China, Conspiracy, and Corona

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

“Have mercy on me, O’ Beneficent One, I was angered for I had no shoes; Then I met a man who had no feet” (Chinese Saying, Oxford Book of Prayer).

Lots of Americans are talking about China today in light of the pandemic called, Corona Virus (CoViD-19). But, how well do we know about Chinese history, culture and people? Let me say first off, because in this day one has to so as not to offend anyone, that I believe that all people are created in the image of God regardless of stature, ethnicity, culture or geography. I proclaim with Saint Paul that “out of one blood came all nations” (Acts 17.26); that in this line of thought “racism” is impossible if this idea is true. The biblical doctrine of the “universal family of all people, ever” is one of my strong convictions. Having said that, when a certain country is critiqued it must be understood that its ideas are to be separated from its people. This is occurring, for example, when one calls CoViD-19 the “Wuhan Virus” or the “China Virus.” Here, one is not saying anything about China’s people, but simply locating the place of origin of a particular viral strain. Maps do exist. If I said, “rice eaters” or “slants”, then I am being racist and severely displeasing to Jesus Christ and would come under his judgment – which I don’t want. (“Orientals” “Asiatics” “Hops” “China-men” are also regarded as derogatory and should be avoided as terms). “Chinese” is perfectly acceptable, as is Asian-American, or Asian. “China” as a term is probably from the Persian/Sanskrit ‘cina’, and Pliny (first century, A.D.) used “asian”. Zhōngguó is the official name of the region used by the people, and the most popular language (there are several) is Mandarin, although that is being quite general.

Ronald Takaki colors the more or less nineteenth century attitude of politicians like Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri that is embarrassing for readers today. Benton served from 1821 to 1851 in the Democrat Party. ‘Manifest Destiny’ was a particular political and religious view of certain Americans (though not all) that saw America as bringing about a new heaven and new earth through expansion into the West. For Benton, this meant beyond California and into the Pacific islands and lands. This included China. Takaki writes, ‘Crossing the Rocky Mountains and reaching the Pacific, whites were finally circumnavigating the earth to bring civilization to the “Yellow Race”‘ – which is the term Benton used (Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror: History of Multicultural America, Back Bay Books, 1993, p. 191). This went two ways: the Americans would venture into China, and the Chinese people would immigrate to America. Takaki, who was in part raised by his Chinese step-father (and his book is well worth the green to own), documents that the Chinese emigrant was not a slave. They were not brought over against their will but came of their own independence, escaping the mid-nineteenth century horrors under the Qing government (1644-1911 A.D.), the last Imperial government of China before the Republic of China, and now the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). The history of civil infighting and warlord factionalism within the borders of what is now mapped as China are unparalleled in terms of constant agitation. Coming to America was seen as a great relief.

As Chinese emigrants arrived (by the hundreds of thousands) in the late nineteenth century (California would not be where it is today, agriculturally speaking, if not for this), introduction to the Christian Religion was inevitable. Second, introduction (because of the sheer number) into America also meant Politics – and, unfortunately, Politicians. White Politicians. By and large the Californian Legislative racism which viewed the Chinese immigrants as “heathen” and “very little above the beast” did not fare well for them (Joshua Paddison, American Heathens: Religion, Race, and Reconstruction in California, University of California Press, 2012, p.27). Enter one champion: William Speer, a Presbyterian Minister who was the first to speak the Gospel in their own language. Speer, who was a Missionary to the Californian immigrants, wrote, “It is a strange thing that we Americans have acquired the fashion of speaking of the Chinese with contempt and dislike. It is a fashion – and it should be changed” (William Speer, The Oldest and the Newest Empire: China and the United States, Harvard, 1870. p. 4). Compared to the Romans, the Assyrians, Persians, Egyptians, and the Grecian, the Chinese supply the generation today with “Virtuous examples of their own ancestors who lived four thousand years ago” and have remained whereas these other Great Empires “are past and gone” (p. 22, op. cit.).

Speer heaps praise after praise, noting how the French and English admired the Chinese culture and people. “The coming of the Chinese to America is excelled in importance by no other event since the discovery of the New World” (p. 27). Indeed, the discovery of what would become America, was fueled by Christopher Columbus’ reading of Marco Polo’s description of China and its people. Calling the inhabitants “Indians”, Columbus meant “Chinese” since in Europe, Indians – those of Indies – were called such. Now, of course, Speer wrote under the theological idea of the grand design of Providence in evangelizing the Chinese to the Christian Faith, and he had great success in doing so when he first visited there in Canton, learning Cantonese, for four years (there was also Hudson Taylor). Coming back to California, he vigorously fought the Politicians for immigrant rights and protections, which was successful as well. Speer’s massive volume attempts to recount their history, and in that time it was quite common to understand the history of any peoples as stemming from “the solitary household that was saved in the ark when the world was drowned for its corruptions” (p.36 – such a refreshing outlook for me!). How the descendants of Noah and his family “threaded its way along the valleys of Jihon, the Yarkana, and the Hwang-ho into the territory of the present empire of China, no inspired chronicle relates” (p. 36). Keep in mind we are still in the 1870’s here.

Speer does not stop. He quotes other anthropologists and recounts Chinese traditions as well that relate of the first human beings made from clay. As well, there is clear documentation concerning the legend of Fuhi, often called the “Chinese Noah”, who made his way to the mountain of Chin, encircled by a rainbow after the earth was flooded. Several etymological sources derive the name Sin, one of the names listed in Genesis 10.17 which is often thought as being the Sinites, or Sianu in Assyrian records. Speer quotes Isaiah 49.12, “Behold, these shall come from afar, and behold, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Sinim“. The Hebrew noun is Sinim, which, as Hebraist Julius Fuerst noted, is “rightly understood as Sina or China” (Hebrew & Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, 1867, p.977). Before the wholesale infiltration of the alternate world view of Darwin and Lyle, this is how Christian anthropologists thought (rightly so). So, for Speer, the spread of the Gospel to the Chinese was viewed as prophecy being fulfilled. He was not alone in this.

We need to speed up things in terms of an extremely complex history of China. After the Qing Dynasty, what is now known as the Peoples Republic of China fell under the sway of the Communist writings of Lenin and Marx. Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong) announced on the first day of October, 1949 the Peoples Republic of China. In an odd and strange fashion (what else is history but that?), the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1865) was led by Hung Hsiu-ch’uan, a Christian. Well, sort of. He believed that he was the brother of Jesus Christ. Mao Tse-tung, on the other hand, was influenced by German intellectual, Karl Marx. Neither Jesus, nor Marx were apart of Chinese history in terms of her then four thousand year traditions (see Maurice Meisner, Mao’s China: A History of the People’s Republic, The Free Press/MacMillan, 1977).

Confucius was born in the sixth century B.C. and his philosophy/worldview largely dominated Chinese culture. In the twelfth century A.D. Daoism and Buddhism were added. All of these views were attacked by the Communist Party of China (which existed before Mao Tse-tung). Christianity, from extant accounts, appears to have entered China in the sixth century A.D. It was introduced again in the thirteenth century, but “both times its constituency seems to have been prevailingly foreign and neither time does it appear to have won many converts from among the Chinese themselves” (K. S. Latourette, A History of Christianity: Volume II Reformation to the Present, Harper and Row, 1975, pp. 938-939). This is not to say that Christianity vanished in the land. By the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Jesuits made firm inroads and the Roman Catholic Church was well established. Sun Yatsen (1866-1924) was Christian and established the Republic of China (1912). The internal factions never left, however. Several influences were competing with each other over how to best rule China for the Chinese. After Yatsen, Chen Duxiu and the Communist came into power, but not with total support. Another party, the Kuointang (the Nationalist Party), vigorously fought the Communists. This party was lead by Chiang Kai-shek. If anyone is familiar with the fifties in America and the “Red Scare” of McCarthyism, the collapse of Kai-shek to Mao (1949), establishing Communism to the present day in the land, colored the language of Whites when it came to viewing China and the Chinese (Griffin Fariello, Red Scare: Memories of the American Inquisition, Avon Books, 1995). Since the Soviets were our “allies” in the War, we favored them over Chiang Kai-shek (also an ally). When the uprising against him (led by Mao) was more or less supported by US withholding aid from Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party, China fell in 1949. For a completely different take on what happened, denouncing Communism and Socialism altogether on the basis of the fact that wherever it is allowed to flourish, disaster results is John A. Stormer’s None Dare Call It Treason (Liberty Bell Press, 1964). Stormer shows how it was through America Liberals friendly to Leninism used clandestine methods (media) to paint a rosy picture of Chinese Communists. In reality, – as we later learned, Mao’s extermination machine made Hitler’s look like a picnic. On the Left, we never hardly hear of complaints of Communist extremes, because of their Socialist policies. Hitler, on the other hand, is always painted as a Right Wing Conservative (which he was not – at all). The point in all of this is is that in America, China is the go to source for defining “which side are you on” politics. Leftists praise China (in spite of a dismal human rights record, and environmental issues); the Right can demonize them as foul, atheist commies.

Kai-shek was, more or less, tolerant of the Christian missionaries, and a friend to the West. What one begins to notice is that whatever foreign influence, whether Western democracy (and its economics), Christianity, or Communism, the Chinese integrated them into their own way of seeing things as Chinese. Even Communism was not spared in that Mao’s definition was not that of Soviet Russia’s definition. Henry Kissinger utilized this fact in the famous meetings (Summits) between China and America under President Nixon. Walter Isaacson notes how an article in Life magazine reported on the Sino-Soviet clash (1969), and the editorial faulted the Soviets. Nixon, after reading the article, ‘jotted a note to be conveyed to the editor: “I completely agree”.’ After a series of attempts to meet, it finally came down to an American Ping Pong champion, Glenn Cowan, then nineteen years old (Walter Isaacson, Kissinger, Simon & Schuster, 1992, pp. 336-339). This was a major victory for Nixon, and for the launch of world diplomacy in a time when the Cold War and Viet-Nam were in full gear. By the end of the seventies, China’s economic condition was abysmal. Communism was not working for Russia or China, but we made an inroad to China instead of Russia.

