My name is “George Santos”

The US Representative-elect who claims to know the difference between fraud and lies deserves quote marks around his photos, quote marks around every word he utters or writes.  Seorge Gantos is an icon of the pit into which American politics and economics have fallen.  “Fell, fell” is how the certain decline and crash of mystery Babylon is. The fate of “George Santos” is equally certain. The GOP, its Catholic and Evangelical allies face another critical test, that they will most certainly fail

“…Ἔπεσεν, ⸀ἔπεσεν Βαβυλὼν ἡ μεγάλη, …”. She fell, she falls, that great Babylon.

Rev 18:2

Goodbye, hello, recall the “George” and prosecute his staff

The only way “George Sanders” can escape the harsh verdict of his congressional peers, the just deserts  of the Department of Justice and the disgust of  those who elected him will be for him to say I did not write my resume, and I was not responsible for all the claims in his resume or his voters see no wrong.  His goodbye precedes his hello, and sticks to him like iron filings to a magnet. Perhaps his staff will vouch for him, that they were the ones who souped up his resume.

Erase “George” and recover a tiny bit of credibility

The only thing “George” got right was probably his name; the rest is pure junk, cooked up from a dark and unprincipled mind. His name deserves to be in quotes, considering that every claim he makes to tell people who he is turns out to be false.  Who needs a leader like “George Santos”?  That smile he sports is due for an erasing, unlike the public memory of a lying thieving coward.

Nativity Lecture 2022-3

Nativity hoopla is low key

The closest thing to a mall event in the Nativity story is the visit to the temple where the parents of Jesus meet a senior citizen named Simeon and an octogenarian  prophetess named Anna.  This series of events in the life of the young Christ tells us something about his relations with the law of Moses.  Judging from what he later thought about his relationship to Moses and the temple, we can see that his relationship to David was paramount, thus closing the circle of the genuine Saviour-King. It was unpopular for the king’s later interactions with the temple and the priests to be dramatic and surprising. Nativity connects us with all that really matters for all the people in the world, and yet the audiences of the Saviour-King’s passages in life are not large.

First access to Israel’s holy things

“And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord”

Luke 2:22, New American Standard Bible

Finale to Nativity

If we however keep looking at the birth stories we will not find very much, because there is little about the hospital in which he was born, the time of night he was born, the name of the physician, the hours of labor, and who actually witnessed the birth. Bringing the story along to where the “all people” are touched by the king’s arrival we look at the end of his time on earth.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;”

Luke 2:10,

From the house to the street

The usual Jerusalem crowd had  gathered to see a trio of executions by the Romans. At best, the representation may have included people from all over Israel. It was passover, and Jewish males, from all over the region were required to be in Jerusalem.  However, in AD 29, the interest in the public execution of Israelites was likely enhanced by the eagerness of the scribes, elders and priests who did not care how they achieved silencing the Nazarene.

The public execution of the Nazarene was part of the act that saved the world, though it was well attended was a private affair.  If we think that the Jewish identity we have been recognizing as exceedingly troubled and yet hopeful is not an inimitable glory we fool ourselves. Jewish identity and Jewish faith, Christian faith and Islamic faith need focusing.  They have all veered into their sectarian preferences.  They all say little about a common and uncomplicated submission of the people to a single Jewish King. 

Here’s to the few!

Nativity is the story about a king. Nativity is the story about a king who dares to show up among his own people, be one of them do the utmost to save them. People have joined that story to the seasonal Christmas and winter culture. Christ has nothing to do with any tree except the one he died on but Nativity is what Christmas is said to represent. So let’s agree that having a tree or mistletoe does nothing to unseat the simple remembrance of that great and joyous time when a handful of shepherds were told, upfront, in person, what God was doing on the planet. This exclusive club is hard to beat. You or I will never have the means to pay to get to be the first to be told where and how the incarnate God was going to make his appearance in the world.

