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The Church of Smyrna speaks to the Confessing Church of Christ in This Darkening Hour: Mark Dankof on Tribulation, Remnant, and Martyrdom for the LMS-USA 2017

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Jesus Christ, the Logos, speaks to the Apostle John in exile on Patmos regarding the Church of Smyrna in Asia Minor: Revelation 2: 8-11.

And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:  ‘The words of the First and the Last, who died and came to life.  I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a Synagogue of Satan.  Do not fear what you are about to suffer.  Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you in prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation.  Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.”

Jesus Christ speaks to the Apostle John on Patmos (Revelation 2: 8-11)

(Pastor Mark Dankof’s presentation to the LMS-USA national conference in Wisconsin chronicled here is a condensed and edited version of his remarks delivered on June 9th, 2017. This presentation was preceded by previous lectures in the last two (2) decades, including Creeds and Confessions as Liturgy; The Famine, The Watchman, and The Remnant; The Chosen People of God:  Who are They?; and The Hands of Time and The Appearance of Logos.)

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The Logo of the LMS-USA and the Pillars of Luther’s Reformation: Christ Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone, Scripture Alone.

 

     We have been privileged today to have two (2) fine presentations by Pastor Erickson and Pastor Spears. Pastor Erickson’s summation on The Early Church and the Need for Continuing Reform is an excellent overview of centuries of church history from Pentecost to the Protestant Reformation.  I especially value his repristination of a list of ancient heresies similar to my own presentation in Indianapolis in 1996, since those challenges to orthodox Biblical and Creedal theology continue to reappear in various forms and guises over time, especially in this 21st century milieu of heresy and apostasy in which the Remnant Confessing Church of Christ finds itself, especially in a post-Christian Western World which includes our own United States.

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Pastor Ralph Spears of Indianapolis, Indiana presents a paper on the Reformers and the Martyrs at the LMS-USA Conference in 2017.

     Pastor Spears’ presentation of The Reformers underscores the character of key figures in the 16th century and their traits which mirror Biblical reformers throughout redemptive history.  As he reminds us there, “Reformers are people of faith who lived and were willing to ‘lay down their lives for their conviction of faith.'” We will shortly see how the theme of Martyrdom in both of these fine discussions appears again in what I am about to share with the faithful people of Christ Lutheran Church in Chetek, Wisconsin from John’s Apocalypse (Revelation 2: 8-11).

     Let me say at the outset that we will not be discussing the dreadful developments in the Lutheran Church specifically and the American Church generally which have been sufficiently covered in previous conferences.  I will simply state again that in my lifetime, as American culture and life continues its precipitous downturn into the bottomless abyss, our own denominational tradition and affiliation has degenerated into an absurd dialectic between the apostate universalists, higher critical cynics, and Cultural Marxists on the left, and a compendium of isolationists and sectarians on the right for whom the use of the term evangelical is tragi-comic.  In the left-right dialectic in American Lutheranism today, rampant institutional political power struggles and pathology on both ends of the spectrum are strikingly identical.  The proclamation of the Gospel and Biblical teaching and instruction often seem but an afterthought, where everyday ministry to those starved for the Word, proclamation of forgiveness of sin in Jesus Christ and His love to all who believe, historic worship, and evangelical outreach and vision, are all too often lost in the shuffle of business-as-usual.  Jeremiah described this very sort of scene in the 6th century B. C. context of disaster which had befallen Jerusalem and ancient Judah as the Babylonian Exile and Temple Destruction unfolded:  “Her gates have sunk into the ground; He has ruined and broken her bars; her kings and princes are among the nations; the law is no more, and her prophets find no vision from the Lord.” (Lamentations 2: 9)

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Pastor Mark Dankof, whose presentation on the Church of Smyrna in John’s Apocalypse instructs a segment of the Believing Remnant of the Confessing Church of Christ at the LMS-USA national conference.

     If this looks increasingly like the unfolding and impending state of the American Empire and Church it should.  The hour is increasingly late (Matthew 24).

     Where does all of this leave the Believing Remnant of the Confessing Church of Christ?  Put more directly this afternoon, where does this leave you and I as a part of such a fellowship and movement?  Where is God in all of this for you and me?  Where are his promises?  Where is hope for the present and the future? How does he provide for the Remnant when none of the present circumstances in history are favorable to our sustenance and survival?