There are major concerns when it comes to Communism and Religion. Communism is avowedly anti-religious. The untold millions of Christians that have been slaughtered by the hands of those in control and under the persuasion of Marx-Lenin is a history barely heard in America (for a summary and further research, go here). Nonetheless, from all reputable sources, Christianity is growing in what has been estimated as close to one hundred million (for an excellent book, see Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power by David Aikman, Regency Publishing, 2003). Aikman shows how the tenacity of Chinese “house churches” since Mao’s rise has stood firm over and against the State Church of the Communist Party. All attempts to suppress and oppress these churches – which have no Western denomination over them (the Chinese way) – have failed. See, if it is announced that the heavenly way of Jesus is to be established by Jesus on earth when he returns, then the philosophy that man will bring Utopia (Marxism) is false. Government is not the whole answer to Man’s Problem. For Communism, and indeed Socialism to work, Religion must either be controlled, or eradicated. For these ideologies to work, Government must dominate the social order in thought. Dissent from claims of an other-worldly Kingdom simply clash. Ask Pontius Pilate.

The current President, General Secretary, and Paramount Leader is Xi Jinping, whose father was killed during an attempt to radically reinforce Maoism (The Cultural Revolution as it was called). Since 2012, Jinping’s core belief is still what could be called Maoist in some ways. He has also been associated with the revival of the Qing Dynasty aspects when it comes to Chinese Nationalism. His “Chinese Dream” is not pure Marxism, or Communism, but is State run “collectivism.” It’s a post Marxism form of Socialism on a massive scale that has incorporated ideas that have to do with trade, commerce, and the success of the Chinese people, for the Chinese people at the guidance of the State. In a little book I purchased some time ago, the authors’, Hu Wenzhong and Cornelius L. Grove, noted that of one the three fundamental values of the Chinese, the first is Collectivism. “Collectivism is characterized by individuals subordinating their personal goals to the goals of some collectives. Individualism is characterized by individuals subordinating the goals of collectives to their personal goals” (Encountering the Chinese: A Guide for Americans, Intercultural Press, 1991, p. 5-6). That is a good snapshot. As I stated, the Chinese do not simply “borrow” another ideology, but rather make it their own for the benefit of the People, China. “Much of the process institutional change has taken place at the level of formal rules and regulations” which are constructed and applied “as a part of the grand strategy of national development” (Scott Wilson, Remade in China: Foreign Investors and Institutional Change in China, Oxford Press, 2009, p. 8). Technology, as witnessed in the city of Shenzhen under Deng Xiaoping (the Architect of Modern China), has exploded in China. Xiaoping theorized that China must enter a stage of economic growth which in turn would bring about the “social utopianism” of Marxist-Leninist thought. Thus, Marxist-Socialism is still in the driver’s seat, and the Chinese “experiments” with capitalistic concerns (inviting an open market of foreign investors) will show, so it is believed, that the Chinese Communists interpreted Marxism (and Engels) aright all along. Where the Soviet Union failed, China will succeed. What we have is Chinese Marxism.

Globalization is the name of the game these days. China recognizes this fact. To be accepted as players on the world stage, and to have respect as a people among the nations, China will indeed foster participation within the world, reforming itself if it is necessary (to some extent), yet always maintaining nationalism. One could say that Trump’s “America first” policies are akin to Xi Jinping’s: “China first”. Wilson notes how both countries utilize globalization, yet “hedge” when it comes to losing their own sovereignty (Wilson, cited above, p. 210). China’s massive military expansion is meant ” to enhance its clout in international affairs by making its security threat credible” (Wilson, 210).

This brings us to the idea of defense. Corona-virus, according to some, is a biologically engineered mutation at the hands of chemists. This also brings us to the fact that China does not want “the blame” for this recent pandemic. In fact, currently, it has shifted from the “it originated in Wuhan” story to a “we don’t know how it got in Wuhan” one. One must understand here that China is a nationalistic and proud country. The last thing they want is war, and the further last thing they want is blame. Who wants to be known as the country that has plunged the world into a pandemic? However, as a world stage player, they do want to be known as a country that can defend itself if necessary. And it can.

Two stories are emerging in terms of the origin of the corona-virus. One, it is the product of germ warfare. Two, it is the product of a happenstance chance that a “jump” occurred from an animal (the Chinese horseshoe bat – Rhinolophus sinicus) to a human by unsanitary means. Dr. Francis Boyle, a controversial University of Chicago College of Law professor (earning degrees from Harvard as well), is currently arguing that CoViD-19 is engineered. One can usually dismiss conspiracy crack pots. Dr. Francis Boyle is not a crack pot. The reports coming from non-State reviewed sources within China are also telling a different story. Again, this is not about the Chinese people. This is about an ideology rooted in what is called, Globalization of world powers. Boyle does not believe that China orchestrated this. It was an accident. His concern is that something like this was developed at all.

Boyle drafted the The Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 (BWATA). There it states, “any micro-organism, virus, infectious substance, or biological product that may be engineered as a result of biotechnology, or any naturally occurring or bioengineered component of any such microorganism, virus, infectious substance, or biological product, capable of causing death, disease, or other biological malfunction in a human, an animal, a plant, or another living organism; deterioration of food, water, equipment, supplies, or material of any kind or deleterious alteration of the environment” must be outlawed. And it is. So, if he is correct, who developed corona-virus 19?

With all of the technological breakthroughs and the massive uploading of knowledge via the internet, the sophistication of modern industry down to the irrelevance of Religion (which, depending on who you read is itself collapsing), we have a pandemic. And, that means death. Fear. Panic. We need a scapegoat: the Chinese! It does not matter to this Theologian where, or who, or how CoviD-19 came. I quoted a verse at the beginning of this blog from Acts 17, where in a first century Jewish rabbi name Paulus (or, Paul – his Jewish name is Shaul) stated that all peoples came from one blood. One family. That is was God, who after the flood, “determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation” (17.26). And, that it is God, therefore, who can get this family’s attention when he so wills all at once. Getting the flu, or a virus, is a common affair. Getting dead is a whole other thing. When technology is viewed as the answer to all things, it suddenly panics when death comes knocking. When we think we are in control and something like this comes along, we actually see how fragile we are. We are not as invincible as we thought. If we take the view of Globalization that there are several key players who are running the world (Conspiracy), then I take that a step further: God is running the world and is indifferent to or shows no favor of any key player or nation.

At the time of this writing, we are living in a period of uncertainty. This may pass, or it may not. But, as Osama Bin Laden has become part of our vocabulary, so has corona-virus. One didn’t hear much talk about SARS on the streets. The talk about AIDS is not what it was in the eighties. Those pandemics didn’t shut down our communities and churches. This one did. What will the next one do? None of the concerns of Politics could have braced us for this. Socialism, Capitalism, “made in China”, Republicans, Democrats, whatever. Suddenly, we took on a global concern. The Chinese are in this, too. And, for me, my Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ are affected. We also are questioning the idea of teleology: where is history going? This pandemic will without question change our policies with other nations; the outcome of which is unknown, but hopefully, it will continue to foster cooperation instead of ideological demarcation. It seems as if the Chinese have always had an idea of the Divine Heavens. Indeed, that they simply have ingrained in them what is ingrained in cultures all over the globe: a hope for humanity when all is said and done. Paul concluded his speech in Acts 17 with this: “For in Him we live and move and are…the offspring of God…[and] he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (17.28-31). For Paul, this included a hope for a new heavens and a new earth; a Utopia made by God Himself. However, before such time, we have these occasional outbreaks of turmoil wherein we face uncertainty and death. Man’s attempts to take a stab at creating a better world can sometimes appear to us that all is right. Why would wrath break out? Well, all is not alright. If this is indeed God’s world, His Kingdom Realm, and all the players on His stage are not all acting in accords with His Empire, then He can suddenly get everyone’s attention. Not that everyone will heed this. Many will scoff and shake their fists. But, many will not. They will bow and confess, “Jesus is Lord.” “Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of China” said the Prophet. If this is where history – God’s unfolding Purpose for Humanity – is taking us (which seems to be the innate hope of even those who defy God) – then some aspects of this Future hurl us towards that Future in the Now. This is a time for service, courage, and a furtherance towards a beneficial love of Humanity for the sake of Christ – “racism” has no place, and neither does Politics. A transcendent view (what the Latin Theologian phrased, sub specie aeternitatis) is needed to “make sense” of the Global Picture. Man’s view from below doesn’t work.

What About the Time Texts, Part 4

By Samuel M. Frost, Th. M.

The Greek verb, mello (μέλλω) has been conveyed in a variety of ways when it comes to translating it into English.  We will explore several of these examples.  We will also explore the many syntactical forms in which the verb is used (as it occurs in action with the Subjunctive, Indicative, Participle, etc.).  Following on this, the context will be noted in which it occurs also noting the variety of syntactical forms.  No word can be considered apart from its contextual aspect (Aspekt) Finally, we will conclude the following thesis: mello is emphatic of future contingencies in terms of giving absolute assurance that the subject matter will most certainly occur.  It does not say anything concerning ‘when’ (Zeitpunkt der Aktion) the subject will occur.  Whether the action (Aktionsart) is ‘about to’ happen, or simply ‘will’ or is ‘going to’ happen is supplied solely by the context (Kontext) in which the verb occurs. 

