John Ritenbaugh, marveling about the chutzpah of the George Soros funded 'spontaneous' demonstrations of clueless millennials throwing temper tantrums, points out that the Democratic Party has hemorrhaged uncontrollably during the last two presidential elections, losing governorships, statehouses, both houses of congress, and now the Presidency, making it the first time since 1922 that the GOP has controlled both houses of the national Legislature. The critics of the electoral college forget the rationale for its institution—namely that Los Angeles and New York City would not be able to cram wills down the throats of America's clear majority. The popular vote may have been compromised by the high volume of illegal aliens voting (encouraged by President Obama), the high number of felons voting (Virginia's Governor Terry McAuliffe allowed 200,000 felons to vote), and the deliberately uncounted absentee ballots, calling into question whether Hillary did win the popular vote.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: And that word'or buzzword'ladies and gentlemen, is "change. ...
Richard Ritenbaugh, analyzing the news about the open position on the Supreme Court, suggests that the upcoming appointment could possibly tilt the court in favor of conservatives for the first time in decades. Senator Orrin Hatch's hint that Amy Coney Barrett, a staunch Roman Catholic and a Professor at Notre Dame Law School, may be the President's nominee, leaves abortion activists and gay marriage advocates running scared. As the far-left attempted to editorially lynch Clarence Thomas, they will also relentlessly skewer Barrett, who is no feminist. Even if she should be seated on the Court, three caveats suggest that the tilt back to morality may be blunted: First, the 1973 Supreme Court which upheld Roe vs. Wade had a moderate to conservative tilt. Second, politics rather than the Constitution has been playing an increasingly larger role in the decisions rendered by judges. And third, the justices may find themselves squeamish to take an abortion case, caving in as John Roberts did on compulsory insurance.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting upon C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, in which the seasoned demon Screwtape instructs the novice demon Wormwood on the best practices to corrupt mankind, advocating a gradual piecemeal corruption (like a frog boiling to death as the water incrementally rises from simmering to boiling), suggests that the leadership of the current government, beginning with the President and his handlers, is enacting Executive orders to box in the citizenry, preparing to restrict the movements of all enemies of the State. On July 1, 2014, President Obama, evidently savvy about the impending collapse of the dollar, placed a hold on the money retirees have earned over a lifetime by calling Social Security payments a "benefit" or "government gratuity" instead of recognizing it as money that has been hard-earned. Government has also thumbed its nose at Almighty God, forbidding churches and organizations which 'receive financial help' from the government to discriminate against homosexuals and other individuals who manifest lifestyles condemned in the Scriptures. An extremely ignorant, partisan, corrupt Federal judge in Kentucky deceitfully asserted that "long held beliefs" do not trump the Constitution (a document which is ironically silent about 'homosexual rights' or any other perversion.)
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting upon what America is becoming as a nation in comparison with the way America was at the time of the American Revolution, concludes that the Founding Fathers, largely Deists by religious philosophy, had an exponentially larger proportion of intestinal fortitude than our current apathetic populace, intimidated by the imperial regime now holding the White House. The tax that King George levied upon the colonies was about 1%—infinitesimally smaller than the burdensome tribute paid for Obamacare. Even though America, in the main, could hardly be called a "Christian " country, the original pilgrims and separatists did indeed come over to this country seeking religious freedom and thrived in the climate of free enterprise. When King George imposed the trifling tax on the colonies, the Puritans were ready to align with the Deist leaders to throw off the yoke of the most powerful nation on the earth at that time. God apparently used this friction to pragmatically separate Ephraim and Manasseh. The timidity and apathy expressed by our citizenry today is a far cry from the bravery of the Colonists.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the vituperative narrative emanating from mainstream news outlets, as well as analyzing Mike Lofgren's book, The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government, warns us that there is to be sure a Deep State. According to Lofgren, the political party in power lacks independence. The Deep State has long existed in Britain and America, ostensibly to maintain government stability during military and economic crises. It has always been made up of an 'elite insiders club,' an association of governmental and corporate elements capable of governing without the consent of the governed. Regrettably, the danger of the military-industrial complex, referred to by President Eisenhower as he left office, has materialized. Deep State operatives have infiltrated the Department of Justice, the CIA, the FBI, the mainstream media, all entities which are fighting for their own survivals. With the populist revolt bringing Brexit in Britain and the election of Donald Trump, temporarily crimping the Deep State's agenda of drawing America into the Beast Power, the Deep State has turned especially dangerous, threatening to destroy the liberties formerly enjoyed by Jacob's descendants.
John Ritenbaugh, citing Zach Carter's article in the Huffington Post, in which James Comey explained why the rich and powerful, like Hillary Clinton, are not prosecuted for felonies which would place the average citizen behind bars, concludes that for many years, our nation's lawmakers have drafted two sets of laws—one for the wealthy and influential and another set for the poor and lower social rank, especially the black community. Possessing crack cocaine in the hood or ghetto will bring an offender a lengthy prison sentence, while a suburbanite white snorter, using powdered cocaine, having greater legal resources (such as, expensive career trial layers) gets off with a slap on the wrist. This disparity of legal protection has been practiced for more than a century; if you are famous enough or wealthy enough, you walk free; the general goes free; the private goes to jail. Hillary Clinton was clearly guilty of criminal intent, but was not prosecuted because the rich and powerful protect one another. When whistle blowers have identified instances of felonious behavior among high ranking governmental figures, the Obama administration has harassed and threatened them. America's legal system, showing partiality to the wealthy, famous, and powerful, has already been condemned by God's standards, and will be accountable for the evil it has brought upon our people.
John Ritenbaugh, comparing two social movements for which we did not volunteer, namely (1) our calling into the Kingdom of God and (2) our birth into our socio-cultural milieu, asks us if we really want to continue with the one we were born into. Former President Jimmy Carter and Former Undersecretary of the Treasury under the Reagan Administration, Paul Craig Roberts, adamantly warn that we are no longer a representative democracy, but an oligarchy taken over by thugs, whose evil economic policies have put us into serfdom in our own country. Very few politicians have maintained their integrity under the vile corruption which has eroded and all but destroyed our Constitution, leaving in its place the pathetic conditions, described by Isaiah, in which children are our oppressors and women rule over us. This deplorable situation apparently cannot be corrected by the voting booth, but only through revolution. The President and the Supreme Court know they can roll roughshod over the Constitution because they have gotten away with it before. What neither one of them knows is that God has the ultimate word about everything, always sovereign over time, and will allow the consequences to befall our people for breaking His Holy Law. God is taking away our liberties because of immorality.
John Ritenbaugh, continuing his series on "A Government to Fear," contends that our current government has changed for the worse in the past 50 years, incrementally acquiring the modus operandi of tyrannical collective dictatorships like Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Our governmental leaders have been following a socio-cultural cycle that has operated for millennia. When a group of people attain dominance (as is rapidly taking place under the humanist progressives), they seek to marginalize and eventually destroy all opponents. Currently, Tea Party activists and practicing Christians are becoming caricatured as buffoons and idiots, subjected to vicious name-calling and vilifying. In time, these stages will be followed by others, leading to criminalization and ultimately to the "final solution" or extermination. The willful media accomplices are participating in creating a kind of sinister doublespeak, creating new definitions for hate speech. The movers and shakers of the current government know that whoever controls the language controls the debate; whoever controls the debate controls the law; whoever controls the law controls the government; whoever controls the government controls the people. We need to shake ourselves from the infectious torpor and apathy of the beguiled American citizenry now being incrementally enslaved.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: When did the world stop making sense? Perhaps it has not made much sense for a long while, but lately it seems to have taken a definite turn toward the nonsensical, especially here in the United States. ...
America's presidential primary season has brought voting in political elections to the fore once again. Because it is not directly mentioned in Scripture, people often ask if voting is biblically condoned. Martin Collins, beginning a short series of Bible Studies, re-asks the question in its most basic form for a true Christian: Would Jesus Vote?
Richard Ritenbaugh, challenging the 'progressive' agitators' demand that plastic straws be banned, examines the charge that plastic straws massively destroy wildlife and fill our oceans with trash. Objective analysis of land- and ocean-based repositories of debris consistently show the presence of plastic straws to be statistically insignificant. The great Pacific garbage patch, twice the size of the state of Texas and nine feet deep, is actually composed of discarded fishing nets, floats, traps, crates, junk from the Japanese Tsunami, and industrial waste by the East. Plastic straws contributed virtually nothing to this garbage pile. Yet legislators in California, Canada, and Great Britain seek to criminalize plastic straws (with the California Legislature assigning jail time for dispensing them in restaurants), while encouraging the use of adult "sippy cups" which, ironically, exacerbates the real pollution problem. The environmentalist warriors do not really want to "save the planet" so much as they want to promote group-think. This latest example of governmental overreach should be the final straw of this nonsensical narrative involving political correctness.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: The federal government just did the state of North Carolina a big favor. ...
Martin G. Collins: A news headline this week reads, "7 States Begin Fiscal Year With No Budget. ...
As the election approaches in the United States, many are proclaiming this to be the most important election in generations. While it may seem to be the height of patriotism to cast a ballot, Martin Collins shows that Christians are urged to refrain from interfering in the politics of this world, following the example of Jesus during His life and ministry.
