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LibDems and Labour to rebrand in change of election strategy


Hot on the heels of news that the LibDems are ditching their dire policy to revoke Article 50 and thus ignore a democratic vote, news reaches us that Labour are also changing direction mid-way through their election campaign.

As the LibDems realise that what sounds good in a Remain-biased Parliament does not reflect the country’s mood, Labour are experiencing a chastening time as they take their disingenuous Brexit policies out of Islington.

The LibDems realise Revoke is an elitist and undemocratic policy. They now want a second referendum. Maybe.

Labour are now telling voters in Leave voting areas that their desire for a second EU referendum is not an attempt at “Remain by the back door”. Ha. What tosh. Of course it is. We’ve been watching them trying to stop Brexit for two years. It turns out that in face-to-face meetings on doorsteps, voters are not all slack-jawed deplorables in need of a re-eduction.

If Labour want a new argument, better they change tack and tell voters what they really want to hear: “Jeremy who?” They can then rebrand as something people will undoubtedly find less nuanced and racist than Labour, like the Not The Tory Party Party, or perhaps something more in tune with what they represent, such as the Blame The Jews Party?

Two weeks to go until the big vote – don’t forget to show them what you think of them.


Jeremy Corbyn isolates British Jews

The Jeremy Corbyn and Jewdas Seder abridged
British Jews send a message to Jeremy Corbyn;’s Labour

Oy vez, Je-rem-meee Corrrrrr-bin. The Labour Party’s leader’s been hit with those allegations of anti-Semitism again and challenged over his commitment to deal with bigots in his party’s ranks. It turns out that parroting the line about his life-long fight for anti-racism and how much he loathes racism and how Jew hatred is wrong (who knew?) isn’t convincing everyone. Andrew Neil posed a few questions on the matter in a Q&A that gave Jews hope that their lot is not being ignored, boosted the Tories and assured Prince Andrew that he is not the worst person in interviews.

Watch the full Andrew Neil interview with Jeremy Corbyn

The full Andrew Neil interview with Jeremy Corbyn. You'll want to see this.

Posted by Conservatives on Tuesday, 26 November 2019

As Nick Cohen says of Corbyn’s unwillingness to apologise to Jews: “The best is to admit its guilt and reform. Labour cannot because Labour’s leader and his supporters are so contaminated by racial prejudice they lack the moral capacity to change, or even admit to themselves the need to change.”

The papers lead with the horror show:

Corbyn Jews

Only the Daily Star and Mirror don’t lead with Corbyn. The Star looks at two big Lottery winners. The Mirror goes for a story on the NHS, those Lottery winners, a recycling “disgrace”, and a chance to win a “giant Olaf toy”, as seen in the films Frozen and Frozen 2. No room for those pesky Jews:

daily mirror corbyn

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is one of the many upset by Labour’s inability to grasp the situation. His open letter is here in full:

The overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety. The question I am most frequently asked is: What will become of Jews and Judaism in Britain if the Labour Party forms the next government?

The Jewish community has… learned the hard way that speaking out means that we will be demonised… and accused of being partisan or acting in bad faith by those who still think of this as an orchestrated political smear. Yet, I ask myself: should the victims of racism be silenced by the fear of yet further vilification?

The way in which the leadership of the Labour Party has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud. It has left many decent Labour members and parliamentarians, both Jewish and non-Jewish, ashamed.

It is a failure to see this as a human problem rather than a political one. It is a failure of leadership. A new poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root in the Labour Party.

Many members of the Jewish community can hardly believe this is the same party that they proudly called their political home for more than a century.

How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition have to be in order to be considered unfit for high office? Would associations with those who have openly incited hatred against Jews be enough? Would describing as ‘friends’ those who endorse and even perpetrate the murder of Jews be enough? It seems not. What we do know from history is that what starts with the Jews, never ends with the Jews.

It is not my place to tell any person how they should vote. I simply pose the following question: What will the result of this election say about the moral compass of our country? I ask every person to vote with their conscience. Be in no doubt – the very soul of our nation is at stake.

And Labour’s response? If you watched the video above, you will have heard Corbyn refuse to apologise. And worse still, as Cohen notes:

Reassurance comes there none. In its place, Labour released its race and faith manifesto this morning. Buried in it was a commitment to ‘enhance the powers and functions of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, making it truly independent’.

It sounded a sweet aspiration until you remembered that Labour is the first party since the neo-Nazi British National Party to be the subject of a formal investigation into institutional racism by the commission. The commission’s lawyers have reportedly received thousands of documents, some from disgusted former Labour staffers detailing how complaints about the party were dismissed or ignored. We know the commission’s lawyers spent hours ‘forensically examining the depressingly mountainous evidence of anti-Semitism within the Labour party’ before deciding that there is ‘an arguable case that Jewish people are being unlawfully discriminated against by Her Majesty’s Official Opposition.’
And the response from Corbyn and his clique is to descend into conspiracy theory and question the commission’s independence.

There was no process in Labour to deal with anti-semitism before Corbyn was made leader, says Corbyn… Well, you know, needs must. Brendan O’Neill asks who sees Neil’s interview, looks at Corbyn’s record on Jews – that mural, the wreath, those ‘friends’, the lesson in ‘English irony’, the Jewish MP hounded out of the party – and still votes for him?

Why do so many decent people want to serve under him as an MP? Vote in Labour moderates to save the Party, say the likes of Tony Blair, a man who claims to be appalled by the racism rife in the party he once led. Egregious balderdash. Vote Labour and you get Corbyn, a man who heads a group lacking in the moral capacity to admit grievous error and move on.

Too often accusations of racism in his Labour are recast as ‘smears’, part of a conspiracy to do him and his down, say the fans. Who runs this conspiracy? Well, who runs all the conspiracies that lead to all your problems. You know who, that’s who. Nudge-nudge. Wink-wink.

But fear not, Jews, because Corbyn knows racism exists in other places and will make sure the synagogues, shops and streets where Jews meet are well defended. But if they breach the Jewish school’s gates, these enemies possessed by a hate Corbyn can neither fathom nor identity, Jews can flee to Israel perhaps – the country Corbyn targets as the epitome of all that’s wrong with the world.

First they protect us for our own good. Then they block our escape route. Not again. Never again.

A vote for Corbyn’s Labour is a vote for racism. Please don’t do it.


How to Create a Biblically Balanced Prophetic Community


My objective in this article is to encourage all to prophesy within the boundaries of local church protocol as well as to help develop discernment in the congregation. I have found that the gift of prophecy is the most faith-building of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit; hence, it can be the most dangerous gift or the greatest blessing—which is why we need strict guidelines.

Instead of shutting down this gift, we need to properly utilize it with all the biblical checks and balances, which is the intent of this writing. Also, by prophesy, in the context of this article, I am referring to the simple gift of prophesy mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:3: "But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification and exhortation and comfort."

Questions to ask ourselves, relating to the content in this article:

  1. Am I activated as to my prophetic gift? If not, then why not?
  2. Do I understand the importance of the prophetic?
  3. Do I understand how it should operate in the context of my local church?

Paul's Stance

Paul the apostle encouraged the whole body to prophesy within the framework of the local church. 1 Corinthians 14:1 says, "Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy." Further on in the chapter in 1 Corinthians 14:31-33 he says, "For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged ... "

In spite of this clear teaching from Paul, many pastors have functionally shut down the gift of prophesy because of some prophetic extremes and abuses (with this logic we may as well shut down everything in the church—since every gift and ministry gift has been abused and used in extreme ways). Paul said, related to this, in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 (ESV), "Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good."

Hence, instead of quenching prophecy we need to have checks and balances that enable us to test and validate proper prophetic ministry. That being said, let's explore the best use of this gift in the context of the local church.

(In this teaching we are not dealing with prophetic evangelism, which has a different set of guidelines, since we are not dealing with members of the body but the unsaved outside of the context of a local church setting and/or community.)

The first thing we need to understand is that Paul always framed all descriptions and functions of the gifts and ministries of the Spirit with the corporate body of Christ. For example, in Romans 12:3-8, the motivational gifts are given to build up the church; in Ephesians 4:11-12, the five cluster gifts are for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry.

In 1 Corinthians 12:4-8, the manifestations of the Spirit were given in the context of the body of Christ (prophesy is mentioned in this passage as one of the nine manifestations of the Spirit given for the edification of the local church). The context actually begins in 1 Corinthians 10 and 11 when he deals with the nature of Holy Communion as well as the attitude and proper behavior Christians should have related to discerning the oneness of the body of Christ. After this profound teaching on Holy Communion and corporate unity, chapter 12 teaches on the gifts in the context of the oneness of the church as the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (MEV) says, "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit." In light of this passage, it is not a coincidence that the teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit is given in the context of the corporate nature of the body of Christ. This, of course, goes against the individualism that is rampant in the contemporary church—especially in regards to rogue prophetic ministries that claim to give the word of the Lord on social media without any accountability or process of vetting them!

The True Motivation of the Holy Spirit

Scripture makes it clear that the Holy Spirit always points to Jesus (hence, all His manifestations should do the same). In 1 Corinthians 12:3 Paul says, "Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, 'Jesus be cursed!' And no one can say, 'Jesus is the Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit."

Consequently, when the Spirit is truly moving through someone to prophesy, the ensuing Spirit-induced exhortation should point to the lordship of Jesus Christ, as well as motivate all to worship Him. (Paul said this in the context of the false gifts of prophecy given by the "pagans" who worshipped idols and devils as we see in 1 Cor. 12:1-3.)

Furthermore, John the revelator said in Revelation 19:10, "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Consequently, if the prophetic word points to the prophet giving the word instead of to Jesus, its motivation is of the flesh or is demonic in nature.

Jesus even said that the Spirit was sent to testify of and glorify Him.

In John 15:26, Jesus says, "But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me."

Next week I will explore the corporate nature of prophecy, including the corporate function of the gift of prophecy and the corporate protocol for the gift of prophecy. {eoa}


Prophetic Word: 'Welcome to the School of the Mouth'


Recently I've had numerous encounters with the Lord and dreams regarding "speaking" and the "mouth." In 2020 and beyond, we are moving into an era of declaration. I believe right now the Lord is teaching His people, giving them a deeper understanding of the power of their words, the power of decreeing the Word of God and their authority in Christ.

As I sought the Lord about these encounters and dreams, I heard Him say, "Welcome to the school of the mouth!"

There is an invitation being extended by the Lord right now to enter into a time of being schooled by the Holy Spirit in the power of our words like never before. "Your words are so powerful that they will kill or give life, and the talkative person will reap the consequences" (Prov. 18:21, TPT).

I heard the Lord say, "I am raising the standard in the lives of many, through the revelation of My Word, in the words that they speak."

The Lord has already begun to shine His light upon His Word and speak to many people about the power of declaration, but this major shift is going to continue and increase because this is the new era where we shall decree a thing and it shall be established (Job 22:28).

Conviction Upon the Tongue: No More Careless Words

"Careless words stab like a sword, but wise words bring healing" (Prov. 12:18, NCV).

"Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword, cutting remarks meant to stab and to hurt. But the words of the wise soothe and heal" (Prov. 12:18, TPT).

"You can be sure of this: when the day of judgment comes, everyone will be held accountable for every careless word he has spoken. Your very words will be used as evidence against you, and your words will declare you either innocent or guilty" (Matt. 12:36-37, TPT).

As I continued to seek the Lord's heart, I felt that this beautiful invitation to be schooled by Him would lead to a realm of revelation and re-introduction to the authority and power of decree and the Word of God. I strongly felt the fear of God, sensing that there is a weighty responsibility entrusted to us to steward our words well in this new era.

The Holy Spirit spoke again: "Fire is coming upon the tongue. I am bringing major deliverance to My people from wrong declarations."

There is a major purification and conviction of the Holy Spirit coming to the body of Christ to bring conviction and purification of words that are spoken. For the Lord is going to bring forth deep healing in the hearts of many, where they will say "yes" to entering into the school of the mouth.

"...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34, MEV).

The Lord is going to continue to convict and highlight words that are flowing out of mouths that are not in line with the Word of God. It is the love of God that is going to bring the correction. He is going to the root of lies, unforgiveness, bitterness and the place of simple, "careless speech." He is training His people in the power of words and the tongue because we are moving into a time where decrees will be made about what the Lord is saying and there will be sudden manifestations.

When the Lord said, "Fire is coming upon the tongue," He spoke of conviction and purification, but He also spoke of commissioning. This is the era where fire will fall upon tongues, and a commissioning will take place in greater ways for those being positioned to speak, sing and declare the Word of the Lord. Many have lost their voices, and this is the era where voices will be restored.

There is a mighty wave of His deliverance being released upon the tongue to deliver the people of God from declaring things that are not His heart, not what He is saying and not His truth. God is dealing with lies and half truths and leading His people into a place of declaring what He is saying in alignment with His Word.

Heavenly Wisdom That Has Never Been Seen Before

I heard the Lord say, "Those that embrace the school of the mouth will have mouths that flow with heavenly wisdom that has never been seen before."

By the Lord's Spirit, those who participate in this "school of the mouth" will see major revelation and impartations of wisdom being released to them. They will open their mouths and out will flow revelation of His wisdom and the mind of Christ. The level of wisdom God is going to release will be unprecedented.

It's all about yielding to the process and training of the Lord, speaking what He sees and then seeing the manifestation of what He speaks.

The Lord showed me that many are speaking words of death over their lives, not words of life; but there is a mighty summon of the Lord to stand and to speak only that which He speaks—to speak life. The Lord is going to demonstrate like never before the power of words, decreeing His Word and blessing.

Increase in Authority to Speak What the Lord Is Saying

"For if you remain silent at this time, protection and deliverance for the Jews will be ordained from some other place, but you and your father's house shall be destroyed. And who knows if you may have attained royal position for such a time as this?" (Esth. 4:14).

In this "Esther," "Joseph" and "Daniel" era, there will be ever-increasing doors that are going to open to many in the body of Christ, moving them into different mountains of culture to speak forth the Word of the Lord. In this "school of the mouth" they will receive the wisdom and blueprint strategies from heaven to answer the problems and issues that kings and leaders will need. We can see that this has already begun, but it is going to increase in momentum like we have never seen before. The church will be called on to speak the wisdom of God in places of significant influence that will shift and change nations.

There is not only a mighty deliverance upon His people from wrong declarations, but there is also a mighty deliverance in cities and nations through prayer and the declaration and decree of His Word to those of influence—those leading the mountains of culture.

I heard the Lord say, "In 2020 and beyond there will be mighty demonstrations of My decrees suddenly unlocking the destiny in nations in ways that have never been seen before."

Explosive demonstrations of the deliverance of God are about to be seen in prayer and intercession as the Word of God is decreed and declared. There will be demonstrations of the power of the Word of God through decree, where sudden shifts and manifestations will happen in accelerated momentum. These demonstrations will not be "sporadic" and just "here or there," but it will become normal to see swift shifts and answered prayer through the decree of His Word.

Dealing With Backbiting

The Lord showed me that there is much "backbiting" that is taking place in the body of Christ right now. There are "words being spoken in secret" that are really partnering with a spirit of witchcraft and bringing curses upon fellow believers. The fire of God and His conviction is coming in greater increase to deal with the backbiting and the words that have been spoken over one another that are bringing division and heartache. The Lord is doing a deep work in the body of Christ to bring His people into a place of brotherly love, unity and honoring one another.

"Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

I saw the fear of God coming upon the church. There will be repentance, en masse, over "backbiting words" and "careless words" that have been spoken, and a revival of honor and love will blossom in many ways, and many of those ways will be unexpected.

"And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them" (Eph. 4:29, TPT).

Limitations Will Be Removed as Words Change

There are limitations that many are living under right now, and some of those limitations are connected to the words that they are prophesying over themselves and others. Where this beautiful invitation to the "school of the mouth" is accepted, the Lord will remove and shatter these limitations, and the truth of the Word of God will shine bright to expose, uproot, untangle and activate.

The year 2020 and beyond will be a decade to declare and decree; a decade of the boldest faith we have ever seen. A people will arise with increasing conviction of the power of the Word, and with His words on their lips. They will see mountains move.

The Power of the Mustard Seed

The Lord spoke to me and said that in 2020 and beyond He will demonstrate the power of the mustard seed (Matt. 17:20)! God is training His people in their decrees and declarations and leading them into a major increase of faith that they already have in Christ.

The signs, wonders and miracles that will be seen in this decade of decree will be astounding, and the invitation to the Lord's "school of the mouth" is the preparation to walk in these creative miracles. The fire of His purification is falling now upon tongues so that tongues may carry His fire like never before.

The invitation is being released. Will you say yes? Invite the Holy Spirit to come; give Him permission to do whatever He has to do to purify your mouth, teach you and prepare you to partner with Him in this new decade of decree. {eoa}

Lana Vawser is an active member of the Australian Prophetic Council and releases prophetic words for the body of Christ and nations, and is featured regularly on The Elijah List and in Charisma Magazine. She is also an itinerant preacher and revivalist who is traveling regularly with her family, seeing powerful moves of God. Lana has a strong, prophetic voice and has a heart to see the body of Christ develop deep intimacy with Jesus and actively hear His voice each day. She also has a heart to see people set free and walk in all that Jesus has purchased for them as they carry Christ into their world each day, awakened to His nature and who they are in Him. Lana is married to Kevin, and they live in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia with their family.

This story was originally published through the Elijah List. Click here to read more.


Why We Can't Ignore the Holy Spirit-Given Mandate to Share the Gospel With Jews


Susan Perlman knows that sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ can be difficult in a culture that is growing increasingly hostile to the gospel and to the things of God.

But as one of the co-founders of Jews for Jesus, Perlman has, for 46 years, experienced the added test of trying to convince the worldwide Jewish population that Jesus is the true Savior of the world. Another group and their fearless leader were tasked with the same daunting challenge nearly two millennia ago.

"It's important for me to share the gospel with Jewish people because Jesus and His disciples did it," Perlman told Dr. Steve Greene on a recent episode of "Greenelines" on the Charisma Podcast Network. "You think of His message in John 8:24, when He explained, 'Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.' Then again in John 14:6, He says, 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but through Me.'

"With both of these statements, when He made these unique claims about Himself, He was speaking to other Jews. Remember when Peter, because of his evangelistic activity, found himself standing before the 771 religious leaders of the Jewish people at the time? He declared there is no other name besides Jesus, or Yeshua, by which men can be saved.

"So, if Jesus and Peter and all the other disciples thought it was important to share the gospel with Jewish people, why should I think any less? It's an important opportunity. First of all, if you know a person that has a Jewish background, then try to engage them in a conversation about Israel and what they think about Israel. Eventually, steer it into a spiritual conversation, and then you can talk to them about the Bible and Jesus. Leave it to them to share what they want to share."

In 2015, The Atlantic magazine reported there were 350,000 Messianic Jews worldwide. Jews for Jesus reported that as of 2017, 20,000 Messianic Jews were living in Israel.

For more about the work of Perlman and Jews for Jesus, please listen to this podcast.


What Happened in the Halle Synagogue Attack?, by Esther Dischereit

Current Events
Esther Dischereit
Numerous uniformly cube shaped objects serving as memorials in a field bathed in the colors of sunset
Photo by mini_malist / Flickr

After every right-wing act of violence we hear once more that it was a “lone wolf” attack. Esther Dischereit argues that this is an implausible cover-up of attitudes sympathetic to Nazism.

On October 9, 2019, an assassin in Halle, Germany, shot two people and killed them, and he also shot several others, wounding them. He wanted to kill those who had come together in the synagogue on Yom Kippur, the highest Jewish Holy Day, and he put an incendiary device in the Jewish cemetery nearby. He didn’t succeed. When he realized he had failed to kill Jews, he killed Kevin S., who was in a snack bar for döner, a Turkish fast food. For the perpetrator, Kevin S. was, as it were, someone who associated with Turks, migrants, presumably also Muslims. He was shot for and instead of someone else. Jana L., a non-Jewish resident of Halle whom the perpetrator shot when he meant to kill the people inside the synagogue, also certainly died instead of Jewish people.

Katrina Turner, a representative of the African-American community in Charlottesville, broke out in tears when in 2017—after the Ku Klux Klan invaded her city—she recounted her memories of Heather Heyer, a counterdemonstrator who was killed, and of the many more were injured. Turner repeated this sentence twice: “. . . that a white woman died for us.” As the Ku Klux Klan supporters marched into town, they chanted this slogan: “The Jew will not replace us.” In this context, the figure of the “Jew” signifies that white domination of the world is under threat. In this sense, being Jewish is elevated to being simply “the other” and becomes a shorthand for all efforts and aspirations that could disturb the image of a healthy, pure “Aryan” people.

In such milieus the “Jew” also represents left-wing political positions and queer, feminist, and diverse worldviews, including ways of being human that supposedly bring decay, including taking in refugees and wanting to live as peaceful neighbors to Muslims. Each of these concepts is well known. Historically, this has not stopped these people from seeing Jews as a “red danger” while at the same time denouncing them as “capitalist bloodsuckers.”


“Happy about Every Synagogue”

The attack in Halle is different from what happened in Pittsburgh, Christchurch, and France not because of the ideological fanaticism, not because of the cold-bloodedness, but because the attack took place in a country where the “Final Solution” happened under Nazi rule. The image of people trapped in a synagogue is superimposed upon the image of people driven into a synagogue. The exits were blocked, and German Einsatzkommandos set the synagogue on fire. After millions of Jewish people had been killed or driven out, every political establishment after 1945 at first had to tolerate the few who remained and later on court them from time to time. After the October attack, Germany’s federal chancellor, Angela Merkel, declared that “we are happy about every synagogue, every Jewish community, and all Jewish life in our country.”

Up to now the Islamic community, with its roughly 4.5 million members in Germany, has not experienced such a public validation. Such attentiveness to mosques that have been set on fire or headscarves that have been spat on is still waiting to appear on the political stage. A few days ago at the event celebrating the ten-year existence of the only existing Jewish scholarship, the Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Scholarship Fund (ELES), it was Hakan Tosuner, director of Avicenna, the Islamic Scholarship Foundation established five years ago, who said: “Precisely in light of yesterday’s tragic incident, Jewish-Muslim solidarity is more important than ever. . . . Whether synagogues or mosques are attacked, we must be united in solidarity.”

Perhaps it is inappropriate to express these thoughts publicly at this time. But it remains a fact that this threat has not just become evident now for the first time and that other citizens are also affected. The Roma and the Sinti peoples are continually exposed to an endless stream of threats that has made it necessary for this minority, too, to erect a special protective wall at the entrance to their center in Baden-Württemberg. Four days after Halle, Daniel Strauß, chairman of their association, received this threat of an attack on his cell phone: “After Halle, your cultural center is up next.” In Germany, Austria, and the Balkans, this minority was also a victim of Nazi racial fanaticism.

“Try to speak: I am glad you exist, that you exist here, among us.” It may strike one that perhaps this sentence sounds untruthful. It hardly seems right, and I must confess that I personally don’t demand such a statement. Absolutely no one has to be happy or not happy that I exist. I am here, all the same, whether someone else is happy about that or not. Is it the responsibility of government representatives to welcome me as a ward? Is this attitude legitimate simply because someone is a member of the majority?


“A Foreign Race”

It is basically a question of reversing an attitude of being unhappy about someone and wanting to send her or him “back home.” Donald Trump exemplifies this when he denies that the Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are “real Americans.” The AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) politician Alexander Gauland recommended that the former German minister for integration Aydan Özoğuz should be “disposed of like waste material.” With reference to the same person, a party member said that she should care about “over there, where she belonged.” The opponent is said to be base, branded as “another race,” stigmatized as “the other” and foreign.

This use of the language by the legal political arm of the right-wing terrorist milieu continues in the struggle over public space, the struggle for the political opinion of others. Antifascist projects and initiatives on the left, booksellers, and others are overrun with incendiary devices and death threats. But it was only in June 2019 after the Christian Democratic Union district president of the city of Kassel, Walter Lübke, was murdered by the neo-Nazi Stephan Ernst that an outcry broke out in the political establishment.

Lübke fulfilled his obligation to take care of people who entered the country seeking protection as they fled dictatorship and civil war. He clearly injured the feelings of the right-wing extremists when he said that whoever did not agree with such values was at liberty to leave Germany. This murder followed a series of murders by the National Socialist Underground (NSU). Preceding this one, nine people, all of them migrants, were killed as well as a female German police officer, and a bomb attack injured more than twenty people in Cologne. The existence of the NSU was discovered in 2011. In the trial in Munich, which ended in 2018, Beate Zschäpe was sentenced to life in prison. In the eyes of those who were family members of the victims, the sentence exonerated the other accomplices who were accused. It was evident that the court had wanted to limit the group of culprits to a core of three and to the most immediate environment. Additional investigations were not done (e.g., in connection with a list of the right-wing extremists’ targets that was discovered). Two hundred and thirty-three goals referring to Jewish life were identified on this list. A greater number of targets referred to migrant communities, and others specified politicians and parties.


Ideological Incendiary Devices

Crimes motivated by anti-Semitism have taken place since 1980, with the murder of the rabbi and publisher Shlomo Lewin and his partner, Frida Poeschke, since the arson attack on the synagogue in Erfurt, those injured in Düsseldorf-Wehrhahn and in other places: 1980, 1992, 2000, 2003. . . . Nevertheless, after every right-wing terrorist act of violence we hear, repeated like a mantra, that this was an attack by a single individual. At first the danger from these networks assembled by neo-Nazis ready to do violence was perceived little by little. In August, the German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation counted those who posed a threat to public safety at forty-one, although the number of right-wing extremists ready to engage in violence has been identified as over twelve thousand. Their sympathizers are said to be as many as twice that. More than five hundred arrest warrants for neo-Nazis have not been served. Where were they sought?

After every right-wing terrorist act of violence we hear, repeated like a mantra, that this was an attack by a single individual.

It is about time that independent commissions investigate the security forces that not only refrain from proceeding against right-wing extremism but may themselves be involved. Many incidents involving police in Hesse, Thuringia, and in the army suggest this possibility.

The criminals of the National Socialist regime were largely left unpunished. This culture of immunity from punishment has continued and spread with regard to right-wing extremism in our democratic system. This is the real problem. The antifascist initiatives and archives have an extensive amount of research material at their disposal. It is thanks to them that not everything can be swept under the rug.

This culture of immunity from punishment has continued and spread with regard to right-wing extremism in our democratic system.

As the political arm of the culprits, the AfD denies that it had anything to do with these crimes. But they are the ones who for a long time have been planting ideological fire accelerants. Remarks against Jews are heard again and again from members of the FPÖ (Freedom Party of Austria); denial that an ideological system is at work here follows close on the heels of such statements. These are implausible cover-ups of an attitude sympathetic to Nazism.

Initiatives like “Indivisible” or “We are the many” make clear that they oppose the ethnically tinged “You are the stranger” with a “we.” In August of this year thirty-five thousand people demonstrated in Dresden in favor of this stance; thousands are once more in the streets. Citizens can demand that the right-wing extremists who commit arson, their spiritual mentors, and networks be investigated. Flirtation with such a body of thought is not only tasteless but, given the brutality of the milieu, it is the beginning of the end.

Translation from the German


Belgian Carnival town renounces UNESCO title over racism row


BRUSSELS (AP) — The famed Belgian Carnival town of Aalst wants to renounce its place on the U.N. cultural heritage list, saying it is sick of widespread complaints that this spring’s edition contained blatant anti-Semitism. Town officials say the float objected to, with stereotypical depictions of hook-nosed Jews sitting on piles of money, was trying […]

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 333: Fri Nov 29

Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick, 1999): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm

Here's one of the great films set during Christmas, and an opportunity to see Stanley Kubrick's much-underrated final movie re-released for the 20th anniversary by Park Circus and Warner Brothers on an extended run at BFI Southbank. This screening includes a discussion with Katharina Kubrick, composer Jocelyn Pook and director of the short film Never Just a Dream: Stanley Kubrick and Eyes Wide Shut, Matt Wells, which is being shown at all the screenings of the film.

If you're interested in reading more about this film I can recommend two BFI publications - Michel Chion's Modern Classics monograph on Eyes Wide Shut and the chapter on the film in James Naremore's book titled On Kubrick.

Chicago Reader review:
Initial viewings of Stanley Kubrick's movies can be deceptive because his films all tend to be emotionally convoluted in some way; one has to follow them as if through a maze. A character that Kubrick might seem to treat cruelly the first time around (e.g., Elisha Cook Jr.'s fall guy in The Killing) can appear the object of tender compassion on a subsequent viewing. The director's desire to avoid sentimentality at all costs doesn't preclude feeling, as some critics have claimed, but it does create ambiguity and a distanced relationship to the central characters. Kubrick's final feature very skillfully portrays the dark side of desire in a successful marriage; since the 60s he'd been thinking about filming Arthur Schnitzler's brilliant novella "Traumnovelle," and working with
Frederic Raphael, he's adapted it faithfully--at least if one allows for all the differences between Viennese Jews in the 20s and New York WASPs in the 90s. Schnitzler's tale, about a young doctor contemplating various forms of adultery and debauchery after discovering that his wife has entertained comparable fantasies, has a somewhat Kafkaesque ambiguity, wavering between dream and waking fantasy (hence Kubrick's title), and all the actors do a fine job of traversing this delicate territory. Yet the story has been altered to make the successful doctor (Tom Cruise) more of a hypocrite and his wife (powerfully played by Nicole Kidman) a little feistier; Kubrick's also added a Zeus-like tycoon (played to perfection by Sydney Pollack) who pretends to explain the plot shortly before the end but in fact only summarizes the various mysteries, his cynicism and chilly access to power revealing that Kubrick is more of a moralist than Schnitzler. To accept the premises and experiences of this movie, you have to be open to an expressionist version of New York with scant relation to the 90s (apart from cellular phones and AIDS) and a complex reading of a marriage that assumes the relations between men and women haven't essentially changed in the past 70-odd years. This is a remarkably gripping, suggestive, and inventive piece of storytelling that, like Kubrick's other work, is likely to grow in mystery and intensity over time.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the new 20th anniversary trailer.

Germany to make anti-Semitism a specific hate crime as Jews 'no longer feel safe'


Saturday Stories: Sacha Baron Cohen, Hiding Judaism, And Tianna Bartoletta

Matt Wilstein, in The Daily Beast, on comedian Sascha Baron Cohen's must see/read (really, watch it, the video's in the link) award acceptance speech where he explains why he thinks Facebook is the greatest propaganda machine in history (and he isn't complementing them).