The quiet Revolution rises

One might think that there was a case for saying that it would be well to leave it with a few, but though it is to a few that the announcement was made in the beginning, it is clear that the purpose is for the teaching of the Kingdom to spread through the world like yeast in the dough.I think it is extremely short-sighted to say that these things are not absolutely, and as soon as one finds them,  the supreme gems in our contemplation of the divine. God is love and peace and he is offering and sacrifice, of himself even.

What? No joy to the world?

Christmas time, Nativity pageants and winter activity festivals, give us hope that the Christ who came to Bethlehem as a babe did put the cherry on top of his wonderful life by becoming a lamb, as it were of the people’s exodus and sacrifice for sin as atonement, on the cross, and has sent the Holy Spirit to everyone who has trusted him completely for life and salvation. That is the Hope of the God with Us. There is no large crowd attached to our reception of the king into our hearts, as the song says ” let every heart prepare him room”. It is not some big public thing that one does in the crowd, in the theater or church.

Heavenly and earthly hoopla

We should not expect heaven and earh to have the same response to events, The residents are essentially different. The recognition and celebration of Christ coming to a single human heart has heavenly and earthly fireworks. The church gets ready for a baptism, and, we are told, “angels in heaven rejoice”

I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Luke 15:7

Nativity is about what happens in the private moments of the heavenly-earthly family.

God’s love unmeasured

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:16-18, New American Standard Bible

This message is hugely savaged by commentators old and young, neophyte and expert. Many will say that this is their favorite verse because it speaks of God’s great gift and great love. However, the intent and even the speaker is not properly ascertained. “For God so loved” is often thought to be an expression of how much God loved (or loves), but the operative word “so” is properly the adverb “thus”.  The writer the is attempting to say this is how God loved the world, in that he gave his only son.

Furthermore the model or example of giving life is to be related to the bronze serpent the desert episode which appears also right here in the context of John 3:16

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

John 3:14, NASB

Giving up a son is a powerful precedent

Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By Myself I have sworn”, declares the Lord, “because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.”

Gen 22:15-17, NASB

Not only does God prefigure the giving up his son but he makes Abraham’s giving up his son to be the avenue of great blessing to Abraham’s descendants in the years to come.

Childbirth as an effective solution

The gift of a son is often momentous: Seth replacing Abel (Genesis 4:25), addressing Hagar’s affliction with the birth of Ishmael (Genesis 16:11), reversing the childlessness of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 17:16), transforming a barren womb with Samson’s birth (Judges 13:3), and the establishment of eternal government by David’s son (Isaiah 9:6-7).

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”

Isaiah 9:6-7

It is without a doubt the profoundest expression of love is to give a life, and since God is love it must be obvious that he does not love the world with “part of his heart” or with less than all of his resources. The idea that God loved the lost world “so much” that he gave his son must make us inquire about how much love is directed towards the saved world. Divine love is immeasurable.

The megalomania of Christmas

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The solitary figure who, despite kicking his levitical pedigree to the curb, was a public token that a shake-up was coming, was John the Baptist. The few shepherds, one devout man named simeon, a widow named Anna, his parents, and his relatives do not constitute a popular or viral event.

Where are the Royal family conventions? Where is the national rejoicing over the newly arrived king? It is not that the momentous event was unknown, because the birth of the ruler was of profound significance. Micah’s prediction was not obscure to those who handled the sacred texts. “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2, NASB). There seems to be no levitical recognition and interest except to provide the details of where the birth was destined to occur to facilitate Herod’s assassination attempt, and there are no bands of prophets dancing in ecstasy.  A lone devout Israelite and a prophetess in the temple are not a crowd.  They are a far cry from the mob who no would cry “crucify him”

A few shepherds, one devout man named Simeon and a widow named Anna, his parents and his brothers constitute the front seat witnesses in Luke’s account.

The shepherds

Despite the issue is designation is Good Shepherd the references to Shepherd to a few in the nativity narrative. Their privilege is huge.  God’s glory scared them to death, then an angel announced to them what was happening, and they were thrilled. They’re interested in mattress of state is not a parent. They were just minding their sheep .

They acted together

When the angel had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then and see this thing that has happened with the Lord has made known to us.”

