for several decades now; or how my circle of friends have adopted scores of children as an outgrowth of our pro-life convictions. “Pro-birth”?  Please!

I usually simply say, “Being pro-life is certainly more than being ‘pro-birth’ of course, but it is certainly not less than being pro-birth!”

Most of my friendly (and some not so friendly) opponents in such debates say, “But Trump is so profane, nasty, adulterous, boorish, rude, and mean.” All true (and we could add a few more accurate epithets). I sometimes tell people that I preferred about 16 other candidates to Donald Trump, and I resigned my Republican party affiliation four years ago upon his nomination.

But ― let me be clear ― I will always prefer a mean, lying, adulterer over a nice, kind, grandfatherly gentleman who advocates death to unborn children through a racist agency spear-heading a holocaust on minorities. Period.

I have had other well-intentioned believers respond with “But Planned Parenthood does good things; and I don’t know any Democrats who advocate abortion up until birth ― it’s only to the point of viability.” Sigh …. It seems some people must be living in a cave or simply are not listening. The New York Times (last year during Democrat candidate debates) surveyed candidates regarding limits on abortion. Only one of the 15 or so respondents advocated limits.  Just ONE! Other published results from NPR or WaPo show a more nuanced look at the issue, but still half of all candidates said, “No limits what so ever” while others said, “Stick with Row v. Wade limits” (which essentially means, “It’s a wild card depending on interpretation and application”).

I could have added: Let’s be honest ― clearly the most egregious example of systemic racism is the work of Planned Parenthood decimating Black families through abortion for decades. I have a particular antipathy for Planned Parenthood and thus for people who would do anything in any manner to help the organization survive and grow. Counselors at Planned Parenthood would have advocated for abortion for at least half of my eight children. When I see followers of Jesus work for the success of a party that is 100% behind Planned Parenthood, . . . I have to give the benefit of the doubt that they have simply been blinded to Planned Parenthood’s clear and unambiguous racist history and continuing racist practices affecting black and other minority communities.

Third, there are those who say, “at least vote third party, keep your conscience clean; by voting for Trump, you endorse all his bad behavior.” I could answer by saying that when a Christian votes for Biden he or she is endorsing abortion, … but I won’t say that. I don’t believe that about brothers and sisters in Christ, nor should they believe I endorse bad behavior from Trump. I respond with two points:

First, I believe a vote of any candidate is never necessarily an endorsement of that person’s morality.  If it were, I could never vote for anyone. We have all known Trump’s severe moral deficiencies for years (imagine what we still don’t know!). Politics is a “city of man” venture. We live in a fallen world. I believe we are all far worse than we care to believe, and certainly worse than we want publicized. We are painfully aware of everyone’s faults, sins, and “me-too” moments now (as a side note, I believe this tendency is driving good people away from public service since “Who wants everything bad you’ve ever done dredged up and hung out for public opprobrium?”). So I often say politics and Polish sausage are alike in so far as the process of making each product may create nausea and seem absolutely repulsive; but one hopes the end product of each may be something that “tastes good.” I am voting for a world-view and a philosophy of government, not for any particular man or woman.

But second, until a viable third party rises, a “protest vote” or a “stay at home no-vote” actually helps the other side whose world-view commitment is solidly pro-abortion. Such a protest or third-party vote is fine in places like New York or California where the result is so lop-sided a conservative vote does not matter. In such cases, keep your conscience clear if you must. But in closely contested states like Florida, I sincerely believe we do not have that option. The pro-abortion party will gratefully cheer on every conservative pro-life third-party vote or no-vote since it essentially becomes a vote for them. Politics is often necessarily a “lesser of two evils” situation, and never more so (in my opinion) than in 2016 and 2020.  Again, a city of man issue.

Let me be clear again: I yearn to see justice accomplished and equity established. I long to see more fair housing and less bad policing. We all want criminal justice reform and peace in our cities. But if you’re dead, none of these social justice goals matter. For those image bearers who don’t survive birth, for those who die by abortion, it’s all moot.

We must begin by getting “Life” right. Everything else follows. Abortion is a grisly, sickening, grotesquely dark business. The current VP candidate for the Democrat party prosecuted a man who exposed Planned Parenthood’s illegal selling of human fetal body parts. But the criminals marketing in human flesh still operate with impunity as they perfect methods of abortion that allow them to harvest more organs for yet more profit.

I cannot see, frankly, how any follower of Jesus can throw their lot in with such modern-day Phoenicians engaged in child sacrifice for the sake of economic gain. “Reproductive choice” has become god for many. The abortion business (and advocating for it in any fashion) is far, far, far worse that calling someone names, mocking a disabled man, committing adultery, lying, cheating on taxes, or whatever you wish to add to Trump’s list of sin.

Finally I must add one more: a pastor in Georgia running for office was asked about abortion (or “reproductive choice.” Notice: in his responses, he never musters enough courage to say the word abortion!  Rather, he uses seven or eight euphemistic terms to weasel around the grisly, racist, ugly truth behind abortion. Again, I am left shaking my head in disbelief. Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood has endorsed his campaign for office.

May God grant mercy on us all as we seek to follow Him in our confused and ever-darkening culture so focused on death for convenience and economic security. I, for one, want to see abortion ended and I cannot ― ever ― support a candidate of any party who works for abortion’s flourishing and continuation in our land.

Eyewitness to the Trial and Agony of Julian Assange

October 3rd, 2020

John Pilger has watched Julian Assange’s extradition trial from the public gallery at London’s Old Bailey. He spoke with Timothy Erik Ström of Arena magazine, Australia:

Q: Having watched Julian Assange’s trial first-hand, can you describe the prevailing atmosphere in the court?