From the Forward Staff, in The Forward, with 27 Jews very briefly sharing their fears of being Jewish - fears I can honestly say I have at times felt myself. It's a short read. And it's heartbreaking to me.

Tianna Bee, on her own blog, on Mary Cain, Nike, abuse, abusers, and elite sport. Do read this. It's great.

By Agência Brasil Fotografias - Provas de Atletismo nas Olimpíadas Rio 2016, CC BY 2.0, Link

November 26

Authority, Part 4: The Truth John 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. John 14:6 I am the way, the truth and the life…. Acts 17:11 [The Jews in the Berean synagogue] were more fair-minded than those … Continue reading

Hatred towards Jews on Full Display at York University

Politicians cannot claim to fight anti-Semitism while tolerating other examples of Jew hatred.

Israeli Newspaper: Push to Impeach Trump Led by Rabbidly Russophobic Jews


Israeli Newspaper: Push to Impeach Trump Led by Rabbidly Russophobic Jews

The post Israeli Newspaper: Push to Impeach Trump Led by Rabbidly Russophobic Jews appeared first on


Trump Woos Jews, Jews Impeach Trump by Israel Shamir


Trump Woos Jews, Jews Impeach Trump by Israel Shamir Israel Shamir Says Trump Does Everything for Jews and Jews Reward Trump with Impeachment DiGenova Calls Out Soros’ Control Over State Department and FBI Israel Shamir, a Russian born Jew, was educated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is smeared in Wikipedia along with…

The post Trump Woos Jews, Jews Impeach Trump by Israel Shamir appeared first on


Seged (Sigd)

Seged (Sigd)

Seged is a religious festival observed only by Ethiopian Jews known as the Beta Israel. The participants wear clean, preferably white, clothes, symbolic of the state of purity in which they have kept themselves for seven days. The priests who lead the procession sing prayers and carry the Orit (the Jewish scriptures in Geez) and other holy books wrapped in colored cloth. Everyone who climbs the hill carries a stone, which is placed on a circular wall marking the holy area where the Orit will be placed. The ceremony includes a commemoration of the dead and readings from the Orit. More...

Belgian Carnival town renounces UNESCO title over racism row


BRUSSELS (AP) - The famed Belgian Carnival town of Aalst wants to renounce its place on the U.N. cultural heritage list, saying it is sick of widespread complaints that this spring’s edition contained blatant anti-Semitism.

Town officials say the float objected to, with stereotypical depictions of hook-nosed Jews sitting on ...


The German Girl

4 stars
Shelves: holocaust, judaica, history
This book was almost too painful to read (and I did in fact put it down for long stretches of time). I considered returning it to library without completing it, but I'm glad I ultimately finished it. The story of the St. Louis and the Jews refused entry into Cuba transfixed me at the Holocaust Museum. I believe I also saw a documentary about this sickening episode. I thought Correa did an outstanding job of depicting the interior lives of the two protagonists, seeing that he's an adult male. The book had a quality of magical realism about it -- maybe not the correct term -- but it seemed somehow dreamy and UNREAL, while terribly real, in a strikingly emotional contrast. As a young girl, I was about 12 when I first learned of the holocaust, through a TV documentary series called The World At War, and also through the diary of Anne Frank. I remember the shakycam realization that this HORROR had in fact been perpetrated, against children, against defenseless people -- while the world sat back and watched. While my own country did not lift a finger to help. I have indelible memories about that realization; it was the end of my childhood, effectively.

Somehow, this novel captured that interior sense of horror and unreality that I felt as a young girl. Kudos to the author -- I look forward to The Daughter's Tale.

NO SURRENDER: Imprisoned in a Nazi POW Camp, a Christian Soldier says, “We Are All Jews Here.”


Roddie Edmonds

Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds’ is recognized by Yad Vashem as the only American soldier to receive the honor of “Righteous Among the Nations” for his heroism in World War II. Like German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Dutch citizen Corrie ten Boom during World War II, his story of courage in a newly released book NO SURRENDER is destined to become a classic.

Sgt. Edmonds’ remarkable story lay untold for decades in his frayed diary tucked away in a cigar box. That is, until his granddaughter used the true story for her college history project. Years later, his son, Rev. Chris Edmonds was compelled to track down any still-living Jewish soldiers his Dad saved; a legacy far bigger than he imagined. A series of “divine coincidences” shapes NO SURRENDER, a newly released Harper One book by Chris Edmonds and Douglas Century. Each page is gripping; woven together with bravery, humility, and a message for today.

The Battle of the Bulge sets the stage where Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds stepped into history 74 years ago.  He and his men in the 106th Infantry, 422nd Regiment – the Golden Lions – found themselves in the Ardennes Forest only nine days after they arrived in France in late 1944. A miscommunication between commanders on a faulty phone line turned into one of the worst intelligence disasters in World War II. Seventy-five hundred Americans were forced to surrender to the Nazis. With seven Panzer divisions and surrounded by 13 German infantry divisions, American bravery was plentiful but big weapons were scarce.

Reading NO SURRENDER came closer to marching me straight into the Ardennes Forest in World War II history as any book I have ever read. Vicariously connecting with the horror, I heard the clattering treads of German tanks. I lost feeling in my feet walking through the December 1944 snows, one of the coldest and wettest winters on record. I agonized looking into the shattered faces of dead American soldiers. In a delirium of exhaustion, I wondered if I would fall dead in the middle of a forced march. I smelled uniforms worn for months coated in mud and excrement. Then reading about the capture and imprisonment of the Golden Lions in Nazi POW camps, Stalag IX-A, and IX-B, I discovered the valor of Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds and “his boys.”  Like most of The Greatest Generation, Edmonds returned home unwilling to talk about it. When family and friends asked about the war, he would only comment, “We were humiliated.”

Years passed. Chris Edmonds, Senior Pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Maryville, Tennessee was a family man, a father and grandfather, a busy pastor, and ran a charity which helped teenagers. Although his Dad had passed away in 1985, his interest about his Dad’s service later took center stage. Chris explains the unexpected turn-around in his own life. “One evening my wife Regina and I watched a TV news program where we learned that nearly 300 World War II veterans died every day. I was shocked.” His Dad’s diary quickly filled his thoughts. That night the pastor sat at his computer and googled his Dad’s name, “Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds.” A tiny one-off fact in a New York Times article from the 1970s caught his attention. Chris prayed right there sitting at his computer. “Lord, your timing is always perfect. Please lead me.”

“My Dad was a leader who wouldn’t ask his men to do anything he wouldn’t do,” Chris Edmonds

Chris’ detective work later resulted in a trip to New York City where Lester Tanner, one of “Roddie’s boys,” warmly welcomed Chris and his wife Regina to the Harvard Club. “When we started talking, I was shocked to learn that not only did my Dad save Lester Tanner’s life, but he saved other men as well!”  The first meeting with Lester opened more relationships, and more stories of men on Roddie’s list; among them Paul Stern, Sydney “Skip” Friedman, and Sonny Fox. Chris said, “My dad’s story was becoming my story too.”

Over the months Chris followed the leads and learned about the defiance against evil in Stalag IXA and IXB. One story stood out. On January 27, 1945 – an ice-cold morning with hundreds of prisoners lined up outside – Nazi Major Siegmann ordered Edmonds to identify all Jews in his command. Every man knew it would mean death for the American Jewish soldiers. Master Sergeant Edmonds had ordered his men the night before not to surrender any of the aptly named “Golden Lions.”

At the risk of his life, the Tennessee-born Christian soldier uttered these words to Siegmann in a firm, strong voice. “We are all Jews here.”

These heroic comments changed not only the personal history of the Jewish soldiers but the lives of more than a thousand non-Jews under his command. Eventually liberated, they arrived back in the USA on April 28th, 1945. Roddie had jotted in his diary, “I’m just a little guy but war isn’t right. Lives upon lives are lost. People forget God more and more. It seems as if someone should get wise…and let God be our commander.”

“I know that my father was willing to die to save Jewish men under his command because he believed a Jewish man, Jesus Christ had died to save him.” Rev. Chris Edmonds

Having already spoken throughout the United States and Europe in Jewish and Christian settings, Chris is  completing an extensive book signing schedule for NO SURRENDER, giving media interviews, and adding many more speaking engagements for Jewish and Christian audiences. A documentary film entitled “Footsteps of my Father” created by The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous has also been nominated for many awards.

Chris has established the Roddie Edmonds Foundation and Roddie’s Code LLC: Choose goodness, Oppose hate, Dignify life, and Express love to all.  “I think Dad would be surprised at the recognition he’s receiving since he would say he was ‘just doing his job.’ “

Chris is also pursuing in the U.S. Congress a Medal of Honor for his Dad. “I want the Jewish community to know that my Dad’s actions in World War II mean something today as they face more hatred again all over the world. And I want to inspire others, people like my dad, like me, ordinary people, Christians who care about our Jewish friends. You don’t have to be perfect to do something extraordinary.”

Master Sergeant Edmonds’ message, “We are all Jews here,” is one that is significant today. While Nazi POW prisons and concentration camps are relics of evil, the Nazi ideology of hatred is resurrecting the hatreds that “Never Again” wanted to quell. Spreading far beyond the past, the hatreds are infecting worldwide news, college campuses, textbooks, governments, and social media.

I predict NO SURRENDER will become a classic story of heroism.

I pray that “We are all Jews Here” is on our lips and in our actions to confront the world’s oldest hatred.

No Surrender is available to order at:

Arlene Bridges SamuelsArlene Bridges Samuels is a Pro Israel Christian Advocate and author at The Blogs-Times of Israel.


Making Peace big time

  No one ever said the quest for peace would be easy.  All need  “shalom bayit” (peace in their own home).  tThere needs to be peace amongst the Torah observant population and peace amongst the Jewish Nation as a whole. Next is peace between the Jews and the nations of the world. Our holy Torah teaches us […]

I’m Not Dead Yet

I was just telling my wife once in Heaven I probably won’t remember her because it will be all about God realizing Him and why we are because of Him. We are here a very short time and being man we consider so much here important but it is here to have fun with in this world. Most don’t want to be without Hunting, Fishing, Sex or other things of this world. And we are all sinners and fall short but because of Jesus we can be with God. With the Jews and their Laws we had no hope but Jesus gave us hope. oneshot

Wrong Richard Spencer! MSNBC Apologizes for Showing White Supremacist Instead of Ousted Navy Secretary


MSNBC’s “AM Joy” mixed up their Richard Spencers on Sunday morning when they accidentally put up a picture of white supremacist Richard Spencer during a piece about Richard V. Spencer, the former Navy secretary who was fired by the Trump Administration over the president’s decision to reverse the demotion of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.

“We are very deeply sorry for that mistake,” host Joy-Ann Reid said on the broadcast shortly before ending the segment.

Reid and her guests were discussing the Washington Post op-ed written by former Sec. Spencer in which he criticized Trump’s intervention in the court martial of Gallagher, who was found guilty of multiple war crimes, including posing for a picture with the corpse of a teenage ISIS fighter. Gallagher was stripped of his SEAL Trident status and demoted to petty officer first class, but Trump used his powers as commander in chief to reverse the demotion.

“The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” Trump tweeted last week. “This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!”

Spencer, who was nominated Naval Secretary by Trump in 2017, was then fired by Defense Secretary Mark Esper for going outside the chain of command to request a further review process of Gallagher’s SEAL status with the White House. In his Post op-ed, Spencer acknowledged he was wrong to go outside the chain of command but called Trump’s intervention a “shocking and unprecedented intervention in a low-level review.”

“It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices,” he wrote.

But while discussing that op-ed, MSNBC presented a quote from Richard V. Spencer’s op-ed next to a picture of the other Richard Spencer, who also made headlines this past month after fellow alt-right personality turned rival Milo Yiannopoulos leaked a tape on YouTube that he claimed contained audio of the white supremacist using racist slurs against Jews and African-Americans. The audio was recorded in the immediate aftermath of the 2017 Charlottesville riots, with Spencer vowing to return to the Virginia town for additional far-right protests.

Watch the MSNBC mixup in the tweet above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

MSNBC Has Corrected Reporting on Andrew Yang, So Why Is He Still Snubbing the Network?

Andrew Yang: I Will Go on MSNBC 'After They Apologize' for Bad Coverage of My Campaign

MSNBC's Atlanta Debate Draws 6.5 Million Viewers, the Lowest of Any Debate in 2019 Cycle


Louis C.K. Tells Israeli Audience He’d ‘Rather Be In Auschwitz Than New York City’


Disgraced comedian Louis C.K. inserted his foot in his mouth again, telling an audience in Israel that he’d prefer to be in the concentration camp where millions of Jewish people were massacred than be in New York City.

“I’d rather be in Auschwitz than New York City,” C.K. said during a Thanksgiving night performance in Holon, a city south of Tel Aviv, according to multiple reports.

“I mean now, not when it was open,” he added.

Auschwitz was a concentration camp built and operated by Nazi Germany where 1.1 million men, women and children were exterminated during World War II, including 865,000 Jews who were gassed on arrival. Many who were not gassed died of starvation, beatings and disease.

Although many on social media got a belly laugh out of the joke – one Twitter user said they bought tickets to his show because of it – and the Daily News reported that “the audience burst into applause” for the comedian, others on Twitter went berserk:

C.K., who is of Jewish descent, is in the middle of an international comedy tour that includes sold-out shows in Slovakia, along with performances in Hungary and a series of U.S. shows in Detroit, Akron, Reading, Mobile, New Orleans and Houston.

During his Holon set, C.K. also addressed his behavior as being wrong, according to the New York Daily News.

“If they say ‘yes,’ then still don’t do it, because it’s not popular,” he said in apparent reference to the growing #MeToo movement.

But this isn’t the first time C.K. has referenced masturbating in front of women during a comedy set. Earlier this year in a San Jose comedy club, C.K. told the audience, “I like to jerk off, and I don’t like being alone.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Louis CK Enforces Cellphone Ban at His Stand-Up Shows

Pete Holmes on Louis CK: 'It Would Be Wonderful if He Would Evolve' (Video)

Louis CK Jokes About His Sexual Misconduct: 'I Like to Jerk Off, and I Don't Like Being Alone'


The Great Transition - 2


Series: N/A

Service: Sunday PM

Type: Sermon

Speaker: Jim Jonas

This lesson considers the apostles both pre-and post-crucifixion and how they brought Jews first and then Gentiles into the kingdom.  Special emphasis on baptism and comparing/contrasting with John's baptism.

Liturgy: Last Sunday after Pentecost - He Who Came in Mercy Shall Return in Justice


Our Lord came in humility, but He will return in glory; the object of His first coming being to prepare for the second. Those who receive Him gladly in time will be welcomed by him when eternity begins; while those who refused to acknowledge Him will be rejected.

For this reason the prophets do not make any clear distinction between the two comings of the Messias, since they are but two acts of the same divine drama. In the same way our Lord does not separate the destruction of Jerusalem from the end of the world, since the chastisement which fell upon the Jews in a symbol of the eternal punishment which will reach all those who have rejected our divine Redeemer. The first coming has taken place, the second is yet to come. Let us prepare for it. That is the tenor of today’s Gospel.

With this account of the Last Judgment, closes the Temporal Cycle of the liturgical year which began on the first Sunday of Advent and ends today. Ever since Advent, the Church has been concerned with the preparation for these two comings of mercy and justice, for she never separates them. Never is this subject absent from her thoughts, least of all on this last Sunday; for if Christ came once at His first coming to save us, it was that we might enter heaven in His glorious train when he comes once more at the end of time. This will be the true Pasch, the full passing into the real land of promise, of which this concluding Sunday is the figure and the type.

“Amen, I say to you, that this generation shall not pass till all these things be done: heaven and earth shall pass, but My words shall not pass, saith the Lord.”


How did November become the Mizrahi Heritage Month? And what’s Mizrahi anyhow?


A Yemenite family walks through the desert to a reception camp 


Recently, a growing number of Jewish American organizations began marking November as the "Sephardic/Mizrahi Heritage Month." In the American context, awareness months come to illuminate histories of marginalized communities whose stories are overshadowed and underrepresented in the official curricula and memory. The Mizrahi heritage month, by contrast, is not a local, grassroots initiative that emerged in response to experiences of discrimination or marginalization. Instead, it is a transatlantic importation of recent attempts by the Israeli government to commemorate the forced expulsion of Jews from the Arab and Muslim world in the wake of the establishment of Israel. Nor is November a month that has any particular significance in the histories or rituals of any of the dozen Jewish minority communities that resided in Northern Africa and the Middle East. Instead, the specific date, November 30th, was chosen by the Israeli lawmaker as a symbolic birth date of the mass exodus of Jews from Arab speaking lands triggered by the UN Partition Resolution of November 29th, 1947.


Erroneously, in the North American Jewish world, the terms “Sephardi” and “Mizrahi” are often treated as synonymous. Yet, unlike the term “Sephardi,” which originates in the expulsion of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492 (Sepharad is the Hebrew term for Spain), Mizrahi is a category which is not only far more recent in historical terms but is also politically charged and rooted in a specific Israeli context. Mizrahi, literarily meaning “eastern” or “Oriental” in Hebrew, was an adjective-turned-term that was coined in pre-statehood Palestine and later used in Israel to denote any non-Ashkenazi Jew. In early statehood Israel, a considerable degree of patronizing attitude and discrimination towards “Oriental Jews” who were regarded as less civilized, ill-educated, lacking sufficient ideological commitment resulted in discrimination. During the 1950s, Mizrahi Jews were sent to frontier settlements and to newly established "development towns" that were established in the country's peripheral regions. Soon enough, these towns transformed into conspicuous pockets of deprivation and poverty, and their Mizrahi residents became a discernible low-status blue-collar class, deprived of the same employment and education opportunities as their Ashkenazi peers. In that process, the adjective "Mizrahi” became a highly contested and politically charged term, and not a neutral sociological category.  


Years of a persistent civic struggle for equal rights by Mizrahi activists and scholars in Israel, accompanied by demands for recognition of their full history, did not solve all social problems and inequality nor erase past scars. During the 1970s, the Likud Party’s leadership reappropriated the Mizrahi struggle to claim a stake at the Israeli national story. Other political parties, such as Shas, the non-Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox party that was established during the mid-1980s, also tried to harness the Mizrahi struggle with a considerable level of success. A 2014 legislation that created a new day of commemoration for Mizrahi Jews is yet another attempt to divert the Mizrahi call for equality in Israel to a political cause. In particular, it uses the politics of memory to create a false equation between "Jewish refugees from the Arab World" and the Palestinian refugees. Jewish communities in the Middle East and North Africa region had undergone different experiences, not just between different countries, but even between various communities in the same country. 1948 was undoubtedly a turning point for a great number of them, and the Israel-Palestine conflict loomed over much of it. But casting these rich histories into one single-dimensional narrative is, in fact, a cynical strategy employed by the Israeli Right to avoid the need to address Palestinian claim for compensation on behalf of the Palestinian refugees. 


Right-leaning Jewish organizations in the US, such as the San Francisco based JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East), were quick to adopt the Israeli ready-made mold of “Mizrahi commemoration” and to blend it with the American practice of “awareness months.” Their website describes them as a non-profit “committed to achieving universal recognition to the heritage and history of the 850,000 indigenous Jewish refugees Arab from countries.” Similar ideas are expressed by Hen Mazzig, a charismatic yet controversial "Hasbarah" (pro-Israeli advocacy) speaker who tours North American campuses, to speak to students about his family's immigration from Tunisia and Morocco, his experiences as a gay officer in the IDF, and ways of combating anti-Israeli critics. Critics of Israel on US campuses are described by him as silencing Middle Eastern and North African Jews. Almost simultaneously, a call upon Jews to join a mass kaddish (a prayer traditionally recited in memory of the dead) on November 30th appeared on the pages of the Jerusalem Post. It remains unclear if these are grassroots initiatives or a well-orchestrated state-funded campaign. As the Jewish daily The Forward revealed, Mazzig is most probably a contractor paid by the Israeli government. 


While asserting correctly that the heritage of Middle Eastern Jews does not receive equal space in the American-Jewish establishment, the kind of heritage that JIMENA and wishes to promote is equally superficial and shallow and is mostly comprised of stories of persecution and harassment followed by a final expulsion and a Zionist redemption. The historical narrative they are offering has less to do with the particular heritage and histories of these diverse communities and more to do with a politics of competitive victimhood and a “quid pro quo” argument about the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which Jewish refugees from the Middle East are cast as mirror images of the roughly 750,000 Palestinians who were expelled during the 1948 War.


As historians who dedicate their careers to research modern Jewish history, who believe in the importance of studying the histories of Middle Eastern Jewish communities alongside Ashkenazi communities, we welcome the intent to deepen and broaden our understanding of the place of these communities. Eurocentric assumptions, including our tendency to understand Jewish modernity writ large as coming out of the experiences of European Jews, provides a very narrow prism that fails to capture the Jewish historical experience in all its richness and diversity. It is about time that academic Jewish Studies programs would expand their curriculum and educate the students and the wider public about the culture and history of Mizrahi Jews, alongside other non-Ashkenazi communities such as the Yemenite Jews, Iranian (Persian) Jews, Greek and Balkan Jews, Caucasus Jews, Bukharan Jews and more. We also believe in the value and the importance of heritage months to raise awareness to and help advance our understanding of marginalized social groups. Notably, per the Library of Congress website, the American-Jewish Heritage month is celebrated in May, as part of an effort of Jews to be part of the “big American Jewish tent.” We raise our eyebrows, however, at what seems as what might be an attempt to hijack this noble cause for a partisan issue and a state-sponsored invented tradition. Jewish communities in the US should pay greater attention to the non-Ashkenazi stories alongside the Ashkenazi saga. But we wonder if a day of commemoration that is copy-pasted mechanically rather than reflectively by Jewish diaspora communities would serve that purpose.


Prophetic Actions


A prophetic action (prophetic act) is something done (at God's directions) in the natural (physical) realm that supports God's workings in the spiritual realm, to bring forth results that would be manifested in the natural realm. Such prophetic ministry becomes the forerunner of that move of God that opens the channel for His glory and power to be released that will affect our natural environment.

The prophetic act or activity is usually displayed or demonstrated or communicated in a dimension or language that is thought to be easily understood by those to whom the revealed prophetic actions is intended.

Prophetic acts that might have yielded fruits of great glory are of no special significance if not ordered by God.



The Prophetic acts of God often convey His love for His people. But many times these prophetic acts also communicated God’s disappointment, correction, and rebuke.

Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them

This is a prophetic act of enormous prophetic portion. God provides a covering for them in the form of a prophetic act of the redemption. God made them coats of skin to now cover them. The coats were not to shield them from the elements as we use coats today, but they were to cover them in their now perceived nakedness. Our sin exposes us not to God but to ourselves and to the perceptions of others.


Acts 21:10,11 10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus 11 And coming to us, • he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns * this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”

Agabus revealed to Paul and the disciples that the road ahead wouldn’t be easy for the owner of the belt (Paul).


The best example of a prophetic act performed by a believer is water baptism. A prophetic action enables the recipients to see what they are unwilling to accept through mere words due to their frightened or hardened hearts. If they reject the physical act, then the state of their hearts is exposed. Water Baptism is a Symbolical enactment of death to self and resurrection to a new life with Christ.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Baptism will not save you but the prophetic act of obedience to God’s commandment will place you on the path of salvation.

Prophetic acts can break accepted cultural, ethical, and religious norms.

  1. Jeremiah was told not to marry or have children in order to live out a prophetic action before God’s people (Jer.16:1-13). God’s prophetic words to His people were all the more potent as they came through this bachelor-prophet: as Jeremiah had no offspring, so the children born to Jewish parents would die from disease and by the hand of their enemies.
  2. Ezekiel was ordered toshave his beard and head (a disgrace for a Jewish man; see II Sam.10:4-5), and then to burn one third of it in the center of Jerusalem, strike one third with a sword throughout the city, and scatter the remaining third to the wind (Ez.5:1-17). He was then to explain to the people in Jerusalem how his actions represented the judgments that were coming upon them.
  3. The prophet Hosea was divinely directed twice to marry prostitutes (Hos.1:2-9; 3:1-5). His marriages, and the children he fathered in the first marriage, were prophetic actions to Israel.
  4. The prophet Zechariah was commanded to place a kingly crown upon the head of the high priest Joshua (Zech.6:9-15). His act was noteworthy because priests were forbidden from ruling as kings, and vice versa (see II Chr.26:16-21; Num.3:10; 16:39-40).This violation of the written word was followed by a prophetic word that foretold the Priest-King, Jesus Christ, who would rebuild Jerusalem’s temple and rule on the throne of Israel – a true priest on His throne.

Moses ROD

  1. Moses was always carrying out prophetic acts with his rod, he was always prophesying with his rod. God chose Moses, knowing he had a speech impediment (see Exodus 4:10), so He (God) could speak through him; so He could do signs, wonders and miracles through him; so He could do prophetic acts through him. God chose a man who now knew how to LEAN ON HIM. God said to Moses in Exodus 4:2, “What’s that in your hand? . . . USE IT!” His rod became his point of contact for prophetic acts.

  2. In Exodus 14, after the Israelites fled from Egypt, we read about the Egyptians pursuing them with vengeance; they wanted to retrieve their slaves; the exodus of the Israelites had humiliated them; they were all devastated at the loss of their firstborn. In verses 15, 16 & 21 we see that Moses had to DO something, not SAY something. “Don’t speak . . . ACT! Stop praying, stop crying out to Me and get the people moving forward. Stretch out your rod over the sea and divide it . . .”

Elisha & King Joash's Arrow

2 Kings 13:14-19 14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. 15 And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. 16 And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. 17 And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD’S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them. 18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. 19 And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.

  1. Elisha the prophet instructed the king to release arrows eastwards from a bow. Apparently, this was a prophetic act that meant that Israel would triumph over her enemies, the Syrians, who were occupying Israel's land in the east of Jordan.
  2. Following that, Elisha gave instructions for another prophetic act: "The arrow of the Lord's deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria; for you must strike the Syrians at Aphek till you have destroyed them". Having said that to the king, Elisha instructed the King to strike the ground with arrows. King Joash dealt only three blows to the ground - to the reproach of Elisha who told him that because he struck the ground only three times, therefore Syria would suffer defeat not more than three times; while had the king struck the ground repeatedly Syria would have been rendered beyond recovery and would cease to be of any further threat to Israel.

The measure of victory we gain over our enemies comes from the obedience we give to divine instructions.

Your obedience + God's faithfulness = Great Things

Can you be trusted with more?

Luke 16:10 New American Standard "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.


The Daily Nationalist: The Arch-Rabbi of Canterbury – DN 112719


Carolyn Yeager talks to Sven Longshanks about Justin Welby’s philo-semitism and the lack of people who will stand up to Jewish bullying.

Justin Welby is known by the Jews asthe first Jewish arch-bishop of Canterbury’.

He has authored a foreword in a report to the church, condemning Christians for making ‘false’ accusations against the Jews.

The Chief Rabbi has endorsed the report and even gets the last word to it, confirming the total control Jews have over Welby and the Church of England. 

Presented by Sven Longshanks and Carolyn Yeager

The Daily Nationalist: The Arch-Rabbi of Canterbury – DN 112719


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Former Jordanian MP Mahmoud Kharabshe: I Do Not Like Talking to Jews Because They Are Treacherous And Will Be Our Enemies Until Judgement Day

Former Jordanian MP Mahmoud Kharabshe said in a November 13, 2019 interview on A-One TV (Jordan) that the Jews have their eyes set not only on Palestine, but on the entire Arab world, and that they aim to expand Israel's borders from the Nile River to the Euphrates River. He said that Jews are treacherous, that they cannot be trusted, and that he does not like talking to Jews because he has an "inner feeling" that they will be the enemies of Arabs and Islam until Judgement Day. He also said that...

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Israel and Jews go all out against Corbyn


U.K. Chief Rabbi Says Corbyn's Labour Is Poisoned Against Jews


Local Jews protest South Africa's designation as one of the most anti-Semitic countries on earth - Haaretz

Local Jews protest South Africa's designation as one of the most anti-Semitic countries on earth  Haaretz

Malachi: The Coming Messenger — Jenny Morgan

God longs to be known, intimately known by the communities of Jews throughout the ages, intimately known by the community of Highlands Church and far beyond. The Hebrew Prophets of old entice us never to forget that God wants to be known. And now, at the end of our series on the prophets, Malachi gives […]

Hatred of Israel is the Symptom. Hatred of Western Society is the Disease.

Many on the political Left, such as Rep. Ilhan Omar, complain that American Jews support Israel because Israel is a Jewish-majority country. All Americans should support Israel because Israel is a civilized country similar to the United States in terms of culture and values.

Come Follow Me: 1-3 John; Jude


The Epistles of John

The Epistles of John are believed to have been written around 100-110 AD by John the Apostle.

Fighting the Heretic Gnostics

In this time period of early Christianity, the church was fighting various factions that taught different teachings regarding Christ.  Perhaps one of the most challenging groups of heretics would be the Gnostics.  The term Gnostic comes from the word “gnosis” which means a hidden knowledge or secret.  There were several different groups of Gnostics, each with varying beliefs. However, most had some concepts in common.  First, they believed they held secret knowledge from the apostles or through revelation that extended the gospel to another level.  Many would attend regular Christian meetings, but then also have their own meetings, where they believed the higher knowledge was taught.  For a time, some versions of Gnosticism dominated certain areas of the Christian world, and even threatened to overtake what is called the “proto-Orthodox” Christian Church.

       Heresy #1, good Jehovah and bad Elohim

1 John begins by telling us, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1:5).  Many of the Gnostics believed that the Garden of Eden story was about a god that created mankind in order to mess with them.  This god, Elohim, did not want to bless mankind, but to toy with them.  Meanwhile, the god Yahweh/Jehovah sought to save the people from the cruelty of the god Elohim.

John was teaching that God Elohim was and is a God of light, and not an evil god. The apostle then explained that we are to follow God and Jesus in the light. The Gnostic concept is that man was sinless, because it was God that caused the Fall, not man. However, we read, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1:8).  Gnostics blamed sin on Elohim, and hoped for salvation through Yahweh.  Yet, John teaches that we are responsible for our own separation from God, through our own sins.

Early Christians saw that Jesus was the Messiah, or the mortal Yahweh. He is the Son of God and the Angel of God’s Presence (Shekinah).  There was no battle going on between Elohim (God the Father) and Yahweh (God the Son).  John emphasizes this concept:

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (2:22-23).

Connected to the concept of “God is Light” is that we must also seek the light, and reject the darkness.  This includes the concept that hatred equals darkness.  

“He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes” (2:9-11).