Mello means that an action is certainly going to happen in the future.  That is its basal meaning.  As such, it is found in the Future Active Indicative (FAI).  Mt 24.6 has “you will hear of wars…” (RSV); “you will begin to hear of wars…” (YLT); the majority of translations follow the RSV and use the simply future, “will.”  This is followed by the Infinite in the Present Active form, to hearMello is often followed by an Infinitive form of a verb.  “You are going to hear” or “you will hear” are both acceptable.  For our point, mello is found in the Future Active Indicative form which, one would think, already state the fact that something is to happen in the future.  Why, then, would mello be used if it, too, is a verb rooted in a future aspect?  Because it adds emphasis to the certainty.  Jesus is not saying that at any moment they are ‘about to’ hear rumors, as if after he was done speaking someone would be overheard saying, “Hey, did you hear that Rome is going to invade Gaul?” That may have in fact happened!  Or, it may be that in a few years they would hear such things.  Either way, they were definitely going to hear it!

The Future Active Indicative by itself as a form is what grammarians call ‘vague’ or ‘ambiguous’ in terms of whether or not something will take place.  It does not deny that it will, or will not, or maybe it will or will not.  The focus is on the type of action that is said to occur in the future.  This will happen.  With mello, the sense is this will definitely happen.  The Future Indicative has that meaning as well, but mello sharpens it.  Hence, it is emphatic. 2 Pe 1.12 is another occurrence of mello in the FAI.  “Therefore I intend always to remind you of these things…” (RSV); “So I will always remind you of these things…” (NIV); “remind” is in the Present Infinitive, to remind.  This is an emphatic statement.  Peter could have simply written, “I will remind you” using the FAI for the verb remind.  It would have meant the same thing to the author. But, to add emphasis to the fact that he is going to constantly (“always” which is supplied in the text) remind them; doggedly remind them, is conveyed.  Bank on it.

It is pertinent at this point to work within the Grammars and Lexicons of Koine Greek and what they have to say about mello.  First off, we will consider Liddell and Scott, the classical Greek Lexicon.  There, the verb is shown to have a great multitude of usages in Pindar, Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, etc.  It is used poetically and in prose.  What is also noted is that mello “differs from the simple future just as Latin facturus sum from faciam” (A Greek-English Lexicon, Liddell and Scott, American Book Company, 1882).  The translations are, to intend doing, think or mean to do, to be about to do.  Several examples are given.  Also, ‘to denote a foregone conclusion’; Strong probability; destined.  It also simply means, by itself, the future; I have found this to be the case in my recent readings in Pindar’s Odes, where it is simply used of the “future” time, whether or not “in the coming moments” or in the far away time.  That is supplied by the context, not the verb.  For example, “He soon overtook his brother, noble Hector, about to leave the place where he’d talked with his wife” (Iliad 6.515) where “about to” is followed by a Future Infinitive.  The action of Hector dictates the translation “about to” or “on the verge of”.  “As he spoke, Dolon raised his large hand, though about to touch Diomedes’ chin to beg for mercy” (Iliad 10.454).  The action is obviously taking place at the moment.  Several examples in Classical Greek can be shown.

A Greek professor pointed out to me that in Lexical entries for Greek words, the English translations are English idioms in the way that English use the term.  Hence, the English definitions of a particular term are just that, English!  It may seem obvious to us, but it is important to realize this often missed point.  In English, the idiom “about to” carries with it that something is on the verge of happening then and there.

Friberg’s, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament (2000, Trafford Publishing), by Barbara and Timothy Friberg, offers us more or less the same definition: will certainly take place, will come to pass.  It lists in entry (b) that with the Aorist Infinitive it may mean, be on the point of, be about to, be destined to, be inevitable.  In entry (c) with the Present Infinitive, be about to, be going to, begin to; or as a future or as a periphrasis for settled futurity, will, be going to.  The Participle in the Present Indicative is simply, what is coming in the future with an ‘absolute’ sense.  Why all of these choices?  What would decide for the translator the choices listed above?  Context.  There is nothing in these Lexicons, including the Bauer, Ardnt, Gingrich and Danker (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2000) that states that mello means, in and of itself, ‘about to’.  These various interpretative translations are based on context – which tells us whether or not the subject in question is on the verge of happening –as the English idiom is used – or not.

Louw and Nida (LN) place mello under the semantic range of ‘time’.  Mello can be used for action which occurs ‘at the same time’ (67.62, from Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, 1988).  Again, under no listing is any verbal form given.  “About to” can occur as a translation with the Present Infinitive, the Future Infinitive, or the Participle.  An example give by LN is Mt 20.22, “the cup I am about to drink” – with the action being ‘closely related’ in terms of time.  Here the Present Active form with the Present Infinitive follows.  However, in the majority of the major Bible translations, “the cup I will drink”; “I am to drink”; “I am going to drink” – are given.  Jesus was fated to drink the cup.  It was of absolute necessity, and certainty that he drink it.  In the parallel Mk 10.38 the Present Active Indicative is used instead of mello showing that the action of his drinking is something that was upon them (the cup being in reference to the suffering he was to undertake within the week of his uttering these words).  Some refer to this as the Futuristic Present because it was “regarded as so certain that in thought it may be contemplated as already coming to pass” (Dana and Mantey, p. 185, see below).

The Grammar Dana and Mantey (A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, Macmillan, 1957) notes that the verb mello “is  more emphatic in force, and contemplates the action as more imminent” (p.191).  They add a further citation from A.T. Robertson’s A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research (Hodder and Stoughton, 1914), page 870.  There, to compliment the idea of Dana and Mantey, Robertson pointed out an example by way of harmonizing Mk 9.31 with Mt 17.22.  In the former, “the son of man is being delivered” using the verb in the Present Passive Indicative.  Of course, the time of this being handed over to the authority was some weeks away.  In the latter, “the son of man is about to be delivered” where the verb (“delivered”) is used periphrastically with mello in the PAI and the main verb in the Present Infinitive.  Robertson then adds that the Futuristic Present “gives the sense of certainty” (p.870).  Hence, it can be used for mello, or in place of, because of the fact of something to happen with certainty.  It is fated.  To bring out this idea in translation, scholars will use the English idiom “about to” in the same force of that idiom.  Note that the construction here is the verb mello in the Present Active Indicative with the Present Infinitive following.

Let me illustrate this point by way of an example in my own life.  The date of this paper is February 5th.  My niece, Taylor, has asked me to preside over her wedding which is February 28th.  This wedding is going to occur.  It is about to occur.  It is a few weeks away.  In fact, the other day I used this very statement to a friend saying that “I am marrying my niece” using a Present Tense.  The event is certain.  However, I have known about this for over a year, and I would not have said a year ago, “the wedding is about to occur.”  Rather, feeling quite at ease, I had plenty of time to prepare.  Now, presently, I don’t!  It is the context of the situation that a translator would use “about to” for something that is seen as occurring within a very short period of time.  However, the verb mello itself does not mean ‘about to’ – it means that an event is certainly going to happen.  Like the Futuristic Present, it “gives the sense of certainty.” When mello does give this sense within a context that we know upon reading was to happen within a few weeks, a week, a day or even right at that moment, “about to” is a perfectly good conveyance of the way in which “about to” expresses the certainty of the event.  And, when this is done, the verb is usually – but not always – in the Present forms of Infinitive or Indicative with a Present Infinitive following.  We now can turn to several other examples.

In Acts 11.28 the Prophet named Agabus predicted a famine throughout the world.  Luke adds that this happened during the reign of Claudius Caesar.  Claudius ruled from 41-54 CE, and this places Agabus’ prediction, therefore, during that time.  According to the historians (Cassius, Suetonius, Josephus), four famines happened during his reign in 42 or 43 in Rome, another in Greece in 50, and yet another in Rome in 51.  Josephus mentions a famine in Judea in 45 CE.  However, this famine was after the death of Herod Agrippa, and the context of Acts 11-ff makes it clear that Herod was still alive when Paul and Barnabas arrived in Judea.  Either way, the form of mello here is in the Present Infinitive followed by the Future Infinitive of eimi: “there is going to be famine.”  None of the major translations reflect the idea of “about to”, thus resolving any issues with what exact famine Agabus had in mind.  It may be that Agabus’ prophecy concerned several and spoke generally – without any sense of when other than in the future – that famine(s) were coming, not specifying any provinces within the Empire.  Acts 24.15 and 27.10 contain the last of the three occurrences of mello in the Present Infinitive with the Future Infinitive following.  Robertson noted that with these three examples, the Future Infinitive in regards to “time relation is only relative, as with all infinitives, not absolute as in the indicative” (p. 877, op. cit.).