John Ritenbaugh observes that, even though Western (Israelitish) governments are comparatively less tyrannical than their Gentile counterparts, they too have their ways of establishing influence over the populace. Gentile governments have historically exterminated more human beings than have disease or natural causes combined. Sadly, the American government is moving toward a Gentile-type tyranny at the helm of a President who does not share Western values. Aside from the mystery and confusion of his birth origin, President Obama spent a large portion of his formative life outside of the United States, absorbing Muslim and collectivist values and loyalties. He has never been a product of the ghetto (even though he has appealed to that segment of American society); he has been a product of an upper middle class family with loyalties to Marxist socialism, intending to 'transform' this country into a collectivist state with decidedly Gentile ways of dealing with its clientele, including destroying the opposition by vilification, criminalization, and ultimate extermination. The current far left Democrat Party plan of 'exporting' millions of children from South America into the United States is to create a population of dependents beholden to the 'benevolent' ruling party. The leaders of this same party, having adopted the political correctness poison from the secular progressives, establishing homosexual unions, radical feminism, and a tolerance for mass murder of infants (abortion), now are playing the Republican Party like a violin. For the past half century, the progressives have had almost complete control of public education, softening the culture for the acceptance of socialism and collectivism though political correct Orwellian doublespeak. The handwriting is on the wall, forecasting dangerous times ahead for Christians.
On the surface, socialist policies promise to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and provide for the poor, but these good things are not what socialism ultimately delivers. Richard Ritenbaugh cites the examples of twentieth-century socialist nations to expose the corrupt, controlling heart of socialism.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the shameless government 'bailout' last week, suggests that blatant extortion and bribery were the raw motivating forces behind this unconscionable economic debacle. Prominent United States Senators deferred their 'moral' principles in order to get tax breaks for their constituents (for improving NASCAR facilities, to provide special favor for wooden arrows, and bribing the film industry to work within the United States rather than outsource their work internationally) making disgusting amoral pragmatic choices, tantamount to outright extortion and thievery. The bribe seems to be the magic elixir designed to turn a moral man into a pragmatic amoral man. The European economic powers, following the example of greed of their American tutors, contributed to throwing the world's economic systems into a global panic and turmoil.
John Ritenbaugh, focusing on the 16th word in the American Pledge of Allegiance, "Republic" asserts that the United States is thankfully not a democracy (that is, popular or "mob" rule) but instead a representative republic in which citizens elect representatives to establish public policy. The Founders deliberately chose this system of governance, realizing that democratic procedures invariably led to confusion and chaos. The Founders established a "non-political" Supreme Court to act as a safeguard against rash, unconstitutional policies. While the Founders conceived of the Justices as conservative-minded Constitutionalists who deeply respected established jurisprudence, a number of important Justices in the Twentieth Century have turned to Count into a body whose mission is to determine public policy regarding prayers in public schools, abortion rights, definitions of marriage, and the such. These humanist Justices moved the United Stated from a God-fearing to a secular nation. In the crucial Supreme Court hearings currently taking place, the pendulum could swing back to a more conservative position for the first time since the New Deal.
David C. Grabbe: The congregation at Colossae was being troubled by people who likely once had spiritual understanding but who had become enemies of Christ, having chosen to focus on the physical and temporal rather than the benefits and obligations of their heavenly citizenship.. ...
John Ritenbaugh, continuing his commentary entitled "A Government to Fear," reiterates that the secular-progressives have had great success demanding that the civil courts rebuke people acting on matters of conscience, while at the same time they are destroying school prayer, removing replicas of the Ten Commandments from public institutions, enforcing abortion (murder), feminism, homosexuality, and lesbianism with a defiant, cavalier, in-your-face haughtiness, claiming that the doctrines of the Bible are out of date. The 'religious' communities of America are so hopelessly biblically ignorant that they have learned to tolerate wickedness and immorality, accepting it as a norm, putting a stamp of approval of an Executive and Congress which lie as a way of life." Today, our courts have tilted away from the concept of equal justice before the law to a tyrannical jurisprudence which endorses and enforces wickedness and immorality.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates the warnings of former President Jimmy Carter and former Under Secretary of the Treasury under the Reagan Administration, Paul Craig Roberts, that we, no longer a representative democracy, have become an oligarchy, ruled as we are by a gang of unprincipled thugs who over the past several decades have turned us into a nation of helpless serfs. The "major transformation" of this country by the Obama Administration has made Americans slaves in their own household, piling up debtor status and bondage to foreign powers for years to come—unless there is a revolution. The vast majority of the citizenry have been dumbed-down by a half-century of leftist, progressive education, eradicating God from the minds of most people. There is a segment of the populace which understands what is going on, but feels utterly hopeless when contemplating the infectious stupidity of a sizable part of our brainwashed public. Only God's called-out ones, blessed with the gift of His Holy Spirit are able to connect the dots. God's called-out ones know that Satan is no figment of the imagination, but is actively influencing world leaders to carry out his nefarious plan to destroy mankind, preventing individual from fulfilling the destiny God has planned for mankind. Unless God Almighty intervenes, mankind is doomed at the hands of the current derelict 'shepherds' of Israel. Many Americans may care what is happening to their country and their culture, but are hamstrung because they do not have the vital links to truth which God's called out ones have been given. Despite their alarm and concern, they cannot connect the dots. If we, as God's called ones, use the precious tools God has given us, we can be set free from slavery and serfdom.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: On Wednesday morning, news outlets carried the story of the Texas Faith Network conference in Austin attended by "religious leaders" on Tuesday. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: The "big news" of the past week or so has been the revelation that a major plank in President Bush's reasons for invading Iraq to liberate its citizens from its dictator, Saddam Hussein, was based on a forgery. ...
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that political correctness is a kind of programmed conditioning, undertaken by leftist 'liberal' 'progressives' to convince people to override their common sense and the evidence of their five senses, coercing gullible people to ardently believe that a blue barn is flaming red while a flaming red barn is sky blue, or that evil is good and good is evil. 'Progressives' would have us believe that gender is a matter of choice, made possible by cutting appendages off and augmenting others by chemicals. 'Progressives' would have us believe that gun-free zones prevent violence. 'Progressives' would have us believe that the economy is robust and healthy when the national debt has never been higher and hopelessly out of control. 'Progressives' would have us believe that Black Lives Matter (an organization funded by hateful white billionaire and former Nazi-collaborator George Soros) seeks to protect black lives, when in reality it delights in massive black abortions, condones 500 black-on-black homicides in Chicago annually, but hysterically foments rage when any policeman wounds or shoots a black man under any circumstances. The proponents of Black Lives Matter want to brainwash the community to accept the fiction of police brutality, while enabling unscrupulous politicians to gain control of the inner cities as their domain. 'Progressives' may hypocritically denounce terrorists with black masks and scimitars, but graciously condone terrorists with white masks and scalpels who have murdered millions of innocent babies in the name of 'Women's rights.'
John Ritenbaugh, reiterating that words are more effective in winning a prolonged conflict than are weapons of war, asserts that words serve as invisible, immaterial influences on the mind, motivating action. Words motivate feeling, cause anger, excite, calm, clarify, and confuse, often lodging in the mind, to remain dormant until circumstances motivate people to do something. The Gutenberg Press accelerated power of the words, enabling philosophers to plant seeds of good or evil. The French philosopher Rousseau, an intelligent, but narcissistic sociopath, planted the toxic seeds of statist dogma, inspiring Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung, encouraging brutal schemes of redistribution of wealth and extermination of 'dissidents' as demonstrated in the mass executions on the guillotine during the French Revolution. Rousseau's malignant ideas have metastasized into a virulent cancer of collectivism, socialism and Communism, the centralization of power in the federal government, currently rising to ascendancy in America, snuffing out liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Richard Ritenbaugh suggests that the death of capitalism has been coming incrementally in the past two decades, but the deleterious drive toward socialism has increased exponentially under the Obama administration, rewarding liberal action groups with 'porculus giganticus,' radically distributing the wealth, basically "evening the score" for the downtrodden, destroying capitalism in the process, replacing it with a form of statist tyranny, insuring a decrease of real wealth. Capitalism is based on the ability to own land, making it possible to produce wealth, enabling each person to be in control of his own destiny. In the new socialist economic system, we are becoming economic marionettes on strings, controlled by a tyranical statist regime, perhaps a pre-cursor to the beast.
David C. Grabbe: As the Western world continues to reel and lurch, tossed about by strong and conflicting forces, one cannot be in a conversation long before the well-worn topics of leadership and government arise. ...
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on his changing attitudes toward conspiracy theories, investigates the establishment of the Federal Reserve System, a nefarious institution bent on legal thievery. The break-up of the Worldwide Church of God was but a faint preview of what will happen to the United States. The Bible has recorded a number of events in which conspiracies within families hopelessly fractured long-established dynasties. Satan successfully conspired to draw one-third of the angels into fighting against God. This same ruler of the world still motivates sinister conspiracies working in our very midst right before our eyes.
Mark Schindler, cautioning us to avoid becoming involved in politics or in any sort of agitation for governmental change, focuses on the cautionary comments of the second American President, John Adams, who warned that our Constitution would work only for a people of moral responsibility. President Adams implies that the collective avaricious, carnal pulls of a people who do not have God in their conscience would ultimately destroy the American Republic. The corrosive consequence of the unity-from-diversity mantra chanted in the public square today is the sure—but not the slow—dissolution of the Nation's commonwealth. Doom is the birthright of any nation which institutes sinful practices as the law of the land. In the inevitable fray any nation experiences as it copes with the results of national sin, God's people do not want to find themselves on the wrong side of His purposes. To take sides in any type of national struggle is to battle on behalf of mankind's wrong-headed, godless attempts to avoid the consequences of sin—a losing battle. Mankind cannot create unity from diversity because such a marriage seeks perforce to homogenize evil with good—rather than detaching evil from good. God's way is to call people from diverse backgrounds, gradually imparting to them the mind of Christ, thereby creating a spiritual unity which prevails head over heels over any erstwhile physical differences. God has called His Church to a consecrated separation from this world—including political matters.