The prevailing atmosphere has been shocking. I say that without hesitation; I have sat in many courts and seldom known such a corruption of due process; this is due revenge. Putting aside the ritual associated with ‘British justice’, at times it has been evocative of a Stalinist show trial. One difference is that in the show trials, the defendant stood in the court proper. In the Assange trial, the defendant was caged behind thick glass, and had to crawl on his knees to a slit in the glass, overseen by his guard, to make contact with his lawyers. His message, whispered barely audibly through face masks, WAS then passed by post-it the length of the court to where his barristers were arguing the case against his extradition to an American hellhole.

Consider this daily routine of Julian Assange, an Australian on trial for truth-telling journalism. He was woken at five o’clock in his cell at Belmarsh prison in the bleak southern sprawl of London. The first time I saw Julian in Belmarsh, having passed through half an hour of ‘security’ checks, including a dog’s snout in my rear, I found a painfully thin figure sitting alone wearing a yellow armband. He had lost more than 10 kilos in a matter of months; his arms had no muscle. His first words were: ‘I think I am losing my mind’.

I tried to assure him he wasn’t. His resilience and courage are formidable, but there is a limit. That was more than a year ago. In the past three weeks, in the pre-dawn, he was strip-searched, shackled, and prepared for transport to the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, in a truck that his partner, Stella Moris, described as an upended coffin. It had one small window; he had to stand precariously to look out. The truck and its guards were operated by Serco, one of many politically connected companies that run much of Boris Johnson’s Britain.

The journey to the Old Bailey took at least an hour and a half. That’s a minimum of three hours being jolted through snail-like traffic every day. He was led into his narrow cage at the back of the court, then look up, blinking, trying to make out faces in the public gallery through the reflection of the glass. He saw the courtly figure of his dad, John Shipton, and me, and our fists went up. Through the glass, he reached out to touch fingers with Stella, who is a lawyer and seated in the body of the court.

We were here for the ultimate of what the philosopher Guy Debord called The Society of the Spectacle: a man fighting for his life. Yet his crime is to have performed an epic public service: revealing that which we have a right to know: the lies of our governments and the crimes they commit in our name. His creation of WikiLeaks and its failsafe protection of sources revolutionised journalism, restoring it to the vision of its idealists. Edmund Burke’s notion of free journalism as a fourth estate is now a fifth estate that shines a light on those who diminish the very meaning of democracy with their criminal secrecy. That’s why his punishment is so extreme.

The sheer bias in the courts I have sat in this year and last year, with Julian in the dock, blight any notion of British justice. When thuggish police dragged him from his asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy – look closely at the photo and you’ll see he is clutching a Gore Vidal book; Assange has a political humour similar to Vidal’s – a judge gave him an outrageous 50-week sentence in a maximum-security prison for mere bail infringement.

For months, he was denied exercise and held in solitary confinement disguised as ‘health care’. He once told me he strode the length of his cell, back and forth, back and forth, for his own half-marathon. In the next cell, the occupant screamed through the night. At first he was denied his reading glasses, left behind in the embassy brutality. He was denied the legal documents with which to prepare his case, and access to the prison library and the use of a basic laptop. Books sent to him by a friend, the journalist Charles Glass, himself a survivor of hostage-taking in Beirut, were returned. He could not call his American lawyers. He has been constantly medicated by the prison authorities. When I asked him what they were giving him, he couldn’t say. The governor of Belmarsh has been awarded the Order of the British Empire.

At the Old Bailey, one of the expert medical witnesses, Dr Kate Humphrey, a clinical neuropsychologist at Imperial College, London, described the damage: Julian’s intellect had gone from ‘in the superior, or more likely very superior range’ to ‘significantly below’ this optimal level, to the point where he was struggling to absorb information and ‘perform in the low average range’.

This is what the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor Nils Melzer, calls ‘psychological torture’, the result of a gang-like ‘mobbing’ by governments and their media shills. Some of the expert medical evidence is so shocking I have no intention of repeating it here. Suffice to say that Assange is diagnosed with autism and Asperger’s syndrome and, according to Professor Michael Kopelman, one of the world’s leading neuropsychiatrists, he suffers from ‘suicidal preoccupations’ and is likely to find a way to take his life if he is extradited to America.

James Lewis QC, America’s British prosecutor, spent the best part of his cross-examination of Professor Kopelman dismissing mental illness and its dangers as ‘malingering’. I have never heard in a modern setting such a primitive view of human frailty and vulnerability.

My own view is that if Assange is freed, he is likely to recover a substantial part of his life. He has a loving partner, devoted friends and allies and the innate strength of a principled political prisoner. He also has a wicked sense of humour.

But that is a long way off. The moments of collusion between the judge – a Gothic-looking magistrate called Vanessa Baraitser, about whom little is known – and the prosecution acting for the Trump regime have been brazen. Until the last few days, defence arguments have been routinely dismissed. The lead prosecutor, James Lewis QC, ex SAS and currently Chief Justice of the Falklands, by and large gets what he wants, notably up to four hours to denigrate expert witnesses, while the defence’s examination is guillotined at half an hour. I have no doubt, had there been a jury, his freedom would be assured.

The dissident artist Ai Weiwei came to join us one morning in the public gallery. He noted that in China the judge’s decision would already have been made. This caused some dark ironic amusement. My companion in the gallery, the astute diarist and former British ambassador Craig Murray wrote:

I fear that all over London a very hard rain is now falling on those who for a lifetime have worked within institutions of liberal democracy that at least broadly and usually used to operate within the governance of their own professed principles. It has been clear to me from Day 1 that I am watching a charade unfold. It is not in the least a shock to me that Baraitser does not think anything beyond the written opening arguments has any effect. I have again and again reported to you that, where rulings have to be made, she has brought them into court pre-written, before hearing the arguments before her.