    Heresy #2 - Christ as Spirit, Jesus as Man

Among the key heretic issues taught by many Gnostic sects  was a belief in the docetic (dual) nature of Jesus:
1. They believed that the man Jesus and the God Christ were separate individuals.  When Jesus was baptized, the God Christ entered into him (the dove descending), and God the Father spoke saying, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee....I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son” (Hebrews 1:5).  They did not think that Jesus the man was born the Son of God, but was begotten at baptism through a spiritual rebirth, when the God Christ entered into Jesus and became a part of him through mortality.

2. Christ did not suffer, Only Jesus did.  The Christ did the miracles and taught the people. But the man Jesus went through the suffering.  Upon the cross, “... about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46, Psalms 22:1).  In other words, prior to the suffering, the God Christ left Jesus to suffer and die alone.

3. The man Jesus was rewarded for his sacrifice by being the first to resurrect.  The God Christ, however, continued as a Spirit, never having been born , suffered, nor died as a mortal.

On this topic, John warns us about the danger of such a heresy:

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (4:2-3).

As we can see from the Gnostic belief of a separate Jesus and Christ, they did not believe that Christ came in the flesh.  Here, John intentionally uses the full name Jesus Christ, to show that Jesus the man and Christ the god are both the same being.  Jesus is god and man, Christ is god and man. Jesus = Christ.

And this is a sign of an anti-Christ (not necessarily THE Anti-Christ of the last days), which was in the Christian world in 100AD.  The Gnostics believed Christ continued as a spirit, never suffering nor truly interacting with mankind directly, but indirectly through Jesus the man.  For the Gnostics, Christ never resurrected in the flesh, and never will have a resurrected body.

Today, we can partially judge a Christian Church by determining whether it believe Jesus came in the flesh (mortality), died on the cross, and resurrected.  Resurrection means he forever retains his physical body, just as he retains his spirit.  Resurrected Jesus is God.

  Modern heresy of the Athanasius creed

The current concept of the Trinity came about through two councils: the Council of Nicea and the Council of Chalcedon, both done in the 4th century AD.  Prior to this time, many Christians believed that Christ came in the flesh and resurrected.  They believed that God the Father and God the Son were two separate beings.  For example, the early Christian defender Origen taught that Jesus was a God subordinate to the Father.    

However, from the end of the second century to the fourth century AD, more and more Christian leaders embraced Hellenistic (Greek) philosophy and embedded several such concepts into Christian belief.  Among these was the concept that there is only one God and he is of a pure substance (Spirit) that is completely different than any other substance.  Bishop Athanasius pushed for a new creed or belief that would designate the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as only one Spirit with three persons.  Other bishops, such as Arius and the historian Eusebius disagreed, but lost when Constantine (not yet baptized as a Christian) accepted Athanasius’ creed and established it as the Nicene Creed.  Constantine sent  many “heretic” Christians, who did not accept the Trinity, to the copper mines, which essentially was a death sentence.

It would still take over a century for the Nicene Creed to become Christian doctrine, as it almost lost out again in the 4th century.  Still, the Nicene Creed left many questions.  How could Christ be spirit and still have a physical body?  At the end of the 4th Century, the Council of Chalcedon began and determined the duality of Christ.  Today, most Christian religions embrace the two creeds as doctrine, even though the Bible is rather silent on such issues.
In fact, early Christans intentionally changed First John to reflect the Trinity in it.  1 John 5:7-8 tells us:

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

This clearly sounds like evidence of the Trinity creed. However, scholars now call this the “Comma Johanneum”, or Johannine Comma or Clause.  The portion that was the later addition is: “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth”.

Without the clause, the verse originally stated, “For there are three that bear record, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

The clause does not appear in any texts prior to the ninth century AD.  Such an effort to intentionally change the feel and thought of First John goes entirely against his teaching in the epistle!  He stated that Christ resurrected and had a body, while also being the Son of God.  Historically, the comment was added in a later Bible version called the Textus Receptus, which was used in all Bible translations from 1522 onward until the past century.  Yes, it is even in the King James Bible, which is one reason why LDS believe the Bible to be correct and the word of God  insofar as it is translated correctly (Article of Faith 8).

Jesus taught that “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24), which is often used as evidence of the Trinity.  However, here John teaches that “God is love” (1 John 4:8).  God as spirit and love show attributes of God, not a specific statement that God is only one thing.  God can be a spirit, love, resurrected being with a physical body, and many other things.  To define him only as a spirit is to delimit him and our understanding of whom he really is.

What we do know, John teaches us:

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he (God) is pure”  (1 John 3:2-3).

Background on Jude

Scholars differ on which Jude is the author of this epistle: whether it is the apostle Jude, the brother of Jesus, or if they are the same individual.  All agree that Judas Iscariot is not the author of the epistle.  

The epistle was controversial in the early days of Christianity.  All early Christian leaders believed in its authenticity, but argued over whether to include it in the canon of scripture, because of controversial concepts contained within it, including its quoting or referencing of non-canonical writings.  Origen discusses the early controversy over the epistle of Jude by some church leaders, though he personally accepted it.  The controversy continued into the 4th century, as noted by Eusebius of Caesarea in his Ecclesiastical History.

The epistle was not directed towards any particular Christian congregation, but was written to be distributed throughout all the churches of Christ.  Jude’s few verses are very similar to that found in 2 Peter (mostly chapter 2).  Scholars believe that either there was a previous source both used, or that one was the source for the other.

Keeping your First Estate

Jude begins his epistle discussing the importance of contending for the faith, and fighting against apostates who seek to turn believers from following Christ and his gospel.

“ 5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude).

Israel in Egypt is compared with the premortal existence.  From Egypt, Israel was offered a fresh start, a freedom, as they moved to the Promised Land.  Yet, many fought with Moses, thinking they knew better. In doing so, they were destroyed.

So it was in the premortal existence.  We were spirit children of God in the prior life.  Yet, as only spirits, we were limited to our growth, agency, and free will.  To move forward, we required a fresh start in mortality, with the expectation that we would believe in Christ and follow God through his appointed prophets.  

In Abraham 3, we read about this premortal experience:

“ 22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
27 And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.
28 And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him” (Book of Abraham 3).

Here we see that some chose to rebel, rather than follow the plan God set forth. Lucifer and many others rejected their first estate, or the experiences of the premortal life.  Instead of coming down to gain a body and have a chance at choosing eternal life through Christ, they rejected everything and were cast down from heaven, becoming Satan and his demons.  As Jude notes, these are they who rejected their first estate and are to be enchained in Outer Darkness in the final day of judgment.

So will it be for those who indulge in fornications and sexual pleasures that do not fall under the mandate of God.  Sodom and Gomorrah is noted as a place that was destroyed for its sinfulness.  Professor Harold Bloom wrote that Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed for its sinful sexual behaviors (including homosexual and heterosexual acts), but for the inhabitants not being hospitable.  In other words, God put up with their sinful natures until they attempted to impose that lifestyle upon others (such as on Lot and his angelic visitors).

Jude warns us that such sinful nature is the cause for destruction for a people.

Body of Moses

One of the two very controversial portions of the Epistle of Jude is the story regarding Moses’ body.

“9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”

Here, the greatest of the angels, Michael, contends with Satan for the body of Moses. Origen noted that this was a part of an ancient Jewish text entitled the “Assumption of Moses” (also known as the Testament of Moses), believed by modern scholars to have been written in the 1st century AD.  The Assumption of Moses that is now available no longer contains this story, but is believed by many to have been at the end in the original. This is part of the controversy that arises with Jude’s epistle.  He is actually quoting from a non-canonical source!

The concept comes forth that rather than dying, Moses is to ascend to heaven, even as Enoch or Elijah did.  In Jude, Michael must fight for Moses that he may ascend in a translated or raptured state, rather than die.

Enoch’s Prophecy

“14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Again, Jude quotes from another non-canonical source.  This time, it is from one of the various surviving books of Enoch.  The writings of Enoch were well accepted by many Jews and Christians from the 2nd century BC and until St Jerome rejected it for his compilation of the Bible.  Enoch is quoted or referenced dozens of times in the New Testament, with Jude as the most well known.

Fragments of Enoch writings are found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, suggesting that the ancient Essenes accepted Enoch as scripture. Interestingly, the fragments within the Dead Sea Scrolls are only one of two places wherein we find a person named Mahujah/Mahijah who questions Enoch.  The other known writing of Enoch that has this encounter is found in Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Moses (Moses 6:40)!

Jude’s connection between Moses and Enoch is an important one. Both are called of God to be an important prophet in their days.  Both have a heavenly vision and then are sent back to earth with the commandments and teachings of God.  Both foresaw the coming of the Lord in glory and power among men.  In LDS belief, Enoch prepared his city of Zion to be lifted to heaven, while Moses tried to bring the children of Israel into the presence of God at Sinai, and then into the Promised Land.  Enoch saved his people from the evil that occurred before the Flood, while Moses saved his people from the evils in Egypt.

There is another place, besides Jude, where both prophets are discussed and offered as symbols of the coming Lord Jesus Christ.  Joseph Smith received a revelation while studying the Bible regarding the Creation, the Fall of Man, and the times of Enoch before the Flood.  All of this Joseph received through the eyes of the prophet Moses.

As with Enoch, Joseph Smith also proclaimed that the Lord would return for his Second Coming in great power and glory.  Our job is to keep the commandments, be chaste, virtuous, and righteous in following Christ. In doing so, the day may come when the archangel Michael may contend with the devil over us, that we may gain our second estate and receive a crown of glory.


Nag Hammadi Library (Primarily Gnostic writings found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt):

First Peter - wikipedia:

“Condemned to the Mines, Copper Production and Christian Persecution”, Biblical Archaeological Review, Nov/Dec 2011, pg 30:

Comma Johanneum - wikepedia:

Epistle of Jude - wikipedia:

Epistle of Jude - Catholic Encyclopedia:

Epistle of Jude - Early Christian Writings:

Inhospitality of Sodom -

Lack of Hospitality by Sodom - Book of J, Harold Bloom, pp 299-301:

Assumption of Moses - wikipedia:

Assumption of Moses (AKA Testament of Moses):

Book of Enoch (as quoted by Jude):


Book of Moses:


Come Follow Me - 1 & 2 Peter

Come Follow Me - 1 & 2 Peter

First Peter

Scholars are mixed as to whether Peter actually wrote 1 Peter or not.  Evidence for Petrine authorship is primarily that many early Christian writers stated that Peter wrote the epistle.  There are external issues that cause some scholars to doubt its authenticity.  One primary issue is that the Greek letter is eloquent in its writing and based on the Septuagint Old Testament (LXX). Peter may have known some Greek, but would not have been as powerful in writing Greek as in Hebrew.  And it is possibly more likely he would have used a Hebrew Old Testament and personally translated it into Greek.  That the letter speaks favorably on various Pauline concepts suggests it may have been written by one of Paul’s followers.  Finally, the book is written to Gentile areas in Asia, and mentions severe trials brought on by the government.  Nero was the Caesar who executed both Paul and Peter ca 63-67 AD, but mostly focused his Christian attacks in and around Rome.  Meanwhile, Nero’s successor Domitian did seek to destroy Christians throughout the Roman Empire.

The argument for it being actually written by Peter suggests that Peter wrote it immediately after the death of Paul, with the effect of trying to keep the Church in Asia united under the direction of the apostles.

Peter notes that the epistle is written from “Babylon.”  There are three possible locations for this: Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Rome.  Most scholars believe that Peter was referring to Rome, as there are no early traditions of Peter being in Mesopotamia or in Egypt.  It is generally agreed that Peter died in Rome ca 67AD, and if he did write the epistle, it would have to have been just prior to his own death during Nero’s reign, when the Roman saints were being persecuted.  That the churches addressed were on the fringes of Paul’s influence (Paul’s followers brought the gospel to the locations) makes sense, as the Church was well established in Ephesus and other locations Paul had personally preached.

Key Teachings

Peter gives two main concepts in the epistle.  

    Faith and Sanctification

1  Pet 1-2:10 teach us regarding the key concepts behind having real faith, even through trials brought on by others   In this instance, the trials brought on by Nero and the death of Paul would have weighed heavily on the entire Church.  And it is possible that trials were being inflicted upon the newly formed churches in Asia, as they were meeting challenges by pagan worshipers in the same areas.

“ 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
“6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
“7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1)

Faith and hope cause us to anticipate the glories and rewards of the next life.  Even during our difficult trials in mortality, we can focus and even rejoice on such hope.  We learn that such trials can refine us, even as gold is refined by very intense heat.  As gold is heated, the impurities separate from the gold, and remain as slag or waste, after the purified gold has been tried by fire.

Peter speaks to the members who through their faith have been justified (made guiltless) through the blood of Christ, and now must learn to be sanctified (become holy) through the Spirit and the atonement of Christ (1 Pet 1:2).  The aspect of becoming holy through sanctification includes bearing the trials that occur, as well as learning obedience to the commands God gives us.  We are not saved by keeping the commandments.  We are, however, able to become more holy as we are sanctified, which requires us to strive ever more in the faith of Christ, and that includes learning obedience.

Peter taught that Christ was foreordained, ordained before the world was made, to accomplish his great work.  His example becomes our example to follow in faith.


How the Faithful Behave

The second part of 1 Peter (2:11-5:14) is a Midrash, or spiritual explanation of how we should apply Isaiah 53 into our own lives.  In that chapter, Isaiah foresaw the “Suffering Servant” Jesus Christ, who would take upon him the pains and sins of the world, and as a lamb going to the slaughter, would not cry out.

“21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
“22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
“23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
“24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
“25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (1 Pet 2).

While through basic faith and repentance we are justified or made sinless in Christ, we have yet to be sanctified or made holy through Christ and the Holy Spirit to a greater reward in heaven.  If we seek to receive the reward given to Jesus and to sit down on his throne with him (Revelation 3:21), we must follow the path and example he gave us in mortality.  As we follow in Jesus’ footsteps, we become more holy, more like He is.  Following commandments alone cannot save nor exalt us.  But when we become holy through sanctification, we BECOME like Christ. It is in the Becoming that the Holy Spirit can then abide within us, purifying us, and making us more and more perfect in Christ.

We are not expected to sit passively through our trials.  Instead, God expects us to actively be doing good works (3:13-4:6).  As adeptly notes: “It is one thing to suffer for simply being a Christian; it is quite another for suffering for living like a Christian before a watching world.”


Preaching to the Spirits in Prison

Peter speaks on an interesting concept regarding the deceased Christ’s efforts in the three days his body lay in the tomb.

“ 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
“19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
“20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1 Pet 3).

“ 6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit” (1 Pet 4).

Here, Peter is talking about Jesus’ descending into hell, or the “harrowing of hell.”  According to the early Christian writing, the “Gospel of Nicodemus” Part II (the descent into hell), the dead were in a spirit prison, unable to escape Death.  When Jesus died, Satan came to Death and boasted about his victory over Jesus.  Death lamented, stating he did not have the power to hold such a powerful being.  Jesus soon came and broke down the doors of death, allowing the righteous from Adam on down to resurrect and enter into heaven.

This prison or hell we speak of is a portion of what is known as the Spirit World.  This is the place where the spirits of the dead await the resurrection.  One part of the Spirit World is known as Paradise, and the other as Spirit Prison or hell.  The requirement to escape hell is to be justified in Christ, or to have faith in Christ and fully repent of one’s sins.   As Peter discusses sanctification or becoming holy, our reward in heaven then is determined by our good works, and who we truly become (Christ-like or something less).  

In his three days in the Spirit World, Christ organized the righteous to preach the gospel to the wicked and those who had not yet received a chance to hear the Good News.  In 1918, President Joseph F. Smith saw in vision the Spirit World and how Christ organized the work.  He explained first seeing Paradise and the righteous awaiting the coming of Christ to save them:

“18 While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful;
19 And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance.
20 But unto the wicked he did not go, and among the ungodly and the unrepentant who had defiled themselves while in the flesh, his voice was not raised;
21 Neither did the rebellious who rejected the testimonies and the warnings of the ancient prophets behold his presence, nor look upon his face.
22 Where these were, darkness reigned, but among the righteous there was peace;...
30 But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.
31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.
32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.
33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,
34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit”  (D&C 138).

In this way, we see that the Almighty God has prepared a way for all mankind to hear the gospel message, believe and repent, and be saved from eternal damnation and hell.  The Jews and Gentiles that lived prior to Christ in most of the world,  the person who lived behind the atheist Iron Curtain of the 20th century, and the millions who today dwell under Islam and other non-Christian faiths; will finally have a chance to have the gospel preached to them.

This is significant.  Some Christians believe that anyone who does not accept Christ in this life will be cast into hell, regardless of the reason.  Now we know that Christ gives all mankind a chance to know Him and accept Him.  And why would he do that?

“ 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3).

Second Peter

Many scholars believe that Peter did not write 2 Peter.  It is dated anywhere from 60-160 AD for its writing, depending on just which scholar is asked.  Since Peter discusses Paul’s writings, 2 Peter could not have been written prior to 60 AD.  Even early Christian leaders, such as Origen, had some doubts as to the authenticity of 2 Peter.  Many scholars believe that it was written after the destruction of Jerusalem, for Peter states that Israel now consists of the followers of Jesus, and not the Jews, who after the Roman destruction were scattered to the winds.  According to 2 Peter, the apostle was anticipating his death: “Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me” (2 Pet 1:14), and so it could not have been written much before that concluding event.  Tradition has it that the Romans chose to crucify Peter, but he asked to be crucified upside down, because he did not feel himself worthy of imitating the Lord in his own death on the cross.

Peter also makes reference to the epistle of Jude, which could not have been written any earlier than 66 AD, one year before Peter’s death, and therefore probably not giving Peter time to read it and discuss it in his own epistle.  That Peter discusses Jude’s epistle, which includes writings from Enoch which St Jerome rejected in compiling the books of the Bible, caused that it cast a questionable light on 2 Peter’s authenticity.

2 Peter is also tied closely to another ancient pseudepigraphic writing entitled the Apocalypse of Peter, which details a major revelation given to Peter.


Partakers of the Divine Nature
2 Peter 1:4-8

Peter begins by speaking of how we become sanctified, or made holy.  We can become “partakers of the divine nature” which literally means we can become as Christ is.  In doing so, Peter makes a list of principles of those things that can make us Christ-like, grace by grace:

“ 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”

In some Christian traditions, God is made of pure Spirit or substance that is unlike any other creation.  Some believe that nothing impure can ever become quite like God’s nature or substance.  Yet, here we are told we can partake of that divine nature, and exactly how to do it through being sanctified.  To add “godliness” means one must be god-like!  Peter shows us a path from one level of grace and goodness to the next, until we are perfected through charity/love.

In going from grace to grace, receiving grace for grace (D&C 93), we become perfected until we can receive our “calling and election made sure” (2 Pet 1:10).  It is at this point that we have achieved a level of grace and godliness through sanctification that we are promised exaltation.


More Sure Word of Prophecy
2 Peter 1:19-21

“19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

Peter is establishing a very important concept among those who struggle with the writings and scriptures floating around the Christian communities in his day.  There is a better way to understand prophecy than by “private interpretation.”  That method is to listen to living apostles and prophets explain the scriptures and interpret them according to the will and inspiration of God.  Perhaps this is one of the most important concepts that separates traditional Christianity from restorationist Christianity one finds in Mormonism.

There are thousands of Christian churches today because individuals have read the Bible and disagreed one with another regarding concepts and teachings therein.  Some believe baptism is necessary, others do not.  Some believe in immersion in water, while others think sprinkling or not baptism is fine.  Some believe salvation comes only through pure grace, while others believe that works is also a necessary component.  Some believe in free will, while others teach predestination.  The American Baptist church was torn in half over the issue of slavery in 1845. Today, many churches are divided over abortion and issues of sexuality..  

With modern prophets and apostles, modern witnesses of the resurrected Christ, even as Peter was an ancient witness of the resurrected Christ, we have inspired men who can give us a God-approved interpretation of scripture.

Peter states later in chapter 3:

“15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

That Paul’s writings have long been a point of major disagreement in the Christian Church is well noted even in Peter’s day.  For those who seek a personal interpretation of the scriptures, without guidance of modern prophets to clarify the will and mind of God is to risk wresting the scriptures onto our own destruction.

Peter even notes that some scoff at the scripture because they do not heed the prophets or apostles:

“ 2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet 3).

Peter noted that there would be scoffers in the “last days” prior to the Second Coming.  Sadly, his prophecy has come true in the modern age.  Today, we have many Christians and their pastors who do not believe in the Second Coming of Christ.  For example, retired Episcopalian Bishop John Spong wrote and spoke for years on his version of Christianity, questioning the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, insisted miracles do not happen, nor is there a physical resurrection, etc.  

Yet, we have living prophets and apostles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who proclaim the divinity of Christ today.  They are called as “special witnesses of Jesus Christ.”  In his day, the Prophet Joseph Smith proclaimed,

“ 19 And while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about.
20 And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness;
21 And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever.
22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:19-24).

The living prophets and apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ have also born their modern witness of the Lord in the “Living Christ, a Proclamation.”



First Peter - wikipedia:

First Peter -

Gospel of Nicodemus:

Second Peter - wikipedia:

Second Peter - Early Christian Writings:

Second Peter -

Peter’s Death:

The Living Christ, a Proclamation from the living prophets and apostles:
 Belgian Carnival town renounces UNESCO title over racism rowThe famed Belgian Carnival town of Aalst wants to renounce its place on the U.N. cultural heritage list, saying it is sick of widespread complaints that this spring’s edition contained blatant anti-Semitism. Town officials say the float objected to, with stereotypical depictions of hook-nosed Jews sitting on piles of money, was trying to make a joke and they contend no one should try to muzzle humor of any kind during the three-day Carnival. UNESCO, Jewish groups and the European Union have condemned the float as anti-Semitic, with the EU saying it conjured up visions of the 1930s.


Trump’s Other Personal Lawyer: Close to the Right, but Far From Giuliani

Mr. Sekulow attended Atlanta Baptist College, today known as Mercer University. It was around that time, he has said, that he became a Christian, in part because of the influence of a college friend, Glenn Borders, who led him through an exploration of the Bible. He would go on to be active in Jews for …

mikenov on Twitter: Merkel gov’t continues UN assault against Israel, snubbing German Jews…


Merkel gov’t continues UN assault against Israel, snubbing German Jews…

mikenov on Twitter

Book at Lunchtime: Chaucer: A European Life

TORCH Book at Lunchtime event on Chaucer: A European Life by Professor Marion Turner. Book at Lunchtime is a series of bite-sized book discussions held fortnightly during term-time, with commentators from a range of disciplines. More than any other canonical English writer, Geoffrey Chaucer lived and worked at the centre of political life-yet his poems are anything but conventional. Edgy, complicated, and often dark, they reflect a conflicted world, and their astonishing diversity and innovative language earned Chaucer renown as the father of English literature. Marion Turner, however, reveals him as a great European writer and thinker. To understand his accomplishment, she reconstructs in unprecedented detail the cosmopolitan world of Chaucer’s adventurous life, focusing on the places and spaces that fired his imagination. Uncovering important new information about Chaucer’s travels, private life, and the early circulation of his writings, this innovative biography documents a series of vivid episodes, moving from the commercial wharves of London to the frescoed chapels of Florence and the kingdom of Navarre, where Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived side by side. The narrative recounts Chaucer’s experiences as a prisoner of war in France, as a father visiting his daughter’s nunnery, as a member of a chaotic Parliament, and as a diplomat in Milan, where he encountered the writings of Dante and Boccaccio. At the same time, the book offers a comprehensive exploration of Chaucer’s writings, taking the reader to the Troy of Troilus and Criseyde, the gardens of the dream visions, and the peripheries and thresholds of The Canterbury Tales. By exploring the places Chaucer visited, the buildings he inhabited, the books he read, and the art and objects he saw, this landmark biography tells the extraordinary story of how a wine merchant’s son became the poet of The Canterbury Tales. Bart van Es is Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford, focusing primarily on Spenser and Shakespeare. Bart is interested in connections between history writing and poetry in early modern England. In recent years his research has focused primarily on Renaissance drama and the material realities of London’s theatre world. The Cut Out Girl, his work of creative non-fiction on World War II in the Netherlands, won the 2018 Costa Book of the Year award. Marion Turner is Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow in English at Jesus College, University of Oxford. Marion’s research interests lie in late medieval secular literature and history, and she has published very widely on Chaucer, including two books and many articles. Chaucer: A European Life, was her first foray into biography, and she now teaches life-writing as well as medieval literature. Her next book is going to be a global history – or biography – of the Wife of Bath across time. Helen Swift is Associate Professor of Medieval French at the University of Oxford. Having focused for several years on fifteenth-century literary defences of women, she now explores more broadly questions of narrative voice and identity in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century French literature. Her second book, Representing the Dead: Epitaph Fictions in Late-Medieval France examines voices and bodies speaking from beyond the grave and was runner-up for the Society for French Studies R. Gapper Book Prize in 2017. John Watts is Professor of Later Medieval History at the University of Oxford and Chair of the History Faculty Board. John is interested in politics, political culture and political structures in later medieval England and Europe, between the 13th and the early 16th centuries. Most of his published work deals with later medieval English politics and political culture, but he has also written about politics in later medieval Europe. Elleke Boehmer is Professor of World Literature in English at the University of Oxford, Director of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing and was the Director of TORCH from 2015 to 17. She is a founding figure in the field of colonial and postcolonial studies, and internationally known for her research in anglophone literatures of empire and anti-empire. She is also a novelist and short story writer, most recently of The Shouting in the Dark.

Proverbs 3:21-26

Proverbs 3:21-26 (KJV)   21 My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:
22 So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.
23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

Proverbs 3:21-26 (NIV) 21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side
and will keep your foot from being snared.

Proverbs 3:21-26 (BSB)  21 My son, do not lose sight of this:
Preserve sound judgment and discernment.
22 They will be life to your soul
and adornment to your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you rest, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not fear sudden danger
or the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from the snare.

Proverbs 3:21-26 (NLT)  21 My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.
Hang on to them,
22 for they will refresh your soul.
They are like jewels on a necklace.
23 They keep you safe on your way,
and your feet will not stumble.
24 You can go to bed without fear;
you will lie down and sleep soundly.
25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
26 for the LORD is your security.
He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.

These verses in Proverbs 3, remind us again to hang onto godly wisdom and how very valuable it is to us. It is important to learn and this requires reading, writing, studying, meditating, listening and learning more. It does require effort on our part because godly wisdom doesn't come naturally to us.

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
richly - πλουσίως (plousiós, plousiōs) - Adverb
Strong's Greek 4146: Richly, abundantly. Adverb from plousios; copiously.

dwell - ἐνοικείτω (enoikeó, enoikeitō) - Verb - Present Imperative Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 1774: To dwell in, be settled (stationary) in; met: To be indwelling. From en and oikeo; to inhabit.

The Word of Christ needs to "richly dwell in you". To me this is saying I need an abundance of the Word, a copious amount of the Word, in order for it to settle in my mind and become a part of me, to develop in my character. How many of us don't get an abundant amount of the Word in a day or week? I've been guilty. There have been weeks when the only Word I heard was on Sunday morning. That makes me an anemic Christian. I'm not feeding my spirit with the Word of Truth. I don't seem to have any problem at all watching TV for hours everyday. All those words enter my head but no Word from God! That only feeds my flesh, while my spirit is weak from lack of the Word.

I need more Bible not less! If I'm having problems and struggles, I need more Word, more time with God, more prayer. Not less! I get so busy trying to solve problems all by myself that I neglect the Word and my time of relationship with God! That weakens me, not strengthens me.

We moved a couple of weeks ago. We've been through this experience a lot in our lives but in today's world, moving is VERY stressful. All the packing and physically moving is hard enough. But there is so much stress involved with putting your house up for sale, preparing it, showing it, making decisions, inspections, unrealistic expectations of buyers in today's market (due to HGTV). Then there is the stress of financing. Top it off with the stress of searching for a new house. The market in our hometown today is booming. A few years ago it was busting. But today, our town is splitting at the seams with growth. I don't know if it's because of the booming economy under President Donald Trump, or if we have what businesses want (airport, interstate highways, workforce, climate, etc), or all of the above? But good houses go up on the market and sometimes sell in 1-2 days. Ours sold on the 2nd day after 2 showings to 2 different families. Prices are higher which is good for the seller but bad for the buyer. We felt pressured to find the right home at our budget (taking into account Stan will probably be retiring soon) and make a decision within a couple of hours or risk losing the house. Our realtor was wonderful and very helpful. She took us to see probably a dozen or so houses. All of that is stressful. Considering Stan is 65 now with some health issues and he still works fulltime and I'm disabled at 60 yrs old, it was really rough on us physically to downsize and make this move. We almost waited too late. There is a tipping balance between being young enough and healthy enough to go through all this and reaching an age where it is more than you can physically and mentally do and you've missed the opportunity to make a move. I've seen it happen where someone keeps putting off what would be a good move for them in many ways but because it's so overwhelming they procrastinate and then it's too late. They just can't do it. They are elderly people in a big house they can't afford to maintain on a fixed income; they can't physically maintain or clean all the square footage; they can't afford the utilities on all the square footage, etc. I know of a woman who had a large 2 story house. She is now divorced and her adult child lives very far away. She is on a fixed income and is dealing with age and a lot of health issues all alone. She doesn't know who to trust to do maintenance on her home and she can't afford, on her income, to do much or to take a loss if someone takes advantage of her. She can't afford the utilities. She has steps going into her house and to the upstairs where her bathroom is. But she can't maneuver the steps anymore. So she lives in one room with the half bathroom downstairs. She's shut the rest of the house up so she doesn't have to heat/cool it. The upstair bathroom has a broken toilet but she can't afford to have it fixed so the water is turned off to the upstairs. She has to sponge bathe. She has to rely on other people to help her out of her house, get to appts or even do her errands. Her house was paid for which is why she stayed. But the taxes and insurance and utilities on a house where she only lives in basically 3 rooms, is a burden. She waited too late to make a move. She has no one here to help her. And many elderly people are not mentally and emotionally capable of making a lot of decisions because it's so overwhelming. So they live in pitiful conditions even if family, or friends, offer to help them and try to get them into a more suitable location or home. Being aware of this, and being in our 60's now, we needed to make a change before we got too old to do it. Both sides of our family live in town. But think about it. All our generation are old and disabled too. They can't physically help us much any more. Our nieces and nephews are so wonderful but they have jobs and families. As it happened, the closing dates were not our choice and it happened at the end of October, on the same day, right smack dab in the middle of a work week. So they were working! Praise God, we were able to afford to rent UHaul trucks the weekend before to the weekend after and they all came on the Saturday before (some driving from Columbia!) to load up 2 of the 26' trucks. But, Stan and I were on our own to load the last 26' truck over Sunday and Monday. They had gotten all the heavy furniture and heaviest boxes but still, loading that last truck about killed us! We were able to hire some help for unloading. I wanted to get a moving company but it was going to cost about $2500 to move 5 miles down the road. Stan hit the roof and refused, so we had to do it. In the end, he conceded that he should have listened to me. Anyway, that is my long spiel and I need to get back on track with our lesson. What has all that got to do with the Word? For once, I did the right thing. I made up my mind that I would spend time with the Word and God every day DESPITE the stress of moving. A couple of years ago I decided that my devotions are like my spiritual vitamins. I take a vitamin regimen everyday. I try to help myself by taking good vitamins. Why not help myself spiritually by taking the vitamins of my devotions and Bible study? So, I managed to do it everyday but one. I would get up early, try to compose myself and focus on the Word.
Can I say that I held it together better? I don't know. I'm pretty high strung and nervous and I can get all panicky.