     It is these questions to which we shall now turn.  The key prototypical Confessing Church for our purposes today is the Church of Smyrna in Asia Minor during John’s exile on Patmos courtesy of the edict of Emperor Domitian of Rome (AD 81-96). As already read, our text is Revelation 2: 8-11.

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Pastor Tylan Dalrymple of Christ Lutheran Church in Chetek, Wisconsin and the Subscriptional Clergy Roster of the LMS-USA.

     It is noteworthy that the exile of the Apostle was due to his refusal to acquiesce to the demands of the Roman Emperor that Domitian be venerated and worshiped as the virtual incarnation of God on earth.  Put slightly differently, John understood what was Caesar’s, and what belongs to Christ alone.  For that faith and confessional witness, he found himself in the Roman penal colony on Patmos, an island 4×8 miles in the Aegean Sea, 50 miles southwest of Turkey.  It is identically noteworthy that Smyrna (modern Izmir) was closely aligned with the Roman Empire and had a large, active, and hostile Jewish population in open hostility to the Gospel (see Romans 2: 28-29; Matthew 26: 57-27:44; Revelation 3:9 to the Church of Philadelphia). Confessing faith and witness in this context often led to incarceration and/or death.

     My counsel and admonition to all of us who are Remnant Believers today:  It is not hyperbole to understand and acknowledge the evidence of increasing hostility to the Gospel in a post-Christian America and Western World in the 21st century, accompanied by lawlessness, decadence, perversion, blasphemy, violence, deception and societal disintegration on a breathtaking scale.  The Satanic forces in play are reminiscent of those between 81-96 A. D. during the reign of Domitian.  The challenge to us is the same challenge posited to the Church of Smyrna, but so are the reassuring provisions of God to His people that underscore His sovereign control of events in history, and His love of those who are faithful.  The key point is this:  God’s people are entering what is eschatologically the most dangerous period in all of linear time and redemptive history (Heilsgeschichte).  We must be prepared for any contingency thrust upon us by Satan and the world.  But nothing can separate the believer from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 31-39).

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Martin Luther: We are Justified by God Through Christ Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone. (Pastoral Library: Christ Lutheran Church of Chetek, Wisconsin)

     Let me emphasize four (4) points from the Apocalpyse in today’s conversation about the assurances of God to the Israel of God, the Confessing Church of Christ, throughout time.

     The first (1) is this:  God provides for His people through select individuals who accomplish the Lord’s purposes for those purchased with the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Pastor Spears’ presentation and overview illustrated some key people throughout history who carried out God’s directives to provide for and nurture those otherwise in isolation and despair in a hostile world.  Look at the way in which the Word of the Lord during the persecution of believers during Domitian’s reign continues to be proclaimed through the selection of the Apostle John (Revelation 1: 1-3) on Patmos to reveal mysteries and reassure the People of God.  Tellingly, John states in 1:9 that, “I John, your brother and partner in the tribulation, and the kingdom, and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

(Ἐγὼ Ἰωάννης ὁ ἀδελφὸς ὑμῶν καὶ συνκοινωνὸς ἐν τῇ θλίψει καὶ βασιλείᾳ καὶ ὑπομονῇ ἐν Ἰησοῦ
ἐγενόμην ἐν τῇ νήσῳ τῇ καλουμένῃ Πάτμῳ διὰ τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τὴν μαρτυρίαν Ἰησοῦ.)

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John on Patmos Pens The Apocalypse: Exiled Because of Resistance to the Emperor Worship Cultus of Domitian (A. D. 81-96).

     How much plainer can it be? Although we have no living Apostles or inspired writers of Scripture in our midst today, God continues to provide brothers and partners in the trials and tribulations of our lives as believers in this darkening age and world.  These brothers and partners are also ours not simply in trials and tribulations, but in the Kingdom of God both present and future.  Just look around this classroom. I recognize people here who joined me in the uphill fight to preserve the Biblical faith in our tradition over 30 years ago.  Among those in that category, I’m unbelievably the youngest one of the 4 still left and who still perseveres alongside these men.  Because of their faithfulness to the Gospel and their enduring friendships with me, I’ve been encouraged to continue when the temptation to give it up in these last 3 decades intensified.  Because I continued by the grace and provision of God alone, I’ve come to know many of the rest of you who have attended these conferences for 22 years now.  We are brothers and sisters in the trials and tribulations present and future.  Can we be any more blessed than this?