I strongly expect the final decision was made in this case even before opening arguments were received.

The plan of the US Government throughout has been to limit the information available to the public and limit the effective access to a wider public of what information is available. Thus we have seen the extreme restrictions on both physical and video access. A complicit mainstream media has ensured those of us who know what is happening are very few in the wider population.

There are few records of the proceedings. They are: Craig Murray’s personal blog, Joe Lauria’s live reporting on Consortium News and the World Socialist Website. American journalist Kevin Gosztola’s blog, Shadowproof, funded mostly by himself, has reported more of the trial than the major US press and TV, including CNN, combined.

In Australia, Assange’s homeland, the ‘coverage’ follows a familiar formula set overseas. The London correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald, Latika Bourke, wrote this recently:

The court heard Assange became depressed during the seven years he spent in the Ecuadorian embassy where he sought political asylum to escape extradition to Sweden to answer rape and sexual assault charges.

There were no ‘rape and sexual assault charges’ in Sweden. Bourke’s lazy falsehood is not uncommon. If the Assange trial is the political trial of the century, as I believe it is, its outcome will not only seal the fate of a journalist for doing his job but intimidate the very principles of free journalism and free speech. The absence of serious mainstream reporting of the proceedings is, at the very least, self-destructive. Journalists should ask: who is next?

How shaming it all is. A decade ago, the Guardian exploited Assange’s work, claimed its profit and prizes as well as a lucrative Hollywood deal, then turned on him with venom. Throughout the Old Bailey trial, two names have been cited by the prosecution, the Guardian’s David Leigh, now retired as ‘investigations editor’ and Luke Harding, the Russiaphobe and author of a fictional Guardian ‘scoop’ that claimed Trump adviser Paul Manafort and a group of Russians visited Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy. This never happened, and the Guardian has yet to apologise. The Harding and Leigh book on Assange – written behind their subject’s back – disclosed a secret password to a WikiLeaks file that Assange had entrusted to Leigh during the Guardian’s ‘partnership’. Why the defence has not called this pair is difficult to understand.

Assange is quoted in their book declaring during a dinner at a London restaurant that he didn’t care if informants named in the leaks were harmed. Neither Harding nor Leigh was at the dinner. John Goetz, an investigations reporter with Der Spiegel, was at the dinner and testified that Assange said nothing of the kind. Incredibly, Judge Baraitser stopped Goetz actually saying this in court.

However, the defence has succeeded in demonstrating the extent to which Assange sought to protect and redact names in the files released by WikiLeaks and that no credible evidence existed of individuals harmed by the leaks. The great whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg said that Assange had personally redacted 15,000 files. The renowned New Zealand investigative journalist Nicky Hager, who worked with Assange on the Afghanistan and Iraq war leaks, described how Assange took ‘extraordinary precautions in redacting names of informants’.

Q: What are the implications of this trial’s verdict for journalism more broadly – is it an omen of things to come?

The ‘Assange effect’ is already being felt across the world. If they displease the regime in Washington, investigative journalists are liable to prosecution under the 1917 US Espionage Act; the precedent is stark. It doesn’t matter where you are. For Washington, other people’s nationality and sovereignty rarely mattered; now it does not exist. Britain has effectively surrendered its jurisdiction to Trump’s corrupt Department of Justice. In Australia, a National Security Information Act promises Kafkaesque trials for transgressors. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has been raided by police and journalists’ computers taken away. The government has given unprecedented powers to intelligence officials, making journalistic whistle-blowing almost impossible. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Assange ‘must face the music’. The perfidious cruelty of his statement is reinforced by its banality.

‘Evil’, wrote Hannah Arendt, ‘comes from a failure to think. It defies thought for as soon as thought tries to engage itself with evil and examine the premises and principles from which it originates, it is frustrated because it finds nothing there. That is the banality of evil’.

Q: Having followed the story of WikiLeaks closely for a decade, how has this eyewitness experience shifted your understanding of what’s at stake with Assange’s trial?

I have long been a critic of journalism as an echo of unaccountable power and a champion of those who are beacons. So, for me, the arrival of WikiLeaks was exciting; I admired the way Assange regarded the public with respect, that he was prepared to share his work with the ‘mainstream’ but not join their collusive club. This, and naked jealousy, made him enemies among the overpaid and under-talented, insecure in their pretensions of independence and impartiality.

I admired the moral dimension to WikiLeaks. Assange was rarely asked about this, yet much of his remarkable energy comes from a powerful moral sense that governments and other vested interests should not operate behind walls of secrecy. He is a democrat. He explained this in one of our first interviews at my home in 2010.

What is at stake for the rest of us has long been at stake: freedom to call authority to account, freedom to challenge, to call out hypocrisy, to dissent. The difference today is that the world’s imperial power, the United States, has never been as unsure of its metastatic authority as it is today. Like a flailing rogue, it is spinning us towards a world war if we allow it. Little of this menace is reflected in the media.

WikiLeaks, on the other hand, has allowed us to glimpse a rampant imperial march through whole societies – think of the carnage in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, to name a few, the dispossession of 37 million people and the deaths of 12 million men, women and children in the ‘war on terror’ – most of it behind a façade of deception.

Julian Assange is a threat to these recurring horrors – that’s why he is being persecuted, why a court of law has become an instrument of oppression, why he ought to be our collective conscience: why we all should be the threat.