But who knows how much worse I would have been without my spiritual vitamins? I do know every time I choose to do my devotions, it strengthens my relationship with God. Every time I choose to read and study the Word, it etches it deeper into my heart.

If we "hang on" to commonsense and discernment and trust in "the Lord for your security" it will...
refresh your soul
keep you safe
help you sleep soundly
you will not be afraid of disaster
you will not be caught in a trap.

"Refresh your soul" is also sometimes translated as "life to your soul". The word for "refresh" is the Hebrew word chay. According to the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, chay means life "as welfare and happiness in king's presence; as consisting of earthly felicity combined (often) with spiritual blessedness." Godly wisdom used in this world will make you look good (an ornament about your neck) and will give you a good conscience which makes you happier and more content, with a heart of gratitude to God. In the presence of our King, we won't have a guilty conscience or have to struggle with God over issues of disobedience. Of course, Jesus has given us the option to be forgiven and cleansed with His blood any time we fall into sin. When we sincerely repent, God blots out our sins with Jesus' righteousness.
And, because we are Christians, our eternal life in Heaven, is never lost because we believed in Jesus Christ for our salvation. Our eternal state rests in His Work, not our own. But our works on this earth will be judged and we are assigned rewards so we want to gather treasure in Heaven before we leave this earth. But this scripture is referring to not only our eternal life and our reward in Heaven but it also refers to having a better life here on earth because we have learned, and walked, in godly wisdom.

When you make godly choices, using the wisdom God has given you, you suffer less. How many times do we cause our own misery by the poor choices and decisions we've made. We rebel against all God's commands even though they are for our own good. How much heartache and headache we would save ourselves by listening to Him first and obeying His commands. We can live without a guilty conscience, without a poor self image, without consequences that are lifelong.

As human beings, born in sin, we have a 2 part being: body and soul. The soul being the unseen essence of who we are. It makes up our personality, character, our being, our mind, our intellect, sometimes called the heart. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, our spirit is born to make us a 3 part being: body, soul and spirit. It's why the Bible says we must be born again. Our spirit is born and we become a 3 part being like God is a Trinity, a 3 part being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When God created Adam and Eve, He created them as 3 part beings in His image. But when they disobeyed, their spirit died. Their bodies would eventually die. "The wages of sin are death". But Jesus has redeemed all that. We can now be born again and return to being a 3 part being. Our bodies still die, but Jesus even redeemed that because in the end, our physical bodies will be resurrected to join our soul and spirit, making us the perfect and immortal 3-part being God had made Adam and Eve. Our physical bodies will be incorruptible and immortal. No more aging, death and decay! God is good!

Sometimes the word "soul" is used for our born again spirit so it can get confusing. But it is the spirit that is born again and the spirit that communes with God through the help of the Holy Spirit. And it is the spirit that we should want strengthened and running things under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the body and selfhood that gets us in trouble because of our lusts and giving into temptation. We let them rule our lives to our own detriment.

So our soul will be refreshed if we apply godly wisdom in our lives. This means our personhood will be happier and more content because we are avoiding sin and choosing our King, Jesus! If we think about the Trinity of the Godhead, we see 3 separate beings (God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit) but we also see them in such a relationship of harmony and unity that They are as One! That's about as good an explanation as I can give. We, as humans, cannot quite grasp the Trinity as independent Persons yet always as One. A good marriage is supposed to be as close to an analogy as we get. God says the two become one flesh and if we would work together in complete harmony and unity with great love love for each other, we present a united front of mutual love and respect always working for each other's best interests.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us to aid our newly born spirits to grow and strengthen and learn about God. Of course, our bodies and souls are fleshly and that part of us lusts after the things of this world. We have the Holy Spirit working with our spirit trying to teach us God's commands but that goes contrary to what our bodies and souls want so there is friction. Who wins in your life?

Now let's apply that to our being. If our body, soul and spirit would work together in complete unity with the Holy Spirit, we would be happier and more content people. Our spirit should be the controlling factor as it is the part of us that can commune with God and therefore gain spiritual life and health from contact with the Father. Our umbilical cord, if you will, to the Father is the Holy Spirit which unites our spirit with God. It is through this relationship that we draw spiritual sustenance and strength.

If our soul and body would follow our spirit in unity and loving respect, we wouldn't have such struggles and inward battles. We would have inner peace. But our souls and bodies rebel against the spirit. Our flesh wants to lead the way and is what gets us in trouble. If we feed our spirit with a more constant and consistent time with God, it grows in strength. But if we feed our flesh (body and soul) by always giving in to it and letting it rule, it grows in strength and becomes harder and harder for our weakened spirit to reign in and lead us in the right direction. Therefore the struggle and why the Bible says we should crucify, and put to death, our flesh. It doesn't mean literally kill ourselves or nail ourselves to a cross or physically flagellate ourselves. It means to not give in to fleshly lusts and desires that go contrary to what the Holy Spirit is teaching our spirit from God.

Colossians 3:5 (ESV)  Put to death therefore what is earthly in you...

Romans 6:12-13 (ESV)  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

Romans 8:13 (ESV)  For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

1 Peter 2:11 (NIV)  Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.

soul - ψυχῆς (psuché, psychēs) - Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 5590: From psucho; breath, i.e. spirit, abstractly or concretely.

“'Soul' stands here, as in chap. 1 Peter 1:9, for the higher element of man’s nature which, in the more elaborate threefold division of man’s nature, adopted by St Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and elsewhere, includes both 'soul and spirit.'" - Cambridge Bible for Scholars and Colleges

"St. Peter uses the word 'soul' here for the whole spiritual nature of man, as in 1 Peter 1:9, 22." - Pulpit Commentary

"Keep you safe" means that God's wisdom is like a bodyguard. As you walk in life, you have an escort, to keep you out of trouble, trouble that brings harm. We can have the peace of God within and the help of God without. If we obey God's wisdom, we will not stumble over those stumbling-blocks, trials, and temptations that cause us trouble. We also will not stumble over the stumbling-block of Jesus Christ. We have made Him our friend and hold fast to Him so that He is our ever present help. The world stumbles over Jesus Christ as an obstacle on the way to hell. But to Christians, He is our foundational Stone!

Isaiah 8:14 He will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall

Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone

1 Corinthians 1:23 (NIV)  but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles

1 Peter 2:7-8 (BSB)  To you who believe, then, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the message— and to this they were appointed.

To persistently reject the Savior is to court judgment and to be smashed. The Rock of our Salvation for Christians is but an immovable stumbling block for those who reject Him. He is in the way and stubbing one's toe on Him leads to stumbling over Him which leads to bashing one's head against Jesus which leads to being crushed by the Rock. He is the Chief Cornerstone, our foundation, to those who accept Him. But He is a stumbling-block to those who reject Him.

Godly wisdom helps us to sleep soundly and well, to get true rest. We know the One who never rests but always looks over us. You may understand better when you think of how much better you sleep when consciously and subconsciously you know someone is awake and therefore able to warn you and protect you if something comes up. I always slept well when Mom and Dad were home. I always sleep better when Stan's home. I sleep better when I have my dogs as I know they would give the alarm. But all these are temporary and ineffective securities. My husband would try to protect me but he can't protect me against an airplane falling out of the sky and crashing into our house and killing me. He cannot do everything and he cannot be everywhere or have the power to always protect me. But God can!!! Thank You God for always being with me and having the wisdom and power to protect me! Why can't I trust in Him for my security and sleep well?!? Why should I ever be afraid? (I am and I really struggle with fear, but WHY?!?) No one can protect me and be with me like He can.

Psalm 46:1-3  1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I should meditate on these scriptures and learn to trust and sleep well at night. I'm His child! How dare I fear mere man when my Father is God and He is ever with me and ever watching after me! God forgive me for fear!

I can also sleep better because I don't have a guilty conscience. I don't have evil schemes going around in my head. I don't struggle against God. To follow godly wisdom leads to an inner peace between the 3 parts of my being, as well as, peace with God.

I will not be afraid of the disasters and desolation that befalls the unsaved! I am saved through Jesus Christ and safe in Him. He is my ark of safety when it comes time for judgment to fall on the unsaved. I have no need to be afraid of God's judgment because I have accepted Jesus Christ and He is my Savior. I am safe in Jesus when judgment hits! If I die before the End Time when God lets judgment fall on this world, I am safely with Jesus in Paradise. If I'm alive when the End Time comes, Jesus comes to rescue me out of it in the Rapture. I will not experience God's judgment. I will not go to Hell or the Lake of Fire. Jesus rescued me and I accepted Him as my Savior so I don't have to fear the disaster and desolation that the unsaved fear.

I also don't have to fear disasters that happen here on earth. As a child of God, He is ever watching over me. If it's not my time (according to His wisdom) to die, He will save me out of any threatening circumstances. If it is my time to die (according to His wisdom), then I will go to be with Jesus in Paradise! My fate is in God's hands and His love will not allow me to suffer anything that He cannot get me through safely. I don't mean I won't ever get hurt or sick or be persecuted. I mean, whatever I face, God has allowed it and will work it to my good, or He will bring me home to be with Him forever. He is ever vigilant and ever working all things to my good. Whatever I face, He is in it with me and will take care of me and work His purposes out.

If a tornado is imminent, as a Christian, should I be afraid? God will either steer it away from my home, or He will be with me in the midst of the tornado. He will supernaturally aid me, one way or the other. So why do I fret and worry? I shouldn't! God forgive me for fear because it's, in essence, saying I think God can't, or won't, take care of me. Fear is a poor reflector of my God. How dare I let my fear show to others as it makes them think God is not powerful enough, faithful and loving enough to take care of me. My fears reflects Him in a negative light to those around me. God forgive me! Fear is sinful!

I will not be caught in a trap! Other translations say I will not have to fear the attacks of ungodly men on me. Have you ever had someone plan to hurt you, to try and set a trap for you?

But, God is with us and no matter what someone plots and plans to do to us, they have to contend with Him! It will backfire on them.

Psalm 141:8-10 (NIV)  8 But my eyes are fixed on You, O GOD the Lord.
In You I seek refuge;
do not leave my soul defenseless.
9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,
and from the lures of evildoers.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by in safety.

Psalm 140:1-10 (NLT)  1 O LORD, rescue me from evil people.
Protect me from those who are violent,
2 those who plot evil in their hearts
and stir up trouble all day long.
3 Their tongues sting like a snake;
the venom of a viper drips from their lips.

4 O LORD, keep me out of the hands of the wicked.
Protect me from those who are violent,
for they are plotting against me.
5 The proud have set a trap to catch me;
they have stretched out a net;
they have placed traps all along the way.

6 I said to the LORD, “You are my God!”
Listen, O LORD, to my cries for mercy!
7 O Sovereign LORD, the strong one who rescued me,
you protected me on the day of battle.
8 LORD, do not let evil people have their way.
Do not let their evil schemes succeed,
or they will become proud.

9 Let my enemies be destroyed
by the very evil they have planned for me.
10 Let burning coals fall down on their heads.
Let them be thrown into the fire
or into watery pits from which they can’t escape.

In Psalm 140, the writer is writing a prayer. He is dialoguing with God about people who have planned to do evil against him. Our security is in the Lord. He is the one who will take care of us. It is never truly a trap to destroy us if we are His children! What can mere man do to the children of God? Our God knows the whole story, and knows the truth about a matter and He loves us with a tender care. He will use all things to our good and we ultimately end in Heaven, vindicated and rewarded if we keep our own hands clean and our own hearts pure.

What about someone who is imprisoned for being a Christian and tortured or even martyred? Does God not love them? Why hasn't God rescued them? I don't know because I'm not God. I do know that God sees them where they are, knows everything about what is going on, loves them unconditionally and has prepared a place for them in Heaven. But God also has purposes to accomplish in the life of the one being persecuted, as well as, others affected by the situation. If I'm to be used to accomplish God's grander purpose, then I will one day see it and say, "It was worth it!" And my reward will be even greater because God was able to use me for His purpose. Think about it. Our time on this earth is so short and small compared to eternity!!!! And I truly believe God will supernaturally aid us in the moment of our need. I can't imagine how now. But if I were being led to a torture chamber suddenly a miracle will occur and I will be aided supernaturally to endure what God calls me to endure. He would not let something happen to me that He wouldn't send the help and strength to enable me. For whimpy little me, it would have to be a big miracle but He would do the miracle so that I can walk through the fire.

Remember the biblical story about Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego? They refused to worship an idol and the king had them thrown into a fiery furnace to burn them alive. In fact, the Bible says the furnace was so hot that the men who had to throw the 3 godly young men into were burned alive! The king was there watching it and suddenly he sees the 3 godly men walking in the fire with a 4th person (God). He called them out of the furnace and saw they were not only unharmed but nothing on them was singed or smelled of smoke!!! The king learned that their God was the one true God.

Daniel 3 (NLT, parenthesis mine)  1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon...5 "When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. 6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
7 So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up... (Accusers told the king) 12 "But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.”... 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him... 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.
19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.
24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”
“Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.
25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.

So our security is the Lord God Almighty against whom none can prevail! We have God on our side!

Psalm 56:8-11 (NLT)  8 You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
9 My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
This I know: God is on my side!
10 I praise God for what he has promised;
yes, I praise the LORD for what he has promised.
11 I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?

  • Have you allowed the Word of God to "richly indwell within you"? How can you work towards that?
  • Can you think of a time where you ignored godly wisdom and did something that caused such turmoil in your life that you regretted it? Have you asked God's forgiveness for it? Have you released it to Him to allow Him to turn it into something good in your life?
  • Can you think of a time where you obeyed godly wisdom and it gave you peace and a clean conscience? Wasn't it worth it?
  • Did you gain a new understanding about what it means to be a 3 part being? Did you realize that being born again meant your spirit is born, completing you as the 3 part being God initially designed? Did you realize that's what God meant when He said we were "made in His image"?
  • Can you think of ways to strengthen your spirit and to weaken the demands of the flesh? It's not just about giving up something but about starving the flesh to feed the spirit. Lent was supposed to be an annual way to give up something in order to focus on the spirit and gaining spiritual strength from time with God. Maybe it's to fast something or to take time away from your normal routine or whatever God calls you to do. But it's not just giving up something. It's to direct the focus on your relationship with God. It's not about how long you can crawl until your knees are bloody in an attempt to get a blessing from God (some "pilgrims" believe in doing extreme things for blessing). It's getting on your knees in a submissive state and connecting with the Father to gain sustenance and nourishment for your spirit. It shouldn't be a big show and certainly not done as an exercise to make God owe you one. "Hey, I did all this for you, God, you owe me big time. Pay up with a blessing." We can never do enough to pay God back for what He's done for us or to manipulate Him to do something we want! So our focus is to develop a love relationship with God. Have you felt God calling you to do something in order to focus on Him?
  • Do you see Jesus Christ as a stumbling-block that gets in your way? Or as your chief cornerstone, the foundation of your relationship with God?
  • Do you sleep well at night? Or do things worry you, and your mind goes round and round? What does that say about your relationship with God and your ability to trust Him? What can you do in the middle of the night when your mind won't turn off and you find yourself worrying?
  • Do you struggle with fear? Can you see how fear can be sinful? Everyone experiences fear, God understands that. But what do you do with it when it happens is what is important. Do you fall into sin and wallow in it,get miserable and fearful, or do you fight it with the right tools? What are the right tools?
  • Do you fear what will happen to you when you die? Do you have the peace that you will go to God or do you fear you will go to hell? You can remove that fear by accepting Jesus as your Savior! You can settle that question and then trust that Jesus has made your eternity secure.
  • Have you ever felt trapped? If you are a Christian and God has allowed a "trap" then He has a purpose for it and you can cooperate with His purpose for eternal rewards. God is also perfectly capable of preventing the trap or in springing you from the trap like He did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. If you are a child of God but you are feeling trapped, or wrongfully accused, how should you react? What would Jesus do? Are you struggling against something God has allowed in your life for His purpose? Or are you cooperating with Him? The one is constant frustration, anger and bitterness. The other is laying down your expectations and submitting to God's will and receiving His aid and eternal rewards. Once you give up the struggle, you can have a peace and contentment even in the middle of a "trap".

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Comment on Seditious Jews Orchestrating Trump Impeachment Lynching by DAVID SINGER

Joe Clearly you need to take some more Jew-medicine to purge yourself. Did you know that since US giant Medtronic began marketing the AI brain scan analysis system invented by Jews - it has been installed in 300 US hospitals? Maybe you could do with such a brain scan analysis to help you conquer your Jew-paranoia. Just pretend it was not invented by Jews if you want to. If this doesn't work - I will make some other suggestions. Jews are making the most amazing discoveries and you want to wipe them off the face of the earth?

Comment on Seditious Jews Orchestrating Trump Impeachment Lynching by Joe Cooper

And don't even have the gall to sugarcoat Israel and promote their inventions when they murder Palestinians at will and make life a living hell for the ones they don't. Start having some accountability for once and stop living in your jew fantasy world, OKAAAAY??

Comment on Seditious Jews Orchestrating Trump Impeachment Lynching by Joe Cooper

You're getting a good education in truth, even though you call it hate, you keep coming back for more, so here it is. SOMETHING ELSE WE KNOW, is that your jew controlled media has been LYING to us all our lives about most everything, ESPECIALLY our history in particular regarding the World Wars and an important and virtually hidden part, the JEWISH financed and led Bolshevik Revolution that took over Russia starting in 1917 with the savage murder of the Tsar and his family, and establishment of the Red Terror which genocided upward of 60 million white Christian Russians in the most horrible evil ways. That's HATE you misguided weasel, you need to repent of your LYING WAYS!! Your G-d you keep referring to is Satan, and even he isn't going to save you in the end.

Comment on Seditious Jews Orchestrating Trump Impeachment Lynching by DAVID SINGER

Joe: To help you try and get over your Jew-hatred - might I draw the following to your attention: While you are celebrating thanksgiving, many millions globally can be thankful for the Israeli innovations and activities announced during the past week. They include medical treatments and diagnoses for cancer, Alzheimer's, aneurysms and strokes. They include life-saving aid to Albania and Chad, increasing food supplies, combating bacteria infections and turning trash into building materials. A sonic water device that allows deaf children and adults to enjoy feeling music was demonstrated at Jerusalem's Zero One digital arts festival. Hope this helps to purge your Jew-hatred and start thinking positive thoughts.

Comment on Seditious Jews Orchestrating Trump Impeachment Lynching by DAVID SINGER

Joe You certainly are in good company with those reviled Jew-haters of the past. Thank G-d there do not appear to be too many of them now. So far only three of you have crawled out from under your rocks. Even Ric and Doc seem to be having another thought. Have they abandoned you too? Are you too extreme even for them? Yes please go on ... your life must be a misery wallowing in such hate. Seems as though it is completely consuming you. Spewing out your hate till you run out of words could prove cathartic.

Comment on Seditious Jews Orchestrating Trump Impeachment Lynching by Joe Cooper

Something else we also know, is there is an inherent pathological paranoia and victim mentality in your tribal DNA, and you're a prime example exhibiting it here. And bizarrely, you keep mentioning hate, as all your tribesman do, when you are faced with truth, truth means hate to you, very weird. And this line: "The history of the persecution and slaughter of Jews had been going on for thousands of years long before the Holocaust..." is just plain insanity, I mean really Singer, listen to yourself. It's a classic example of another weird Jewish psychological derangement called "projection", blaming others of what you're really GUILTY OF YOURSELVES!! For thousands of years jews have been swindling others and slaughtering children in ritual blood sacrifice, that's why you've been kicked out of different countries 109 times, shall I go on??

Comment on Seditious Jews Orchestrating Trump Impeachment Lynching by DAVID SINGER

Joe Jew-hatred is certainly in my DNA Joe. The history of the persecution and slaughter of Jews had been going on for thousands of years long before the Holocaust - precisely because of the virulent hatred you have amply demonstrated towards every Jew in your despicable comments. You are not a hoax Joe - but a real living example of someone totally consumed by an irrational hatred of every Jew on this planet. I wonder why Ric and Doc remain silent. Could it be that even they don't agree with your claim that the gas chambers never existed and no Jews were murdered in them?

Comment on Seditious Jews Orchestrating Trump Impeachment Lynching by Joe Cooper

We also know your 6 million number is a kabbalistic religious talisman, the magic number of jews that need to be sacrificed in a burnt offering (holocaust) before your saviour will come, and had been pleaded many times in your jew controlled media going back to the late 1800's, so with Hitler, you found the opportunity to apply it. The gas chamber hoax was one of the, if not the biggest frauds in history, the flimsy wooden doors, a chimney which was added after the war by Stalin, the lack of chemical evidence of poison gas on the chamber walls, are some of the many facts that blow the official story to smithereens. It's time to lose the lies David, but I know you can't, it's in your DNA. As Jesus said, your Father is the Father of lies.

Seattleite, 92, finally tells story of German who saved more Jews during the Holocaust than Schindler


It's been quite a year for Laureen Nussbaum, who wrote a book about a German lawyer who saved her family and thousands of others during the Holocaust. Now, she said, she is troubled by a rise in anti-Semitism and white nationalism.

2019 "Arab Youth Survey" "Arabs dislike Americans and Persians the most." (Jewish Hoax)

according to the "Arab Youth Survey" of 2019 Americans and Iranians are the most unpopular Nations,Governments and people within the Arab World. the Arabs accuse both Americans and Persians for "Imperialism in their Nations" according the survey {{file|t=sIFXY_1575204227}} {{file|t=uDnaT_1575204309}} US President Donald Trump and Irans Supreme leader Khamenei are the most "Disliked" politicians in the Arab World according the survey. now lets have a look who is behind "Arab Youth Survey" and why Israel is missing in the list. "Arab Youth Survey" is the sister organisation of the american company called PSB Research {{file|t=9ZCp4_1575204897}} which was founded by the Jewish Fox News Host and outspoken Zionist Douglas Schoen {{file|t=kca2m_1575205153}} The so called Jewish owned "Arab Youth Survey" is influencing the Arab and Western Media with fake surveys that potray USA and Iran as the "Biggest enemies of the Arabs" and "Donald Trump and Irans Supreme Leader as the most hated figures". Why are those "American" Jews trying to make Arabs hate Americans and Persians (Iran) ? Simple Answer: Shift the Arab hate on Jews towards Americans and Persians.

Gentiles and Jews interrupt each other over booze


This week, we welcome, for the second time, Stephanie Butnick and Liel Leibovitz, two-thirds of the Jewish podcast, “Unorthodox.” They just published an amazing new book, The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia: From Abraham to Zabar’s and Everything in Between.

We talk to them about Jewdar, Chinese food and Christmas, Drake, Thanksgivuhkuh and other fascinating entries in the book!

In Signs of the Times, Pope Francis urges us to ask: “Do I, a Christian, have at least one poor person as a friend?” And he considers updating the Catechism to include “ecological sins.” In our third and last story, we discuss a new study from the Pew Research Center that analyzes how American adults feel about the relationship between religion and politics.

Feel free to send us your questions, concerns, cocktail recipes or join us for discussion on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You can help other listeners find the show by leaving us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts!

If you’re not doing so already, please consider supporting us on Patreon, where we have started a newsletter exclusively for Patrons! Stay tuned for things like .gifs from Ashley, advice requests from Zac or book recommendations from Olga.

Thank you to those already supporting us. We would not be able to do this without you.

P.S. America Media will be launching a new podcast next month called “Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church,” hosted by our national correspondent, Michael O’Loughlin. The first episode premieres on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day. Please visit the show’s page or wherever you listen to podcasts and listen to the trailer and subscribe.

Links from the show:

Pope Francis calls on Christians to remember the poor, ‘the treasure of the church’
Pope Francis: Catechism will be updated to define ecological sins
Americans Have Positive Views About Religion’s Role in Society, but Want It Out of Politics

What’s on tap? 

Stephanie and Liel brought us Arak, “a delightfully alcoholic beverage made of grapes and aniseed.”


November 12: 2 Kings 25; Hebrews 7; Psalm 144; Amos 1


With family: 2 Kings 25; Hebrews 7

2 Kings 25 (Listen)

Fall and Captivity of Judah

25 And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem and laid siege to it. And they built siegeworks all around it. So the city was besieged till the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then a breach was made in the city, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, by the king's garden, and the Chaldeans were around the city. And they went in the direction of the Arabah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho, and all his army was scattered from him. Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and they passed sentence on him. They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains and took him to Babylon.

In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month—that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan, the captain of the bodyguard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. And he burned the house of the LORD and the king's house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. 10 And all the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 And the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon, together with the rest of the multitude, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile. 12 But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowmen.

13 And the pillars of bronze that were in the house of the LORD, and the stands and the bronze sea that were in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans broke in pieces and carried the bronze to Babylon. 14 And they took away the pots and the shovels and the snuffers and the dishes for incense and all the vessels of bronze used in the temple service, 15 the fire pans also and the bowls. What was of gold the captain of the guard took away as gold, and what was of silver, as silver. 16 As for the two pillars, the one sea, and the stands that Solomon had made for the house of the LORD, the bronze of all these vessels was beyond weight. 17 The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits,1 and on it was a capital of bronze. The height of the capital was three cubits. A latticework and pomegranates, all of bronze, were all around the capital. And the second pillar had the same, with the latticework.

18 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest and Zephaniah the second priest and the three keepers of the threshold; 19 and from the city he took an officer who had been in command of the men of war, and five men of the king's council who were found in the city; and the secretary of the commander of the army, who mustered the people of the land; and sixty men of the people of the land, who were found in the city. 20 And Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 And the king of Babylon struck them down and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was taken into exile out of its land.

Gedaliah Made Governor of Judah

22 And over the people who remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, he appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, governor. 23 Now when all the captains and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah governor, they came with their men to Gedaliah at Mizpah, namely, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of the Maacathite. 24 And Gedaliah swore to them and their men, saying, “Do not be afraid because of the Chaldean officials. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you.” 25 But in the seventh month, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, of the royal family, came with ten men and struck down Gedaliah and put him to death along with the Jews and the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. 26 Then all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the forces arose and went to Egypt, for they were afraid of the Chaldeans.

Jehoiachin Released from Prison

27 And in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, graciously freed2 Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. 28 And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat above the seats of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin put off his prison garments. And every day of his life he dined regularly at the king's table, 30 and for his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, according to his daily needs, as long as he lived.


[1] 25:17 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
[2] 25:27 Hebrew reign, lifted up the head of


Hebrews 7 (Listen)

The Priestly Order of Melchizedek

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.

See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers,1 though these also are descended from Abraham. But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.

Jesus Compared to Melchizedek

11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of him,

  “You are a priest forever,
    after the order of Melchizedek.”

18 For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:

  “The Lord has sworn
    and will not change his mind,
  ‘You are a priest forever.’”

22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost2 those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.


[1] 7:5 Or brothers and sisters
[2] 7:25 That is, completely; or at all times


In private: Psalm 144; Amos 1

Psalm 144 (Listen)

My Rock and My Fortress

Of David.

144   Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    and my fingers for battle;
  he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
  my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
    who subdues peoples1 under me.
  O LORD, what is man that you regard him,
    or the son of man that you think of him?
  Man is like a breath;
    his days are like a passing shadow.
  Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down!
    Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
  Flash forth the lightning and scatter them;
    send out your arrows and rout them!
  Stretch out your hand from on high;
    rescue me and deliver me from the many waters,
    from the hand of foreigners,
  whose mouths speak lies
    and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
  I will sing a new song to you, O God;
    upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
10   who gives victory to kings,
    who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword.
11   Rescue me and deliver me
    from the hand of foreigners,
  whose mouths speak lies
    and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
12   May our sons in their youth
    be like plants full grown,
  our daughters like corner pillars
    cut for the structure of a palace;
13   may our granaries be full,
    providing all kinds of produce;
  may our sheep bring forth thousands
    and ten thousands in our fields;
14   may our cattle be heavy with young,
    suffering no mishap or failure in bearing;2
  may there be no cry of distress in our streets!
15   Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall!
    Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!


[1] 144:2 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Dead Sea Scroll, Jerome, Syriac, Aquila; most Hebrew manuscripts subdues my people
[2] 144:14 Hebrew with no breaking in or going out


Amos 1 (Listen)

The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds1 of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years2 before the earthquake.

Judgment on Israel's Neighbors

And he said:

  “The LORD roars from Zion
    and utters his voice from Jerusalem;
  the pastures of the shepherds mourn,
    and the top of Carmel withers.”

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Damascus,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,3
  because they have threshed Gilead
    with threshing sledges of iron.
  So I will send a fire upon the house of Hazael,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.
  I will break the gate-bar of Damascus,
    and cut off the inhabitants from the Valley of Aven,4
  and him who holds the scepter from Beth-eden;
    and the people of Syria shall go into exile to Kir,”
      says the LORD.

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Gaza,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they carried into exile a whole people
    to deliver them up to Edom.
  So I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza,
    and it shall devour her strongholds.
  I will cut off the inhabitants from Ashdod,
    and him who holds the scepter from Ashkelon;
  I will turn my hand against Ekron,
    and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,”
      says the Lord GOD.

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Tyre,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they delivered up a whole people to Edom,
    and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.
10   So I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre,
    and it shall devour her strongholds.”

11 Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Edom,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because he pursued his brother with the sword
    and cast off all pity,
  and his anger tore perpetually,
    and he kept his wrath forever.
12   So I will send a fire upon Teman,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Bozrah.”