Robertson continues to note that mello expressed either in the Present Indicative or the Present Infinitive is meant to convey that which the Future Indicative lacks.  It is meant to firmly express the “durative” nature of a future event (p. 889). It is not so much when an event happens, but that it will happen.  Mello occurs in the Imperfect (past) Tense several times and denotes the present condition upon which certain things are to take place before the event in question.  A good example here is mello in the Imperfect Indicative followed by a Present Infinitive: “When the seven days were almost completed…” (Acts 21.27).  The context of a week of days coming to a close is obvious.  ‘About to’ would be appropriate.  Again, of the three uses of mello with the Future Infinitive to follow, we find in Acts 27.10, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury.”  The great majority translate this verse with the verb “will” or “going to”.  The action is obviously something going to happen within the immediate time of the voyage they are about to embark on.  In the example of Acts 24.15 Paul mentioned that he has the same hope of resurrection that “will be” (as attested by the vast majority of the translations) – the certainty of resurrection without any regard as to when other than in the relative future.  Again, context determines, not the verb itself, whether or not the English idiom ‘about to’ can be utilized.  However, in every example where mello occurs (109 times in the NT) it is not necessary to translate it with ‘about to’ at all.  The several examples of where translations vary, some using ‘about to’ where others use ‘going to’ or ‘will’ highlight our point.  These are translational values that are expressed as such in the context.  When the action of the verb is seen within the context as occurring within the contextual time, the idea of its certain performance in the relative future is guaranteed.  If the action is something clearly happening ‘right then and there’, the English translation, ‘about to’, captures the force of the certainty of the action occurring in the future.

Herod was “about to” seek the child (Mt2.13); Festus was about to go to Paul (Acts 25.4); they expected that Paul was about to swell up (Acts 28.6); Paul was about to be killed (Acts 23.27); and several other examples show us action that is ‘on the verge of’ happening, not years away.  And, in each of these example, ‘about to’ is not necessary, either.  We know of the action from the context.  “Paul was going to be killed” (the Jews were going to definitely kill him); Festus was going to visit Paul; they expected that Paul was going to swell up, etc.  The sheer variety of ways in which this verb has been translated demonstrates the point that ‘about to’ is not the meaning of the term, but may be the equivalent of the English idiom, ‘about to’, depending on the context of the action, and not the verb itself.  The verb itself denotes certainty, definiteness, fate, destiny, it’s going to happen, bank on it.  Mello does not express that something might happen, but that something is going to happen; that the speaker or writer using the term is expressing certainty.  As such, knowing that I am going to preside over my niece’s wedding in a couple of weeks, I am within the contextual permits to say that I am about to marry my niece to her husband to be.  If the wedding was years away, such a comment would be entirely out of keeping with the English expression.  The same is true for translators of this verb in our English Bibles.

Psalm 2 and the Future of Nations

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

After Rousseau wrote about the “unavoidable and inherent defect” of any “body politic”, which he compared to how “age and death end by destroying the body”, he wrote, “Such is the natural tendency of the best constituted governments.  If Sparta or Rome perished, what State can hope to endure forever…let us not ever dream of making it eternal.”  Further, we must not “flatter ourselves that we are endowing the work of man with a stability of which human conditions do not permit” (Rousseau, Jean Jacques, The Social Contract, Barnes and Noble, 2005, from original 1762, pp. 91-93).  George Washington wrote to ‘To the Presbyterians’ (1789) that our Government will “give every furtherance” in “the progress of morality and science” with the view that “we may confidently expect the advancement of true religion, and the completion of our happiness” (Church, Forrest, The Separation of Church and State, 2004, p. 110).  Of course, in 1792 Washington lamented the divisions among the churches as “the most inveterate and distressing” of all the ills of mankind.  “I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal  policy, which has marked the public age, would have least reconciled Christians of every denomination…that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society” (written to Sir Edwin Newenham, op. cit., 106-107).  Just what exactly this true religion devoid of divisions is, having been overcome by the progress of science which cannot be but truth, is not stated.  It does not appear to be on the horizon even today.

In spite of the perhaps overt optimism of Washington’s hopes, the framing of the Constitution, with its ideas of checks and balances, rechecks and rebalances, with other ticks and tocks besides, was done so on the basis of the tendency of the human, body politic to become corrupt.  Indeed, one cannot begin to read Hamilton or Jay in the openings of The Federalist Papers and not see this point.  Separation of powers (Judicial, Legislative, Executive), taken from Montesquieu, must be instituted to ensure against the tendency of that accursed word, tyranny.  The pursuit of liberty was something that needed to be protected.  From what?  “It is obvious, that no human government can ever be perfect; and it is impossible to foresee, or guard against all the exigencies, which may, in different ages, require changes in the powers and modes of operation of a government, to suit the necessities and interests of the people” (Story, Joseph, A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, Regnery Gateway, 1986, from Story’s original work of 1840).  The people.

William Ellery Channing was the grandson of William Ellery, an original signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Channing was a Unitarian theologian (Harvard), was considered a “liberal” and deeply opposed Calvinism with its doctrine of depravity of the will.  However, and perhaps with great irony, Channing wrote a small tractate, ‘Importance of Religion to Society’ in 1832.  In this he wrote, “How powerless conscience would become without the belief in God; how palsied would be human benevolence, were there not the sense of a higher benevolence to quicken and sustain it.”  Further, “Once let men thoroughly abandon religion, and who can conceive or describe the extent of the desolation which would follow?”  “Take away the purifying and restraining influence of religion, and selfishness, rapacity, and injustice will break out in new excesses” (all from American Visions and Revisions: 1607-1865, Ed., David Grimstead, Copley Publishing, 1999, p. 353-354).  Sounds like Calvinism.

What does a religionless society look like?  Second, did the Framers ever envision “the people” at large within this Grand Experiment to be ever without Religion (particularly, at least early on, the Christian Religion)?  Would this have any recourse to “change” the “powers and modes” of the Constitution?  It matters not whether the people become agnostic or atheistic; they may not.  However, what if it could become successful that Religion is so watered down and so irrelevant so as merely to be that of the private life of the citizenry?  That is, create a society wherein being vocal about Religion was increasingly considered taboo?  The mighty progress of science, and the genius of self-referential psychology slowly chips away at the revealed word of Scripture to such a point that revelation is merely secondary, if anything, to the knowledge of man’s ingenious and amazing inventiveness of sophisticated and grand schemes that virtually, if left alone, leaves God in the docks.  A peaceful society built without reference, or perhaps at best some vague reference to God is a strong delusion – a rationally convincing and appealing delusion.  Besides, with all of the false seizures upon the name of Christ, and the equally powerful demonstration of the divisions within those who proclaim Christ, the question more and more arises from the lips of Pilate: “Ti estin aletheia?” – What is truth? Who knows?

“The Protestant worldview,” writes William H. Goetzmann, “like that of the Enlightenment thinkers, was a cosmic view.  All mankind and all human events, past and present, were of a piece-part of the mind of God.”  By the end of Goetzmann’s book, Henry Adams, the noted historian, saw the future in America at the entry of the twentieth century as bleak: “Looking at science, he saw only conflicting thought and all that was left was paradox, soon to be replaced by the confusions of twentieth century European Modernism and Psychoanalysis” (Goetzmann, William H., Beyond the Revolution: A History of American Thought from Paine to Pragmatism, Basic Books, 2009, pp. 24, 399).  This was a far cry from Paine’s utopian vision and Calvinist minister Jonathan Edwards’ “city on a hill” visions.  It seems as if history is doomed to failure.  Utopian experiments, as Goetzmann documents, all have failed.  Marx was wrong.  So, what guarantees the success of the West, or America for that matter?

I would argue that the ‘salt of the world’ is indeed the preserver of all things in creation.  “For the sake of the Elect”, Jesus taught, “those days will be cut short” (speaking of those days well after his departure).  If not, “all flesh would perish.”  In Psalm 2, which is more or less a template of the Reign of Messiah in the New Testament writings, we are given an amazing and prophetic vision that under-girds the fabric of all creation in terms of its purpose and its design.

Psalm 2 is directly quoted in the NT four times.  It is clearly alluded to fourteen times (according to the UBS Fifth Edition Greek NT).  From the Gospels through Acts, Paul’s letters, Hebrews and John’s letters to a large portion in the Revelation, Psalm 2 remains constant.  This Psalm is classified with others as Royal Ascension, or Enthronement of the King psalms.  “The hymns of Israel sketch a picture of the world where God is king and the kingdom is glorious.  The entire creation is the work of God (19), and everything in creation is well ordered to sustain life (104).  His power is evident in the forces of nature that he controls (29).  The king of creation maintains order over the forces of chaos and evil (93).  God created humanity as the pinnacle of his creation (8)” (Bandstra, Barry L., Reading the Old Testament, Thomson Wadsworth, 2004, p. 433).  With this world as God’s Kingdom, wherein both His people and the wicked dwell, the psalmist envisions a time wherein one upon David’s throne will rule over the “gathered kings of the earth” (Ps 2.2).  These kings are ‘enraged’ (2.1), and seek together to throw off God’s yoke.  It is a battle scene that encapsulates history in a single instance or moment.  “Against the LORD and his Messiah” they cry.  The one who “sits in the heavens” simply scorns them.  He speaks to them in his wrath (2.3).  He terrifies them in his fury.  He has exalted his king to his holy throne, a king of the kings of the earth who want that placement, but can’t get it – try as they may throughout history.  The LORD’s king is his “son” (2.7); a son of David as well.  The “nations” are given to him as an inheritance to do with as he wills.  The earth itself is given to him (2.8).  He rules the kings of the earth that gather together against him with a rod of iron, dashing their schemes to pieces.  Hitler’s 1000 Year Reign is reduced to twelve measly years where he ends up with a self inflicted bullet to the head deep in a bunker under the dirt.  Heed the instruction, the psalmist says, you gathered together kings of time and history; all of you that claim rule over his earth for your own means of advancement and prosperity which God has given to you.  “Serve the LORD with fear and trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest he quickly visits you with wrath and rod” (2.12).  “Blessed are those who take refuge in the LORD.”  Refuge in time of war.  There is a battle raging.