The judge’s decision will be known on the 4th of January.Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Corona Virus and the Country’s Future (9)

Boris Johnson is proof positive that British politics is in the tar pits of government deficit spending. But, then again, so is American politics, French politics, and all politics in southern Europe. Only the Germans seem to be able to avoid the lure of welfare state rhetoric. They have a massive welfare state, but at least the government balances the budget. The German government ran a surplus in 2019.

It is clear that Boris Johnson believes that the Conservative Party’s members are as committed to the welfare state as the Labour Party is.

In the English-speaking world, there is no national leader who is openly committed to the principles of limited government, free market economics, and surplus national budgets. There is not one national leader who is publicly committed to paying off his nation’s national debt. There is not one national leader who is committed to a full gold coin standard.

We can be sure of this much: under these conditions, economic growth is going to slow.[1]

Christians have to realise today that the church has been in a downhill spiral, since Darwin and his “Origin of the Species,” in 1859. When it was published, the vast majority of the church was silent, hardly knowing what to do. If we were to set aside the scriptures, it had some ostensible credibility, so the vast majority of the church then, being concerned after all about public credibility, decided to acquiesce and go along with Mr Darwin. That was a big mistake.

Someone once said that

Error’s half-way around the world before truth gets his boots on.

Since that time, we’ve had World War I, Communism, the Great Depression and World War II; in total, five significant events of history, which have all (directly or indirectly) been damaging to the church, along with the community. Both World Wars were preceded by political ineptitude and blunders on a grand scale, and the second ended with two vengeful attacks on militarily insignificant targets with atomic bombs, by a nation that called itself Christian.

Each of these events contained elements of political propaganda, and not merely directed towards a nation’s enemies. Political leaders wanted their own people to believe certain things about what’s taken place in history, but this will only be a portion of the truth, assuming its even the truth at all.

Just now, Julian Assange is on trial in an English court, for publicly revealing what the US government and its army were actually doing in Baghdad.

What were they doing?  Murdering civilians.

Some people, like Hillary Clinton, have wanted him dead, and said so. After all, criminals don’t want their evil deeds publicised around the world. Now, the governments of Great Britain and the US want him locked up for good or dead, and the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, has washed his hands of him, and thinks he should “face the music.” A comforting assurance from a purportedly Christian leader, indeed.

And I should mention the coronavirus. It hasn’t been a disaster, because actually, it’s been pretty much like any other flu virus in terms of its fatality rates. It’s difference has been that it’s been turned into an opportunity for a massive political manipulation internationally, by bureaucrats and political leaders. This has been going on for many months, dominating the news.

The harm that’s been done has had little to do with the virus, at all. It’s been all to do with what has essentially been a fake pseudo campaign of opposition. Suddenly, medical bureaucrats and politician stole the limelight with all manner of lockdowns, and similar oppressions of the public, all with a view of ensuring “public health.” For what?

There was no pandemic in most of the world, but there’s certainly been a manufactured one, and everyone’s supposed to be in fear of it.

We know from scripture (see Jn.11:47-53) that ruthless rulers utilise political expediency to get their way, and we should know there are plenty of expedient political leaders around. Has there ever been a shortage of them?

They rarely let the facts get in the way of a desired goal, but they do all they can to stop those facts ever seeing the light of day. I suspect that they’ve colluded with medical bureaucrats in propagating the notion of a pandemic, then worked out ways to manage this, that give power to both groups.

Naturally, the electorate would have to pick up the tab for all of this, so governments (such as in Australia this week) have shown their utter contempt for the electorate. Governments act as if they were hosts at a five year old’s birthday party, handing out gifts of fizzy drink and lollies. But this big-spending approach will only drive the country way further into debt, limiting economic growth.

Changing this analogy to a more sinister one, the drug dealer hands out more heroin to the pathetic addicts crowding his doorway, even though both parties know this is a foolish, short-term and highly destructive habit to engage in. What will they do when the fix wears off?

Be back there again? And what’s the outcome, long-term?

It’ll be painful, but for now, many people with unlimited goodies available from government, will logically conclude that the government will ever look after them. So why go to work, why be responsible? Why make sacrifices for the future? Why save?

Conclusion:

With all this around us, and lies and nonsense labelled as the truth, we would do well to listen to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah. When Jeremiah was struggling to cope with his opposition, and people cursing him, God encouraged him that

…if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokesman …(Jer.15:19).

It is upsetting having to realise how governments have attempted to deceive the electorate. But Christians should take heart, even in the midst of a so-called “pandemic,” which probably isn’t one at all. There will be in the future, a multitude of opportunities for Christian service. Our faithfulness to God will be appreciated by multitudes, who never understood the nature of what was happening in these days.

And here’s my final question, and challenge: what will you be: a part of the problem, or a part of the solution?


[1] Gary North (www.garynorth.com), “Spend Brittania! Boris Johnson Morphs into Jeremy Corbyn,” 9/10/2020.

Romantic Revolutionaries: The Myth that Order Arises Out of Chaos

Sep 9, 2020 by Gary DeMar

The religion of something from nothing, order out of chaos origins is a popular creation myth developed out of thin air by materialist philosophers who can’t account for the matter they say gave rise to you and me. What we are seeing in cities that espouse the fundamentals of something from nothing scientism is a direct result of the rise of romantic revolutionaries who believe that chaos will beget order.

Rousas J. Rushdoony writes:

We should not be surprised … that Marxists and other worshipers of chaos are committed to revolution even when the peaceful take-over of a country is possible. Revolution must be created by mass liquidations and the destruction of all established law and order, including economic order. The “economics” of socialism (and welfare states) do not make sense because they are not intended to make sense: they are a defiance of the universe of God in the name of chaos. They invoke chaos as the highway to the golden age.