     Mysteriously, we possess the Kingdom of  God now, and yet not completely until the return of the Lord.  And how we presently possess the inspired, inerrant, inscripturated Word of God of the Prophets and Apostles, including John right now in our midst, assuring us of blessings present and future through Christ! This empowers God’s humble people, such as all of us gathered here in Wisconsin today, to rejoice in the midst of sorrow, to be confident in the midst of unspeakable trials and discouragements, and to have the faith which comes only from the Holy Spirit of God. Forget the numbers game of the Church Growth Movement in America.  Jettison the “Health, Wealth, and Prosperity” philosophies of the televangelists and the worship fads of an American Church that looks more like the world of sin, the flesh, and Satan with each passing week.  Embrace the joy of the Biblical Gospel, worship in continuity with the Confessing Church of Christ of the Ages, read and take to heart the Lutheran Confessions and what they affirm about sin and salvation only in Christ.  And be confident that God has not forgotten his Remnant People wherever they may be, as He has numbered the very hairs on our heads and has our names written in the Book of Life.

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30 years together in joint fellowship and proclamation of the Gospel in the Lutheran Church since 1987: Pastor John Erickson, Pastor Ralph Spears, Pastor Donald Thorson, and Pastor Mark Dankof (L to R).

     The second truism (2) is this:  God works through select groups of remnant believers throughout the trials and tribulatons of His people in the midst of hostile societies, natural disasters, wars and rumors of war, and upswings in Satanic activity throughout human history.  When we look for a select group of remnant believers in the past to serve as a prototype to be emulated by faithful Christians today in the midst of the perils of the 21st century, we need look no further than the Church of Smyrna.  What characterized this Confessing Church in the all seeing eyes and all knowing mind of our Lord Jesus Christ?  He states that, “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a Synagogue of Satan.”  (Revelation 2:9)

(Οἶδά σου τὴν θλῖψιν καὶ τὴν πτωχείαν ἀλλὰ πλούσιος εἶ καὶ τὴν βλασφημίαν ἐκ τῶν λεγόντων
Ἰουδαίους εἶναι ἑαυτούς καὶ οὐκ εἰσίν ἀλλὰ συναγωγὴ τοῦ Σατανᾶ.)

     The characteristics of the Confessing Church of Smyrna are thus clearly discernable, as are the characteristics of the Remnant in historical and eschatological times of political, cultural, moral, economic, and theological disturbances which seek to devour those who are Christ’s and Christ’s alone.  There was and will be tribulation (θλῖψιν)There was and will be slander (βλασφημίαν) against God’s people until the end of linear time and redemptive history.  These slanders emanating from the Synagogue of Satan (συναγωγὴ τοῦ Σατανᾶ) are to be understood as a phenomenon manifested in both the 1st century and the 21st (see Romans 2: 28-29 and Dr. E. Michael Jones’ The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and its Impact in World History for the enumeration of the context of Revelation 2:9).  

     And yet with all of these sobering facts and developments, the Lord reminds the Church of Smyrna, and our gathering here today, that we are yet rich (ἀλλὰ πλούσιος εἶ )The world cannot know this richness, because it cannot know Jesus.  The world cannot know this richness, which can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit of God to the believer (I Corinthians 12:3).  Only the believer can possess all that is contained in this spiritual richness, juxtaposed in this case with worldly richness, and understand that tribulation, slander, and economic poverty cannot separate he or she from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8: 31-39).  This is the faith that leads to eternal life. This is the faith that remains when Emperors and Empires fade away in the twilight of time and space, be it the Babylonian version, the Medo-Persian version, the Greek version, the Roman version, or the American version as the years pass in this 21st Century.

     And make no mistake.  There is no doctrine of American exceptionalism here to the Biblical principles that have governed Empires and Nations from Genesis to Revelation to the present.