John Ritenbaugh, illustrating the tragic state of pastors withdrawing from their responsibility of preaching God's unadulterated word, plays a recording of a spoof from an Australian comedy show, mocking the politically correct pastors who may water down the Ten Commandments to "the Ten Negotiating Principles," or perhaps "Ten Helpful Suggestions." When pastors have abandoned their responsibility to uphold God's Law, government has historically stepped in to fill the gap, basing their decisions on humanistic preferences rather than biblically-based morality. The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, although crafted by men of nominal Christian persuasions (some of them having roots in the Separatist and Puritan experience of desiring religious liberty and even a kind of theocracy) and Deists (believing in God by inferring it from design and order in nature), did not establish the Constitution as a covenant with Almighty God, but did build into it common sense checks and balances so that if a moral populace lived by it, our people should be governed with the least amount of friction. Sadly, the populace has drifted from an ethical and moral climate into a relativistic, secular humanist point of view. Morality now consists of toleration for mass infanticide (termed abortion) and homosexual sodomy (called gay rights), enforced by a government voted in by people with a narcissistic, agnostic, or atheistic humanistic mindset (virulent secular humanism) which has totally displaced Christianity (real or nominal) as the dominant religion of our land, marginalizing anyone who insists on basic human ethics, let alone God's 'pesky' (because it is intolerant of sin) commandments.
John Ritenbaugh reflects on the socio-cultural-political mayhem which has characterized America during the last decade, a tumultuous time in which a major political party has endorsed "transgender" craziness, with some "experts" claiming the existence of some thirty genders. By refusing to denounce mob violence, this same political party tacitly endorses it as a means to its ends. An unholy trinity of "progressive" Marxist educators, left-leaning socialist politicians, and churches teaching the false gospel of "liberation theology" are deliberately dividing Americans with identity politics, creating factions that ferociously hate one another. Many rank-and-file Americans, foolishly believing themselves to be disenfranchised and victimized, are gullibly falling prey to the deceit of this deadly trifecta of university leaders, radical political leaders who leverage crisis for their political advantage, and radically secularized religious leaders who discard God's moral law in favor of 'tolerance' of immorality. This three-pronged devil's pitchfork well could drag America into a bloody civil war.
John Ritenbaugh continues his appraisal of the startling state of affairs in which states such as California, Illinois, and Minnesota, all levying confiscatory taxes for wasteful liberal fiscal programs, are hemorrhaging productive taxpayers to more fiscally responsible states such as Texas, North Carolina, Utah, and South Dakota. Because of the hopelessly irresponsible fiscal policies of Illinois, the exodus from this hapless state has drained enough productive taxpayers to populate its four largest cities (exclusive of Chicago). Leftist enclave states such as California, Illinois, Washington and Oregon have figuratively shot themselves in the foot by (1.) making employment increasingly difficult to find, (2.) fostering an oppressive attitudinal personality, (3.) causing a prohibitive high cost of living, (4.) obfuscating and falsifying government statistics, and (5.) harboring hardened criminals through the vehicle of "sanctuary" states and cities. The failure of liberal 'progressive' policy can be seen most dramatically on the "left coast" extending from California to Washington. Sadly, the modern-day descendants of Manasseh will evidently continue to vote for irresponsibility while simultaneously rejecting common sense.
David C. Grabbe: In Christ, our earthly citizenships are essentially inconsequential. Paul writes in Philippians 3:19 about the enemies of Christ who "set their minds on earthly things" or "side with earthly things." One area in which we can evaluate how much our heavenly Kingdom means to us is how much we set our minds on earthly kingdoms.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: From last week's essay, it is apparent that Constitutional protections of private property ownership have been eroded over the past several decades, not just by major Supreme Court decisions, but also by the steady encroachment of socialism into American culture. ...
Richard Ritenbaugh, reporting on a motion passed by the South African Parliament calling for the expropriation-without-compensation of white-owned land, points out that this dramatic move was instigated by the far-left Marxist rabble-rouser Julius Malema, who at one point has threatened, 'We are not calling for the slaughter of white people—at least for now.' South Africa's Constitution would need to be amended before such property confiscation could take place. The Marxist-leaning South African Parliament does not plan to award any of this land to black farmers for the simple reason that Marxists do not believe in the private ownership of property. Another Marxist tyrant, Robert Mugabe, blazed the trail for his young disciple, Julius Malema, having confiscated the lands of white farmers in Zimbabwe two decades earlier, transferring the ownership of farms to incompetent Marxist elites, who quickly turned Zimbabwe from a thriving economy into the fastest shrinking economy in Africa, bringing widespread distress onto its populace. Sadly, the sinister handwriting is on the wall for South Africa, hell-bent to follow the same Marxist principles which destroyed Zimbabwe.
John Ritenbaugh quotes from a shocking letter from 91-year-old former President Jimmy Carter, who asserts that we no long have a true democratic republic in the United states, but instead we are being ruled by an unelected oligarchy (rule by a few elite). Today, we have a government glued together with special interests, leveraging bribes and blackmail to advance failed social programs. No longer do we have a true representative democracy, but a small group of wealthy elite are pulling the strings, transforming our government into a leftist, socialist tyranny, allowing a handful of evil, avaricious men to tap into the public treasury, deluding the gullible public into thinking they are taking care of the people by redistributing the wealth, stealing from the productive and giving it to the unproductive, totally at odds with God's principles of stewardship. The obstreperous demagogues promising economic goodies from the womb to the tomb have not yet matured to the realization that there is no such thing as a free lunch. We no longer have a trustworthy government. Our ethics and morality, our freedom, our wealth, our dignity, and self-respect, are rapidly eroding away under the willing guidance by a criminal oligarchy, inspired by the prince and power of the air, the current ruler of the world. The judgments of God against this corrupt system have already begun.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: Many voices across the political and media spectrums have hailed the recent protests and changes in governments across the Middle East as welcome democratic advances into a largely totalitarian region of the world. ...
A great many Americans feel that they do not have to submit to the government. John Reid brings the Bible's viewpoint into this discusssion.
John Ritenbaugh, describing an ongoing "bloodless coup" in which a major political party and a complicit propagandistic media are feverishly trying to high-jack the controls of governmental power, taking choices away from the individual and giving them to the government, maintains that we are reaping the consequences of the episode recorded in I Samuel 8:4-7, in which Israel demanded a king instead of trusting in God as their ruler. As unsettling as current world events may be, we know that the invisible God actively inserts Himself into the affairs of men, working out all events for His purpose. As we look through the history of the offspring of Jacob, we can see God's hand in preparing godly seed, a holy line from Seth to Noah to Shem to Abraham, to Moses, to David, to Mary. Jesus Christ was the Seed promised to Adam and Eve who would crush Satan. God admonished us in Deuteronomy 32:7-9 to remember the thread of events from the Garden of Eden to our current state, recognizing the artful way in which God distributes people over the face of the earth. God's separating physical Israel from the gentile nations was phase one of His master plan. His creation, at the time of Christ, of spiritual Israel, which recognizes faithful gentiles as full citizens, is phase two. The founding of the United States and the other nations of modern Israel was not random or accidental, but purposely orchestrated by our Creator. Indeed, God is moving the entirety of world affairs toward the day Christ will establish His Kingdom on the earth and crush the head of Satan, in doing so destroying no only his destructive ideas but his life.
John Ritenbaugh, acknowledging that our government is doing things that carnal governments always do, suggests that America's demise is occuring rapidly. Faith is diminishing and immorality is increasing. Carnal governments, because they do not believe that God is sovereign, seek total control of people's lives. Americans are moving into a position where the citizenry can be persecuted. The Constitution is being systematically destroyed while reprobate activist judges legislate from the bench. Virtually all the news is energy depleting, very good at producing revolution. The overwhelming depressing news has to be counterbalanced by edifying news, namely God's Word. The scripture, with its life-giving words, is written so we do not get depressed.
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting upon his experience of viewing President Trump's motorcade, analyzes Peter's comment in I Peter 2:17: Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God and honor the king. If we are in harmony with the ideals and policies of the leader, we find it easy to follow Peter's admonition. Conversely, we find it difficult to obey the Apostle if we do not share the leaders ideals or if we find his policies repugnant to our value systems. Yet, we remain under God's directive to honor all leaders, even those whom we find revolting. In our divided nation today, where the media has put factionalism on steroids, we find it difficult to maintain a spirit of calmness and refrain from taking sides, let alone to show honor to those God has placed over us. But, the King of Kings commands that we honor all those in authority, even those for whom we have a visceral loathing.
Richard Ritenbaugh, acknowledging that biased media deluges us with lies, warns that God has not endorsed all information, whether from the left or the right, is pulling us toward carnal solutions and away from godly ones. Because the far left has traditionally embraced humanist, 'progressive,' anti-God viewpoints, church members have felt inclined to espouse views to the right of the political continuum. Even though conservative views seem to be more compatible with traditional Christian views, neither Republican (generally, conservative) or Democrat (generally, liberal) standards are consistent with God's standards. Hence, God's true children should subscribe to neither viewpoint.We dare not try to shoehorn God's perspective into our own. Instead, we should follow the lead of our Elder Brother, who steadfastly claims that "My Kingdom is not of this world." Our position should be the same, taking ourselves out of the parochial wrangling which is fracturing the current world.