What is remarkable to us is that the NT writers applied this psalm to their own times, seeing the “rulers” in their own day, as David saw them in his, as “gathered together” against the LORD.  As stated, the psalm is timeless in terms of the encapsulation it depicts.  John’s imagery, specifically quoting the psalm, depicts the Lamb, “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev 1.5) in a cosmic battle with the “kings gathered together to make war” (which is a verbatim use of 2.2 with Rev 19.19 in the Greek) which are upon the “beast” – a conglomerate image with the Harlot Mother of harlot daughters – who rules over the kings of the earth, which, in turn, devour her.  A wicked empire of “kings of the earth” devouring their own rider/ruler.  Enraged in futility.  It matters not in the visions’ depiction as to what time or province the Great City/Harlot and her harlot daughters because it applies to all the “kings of the earth.”  David’s vision is seen from above; from God looking down and seeing the entirety of human governments in a single instance of gathering of the kings against him.  It matter not, from a human perspective, whether Sennacherb or Pharaoh Ahmose I, or Alexander the Great are centuries apart; they are all gathered together against Him and his Royal son.  This visionary way of seeing things is without time.  All the Kings of the earth, the Presidents, the Prime Ministers, the Csars, Dictators and Primates are gathered together at once.  Submission to the Enthroned son is the order.  Kiss him, or he visits quickly with wrath.  God rules the world.  This rather ancient way of expressing the rule of the Pantheon over the meager affairs of humankind, a cosmic battle pictured in a single flash, is what happens as the times expand chronologically; when this king comes, and another one goes.  It matters not where on the map nor when on the calendar.  Psalm 2 happens with unbroken consistency, whether penned in David’s day or uttered in the early days of the Apostles, or later in the visions of John.  It is because of this understanding that the psalmists eventually come to see “all the nations” as worshiping the LORD; every single one of them.  God will convert the world.  The kingdoms of the world belong to him and the “pinnacle of his creation” shall be crowned with glory and honor, ruling upon the creation with everything under their feet.  What this means, what the resurrection and exaltation of Messiah means, is that world has been manifestly sent notice: “And he has appointed a set time wherein he will judge the world through a man.  He has given us the total assurance of this by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17.31).  The raising of the dead man, Jesus of Nazareth, signaled the end; the resurrection of the dead and the co-heirs with the Son raised in glory immortal to inherit the ends of the earth as their King already has in his possession.

A Tip of the Hat to Gary DeMar

By Samuel M. Frost, Th. M.

“Those who ascribe to a future fulfillment in Christ claim they have a “hope” to “look forward to” but that isn’t true when they speak of a future full of destruction and tribulation… that produces fear, not hope.”

“I agree, the futurist idea of an end of the world is very much a faith killer. I see friends and family who are followers of Christ through and through… but are basically impotent in expressing that to others because they are so focused on identifying the next “sign of the end.” To me that is a life of fear, not hope.”

“Because it was a tribulation that put an end to the Old Covenant and brought in the fulness of the New Covenant and what it meant for the world as the nations were grafted in. Continuing the elements of the Old Covenant and the First Adam negates the redemptive nature of Jesus’ work. It’s no wonder the church is in a stupor with so many waiting for cataclysms, antichrists, and more slaughter. Jesus said, “It is finished.” It’s long past time that we believe Him” (Gary DeMar).

The first two of these three quotes is from an online Full Preterist.  Gary DeMar, who is not a Full Preterist, yet shows close affinity to this sentiment, this idea that “future” catastrophes are bad, underscores the idea that is pervasive in popular Christian expressions.  It strikes me as odd.  As a student of history, I occasionally come across books written on specific periods of time that are so unfathomably hard to digest because of the subject matter.  The Black Death, by Philip Ziegler (Alan Sutton Publishing, 1996) shows us firsthand accounts of Europe’s years in the fourteenth century.  Most think of the Great Plague, or Black Death as centering in Europe.  However, it came from the East where it ravaged through China.  Massive earthquakes, floods, hordes of locust, drought followed by famine – a series of sudden disasters from 1333 to 1345 claimed, by some accounts, near five million lives in China.  But, as Ziegler notes, that was China.  To Europeans, it was “so far away” that it “could have any possible relevance” to them (p. 3).  In an interesting description, Ziegler quotes from an “anonymous Flemish cleric” reporting to the papal curia in France (he sources from the Recueil des Chroniques de Flanders Volume 3).  There were three days, according to this firsthand account, of “horror and unheard of tempests” (p. 3) ranging from plagues of frogs, scorpions and other venomous beasts on the first day.  This was followed by massive thunder claps and sheets of rain and hailstones.  The third day was followed by fire from heaven.

The reports of the plague in the East continued through India, Mesopotamia and Syria, but not once did the people of Christianized Europe think it would strike them.  It did (1347-1351).  The numbers are staggering.  Some estimate that nearly 60% of Europe was wiped out, as high as 200 million.  We, of course, have “conquered” such pandemics today.

The term “epidemic” actually came from this event, and “pandemic” as a now common title.  There were other plagues of this sort.  The London Plague (1665), and in India from 1892 to 1896 some 6 million were claimed.  John M. Barry in, The Great Influenza (Penguin, 2004), covers in this remarkable book the gripping story of medicine and the pioneers of what is now the stable field of “germ theory.”  Influenza caused the death of 100 million in one year: 1918.

One could also read In the Shadow of the Epidemic: Being HIV-Negative in the Age of AIDS, (Duke University Press, 1995) by Walt Odets.  AIDS has caused the deaths of over 32 million, ranging from 1981 to the present.  An estimated 37 million were living with AIDS in 2018.  That’s an epidemic.

Pushing aside medical concerns, one could cite The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1978 (Yale University Press, 2002) by Ben Kiernan.  1.7 million were starved to death.  Of course, there was World War 2, World War 1, and Stalin’s estimated 20 million deaths of peasants at his hand.  Staggering numbers.  Numbers that do not affect the person sitting with their coffee while typing on Facebook how wonderful a world it is.

But, maybe it’s not all bad news.  I could take from my library The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton, 2016) by Robert J. Gordon (a massive tome that equals Adams’ Wealth of the Nations); or The Paradox of Progress by Martin Hershock, or the sometimes downright comical work of Yuval Noah Harari entitled, Homo Sapiens: A Brief History of Tomorrow.  Harari was hailed by Bill Gates, Barak Obama and Sebastian Younger for his earlier work, Sapiens.  In Homo Sapiens, he argues that man may actually achieve immortality through science.  The world is getting better.  Man is conquering his greatest enemies.  He laments the ‘apocalyptic scenarios’ of the Christians.  Shreds any notion (much like Sam Harris) that the ancient belief in “god(s)” is relevant to our sophisticated societies today.  Science is what triumphs, not theologians sitting in some seminary debating when the end will arrive.  It’s not going to arrive.  We can stop it.  Take SARS for example (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), what started with “fears of a new Black Death…ended with the death of less than 1,000 people worldwide” (Harari, p. 11, Harper Collins, 2017). One could note today’s Coronavirus in China.  Harari takes constant and consistent attacks on notions of God or religion playing any role for progress.  Of course, acclaimed historian Tom Holland would disagree.  Christians these days have become apologists for how Christianity has caused the great innovations of science and progress, and without it – and Christians – the world would collapse.  Now, this is the irony.  How can Christians be the cause of greatness and progress, and yet be ridiculed as a doomsday cult hastening the coming end times destruction with glee and morbid hope for catastrophic death never before seen?  Or, are the opening comments of the quotes above simply touting a common line that is really rooted in a stigma.

Now, to be sure, one can enter any Christian bookstore and find all kinds of works on how the world is supposed to end – even in this lifetime if you follow the more popular ones.  Iran is going to align with Russia and Syria.  Jordan and Libya will attack Israel and the Antichrist will arise and sign a temporary peace accord while sitting in the yet-to-be rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.  The Official United Nations Government of the Red Star Federation (to borrow from the late Neil Peart of Rush, 2112) will stamp everyone with 666.  Then, literally, all hell will break loose that will make the previous centuries combined look like Maria Von Trapp belting out a tune by Richard Rodgers.  Make America Great Again, or something like that.

The combined irony in all of this is that the Bible is increasingly becoming recognized by the fact that “it” and “its many interpretations offered by those who read It” are two different things.  The Bible cannot be interpreted in a vacuum.  No matter how hard we try, we cannot escape the preconditioning of our time.  We read the Bible with an already built in audience of interpreters before us.  No one alive today was there and witnessed Jesus.  No one today can claim to be an “original hearer” of Paul.  We have to ‘reconstruct’ the times of Second Temple Judaism(s), and this road is fraught with difficulties – there appears to be no consensus.

However, history as such can be a guide.  Jesus and Paul did speak, and Paul wrote letters.  The Gospel writers, whether they be known or unknown redactors that piled on layers of interpretative voices much later on to the real, ‘historical’ Jesus, also bequeathed to us the Gospels.  And then there is the Apocalypse of John.  There appears to be no consensus.  When one reads the early Christians of the several first centuries, they appear to have their own ideas as well.  Perhaps if we “return” to them, we might find a clue.  However, here we are still in the 21st century.  What did Jesus say?  What did he mean?  Did he predict the future at all?  Did he give us a detailed road map that brought us the Ottoman Empire and the rise of Islam?

