Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the riot which occurred in Ephesus when the silversmith Demetrius became alarmed that the apostle Paul was endangering the local economy, indicates that Rome had zero-tolerance for any activity disturbing the tranquility of Empire. That state of affairs clashes significantly with the modern American regard for free speech, in which protests against President Trump, police brutality, abortion, NFL player's kneeling because of perceived brutality against blacks, homophobia, killing whales, etc. abound. The chaotic circus continues because Americans have a high regard for free speech. God, on the other hand, shows little tolerance for incessant grumbling, complaining, or murmuring. God consistently warns His People to avoid keeping company with rebels lest they become like them. "Acting out" in protest is unacceptable behavior on the part of a faithful, God-fearing Child of God.
Richard Ritenbaugh, pointing out that, while the Democrats and the spin machine of the mainstream media have obsessed with the fake Russian collusion narrative, they ignore extremely more important world events. The conflagration on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the only place where Jews do not have control, has flared out of control. Because of recently installed metal detectors, vindictive Palestinians murdered two Israeli policemen and a defenseless Israeli family sitting down to their Sabbath meal, allegedly to 'protect the honor' of Al-Haramal-Sharif, the 'noble' shrine of Islam. While the leftist 'progressive' media obsess on the phony Russian collusion and the bogus Climate Change narratives, the Middle East has become embroiled in a deadly new intifada, with angry haters of Jacob's descendants unleashing unending hamas (the word meaning violence in Hebrew) on the descendants of Judah. Obadiah16 prophesies that the hate-filled, spiteful descendants of Edom (Palestinians) will ignite a deadly holocaust bringing an unprecedented blood bath to the already blood-stained Middle East. In the meantime, the clueless American mainstream media will faithfully quadruple down on the Russia narrative.
John Ritenbaugh continues to reflect on Stephen's incendiary message to fellow Hellenistic Jews (ostensibly given in hopes of their repentance), chastising them for their perennial rejection of prophets and deliverers, including the greatest Deliverer ever sent (namely Jesus Christ), clinging instead superstitiously to the land, the law, and the temple. Stephen's 'untimely' martyrdom and his compassion on his persecutors, followed by the protest reaction against his brutal murder (all part of God's divine plan) resulted in a rapid spreading of the Gospel. The study then focuses upon the influence of Simon Magus, a noted practitioner of sorcery or magic who became impressed with the power of God's Holy Spirit, presumptuously offering Peter money to purchase this power for selfish purposes to control others rather than to serve them. Peter recognized the hypocritical, deceitful, impure motives of this request and responded appropriately.
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