John Ritenbaugh, reminding us that the depressing quality of life our culture is currently experiencing, with the secular progressives systematically destroying the sanctity of the family, relegating education and child care to the State, had its origins in the philosophy of Rousseau, a self-centered sociopath, who after fathering five children, placed all of them into orphanages. In his narcissistic, twisted genius, he crafted the blueprint followed by all proponents of communitarian, collectivist, welfare-state, socialist, communistic governments, disparaging any private property, free enterprise, and the sanctity of the family, hell-bent on making the State the official substitute for God and His Commandments. Satan's timetable is on schedule; thankfully, God's timetable is also meticulously on schedule. The days of leftist, liberal, 'progressive' secular humanistic governments are thankfully numbered.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting that socialism has gained incremental control in the United States since the New Deal, in the decades following the Great Depression, states that it is now spiraling out of control during the current administration, and it is blight on our people, taking this nation into more horrendous debt than all previous administrations put together. Socialism, an economic system based on 'progressive' humanistic principles, is based on theft of God-given private property. God owns all property and has given it to His people as an inheritance, as He gave it to our original parents, provided that they tend and keep it. God parceled out land to the ancient Israelites, instituting laws for periodic redemption through the years of release and Jubilee. The Scripture contains examples of individuals stealing property and governments stealing property, as in the incident of Ahab stealing Naboth's vineyard. Today, the 'progressive' humanistic, anti-God Federal government, through eminent domain, regularly steals large parcels of land from ranchers in order to pay off debt to China, which our government has foolishly incurred through refusing to control spending. Socialism is enforced slavery to government, founded on no religious principle, but on the poisonous fruits of 'progressive' humanism. God has never endorsed collective socialism (massive theft of private resources as practiced by the likes of Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse Tung) as a legitimate economic system, nor has God allowed private ownership of land without the responsibility of tending and keeping it, as well as generously sharing the produce with others.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the May 15, 2014 opening of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, noticed that former President George Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney were highly conspicuous by their absences, while President Obama, a rather timid warrior on the War on Terrorism was boldly front-and-center at this event. It gives one cause to reflect that the events of 9/11, and the subsequent reactions, may have all been carefully crafted by multinational conspiracy intent upon destroying the culture and dominance of the west. Sadly, the current Administration has developed the reputation for hyper-mendacity, unparalleled and unsurpassed for over 230 years. Senator Ted Cruz has documented 76 major lies since President Obama's tenure in office, including his birth status, the Fast and Furious Program, arming drug cartels to murder rivals, the cowardly retreat and cover-up of Ben Ghazi, IRS intimidation of political opponents, attempted bullying and land takeovers in Nevada and New Mexico, seemingly provoking anger and rebellion on a scale to justify martial law. The mendacious propaganda produced in Washington makes the work of Goebbels look amateurish.
Richard Ritenbaugh points out that Barack Obama has steadfastly endorsed the Marxist policy of redistribution of wealth, insisting that the government take from the successful and give to the indigent through confiscatory taxation. Since 47% of the populace has been rendered government dependents, the current administration is on its way to impose these Robin Hood or Marxist policies. Redistribution programs, wherever attempted by communist or socialist regimes, have been total failures, permanently destroying the incentive and productivity of the people. When government demands that the wealthy give to the poor, the wealthy stop being productive and take their productivity to a more humane location. Government redistribution hurts everybody, creating shared misery. The leftist progressives claim that socialism is advocated by Jesus Christ who said we should give the poor. The Bible does not teach equality; economic disparity is presented as a given. Scriptures teach that we should voluntarily help the poor, but never criminally coerced by a tyrannical government. Paul's example of maintaining his tentmaking skills, not demanding his benefits from the Corinthian church, demonstrates that we also should not assume an entitlement attitude. Jesus Christ warns against self-exalted or hypocritical charity, but counsels that it should come from the core of our character. Marxist socialists, with their warped concept of a zero sum game, mistakenly assume that disparity of wealth is caused by the rich stealing from the downtrodden. Socialists desire to take from the wealthy and give to the poor, creating equality. The Bible does not teach equality, but equity. Whereas quality is sameness or uniformity, equity is impartiality, justice, and legal fairness without any trace of favoritism or bribery. Socialist equality mandates sameness of outcomes, with everyone wearing the same gray Maoist jumpsuit a grim evenness with everyone suffering equally. God does not treat everyone equally. Life is full of reversals teaching
David C. Grabbe: The term "Nanny State" has come to describe a government that insists on over-regulating the individual in order to force him to act according to the government's wishes, rather than allowing the individual to make his own choices. ...
In this keynote address of the 2000 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh, drawing on descriptions in Amos 2, suggests that those entrusted with leadership (power within the community, power within the nations) are taking advantage of their positions, metaphorically raping those who have no power. Most notably, an American president, who for the sake of his own personal ambition, hoping to remove the stains of his personal sins from the consciousness of people worldwide, attempted to broker an obscene Middle Eastern oil deal, artificially cutting the supply in order to make prices rise, thereby inflicting economic hardship on the backs of the powerless, making them serfs or slaves to the federal government (I Samuel 8:17) The Feast of Tabernacles depicts a time when all this kind of self-indulgent chicanery will come to a permanent halt.
When Jesus walked the earth during His ministry, He delivered a message of the coming Kingdom of God with Him as its King. However, as Martin Collins explains, Jesus never inserted Himself into the political process, but instead, He taught His disciples to come out of this world's way of life.
John Ritenbaugh, reiterating that there is a malaise of hopelessness, anxiety, and dread permeating this nation like never before, systematically explains: (1) how we arrived at this crisis, (2) why God has ordained that we live in these conditions, (3) how bad choices by the trillions eroded the moral foundation of our culture, and (4) why we need these horrific times to learn the consequences of these foolish decisions in order to ensure that nothing like this happens ever happens again. Modern Israel resembles the Prodigal Son who squandered the inheritance bequeathed to Father Abraham's descendants. The founders of this nation, though they were not true Christians, nevertheless placed many biblical principles in the Constitution, and were for the most part far more moral and God-fearing than the despicable crop of public servants holding office today. Approximately 80 years ago, our leaders began turning their backs on Constitutional principles as well as any respect or reverence for God and His laws. Proverbs 29:18 teaches us that when there is no revelation (from God's communication and guidance) people will run wild, casting off moral restraint, rejecting all of God's counsel, preferring to elevate so-called science, fashioned on the deleterious foolish theory of evolution. Humanism attempts to elevate science over God's Law. Where there is ignorance of God's word, crime and sin run wild. Harvard, an institution founded as a Puritan Theological seminary, is now a hotbed of godless humanism, elevating carnal, perverted human reasoning over God's law. Moral foundations are on the verge of destruction; internal stability is already moribund. We need to place our entire faith in God, not allowing the pervasive negativism of this world's culture to poison us as Job became dispirited by the counsel of his friends. Realizing that none of us are guaranteed passage to a place of safety, we should be willing, if required, to glorify God by martyrdom.
John Ritenbaugh, observing that Republican leaders who claim to be "Reagan Conservatives" have been voting with the Democrats on all the key issues such as amnesty, border security, Obama-care, etc., concludes that these R.I.N.O.s (Republicans in name only) are actually voting according to a philosophy of pragmatism (having observable 'practical' consequences), walking by sight rather than faith instead of being guided by godly principles and righteousness. Pragmatism relies on what is convenient rather than what is right, cowardly kicking the can down the road for future generations to pick up. This philosophy is engendered and practiced by secular humanists who pander to the pressures of mob rule and prides itself on studying 'reality,' 'existence,' 'knowledge,' and reliance on 'rational' methods. Of course, to a secular humanist, God is not rational, and situation-ethics and compromise trump righteousness and principle. Pragmatism was responsible for the prolonging of slavery in the southern states, just as it is now responsible for R.I.N.O's and would-be 'conservatives' to endorse amnesty and the dissolving of borders.
John Ritenbaugh, reminding us that political conspiracies have always been a part of our culture, citing four successful assassinations of Presidents and one resignation of a President forced out by a sinister political conspiracy, indicates that these conniving plots and schemes will crescendo to the time of the end when they will all be destroyed by Christ's return and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Individuals who involve themselves in political intrigue and revolutionary conspiracies do so for the sake of protecting a power-base, or with the hope of monetary or political gain, as was seen with the religious leaders who furtively and meticulously plotted the death of Jesus Christ, gathering 'data' by trickery and falsehood to justify their hideous deed. Conspiracies are characterized by two or more people who fear loss of status or power, believing that they are justified to use any means whatsoever to remove the perceived threat, anticipating that they will personally gain by the successful execution of the plot.
John Ritenbaugh reveals that God intended land to be the basis for all wealth, desiring that families should own and retain property. The Jubilee Laws indicate that God never intended any kind of state collective (or corporate) ownership of property, but that families should retain what has been given to them. The Federal Government, through confiscatory taxes, has violated the commandment against stealing- modeling theft for society at large. Beside predatory street crime (dramatically on the increase), blue collar and white-collar theft have even more dramatically contributed (and continue to contribute) to the demise or failure of many large businesses and to the economic woes of our country in general- literally stealing from (the inheritance of) future generations. In modern Israel, we are drowning in thievery, forcing the land to vomit us out. Wealth accumulated by honest work and diligence will be blessed, but hastily acquired by any kind of theft or dishonesty will be cursed.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the lyrics of Bob Dylan's war protest song in 1964 "With God on Our Side," analyzes the conundrums Dylan proposes, "If God is on our side, is He as murderous as we are?" "If God is really on our side, what does that do with our perception of God's character?" The clear majority of professing Christians who claim they know God really do not because they have no relationship with Him—and most have rejected the Sabbath. As God's called-out ones, we are required to be doers as well as hearers, walking in His steps. Historically, the Israelitish nations have been talkers, but not doers. When ancient Israel wanted a king to be like the gentile nations, they virtually stripped God of His power, in doing so receiving the curse of a darkened, reprobate, animalistic mind. Humanists are foolish ignoramuses about what really matters in life. The framers of our Constitution were sincere educated men, but they were unconverted. Having experienced the turmoil of the Catholic—Protestant clash in Europe, they did not want any sect dictating religious doctrines or practices. A follower of Christ is mandated to: (1) follow Christ; (2) walk with Christ; (3) imitate Christ; and (4) walk in Christ's steps—doing exactly what Christ does. Consequently, as physical Israel is still reeling from the curse of I Samuel 8 (rejecting God's rule to replace it with a tyrannical Gentile-like government), we need to guard against the multitudinous distractions, realizing that God is sovereign, totally regulating the political and cultural upheaval, shaping it to accomplish His ultimate purpose.