If they fail, the guilt is not theirs. They blame the failure on residual areas and pockets of religion, law, and order, or property and national loyalty. Their solution therefore is to increase the chaos. Since their universe is a universe of chaos: their golden age can only come through planned chaos. Hence, they deny the validity of the biblical God; they cannot accept a world of moral and economic law. Their golden age requires the triumph of man over religion, over morality, and over economics. The liberation of man requires the systematic violation and destruction of every law sphere. [1]

The assumption among the revolutionaries is that things will get better if America falls apart. When this happens, so the argument goes, the people will rise and throw off their oppressors, as they did during the French, Russian, and Cuban revolutions. The French Revolution, celebrated in France and often compared to our War for Independence, is a perfect example of how not to build a civilization with a lasting moral foundation. The American Revolution was not a revolution but a war for independence. There was no uprising of the people but a joining of 13 individual colonial governments with their constitutions to defend their sovereignty and their Christian moral base.

The murdering mobs that attacked the nearly empty Bastille (at the time of the siege there were only seven non-political prisoners) believed their actions were for a better France, similar to what today’s political revolutionaries have in mind. The storming of the Bastille was a catalyst for what became known as the Reign of Terror. “French society underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from left-wing political groups and the masses on the streets.” [2] How bad was it?

Internally, popular sentiments by some of the nation’s most perverse  social theorists radicalized the revolutionary fervor, culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins and the virtual dictatorship by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror from 1793 until 1794 when between 16,000 and 40,000 people were killed.

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Did you get that? Between 16,000 and 40,000 French citizens were killed for a better France. Consider the following:

Ordered by the king [Louis XVI] to surrender, more than 600 Swiss guards were savagely murdered. The mobs ripped them to shreds and mutilated their corpses. “Women, lost to all sense of shame,” said one surviving witness, “were committing the most indecent mutilations on the dead bodies from which they tore pieces of flesh and carried them off in triumph.” Children played kickball with the guards’ heads. Every living thing in the Tuileries [royal palace in Paris] was butchered or thrown from the windows by the hooligans. Women were raped before being hacked to death.

The Jacobin club ​…​ demanded that the piles of rotting, defiled corpses surrounding the Tuileries be left to putrefy in the street for days afterward as a warning to the people of the power of the extreme left.

This bestial attack, it was later decreed, would be celebrated every year as “the festival of the unity and indivisibility of the republic.” It would be as if families across America delighted in the annual TV special “A Manson Family Christmas.” [3]

In time, the supposed just cause of the revolutionary mobs got out of hand, and people began to notice where the revolution was taking them. What began as a way to eradicate corruption among the ruling classes of civil governing officials and religious hierarchy spilled over to the general population.

During the Reign of Terror, extreme efforts of de-Christianization ensued, including the imprisonment and massacre of priests and destruction of churches and religious images throughout France. An effort was made to replace the Catholic Church altogether, with civic festivals replacing religious ones. The establishment of the Cult of Reason was the final step of radical de-Christianization. [4]

It was at this point that the people became disillusioned with the revolutionary ways of the radicals, but not before more atrocities were committed for the supposed salvation of the people and the nation. As revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat wrote in a newspaper in 1792, “Let the blood of the traitors flow! That is the only way to save the country.” And it did as Marat’s followers attacked and butchered hundreds of enemies of the revolution. Two bonfires were constructed to cremate the mutilated corpses. “The gutters ran red with blood.”

Don’t say it can’t happen here. The people in France, Russia, Cuba, China, and Venezuela probably said the same thing.

One of the first things that these revolutions do is attack the prevailing religion. We’re seeing this happen in the United States. There’s been a steady history of removing anything related to God and the Bible from our culture. The Bible was relegated to the Church on Sunday, but even that’s under attack. Some want the Bible banned for what it says about same-sex sexuality. There is no way to appease the anarchists. They want it all.

“[L]eft-wing radicals burn Bibles, assault and murder policemen and civilians, set fire to courthouses, vandalize and loot all manner of businesses,” Roger Kimball writes. “The clips of the savages burning Bibles put me in mind of Heinrich Heine’s solemn observation that Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen: ‘Wherever people burn books, they also end up burning men.’” [5]

  1. The Religion of Revolution (Victoria, TX: Trinity Episcopal Church, 1965), [3-4].[]
  2. “The French Revolution,” Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (May 24, 2017): https://westernciv.com/syllabus/history-of-france/spring/the-french-revolution/%5B]
  3. Ann Coulter, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2011), 107.[]
  4. “The French Revolution”: The Reign of Terror,” Thought Crackers (Sept. 17, 2015): http://thoughtcrackers.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-french-revolution-​reign-of-terror.html%5B]
  5. Roger Kimball, “The Choice Before Us,” American Greatness (August 1, 2020): https://bit.ly/3k7DHGT%5B]

Is There a Time to Stop Praying and Start Doing?

Sep 29, 2020 by Gary DeMar

For decades, Christians have been reluctant to get involved in politics. These Christians either don’t vote or when they do vote they do so in terms of what government can do for them. The government is seen as their earthly savior. They are more concerned about where their next flu shot is coming from rather than the appointment of judges who with one vote can turn the Constitution on its head.

There are many more Christians who had given up on politics after the election of Ronald Reagan didn’t bring in the millennium. And when Bill Clinton got elected twice, hopelessness set in. George W. Bush was a big disappointment. Barack Obama was a disaster.

All that work, and for what? Christians who are experiencing political remorse are suffering from a case of faulty theology. Life is hard … There’s evil in the world … We must be faithful … We must be diligent to overturn evil with good.