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St. Polycarp of Smyrna, rejecting Emperor Worship and the Synagogue of Satan (Revelation 2:9) for Faith in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ Only, Forever and Ever.

     The third truism (3) is this:  The Remnant Confessing Church that is poor but rich, sets a foundation for many fruits to be made manifest in the future glorification of God and the proclamation of His kingdom in Christ.  In the case of the Church of Smyrna of the 1st century, its foundation produced the 2nd century Bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp (A. D. 69-155).  He is regarded as one of the 3 chief Apostolic Fathers in history, along with Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch.  It is no accident or coincidence of history that the name Polycarp literally means, “much fruit.” A disciple of the Apostle John, and ordained by him as a Bishop, we must turn to 3 primary sources for information about this embodiment of witness to the Crucified and Risen Christ whose life and death continue to resonate now, even as I speak.  These 3 sources are 1) The Martyrdom of Polycarp, a circular letter composed by the Church of Smyrna and distributed to the churches of Pontus; 2) Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, which I first encountered in my first year of theological study in California almost 40 years ago; and Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians.

     Let’s cut to the chase here.  If the issues of Emperor Worship and oppression of the Christian in the 21st century Western World’s Central States increasingly looks like the ideological matrix that exiled John to Patmos and executed Polycarp, can we envision ourselves having to make the ultimate choice of Christ or Caesar, Christ or Antichrist, under penalty of death for an evangelical confession and proclamation of faith?

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Polycarp of Smyrna (69-155).

     The subject of martyrdom came up in a systematic theology course I was taking in suburban Chicago years ago under Dr. Paul D. Feinberg at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.  The question of Martyrdom for the Faith was under intense scrutiny and examination one particular day and lecture.  I can’t say to anyone that I thought I was brave enough then–or now–to follow in the footsteps of Polycarp or any of the other martyrs for Christ.  I will say to all of us here what Dr. Feinberg told me then in response to my questions and doubts about being able to cling to the Lord and witness to the truth under penalty of the ultimate sanction.  He said that we should never ask for the dying grace of God before we actually need it (Matthew 24: 9-14).  If or when we face contemporary versions of the Sanhedrin with its demands for recantation and capitulation, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit of God will give us the thoughts and the words to say when we are not capable of otherwise standing up to those who seek our very lives (Mark 13: 9-11; Luke 21: 12-15).

     Polycarp understood this; the Lord was faithful to him in his ultimate hour of need.  In the case of the former’s death, we read that:

In the Martyrdom, Polycarp is recorded as saying on the day of his death, “Eighty and six years I have served Him, and He has done me no wrong”, which could indicate that he was then eighty-six years old or that he may have lived eighty-six years after his conversion. Polycarp goes on to say “How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior? You threaten me with a fire that burns for a season, and after a little while is quenched; but you are ignorant of the fire of everlasting punishment that is prepared for the wicked.”

Polycarp was burned at the stake and was pierced with a spear for refusing to burn incense to the Roman Emperor. On his farewell, he said “I bless you Father for judging me worthy of this hour, so that in the company of the martyrs I may share the cup of Christ.”

     These words have haunted me at night for almost 40 years since first reading them late one evening in a dormitory room on the highest peak in Berkeley, California that overlooked the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco.  It was an irenic visual scene I enjoyed for almost a year.  But my night thoughts about the Apostle John and Polycarp of Smyrna were anything but irenic.  Would I really ever have what it took to confess the faith under their circumstances? 

     I don’t recall having read this sort of thing recently in any of Joel Osteen’s books I have perused at Barnes and Noble (laughter).  I couldn’t find a single thing on Polycarp when I checked several of their stores around San Antonio either.  His witness runs counter to everything I see in contemporary American “culture,” which like its ancient Roman counterpart is increasingly evil and antithetical to the Gospel.  But if we follow John’s witness on Patmos, and the subsequent witness of the 2nd century Bishop of Smyrna, we will experience the fruits of the endurance (ὑπομένω) that God promises His people in their darkest hours, and in the darkening skies of the present historical horizon (Matthew 24:13).

     Finally, there is the fourth truism (4) bequeathed to the Church of Smyrna by the Lord.  It is also your promise and mine :  “Be faithful unto death and I will give thee the Crown of Life” (Revelation 2: 10).