John Ritenbaugh reminds us to value our calling, observing that, just as Jesus and His disciples were burdened with the doctrines of the scribes and Pharisees, so God's called-out church is encumbered with nominal Christianity, institutions which have militated against the whole counsel of God, even though they claim to get their teachings from the Bible. God places the blame for misleading and scattering Israel on the shepherds (sometimes metaphorically identifying the ministry or religious leaders, but more at governmental, judicial, academic, corporate leaders, and also the leaders of individual families). There is a dangerous leadership deficit in modern Israel, totally antithetical to the responsible leadership of father Abraham. A deceived nominal Christianity, hopelessly detached from God's covenant, has led people astray by lies. Modern Israel, by turning its back on the truth, has blown its opportunity for moral leadership every bit as much as ancient Judah did. Despite the moral failure of our elected leaders, we must maintain leadership in our individual families. The church is a unique institution apart from Israel and Judah, specially prepared by God in the last 2,000 years, having the responsibility of shepherding a distracted, lost, dependent flock abandoned by irresponsible, neglectful, self-serving leaders, teaching it God's Laws. Likewise, our current self-serving political leaders, steeped in godless humanism, are purposely destroying our country and civilization under the direction of Satan, leading to a perpetual civil war (of ideas and beliefs) in our country with no prospect of peace until Christ's Second Coming.
John Ritenbaugh, reiterating that God has been totally involved in establishing the Holy Seed and the Holy line to preserve and protect this seed, reminds us that, in His supreme sovereignty, He has also determined the boundaries for all the peoples on the earth as well as the immigration patterns leading to the placement of the Israelite people on the choicest portions of the earth as part of the "I will" promises to Abraham, recorded at Genesis 13:14-18. The founding of the American republic was also under God's control, as was demonstrated by the sense of morality brought by the Puritans seeking religious liberty and by the system of British common law based upon Biblical principles, principles which spilled over into the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Although America was never founded as a "Christian" nation, it was designed to accommodate a sense of morality and justice based on Judean-Christian principles, enabling a safe home for the church—the Israel of God—and a base from which the Gospel could be preached without muzzling from a church-state complex. The Founding Fathers were unified in their belief that religious instruction should be allowed in the public schools, but were adamant that no one sect dominate the instruction. God's purpose for the United States and the other Israelitish nations has not derived from its claim to be a "Christian" nation, but from God's promises to the covenant He made with Abraham, sadly, a covenant Abraham's offspring have abandoned
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the fallout from the devastating Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 storm, has observed that some have attempted shamelessly to politicize this disaster, foolishly proclaiming that this disaster was caused by climate change, global warming, or 'environmental racism.' Regardless of the subject being discussed today, mass media and internet social media have been deliberately poking political hot buttons, purposely dividing the people of this nation to take adversary positions. Politicizing issues serves those who seek to expand the legitimate role of government and to institutionalize current power structures. Politicizing is a grave evil because it (1) creates an "us versus them" adversarial approach to issue reslotuon, leading to internecine conflicts, feuds, or civil wars, (2) creates false dichotomies , such as migration or no immigration, disregarding the fact that every issue is far too complex to be oversimplified into terms of black or white and (3) trivializes moral or ethical issues, as exampled in the subtle intimations that one party promotes racism and the other does not, or that lawbreaking will stop simply by passing legislation. God's system does not(and should not) make use of politics, which is motivated by pure prideful ego and a grasping for power. When politics enters the church, disaster and division inevitably follows. The Church is commissioned to do God's will, not its own. Politicians work to get their own will advanced, but our job, as God's called-out ones, is to do God's will.
John Ritenbaugh, continuing his exposition of the angry, demon-possessed, dark fellow from Trier, Karl Marx, a mad man responsible for the deaths of over 100 million people, asserts that legions of leftist, 'progressive' humanist academics of American and European universities have proclaimed Marx the most influential voice of the last millennium. These Marxist-adoring educators are responsible for spreading their socialist/communist venom into the government, the public schools, and the churches, mis-educating the hopelessly gullible populace of western civilization so thoroughly in covert Marxist doctrine that a military takeover would not be necessary. The Communist Manifesto, published in 1848 and referred to as the bible of Marxism, calls for the confiscation of all private property, making the populace the slaves of the state, a Satanic doctrine which is totally antithetical to God's Word, which awards a promised land with private property to every subject in both the Old and New Covenants.
The content of Ecclesiastes 4 is a series of comparisons based in the everyday life of a society—from the gulf between the powerful and those they oppress to the various attitudes that people bring to their daily work. John Ritenbaugh explains that Solomon provides these comparisons to indicate the choices we should make to live better lives in alignment with God, even in an "under the sun" world.
John Ritenbaugh acknowledges that most people have an ambivalent attitude toward government, on one hand fearing it as an evil instrument to deprive rights and on the other hand an instrument for social progress. God intended government to be a positive force of bringing order out of chaos, keeping on a straight course, educating, edifying, and to give laws which ensure an entity (family, organization, or country) does not become extinct. Governmental leaders from governor to judge to head of the family have the awesome responsibility to instill the proper fear of God and His commandments, giving instructions on the process of attaining abundant life (Deuteronomy 30:11-16).
John Ritenbaugh, reacting to the mantra of the evangelicals on the conservative right wing of the political spectrum that America was founded as a Christian nation, provides a comprehensive summary disproving this claim. Even though several of the Founding Fathers drew upon the Bible for the laws in the Constitution, they were still reacting to the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation, and not to the religion practiced by Abraham, Moses, and Jesus Christ. The following seven points refute the unsubstantiated claim that America ever was, or continues to be a Christian nation: (1) The Founding Fathers did not accept the covenant with the "I will" promises as had Abraham and Moses. (2) None of the ceremonial trappings in order to take a promised land had occurred. God did not come to Boston as He had on Mount Sinai. (3) No leader of the stature of Moses or Abraham appeared among the Founding Fathers. (4) No existing package of laws came from on high. (5) No single religion was established to which colonists were commanded to adhere. (6) The terms of the covenant were not explained and not agreed upon by those allegedly making the covenant. Those following "The Way" knew exactly what was required of them and how they were to worship God. Much of counterfeit 'mainstream' Christianity has turned grace into license and lewdness. (7) The majority of American citizens, from the time of the founding until today, have not practiced Christianity. America is indeed a physical Israelitish nation, under the same curse as our forbearers in I Samuel 8 who asked for a king to be like every other nation around them. Sadly, the precautions given to the kings and leaders of Israel in Deuteronomy 17:14-20 have been either ignored or rejected, especially during the last 75 years. As had our parents Adam and Eve, our people continue to reject God, preferring to do things their way.
John Ritenbaugh asserts that. despite recent claims from the Evangelical conservatives, America was never established as a Christian nation. God called out Abraham, specifically blessing him, and through him, blessed the nations of the entire earth. The early European settlers of the North American Continent consisted of Israelitish immigrants from Europe—descendants of the immigrants who came from Ur of the Chaldees to the Promised Land millennia earlier. God guided these descendants of Jacob to a virtually empty land. God brought the Israelitish people to certain lands in order to prepare them for the return of Christ. God follows patterns so that His converted children can see His invisible work, including immigration patterns. No one leader among America's Founding Fathers approached the stature of Moses, nor did any feel inclined to implement God's Holy Laws or Covenant. The founders established no single religion to ensure the sanctity of the Sabbath and the Holy Days. If they had established such a religion, it was, and remains, highly fractured. The founders made no covenant between the People of the United States and God. American citizenry never practiced true Christianity, America is still laboring under the curse of I Samuel 8, where Israel asked for a king to be like the nations around them. A human leader seemed more 'real' to them than an invisible God requiring faith to follow. Human governments are nothing but raw force, grasping for control in order to benefit the leaders. Human governments have no faith in God and they do not fear God. Even with the mandates Moses gave to a future king, Israel would always suffer from the rule of a human leader, The faith of physical Israel has been eroded through evil philosophers.
John Ritenbaugh suggests that the people everywhere seem frazzled, distressed, and terrified as a dark, evil, sinister force seems to be engulfing the world. The continued angst from dealing with this continual pathogenic zeitgeist threatens to render all of us, including God's called-out ones, into a state of hopelessness, apathy, depression, with absolutely no reason to ever expect a positive outcome. The church must forcefully deal with this overwhelming feeling of hopelessness or it too will succumb to this terrifying vortex of despair. We live in the same kind of cultural milieu as Noah before the world perished in the Great Flood. Over the past few centuries, and especially the last 70 or 80 years, the 'liberal', 'progressive' humanist philosophers and educators have successfully hi-jacked the minds of our populace, steering them totally clear from any reliance upon God by poisoning their minds with the patently illogical theory of evolution, forced upon unwary, naïve minds as fact and truth. The Day of Trumpets militates against this foolishness by restoring hope for the establishment of God's Kingdom which will permanently terminate decay, sin, and death. As God's called-out ones, we are fish swimming against a violent current, compelled to turn to God and keep His Commandments when the rest of the world rejects Him. As God gave the original Promised Land to Jacob's children, He also gave the North American continent (largely virgin territory) to the descendants of Jacob. In 240 years, we have indulged in affluence, but forgetting its Provider.