There is a view within Christendom that states that all the bad stuff supposedly inferred to happen in the future is behind us.  That is, everything Jesus had to say about terrible afflictions, plagues and earthquakes was fulfilled when the Romans, tired of the outbreaks of civil strife among the Jews, took it upon themselves to squash it.  In the years of 66-70, 115, and 132-135 CE they did.  Jerusalem has never been the same since.  And, of course, one can read the eyewitness account of Josephus, the Pharisee turned lover of Rome historian.  He records what he saw as the worst event in human history that ever was, or ever will be in the 70 CE sack of Jerusalem.  The “great tribulation” was over!  Revelation was fulfilled!  We don’t have to suffer anymore!  History will now end in bliss, if only these Christians who believe in the end of the world (eventually) would cease their efforts on promulgating this doom and gloom scenario.  Perhaps Christian apocalypticism is the fault of the Black Plague, or the Viet-Nam War. After all, this is their “hope”, right?

Well, no.  Not all of us.  It appears within some circles that you either subscribe to the jubilant cry that the Great Tribulation is behind us, or (and only “or”) you must ascribe to a view of the end of the world in some sort of hell-on-earth, three and a half year unprecedented universal horror of all horrors.  That you hope for such an end.  That you are looking for “signs of the end” in every newspaper headline about Hamas or Jihad or Russian military maneuvers on the border of the Crimean that cause your hair to stand on end.  Are these the only two alternatives?  Really?  Does history have anything to say?

Now, granted, Gary DeMar is a Postmillennialist.  Since the catastrophes of the Great Tribulation are behind him (whew!), we have an open view of the Future that only gleams with progress and unfettered prosperity; provided that we rid the world of Dispensationalists, or any view that smacks of negating the progress of culture building through the Gospel enterprise. The only issue there is noted in Harari’s work noted above.  Harari is not using the Bible as his guide.  God is irrelevant to technology.  Progress is great.  One day it may even reach to the heavens itself and make its home there.  As Harari exclaims, our problems “have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges.  We don’t need to pray to any god or saint to rescue us from them.  We know quite well what needs to be done in order to prevent famine, plague and war – and we usually succeed in doing it” (p.2, opus cited).  “Peace, Peace!”.  Harari is entirely indifferent to whether or not God will bring the great tribulation or whether He already did way back yonder.  The fact is, the dead have not been raised, and Jesus has not returned according to incurable optimists like DeMar – who still maintains that Jesus will return – and this means one thing: the world will, in fact, end.  Until it does, death is still with us, and all that it means.  Perhaps jumping on the bandwagon of Environmentalism may help pave the way for a better world of tomorrow until Jesus comes, like the book Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth advocates (Delio, Warner, and Wood, Franciscan Media, 2008). Such a view of the end with the dead arising is pessimistic for folks like Harari. Conquering death by means of God ‘doing’ some sort of miracle act slams the door shut for progress. It says that life in the here and now, although good, ain’t good enough for God until he radically alters it. If he has to do this, then something is wrong with the now. And he’s right.

Increasingly, however, these two alternatives of either Doom or Bliss are not the only ones.  Jesus does not predict a three and half year cataclysm.  There is no limited in duration span of a few years called, “the great tribulation” on his lips.  Rather, all that he really said was that, cumulatively, the time between “creation” and his own day (say, 32 CE) was ‘great tribulation’ when it all added up.  Coupled with this, ‘great tribulation’ would continue on until the last day in a greater accumulation when all is added up.  Those days – the days to follow after he ascended right on up to the end, which no one knows, will have great tribulation as well.  But, in a parable he gave, there would be an “admixture of good seed and bad seed” in the world.  Good seed means good fruit in the world, so not all will be catastrophically horrible.  Some of it will be quite good.  In fact, “people will be eating, drinking, marrying and given in marriage” right on up to the end.  This description does not seem to be indicating a world filled with incomprehensible violence on every street corner and square acre of the globe.  Peppered throughout history will be occasional wars and catastrophes of a grand and measurable magnitude; like the Black Plague, or World War 2.  Maybe several other shockers are to come, who knows?  Jesus did not give us “signs” to make “predictions”.  He gives us faith to endure the times and seasons of the future which the Father has set (Acts 1.7), and which only the Father knows.  And, he gave us a wonderful mind by which to microscopically see these things called, ‘germs’ that we can – and have – exercised dominion over.  There is another plague, however.  The plague of unbelief and God is irrelevant is a plague of the mind.  That one is growing.  Give the wicked good times and he will not credit God for it.  He will credit himself and build a tower to the heavens to make his own name great.  Fact of the matter is, we do know that the dead will be raised.  We do know that the last day will come.  The heavens and the earth shall pass away – make no mistake about it.  It will be transformed, and this on the scale of a universal magnitude that would involve the reconfiguration of what we now see and in which we now live.  Does this mean that just before that happens, the world will be emblazoned in a violent, Antichrist, Islamic world war of terror that sends a militant government to round up all the Christians into concentration camps?  Nope.  You might be walking in a park with your kids enjoying an ice cream cone on a sunny day.  A true biblical view is not so naïve to think that our history is filled with warm fuzzies; or that the world as it now is is a wonderful, homey place to live.  It’s not.  Human trafficking, drugs, sexual diseases, abortion, rampant and disgusting “free” pornography, drug cartels, lone dictators with nuclear dreams, ISIS, Jihad – the list appears endless, still abound.  However, equally so, the Gospel explosion in China and Africa and among Muslim countries, the strides in medicine, the curtailing of contaminated water supplies, life expectancy, quality of life improvements for a greater majority than 100 years ago are all positives.  Does the Bible predict an end to sin before the arrival of Messiah?  Nope.  Does it predict a world in which the “good seed” have been planted to be a place of sheer hell before he returns?  Nope.  Does it predict an eventual end of the world?  Yup.

Therefore, it matters not whether one is comforted by acknowledging that the ‘great tribulation’ is past already, as if the 30 million infected with AIDS could care less.  What would one say to a survivor of the Shoah in Nazi Germany?  “Well, at least this ain’t the great tribulation!”  Such a view can lead to an indifference to suffering on the earth.  Taken into its cumulative toll, how many combined are suffering unspeakable things right now as we speak?  Is it good news of comfort to say, “well, at least it ain’t the great tribulation!  God has something better for you!”  Does it matter when helping such a victim in need what one believes about the future – which only God knows?  Does DeMar and others believe that since some hold to the idea that the great tribulation is future, that means they run around saying, “well, you got what you deserve, cause the great tribulation is coming!”  No.  Such polarizing among Christians is uncalled for.  Fact of the matter is that God knows the future and is perfectly capable of bringing evil, or peace – as He sees fit, and there is not one thing you, or I, can do about it.  God punishes.  God is not mocked.  God takes vengeance.  “God vindicates the righteous; God pronounces doom each day” (Psalm 7.12).  He didn’t stop pouring out his wrath in 70 AD any more than he stopped pouring out his Spirit.  However, we are told that wrath shall be no more, and until that time we get both.  “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and evil come?” (Lamentations 3.38).  Wrath comes in many ways, as do blessings.  To pretend that God only showers blessings is not a picture of God in the Bible.  What, did the Black Plague catch him by surprise?  Oops?  Sorry ‘bout that.  I had no idea.  Is that God?  If we take the Preterist prophecy pundits, then God predicted and caused the slaughter of Jews in 70 AD.  What, he all of the sudden stopped this?  All other slaughters of history, be they natural or by the hands of tyrants, are what, just-so-happens-to-be-by-chance slaughters?  God picks and chooses his slaughtering? He runs part of the universe, but not all of it?  Come on.  Jesus did predict the passing of heavens and the earth, and the letter of 2 Peter chapter 3 confirms it.  How that comes about is a mystery.  When that comes about Peter wonderfully omitted.  However, the wicked will still be here when it does and so will on that account God’s wrath.  2000 years of history must inform us as to what Jesus meant when he uttered his Olivet Discourse.  Earthquakes, famines, tribulations, wars, pestilences and all other “wrath of God” stuff did not end in 70 AD.  One could argue that they increased on massive scales that pales in comparison to the Jewish War.  And then there was Noah’s Flood.  What could top that?  It may make one feel warm inside to know that ‘THE great tribulation of all tribulations” was “for them and then back yonder”.  Okay.  So, what about them and us here today?  Is suffering to blame for simply having a futurist view that the world ends one day?  Hardly.  If history – God’s History – be our guide, we simply do not know what’s coming down the pike other than, one day, he is going to wrap all of this up.  Of course, one could peddle nonsense that history is infinite, but that’s sheer absurdity.  Until then, “be alert” against those heralding “the end is near”.  Be on guard against those using his name for false profits.  Be aware of false pretenders, war mongers, and seducers.  Endure throughout your life all trials and tribulations that will come your way.  Endure to the end of your life, throughout your life, while setting your sights above, where he is at the right hand of the Father.

Paul’s Sermon to the Greeks

Paul’s Gospel to the Greeks in Athens who knew next to little about Moses, the covenants and the promises is a remarkable sermon. He was speaking to Epicureans and Stoics. Epicureans were derived from a Philosopher named, Epicurus (340-270 BCE). Epicurus wrote, “Accustom thyself to believe that death is nothing to us, for good and evil imply sentience, and death is the privation of all sentience;… Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not.” There is no afterlife.