13 Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of the Ammonites,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead,
    that they might enlarge their border.
14   So I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah,
    and it shall devour her strongholds,
  with shouting on the day of battle,
    with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind;
15   and their king shall go into exile,
    he and his princes5 together,”
      says the LORD.


[1] 1:1 Or sheep breeders
[2] 1:1 Or during two years
[3] 1:3 Hebrew I will not turn it back; also verses 6, 9, 11, 13
[4] 1:5 Or On
[5] 1:15 Or officials



Former Nazi Prison Guard On Trial For 5,230 Murders At Concentration Camp In P...

In what could be the very last case of its kind, a former Nazi prison guard has begun trial on charges that he was an accessory to 5,230 murders at a German concentration camp in Poland during World War II. Bruno Dey, 93, has claimed he had no idea Jews were being murdered in the Stutthof camp near what s now Gdansk, where he began working in 1944. But he admitted at trial that he saw Jews taken into gas chambers at the camp, heard their screams and watched the frantic rattling of locked steel d ...

Seattleite, 92, finally tells story of German who saved more Jews during the Holocaust than Schindler


It's been quite a year for Laureen Nussbaum, who wrote a book about a German lawyer who saved her family and thousands of others during the Holocaust. Now, she said, she is troubled by a rise in anti-Semitism and white nationalism.

How Europe Was Conquered By World War Two.

       There is a vocal of this post on BitChute                     JUDEA DECLARES WAR ON GERMANY. Jews Of All The World Unite In Action Against Germany.  These are excerpts from various Newspapers as it was announced that the Jews had declared war against […]

4 Ways Leaders Can Overcome the Spirit of Fear


Fears hold us back from God's best for our lives. As a leader, fear hinders your engagement of God's mission for your ministry and your church.

When you overcome your fear, your deeper dependence on God advances your personal growth and leadership.

Next month, most of us will be teaching on the Christmas account in the Bible. Fear and overcoming fear are key parts of the narrative. Four times God tells different people in the Christmas story to "fear not." Today, we know that the Christmas story is Good News—God became flesh in order to save us from our sins. But for those who experienced the Christmas story firsthand, the news scared them to death.

When you read through the Christmas account, you'll find that the characters faced five of the most common fears in existence. You'll recognize the fears because we frequently face them in ministry, too.

—The fear of inadequacy (Mary). Mary was a young peasant girl planning to get married. But an angel interrupted her plan by telling her that she was pregnant with the Son of God. It shouldn't surprise us she felt inadequate.

The fear of disapproval (Joseph). In Matthew 1:18-20, the angel told Joseph to not be afraid and to take Mary home as his wife. You can imagine the ridicule and shame Joseph expected to face at home if his fiancée was pregnant.

The fear of unexpected change (the shepherds). Put yourself in the shoes of the shepherds. They're out lying on the grass and tending their flock of sheep. It's all quiet. Suddenly, the sky lights up. A huge choir of extraterrestrial beings starts singing loudly. You'd be scared, right? The shepherds were. Their plans for a quiet evening were interrupted.

The fear of losing control (Herod). The Jews didn't like Herod—he ruled with a heavy hand because he was paranoid of getting overthrown. His insecurities caused him to lash out when he heard a new "King of the Jews" had been born.

The fear of being disappointed (Zechariah). Zechariah and Elizabeth had prayed for years and years to have a baby, but it hadn't happened. They had one setback after another. When Zechariah found out Elizabeth was pregnant, his first instinct was disbelief. He was afraid to get his hopes up.

All of these fears are incredibly common for pastors to face. I've seen each of them disrupt thriving ministries. If you're facing any of these fears, it doesn't mean there's something defective about you or your ministry. These fears are common; they show that you're human. You will face fears. No seminary degree can prepare you to face them, and no sermon will inoculate you from them.

So, what do you do with your fears?

1. Surrender yourself to God. Job 11:13-15 (CEV) says, "Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins—even those you do in secret. Then you won't be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless." Before you get up each morning, start your day with this prayer: "Father, I surrender this day to you. I surrender my past, my present and my future." Let God fill you with hope and empty you of worry.

2. Stop listening to the voices of fear. They are all around you. You'll hear them in your church, in the media and in the coffee shops. Fearful voices are everywhere. If you hang around fearful people, you will become fearful. Turn those voices off.

3. Fill your mind with music that praises God. The Bible teaches over and over that praise is the antidote to panic. You lose your fear when God is near. Mary practiced this principle in the Christmas story. When she was afraid, she wrote a song (see Luke 1:46-55).

4. Base your hope on the promises of God. Hope can't be based on what you think. It's based on what God promises. David wrote, "In the day when I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God whose word I praise, in God I have trusted; I will not fear" (Ps. 56:3-4, MEV). Memorize the promises of God and lean on them when you're afraid.

I don't know which fear is holding your ministry back. Maybe it's one of the five mentioned above. Maybe it's something else. But I do believe that if you take these four courageous steps, you can move past your fears and step into faith.

When you surrender to God, listen to His voice, praise Him and base your hope on His promises, your fears will become stepping stones to what God wants to do through your ministry. {eoa}

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church, one of America's largest and most influential churches. He is the author of the New York Times' bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book The Purpose Driven Church was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. Pastor Rick started The PEACE Plan to show the local church how God works through ordinary people to address the five global giants of spiritual emptiness, self-serving leadership, poverty, disease and illiteracy. You can listen to Daily Hope, Pastor Rick's daily 25-minute audio teaching, or sign up for his free daily devotionals at He is also the founder of, a global online community created to encourage pastors.

For the original article, visit


Mr. Klein, Dec 4

You know something’s happening, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Klein? Played with manicured indifference by Alain Delon, Klein is a dispassionate art dealer profiting from the desperation of Jews fleeing occupied France in the early forties. When he learns that the Nazi authorities suspect him of being a Jew, he seeks out the identity of a shadowy double, another Mr. Klein, living somewhere in Paris. Peril seems to mount as Klein pursues his alter ego through a metropolis infested with ominous coincidence. Under the guise of a chilling political thriller, Joseph Losey’s first French production moves forward with great moral intent. The mystery of Klein’s identity, whether he be Jew or Christian, is of little consequence beside the weightier question of his apathy in the face of war’s horrors. Complacency was not a trait Losey could bear. As the victims of the regime accumulate in Mr. Klein, we, the viewers, must assess our own role as citizens kept in the dark.

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'American Jewry needs to connect to Europe diaspora's plight'

Josh Nass: 'We as Americans don't necessarily relate to the plight of European Jews as much as we should.'


Comment on Jewish Senator Introduces Law To Imprison Americans For Criticizing Israel by ron abbass

Hi Donzeli - thanks for commenting, most appreciated. The bill is intended to silence those who are against the evil, wickedness and lawlessness of the Zionist state and those Jews and non-Jews who support them i.e. Christian Zionists. Peace to you and yours, Donzeli.


Germany is to tighten its laws against anti-semitic hate crimes in the wake of last month’s failed attack on a synagogue by a far-right gunman. “I am ashamed that Jews no longer feel safe in Germany and that so many are even thinking of leaving the...

Hate crimes in London on rise as Rabbi assaulted in city

The security group Shomrim said Monday that the rabbi was left #39;bleeding and dazed #39; after an assault by men who shouted #39;Kill the Jews #39; and other taunts.

University Removes Professor For Assigning Question On Whether Holocaust Happened

The assignment on double negatives asked: “Does it seem possible or impossible to you that the Nazi extermination of the Jews never happened?”

Greg Laurie: What Many Christians Don't Realize About the Deadly Consequences of Sin


Abu Zarin Hussin from Malaysia was known as the snake whisperer. The 33-year-old firefighter had great skills in handling venomous snakes, specifically cobras. He was featured on the TV program Asia's Got Talent. But one day, a snake he was working with bit him. He died three days later.

Just as it's a bad idea to mess around with poisonous snakes, it's also a bad idea to mess around with sin. Yet some people think: "I can handle this. I know this has been the downfall of many, but it will never be my downfall. I can control this vice. I can keep a handle on this issue."

Then one day it gets control of their lives.

We will reap what we sow. Just as surely as there are laws of thermodynamics and the law of gravity, there is the law of sowing and reaping.

Here's what the Bible says: "Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life" (Gal. 6:7-8).

We see this law played out in the story of Haman from the Old Testament book of Esther. Haman had hatched a plot to exterminate Mordecai and the Jews. This was a blood feud that went back a long way, because Haman was an Agagite. That means he was a descendant of King Agag, an avowed enemy of Israel.

God had directed King Saul to destroy King Agag, but Saul disobeyed. So here in the book of Esther, we find one of King Agag's descendants devising a plan to destroy the Jewish people.

The problem was that Haman had been elevated to the second-most powerful position in the kingdom. So he went to King Xerxes and convinced him to sign a decree that all the Jewish people throughout the kingdom of Persia would be put to death in one year.

Mordecai found out about it, and there was only one person who could help: his cousin Esther, who happened to be the queen. Her husband didn't know she was Jewish, because Mordecai instructed her to keep it a secret.

In a message to Esther, Mordecai said: "Do not think that in the king's palace you will be more likely to escape than all the other Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, protection and deliverance for the Jews will be ordained from some other place, but you and your father's house shall be destroyed. And who knows if you may have attained royal position for such a time as this?" (Esth. 4:13-14).

Although the name of God is never mentioned specifically in the book of Esther, the hand of God is evident on every single page. He was working through events, and there was a lot of reaping of what had been sowed. God is always present and at work in our lives as Christians, whether we feel Him or not. He was at work in the life of Esther, He was at work in the life of Mordecai and He was at work in the lives of the Jewish people. And He worked through ordinary human events. God takes impossible situations and turns them around for His glory.

In the end, Haman reaped what he sowed. In fact, he hung on the very gallows he had set up for Mordecai.

We tend to think of the law of sowing and reaping in a negative sense. But the law of sowing and reaping is both negative and positive. While Haman reaped the repercussions of his own treachery, deceitfulness, envy and hatred, Mordecai reaped the rewards of his faithfulness, honesty and integrity.

As life goes by, you realize that it's a good decision to obey God. Here's my advice: Do what God tells you to do. In life, follow the Word of God, the Bible.

There will be times when that isn't difficult to do. And there will be times when it is. There will be times when it's very difficult to make a stand for Christ and very hard to hold your ground. But do what is right before God.

I know there are people who seem to get ahead in life when they're dishonest and cut corners. They still get the promotion and the attention. Meanwhile, you labor away faithfully and quietly, and no one seems to notice. It all will come out in the end, because everyone will reap what they sow.

As you look back on your life, you'll find some who pursued fun while you pursued faith. Some pursued sexual pleasure while you pursued sexual purity. Some pursued this world while you pursued the next one. And while they reap corruption, or death, you're reaping life. While others feel used, you feel new. So, sow to the Spirit. Put God first in all things. Don't play around with sin, or sin will play around with you. There are no exceptions.

Every day, from the moment you get up to the time you go to bed, you're either sowing to the Spirit or sowing to the flesh. And you'll find that you reap what you sow.

It starts with your thoughts and what you let into your mind—what you contemplate. Fill your mind with the things of God. Sow to the Spirit, and you won't regret it.

Essentially it comes down to this: Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. {eoa}

Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship with campuses in California and Hawaii. He began his pastoral ministry at the age of 19 by leading a Bible study of 30 people. Since then, God has transformed that small group into a church of some 15,000 people. Today, Harvest is one of the largest churches in America, and consistently ranks among the most influential churches in the country. As of 2017, Harvest has joined in affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention.

For the original article, visit


Trump Got His Wall, After All


IN THE TWO YEARS AND 308 DAYS THAT DONALD Trump has been president, he has constructed zero miles of wall along the southern border of the United States. He has, to be fair, replaced or reinforced 76 miles of existing fence and signed it with a sharpie. A private group has also built a barrier less than a mile long with some help from Steve Bannon and money raised on GoFundMe. But along the 2,000 miles from Texas to California, there is no blockade of unscalable steel slats in heat-retaining matte black, no electrified spikes, no moat and no crocodiles. The animating force of Trump’s entire presidency—the idea that radiated a warning of dangerous bigotry to his opponents and a promise of unapologetic nativism to his supporters—will never be built in the way he imagined.

And it doesn’t matter. In the two years and 308 days that Donald Trump has been president, his administration has constructed far more effective barriers to immigration. No new laws have actually been passed. This transformation has mostly come about through subtle administrative shifts—a phrase that vanishes from an internal manual, a form that gets longer, an unannounced revision to a website, a memo, a footnote in a memo. Among immigration lawyers, the cumulative effect of these procedural changes is known as the invisible wall.

In the two years after Trump took office, denials for H1Bs, the most common form of visa for skilled workers, more than doubled. In the same period, wait times for citizenship also doubled, while average processing times for all kinds of visas jumped by 46 percent, even as the quantity of applications went down. In 2018, the United States added just 200,000 immigrants to the population, a startling 70 percent less than the year before.

Before Trump was elected, there was virtually no support within either party for policies that make it harder for foreigners to come here legally. For decades, the Republican consensus has favored tough border security along with high levels of legal immigration. The party’s small restrictionist wing protested from the margins, but it was no match for a pro-immigration coalition encompassing business interests, unions and minority groups. In 2013, then-Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions introduced an amendment that would have lowered the number of people who qualified for green cards and work visas. It got a single vote in committee—his own. As a former senior official at the Department of Homeland Security observed, “If you told me these guys would be able to change the way the U.S. does immigration in two years, I would have laughed.”


Senior adviser Stephen Miller is usually regarded as the White House’s immigration mastermind, but his maneuvering is only a sliver of the story. The most fine-grained and consequential changes would never have been possible without a group of like-minded figures stationed in relevant parts of the government—particularly the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, the agency within DHS that administers visas. Early in Trump’s presidency, said the former DHS official, there was a “strategic sprinkling” of people who “shared a common vision and were ready to outwork everybody.” They included Gene Hamilton, Miller’s “terrible sword at DHS” (his actual title was senior counselor to the secretary), and Francis Cissna, the soft-spoken former head of USCIS whom colleagues describe as “an encyclopaedia of immigration law” and “a total immigration nerd.” “If you said to him, what’s on page 468, second paragraph” of the Immigration and Nationality Act, another former DHS official marveled, “he would quote it to you.”

Amidst the chaos at DHS, the restrictionists have already radically scaled back America’s asylum and refugee programs for years to come. But no category of immigrant ( 1 ) The major avenues for legal immigration are via family (including marriage), employment and humanitarian programs for refugees and asylum seekers.has escaped the uptick of denials and delays—not the Palestinian student with a Harvard scholarship who was deported upon landing in Boston, or the Australian business owner forced to leave after building a life here. Not the Bolshoi Ballet stars who somehow failed to meet the criteria of accomplished artists, or the Iraqi translators who risked their lives for the U.S. military and whose annual admissions went from 325 to just two after the change in administration. Then there are the consequences that are harder to capture in headlines or statistics: the couples whose marriages broke down when the foreign spouse was forced to wait far longer than usual in their home country, and the unknown number of people who have abandoned the attempt to stay because of financial hardship or the strain of living with a level of uncertainty that becomes untenable.

“What became clear to me early on was that these guys wanted to shut down every avenue to get into the U.S.,” the first former senior DHS official said. “They wanted to reduce the number of people who could get in under any category: illegals, legals, refugees, asylum seekers—everything. And they wanted to reduce the number of foreigners already here through any means possible.” No government in modern memory has been this dedicated to limiting every form of immigration to the United States. To find one that was, you have to go a long way back, to 1924.


“ANATION OF IMMIGRANTS”—THESE FOUR WORDS, ( 2 ) The phrase was popularized by John F. Kennedy, who used it as the title of his 1958 book.genius in their concision, mask the messiest of histories. People like to recall that George Washington wanted America to “be an Asylum to the persecuted of the earth.” Less often praised: Ben Franklin’s contention that immigrants are “the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation.” Americans have been having some version of this argument ever since. And for much of the country’s existence, public opinion towards immigration has ranged from tepid to hostile. As Daniel Tichenor, author of the comprehensive history, “Dividing Lines,” puts it, “We love the immigrant past and dread the immigrant present.”

One rare exception came after the Civil War, when the country was desperate to replace the men who had died on the battlefield. A flourishing postwar confidence revived the idea that the country could absorb a never-ending stream of foreigners and fuse their best characteristics into that superior being, an American.

The turn began in the 1880s. Extremes of wealth had sparked massive labor strikes; out West, people fretted that the land was running out. Now, newcomers were a threat, and the more foreign they seemed, the more threatening they were. An early warning was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the first-ever prohibition of all people of a specific race. Over the next decade, a surge of European migrants accounted for 40 percent of population growth. From the 1890s, this wave was dominated not by English, Scandanavians, Germans or Irish, but by poorer southern and eastern Europeans and Russian Jews. As the country slid into a long depression, the new immigrants became the source and the target of a tinderbox anxiety. There were lynchings of Italians in New Orleans; attacks on Jewish farmers by Mississippi nightriders; a riot against Russian Jewish factory workers in New Jersey.


For decades, nativists in Congress tried and failed to translate this hostility into new immigration laws. It wasn’t until the early 1920s, after Warren Harding was elected president on an “America First” platform, that two Republican lawmakers, Representative Albert Johnson and Senator David Reed, finally realized a restrictionist dream: a comprehensive racial quota system devised to keep American bloodlines pure. “[T]he country would never be the same,” wrote John Higham in his definitive account of American nativism, “Strangers in the Land”—“either in its social structure or in its habits of mind.”

To build the public case for their legislation, Johnson and Reed teamed up with the leading eugenicists of the day. Johnson enlisted Harry Laughlin, who in 1936 received an honorary degree from a German university for his contributions to the “science of racial cleansing,” to conduct research for the House Immigration Committee. Johnson also worked closely with Madison Grant, whose manifesto, “The Passing of the Great Race,” is a deranged codification of white men into three “races” of descending desirability—Nordics, Alpines and Mediterraneans. Grant’s conclusion, drawn from spurious analyses of skull shape and nose width, was that the new immigrants should be scientifically excluded from the definition of whiteness. They were “human flotsam … breeding out their masters and killing by filth and by crowding as effectively as by the sword.”

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Johnson-Reed Act, which accorded with his own belief that that “America must be kept American.” The law would ultimately shut down most immigration except for a meager inflow dominated by people Madison Grant would have called Nordics. Everyone else faced waitlists of 10 to 75 years, depending on the quota allotted to their country of origin. The law also birthed a national immigration bureaucracy—what Tichenor calls “an increasingly elaborate immigration control system of racist design.”

Until this point, nearly everyone who arrived at a port of entry like Ellis Island was admitted to the United States. There was no requirement for a visa. Johnson-Reed was deliberately engineered to prevent most immigrants from ever boarding a steamship, by requiring them to obtain visas from U.S. consulates abroad. The State Department, which ran the consulates, was notoriously anti-Semitic: In 1921, the chief of the Consular Service supplied a report to Congress describing Jewish people as “filthy, un-American, and often dangerous in their habits.” By the 1930s, as Hitler launched his assault on the Jews of Europe, the new visa system was perfectly calibrated not to help the growing ranks of refugees, but to keep them out.

In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered consulates to give Jewish refugees “the most humane and favorable treatment possible under law.” After that, admissions actually went down. Mere presidential preference was no match for the immigration bureaucracy, which erected, in the words of historian David Wyman, a formidable “paper wall.”

The paper wall’s architect was Samuel Miller Breckinridge Long—Breckinridge Long to the public. Thin and rangy, intermittently beset by nervous ailments, Long was born to a family that was practically Confederate aristocracy. He’d glided through Princeton, married into money and spent a good deal of his career as a bureaucrat of middling talents. Thanks to his old pal “Frank” Roosevelt, in 1939 he was put in charge of refugee admissions, though he had no relevant experience. From then on, Roosevelt essentially abdicated refugee policy to Long because he was so spooked by the politics: In 1938, the year of Kristallnacht, 86 percent of Americans opposed an emergency increase of refugee admissions.


From the nativists' perspective, Long was the best possible man for the moment. He believed the overwhelming majority of refugees were propagandists, subversives, freeloaders and derelicts. And he knew exactly how to protect his country from the “alien influx”—with the merciless application of rules, regulations, procedures and forms.

In 1940, Long issued a memo instructing subordinates to avoid granting visas to European refugees for a “temporary period of indefinite length.” From today's vantage point, his methods are eerily familiar. “We could do this by simply advising our consuls to put every obstacle in the way and to require additional evidence and resort to various administrative devices which would postpone and postpone and postpone the granting of the visas,” he explained. Later, he would crow in his diary: “The cables practically stopping immigration went!”

Consular officials had enormous latitude in determining a refugee’s fate. In France, you had to obtain an exit visa, a transit visa, an entry visa for the U.S., moral and political affidavits of support, certificates of good behavior and a paid ticket for the ship. You couldn’t get a visa without a ticket, which were sold out months in advance, and you couldn’t get a ticket without a visa, which were only valid for four months, and if just one of your documents had expired on the day of departure, you had to start all over again.


One of the most powerful tools employed by visa officials was the public charge rule—a component of federal law which states that a person can’t be admitted to the United States if they are likely to become a burden on the state. Although the rule had been on the books since 1882, it was barely observed until the Depression. Under Long, consulates wielded it with abandon. To Jewish refugees of Nazi Germany, the rule must have seemed like a sadistic joke, since throughout the 1930s they had been forced to relinquish up to 90 percent of their capital when they left the country. Even if they were lucky enough to have American financial sponsors, the standards of proof were constantly shifting. As a result, there were multiple years after Hitler seized power in which the U.S. did not fill its annual quota of just under 30,000 immigrants from Germany. In 1938, for example, the State Department admitted 19,552 former residents of the Third Reich, not all of whom were Jewish.

And yet Breckinridge Long wasn’t satisfied. Convinced Germany was infiltrating America with spies disguised as refugees, he created, for the first time, a centralized immigration processing system based in Washington. Applicants submitted letters of support, financial records and character testimonies. Sponsors were scrutinized. Five committees from different agencies reviewed every application. After that, the flow of refugees nearly stopped altogether. In a speech, Representative Emanuel Cellar blamed Long for the “gruesome bottleneck.” He observed: “It takes months and months to grant the visas and then it usually applies to a corpse.”


In January 1944, Treasury Secretary Robert Morgenthau demanded a meeting with Roosevelt and Long to discuss the situation. He came armed with an investigative memo, which he titled “Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of This Government in the Murder of the Jews.” It documented Long’s machinations in devastating detail. Roosevelt immediately agreed to create a War Refugee Board outside Long’s control. Its work during the remainder of the war demonstrated just how many more lives could have been saved: According to Wyman, it managed to rescued around 200,000 people in 18 months.

Long fumed at his demotion, raging to his diary that he had been “thrown to the wolves.” One of his great regrets was that he no longer enjoyed the favor of his old friend Frank. The loss of status gnawed at him. He retired by the end of 1944, and after writing a memoir that failed to find a publisher, mostly concentrated on breeding race horses, which usually lost. To the end of his life, according to his biographer, Neil Rolde, he never acknowledged, or apparently even realized, the magnitude of what he had done.

And yet even after the horrors of the Nazi regime were fully revealed, Johnson-Reed wasn’t overturned for another two decades. The law that replaced it, the Hart-Cellar Act of 1965, is often celebrated as the moment that America opened its doors to the world. At the time, though, its authors had more modest goals. Shamed into action by the civil rights movement, they planned to abolish the racial quotas and create a merit system allowing for limited immigration from outside of Europe.

It was only a last-minute nativist intervention that turned the law into something very different. An antsy Democratic congressman named Michael Feighan secured a provision allowing people to qualify through family ties as well—reasoning that since most immigrants were white, it would protect the racial status quo. “The bill that we sign today is not a revolutionary bill,” President Lyndon Johnson promised. “It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society,” Senator Ted Kennedy agreed.

Instead, the law changed the composition of America by accident. Among other things, Feighan completely failed to consider that people from non-European countries would qualify under the merit system and then sponsor their relatives, the process restrictionists term “chain migration.” ( 3 ) “Congress was saying … 'We need to open the door for some more British doctors, some more German engineers,’” sociologist Stephen Klineberg told NPR. “It never occurred to anyone, literally, that there were going to be African doctors, Indian engineers, Chinese computer programmers who’d be able, for the first time in the 20th century, to immigrate to America.”The foreign-born population grew from 9.6 million in 1965 to 45 million in 2015, with 90 percent of those new arrivals coming from outside Europe—mostly from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The United States became, wrote historian Aristide Zolberg, “the first nation to mirror humanity.” To restrictionists, the 1965 reforms are the original sin, the moment when America betrayed its workers, sacrificed a mythic social cohesion and placed the country’s heritage and its future at mortal risk. And ever since, reversing those reforms has been their overriding goal.


BACK WHEN JEFF SESSIONS WAS A U.S. SENATOR, HE routinely selected a few staffers to join him in his office for a seminar-style discussion of whatever happened to be on his mind that day. Increasingly over the years, the subject was immigration. These conversations could last for hours. Some staffers surreptitiously tried to work on their phones while the senator dialed up an academic or wended his way through an idea as if preparing to argue a case before a jury. But Sessions’ communications director, Stephen Miller, was invigorated by the intellectual exchange. “They kind of fed off each other,” said one regular attendee. Late in the day, Sessions often took Miller along to his hideaway—the unmarked nook each senator has near the chamber. There, Sessions would decant that day’s conversation into a speech written on a legal pad and deliver it on the floor. “I don’t know how many people listened,” a former staffer said.

Miller, though, was paying close attention. He’d been railing against immigrants since his high school days as a minor conservative talk radio celebrity in Santa Monica, but his vitriol tended towards the generic—immigrants shouldn’t speak Spanish; their communities were incubators for terrorism and crime. By contrast, Sessions’ desire to curb immigration was part of a wider set of concerns about Americans who had been shut out of the modern economy, underpinned by a cohesive historical argument. On numerous occasions, he praised Johnson-Reed, ignoring its explicitly racist motivations and painting it simply as an effort by Coolidge to raise wages, as well as the sole engine of America’s postwar prosperity.


Similar historical references were cropping up in Miller’s private emails, too. In a series of messages from 2015 obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Miller pinged Breitbart reporter Katie McHugh with ideas for stories celebrating “the heritage established by Calvin Coolidge” and lamenting the damage done by the 1965 legislation. The culmination of the Miller-Sessions mindmeld was a 25-page primer hand-delivered to every Republican congressional office that year. Written by Miller, it lauded the 1924 reforms for ushering in “a sustained slowdown that allowed wages to rise, assimilation to occur, and the middle class to emerge.” It would become a foundational document for the Trump campaign’s immigration platform.

The day after Trump’s election victory, Gene Hamilton started assembling a team to develop an immigration roadmap for the transition and beyond. Hamliton, then a legal adviser to Sessions in his thirties, relied heavily on staffers for Sessions and Senator Chuck Grassley, whose offices had for years been a lonely beacon for restrictionist groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR; the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA. From the outset, according to “Border Wars,” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear, Hamilton’s small braintrust knew they had to fight on two fronts—against liberal-minded career staffers and mainstream Republican appointees wedded to the status quo.

Hamilton himself had a deep knowledge of DHS ( 4 ) Before working for Sessions, Hamilton had spent two years working for various DHS offices, and also interned at Immigration and Customs Enforcement while in law school.and a knack for the inside game, both of which became valuable assets when he joined the department. “He would take the pen on a lot of things,” the former DHS official said—meaning he’d assume responsibility for writing a document, giving him the power to set the terms of the debate and the process. “He was sort of the political commissar,” another former senior DHS official explained. “You had to work with him to make sure you weren’t going to get your legs chopped out underneath you.”

For USCIS director, Hamilton recommended Cissna, a DHS lawyer who’d spent the past two years detailed to Grassley’s office. “Our family is literally a product of our nation’s legal immigration system,” Cissna said at his confirmation hearing, explaining that his grandparents were Peruvian, his wife’s family was Middle Eastern and that he only spoke Spanish to his kids at home. Although he largely shared Miller’s policy goals, his position on immigration “wasn’t a race thing,” the second former DHS senior official told me. Instead, the official said, Cissna saw himself as a “steward of the law,” which he believed should be enforced according to the narrowest interpretation. Quiet and not overtly political, he was nonetheless a canny operator. When he took over at USCIS, “he knew which small things could change to have a big effect,” said Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “He couldn’t be bamboozled by bureaucrats. He knew their job in a way a lot of political appointees don’t.”


Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, a veteran Grassley staffer, was put in charge of the USCIS policy office a couple of weeks after her former boss recommended her to Trump via tweet. (“@POTUS If u want a real expert on fixing H1B a former staffer of mine just moved to HomelandSecurity Call my office I will tell WHO SHE IS.”) She brought in Robert Law, FAIR’s governmental relations director, as her senior adviser. Law was smart but rigid. “You couldn’t convince him of anything he didn’t already believe,” said a person who worked with him at USCIS. Along with other alumni of restrictionist groups, ( 5 ) Julie Kirchner, a former FAIR executive director, became USCIS ombudsman, and Jon Feere, a former CIS analyst, became a senior adviser at ICE.Law became a resource for some DHS officials who lacked an immigration background but found the issue consuming their jobs. “They could tell you, this is the law, this is the history of it. It was fascinating,” said one. “They had been following this for decades.”

At first, things didn’t move as nearly quickly as Miller and Hamilton wanted, mostly because of Trump’s first DHS Secretary, John Kelly. “He was a difficult guy for people to mess with. Even Stephen Miller,” recalled the former DHS official. It wasn’t until Kelly became White House chief of staff in July 2017, another former official explained, that Miller was able to “consolidate his strength.”

A couple of months later, a meeting was convened at the department, with the acting secretary, Elaine Duke, the most senior figure present. According to a person who was there, Hamilton abruptly took control of the gathering, cutting Duke out of the conversation completely. “Everyone was looking at each other. We’d never seen anything like this—a guy with no standing [taking over the meeting].”

Hamilton informed the group they needed to produce memos outlining how to enact 10 White House policy priorities, including how to get rid of a 20-day limit on holding children in detention and how to use family separation to discourage migration. He wanted the memos within days.

The DHS policy office started work according to normal operating procedure—gathering information and assessing the legality and merits of the proposals. Normally, this would take months. “It drove the White House crazy,” said the former DHS official. “Duke’s chief of staff kept asking, ‘Dude, where are the memos?’ He was getting pounded by the White House.” Many of the memos were never produced, the official added, because “some of the [ideas] were so clearly bad.” (Hamilton didn’t respond to a request for comment.)