Here we are in 2020 about to re-elect Pres. Trump or elect Joe Biden who will empower a government that will bring devastation to the United States that could set our nation back decades from which we may not recover.

After reading one of my articles about the seriousness of this election, I received this well-intentioned response:

I am with your reasoning but are we focusing more on voting than praying? We know that God will decide about coming peace or riots or hanging chads or voter fraud. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit” (James 5:16–18).

Both are necessary. We can’t pray our way out of something that requires action on our part. A student can’t pray to do well on a test if he or she didn’t study for it. Praying is not going to help if you plan to do stupid stuff.

We can “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) while we act on what we’re praying about. Prayer is not a substitute for action when something can and needs to be done.

Prayer and repentance are not to be dismissed. They are the first steps in a longer process. Before the events in Elijah’s day, Joshua went through an experience that resulted in a military defeat when he expected a victory. Israel won its first encounter with Jericho without a casualty. Why should the battle with Ai be any different? The spies thought Ai was weak enough that only “two or three thousand men need go up” (Josh. 7:3). Thirty-six Israelites were killed, and the rest were pursued and assaulted by the men of Ai with the result that “the hearts of the people melted and became as water” (7:5).

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths

Have you ever heard fellow-Christians say, “We can’t be inolved in politics because Jesus never got involved in politics, there’s a separation between church and state, our citizenship is in heaven, we can’t impose our morality on other people, Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, we must be neutral, we’re not to judge,…?” Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths deals with these and many more misconceived arguments. Buy Now

You know what the Israelites were thinking. “Maybe we should have stayed out of this political thing. We were at least safe when we were ghettoized beyond the Jordan and could follow our privatized and quietist faith.” There was even fear that things would get a lot worse once the “Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land” heard about the defeat (7:9). Joshua, voicing these concerns to God, did what many Christians have concluded is the only action that should be taken. “Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell on the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until evening, both he and the elders of Israel” (7:7). In a word, they prayed … hard.

What did God tell him to do? “So the LORD said to Joshua, ‘Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them’” (7:11). In effect, God told Joshua to stop praying and act on the evil that brought them the defeat!

Prayer is not a magical formula, an incantation that brings forth God like a genie from a bottle. Prayer is an admission of weakness. It is in weakness that God can best use us (2 Cor. 12:9–10). But true faith and trust are not exercised if we do not act on the belief that God will work for us even in our weakness. Prayer is not the end but the beginning of the work God has called us to do, and in many cases, it is not a substitute for action. J. I. Packer says it this way:

The Spirit does what he does. His supernaturalizing of our lives enables Christians, as a matter of fact, to do much for the Lord that they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. That’s the whole doctrine of gifts and ministry. It’s my part to see what God calls me to do, to ask the Lord to enable me to do it, then to get up off my knees and go confidently into action, watching to see what help I shall be given, and finally to give thanks for what the Spirit did in and through me[1]

There is sin in the Christian camp. Entire denominations support abortion and homosexuality or remain silent which is the same as giving support. Politicians, many who claim to be Christians, maintain that abortion should be a protected right. They’re “personally opposed” to abortion, but they can’t impose their morality on others. Are they personally opposed to slavery and racial discrimination? Sure they are. Would they vote for laws to stop them? Sure they would. If someone is personally opposed to abortion because abortion takes a human life, then a law prohibiting abortion is a moral necessity.

The sins of Achan—“the mantle of Shinar” (humanism) and “silver and gold” (mammon)—are the sins of the church. Many pastors are afraid to lose members and their money if they teach what the Bible says about certain sins. Their sermons are humanistic in that they cater to fallen men and women and their needs rather than God and His laws. We will not change things at the top until we change things at the bottom.

Prayer is a good and necessary practice. But after we fall on our face, let’s be careful not to cover our ears, shut our eyes, and bind our feet. We might just hear God’s voice say, “Rise up! Get up and vote! Get your mother to vote! Get your pastor to vote and to tell the congregation to vote! Vote in terms of what the Bible says about these issues. Vote as a son of Issachar would vote: ‘Men who understood the times with knowledge of what Israel should do’” (1 Chron. 12:32). This means being an informed voter.

  1. J.I. Packer, “The Holy Spirit at Work,” Christianity Today (March 19, 1990). Emphasis added.[]

Coronavirus and the Country’s Future (5) – Will the Church Stand Up?

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; and you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord will designate. You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God (Isa.62:1-3).

Right around the world, the church’s response to the Covid 19 “Pandemic” has not been one that’s glorified God.  Why do I say that?

With the exception of John Macarthur of Grace Church in California, almost every Christian leader’s response has been one of compliance. The church has run up the white flag of obedience to the state on the matter of a so-called health “pandemic,” which has been no pandemic at all.

And if you should ask,

Haven’t people died by the thousands?

I would say, “Yes, they have.” But every year around the world, this is the normal response to flu variants. Flu kills millions of the world’s population annually. Covid 19 has essentially displaced other flu viruses in the statistical analysis, but it’s impact was wildly exaggerated.

Who’s to blame for this?

We can begin with medical bureaucrats, who seized on a piece of half-baked analysis from the Imperial College in Britain. The writer of that document already had a reputation for exaggerating predictions of pandemics, and with Covid 19, he was perfectly consistent. So, medical bureaucrats around the world got off on the wrong foot, accepting a catastrophically inaccurate prediction of fatality rates, which has proven to be about 15 times greater than Covid really was.