David Maas, cuing in on Ecclesiastes 2:3, affirms that Solomon, neither a hedonistic party-goer nor a burned-out, despairing derelict attempting to drink his sorrows away, actually studied pleasure, mirth, despair, and madness with the rigorous mindset of an anthropological scientist, able to detach himself to objectively describe the consequences of an array of life's experiences. He used an ability General Semanticists call "self-reflexiveness" (thinking about our thinking) and a frame of mind, termed by Victorian philosopher Matthew Arnold as disinterestedness, staying aloof from the 'practical,' 'parochial' or 'emotional' attachments people put on those experiences. We have the responsibility as Christians to constantly monitor our thoughts, deflecting Satan's fiery darts as the Israeli Iron Dome deflects the continuous onslaught of Palestinian / Hamas rockets. The news media, entertainment, and blogs on the Internet have been used by the prince of the power of the air to hopelessly divide us, with the aim of motivating us to hate our fellow man intensely, allowing his fiery darts to consume our lives. As God's called-out ones, we need to monitor our thoughts from the perspective of the spirit in man and also with God's Holy Spirit, making sure we are not suckered into taking in one of Satan's divisive gang-fights.
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the recent observation of Independence Day, suggests that this event should furnish us with an opportunity to reflect on the philosophies and ideas of the Founding Fathers, including their beliefs about human nature. The Founding Fathers shared the belief, for the most part, that human nature was depraved, shaped by the Calvinistic Protestant doctrine of total depravity and Augustine's notion of original sin, positing that all humans are affected by depravity, and that even the good things in our nature are tainted by evil. Because the Founders knew that government consisted of power, they placed checks and balances in order to protect the electorate against tyranny, with varying lengths of tenure for members of the three branches. The Founding Fathers realized that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Unfortunately, the checks and balances that the Founding Fathers had instituted have severely eroded; carnal human nature has taken control. The secular progressives mistakenly believe that human nature is perfectible, guided by the parameters of evolution. Conservatives tend to believe that human nature is evil and that the best anyone can do is control it. The Bible takes a rather dim view of carnal human nature; we struggle against it until our death. Satan, in the Garden of Eden, turned the minds of our parents against God and onto serving ourselves. We absorb sinful attitudes from our parents, siblings, and the world. The spirit in man is receptive to Satan's negative spirit. Our flesh is essentially selfish, making us vulnerable to carnality. We are commanded to fight against self, society, and Satan through the power of God's Holy Spirit, submitting ourselves as a sacrifice to God, transformed to God's way of life and image, designed to function this way since creation. God cannot create godly character by fiat. Hence, He has given us free moral agency so we can make choices. This factor—the ability to improve or corrupt nature—is controlle
John Ritenbaugh teaches that our spiritual transformation (conversion) gives us the capacity to see Christ and other people, the self, institutions (such as churches or governments) in their true light. Things we formerly deemed important (money, pleasure, and power) become less important and other things (love, duty, and service) become more important. Our attitude toward government must be one of submission—including to human government. (Titus 3:1-2 and I Timothy 2:1-2) We have to realize that the church cannot perform its function without the cooperation of the unconverted state governments.
John Ritenbaugh reflects on two recent news items in which individuals foolishly initiated altercations with police and lost their lives in the process. As a matter of common sense, it seems the height of idiocy to challenge constituted authority. Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes 8:17 that we are not privy to God's operations under the sun, but we must nevertheless leave room for God's operations, realizing that He has the prerogative to impose both blessings and calamity, the latter as a response to man's disobedience. God wants us to witness difficulties and the natural consequences of sin. In these difficult times, we need to be mindful that God is carefully watching us. As we yield to God, and apply godly wisdom, analyzing, calculating, observing, etc., our knowledge increases and we add an extra dimension of character as we morph into God's offspring. One of the difficult lessons we must process is that God backs up constituted authority, regardless of the governmental structures that placed it into office. We must realize that whether we are dealing with federal representatives, city council members, the policeman on the beat, our employer, our teachers, or our parents, we owe them the same deference and respect we would give to God. The human family was given by God as the building blocks of all governmental structures. As the beginning of wisdom is fear of Almighty God, we humans learn to fear, giving deference and respect to our parents, and then transfer this deference to civil government and other governmental structures of society. We must continually remember that we are strangers, pilgrims, and sojourners in an alien land. Even if we consider ourselves ambassadors of a heavenly kingdom, our latitude to participate in the governmental structures in this world has been greatly restricted. Nevertheless, we are obligated to render respect, deference, and honor to constituted authority as though we rendered it to God.
Martin Collins, commenting on the progressive liberal media's charge that women are discriminated against, points out that the feminist-goaded media fails to take into account that more men place themselves in life-threatening, dangerous occupations which women generally eschew, often receiving less pay than women competing with men in safer occupations. Men account for 93% of the workplace deaths. The liberal, progressive media continually lies in their attempt to divide the genders, the races, and ethnic groups. Both men and women have received a judgment from God as a result of Adam and Eve's sin. For men, the ground has been cursed, and he has been forced to live by the sweat of the brow; for women, they would have anguish in childbirth. God wants to remind us of the manifestations and awful consequences of sin. God requires us to work and not deliberately seek welfare or food stamps; He also does not want us to obsess on acquiring riches. Sadly, many mainstream churches have waxed socialist in their social gospel, claiming that the early church was communistic. Our current government has catered to laziness and non-productivity by bailing out companies which underpay their employees for turning out inferior products. Mentally weak and docile men with "lace-hanky fairness" support the welfare system. Real men (and women) work hard to be charitable and generous. Our forefather Jacob worked for a scheming uncle, who changed his wages ten times, serving him as he would God. Likewise we, as God's called ones, must serve our employer as we would Jesus Christ, with a self-sacrificing attitude, desiring to benefit others. The Millennium, which this Feast symbolizes, will be a beehive of activity, with the wealth that the Gentiles will accrue as tribute, benefitting all of mankind. We must now trust God to supply our needs as we work for our employer with the loyalty we would have for God, with faith, firmness, and stability.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting that the term leadership appears nowhere in the King James Version of the Scripture, even though numerous examples of good and bad leadership abound, points out that the state of civic leadership in America is at a disastrous all-time, low from the President, Supreme Court Justices, and Congress, all the way down to the community leaders (mayors, judges, etc.) overwhelmingly choked with despicable cowardice, corruption, and graft, emanating from base, immature, foolish, reprobate minds who have rejected God's leadership. Isaiah 1:4-15 well describes the governments misgoverned by Jacob's offspring, collapsing into chaos, hopelessly laden down with iniquity, having forsaken and defying Almighty God. The whole American body politic (as well as that of all of modern Israel) has become covered with putrefying sores, and stands in mortal danger of being devoured from strangers because of the lack of Godly leadership coming from anywhere. The principal cause of the demise of the entire society is lack of leadership within the family; the breakdown of society derives from the breakdown and destruction of the family beginning with the dysfunctional childrearing practices of our original parents and the deliberate actions by the 'leaders' currently in power. The shepherds castigated in Ezekiel 34 include every parent, as well as the religious, political, educational, and corporate shepherds. Parents have the solemn obligation to teach their offspring God's way of life while simultaneously submitting to His loving rule. As God's called-out ones, we dare not abdicate our part of the leadership responsibility, or the neglect will create an unwholesome ripple-effect throughout the church and eventually throughout the entire human community. None of us ever live or die to ourselves.
Richard Ritenbaugh, asking us whether we trust the current Federal government, points out that, according to recent polls, confidence in government has eroded to an all-time historical low, with only 13% of the citizenry believing government does right most of the time, 10% believing government never does anything right, while the vast majority, 75%, feel the government gets it right only part of the time. The Federal government has become a total disaster, with the rogue, criminal executive orders, systematically removing our freedoms, coming from the executive branch, destroying constitutional checks and balances. When we compare the mercurial instability of man's government to God, we witness a stark contrast. God does not change, His benefits are beyond measure, and compared to the confiscatory tribute demanded by government, God commands only a fractional proportion. God forgives our sins, gives us a Savior, gives us a down-payment on eternal life, provides food, and heals our diseases, all without a price tag. Like David running from Saul in the Judean wilderness, we find it far more profitable to trust in God rather than princes, knowing that God will never allow us to endure more than we can handle, and will provide a way of escape. David reminds us in the acrostic Psalm 37 that we should not be concerned about the wicked, whose destiny is to perish, and that the righteous are infinitely better off. We are warned not to nurse burning, vindictive anger, realizing that the temporary 'success' of the wicked will eventually turn into a bitter harvest. Instead of wasting our energy in resentment, we need to put our emotion into positively doing good, cultivating our faith, and committing our ways to the Lord, putting our loyalty to the covenant in sync with God's. In our commitment to God, we must relinquish control, allowing God to take the lead. God delights when we allow Him to guide us, inscribing His laws on our hearts.
When Solomon visits the Temple, he comes away from his observations of the worshippers with a sense that too many treat religion far too casually and carelessly, forgetting that they are coming before the great God. As John Ritenbaugh explains, Solomon admonishes his readers to listen to God's Word when they approach Him and to be careful to follow through with what they promised when they made the covenant with Him.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that the calculated Hebrew calendar reflects God's faithfulness in providing His Spiritual offspring a reliable calendar. To concoct one's own calendar with errant human reason and assumptions equates with the presumptuous way of Cain. Some of the bedrock American values such as competition and individualism, when applied to changing established doctrine and established ordinances, bring an automatic curse of scattering and a seared conscience upon those who do these things. We cannot take the community's laws into our own hands, tweaking them for our own advantage, and still be a good Christian. Challenging the calendar is tantamount to challenging the laws of the Commonwealth of Israel (including its calendar) and challenging the sovereignty of Almighty God.