At USCIS, the pressure to scrap old policies and roll out new ones was relentless. In theory, the chief counsel’s office was supposed to conduct thorough legal analyses of all new initiatives. Sometimes the office was cut out of the loop; sometimes lawyers were informed of a new memo the day before it dropped, requiring them to scramble till midnight or later to ensure it met basic legal standards. Comment skirmishes broke out within draft documents, with career staff inserting concerns and political appointees stripping them out. The political appointees “really didn’t care about the operational impact of different policies or litigation concerns,” recalled a former agency lawyer. Hamilton himself has essentially confirmed this. “That sounds like the craziest policy you could ever have,” he said in a deposition when asked if DHS had assessed the litigation risk of ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. “You could never do anything if you were always worried about being sued.”

Kovarik and Law also pushed staffers to dig up evidence for their preferred policies, even when the facts didn’t oblige. For instance, they insisted on advancing the termination of temporary protected status ( 6 ) A temporary status provided to nationals of certain countries experiencing problems that make it difficult or unsafe to return there.for several “shithole countries”—the president’s term—even when experts at State and USCIS recommended extensions. The problem with the official analysis for Haiti, Kovarik explained to a career staffer in an October 2017 email, “is that it reads as though we’d recommend an extension because we talk so much about how bad it is.” The staffer replied, carefully, "We can comb through the country conditions to try to see what else there might be, but the basic problem is that it IS bad there.” Later that month, Law assigned an “important research project” to a low-level employee. “I need positive data on the current status of Haiti to bolster the recommendation to terminate TPS. Improvements or the like that I can plug in,” he wrote. “Be creative.”

In a separate exchange, Cissna complained that staffers hadn’t done a very elegant job of massaging the facts in order to end TPS status for Sudan. "The memo reads like one person who strongly supports extending TPS for Sudan wrote everything up to the recommendation section and then someone who opposes extension snuck up behind the first guy, clubbed him over the head, pushed his senseless body of out of the way, and finished the memo,” he wrote.

Even though USCIS had announced plans to kill DACA and end TPS for six countries, the political appointees were being bombarded by Miller to go faster. One of his obsessions was a regulation for a far tougher version of the public charge rule, which had to go through a mandatory administrative process. In June 2018 emails obtained by Politico, Miller berated Cissna for the “unacceptable” timeframe, writing, “I don't care what you need to do to finish it on time.” Cissna stuck to his principles. “He believed,” said the former DHS official, that “this could all get done through the rule of law.”


OVER AND OVER, IN PUBLIC AND TO HIS STAFF WITHIN USCIS’s boxy beige headquarters on Massachusetts Avenue, Cissna insisted that his mission was simply to enforce the law as it was written. At an event last year, he brought along his copy of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a brick of a book stuffed with yellow post-it notes, and patted it almost affectionately. “Everything we do at the agency should be guided by that, not by, you know, any other thing,” he said in his halting manner. “That’s our Bible.”

It was an effective claim, and a disingenuous one. So much of America’s immigration code is open to interpretation. There’s no objective test for whether a concert violinist meets the legal standard of “exceptional;” whether a full-stack Java developer is a “specialized” occupation; whether a certain type of kidney condition technically qualifies as a “hardship.” Many decisions inevitably come down to the judgement of individuals, which means they’re susceptible to the peculiar psychology of the immigration bureaucracy.

“In my own office, I am queen,” one former visa adjudicator told me. What she meant was that the guy down the hallway might require a lot more evidence than she did, or interpret the legal criteria more stringently, and that it wouldn’t be remotely strange if they each reviewed the same case and reached opposite conclusions. Within processing offices, “people get reputations,” she said. There are the officers inclined to give applicants the benefit of the doubt and those hunting for a reason to deny. Many aren’t ideological at all, but are swayed by the preferences of their supervisors. “Everyone learns to write for the teacher,” one officer observed.

All this variability gives each USCIS office a distinct culture. It’s why lawyers regard the Vermont processing center as reasonably fair and efficient and the one in California as more of a crapshoot. You can sense these distinctions as an immigrant, even if you don’t understand them. You file one application and it goes through smoothly; then a subsequent one gets snagged on some unseen impediment. A new boss, maybe, or a big immigration controversy, or some directive that causes the culture within the agency to change.

A few months after Cissna was confirmed, in February 2018, he removed the phrase “nation of immigrants” from USCIS’s mission statement. Less noticed but more significant was his decision to strip references to “customer service” from internal manuals. Staffers knew exactly what this meant. USCIS started referring to applicants as “customers” during the Obama administration, and the change was detested by more skeptical employees, who preferred terms like “foreign nationals” or “aliens.” León Rodriguez, the agency’s director from 2014 to 2017, explained that the deletion of the word “customer” could reshape every aspect of an officer’s work: “It’s a statement that your performance will not be judged based on how you treat the people with whom you’re interacting. Your courtesy, transparency, care in explaining things, compassion. Over time that changes what people prioritize.”


The new priority was visa fraud. There had long been a subset of staffers, including upper-level employees, who were convinced that most immigrants were trying to cheat the system in some way. They were mostly kept at bay because the agency’s own statistics showed consistently low levels of fraud. Under Cissna, that all changed. “There was a sense of urgency across the agency that was palpable,” said Spaulding, who worked as an investigator for the fraud unit in Philadelphia from 2006 until 2019. He described the new mandate as: “Your job as adjudicator is to ferret out fraud. Good adjudicators find fraud. Bad ones don’t.” Adjudicators were also trained in more adversarial styles of interviewing, Spaulding said, “like a Customs and Border Protection officer.” (USCIS spokesperson Matthew Bourke said adjudicators regularly receive training to detect fraud but are not instructed to be adversarial.) Across the agency, there was a pronounced shift to what Rodriguez called a “law enforcement model—the sort of culture change very much driven from the top.”
Meanwhile, the political appointees under Cissna were churning out memos announcing administrative changes to visa processing that were devastating in their banality. “If you go through the statistics [for visa approvals] for the last decade, they were relatively consistent,” Spaulding said. “Then about two years ago, all hell broke loose.”

The first memo, issued in October 2017, eliminated something called “prior deference.” Previously, if a person had been greenlit multiple times for certain visas, the adjudications officer would check the circumstances that had changed since the last one. Now, every petition has to be reviewed as if the person was a first-time applicant—a vastly more time-consuming exercise. A former USCIS lawyer told me the memo was very much motivated by the new emphasis on fraud: Excavating old applications provided an opportunity to “get that gotcha moment.” Publicly, though, the agency couldn’t cite that as the justification, “because the stats didn’t back it up. So we had to say something else.”

The administration, Miller included, often insisted that its policies weren’t anti-immigrant, that it wanted to prioritize high-skilled workers over family-based migrants. And yet the changes coming out of USCIS seemed designed to make it difficult for those workers to come to the United States, too. Denials for first-time H1B applicants, who need a bachelor’s degree, jumped from 6 percent in the 2015 financial year to 32 percent in the first quarter of 2019. And even those numbers don’t tell the full story. An H1B visa typically lasts three years, but lawyers report a pattern of approvals for durations so short they are effectively useless—a week or even a day. In a hearing in D.C. district court, the judge asked the lawyer representing USCIS whether a one-day approval was “as good as a denial.” The government’s lawyer admitted: “There's little practical difference, I would agree with that.”


For immigrants trying to navigate the rapidly changing rules, everything just kept getting harder. The length of most forms has doubled or tripled or worse. Fees are going up for many visas. Under a new policy of mandatory in-person interviews for employment green cards, the average processing time has gone from around 10 months to more than two years in multiple cities. Yet another memo enabled the government to reject applications without giving the person a chance to correct errors, even incredibly trivial ones. ProPublica found a case that was rejected “because the seventh page, usually left blank, was not attached.” Another was denied “because it did not have a table of contents.” (USCIS has since said it does not intend to reject petitions for “innocent mistakes.”) Meanwhile, the agency has barricaded itself from communication. It is in the process of shuttering 16 of its 23 international offices. Where lawyers could once call or email the office that was handling a case, now they spend hours on hold in a Kafkaesque game of phone tag with a national customer service center. If they miss a return call, they have to start the inquiry from the beginning.

Inside USCIS, the new restrictions and requirements created a “pattern of chaos,” Spaulding said, as adjudicators struggled to “respond to what they think their superiors want.” For instance, the agency is issuing far more RFEs, or requests for additional evidence. ( 7 ) In the first quarter of 2019, the agency issued RFEs in 60 percent of H1B cases, compared to only 20 percent in 2016.“RFEs used to be common sense under Obama—if you can show the evidence, you get approval,” said Matt Cameron, a Boston lawyer who handles both employment and asylum cases. Now, they’re used as a stalling device. Lawyers are routinely asked for basic documents they’ve already submitted. One attorney was told to prove that the client’s mechanical engineering degree was relevant to his job as a mechanical engineer. Another was instructed to provide additional evidence that her client’s marriage was genuine. “I’m like, are you high?” the lawyer said. “Two people who have adopted a child together eight years ago have a fake marriage?”

More often, though, attorneys say they simply receive the same vague, boilerplate questions for multiple clients. For an officer behind on his caseload, Spaulding explained, an RFE is “one of the best ways to buy time.” While the applicant prepares a response, the case is no longer counted as open on the officer’s docket. By the end of 2018, USCIS’s total backlog of pending cases was a record 5.7 million.

Still, Stephen Miller wasn’t satisfied. He kept pushing Cissna to rush out the public charge regulation before it had been fully vetted. When word started to spread that Cissna could be forced out, restrictionist groups told reporters his ouster would be a “colossal mistake.” But it was too late. On May 24, Cissna resigned at Trump’s request in a Miller-driven purge that also claimed DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. (Cissna didn’t respond to requests for comment.) For the past two years, one USCIS career staffer recalled, she and her demoralized colleagues kept telling themselves that “it could be worse.” Then, in June, Ken Cuccinelli was named the agency’s acting director—“and it did get worse.”


LATE THIS SUMMER, KEN CUCCINELLI INSTALLED A lumpy human-sized replica of the Statue of Liberty in USCIS headquarters, by a window overlooking Massachusetts Avenue. It was a very on-brand bit of trolling: About two weeks earlier, he had finally announced the public charge regulation at a press conference at the White House. There, Cuccinelli suggested that the famous Emma Lazarus poem affixed to the Statue of Liberty (the real one) would be more accurate if it read: “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” The poem, he added, was about “people coming from Europe.”

Cuccinelli is a very different political animal from Cissna, one far more suited to Trumpworld. One of his conditions for accepting the job, according to a source, was that a government car ferry him every day to Washington from his home an hour and a half away in rural Nokesville, Virginia. A conservative purist with a showman’s instinct, he tweets a lot, often about Immigrations and Customs Enforcement or CBP operations that seemed to excite him more than the work of his own agency. Some of the tweets are transparently bespoke for an audience of one. In September, he posted an image of a framed photograph of Trump next to a giant stack of paper, which was a new USCIS policy changing all uses of “foreign nationals” to “aliens.”


He also shares his boss’s impatience with the slow pace of policy-making. “It seems like everybody in government defers to DOJ,” Cuccinelli told Mark Krikorian at a recent panel discussion. “I don’t operate that way. Lawyers advise and they can deal with my decision as best they can. They may not be [happy].” A former DHS official who worked with Cissna told me Cuccinelli “respected what Cissna did. But where Cissna would have to get something to 98 percent to make him feel good, I think Ken Cuccinelli is much more of a 60 or 70 percent kind of guy.”

Some DHS leaders, though, felt Cuccinelli’s Trumpian pronouncements were getting in the way of Trump’s agenda. Exhibit A was the outrage provoked by his comments on the Statue of Liberty. “There was concern at DHS that you had an extremely complicated rule, the public charge, which deserved a full policy discussion,” said one former official. “It was fettered by this discussion of the poem, which bore no relevance to the issue.” Asked whether Cuccinelli had ignited the controversy by accident or on purpose, the official paused for an uncomfortably long time and finally said, dryly, “He thinks of himself as a very talented communicator.”

Out of all the administration’s immigration reforms, the public charge rule has been the most ambitious by far. In the past, the term was defined to mean anyone who was primarily dependent on government assistance. Restrictionists pointed out that only cash benefits were counted—excluding major entitlements like food stamps, Medicaid and housing subsidies. But the new definition is aggressively broad. Most new immigrants aren’t actually eligible for welfare. But the rule grants officers vast discretion to determine whether the applicant might become a public charge at any point in the future. They would be empowered to collect reams of personal financial information and reject any applicant whose income is lower than 250 percent of the poverty line, even if that person has a financial sponsor.

In essence, the rule would create a backdoor mechanism to alter the composition of immigrants to the United States. Low-income legal immigrants tend to be nonwhite, and they also tend to come here via family-based green cards. According to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, the new definition would potentially exclude more than half of all family-based green card applicants. That is, 71 percent of applicants from Central America, 69 percent from Africa, 52 percent from Asia—but only 36 percent from Europe, Canada and Oceania. The regulation, said Ur Jaddou, chief counsel of USCIS during the Obama administration, “fundamentally changes who gets to use our legal immigration system by race and class without an act of Congress.” (In October, a few days before the rule was due to go into effect, it was temporarily halted by three federal judges. The government is expected to appeal.)

Cuccinelli’s other priority was asylum, one of two major humanitarian categories of legal immigration. (The other is the refugee program, for people requesting protection while in a foreign country rather than at the U.S. border.) Miller had long been incensed that around 90 percent of people pass the “credible fear” screening—the initial interview that determines whether a claim will go before an immigration judge. People explained to him in meetings that the first hurdle was set intentionally low by Congress, to ensure asylum seekers get a fair hearing, and that only a minority (28 percent) eventually succeed. But Miller was convinced the screenings were an outrageous loophole and demanded they be made more restrictive. Cissna pointed out that the agency couldn’t change the requirements without breaking the law. At one meeting, when Miller kept hounding him about it, Cissna finally erupted. “Enough. Enough. Stand down!” he shouted, according to The New York Times. Cuccinelli had none of these qualms. On his second day on the job, according to Buzzfeed, he sent the division an email scolding officers for failing to prevent “frivolous” claims.


Within USCIS, asylum officers have always been a band apart. They work in a separate office from visa adjudicators and wear plain clothes, no badges. When the division was launched in the 1980s, it was something of a scandal to visa officers when it was staffed with human rights lawyers and refugee workers. Today, the asylum corps is especially resented by border patrol agents, a longtime officer said. “In their view, we’re a bunch of hippies letting in people they try to keep out.”

But there’s nothing hippie-ish about the work they do. Asylum officers go through hundreds of hours of rigorous training, learning to distinguish the person who has assumed a false identity because they’re fleeing a violent gang from the person assuming a false identity because they’re a member of that gang. Vetting an applicant can take anywhere between two and five years. “I have to make sure I’m not getting the wool pulled over my eyes by a war criminal,” the officer explained. Since Congress isn’t likely to overhaul the asylum criteria anytime soon, Cuccinelli set about changing the culture of the division itself. Under a DHS pilot program, around 60 border patrol officers are now conducting credible fear screenings. According to government data obtained by Buzzfeed, they have approved less than half of applicants so far. The agency is also hiring 500 new asylum officers, targeting people with law enforcement or military backgrounds, who, according to USCIS spokesperson Matthew Bourke, are “uniquely equipped to support the agency’s improved vetting procedures and fraud-detection efforts.” In a particularly unsubtle move, the division’s head, John Lafferty, was replaced by the director of the fraud unit.

When you put all of this together, it’s clear that the Trump administration has fundamentally altered the nature of humanitarian immigration to the United States—initiatives that are supported by both parties and have been an essential component of foreign policy since the end of World War II. In 2017, Gene Hamilton and Stephen Miller tag-teamed to reduce annual refugee admissions from 110,000 to 45,000. Since then, the number has been slashed to an all-time low of 18,000. In October, the administration started implementing a regulation ordering that asylum seekers be turned away from the southern border if they have passed through another country without seeking asylum there first. What this means, in practice, is that the only people able to seek asylum at the border are Mexican citizens.

And yet the restrictionists still aren’t satisfied. After all, the administration hasn’t come close to their goal of halving legal immigration. “Any real changes”—such as ending birthright citizenship or the visa lottery—“are the kind of thing Congress would have to approve,” said Krikorian. FAIR’s governmental relations director, RJ Hauman, told me Trump “botched” his first year with a flawed rollout of the travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. “It tainted everything,” he said, especially the president’s chances of getting more ambitious reforms through Congress.


In response, the administration is doing its utmost to appease its most hardcore supporters. For 13 years, FAIR has held an annual convention in Washington D.C. to connect conservative talk radio hosts and anti-immigration personalities. Under previous presidents, it was a niche affair, but this September’s event might as well have been sponsored by the Trump administration. FAIR flew in nearly 200 sheriffs, who received a briefing at the White House from Kellyanne Conway, as well as a photo op with Trump. Afterwards, they made their way back to the Phoenix Park Hotel, just around the corner from DHS. Some 70 radio hosts were crammed into a couple of conference rooms. “We’re in the heart of the swamp, up to our knees in muck,” FAIR’s communications director, Dave Ray, remarked to a talk show host named Tom Roten, who has blamed immigrants for his West Virginia county having “the highest concentration of HIV in the country, maybe even the world.” (This is not true.) Ray went on to discuss the “human carnage caused by criminal aliens and drugs;” at one point, Roten asked, “What if we cut the snake off at the head at the border?”

Cuccinelli spent an entire morning powering through eight back-to-back interviews, fueled by his usual cup of McDonalds sweet tea. He talked about family separation with Roten who complained that “the media only shows these kids crying.” Children were constantly crossing the border with different adults, pretending to be related, he stated. “You’re exactly right, Tom. They’re being recycled,” Cuccinelli agreed. (Greg Navano, ICE’s assistant director of investigative programs, said that among other methods, the agency sometimes conducts DNA tests of family units, and that around 15 percent of the tests uncovered an adult falsely claiming to be a child’s biological parent.)

In November, Cuccinelli was promoted to DHS deputy acting secretary. Kathy Nuebel Kovarik became acting deputy at USCIS and Robert Law, the former FAIR lobbyist, ascended to the head of the policy office. The agency has promised a new flurry of major policy changes before the end of the year. And in what is perhaps the purest expression of the administration's intentions so far, it started sending Central American asylum seekers to Guatemala with no access to an attorney, no review by an immigration court, far away from the border infrastructure of activists and reporters and lawyers or any form of help at all.


IT’S EASY ENOUGH TO BELIEVE THAT BECAUSE NONE of the Trump administration’s reforms are entrenched in law, they can be overturned as quickly as they were introduced. And yet even though, in theory, the policy memos can all be withdrawn, the “sheer number of both significant and less significant changes is overwhelming,” said Jaddou, the former USCIS chief counsel. “It will take an ambitious plan over a series of years to undo it all.” Formal regulations, like the third-country asylum rule and public charge rule, if it succeeds, will be especially hard to unravel.

The institutional implications run deeper. The backlog of delayed cases will likely take several years to get under control. The administration has promoted six judges with some of the highest asylum denial rates to the Justice Department’s immigration appeals court, including one who threatened to set a dog on a 2-year-old child for failing to be quiet in his courtroom. Those appointments are permanent.

The refugee program, too, will take years to rebuild. The plunge in admissions caused a plunge in funding to the nine resettlement agencies, which have closed more than 100 offices around the country since 2016. That’s a third of their capacity, according to a report by Refugees Council USA. “The whole infrastructure is deteriorating,” said Rodriguez, the former USCIS director. Because the application process is so lengthy, even if a new administration raises refugee admissions on day one, it would take as long as five years before increased numbers of people actually make it to the United States. Consider that in January 2017, the State Department briefly paused in-bound flights for refugees who had finally made it through the gauntlet of health, security and other checks. As of this summer, some of those refugees were still waiting to leave. While the flights were grounded, they missed the two-month window during which all of their documents were current. When one document expires, it can take months to replace, causing others to expire and trapping the refugee in what the report called “a domino effect of expiring validity periods.”

Even harder to repair is the culture shift within USCIS. New visa adjudicators will remain in their jobs long after the political appointees have gone—kings and queens of their own offices. Employees who were promoted for their skeptical inclinations will stay in those positions, setting priorities for subordinates. The multitude of changes at USCIS are the product of an administration that regards immigration as its political lifeblood. There’s no guarantee—or indication—that any of the potential Democratic nominees would apply the same obsessive zeal to overturning them.

Back in 1924, Johnson-Reed’s supporters never anticipated the Holocaust, and yet they expanded its horrors. We don’t know where our own future is headed, but we live in a time of metastasizing instability. Last year, the United Nations’ official tally of refugees passed 70 million, the highest since World War II. Mass migrations, whether because of violence or inequality or environmental calamity or some murky blend of factors that don't conveniently fit existing laws, are the reality and challenge of our era. There aren’t any easy solutions. But already, what started as a series of small, obscure administrative changes is resulting in unthinkable cruelty. If left to continue, it will, in every sense, redefine what it means to be American.


Ένα νέο άρθρο στο τρέχον τεύχος του HTS / A new article in the current issue of HTS

Hervormde teologiese studies 75:4 (2019)

In-Cheol Shin, "The Matthean community’s state of coexistence between Jews and Gentiles"


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When the Lord Jesus came into the world, He aptly introduced Himself as “the Living Bread.” Jesus announced loudly and publicly to the Jews that He was the bread of life. Unlike the physical bread the children of Israel ate in the wilderness which could only meet their physical need or sustain their physical well-being for a short while, the Living Bread...


The resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate proof that Jesus’ claim to be equal with God the Father in every respect was not a blasphemy. How and why? If Jesus’ claim of divinity was false, or if Jesus was just a liar, an impostor, or a blasphemer as the Jews accused Him, He would not have resurrected from the dead! If Jesus truly blasphemed by claiming that He was God...


Like the religious but ignorant Jews of those days, many religious folks today are still rejecting the divinity of Christ. They would gladly accept Jesus Christ as a good teacher, a righteous man, a prophet or messenger from God, but not as the Almighty God. Sadly, some believers today also hold the unscriptural view that although Jesus Christ is God, yet He is somewhat lesser...

The Sovereign Mercy of God – Romans Study 72

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Ephesians“ overview of 3:1-9; tapping into the power of God, part 23

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The Godcast, Episode 107: Wisdom and How to Win Some


In this episode, SuperLutheran and Myles discuss WIsdom. What it is, how to get it, and how a godly man applies it in his day-to-day walk with the Lord.

We answer your emails in the second hour.

Are Jews the chosen people of God? No:


Things talked about during the episode:

Break music: Angels, From the Realm of Glory


A listener recommended these resources. Check 'em out:

It's Good to be a Man

Bnonn Tennant


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Pugnus Pastorum


Worship for Kids: December 8, 2019


By Carolyn C. Brown

From a Child's Point of View

Old Testament: Isaiah 11:1-10. Because they are so dependent on their leaders, children are very appreciative of those who are fair. A teacher who grades fairly, a coach who gives everyone a chance, or a Scout leader who does not play favorites is highly valued. Having had experience with leaders who are less than fair, children appreciate the fair ones and claim God's promise of a totally fair leader.

A sprout growing out of a stump is not common enough in nature to assume that children (or urban adults) will be familiar with the phenomenon. It will need to be scientifically explained before children will understand Isaiah's message. Older children, once they understand the Jesse tree, often find great hope in it for all the seemingly hopeless situations in their lives and world.

Psalm: 72:1-7, 18-19. This psalm praises two leaders: Solomon (and his son); and God's messiah. Children begin to understand the psalm when they hear it as a public prayer for King Solomon, and they can add their prayers for their own leaders. Then they are primed to think about GOd's promised leader, who is more fair than even the most just human leaders.

Epistle: Romans 15:4-13. One example of God's justice is that God kept the promise that Jesus would come to the Jewish people. (Keeping promises is part of God's justice.) But Jesus kept the promise for everyone else. God's justice is for everyone, so God wants us to work on getting along with all people. For Paul, that meant spending his life introducing the Christian faith to non-Jews and trying to help Jews and Gentiles get along. For children today, it means treating everyone—people of other ethnic, economic, or neighborhood groups; and even people they do not like—with love and respect.

Because this is a complex passage, few children will make any sense of the text as it is read. Plan to present its message to children through the sermon.

Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12. Children are fascinated by the colorful aspects of John the Baptist. They need to hear that John wore animal skins and ate locusts (grasshoppers) and honey because they were easy to find. John was too busy telling people about God's justice to spend time cooking or finding neat clothes. Compare his dedication to that of athletes preparing for the Olympics, or a person who is so busy making a gift for a friend that she forgets to eat.

John's poetic images (Abraham's children, axes laid to trees, sandals to be carried, winnowing forks, chaff burning in unquenchable fires) are too much to explain in one worship service. So simply present John's message in words children understand—that God does not care whether your families are rich or poor, whether your brothers and sisters are smart and attractive or embarrassing, whether your friends are the "in" group or "nerds," or which church you go to. God cares about what you do. God expects you to live by God's rules or to repent (change your ways).

Watch Words

Children use fairness instead of justice. Fairness is often applied to everyday situations, while justice seems removed from everyday concerns. Use the terms interchangeably and often, to help children recognize their connection.

Define repent if you use it. John does not want us to be sorry for the unjust things we do. He wants us to stop treating people "unfairly" or "unjustly."

Avoid Gentile. Speak instead of God's justice, which includes all people. Name specific, familiar groups that are treated today as Gentiles were treated in Paul's day.

Let the Children Sing

"Hail to the Lord's Anointed" is based on Psalm 72. Older children can match the verses in the psalm with those in the hymn, but the vocabulary of the hymn is challenging, even for twelve-year-olds.

"Lord, I Want to Be a Christian" is the easiest hymn with which children can sing their repentance.

The Liturgical Child

1. In the worship center, display a Jesse tree. Ask a creative person to make an arrangement in which an evergreen branch is drilled into a small stump, or a pot covered with burlap to look like a stump. Or wrap a sand-filled bucket with brown craft paper to look like a stump, and "plant" a small tree or evergreen branch in the bucket.

2. While lighting the candle of God's promised justice as the second candle of the Advent wreath, read Isaiah's prophecy, or some statement such as this:

We all want to be treated fairly. God has promised that one day we will be. Last week we lighted the first candle of Advent, for God's promised peace. Today we light the second candle, for God's promised justice. We light it for all the little kids who are picked on, for those whose poverty means they never get a fair chance at anything, and for those who live in countries ruled by unfair people and laws. God promises that day there will be justice for us all.

3. Invite the congregation to read Psalm 72 as if they were in a crowd, shouting to a king they hope will be a just leader. Divide the congregation in half and ask the people to read the verses alternately, loudly and enthusiastically.

4. If you pray for just leaders, include children's leaders—teachers, coaches, and club leaders.

5. Create a litany prayer of petitions, to each of which the congregational response is, "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Sermon Resources

1. Explore Old Testament stories about our longing for, and failure to attain, justice. As each story is told, add a poster board ornament to your Jesse tree (Or ask a child to add the ornament). Consider the following ornaments/stories:

• Adam and Eve begin the human failure to live by God's rules (an apple with a bite out of it).

• Through Moses, God gave us a clear set of rules for just living. But God's people immediately and repeatedly to proved that knowing the rules does not give us the power to create just world (Ten Commandment tablets).

• David and Solomon tried to build a just nation. Though they did well, neither was perfectly just, and the kings who ruled after them were often miserable failures. No human can establish God's justice (star of David, or crown).

• Knowing that we could neither follow just rules nor build a just world on our own, God promised to establish the justice. God would send a Messiah. Describe how Jesus inaugurated this justice in his ministry, death, and resurrection (cross and crown).

2. Invite children and other worshipers to create new pairings of animals who will get along. Such pairings lead to joining usually uncooperative human groups.

3. Paraphrase Paul's encouragement to Jews and Gentiles to get along. Address it to different groups that do not treat one another well today. Consider including older and younger brothers and sisters, rival school groups, even "the boys" and "the girls." Such a paraphrase might be repeated as the Charge and Benediction.

4. Open a sermon on justice with the cry, "But it's not fair!" followed by examples ranging from a child whose friends are going to a movie while she must visit a sick aunt with her family, to a poor athlete who tries hard but never gets the good results of a gifted athlete who hardly seems to try at all, to people who live under oppressive governments and social systems.


Amazon: Πουλάει χριστουγεννιάτικα στολίδια με θέμα το… Άουσβιτς (Φωτο)

Amazon: Πουλάει χριστουγεννιάτικα στολίδια με θέμα το… Άουσβιτς (Φωτο)
Amazon: Πουλάει χριστουγεννιάτικα στολίδια με θέμα το… Άουσβιτς (Φωτο)
02/12/2019 - 10:52

Χριστουγεννιάτικα στολίδια με φωτογραφίες του ναζιστικού στρατοπέδου συγκέντρωσης του Άουσβιτς διέθετε προς πώληση η Amazon.

Το γεγονός προκάλεσε την αντίδραση του Μουσείου Άουσβιτς-Μπιρκενάου που δημοσίευσε τις φωτογραφίες των στολιδιών που εικονίζουν συρματοπλέγματα και παραπήγματα στο στρατόπεδο γράφοντας στο Twitter: «Το να πωλούνται “χριστουγεννιάτικα στολίδια” με εικόνες του Άουσβιτς δεν μοιάζει σωστό».


Παράλληλα προέτρεψε την Amazon να τα αφαιρέσει από τον κατάλογό της. «Το Άουσβιτς σε ανοιχτήρια μπουκαλιών, αυτό είναι μάλλον ανησυχητικό και ασεβές» προς τη μνήμη των θυμάτων, τόνισε το Μουσείο στην ανάρτησή του στην αγγλική γλώσσα.

Σε ακόλουθη ανάρτησή του, το μουσείο ανέφερε πως η Amazon απέσυρε τις καταχωρήσεις των προϊόντων που υπέδειξε, προτού σε τρίτη ανάρτηση τονίσει πως εντόπισε κι άλλα.

Αναφερόταν μεταξύ άλλων σε ένα mousepad κι ένα κεραμικό «χριστουγεννιάτικο στολίδι» στο οποίο εικονίζεται βαγόνι τρένου που μετέφερε Εβραίους στους θαλάμους αερίων.


“Jew,” why is the word important?

Without the word Jew next to his name, would anyone know that it was a Jew, Jonas Salk, who defeated the worldwide horror of Polio? Kazimierz is the old Jewish quarter of Krakow, Poland.  Jews have been living in Poland for 1,000 years by the...