When the politicians heard the bad news from their bureaucrats, they panicked. They rushed into the race of compliance, so that with a few exceptions like Sweden, political leaders worked in tandem with medical bureaucrats to enact highly restrictive rules on communities around the world, which have been highly restrictive on personal freedoms, onerous and punishing. So we’ve had “social distancing:” people prevented from travel internationally, and from gathering in groups, even in private homes, and even from visiting their neighbor, or their elderly, sick loved one.

And all on the basis of a falsely predicted fatality rate, that’s proven to be catastrophically inaccurate, out by a multiple of 15.

It’s easy for me to say this. I’m not a church leader. I don’t have responsibility for a large group of people. But church leaders anywhere and at all times, are obligated to ensure that their church is “…the pillar and support of the truth” (I Tim.3:15), not necessarily of government policy.

Do I believe that the whole Covid 19 debacle has been a conspiracy by the Chinese, or by the Imperial College, or medical bureaucrats, or governments around the world?

I haven’t made my mind up on this, but I do know this much: governments rarely care about the freedoms and protections for the individual. It simply isn’t on their radar. What is, is getting elected, next time around.

They will crawl over broken glass to try to ensure reelection happens, and if that happens to mean they are crawling over the smashed lives of individuals, their families and their businesses, well that’s life, for them.

This is how it’s been since Moses originally confronted Pharaoh. He responded to Moses, saying,

Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go (Ex.5:2).

When I look back at what governments in Australia have done in my lifetime, there have been precious few occasions when the community has really benefitted, but there have been a multiplicity of times when we’ve suffered as a result of deliberate government policy, and we still do. What’s changed?

The church has an obligation under God to guard individuals and families, and this immediately involves economics and business. If you’re not sure of that, think of “Thou shalt not steal” (Ex.20:15). If governments had any sense, they’d realize that society benefits as a whole when individuals, families and businesses do well. We call it “economic growth.”

I regret to say that church leaders haven’t done their job, and obeyed scripture. Whether its been intimidation, or a failure to understand their Biblical role, church leaders have not stood up, as they should have. And there have been serious and painful consequences, both for the church, and society.

And now, governments have been emboldened to continue with any socially restrictive policies, if they perceive it’s in their best interests to do so, and they can get away with it. For when the church is silent and obedient to the state while individuals and families are being steadily violated, the church simply asks for more of the same.

And without a fundamental change of attitude to how we think about the state, before long we’ll certainly get it.

When Did Jesus ‘Come on the Clouds of Heaven’?

Aug 13, 2020 by Gary DeMar

This is the fourth and final installment in this series (Part 1Part 2Part 3).

In Luke 21:20 we find a similar audience reference: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that her desolation is at hand.” Many prophecy writers who claim that Matthew 24 is about a yet future coming argue that Luke 21:5–24 describes the judgment on Jerusalem that took place in AD 70. Darrell L. Bock, a premillennialist, is a good contemporary example of this position when he writes, Luke “focuses  on the nearer fulfillment in the judgment pattern described here, the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, rather than the end (which he will introduce directly in 21:25).” [1] Many of the people in Jesus’ audience would have been dead by AD 70 and yet Bock has no problem with Jesus using the second person plural. As we’ve seen, it’s a non-issue and does nothing to affect the near fulfillment (“this generation”) of the prophecy.

Dispensationalists in general take a similar position. For example, Arno C. Gaebelein: “This great prophecy was fulfilled in the year 70 A.D., when the Romans besieged Jerusalem and a million perished, besides 100,000 who were made slaves. It is one of the most awful pages in human history. So has Luke 21:24 been fulfilled.”

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I have not found anything that tells me how Hollett interprets Luke 21:20. I did find the following from Mike Coldagelli’s online article “Luke 21:20-24 Fulfilled or Future?,” an interpretation supported by the debate moderator Alan E. Kurschner or holds to a pre-wrath position:

“Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” This wording is identical in all three synoptic gospels. The command flows from a condition that can be seen and understood as a sign. Remember, the questions in all three gospels ask for a sign. All three gospels mention pregnant women, nursing infants, and great distress/tribulation. What is the possibility that these four ideas were applied equally in two different discourses to two different events separated by almost 2,000 years? These four parallels in themselves make a strong case that the discourses in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 are the same.

Coldagelli’s position is not common among many premillennialists. For example, non-dispensational premillennialist J. Oliver Buswell, who held a mid-tribulation view of the rapture, taught that “the Olivet discourse predicts two destructions of Jerusalem: an immediate one which occurred in AD 70 by Titus (Luke 13:34–3519:43–4421:20), and a distant one which will usher in the parousia (cf. Zech 12:214:1–9; Revelation 19)…. [He] saw the prediction of the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem only in Luke, and not in Matthew and Mark” [2] as he makes clear in his systematic theology:

Luke’s statements that in connection with a particular future destruction of Jerusalem the enemy would surround it with armies (Luke 21:20) and would build a wall around it (Luke 19:43) were so very specifically fulfilled in the destruction of the city by Titus in A.D. 70 that double fulfillment is impossible. [3]

I and other preterists take the position that Matthew, Mark, and Luke are describing the same events leading up to and including the destruction of Jerusalem before that generation passed away. The accounts are different in several ways similar to the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke and refer to the same period of time. “In all probability,” Craig Blomberg writes, “Jesus originally uttered one connected, coherent eschatological discourse from which the three Synoptists [Matthew, Mark, and Luke] have chosen to reproduce different portions in different places.” [4]

How does Hollett get around all of these arguments? Here’s his comment which does not answer any of the issues I’ve raised:

By the way, this force-fitting of Matthew 24:25 [sic] would require the apostles to have been in Jerusalem at the time of the final assault by Titus. Many of them had already died or were evangelizing from afar! Similarly, the elders of the Sanhedrin were dead before AD 70 but DeMar’s view requires them (“you”) to have been alive (cf. Matt. 26:64)!