The Stoics, on the other hand, was a rival philosophy.  Zeno of Citium (on the Island of Cyprus) taught in the fourth century BCE.  He eventually found his way to Athens and his followers gathered on the “painted porch” (Greek, stoa, or ‘porch’, from stoa poikile or ‘painted porch’ located in Athens), from whence the named, Stoicism is derived.  Paul’s Aereopagite Sermon (Acts 17.22-ff) is directed to them.  By the time of Paul, both Epicureanism and Stoicism were well developed and well known philosophies.  Although rival philosophies, which is not the subject of this paper, they did stand in agreement that there was no afterlife in terms of individuals.  For the Stoics, “nature” is God itself.  Time has neither a beginning nor an end.  There is no “history” since it is “infinite” and “cyclical”.  There is no beginning, there is no end. Epicureanism and Stoicism were well developed and well known philosophies.  Although rival philosophies, which is not the subject of this paper, they did stand in agreement that there was no afterlife in terms of individuals.  For the Stoics, “nature” is God itself.  Time has neither a beginning nor an end.  There is no “history” since it is “infinite” and “cyclical”.  There is no beginning, there is no end.

So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’;1 as even some of your own poets have said, “‘ For we are indeed his offspring.’ 29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (English Standard Version, Acts 17.22-31). 

Paul first confronts them with terms they would know.  The idea of the kosmos (world) being made – a cosmogony – was a topic often debated among the Greek elites.  Paul proclaims the worldview of the Hebrews: God made the world and all that is in it, and he is the Lord of both heaven and earth since he made them in the beginning.  God is in no need of anything in terms of his “being”.  God is not locally confined to buildings – and whether these philosophers were familiar with Judaism and their temple cult or not, Paul said, “temples” in the plural, and that would include the one in Jerusalem.  God is omnipresent.

Being served “by human hands” is also a nod towards religious offerings.  He doesn’t need them, nor are they required.  What could one offer to God that is not already his, or not already given life to by him?  Every man’s breath is in the operation of God.  Again, Paul is preaching – without quoting any verse – from the Hebrew Scriptures.  Appealing again to Genesis, God made “one man” and from him every nation of all came into being.  He made the world and ‘everything’ in it.  Paul then moves to quote two of their poets.  The first line is a bit fuzzy, but many associate it with the poet, Epimenides. The latter line, “we are his offspring” speaks of Aratus, who lived in the fourth and third centuries BCE:

Let us begin with Zeus, whom we mortals never leave unspoken. 
For every street, every market-place is full of Zeus. 
Even the sea and the harbour are full of this deity. 
Everywhere everyone is indebted to Zeus. 
For we are indeed his offspring … 
— Phaenomena 1–5 

What was directed to Zeus, Paul reinterprets to speak of the God of Genesis.  Paul incorporated pagan themes which could be restructured with his own Hebrew religion and demonstrates what is today called, “cross cultural communication.”  After all, God made Aratus and Epimenides, too.

“God is not far from each one of us” is simply another way of saying, “The Lord is near”.  And, it is here that I wish to make the point.  Paul’s eschatology is hardly rooted in his knowledge that Jesus spoke of “armies surrounding Jerusalem” at some point.  This he knew.  Here, to these Greeks, he utterly fails to mention it.  Instead, God has fixed “a day” in which he will “judge the world” (the world he made and everything in it) through “a man”.  The man, Messiah Yeshua.  The world is going to be judged on a day by a human being: the son of man.  And God has demonstrated this fact by raising this human being up from the dead.  This man, still very much alive, will (in the future) judge the world on a fixed day.  Now, remember, this is the same world that God made, and everything in it.  The world God made that came “from one man” and the “nations” that came from him.  Paul has incorporated the entire history of the world up to this fixed, certain “day” in which a risen human being will judge it.  That’s what he is saying.  The “world” will end.  This was entirely foreign to these Greeks.  They had no final “end”.  They had an infinite, cyclical recurrence/rebirth of the Cosmic Nature (for the Stoics, that was Reason, which was material, and for the Epicureans, there wasn’t really anything).  Paul’s view of History, with a Beginning and an End was entirely foreign to the Greeks.  The idea that “history” was “progressing” to a “fixed day” or point in which all things within history would reach their zenith in perfection (for those who believe), and an eternal judgment for those who did not was Jewish, not Greek.  It gave “purpose” to history, and, thus, “history” as we know it was born into the modern era.

Now, it is an interesting point in grammar that Paul mentioned only the resurrection (anastasis) of Jesus.  In fact, the Greek is emphatic: having raised him out of the dead ones (plural).  Only one previously dead man has been “raised out of the dead ones”: Jesus.  Yet, “when they heard ‘resurrection of dead ones’, they scoffed”.  The phrasing for the singular resurrection of Jesus “out of” the dead ones was combined in the minds of these Greeks with ‘he will judge the world’.  How will this man, Jesus, “judge the world” that has been long dead for thousands of years in many cases, “from the beginning” when all things were made until this “fixed day”?  If this man is going to judge the world – the inhabitants of the world (Greek) – then it follows by strong logic that he has to raise them: there will be a resurrection of the dead (plural).  The resurrection of the dead occurs on the “day” when this man, Christ Jesus, who is now risen from the dead (the dead were not risen when Paul preached this) will judge them.  He cannot judge “the nations” that have come “from one man” thousands of years ago (who are well dead) unless he raises them so that they will “stand in judgment”.  These Greeks got the message.  They scoffed at such an idea.  It was entirely foreign to them.

Now, what would such a ‘resurrection of dead ones’ look like?  “[A]nd he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead.”  Confirmation of what?  Resurrection and judgment.  For who?  “All.”  Now, if Jesus is described here as a human being who died, was buried and is now alive, risen from the dead, who will judge the world (the inhabitants of the world) from Adam onward, then “the dead” who are to be raised must be the same inhabitants of the world from the beginning until then.  The “dead” are not “raised” until the “fixed day”.  They are not “raised” in any piece meal fashion.  They are not “raised” when they happen to expire.  They are raised on the day when they are judged; all of them at once.  What started with “one man” ends with the Judgment of One Man.  This “one man” was created on a day.  This other One Man will raise all that came from him on a day.  The last day.

Such is Paul’s Eschatology in a nutshell.  It does not include 70 AD.  It nowhere even hints at the coming catastrophe of wars (66-70 AD; 115 AD; 135 AD) to befall the Jewish people.  It does not mention anything at all but the fact that there is coming a day in which a human being who has been raised from the dead and is still very much alive in his risen-from-the-dead-state will judge all mankind at once.

John 11.25-26

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

John 11.25-26 reads as follows: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and I am the life. The one who is believing in me, though he die, he will live again. Everyone who is living and believing in me shall never die in the age. Are you believing this?”


First off, we need to look at the grammatical aspects (syntax). The first sentence is emphatic, “I” used with the predicate “I am” in the Present Indicative. The articles (“the”) equally place emphasis on what Jesus is saying he “is”. He is “the resurrection” and he is “the life.” John’s Gospel places great stress on “life” in his Gospel. Jesus is not “just” spiritual life, or physical life, or the life of God’s creation. He is all of those. He is the “source” of all life, whether it be a bird flying in the noon wind, or a leaflet sprouting anew. This is an astounding statement and claim. It is exhaustive of all that these terms mean. Jesus is the author of life and as such, gives life.

The second sentence is what we call a ‘conditional clause.’ The first verb is a participle in the Present Active form. A participle is a verbal adjective describing a subject. In this case, a believer. The person who is believing. The “time” of the participle is determined by the context, not the form. It is plain that Jesus is speaking of those who are currently believing, or whoever, past, present or future, can be described as a “believing one”. “In me” is the object in who this action of believing is directed. Everyone believes in something or someone, but not everyone believes in Jesus.

The conditional part starts (Protasis) with “though he die”.  Here the Subjunctive Mood is used in the Aorist form.  The Greek has kan, which is a combination of the conjunction, kai, and ean (if, though, when, even if, even though).  The condition is that even if a person dies (as a matter of fact), they will live again.  The final (Apodosis) part is Future Indicative.  This is a typical form of a condition stated with a future result.  The person that believes in Jesus, though he will die indeed, will certainly live again.  The verb “live” or “live again” is implied by the Protasis which states that he or she will die.  Another more modern way of saying this is, “in spite of the fact that you will die, you will live again afterwards.”  In the manner that a person “dies” (which is, in this case, actual death) will be the manner in which a person “will live” (will be raised from the death they died).  It makes no sense to interpret “die” as physical death, but the Future “will live” as current spiritual life.

Broadening the range of those who are believing, John wrote “whosoever lives” or all who live, anyone who is a living one.  This is the Present participle form we have already seen above for the one who believes.  Added to this by the conjunction, kai, is the same form above for a “believing one”.  Whoever is a living being and is a believing one at that shall not ever die, or shall never die.  The Greek here is a strong double-negative, hence the translation “never”.  It is emphatic.  To conclude, Jesus asks in essence whether or not Martha is a believing one.  “Do you believe this?”  “Are you a believer in what I am saying to you?”

With syntax, we may also note the placement of the words in the written text.  “Believing” (the verb is, pisteuo) occurs in two forms.  The first is in the participle form which is used twice.  The second is in the Present Active Indicative used once at the end, “do you believe?”  We may infer from this that John’s emphasis is on belief, or in what (or who) one believes.  In fact, the condition of living again and never dying is based in what (or who) a person believes.  It’s important to get that right!

Also to be noted is that we see what is called a Chiasm.  Spotting this may help in defining what Jesus means by these words.  The chiastic structure is formed by placing “believing” and “living again” in the first part followed by “living and believing”.  Thus, “believing” (A) and “living again” (B); “living” (B`) and “believing” (A`).  ABB`A`.  This is a classic and often used literary unit.  There is also “die” (A) and “never die” (A`). 