MOMENTS WITH THE MINISTER: Findings God's love in the middle of his anger

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22-23I’ve been studying the book of Lamentations written by the prophet Jeremiah sometime during the fall of Solomon’s temple and the Babylonian captivity of the Jews in 586 BC. Let me give you a bit of background to the book. It is a book that is full of grief, of weeping, of God’s anger and judgment. [...]

On the Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal: In Ways That Baffle the Minds of Modern Men


God works in ways that baffle the minds of "modern" men who are so impressed with "progress" and "change" and "innovation" and "novelty." He chooses the lowly and those who count for nothing to show forth His bountiful mercy to His ungrateful creatures, providing them with sacramental helps and, at times, admonitions to them to reform their lives. He reaches out to us time and time again to call us back to Him through His true Church, beckoning us to trust Him more, to make better and more fervent use of the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Penance and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, to be more devoted to Him by offering up our prayers and sacrifices and daily efforts to Him through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

"Modern" men, steeped in rationalism, seek to disparage the fact that God has indeed spoken to genuine mystics and chosen souls by means of private revelations and apparitions. This is why the then Joseph "Cardinal" Ratzinger in the year 2000 disparaged the reality of the apparitions of Our Lady, the very Mother of God herself, to Saint Bernadette Soubirous in the Grotto of Massabielle near Lourdes, France, in 1858 and to Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Lucia dos Santos in the Cova da Iria near Fatima, Portugal, fifty-nine years later, that is, in 1917:

Before undertaking an interpretation of the message of Fatima, we must still attempt briefly to offer some clarification of their anthropological (psychological) character. In this field, theological anthropology distinguishes three forms of perception or “vision”: vision with the senses, and hence exterior bodily perception, interior perception, and spiritual vision (visio sensibilis - imaginativa - intellectualis). It is clear that in the visions of Lourdes, Fatima and other places it is not a question of normal exterior perception of the senses: the images and forms which are seen are not located spatially, as is the case for example with a tree or a house. This is perfectly obvious, for instance, as regards the vision of hell (described in the first part of the Fatima “secret”) or even the vision described in the third part of the “secret”. But the same can be very easily shown with regard to other visions, especially since not everybody present saw them, but only the “visionaries”. It is also clear that it is not a matter of a “vision” in the mind, without images, as occurs at the higher levels of mysticism. Therefore we are dealing with the middle category, interior perception. For the visionary, this perception certainly has the force of a presence, equivalent for that person to an external manifestation to the senses.   

Interior vision does not mean fantasy, which would be no more than an expression of the subjective imagination. The person is led beyond pure exteriority and is touched by deeper dimensions of reality, which become visible to him. Perhaps this explains why children tend to be the ones to receive these apparitions: their souls are as yet little disturbed, their interior powers of perception are still not impaired. “On the lips of children and of babes you have found praise”, replies Jesus with a phrase of Psalm 8 (v. 3) to the criticism of the High Priests and elders, who had judged the children's cries of “hosanna” inappropriate (cf. Mt 21:16).   

Interior vision” is not fantasy but, as we have said, a true and valid means of verification. But it also has its limitations. Even in exterior vision the subjective element is always present. We do not see the pure object, but it comes to us through the filter of our senses, which carry out a work of translation. This is still more evident in the case of interior vision, especially when it involves realities which in themselves transcend our horizon. The subject, the visionary, is still more powerfully involved. He sees insofar as he is able, in the modes of representation and consciousness available to him. In the case of interior vision, the process of translation is even more extensive than in exterior vision, for the subject shares in an essential way in the formation of the image of what appears. He can arrive at the image only within the bounds of his capacities and possibilities. Such visions therefore are never simple “photographs” of the other world, but are influenced by the potentialities and limitations of the perceiving subject. (Theological Commentary on the Fatima Message.)

As I noted in May of 2010 as the then conciliar "pontiff," Ratzinger/Benedict visited Fatima, Portugal:

In other words, just as Modernists contend that Faith itself is a matter of interior consciousness that comes from within so do they believe that seers such as Saint Bernadette Soubirous and Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Lucia dos Santos have had real but necessarily "subjective" experiences that have no actual visible, spatial reality with the eyes of the body.

It is important to examine the connection between the Theological Commentary on the Fatima Message of ten years ago and the "homily" given on theEsplanade of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima yesterday [May 14, 2010].

First, Ratzinger/Benedict made the point yesterday that the three shepherd children of Fatima were able to "see" Our Lady because they had "these innocent and profound mystical confidences," meaning that the children had to have pure, innocent souls to see interiorly what they thought they had seen with their eyes. This corresponds exactly to what he wrote ten years ago, that "this explains why children tend to be the ones to receive these apparitions: their souls are as yet little disturbed, their interior powers of perception are still not impaired."

My friends, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI does not believe that Our Lady physically appeared before the physical eyes of Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia. He has dismissed the Fatima apparitions as an "interior vision" that are designed to move us closer to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and have nothing at all to do with apostasy in the ranks of those who believe themselves to be Catholics or, Heaven forfend, the consecration of Russia to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart by a true pope with all of the world's bishops.

Ratzinger/Benedict does not believe triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that he referred to gratuitously yesterday has nothing at all to do with the consecration of Russia or the conversion of souls to the true Faith, Catholicism. Why did Ratzinger/Benedict make reference to that triumph, therefore? Because it makes life easier for those in the Motu communities and for Bishop Fellay of the Society of Saint Pius X as they bask in the false reassurance that their false "pontiff" is a partisan of the Fatima Message. One cannot believe in a request of a message that conflicts with good relations with those in Russia, whether it be the Communists of yore (and the present day, of course) or the Orthodox at the present time.

If what happened at Fatima was but a mere "interior vision," then why did each of the children, when being examined by ecclesiastical authorities, give identical testimony as to what they saw with the physical eyes of their bodies? Each had the identical vision? Logic has never been Ratzinger/Benedict's long suit as his rejection of Thomism (both Thomistic Philosophy and Thomistic Theology) has opened up to grow from young adulthood into an old man who has lived in a world of contradiction, paradox and ambiguity which makes it almost impossible for to him to see the fallacies in what he presents as "explanations" of the Faith and the events associated with It.

Second, Ratzinger/Benedict said yesterday [May 14, 2010] that God "has the power to come to us, particularly through our inner senses, so that the soul can receive the gentle touch of a reality which is beyond the senses and which enables us to reach what is not accessible or visible to the senses." This corresponds with his statement of fourteen years ago:

It is clear that in the visions of Lourdes, Fatima and other places it is not a question of normal exterior perception of the senses: the images and forms which are seen are not located spatially, as is the case for example with a tree or a house. This is perfectly obvious, for instance, as regards the vision of hell (described in the first part of the Fatima “secret”) or even the vision described in the third part of the “secret”. . . .

It means rather that the soul is touched by something real, even if beyond the senses. It is rendered capable of seeing that which is beyond the senses, that which cannot be seen—seeing by means of the “interior senses”. It involves true “objects”, which touch the soul, even if these “objects” do not belong to our habitual sensory world. This is why there is a need for an interior vigilance of the heart, which is usually precluded by the intense pressure of external reality and of the images and thoughts which fill the soul. (Theological Commentary on the Fatima Message.)

Why is it "perfectly obvious" that the images and forms seen, to cite the false "pope's own example, by the fourteen year-old Bernadette Soubirous and Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia "are not located spatially"?

Our Lady did not actually part the earth and show Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia a vision of Hell that they saw with their own eyes? This was merely an "interior" vision vision of theirs that did not really happen in time and space?

The the buds on holm oak tree over which Our Lady hovered as she physically appeared to Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia did not change their appearance as seen by eyewitnesses who came to watch them? They were all suffering from mass delusion when they saw the following things? (On Full Display: The Modernist Mind.)

Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI does not believe in the actual, physical reality of apparitions. When was the last time you heard him make reference to the miraculous conversion of the Catholic-hating Jew named Alphonse Ratisbonne Our Lady appeared to him as in the same image as she appeared to Saint Catherine Laboure of the Daughters of Charity in the convent at Rue du Bac in Paris, France, on November 27, 1830, one hundred eighty years ago. That image, of course, is the one that Our Lady instructed Saint Catherine to have the Miraculous Medal patterned after, demonstrating that he is indeed conceived without stain all of sin and is the Mediatrix of All Graces.


Our Lady sought to convert a Jewish man by actually appearing to him. Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI makes no reference to this as he would tell us that Alphonse Ratisbonne merely had an "interior vision" that was unique to the "interior" process of conversion that was taking place within him without his knowing that it was happening. There is only one slight problem with such a Modernist explanation: it is contrary to the truth.

Perhaps Father Ratisbonne himself can explain the truth to us, aided by an introduction provided by the great foe of all forms of naturalism as he sought to build up the City of Mary Immaculate and was thus a fervent client of the Miraculous Medal a sign of total Marian consecration, Father Maximilian Kolbe, M. I., about his conversion:

Once again it happened on a train, on April 6, 1924. To tell the truth, that is a place where one can easily meet persons with the most varied ideas. On the train I was relating the story of Ratisbonne's conversion, when a gentleman--one of those who are always ready to pronounce without proofs--observed ironically, "It's so nice to hear you tell all this, Father!" I replied that I could show him documentary proofs of the story, because just some days before I had received from Rome a collection of these, printed in 1892.

Therefore I wish to publish some extracts from these documents. To begin with, I shall give you same passages of a letter written by Ratisbonne himself to a parish priest, the Director of an Archconfraternity founded to pray for the conversion of sinners.

(After describing his family background, his wealth, his engagement and the trip he made to the Orient before the marriage--during which he stopped in Rome, despite the aversion he felt for Catholic Rome--Ratisbonne described the efforts of Baron de Bussieres, a zealous Catholic convert from Protestantism, to bring him into the Church. This nettled Ratisbonne. here is how he relates the visit he paid to Baron de Bussieres.)

"On entering M. de Bussieres' house I met with a first disappointment, because the maid, instead of simply taking my visiting card, immediately brought me into the parlor. As far as I could, I tried to dissimulate my ennui behind a feigned smile, and I sat down next to Baroness de Bussieres, near whom her two little daughters were playing. The conversation began with the usual insignificant topics, but soon I was displaying the passionate dislike with which I described the impressions I had received in Rome. In a condescending sort of way I considered Baron de Bussieres a devout person. Consequently, because this was a favorable opportunity for me, I did not refrain from some rather cutting remarks about the situation of the Jews in Rome, which relieved my feelings somewhat. However, it was these complaints of mine that brought the conversation around to religion. He spoke to me of the greatness of Catholicism. But I answered sarcastically with objections that I myself had read or that I had heard from others. However, I restrained my impious assertions somewhat, so as not to shock the faith of the little girls playing near us. Finally M. de Bussieres said to me: 'Well, inasmuch as you condemn all prejudices and profess such liberal principles, and because yours is such an enlightened and advanced mind, would you be brave enough to submit yourself to a harmless experiment?'

"What experiment?"

"'To carry about with you an object that I will give you. Here, take this image of the most Blessed Virgin. That sounds ridiculous to you, doesn't it? However, I consider it very effective.'

"I must admit that I had never expected such a proposition. At first I felt like bursting out laughing and shrugging my shoulders. But then I thought, 'What a splendid story this scene will make in the account of my trip!' So I accepted the medal which was placed around my neck. When I rested on my breast I laughed aloud and said, 'Well, well! Now I am a Catholic! . . . Apostolic . . . and Roman!'

"M. de Bussieres was genially triumphant over the victory he had won, but wanting to exploit it to the full, he said, '"Now, to complete the test, you must recite, morning and evening, the Memorare, a very short, but very efficacious prayer to the most Blessed Virgin, composed by St. Bernard.'

"But what on earth is this Memorare?" I exclaimed. Let's have done with all this mummery!

"At that moment I felt a great surge of vexation. The name of St. Bernard made me remember my brother, who had written the life of this saint. I had never been willing to take the book in my hands. But his souvenir awakened my rage against proselytism, against the Jesuits and against those whom I called hypocrites and apostates.

"So I begged M. de Bussieres to let it go at that, and making a joke of the affair, I told him I was sorry that I could not offer him even a single Hebrew prayer in return and that consequently I would have to remain in his debt. The fact was that I did not know any prayers at all. However, my adversary insisted that if I refused to say this short prayer, the whole test would fail, and thus I would prove that I was only an obstinate unbeliever. Since I attached no importance whatever to the matter I finally promised to recite the prayer. He went to get a copy of it right way and asked me to write it out. I agreed, but on the condition that he would give me the original and keep my handwritten copy. What I wanted to do in fact was to add to my notebook the new 'pledge of justice.'

So we finally came to an agreement. At the end we parted, and I spent the rest of the evening at the theater, forgetting all about the medal and the prayer. When I returned to my lodgings, however, I found a visiting card from M. de Bussieres, who had come to return my visit. He invited me to stop at his house again before leaving Rome. since I had to give the prayer back to him, after packing my valises in view of my departure the next day, I sat down and copied the prayer. It ran: 'Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known hat anyone who fled to thy patronage, sought thy aid, or implored thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother; to thee I come, before I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O mother of the Incarnate Word, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.'

"I wrote out the words of St. Bernard without paying any attention to them. It was late; I was tired and was about to fall asleep standing up.

"Next day, January 16th, I got everything ready for my departure. But as I went about I found myself constantly repeating the words of that prayer. My God, how had they taken such possession of my imagination?

(Ratisbonne goes on to relate how M. de Bussieres persuaded him to delay leaving so as to have a chance to see the Pope, Gregory XVI. In the meantime he brought his guest to visit some of the Christian antiquities, which gave him a chance ot discuss religious topics.)

"Everything our eyes beheld--monuments, paintings, the local customs--became topics of conversation. All this led on to various religious questions. M. de Bussieres brought them up so simply and spoke of them so enthusiastically that sometimes in the depths of my heart I thought 'If anything can turn a man aside from religion, it is certainly the persistence some people show in trying to convert him!' My natural irreverence led me to make fun even of most serious things. To my barbed remarks I added an infernal fire of blasphemies, which I no longer have the courage even to think of today. In spite of all this, however, M. de Bussieres, while expressing his disappointment, remained indulgent and calm. Once he even went so far as to say, 'In spite of your irritation, I am sure that sooner or later you will become a Catholic, because deep in your nature there resides a naturally straightforward judgment, and this tells me that you will let God enlighten you, even if he has to send an angel from heaven to do it.'

"All right," I replied jokingly, "but let it be when I am in a good mood; otherwise, the thing might off badly.

"As our carriage was passing near the Scala Santa, M. de Bussieres stood up and doffed his hat, exclaimed, 'Hail, O sacred stairway! Here is a sinner who will mount you on his knees some day!'

"I cannot express what I felt at the idea of paying homage to a stairway! I laughed heartily, as at something entirely unreasonable. Later, as we were passing by the lovely villas and gardens that lined the sides of Nero's aqueduct, I too raised my voice, and using the same words as he, I exclaimed, 'Hail, ye truly divine marvels! Before you one should bow his head and  not before a staircase of whatever kind!'

(Ratisbonne continues with the story of his meeting with some Protestant friends on January 20th, in a cafe where they were reading the papers.)

"As I left the cafe, I meet M. de Bussieres' carriage, and he invited me for a ride. As it was a beautiful day, I willingly accepted. When we got to the church of Saint' Andrea delle Fratte, M. de Bussieres excused himself for a moment, because he had an errand to run. He asked me to wait for him in the vehicle; but instead I preferred to get down and visit the church. Within they were preparing a catafalque for a funeral, so I asked the Baron, 'Whose funeral is it?'

"'The Count de Laferronays',' he replied, 'a good friend of mine who died suddenly. That is why you may have found me rather glum these last couple of days.'

"I did not know the count; had never seen him in fact. So the news did not make any special impression on me, beyond that produced by the information about a sudden death. M. de Bussieres left because he had to see about preparing the place where the family of the deceased would sit. 'Excuse me me for a few minutes,' he said, as he went into the monastery. 'I shall be back shortly.'

(On February 18th and 19th, in the deposition he made during the investigative process set up to make clear the circumstances of his conversion. Ratisbonne stated the following among other things.)

"When I traversed the church, I arrived at the spot where they were getting ready for the funeral. Suddenly I felt interiorly disturbed, and saw in front of me something like a veil. It seemed to me that the entire church had been swallowed up in shadow, except one chapel. It was as thought all the light was concentrated in that single place. I looked over towards this chapel whence so much light shone and above the altar I saw a living figure standing, tall, majestic, beautiful and full of mercy. It was the most Holy Virgin Mary, resembling her figure on the Miraculous Medal of the Immaculate. At this sight I fell on my knees right where I stood; several times I attempted to lift my eyes towards the Most Blessed Virgin, but respect and the blinding light forced me to lower my gaze; this, however, did not prevent me from seeing the luminosity of the apparition. I fixed my glance on her hands, and in them I could read the expression of mercy and pardon. In the presence of the most Blessed Virgin, even though she did not speak a word to me, I understood the frightful situation I was in, the heinousness of sin, the beauty of the Catholic religion . . . in a word, I understood everything.

"When he returned, M. de Bussieres found me kneeling, my head resting on the railing of the chapel where the most Blessed Virgin had appeared, and bathed in tears. I do not understand how I managed to get to the railing, because I had fallen to my knees on the other side of the nave, and the catafalque stood between me and the chapel. I must add that the feeling that accompanied my weeping was one of gratitude towards the Blessed Virgin and of pity for my family, buried in the darkness of Judaism, for heretics and for sinners. M. de Bussieres raised me up and, still weeping, I told him, 'Oh, that person must have prayed very much for me,' thinking of the deceased Count de Laferronays. [Father Kolbe note: "M. de Bussieres had in fact recommended Ratisbonne to the prayers of M. de Laferronays."]

"He asked me several questions, but I could not answer, so deeply was I moved. So he took me by the hand, led me out of the church to the carriage and helped me to get in. Then he asked me where I wanted to go.

"Take me wherever you like," I said, "after what I have seen, I will do anything you want."

"'But what did you see?' he asked me.

"I cannot tell you; but please bring me to a confessor, and I will tell him everything on my knees."

"He brought me to the church of the Gesu, to a Jesuit, Father Villefort, to whom in the presence of M. de Bussieres, I related all that had happened to me."

(In his letter he continues.)

"All I can say of myself comes down to this: that in an instant a veil fell from my eyes; or rather not a single veil, but many of the veils which surrounded me were dissipated one after the other, like snow, mud and ice under the burning rays of the sun. I felt as though I were emerging from a tomb, from a dark grave; that I was beginning to be a living being, enjoying a real life. And yet I wept. I could see into the depths of my frightful misery, from which infinite mercy had liberated me. My whole being shivered at the sight of my transgressions; I was shaken, overcome by amazement and gratitude. I thought of my brother with indescribable joy; and to my tears of love there were joined tears of compassion. How many persons in this world, alas, are going down unknowingly into the abyss, their eyes shut by pride and indifference!They are being swallowed up alive by those horrifying shadows; and among them are my family, my fiancee, my poor sisters. What a bitter thought! My mind turned to you, whom I love so much; for you I offered my first prayers. Will you some day raise your eyes towards the Savior of the world, whose blood washed away original sin? How monstrous is the stain of that sin, because of which man no longer bears the resemblance to God!

"They asked me now I had come to know these truths, since they all knew that I had never so much as opened a book dealing with religion, head not even read a single page of the Bible, while the dogma of original sin, entirely forgotten or denied by modern Jews, had never occupied my mind for a single instant. I am no sure that I had even heard its name. So how had I come to know these truths? I cannot tell' all I know is that when I entered the church, I was ignorant of all this, whereas when I left I could see it all with blinding clarity. I cannot explain this change except by comparing myself to a man who suddenly awakens from deep sleep or to someone born blind who suddenly acquires sight. He sees, even though he cannot describe his sensations or pinpoint what enlightens him and makes it possible for him to admire the things around him. If we cannot adequately explain natural light, how can we describe a light the substance of which is truth itself? I think I am expressing myself correctly when I say that I did not have any verbal knowledge, but had come to possess the meaning and spirit of the dogmas, to feel rather than see these things, to experience them with the help of the inexpressible power which was at work within me.

"The love of God had taken the place of all other loves, to such an extent that I loved even my fiancee, but in a different way. I loved her like someone whom God held in his hands, like a precious gift which inspires an even greater love for the giver."

(As they wanted to delay his Baptism, Ratisbonne pleaded.)

"What? The Jews who heard the preaching of the apostles were baptized at once; and you wish to delay Baptism for me who have heard the Queen of the apostles?"

"My emotion, my ardent desires and my prayers finally induced these good men to fix a date for my Baptism. I awaited the appointed day with impatience, because I realized how displeasing I was in the eyes of God.

(Finally the 31st of January came. He described his Baptism.)

"Immediately after Baptism I felt myself filled with sentiments of veneration and filial love for the Holy Father; I considered myself fortunate when I was told that I would be granted an audience with the Pontiff, accompanied by the General of the Jesuits. In spite of all this I was quite nervous, because I had never frequented the important people of this world; although these important people seemed to me too insignificant when compared to true grandeur. I must confess that I included among these great ones of the world the one who on this earth holds God's highest power, i.e., the pope, the successor of Jesus Christ himself, whose indestructible chair he occupies.

"Never will I forget my trepidation and the beatings of my heart when I entered the vatican and traversed the spacious courtyards and majestic halls leading to the sacred premises where the pope resides. When I beheld him, though, my nervousness suddenly gave way to amazement. He was so simple, humble and paternal. This was no monarch, but a father who with unrestrained love treated me like a cherished son.

"O good God! Will it be thus when I appear before you to give you an account of the graces I hare received? Awe fills me at the mere thought of God's greatness, and I tremble before his justice; but at the sight of his mercy my confidence revives, and with confidence so will my love and unbounded gratitude.

"Yes, gratitude will from now on be my law and my life . I cannot express it in words; so I shall strive to do so in deeds. The letters received from my family give me full liberty; I wish to consecrate this liberty to God, and I offer it to him from this very moment, along with my whole life, to serve the Church and my brothers under the protection of the most Blessed Virgin Mary." (Father Anselm W. Romb, OFM Conv., Commentator and Editor, The Writings of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv.: The Kolbe Reader, pp. 22-31.)

Just an "interior vision"? No, not at all.

The apparition of Our Lady to the future Father Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne was no "interior vision." Our Lady herself appeared to the Catholic-hating Jewish man to convert him to the true Faith just as she had appeared to a chosen soul, Saint Catherine Laboure, to show forth her love for us sinful men for whom her Divine Son shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood to redeem and to teach us that all graces that were won for us on the wood of the Holy Cross are sent by her Divine Son through her hands as the Mediatrix of All Graces. And just as the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne seemed very unlikely in human terms, so was it the case that the sisters of the Daughters of Charity were shocked to learn over forty years after Our Lady had appeared to one of them that it was, of all people, Sister Catherine Laboure who was the chosen soul. God does indeed work in ways that battle not only the minds of "modern" men but of those who are consecrated in His holy service.

Saint Catherine Laboure's mother died when she was nine years old. She told Our Lady, after picking up and kissing a statue of her "Now you will be mother." Little did Catherine Laboure know just how much that meant to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who was to draw this chosen soul closer and closer to her throughout the course of her lifetime at the dawning of the Age of Mary during the year, 1830, when a second French revolution overthrew the hereditary king of the House of Bourbon, King Charles X, in favor of the "citizen-king," Louis-Philippe, of the House of Orleans, who was overthrown during the French Revolution of 1848. Saint Catherine Laboure was chosen to be the very instrument by which that young Catholic-hating Jew would have access to the Miraculous Medal and then recognize Our Lady's image when she appeared to him in the Church of San Andrea delle Fratte on January 20, 1842.

Saint Catherine Laboure was given the penance of a confessor, Father Jean-Marie Aladel, who did not at first believe that his penitent was a chosen soul who had been given to see visions of the heart of the founder of her order, Saint Vincent de Paul, or of Christ the King, no less that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's apparition to her as King of men and their nations had a public as well as personal dimension to it as it portended the fall and abdication of King Charles X and the end of France's hereditary monarchy that had been restored following the final defeat and exile of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815. France, the elder daughter of Holy Mother Church, had become a land of instability. But it was in France nevertheless that Our Lord, Christ the King, sought to make His merciful designs known to "modern" men by means of Our Lady's apparitions in France to Saint Catherine Laboure talked and to Melanie Calvert and Maximim Giraud at LaSalette in 1846 and to Saint Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 and to the seers at Pontmain on January 17, 1871.

Sister Catherine Laboure had an inking that she would see Our Lady on the night of July 18, 1830:

Catherine's heart was bursting with the certainty that grew and swelled within it, the certainty that something was about to happen, something of great moment. Lying wide awake and staring up at the pale whiteness of the bed curtains, she clutched in her hand her piece of that precious surplice [of Saint Vincent de Paul]. She talked to Saint Vincent a long time in her prayers, telling him again of her soul's dearest wish--to see with her own eyes the Blessed Virgin. It was a startling wish, a startling prayer, on the lips of this hard-headed, practical peasant girl, but it can no longer surprise us, who have seen her intense love of the Mother of God take root and burgeon and fructify; nor could it surprise her, who had witnessed the intimate wonders of Heaven, had seen the Lord Himself.

Suddenly, as if struck with an inspiration, she tore the tiny clothing two and swallowed half of it. It was a simple act of devotion, growing out of a simple faith. Sophisticated rationalists might sniff at it as ludicrous superstition, but those whose believing mothers have signed their brows with the sacred wedding ring and given them holy water to drink will understand.

A serene peace came over Catherine. In her mind was a single, confident thought: Tonight I shall see her. Tonight I shall see the Blessed Virgin. She closed her eyes and slept.

She had been sleeping some two hours when a sudden light flickered in the dormitory. The light came from a candle carried by a little child of four or five, a child of extraordinary beauty and so surrounded with radiance that the whiteness of his little gown was dazzling. He approached the bed where Catherine lay. He called her softly:

"Sister Laboure!"

She did not stir. He called again, insistently:

"Sister Laboure!"

She moved a little, his voice had entered her dreams, and sleep was slipping away. Then:

"Sister Laboure!" once more, and Catherine awoke, her eyes big and staring. She turned her head in the direction of the sound. It seemed to come from the door. Through the haze of her bad curtains she saw the brightness. She sat up quickly and drew the curtains. The child said:

"Come to the chapel. The Blessed Virgin awaits you."

Catherine was not frightened. The child had come to take her to Our Lady; it was the moment she had longed for and prayed for, the great part of her life. Only one thought leaping into her mind made her hesitate: "We shall be discovered!"

"Do not be uneasy," the radiant vision answered. "It is half past eleven; everyone is asleep. Come, I am waiting for you."

Catherine jumped out of bed and threw on her clothes. Now, the clothes of a novice Sister of Charity are a complicated bit of costume, and that Catherine could manage them in this highly excitable moment, tying every last ribbon, pinning every last pin, proves as nothing else that she was neither excited, nor upset, nor in ecstasy. She might be going to a rendezvous with Heaven, but the feet that took her there were firmly planted on the earth.

The child led the way to the door and they passed into the hallway. She was amazed to find the hall lights burning.

Down the narrow stairs they went, for the chapel was on the first floor. Catherine's wonder mounted: everywhere the lamps were lit, and yet they met no one. Once or twice, in her eagerness, she hurried ahead of her little guide, then fell back in humble confusion.

Now they were at the chapel, Catherine gasped in astonishment when the heavy door, which must be locked, swung wide open at the child's mere touch. The chapel was ablaze with light! The chandeliers, the candles on the altar, all burned brightly. Why, she thought, it is like a Midnight Mass!

The child moved on into the sanctuary. Obediently, Catherine followed. He stopped by the chair that the Director used when he gave conferences to the Sisters. Instinctively, Catherine knelt.

Nothing happened. The Virgin was not there. The child stood calmly waiting, as if for a cure, as if he were part of a play. The minutes were long and the stillness grew loud with noises: the scurry of a mouse, the cracking of a pew, the distant clatter of a carriage. Catherine shifted on her knees. Anxiously she glanced over her shoulder toward the gallery. The night Sisters, up with the sick, might be passing. But there was no one. Suddenly the child spoke:

"Here is the Blessed Virgin."

In the same instant Catherine heard a sound like the rustling of a silk dress, and, looking toward the direction of the sound, saw a lady descending the altar steps. The lady seated herself in the Director's chair. As she sat there, she reminded Catherine of St. Anne in the picture over the sacristy door. Catherine's eyes flew to the painting and back to the lady. But no, she was not like St. Anne. A doubt clouded the novice's mind. Was this really the Mother of God? The child reassured her:

"This is the Blessed Virgin."

Even this did not allay all her doubts. Was the whole thing a dream, a fancy, of the night? She blushed. The lady was looking at her, waiting. The child spoke again, startling her, for now his voice was a man's voice, deep and commanding and stern. She held back no more, but threw herself at Our Lady's knee and rested her hands in Our Lady's lap. Then she lifted her head and looked up, up into her Mother's eyes. Many years later she was to write with ecstatic remembrance of this moment that it was the sweetest of her life.

"My child," said Our Lady, "the good God wishes to charge you with a mission."

But that could wait. This moment was Catherine's; and Mary went on to tell her of God's plans for her, to warn her of the trails that would come upon her, and to show her how she should bear them.

The good God wished to charge her with a mission. She would meet with many difficulties in carrying it out, but she would overcome the difficulties by thinking upon the glory of God as her reason for doing what He wanted. Most comforting of all, she would know with unerring certainty the Will of God; she would be spiritually secure, for she would recognize at all times what God wanted of her.

"You will be tormented," Our Lady continued, "until you have told him who is charged with directing you. You will be contradicted, but do not fear, you will have grace. Tell with confidence all that passes within you; tell it with simplicity. Have confidence. Do not be afraid."

"You will see certain things: give an account of what you see and hear. You will be inspired in your prayers: give an account of what I tell you and of what you will understand in your prayers."

"The times are very evil. Sorrows will come upon France; the throne will be overturned. The whole world will be upset by miseries of every kind." As she delivered herself of this ominous prophecy, pain crossed the Virgin's face. There was a remedy however:

"Come to the foot of the altar." she indicated the spot. "There graces will be shed upon all, great and little, who ask for them. Graces will be especially shed upon those who ask for them."

"Then the Mother of god turned her attention to the Vincentian Fathers and the Sisters of Charity. "My child, I particularly love to shed graces upon your Community; I love it very much," she said. "It pains me that there are great abuses in regularity, that the rules are not observed, that there is much relaxation in the two Communities. Tell that to him who has charge of you, even though h


On the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Today's great feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary will go unnoticed by most people, including most Catholics, in the world this day, especially given the madness of the moment as a coup d'etat is being engineered by one side of the synagogue to oust its false opposite as a means of keeping the masses distracted and in a state of perpetual agitation. There is no room to think about, no less honor, the Blessed Virgin Mary in such a state of agitation and false conflict.