The simplest answer to this argument is that the use of the second person plural refers to those of “this generation,” that is, the generation that would see the events described by Jesus, the “you” of Matthew 24:33, not only those who first heard Jesus’ response to the disciples’ questions. Some of those in His immediate audience were most likely alive (Matt. 16:27–28) and living in Jerusalem since Jesus was addressing His “disciples.” This could have included some of the 70 and even some among the “multitudes” who followed His ministry. This is a much better solution than reinterpreting “when you see” to mean “when they see,” requiring a temple to be rebuilt, redefining “this generation” to mean any number of things, from this race, this nation, to the generation that sees these signs (but see Matt. 24:33), this type of generation, this offspring, this spiritual generation, and who knows what else rather than what “this generation” means elsewhere in the gospels.

Hollett might object because in Mark’s version of the Olivet Discourse we learn that “Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately” (13:3). The questioning may have been in private but the discourse itself could easily have been given to a larger crowd. Jesus often taught in the temple and “would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet. And all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him” (Luke 21:37–38). There may have been a contingent of believers who followed Him. This might explain the questions asked by the four apostles privately.

Luke’s version does not limit the audience to the four: “And while some were talking about the temple … Jesus said, ‘As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down’” (21:5–6). Jesus then makes His prophetic pronouncement that concludes with, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place” (21:32).

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What should we make of this comment from Hollett?: “the elders of the Sanhedrin were dead before AD 70 but DeMar’s view requires them (‘you’) to have been alive (cf. Matt. 26:64)!” Why would Jesus have used “you” if He did not mean them? Once again, Hollett doesn’t have a convincing argument for the generic use of the second person plural here. Caiaphas certainly understood what Jesus meant (26:65).

Who was present during Jesus’ interrogation by Caiaphas? The chief priests, scribes, and elders that made up “the whole council” (26:59). There were many people there who could have been alive nearly 40 years later. But 26:64 is not describing events of AD 70 but what was going to come to pass soon—“from now on.” R.T. France explains the timing factor in his commentary on Matthew 26:64:

Coming on the clouds of heaven (together with the phrase “the Son of man”) is a clear allusion to Daniel 7:13, already similarly alluded to in [Matt] 24:30…. We have seen that its natural application in terms of its Old Testament source is to the vindication and enthronement of the Son of man in heaven, not to a descent to earth. It is therefore in this verse a parallel expression to “seated at the right hand of Power”; the two phrases refer to the same exalted state, not to two successive situations or events. In this verse the appropriateness of this interpretation is underlined by the fact that this is to be true “from now on” (hereafter is a quite misleading rendering of the more specific phrase ap’ arti, which, as in 23:39 and 26:29, denotes a new period beginning from now). Indeed it is something which Jesus’ inquisitors themselves will see (an echo of Zc. 12:10, as in 24:30?), for it will quickly become apparent in the events of even the next few weeks (not to mention the subsequent growth of the church) that the “blasphemer” they thought they had disposed of is in fact now in the position of supreme authority. [5]

N.T. Wright offers a similar interpretation in his commentary on Matthew 26:64 that references Daniel 7:13: “The Daniel text … has nothing to do with a figure ‘coming’ from heaven to earth. Despite the widespread opinion that this is what it ‘must’ mean in the gospels, there is no reason to suppose that on the lips of Jesus, or in the understanding of the earliest traditions, it meant anything other than vindication.” Anyone familiar with Old Testament language would have understood what Jesus was saying. Jesus’ enemies certainly did.

Wright continues to explain that the passage “speaks of exaltation: of one who, representing ‘the people of the saints of the most high’, is raised up from suffering at the hands of the beasts and given a throne to sit on, exercising royal power… Jesus is not … suggesting that Caiaphas will witness the end of the space-time order. Nor will he look out of the window one day and observe a human figure flying downwards on a cloud. It is absurd to imagine either Jesus, or Mark, or anyone in between, supposing the words to mean that.” [6]

The following is found in the Expositor’s Commentary on Matthew 26:64: “[T]he time is coming,” Caiaphas and the Council, “when you and I shall change places; I then the Judge, you the prisoners at the bar.”

Summary

  1. The use of the second person plural in the Olivet Discourse is consistently used for the audience to whom Jesus was speaking.
  2. For Matthew 24:15 to be a prophecy about a distant future event, another temple would have to be built even though the NT does not say anything about a rebuilt temple. The only temple Jesus mentions in Matthew 24 is the temple that was standing in His day that would be torn down stone-by-stone. No other temple is in view.
  3. The judgment was local that could be escaped on foot.
  4. The living conditions were ancient with Sabbath observation still operating, houses with flat roofs used for gatherings, and items like cloaks being of value.
  5. The use of “this generation” determines the timing of the prophetic events outlined by Jesus.
  6. Matthew 26:64 refers to something that was on the immediate horizon, possibly AD 70 or earlier, but certainly not an event 2000 years in the future.
  1. Darrell L. Bock, Luke, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 2 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 2:1675.[]
  2. Jeffrey Khoo, “Dispensational Premillennialism in Reformed Theology: The Contribution of J. O. Buswell to the Millennial Debate,” JETS 44:4 (Dec 2001), 702.[]
  3. A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1962), 2.363.[]
  4. Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008), 185.[]
  5. R. T. France, Matthew: Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1985), 381.[]
  6. N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 524–525. It’s possible that Caiaphas witnessed Jesus’ ascension “on the clouds of heaven” since it happened before “the men of Galilee” and was visible to anyone who cared to see (Acts 1:29–11Luke 24:51–52).”[]