Luke 2:15

They acted hastily

They came in a hurry and found their way to marry and joseph, and the baby as he lay in the manger.  Typically human beings like to take the time and confirm what they heard, ensure that they are not hallucinating or sleepwalking, and even traveling precautions are in order. But here, the shepherds were full speed ahead.

They connected what they saw with the angelic announcement

When the shepherds saw what the angel had told them, they made known the statement which had been told them about the child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds then went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them (Luke 2: 15-20).

Public servant with a small circle

By the time the babe of Bethlehem was ready to return to his glory the crowd who were so scared by the glory of the heavenly messengers may have swelled, but we do not know where they were. The people around Christ with any intimacy was always a small number. 

A predictable outcome

Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.’

Matthew 26:31, NASB

The people who were thrilled about the babe who came to sit on David’s throne and were honoured to tell the news with great rejoicing was down the few family members, and John the fisherman. A very private death in public, with only his mother and aunt, and Mary of Magdala, and John. It was not a mall event by any stretch of the imagination.

Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

John 19:25

Nativity Lecture 2022 -1

A revolution begins in private

The birth of Christ was a big deal, so big that a star appeared in the sky, angels lit up the sky  announcing his birth, and sages from foreign countries east of Judea came to worship the newborn.  This is unprecedented!   Singing angels, ringing bells, gifts for the well-behaved are all empty hype when we compare them to what happened when Christ came into the world and when we compare them to what he came to do.  Throughout  the three and a half years of the Messiah’s life people have found all kinds of trinkets, and the trinketologists have been trying to convince people who are drawn to the the Messiah that the trinkets define and summarize the benefits. It only makes sense to treasure the most dramatic and traumatic events; birth which brings joy in expectation, and death which brings life.

This is the first of three lectures on the birth of Christ

The Nativity’s Revolution Breaks Out in 42 Months

When it dawns on us that the Bethlehem babe was born to die the mega decoration and spending blitz, the holy night proclamation, and the wholesale rejection of monarchy fizzles like the dew on a hot day.  A thin slice of Judean life and the traditions of the chosen people were involved in the drama of the nativity.  David’s family in Bethlehem made no parade or fanfare as the king of the Jews came into the world.  The priests and the officials of the temple had no idea what was happening and had no interest, even when they were asked by Herod the king to investigate the circumstances and manner of the birth of Israel’s King. They could not care less.  The huge crowds that accompanied Yeshua during the three and a half years of his public ministry are  anachronisms, because in both his birth and his death Yeshua was quite alone.

Right to rule and salvation rights

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:11-13, NASB

I am sure that someone will say that the star, the angels and the foreign sages being hip to a cosmic event are regular happenings, or at least happens on the appropriate circumstances.  Even so the government of Judea was moved in a direction  other than welcome and alliance.  Governments outside of Palestine / Judea are headed up by people wanting to have absolute rule over the citizens. Government in Judea was schizophrenic to say the least. Herod was afraid and launched a massacre of babies, while the Romans were fearless and ruthless in keeping the people of Judea under the thumb.  The right to become a child of God was what the birth of Christ was signaling and the record tells us that people did not receive Christ in droves.  Throughout his life people questioned his authority, even after his words and actions came to life in thousands of converted people after the Pentecostal Event there still was no wholesale reception of the king.

Huge crowds in the city square

This year, 2022, we are likely to be treated to the spectacle of huge crowds in the city squares singing carols and celebrating Christmas.  Our churches may be filled on Christmas Eve and there are many churches that put on convincing and spectacular  dramatizations and musicals of the birth of Christ.

The season for life’s most amazing gift

Despite the high level operatives who we might expect to be closely involved in such a seismic  event like the birth of a king, the people who were  at the centre of the nativity were not priests, royals, or prophets.   The arrival of the Saviour-King, listed as the cause for great joy, was noted by a few chosen ones.  We must, however, be aware that God’s gift of a son was intended to exceed the wildest expectations of the Jewish people and bring salvation to all mankind.