We know, however, that to dishonor the Blessed Mother is dishonor her Divine Son. It cannot be this way with us. We must honor Our Lady as we pray to her, especially by means of her Most Holy Rosary, that she will present us to her Divine Son at the moment of our deaths.

Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., wrote the following about the history of this great feast day in his The Liturgical Year, teaching us that the King of France, Charles V, understood that nations must give public honor and glory to the Mother of God:

The East had been celebrating for seven centuries at least the entrance of the Mother of God into the temple of Jerusalem, when in 1372 Gregory XI permitted it to be kept for the first time by the Roman court at Avignon. Mary in return broke the chains of captivity that had bound the Papacy for seventy years; and soon the successor of St. Peter returned to Rome. The feast of the Visitation, as we saw on July 2, was in like manner inserted into the Western calendar to commemorate the re-establishment of unity after the schism which followed the exile.

In 1373, following the example of the Sovereign Pontiff, Charles V of France introduced the feast of the Presentation into the chapel of his palace. By letters dated November 10, 1374, the masters and students of the college of Navarre, he expressed his desire that it should be celebrated throughout the kingdom: "Charles, by the grace of God king of the Franks, to our dearly beloved: health in Him who ceases not to honour His Mother on earth. Among other objects of our solicitude, of our daily care and diligent meditation, that which rightly occupies our first thoughts is, that the blessed Virgin and most Holy Empress be honoured by us with very great love and praise as becomes the veneration due to her. For it is our duty to glorify her; and we, who raise the eyes of our soul to her on high, know what an incomparable protectress she is to all, how powerful a mediatrix with her blessed Son, for those who honour her with a pure heart. . . . Wherefore, wishing to excite our faithful people to solemnize the said feast, as we ourselves propose to do by God's assistance every year of our life, we send this Office to your devotion, in order to increase your joy."

Such was the language of princes in those days. Now just at the very time the wise and pious king, following up the work begun at Bretigny by our Lady of Chartres, rescued France from its from its fallen and dismembered condition. In the State, then, as well as in the Church, at this moment so critical for both our Lady in her Presentation commanded the storm, and the smile of the infant Mary dispersed the clouds. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)

Imagine if we had such rulers today as France had in the glories of Christendom! Public honor and glory given to the Mother of God on her feast days.

That would be something worth praising!

Dom Gueranger explained the mystical significance of this day: 

Through the graceful infant now mounting the temple steps He takes possession of that temple whose priests will hereafter disown Him; for this child whom the temple welcomes to-day is His 'throne.' Already His fragrance precedes and announces Him in the Mother in whose bosom He is to be 'anointed with the oil of gladness' as the Christ among His brethren; already the angels hail her as the Queen whose fruitful virginity will give birth to all those consecrated souls who keep for the divine Spouse the 'myrrh' and the incense of their holocausts, those 'daughters of kings' who are to form her court of honour.

But our Lady's Presentation also opens new horizons before the Church. On the Cycle of the saints, which is not so precisely limited as that of the Time, the mystery of Mary's sojourn in the sanctuary of the Old Covenant is our best preparation for the approaching season of Advent. Mary, led to the temple in order to prepare in retirement, humility, and love for her incomparable destiny, had also the mission of perfecting at the foot of the figurative altar the prayer of the human race, of itself ineffectual to draw down the Saviour from heaven. She was, as St. Bernardine of Siena says, the happy completion of all the waiting and the supplication for the coming of the Son of God; in her, as in their culminating-point, all the desires of the saints who had preceded her found their consummation and their term.

Through her wonderful understanding of the Scriptures, and her conformity, daily and hourly, to the minutest teachings and prescriptions of the Mosaic ritual, Mary everywhere found and adored the Messias hidden under the letter; she united herself to Him, immolated herself with Him in each of the many victims sacrificed before her eyes; and thus she rendered to the God of Sinai the homage hitherto vainly expected of the Law understood, practised, and made to fructify in all the fullness that beseemed its divine Legislator. Then could Jehovah truly say: 'As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and return no more thither, but soak the earth and water it, and make it to spring: . . . so shall My word be. . . it shall not return to Me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please.

Supplying thus for the deficiencies of the Gentiles as well as of the Synagogue, Mary behold in the bride of the Canticle of the Church of the future. In our name she addressed her supplications to Him whom she recognized as the Bridegroom, without, however, knowing that He was to be her own Son. Such yearnings of love, coming from her, were sufficient to obtain from the divine Word pardon for the infidelities of the past and the immorality into which the wandering world was plunging deeper and deeper. How well did this ark of the New Covenant replace that of the Jews, which had perished with the first temple! It was for her, though he knew it not, that Herod the Gentile and continued the construction of the second temple after it had remained desolate since the time of Zorobabel; for the temple, like the tabernacle before it, was but the home of the ark destined to be God's throne; but greater was the glory of the second temple which sheltered the reality, than of the first which contained but the figure. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)

The readings for Matins in today’s Divine Office teach us about the generosity of Saints Joachim and Anne and the holy purity of their daughter, the very fairest flower of the human race:

Joachim took to wife that most eminent and praiseworthy woman, Anne. And even as the ancient Hannah, being stricken with barrenness, by prayer and promise became the mother of Samuel, so likewise this woman also through prayer and promise received from God the Mother of God, that in fruitfulness she might not be behind any of the famous matrons. And thus grace (for such is the signification of the name of Anne) is mother of the Lady (for such is the signification of the name of Mary.) And indeed she became the Lady of every creature, since she hath been mother of the Creator. She first saw the light in Joachim's house, hard by the Pool of Bethesda, at Jerusalem, and was carried to the Temple. There planted in the Lord, the dew of His Spirit made her to flourish in the courts of her God, and like a green olive she became a tree, so that all the doves of grace came and lodged in her branches. And so she raised her mind utterly above the lust of life and the lust of the flesh, and kept her soul virgin in her virgin body, as became her that was to receive God into her womb. (Saint John of Damascus, “From the Book Upon the Orthodox Faith,” as found in Matins, Divine Office, Feast of the Presentation of Blessed Virgin Mary.)

Such was Mary that her single life offereth an example to all. If then the doer displease us not, let us applaud the deed; if any other woman seek like reward, let her follow after like works. In the one Virgin how many glorious examples do shine forth. Her's was the hidden treasure of modesty, her's the high standard of faith, her's the self-sacrifice of earnestness, her's to be the pattern of maidenhood at home, of kinswomanhood in ministry, of motherhood in the Temple. O to how many virgins hath she been helpful, how many hath she taken in her arms and presented unto the Lord, saying Here is one who, like me, hath kept stainlessly clean the wedding -chamber, the marriage -bed of my Son!

Why should I go on to speak of the scantiness of her eating, or of the multiplicity of her work? how her labour seemed above human capacity, and her refreshment insufficient for human strength, her toil never missing a moment, her fasting taking two days together. And when she was fain to eat, she took not dainties, but whatsoever food came first to hand that would keep body and soul together. She would not sleep till need was, and even then, while her body rested, her soul watched, for she often talked in her sleep, either repeating things that she had read, or going on with what she was doing before sleep interrupted her, or rehearsing things executed, or talking of things projected. (Saint Ambrose, “The Book Upon Virgins,” as found in Matins, Divine Office, Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.)

It is plain that this was a woman of great earnestness and faith. The Scribes and Pharisees were at once tempting and blaspheming the Lord, but this woman so clearly grasped His Incarnation, and so bravely confessed the same, that she confounded both the lies of the great men who were present, and the faithlessness of the heretics who were yet to come. Even as the Jews then, blaspheming the works of the Holy Ghost, denied the very Son of God Who is of one substance with the Father, so afterwards did the heretics, by denying that Mary always a Virgin did, under the operation of the Holy Ghost, supply flesh to the Only begotten One of God, when He was about being born in an human Body, even so, I say, did the heretics deny that the Son of Man should be called a true Son, Who is of one substance with His Mother.

If we shall say that the Flesh, Wherewith the Son of God was born in the flesh, was something outside of the flesh of the Virgin His Mother, without reason should we bless the womb that bore Him, and the paps which He hath sucked. But the Apostle saith: "God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law", Gal, iv. 4., and they are not to be listened to who read this passage: "Born of a woman, made under the law." He was made of a woman, for He was conceived in a virgin's womb, and took His Flesh, not from nothing, not from elsewhere, but from the flesh of His Mother. Otherwise, and if He had not been sprung of a woman, He could not with truth be called the Son of man. Let us therefore, denying the doctrine of Eutyches, lift up our voice, along with the Universal Church, whereof that woman was a figure, let us lift up our heart as well as our voice from the company, and say unto the Saviour: Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. Blessed Mother, of whom one hath said thou art His Mother, Who reigns over earth and over heaven for ever.

Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it. How nobly doth the Saviour say "Yea" to the woman's blessing, declaring also that not only is she blessed who was meet to give bodily birth to the Word of God, but that all they who spiritually conceive the same Word by the hearing of faith, and, by keeping it through good works, bring it forth and, as it were, carefully nurse it, in their own hearts, and in the hearts of their neighbours, are also blessed. Yea, and that the very Mother of God herself was blessed in being for a while the handmaid of the Word of God made Flesh, but that she was much more blessed in this, that through her love she keepeth Him for ever. (Homily by the Venerable Bede, as found in Matins, Divine Office, Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.)

At a time when even fully believing Catholics to look to Protestant and/or secular “conservative” commentators for ways to understand the problems of the world, we must never look to anyone for "advice" on First or Last Things who cannot make these words of Dom Prosper Gueranger his own, who cannot make his own this prayer uttered by the great Benedictine of the Nineteenth Century:

'Congratulate me, all ye that love the Lord, because when I was a little one I pleased the Most High.' Such is the invitation thou addressed to us, O Mary, in the Office chanted in thy honour; and on what feast couldst thou do so more appropriately?

When, even more little in thy humility than by thy tender age, thou didst mount, in thy sweet purity, the steps of the temple, all heaven must have owned that it was henceforth just for the Most High to take His delight in our earth. Having hitherto lived in retirement with thy blessed parents, this was thy first public act; it showed thee for a moment to the eyes of men, only to withdraw thee immediately into deeper obscurity. But as thou wast officially offered and presented to the Lord, He Himself doubtless, surrounded by the princes of His court, presented thee not less solemnly to those noble spirits as their Queen. In the fullness of the new light that then burst upon them, they understood at once thy incomparable greatness, the majesty of the temple where Jehovah was receiving a homage superior to that of their nine choirs, and the august prerogative of the Old Testament to have thee for its daughter, and to perfect, by its teachings and guidance during those twelve years, the formation of the Mother of God.

Holy Church, however, declares that we can imitate thee, O Mary, in this mystery of thy Presentation, as in all others. Deign to bless especially those privileged souls who, by the grace of their vocation, are even here below dwellers in the house of the Lord; may they be like that fruitful olive enriched by the holy Spirit, to which St. John Damascene compares thee. But is not every Christian, by reason of his Baptism, an indweller and a member of the Church. God's true sanctuary, prefigured by that of Moriah? May we through thy intercession, follow thee so closely in thy Presentation even here in the land of shadows, that we may deserve to be presented after thee to the Most High in the temple of His glory.  (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)

We must offer up our prayers and our sacrifices and humiliations and mortifications and penances to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, praying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit, so that every human being on the face of this earth will recognize in the Mother of God the Singular Vessel of Devotion without whose intercession we cannot get to Heaven and whose Immaculate Heart will indeed triumph in the end.

Viva Cristo ReyVivat Christus Rex!

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.


Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.



The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as found in The New Engish Edition of The Mystical City of God

412. Among the types which foreshadowed most holy Mary in the written law none was more expressive than the Ark of the Covenant, not only due to the material of which it was constructed and its contents, but also due to the purposes for which it served and the effects which the Lord wrought through it and in connection with it in the ancient synagogue. It was all a prototype of this Lady and of what She was to do in the new Church of the Gospel. The incorruptible setim wood of which it was made (Ex. 25:10), not by chance but by divine arrangement, typified clearly our mystical ark Mary, free from the corruption of actual sin and from the hidden worminess of original guilt with its inseparable ferment of disorderly passions. The finest and purest gold (Ib. 11) which covered it on the outside and inside certainly indicated the most perfect and exalted graces and gifts which shone forth in her heavenly thoughts, her works and activities, and her habits and the operations of her faculties, so in no exterior or interior part of this mystical Ark could anything be discerned which at any moment of time was not entirely covered by gold of the most exquisite and finest carat.

413. The stone tablets of the law, the vase of manna, and the miraculous staff (Heb. 9:4) which that ancient Ark contained and preserved cannot be surpassed in expressive significance of the eternal and incarnate Word enclosed within that living Ark, most holy Mary, for He was her Onlybegotten Son, the living foundation stone of the evangelical Church (I Cor. 3:11). In this virginal ark of Mary was placed the corner stone (Eph. 2:20) which was to join the Gentiles and the Jews, and was cut from the mountain of his eternal generation (Dan. 2:34), so in Him would be written by the finger of God the new law of grace; thus it is understood this great Queen was to be the Depositary of all God provided and operated for his creatures. She also enclosed within Herself the manna of the Divinity and of grace, and the power and staff of prodigies and wonders; hence this heavenly and mystical Ark alone contained the fountain of grace, which is the being of God himself, overflowing onto the rest of mortals, that in Her and through Her would be worked the marvels and prodigies of the arm of God. In Mary therefore all the Lord desired to operate and manifest is contained and deposited.

414. Thus the Ark of the Testament (not of itself, but due to the truth which it foreshadowed) served as the seat and footstool of propitiation (Ex. 26:34), where the Lord was seated in the tribunal of his mercies to listen to his people, answer them, and distribute his gifts and favors, for the ancient Ark typified most holy Mary, the throne of grace and the true mystical propitiatory which He had expressly made for his indwelling. Thus it seems the tribunal of the divine justice remains in God himself, while the propitiatory and the tribunal of his mercy was placed in Mary, in order that to Her, as to a throne of grace,* we can approach in assured confidence to present our petitions for those benefits, graces and mercies which outside of the great Queen Mary are unheard of and unattainable by the human race.

415. Such a sacred and mysterious Ark, constructed by the hands of the Lord himself for his habitation and as the propitiatory of his people, could not remain with propriety outside of his temple where was preserved that other material Ark, which was only a figure of this spiritual and true Ark of the New Testament. Therefore its Author ordained for Her to be placed in his house and temple as soon as the first three years of her infancy would be completed. But I am astonished to find a wonderful difference in regard to that which happened with the primitive and figurative Ark and that which came to pass with the second and true Ark of the Covenant; for though the ancient Ark had no other importance than that of presignifying most pure Mary and the mysteries connected with Her, when king David transferred it to different places, and when afterwards Solomon his son placed it in the temple as in its proper place of rest, all was done with great festivities and rejoicings of that ancient people, as is shown by the solemn processions arranged by David from the house of Abinadab to the house of Obededom (II Kg. 6:10), and thence to the tabernacle of Sion, his own city (Ib. 12); likewise when Solomon transferred it from Sion to the new temple (III Kg. 8:5) which he had built as the house of God and of prayer by the command of the Lord.

416. On all these occasions the ancient Ark of the Testament was borne along in public veneration and most solemn celebrations, amid the strains of music, dancing, sacrifices, the rejoicings of the kings and of the whole people of Israel, as is related in the sacred history of books II and III of Kings and I and II of Paralipomenon. But our true and mystical Ark, most holy Mary, although She was the most precious, the most estimable and venerable of all the creatures, was not brought to the temple with such solemn show and public ostentation; during the transferring of this mysterious Ark the sacrifice of animals and the royal pomp and majesty were missing. She was carried from the house of her father Joachim in the arms of her humble mother Anne, who though she was not very poor wanted to bear her beloved Daughter on her arms in order to present Her in the temple without ostentation of riches, alone and unnoticed by the people. All the glory and majesty of this procession the Most High desired to be divine and invisible. All the sacraments and mysteries of most holy Mary are so exalted and hidden that according to the inscrutable decrees of the Lord many of them are concealed to this day. He it is who holds in his hands the time and the hour for the revelation of all things and of each one in particular.

417. Lost in admiration of this wonder, prostrate in the presence of the Most High and in the praise of his high judgments, I was favored by His Majesty with the following explanation: “Understand, soul, that if I provided that the Ark of the Old Testament be venerated with so much festivity and outward show, it was because it was an express figure of Her who was to be the Mother of the incarnate Word. The first Ark was material and irrational, and this ostentation and celebrity could be arranged for it without difficulty; but during her life on earth in mortal flesh I would not permit such celebration in connection with the true and living Ark, for thou and the rest of the souls are to look upon Her as an example during thy pilgrimage. I do not desire those who are written in my memory for eternal election to expect honors and the inconsiderate praise and applause of men as a part of their reward for working in my honor and service during mortal life; nor must they be put in danger of dividing the love of their God, who justifies them and makes them saints, with those who praise them as such. One is the Creator who has made them and sustains them, illumines and defends them; therefore one must be their love and attention, and it must not be partitioned or divided, even though it be to repay and give thanks for the honors which with pious zeal are given to the just. The love of God is delicate, while the human will is most frail and limited; if it is divided it can only be small and very imperfect in its activity, swiftly losing all. Because of this doctrine I did not desire Her, the exemplar of what was most holy, and who due to my protection could not fall, to be renowned or specially honored during her life, nor was She to be brought to the temple amid the outward show of honor.

418. “Beyond this, I have sent my Onlybegotten from heaven and have created Her who was to be his Mother for the very purpose of drawing the world from its error and undeceiving mortals, among whom is the most iniquitous law established by sinners that the poor are to be despised and the rich esteemed; that the humble are to be cast down and the proud extolled; the virtuous are to be harshly criticized and the sinner accredited; the timorous and shy are to be considered as foolish and the arrogant to be held as valiant; poverty should be considered as ignominious and unfortunate, while riches, fortunes, ostentation, pomposity, honors, and perishable pleasures should be sought and prized by ignorant and carnal men. All this the incarnate Word and his Mother in coming among them were to reprove and condemn as deceitful and false, so mortals could perceive the formidable danger of loving and devoting themselves so blindly to the deceitful lie of the sensible and delightful. Through this insensate love it happens that they sopersistently flee from humility, meekness and poverty, and evade all that pertains to the true virtue of penance and abnegation of self; yet these virtues are truly acceptable in my eyes and according to my justice, for the holy, the honorable, and the just actions are to be rewarded with eternal glory, whereas the contrary ones are to be visited with everlasting punishment.

 419. “This truth earthly and carnal eyes do not see, nor do they desire to attend to the light which teaches them. But thou, soul, listen to it and write it in thy heart by the example of the incarnate Word and his Mother, and imitate them in all things. She was holy, and in my estimation and pleasure first after Christ; to Her was due all the veneration and honor of men, and even more than they could give; yet I provided and ordained in her regard that She receive no honor or recognition at that time in order to place in Her the most holy, the most perfect, the most estimable and secure example for my elect to have in order to imitate and learn from the Mistress of truth, this example being her humility, obscurity, retirement, contempt for the deceitful and formidable vanity of the world, her love of labors, tribulations, insults, afflictions,and dishonors inflicted by creatures. And because all of this is incompatible with and improper for the applause, honors and estimation of the worldly, I decreed most pure Mary would not have them, nor do I desire my friends to receive or allow them. If for my glory it sometimes happens that they become known to the world, it is not because they have desired it or looked for it, but because they, always remaining in the humility and sentiment proper to their state, resign themselves to my disposition and will. For themselves and as far as they are concerned they seek and love that which the world despises and which the incarnate Word and his most holy Mother strove after and have taught.” This was the answer which the Lord gave to my wondering inquiry, and thus did He instruct me in regard to what I should seek and strive after. 

420. The three years decreed by the Lord having been completed, Joachim and Anne set out from Nazareth accompanied by a few of their kindred and bringing with them the true living Ark of the Covenant, most holy Mary, borne on the arms of her mother in order to be deposited in the holy temple of Jerusalem. The beautiful Child, by her fervent and loving aspirations, hastened after the ointments of her Beloved (Cant. 1:3), seeking in the temple Him whom She bore in her Heart. This humble procession was scarcely noticed by earthly creatures, but it was invisibly accompanied by the angelic spirits, who in order to celebrate this event had hastened from heaven in greater numbers than usual as her bodyguard, and were singing in heavenly strains the glory and praise of the Most High. The Princess of heaven heard and saw them as She hastened her beautiful steps along in the sight of the highest and the true Solomon. Thus they pursued their journey from Nazareth to the holy city of Jerusalem, and also the parents of the holy child Mary felt in their hearts great joy and consolation of spirit. 

 421. They arrived at the holy temple, and St. Anne, in order to enter into it with her Daughter and Lady, took Her by the hand, St. Joachim giving particularly assistance to them. All three offered a devout and fervent prayer to the Lord, the parents offering to God their Daughter, and the most holy Child, in profound humility, adoration and worship, offering up Herself. She alone perceived that the Most High received and accepted Her, and amid divine splendor which filled the temple She heard a voice saying to Her: “Come, my Beloved, my Spouse, come to my temple, where I desire to hear thy voice of praise and worship.” Having offered their prayers they rose and went to the priest. The parents consigned their Child into his hands and he gave them his blessing. Together they conducted Her to the portion of the temple buildings where many young girls lived to be brought up in retirement and virtuous habits until old enough to assume the state of matrimony. It was a place of retirement specially selected for the first-born daughters of the royal tribe of Juda and the sacerdotal tribe of Levi.

422. Fifteen stairs led up to the entrance of these apartments. Other priests came down these stairs in order to welcome the blessed child Mary. The one who had received them, being according to the law one of a minor order, placed Her on the first step; She, with his permission, turned and knelt down before her parents Joachim and Anne, asked their blessing and kissed their hands, and recommended Herself to their prayers before God. The holy parents in most tender tears gave Her their blessing, whereupon She ascended the fifteen stairs without any assistance. She hastened upward with incomparable fervor and joy, neither turning back, nor shedding tears, nor showing any childish regret at parting from her parents. To see Her in so tender an age so full of strange majesty and firmness of mind excited the admiration of all those present. The priests received Her among the rest of the maidens, and St. Simeon consigned Her to the teachers, one of whom was the prophetess Anne. This holy matron had been prepared by the Lord by special grace and enlightenment in order to take charge of this Child of Joachim and Anne, and thus she did by divine disposition, meriting by her holiness and virtue to have Her as a disciple who was to be the Mother of God and Mistress of all the creatures.

423. Sorrowfully her parents Joachim and Anne retraced their journey to Nazareth, now poor since deprived of the rich Treasure of their house. But the Most High consoled and comforted them in their affliction. The holy priest Simeon, though he did not at this time know of the mystery enshrined in the child Mary, obtained great light regarding her sanctity and special selection by the Lord; also the other priests looked upon Her with great reverence and esteem. In ascending the fifteen stairs the Child brought to fulfillment that which Jacob saw happening in sleep (Gen. 28:12), for here too were Angels ascending and descending, the ones accompanying, the others meeting their Queen as She hastened up, whereas at the top God was waiting in order to welcome Her as his Daughter and Spouse. She also felt by the effects of her overflowing love that this truly was the house of God and the portal of heaven.

424. The child Mary when brought to her teacher knelt in profound humility before her and asked her blessing. She begged to be admitted among those under her direction, obedience and counsel, and asked her kind forbearance in the labor and trouble which She would occasion. The prophetess Anne, her teacher, received Her with pleasure and said to Her: “My daughter, Thou shalt find in me a helpful mother, and I will take care of Thee and thy education with all possible solicitude.” Then the holy Child proceeded to address Herself with the same humility to all the maidens who were then present; each one She greeted and embraced, offering Herself as their servant and requesting them, as older and more advanced than She in the duties of their position, to instruct and command Her. She also gave them thanks that without her merit they admitted Her to their company.


425. My daughter, the greatest happiness which can befall any soul in this mortal life is for the Almighty to call her to his house consecrated to his service, for by this benefit He rescues the soul from a dangerous slavery and relieves her of the vile servitude of the world where, deprived of true liberty, she eats her bread in the sweat of her brow (Gen. 3:19). Who is so dull and insipid as not to know the dangers of the worldly life, which is hampered by all the abominable and most wicked laws and customs introduced by the astuteness of the devil and the perversity of men? The best part is religious life and retirement; in it is found security, while outside is a torment and a stormy sea, full of sorrow and unhappiness. Through the hardness of their heart and the total forgetfulness of themselves men do not know this truth and are not attracted by its blessings. But thou, my daughter, be not deaf to the voice of the Most High; attend and correspond to it in thy actions. I desire to remind thee that one of the greatest snares of the demon is to counteract the call of the Lord whenever He seeks to attract and incline the soul to a life of perfection in his service.

426. Even by itself the public and sacred act of receiving the habit and entering religion, although it is not always performed with proper fervor and purity of intention, is enough to rouse the wrath and fury of the infernal dragon and his demons, for they know this act tends not only to the glory of the Lord and the joy of the holy angels, but also that religious life will bring the soul to holiness and perfection. It very often happens that they who have received the habit with earthly and human motives are afterwards visited by divine grace which perfects them and sets all things aright. If this is possible even when the beginning was without a good intention, how much more powerful and efficacious will be the light and influence of grace and the discipline of religious life when the soul enters under the influence of divine love and with a sincere and earnest desire of finding God and serving and loving Him?

427. Before the Most High reforms or advances those who for any reason enter the religious state, it is no more than right that in turning away from the world they avert also their eyes from it and blot out from their memory all its images, forgetting all they have in so praiseworthy a manner left behind. Those who neglect this requirement and are ungrateful and disloyal toward God will undoubtedly fall under the punishment of the wife of Lot (Gen. 19:26), and if due to the goodness of God they do not suffer this punishment in an equally open and visible manner, they nevertheless undergo it interiorly, remaining congealed and full of dryness, without fervor or advance in virtue. Forsaken by grace they thus do not attain the end of their vocation and make no progress in religion, nor find any spiritual consolation in it, and do not merit to be visited by the Lord as children, but rather to be left to their own resources like unfaithful and fugitive slaves. Remember, Mary, that for thee all the world must be crucified and dead; thou must have for it no memory, retain none of its images, pay it no attention, nor have any inclination toward any of its creatures. If sometimes it is necessary to exercise charity with thy neighbor, make sure to ordain it well and safeguard beforehand the good of thy soul, its security and quiet, and its interior tranquility and peace. In these points, as far as possible without sin, I admonish and command thee to go to the greatest extremes if thou dost desire to remain in my school. (As found in  The New English Editon of The Mystical City of Good: The Conception: Book 2, Chapter 1.)


'Brit Milah Ban Will End Jewish Communities In Europe'

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of CER, says that Jews in Europe are 'collateral damage' of Muslim immigration. Arutz Sheva spoke wit

Amazon Removes Auschwitz Christmas Ornaments, Bottle Openers After Outrage

Auschwitz, the former Nazi concentration camp.

Holocaust-themed Christmas ornaments, bottle openers and Valentine’s Day keychains being sold on Amazon ignited public outcry on Sunday, with a memorial and museum for the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp calling the items inappropriate and disrespectful.

“Selling ‘Christmas ornaments’ with images of Auschwitz does not seem appropriate,” the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum tweeted while sharing photos of the items. “Auschwitz on a bottle opener is rather disturbing and disrespectful.”

Though some of the items were quickly removed from the website, the former concentration camp’s memorial flagged several others that remained for sale.

These items included a mouse pad and a light switch cover, which were both described by the seller as “Massacre Auschwitcz (sic) Birkenau Jewish Death.” A couples’ Valentine’s Day keychain set featuring a photo of a freight car that was used to deport Jews for extermination was also not immediately removed.

Valentine's Day key chains featuring a photo of a train car that deported Jews for extermination remained for sale on Sunday.

“All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account,” an Amazon spokesperson told HuffPost while confirming the removal of several of the items pointed out by the memorial on Twitter.

The remaining items, which were alerted to the spokesperson by HuffPost, would be reviewed for removal, they said.

The vendors hawking the Holocaust-themed merchandise appear to sell generic items that feature different stock photos, often of famous locations. Contact information for the sellers was not readily available, so HuffPost was unable to reach them for comment. 

The products’ discovery comes a little more than a week after luxury fashion brand Loewe pulled a black and white striped ensemble from its shelves after it was compared to the uniforms worn by prisoners at Nazi concentration camps.

The Spanish designer said it was “never our intention” to evoke memories of the Holocaust through the design.


Levenson, who wrote the musical’s book


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Karl Marx: The Philosophical, Activist, Economist Layers Overlap. They Always Overlap

**3.4.4) The Layers Overlap**: Marx’s First Published Essay: You can see all three of these layers in Marx’s first published essay, _On the Jewish Question_. There is the German-philosophical layer: interrogating the concept of what it means to be free. There is the French-activist layer: how to organize and legislate to attain freedom. And there is the British-economist layer: the real problems lie in the economy, and how the workings of the economy drive people to be cruel to each other in spite of society’s overall prosperity. In On the Jewish Question Marx is pro-freedom. Jews are seeking equal rights. Many (including Marx’s about to be ex-friend Bruno Bauer) claimed that Germany was a Christian country in which Jews had no standing to ask for equal rights until they joined it—that is, became Christian—and then work for separation of state from church. Marx disagreed, stating that Jews’ status as Jews ought not to in any way be a bar to political emancipation. But, Marx went on to write, political emancipation is not full human emancipation. In order to accomplish that, we need to transform the economy so that it no longer oppresses people. **Marx’s Antisemitism**: And then Marx’s argument becomes...


JK are you a Jewish Pharisee? Because that scripture in Luke 10:23 that you’re referring to, Jesus was talking to the Pharisees. Keep in context who Jesus was speaking to? Are you also going to circumcise yourself and every church member?, because that’s what the Jews also required IN THE LAW! The biggest Scripture, and I’ve heard it for over 30 years, is from Malachi chapter 3, which by the way, again in CONTEXT, was talking to a backslidden nation of Israel. The Jews WHO WERE NOT KEEPING THE LAW OF TITHING TO PAY THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD. The real way of NEW TESTAMENT giving is found in 2 Corinthians 8:16-9:15. NOT LUKE 10:23. You’re wrong in your suspicions, sir. I do give, but according to how Paul instructed me to give. Have a nice day.

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