John Ritenbaugh, focusing upon a generally pessimistic treatise, read in the annual cyclical Jewish tradition, during the Feast of Tabernacles, illustrates the disillusionment that love for this world will inevitably bring (I John 2:17). Realizing that the world is passing away, our priorities should be on fearing God and keeping his commandments. The temporary booths (short lived and quickly deteriorating) at the Feast depicts our temporary and impermanent, often unpleasant and disappointing (Hebrews 2:10) earthly pilgrimage or sojourn, contrasted with the permanence of Christ's rule and our future eternal life. (Romans 8:17-18). Without living for God's purpose for us, this life is absolutely meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 12:14, Hebrews 1:10-12)
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the verdict of the macabre case in North Carolina, in which a couple had been collecting welfare benefits for an adopted daughter who had been mysteriously missing for two years, concludes that Judge Thomas Schroeder acted within the principles of biblical law, even though the majority of the citizenry would have liked to see the parents executed. Physical evidence failed to convict these scoundrels of anything more than welfare fraud. Real justice can only be based on the truth, potentially dangerous to the perpetrator or the victim. Though the Old and New Testament are complementary to one another, with the apostles directly quoting from the prophets, establishing Jesus Christ's Messianic identity, the emphasis of justice in the New Testament switches from national to personal in scope, from the nation of Israel to the Israel of God (the Church). The New Testament builds on and amplifies the Old Testament. Jesus magnifies the Law, fusing external motor behavior (or deeds) with internal psychological motivation. All sin begins as thought. Matthew 5: 17-20 encapsulates Christ's change in approach, taking the elementary literalist approach of the Pharisees into the real heart of the matter, focusing on what could and should be done on the Sabbath as opposed to what cannot be done. From the New Testament applications amplifying Old Testament principles, we find legal tenets practiced consistently in Israelitish countries, such as the need for two or three witnesses, protection against mob rule, penalties for frivolous lawsuits and hasty litigation, the principle of recompense and equity, conflict of interest considerations, separation of church and state, penalties against collusion, legitimate use of civil rights, and judicial clearing. While we are still learning the ropes of godly judging, we are commanded to refrain from presumptuously passing or executing judgment until Christ gives us our credentials.
Richard Ritenbaugh, focusing on the concept of justice, asserts that real justice with fairness and equity (at least in the human sphere) is becoming rare. Divine justice, on the other hand, because Christ died for our sins, leans toward kindness and mercy. The Founding Fathers of the United States used biblical principles in the judicial system of the colonies, deriving 34% of their quotations and allusions from the Bible for their documents. The Puritans studied the scriptures assiduously, believing that if their principles would be incorporated into our laws, government would function smoothly and effectively. Sadly, those principles which were once implemented into our laws are being corrosively eroded and destroyed, as is manifest by the Supreme Court's endorsement of Roe vs. Wade, ushering in legalized murder on a massive scale. God created the universe, giving laws that would sustain life and promote happiness. All authority for law and justice resides in God; when God is taken out of the picture, darkness and chaos dominate. God clearly delineates good from bad and right from wrong. What He commands is good. The things which God forbids are bad for us. If God says something, it should never be thrown aside. Laws have penalties when they are transgressed. God, not a hanging judge, prefers that a sinner repents and gives them time to change and repent. God's laws, designed to create a better life and more perfect life and character, are not an end in themselves, but should become integrally a part of us. When sin becomes woven into our character, life becomes complicated; sin or crime has domino consequences, rippling through many generations. We never commit sin in a vacuum, but inevitably involve our family and ultimately bring curses to the rest of the entire human family. Sin destroys life. Execution of judgment is relegated to constituted authority, not presumptuous vigilantes or those who become involved in blood-feuds. The law should be executed with equity, with no partiality, favoritism, or
Satan and his demons regard us as invaders of their first estate, and have consequently have engaged us in a fierce spiritual battle to destroy our relationship with God and His purpose for us to be born into His Family. We fight our battle in the mind, in the subtle thought processes (II Corinthians 10:5). We need to be aware of Satan's modus operandi, including the stratagem of disinformation (subtle, plausible lies) spread through false ministers (wolves in sheep's clothing; Matthew 7:15), teaching the smooth, broad way to destruction, encouraging spiritual fornication and eventual enslavement to sin. The apostle John encourages us to test the spirits (I John 4:1-3), making sure that belief and practice are carefully aligned.
Joseph Baity, suggesting fearing the end of something we thoroughly know and have become emotionally attached to is every bit as terrifying as facing the unknown. In the western world, especially among the Israelitish nations, we have come to value rugged individualism and self determination, with the overriding idea that we can choose our country, home , religion, friends, and culture without interference from anyone else. The idea of self-determination has percolated into every law in our land and filtered into the Judeo-Christian ethic. This construct of self-determination has contributed to the establishment of the most successful nation on earth. As we prepare to enter the Kingdom of God, we are obligated to re-think this paradigm, realizing that while man proposes, God disposes. We need to allow God to take over the reigns of our self-determination as we submit to His leadership
John Ritenbaugh, citing a statement made by FDR to his son-in-law that nothing happens in Washington that isn't planned, assures us that NOTHING escapes God's observation and that God's ultimate sovereignty guarantees that nothing occurs in history that hasn't been under God's control. What is now, and what has always happened is under God's control and has been guided continually from on high, even though man in his ridiculously pompous arrogance cannot see His purpose and design. Mankind has, from the time of Adam and Eve, attempted to drive a solid wedge between spiritual knowledge and physical knowledge, not understanding that they are all on one continuum. Well-meaning philosophers such as Aquinas, Descartes, and Locke, attempted to elevate humanism to the ultimate arbiter of truth and reason, pushing the Creator of all things out of the picture. John Locke , probably in an attempt to liberate western man from the tyranny of organized religion, rejected all contact with any influence of the will of God, promoting secular liberty and human reason as the final arbiter of all truth. The western democracies such as America, England, France, etc. derive their championing of rugged individualism and fierce hatred of any kind of coercion outside of human reason from the writings of John Locke.
John Ritenbaugh, reiterating that the nephilim were not the offspring of angels cohabiting with humans, suggests that these "giants" were most likely the descendants of Seth, apostates from the true religion, who decided not to follow God. They were labeled sons of God because, as magistrates and judges, they allegedly enforced the will of God. Nephilim were and are charismatic trendsetters in politics, entertainment, and education. Modern-day Nephilim in the political sphere, such individuals as Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, and Genghis Khan, violent and tyrannical leaders, were responsible for the deaths of 200 million people in aggregate. As dastardly as their crimes were, the pen is always mightier than the sword and potentially more toxic and deadly than the sword. Educational and religious leaders, having deeply imbibed of the deadly literary poison of anti-God worldly philosophers, have eroded the morality of the majority of Christendom, damaging the entirety of Western religion. Virtually all of the corrosive, antinomian, anti-God mindsets emanated from 'Christianity,' (Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant) turning the grace of God into lewdness, licentiousness, and perverse lawlessness, bringing about the sick and decaying world order we are experiencing today.
Ronny Graham, citing statistics from the non-profit organization Open Doors, asserts that persecution against Christians is rampant and dramatic, escalating in many parts of the world in which professing Christians suffer governmental harassment, torture, and death. In North Korea, owning a Bible is a capital offence, bringing death or a life sentence in a gruesome labor camp. Iraq and Nigeria are prime examples in which hostility and persecution against Christians seem to be tipping culture and society into extreme chaos. World Watch Monitor has warned that the persecution of Christians is a harbinger of discord in the world society. In the United States, Christian liberties are eroding in the wake of the destruction of constitutional liberties. Liberty Institute claims that governmental (largely federal) agencies are trying to push Christian expression out the door, with pompous federal judges condemning public prayer, the mention of God's name, actively meddling in the hiring and firing of rabbis and ministers, and actively editing high school valedictorians commencement speeches. While not as extreme as North Korea or Nigeria, persecution is here in America and the free world, with anarchy and chaos following closely behind. In this evil time, it is necessary to exercise prudence, caution, judgment, and common sense. We should not bring about needless persecution on ourselves or on the body of Christ because of our foolish texting, posting, tweeting, or e-mailing.It is high time to exercise prudence and to keep silent.
Richard Ritenbaugh, focusing upon Book IV of the Psalms, corresponding with the fall festivals, singles out the Feast of Trumpets for its themes and imagery, as well as the Summary Psalm 149. Trumpets could be considered the opening salvo of the fall feasts, beginning with a blast of the trumpet or shofar, reminiscent of the event on Mount Sinai in which God visited His people, brought the Law, and brought righteous judgment—an event which depicts another judgment coming upon the earth following the Seventh Trumpet and the seven trumpet plagues or bowls of judgment in which God will shake the earth and destroy those whose goal has been to destroy the earth, and a time when Christ will claim His Bride and the Marriage of the Lamb will commence. Psalm 91 anticipates the Day of the Lord, the return of Christ coming for judgment, and destruction, but also putting a protective hedge around His people. Psalm 90, written by Moses, wistfully asks how long it will be before this condition of temporariness can be turned to eternal life. Psalm 91, perhaps also written by Moses, discusses a kind of place of refuge in which the protected saints can view the destruction of Satan's evil system. Psalm 94 seems to reflect the point of view of saints not in a place of safety, anxiously waiting for the end of times of tribulation. The key to weathering these fearful times is drawing close to God with a view of emulating His life and getting to know Him, preparing for rulership in His Kingdom.
David Grabbe, cuing in on verses in Matthew 24 and Luke 17, referring to the sign of eagles or vultures gathering together in the wake of God's impending judgment, corrects some misapplications of these verses, wherein people believe it refers to the Rapture. These pictures refer to the judgment against sin, providing a banquet for the vultures feasting upon those who have rebelled against God. As God's called-out ones, our biggest concern is not the Great Tribulation or the Beast, but instead it is being unprepared for Christ's return, and hence becoming food for the physical vultures or the symbolic demonic carrion. We dare not push off the time we seek God; we must not be like the foolish virgins who thought they had more time to get ready. Judgment is coming on the world, but it is coming on the church of God right now; let us be sure the vultures do not mistake us for the nearly dead.