The second part of dissecting any given passage in the Scriptures (or in any literary work for that matter) is to note the context.  In this passage, the context is the death of Lazarus, the despair of Martha, and the proclamation of Jesus in light of this.  Lazarus was a true believer in Jesus, as was Martha.  Martha expresses her faith in saying, “I know he will live again in the resurrection in the last day”.  This is an extraordinary phrasing on John’s part.  “I know he will live again (anistemi in the Future Indicative, literally, stand again) in the resurrection (anastasis) in the last day.”  Jesus then says, “I am the Anastasis.”  That there is to be “the resurrection” in the last day is made plain in John 6.39-ff, where Jesus states that all shall be raised.  The same participlian form “the one who believes” (6.40) is promised to be resurrected “in the last day”.  Martha is affirming what she heard the Master already teach.  Since Lazarus was dead, he would stand again in the resurrection in the last day because he believed when he was living.

The context, then, should inform us as to the meaning of these words before us.  Jesus, in fact, said to Martha, “Your brother will rise again” (11.23).  These were words of comfort.  When informed that Lazarus was ill, Jesus replied, “this illness is not for the purpose of death (pros thanaton), but for the glory of God” (11.4).  Later, Jesus realized that Lazarus had “fallen asleep” (11.11), a euphemism for the recline of the dead body, or “laying to rest” of the body.  “Lazarus is dead” (where the verb, apothnesko is used).  We can be informed from the context, then, that “die” in the phrase “though he die” means actual death.

When Jesus said he is The Resurrection and the The Life and that the death of Lazarus was not for death (though death happened), but for the glory of God, the raising of Lazarus from the dead is meant to illustrate the power of Jesus to the glory of his father.  Jesus had not yet died, either, but yet had power to raise the dead.  In the exchange with Martha, however, it is “the resurrection in the last day” that comes into focus.  The resurrection of Lazarus, which was now to occur, was not “the last day”.  “All” that are given to the Son shall be raised on that day (6.39).  Lazarus’ resurrection, then, is meant to illustrate something else.  We may also note that Lazarus had been dead for four days (11.17).  He was not “raised” in his final or last day (some think the resurrection occurs when a person dies and their soul goes to heaven.  But, that is not what resurrection means).  Lazarus will be raised with the “all” who are given to the Son “in the last day”, and clearly, the day that Jesus raised him was not that day.  Martha affirmed such.  Jesus acknowledges her faith (belief) and proclaims to her, “I am the resurrection, Martha.”

We are now prepared for the final analysis of our passage.  Speaking to Martha, Jesus said, ‘those who believe me in, that is, believe in me before they die (like Lazarus here before us), even though they die, will live again.  Whoever is now living and believes in me before they die, they, when raised again, shall not ever die, ever.  Do you believe in this, Martha?’  We know the answer.

Believing must occur before a person dies.  It is no contention that “though he dies” means actual death.  The Future Indicative “he will live” refers to the anastasis (stand again) which will happen “in the last day.”  This is made plain in the chiasm that “will live again” (Future) is followed by the Present participle, “the one who is living”.  The Present participle  for those who now believe is the same application to those presently alive before they die.  “The one who lives” is contrasted with “though he die”.  Right now, as living ones, be also believing ones and if you are believing ones, though you will die (and not be “living” any more), you will be raised and live again and you will never die again.  Unlike Lazarus who, even though raised from the dead, died again later on (and this is the point), there is coming the time, the last day, when I will raise up those who believed in me before they died, and these shall not ever die again.  If you believe in Jesus, you believe in the Resurrection, the One who will raise the dead unto immortal life, eternal life.  When asked if Martha believed this, she answers, “Yes, Lord!  I have believed and still do (Perfect Indicative of pisteuo) that you are Messiah, the Son of God, the Coming One who comes (Present participle) in the world.”

The contrast in this passage is on those “living” (“the living”) and the fact that Lazarus is not living.  “Lazarus is dead.”  Yet, because we know that Lazarus was a “believer” he is promised to be raised “in the last day” together with “all those who believe in me.”  Martha affirms this doctrine.  This affirmation – her faith in the Messiah, the Coming One (who has come and is before her) – is displayed in what she knows Jesus will do (raise the dead in the last day).  Since she is utterly convinced that He is the One who will do this in the last day, then he can demonstrate even raising Lazarus from the dead, even though such a miracle is temporary, for Lazarus will die again.  “Even now (nun) I know that God will give you whatever you ask” (11.22).  Before the time of the last day when the dead are raised, even now – before that time – Jesus can raise Lazarus so that they may be with him among “the living” for a little more time.  More or less, Martha is saying, “I know that he will be raised to immortality in the last day, but can I see him again right now, because I know who you are, and what you can do, and what you will do on the last day.”  Martha’s faith is wondrous.

John has given us a glimpse of what resurrection is.  “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice” (5.28).  When? “In the last day” (6.39-ff).  Thus, before that hour comes, the “living and believing”, those who not just live their lives until death, but who live their lives believing in Him, will also die.  But, they will be raised immortal.  If “living” means bodily life in the here and now, then bodily life is what is to be expected when finally raised to life immortal.

 

The Mueller Report: The First 100 Pages.

By Samuel M. Frost, Th. M.


The Mueller Report: The First 100 Pages.


“…the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

“ We applied the term coordination in that sense when stating in the report that the investigation did not establish that the Trump Campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

“The investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons conspired or coordinated with the IRA” (Definition: “The IRA was based in St. Petersburg, Russia, and received funding from Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin and companies he controlled. “).

“In March 2016, the GRU began hacking the email accounts of Clinton Campaign volunteers and employees, including campaign chairman John Podesta. In April 2016, the GRU hacked into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The GRU stole hundreds of thousands of documents from the compromised email accounts and networks. “  One wonders why, then, we do not allow – BY LAW – emails sent over unverified servers.  It’s simple: vulnerability of sensitive materials.  Duh.

They did find that the Trump Campaign was interested in the emails hacked by IRA and produced by WikiLeaks.  Again, another “duh” moment.  Every Campaign since Campaigns have been Campaigns have “looked for dirt”.  No crime there, just politics.  Second, the Wikileaks Documents came as a result – not from Julian Assange, but from Bradley Manning – now Chelsea Manning – a disgraced Army Intelligence Analyst.  Newsweek recently reported, “In the court filings, the U.S. alleges that intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning helped Assange through the process of attempting to breach the government’s database—even providing him a partial password—but Assange appeared to still get stumped” (Newsweek.com.  4-11-19).   Now, get this, President Obama commuted the sentence of Manning. “President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Army private serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified military secrets to Wikileaks, the White House said Tuesday” (USA Today.com.  January 17, 2017).

But, after reading more, the conclusion finally comes: “The Office investigated whether those contacts reflected or resulted in the Campaign conspiring or coordinating with Russia in its election-interference activities. Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”  Yup.

“Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal. And our evidence about the June 9, 2016 meeting and WikiLeaks’s releases of hacked materials was not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance violation.”  Not Sufficient.  If you were investigated and the result of the Agency’s conclusions were “not sufficient” and yet, your opponents still wanted further investigations – still wanted in the air the idea that you are guilty – we just can’t prove it – wouldn’t you be a little….pissed?  I would.  And, you, the reader, would be, too.

Keep in mind while reading this:During its investigation the Office issued more than 2,800 subpoenas under the auspices of a grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia; executed nearly 500 search-and-seizure warrants; obtained more than 230 orders for communications records under 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d); obtained almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers; made 13 requests to foreign governments pursuant to Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties; and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses, including almost 80 before a grand jury.”  That’s a load of resources on an investigation.  And – after all of this – found no sufficient evidence to convict or pursue.  Let that sink in.

After these first sections of Volume 1, the material becomes blacked out (redacted – a term I learned in Seminary concerning what Bible Scholars refer to as Bible Editing.  Bible Editing is the idea that some hokey Jewish Scribes slapped together materials to pass off what we now call the Bible – thinking that no one would notice until the brilliance of Enlightenment Scholars’ “discoveries”).  A lot of this Section is focused on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like.  So, yes, since the Internet is, well, the Internet (it’s an open forum, silly), anyone can start a false account and “campaign” for their favorite subject and dole out misinformation on the subjects they hate.  It’s called, Facebook.  But, being an historian, it’s called, “Society and Culture”.  Read Proverbs.  Nothing new here.  And, it will not stop –unless the Government gets involved and begins to pass Bills that limit what you can and can’t say on the Internet…or in your neighborhood…or your home, or Church, or local meeting of the “We Hate American Capitalism Socialism Now Club”.  At the bottom of this, for me, is that the American people, by and large, are easily duped – at least that’s the fear and impression I get from certain sectors of our beloved Rulers.  And, I believe, to some extent, that is true.  People do not read anymore.  They “see” five minute segments on You Tube, hear drive by excerpts on the TV (sound bites), read loaded Headlines (instead of the actual article in full).  Second, they do not read any responses from “the other side”.  My professors taught me –hammered in me – that if I were to ever study Atheism in order to refute Atheism, then I must absorb Atheist works and sound like a convinced Atheist – empathizing with their arguments.  So, I started reading Lucretius, Voltaire, Nielsen, Dawkins, Sagan, Hitchens, Russell and the like.  Good stuff…if you like Atheism (Voltaire’s actual name was  Francois Marie Arouet – and yes, he was an atheist).

After reading through yet more pages what emerges from between the blacked out content is that IRA organizers attempted to dupe the public through a variety of means.  I have no need to write further on this than to say this: do not believe everything you see and hear and read.  Investigate, research and investigate and research again what you have investigated and researched,  And, when you are done with that, investigate it further.  The Mueller Report did just that.  It’s 400 pages long. 

Now, I stopped reading on page 95, where Carter Page is entered with lettered points and numbered sub points.  I stopped there and will continue tomorrow.