Superpowers are mere mortals

Just so we realize how much the world has changed, the book of Chronicles (1:14:16) tells us that David defeated the Philistines from Gezer to Gibeon and that all the nations around became fearful of David. Today we can ask the question who is afraid of the Israeli prime minister and discover that not even the Palestinians, trampled and demoted from being people, are afraid. We can have some confidence that David, now enthroned on high in the person of the great Saving-king, is not being hateful or xenophobic when he pleads for God to put fear into the nations. No matter what wonders of art or warfare the nations possess David, the lad who faced the Philistine giant with a slingshot, would have had no doubt that superpowers in the twenty-first century are mere mortals.

Arise, O Lord, do not let man (enosh) prevail; Let the nations be judged before You.

Put them in fear, O Lord; Let the nations know that they are but men (enosh). Selah.

Psalms 9:19-20, NASB

This is positive proof that there are nations wanting to be more than mere mortals; they want to be treated as decent people have been known to treat God. There is only one God, and all else that people call God are really human inventions. God will definitely trim all the nations to the point where all can see what they really are; nothing to be feared, nothing to be given the respect which should go to God alone.

Witting and unwittting servants of God

Where is Roman imperial power today? It is confined to a disturbing right wing governemnt, stirring memories of papal power, and a major contribution to languages across the globe. We can also see that Greece, Persia and Babylon are smouldering wicks from lamps that truly lit the known world. They all were in contact with Israel’s GOD; all were his unwilling servants, even when one of the heads was conscious of the divine demands and respectful of the divine plan for the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

The kings who want nothing to do with divine supervision hear God’s derisive laugh and mine.

No “God” guides any nation; mortals run the show

American and British interference in Palestine is not due to imperial authority. God did not authorize the Balfour Declaration, and American support for the modern state of Israel, often thought to be a high ground of morality due to the lead undertaken by the United States in prosecution of anti-Jewish racism, fascism and tyranny, is simply bad politics. We can all see that neither US nor UK have prosecuted racism in their own societies to any level deserving global acclaim. Some high ground! Even Israel has open racists and xenophobes. Mere mortals are still in charge of the planet.

The wannabe superpowers

Russia, China, Islamic Repiblics, and the axis of economoc giants do ot stand a cghance of impressing anyone but the gullible that they are something more than mere mortals, and definiotely not superpowers. The lessons learned by Babylon and Rome as they pursued their rles as superpowers do not guide what is left of their empires today. We should expect nothing more than mortal weakness and moral wavering between idols and the true God.

Grasping at sovereignty straws

Premier Smith’s language is extreme, inflammatory and deliberate, and taken alongside her cabinet colleague’s tweeting racist citations from a book amount to proof that Alberta conservatives are sold on insurrectionist and rebellious tactics to get attention and perhaps votes. Premier Smith’s apology is like rubber that fears the road. Alberta is not a victim like the First Nations children who did not come home from school, or were murdered and buried without their parents’ knowledge, or like the murdered and missing Aboriginal women across Canada.

The national leader’s dalliance with protests like the freedom convoy’s blockade of Canada’s capital is chilling evidence of the politics of division. Much of the talk about sovereignty apart from a conscientious recognition of First Nations is polluting the political air and the recent Alberta legislation has criminal overtones.

For more see

Translation alert

“Perish in the way” and “perish from the way” are two different ways in which the translators of the New American Standard Bible and the King James Version – have tried to address the Hebrew text, which has simply weta’bdû derek ותאבדו דרך

To be honest no one perishes in the way, because when one is in the way one is securely in the way, and one that is secure in Jesus does not perish from the way. The answer lies in the identification of those who are being addressed.  Obviously these are the kings of the earth who have set themselves in array against the Lord’s anointed.
So what should the translation be?

Y’all better kiss the son lest Yahweh be angry with you and you perish in spite of [there being] a way.

You might think this translation is strange but it is quite common throughout the Old Testament to see a way being provided and yet people not take advantage of the way. In fact, that opinion is celebrated in several songs where David for the psalmist writes about how good God was in all the different ways and yet people forgot and did their own thing.

Ways not acclaimed