Martin Collins reflects upon the horrible global pandemics today, and especially Ebola, which some proclaim is out of control, threatening the world, not only because of its deadly, communicable consequences, but also because it has provided the already power-hungry Federal government with a pretext to enforce martial law, confining and detaining those who have been infected with or 'suspected of being infected,' virtually imprisoning them in FEMA concentration camps. President Obama recently signed an Executive Order, allowing for detainment of people 'suspected' of harboring an infectious respiratory disease. Despite the innocent appearance of prudent quarantine procedures, the sinister Executive Order allows massive abuse of power in a governmental system that has already shown an undisguised lust to control its citizenry, making everybody dependent in an emergent police state. In the wake of this threat, God's people need to draw closer to Him, relying on His protection and His power.
John Ritenbaugh, following up on the shameless land grab by the Bureau of Land Management, reports that the unscrupulous operatives in the Federal Government have retaliated by declaring the parcel of land (500,000 square acres) a Federal Monument through eminent domain, solidifying federal authority, superciliously defying all local concerns. The current administration, taking cues from Communist ideology and the ideology of the French revolution, seizing control in the name of 'equality' have commenced on a program of bullying and intimidating its citizenry, on a scale not seen since Nazi Germany, which initiated a series of five sinister steps to deal with the 'opposition,' including the use of unflattering caricature, marginalization, vilification, criminalization, and ultimately elimination. So far, the current administration has succeeded in accomplishing three of the five steps, turning Christians into buffoons or truculent bad guys, looking for excuses to jail them. The government officials don't realize that they are merely pawns in a conspiracy masterminded by Satan, the current ruler of this earth.
John Ritenbaugh, commenting on a recent travesty of justice, in which an overzealous elementary school teacher confiscated a Bible from a seven-year-old student reading the book of her choice, because it 'violated' the supposed separation of church and state clause in the Constitution's Bill of Rights, makes the case that secular-progressives are increasingly winning legal cases because of the enormous ignorance of the populace of both religious and civic knowledge. There has never been a separation of church and state clause in the Constitution, except for a ban against a single religious group should ever dominate the political landscape. In this context, the zealous teacher was guilty of religious oppression, but because of mass stupidity, the rights of the oppressor are more likely to be upheld than the rights of the oppressed.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on a recent lawsuit against a woman photographer for refusing to provide services for a same-sex couple, describes an ominous phenomenon gripping American culture—the imposition of government control over the way we think and act in the name of tolerance and multi-culturalism. God's Law is trampled on as compromise and tolerance for impurity is encouraged by an invasive, intrusive, intolerant, and disgustingly bigoted governmental system, which can now demand that Christians violate their faith in the name of tolerance and 'civic' duty. Today, secular progressives, smug in their commitment to communitarianism, believe that state laws and ordinances 'trump' God's Laws.
David C. Grabbe: In ancient Israel's saga of rebellion against her Creator, one incident stands out due to its brazenness. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: In Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, the hero, a hard-boiled nineteenth-century New Englander by the name of Hank Morgan, opines that the best government is a benevolent dictatorship, particularly one with him at its head. ...
David C. Grabbe: As shown previously, the problem of Nannyism arises when the governments of men take on increasing responsibility and control, and the people relinquish their responsibilities to allow someone else to take care of them. ...
David C. Grabbe: Part One showed that wherever there is a government of man, it tends to take on greater power and responsibility as the governed relinquish their liberty for the sake of being taken care of. ...
Everyone knows what the book of Revelation is all about, right? The end of the world, strange and fearsome symbols, and enigmatic clues about the shape of things to come. David Grabbe, however, argues that, though those are included in its pages, the real subject of Revelation is readily apparent.
John W. Ritenbaugh: In the United States is a well-developed social and governmental movement that some commentators derisively name "nannyism." Political pundits also refer to it as "cradle to the grave" social care. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: A recent trip to South Africa allowed me to compare conditions in that nation with what I remember from my two previous visits, as well as what I have read and heard about it before the African National Congress, backed by international pressure, installed itself over the government. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: Two hundred and thirty years ago next Tuesday, thirteen American colonies defied the most powerful nation on earth and declared themselves "free and independent States. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: A primary concept that separates the United States of America from other nations, particularly those governed by strong men or oligarchies, is the principle of the primacy of law. ...
David C. Grabbe: This weekend, Americans will celebrate the 229th anniversary of the nation's stated independence from England. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: Here in Charlotte, the local school system has descended into another crisis—only the latest one on a very long string of such problems—and this time the turmoil concerns what is being called deconsolidation. ...
On the heels of the red horse of conflict gallops the black horse and its rider, commonly interpreted as famine. Richard Ritenbaugh expands this idea to include scarcity resulting from oppression.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: As a child in the early 1970s, I remember sitting in the middle of the backseat of the family car, unbuckled and leaning forward over the front seat so I could see out the windshield. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: America has a major problem: too many laws. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: "Government, government everywhere" fairly summarizes last week's essay, and we could add, "not an innocent in sight. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: In today's America, government is everywhere. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: This past Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that its agents will be given more latitude to conduct surveillance without providing reasonable proof of suspected wrongdoing. ...
Is God sovereign over angels? mankind? John Ritenbaugh explains that God's sovereignty is absolute as He directs events toward the culmination of His plan.
John Ritenbaugh focuses upon the watchman responsibility as defined in Ezekiel 33:2 and Isaiah 62:6, consisting of both physical and spiritual aspects. Part of the pastor's responsibility is to carefully observe economic, social, meteorological, and political trends, warning the flock to take prudent precautions, including making a prayer offensive, making careful and thoughtful self-examination, actively repenting, submitting to God, looking to God's providence for a possible way of escape, but realizing that the place of safety has conditions attached to it. The exact standards of qualification for a Philadelphian have been left purposely vague to keep the prod to spiritual growth fairly intense. Our focus should be to seek God's kingdom, reciprocating God's love, committing ourselves to a life of service fulfilling His purpose for us, doing so without complaining, or comparing our lot with others, realizing He will supply exactly what we need.
John Ritenbaugh addresses the controversial topics of conspiracy theories, Sovereign Citizenship and the New World Order. These, for too many, burn up countless hours of precious time in vain speculation and useless anxiety. The drive toward one world government is a transparent reality having several biblical prototypes (Genesis 10:8-13; Daniel 2:36-44), all inspired by demonic opposition to God's rule. There is nothing new in this game-plan; conspiracy seems to be a part of our human nature. Satan, manipulating self-interest and pride in various groups and individuals, will only be able to hold his inharmonious confederation together for a short while. If our fear is not in God, this conspiracy will distract, immobilize, and paradoxically tempt us to compromise with it. Our fear ought to be in God who has sovereignty and the final say over all things (Isaiah 8:11-13).
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that a recurring pattern God uses is to set apart one group of people to become a blessing to the rest of the world by keeping His covenant, providing a good example. Ancient Israel was asked to purge the land of Gentile customs and practices. In the New Testament, the church (the Israel of God) was asked to come out of the world, having as little contact as possible with its political, educational, and social institutions (with its unseen spiritual influences). Like Nehemiah, our worldview has to stem from a fear of God. Adopting the world's standards automatically makes one an enemy of God. Our enemy is not the people of the world, but the subtle satanic spiritual influences that determine their attitudes and values. Our intimate fellowship should not be with the world, but be concentrated upon God and those who have made the Covenant with God, loving them as we would ourselves.
John Ritenbaugh, citing a rather sobering reflective article by Vaclav Havel, observes that although we enjoy the benefits of scientific progress, we understand ourselves less and less; everything is seemingly possible, but nothing is certain. Without the spirit of God, mankind becomes guided by another spirit leading to dreadful destructive sinister consequences- made increasingly more menacing by increased technological capabilities. A person having only the spirit of man is absolutely held in bondage to it. It is impossible for mankind, without God's Spirit (Deuteronomy 5:29) to responsibly use the powers and abilities God has given to him. By yielding to God and using the power of His spirit, we can experience a foretaste of the times of refreshing and restitution which will eventually be made available to the entire creation (Acts 3:19)
John Ritenbaugh focuses upon the unique emphasis made by the apostle John in his gospel. Unlike the emphasis on Christ's humanity, shared by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, John's depiction of Christ seems to be more spiritual, depicted in the image of the eagle, whose ability to soar, having keen eyesight and the ability to transport its offspring out of harm's way, gives Christ His proper God-dimension. John realized that he had been in the presence of God Incarnate—a Being indescribably transcendent?the very source of eternal life. Christ provides a model of how to live a godly life in the flesh, living life the way God lives it. Using His light, we can negotiate our way in this dark, hopeless world, finding eternal life and partaking of His divine nature.
John Ritenbaugh explains the origins of our foremost adversary, Satan the Devil, and his host of fallen angels or demons (Revelation 12:3-12; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-19). In our precarious situation of sharing a prison cell with these formidable wicked spirits, we need to take heart in: 1) the tremendous numerical advantage of the good over the evil angels; 2) the hopeless division in the demon world, preventing them from "getting their act together"; 3) as with Job, God has set limits on Satan's ability to harass us (Job 2:6); and 4) God has provided us with adequate spiritual armor to withstand the wiles of the Devil (Ephesians 6:10-12). Even though with our own limited strength, we could be easily annihilated, God has promised us protection if we yield to Him and keep His commandments.
Receive Biblical truth in your inbox—spam-free! This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 145,000 subscribers are already receiving.