(γίνου πιστὸς ἄχρι θανάτου καὶ δώσω σοι τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς.)

     It is this foundation alone which gives us peace, the peace (εἰρήνη) which only the Lord gives and which the world and its Prince with his targeted tribulations and attacks can never know (John 16:33). We are guaranteed to experience these trials and tribulations, and an intensification of such in the context of the approaching eschatological signs of the end of the age.  But Jesus assures us he has overcome the world, an assurance He gives to the disciples just before experiencing the most agonizing death in all of history, a death to be followed by the evidence of his overcoming of sin and the world in the reality of the Empty Tomb.

     Take heart today my friends. Be encouraged. As deception, wars and rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, persecutions and martyrdoms of believers, apostasy, evil, and lovelessness continue their present upswing (Matthew 24) leading to the appearance of the Antichrist in history, we will “overcome and will not be hurt at all by the second death” (Revelation 2:11).

     We have gathered again in Wisconsin today to reaffirm the truths of God to His people in Christ, and to rejoice that as orthodox Lutheran Christians, we are but a small slice of the Confessing Church in history and presently, focusing only on the things of the Lord in Word and Sacrament and our love for one another, even in the midst of a nation and a world that increasingly does not know Him and which is coming to despise who and what we are.  We must be discerning about the truth and the hour.  We must be ready.  And together, we shall be.

(Ὁ νικῶν οὐ μὴ ἀδικηθῇ ἐκ τοῦ θανάτου τοῦ δευτέρου.)

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The Island of Patmos in a peaceful Aegean Sunset.

Patmos, The Emperor Worship Cultus, and The American Sniper

Pastor Mark Dankof on Eschatology and the Deception of the Emperor Cultus in the First Century and the Twenty First.

Pastor Mark Dankof on Eschatology and the Deception of the Emperor Cultus in the First Century and the Twenty First.

     “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering, and kingdom, and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

Revelation 1:9

“I [Jesus] know your afflictions and your poverty–yet you are rich!  I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not [ref. Romans 2: 28-29], but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days.  Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Revelation 2:9-10 [To the Church at Smyrna]

“I [Jesus] know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.  I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not [ref. Romans 2: 28-29; cf. John 8: 31-58], but are all liars–I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.”

Revelation 3: 8-9 [To the Church at Philadelphia]

“The whole world was astonished and followed the Beast.  Men worshiped the Dragon because he had given authority to the Beast, and they also worshiped the Beast and asked, ‘Who is like the Beast? Who can make war with him?’ . . . Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth.  He had two horns like a lamb but he spoke like a dragon.  He exercised all the authority of the First Beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the First Beast . . . And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.  Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the First Beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth.  . . . He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.  . . . His number is 666.”

Revelation 13: 3-4; 11-14; 16-18

“For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again.  If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.  At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.”

Matthew 24: 21-25 [Jesus  in the Olivet Discourse]

“When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar [Jewish revolt against Roman administration in Palestine] was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd.  ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said, ‘It is your [Jewish mob’s] responsibility!’  All the people [Jewish mob] answered, ‘Let his blood be upon us and on our children!’ Then Pilate released Barabbas [Zionist Jewish political revolutionary and capital crimes convict] to them.  But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”

Matthew 27: 24-26

     The Empire’s next phase in deception and destruction both foreign and domestic unfolds next week in Washington with the latest American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conclave.  Joe “I am a Zionist” Biden will pinch hit for El Presidente as the main podium attraction for the Synagogue of Satan’s pep rally for an American-Israeli pogram of mass murder directed at the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI).  Biden’s presence at this sinister event is superseded in ominous overtone only by the presence of Mr. Obama in the Zionist State itself during the Vice President’s appearance at The Tribe’s lovefest in the Capitol, an event The Times of Israel emphasizes will concentrate on the achievement of two objectives with the American Congress.  Objective One is to extract from Congress the enactment of legislation that will designate Israel a “strategic ally” of the United States, a status enjoyed by no other country.  Objective Two is to “. . . facilitate a U. S. green light should Israel decide to strike Iran.”

     This agenda is right on with John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio and Christians United for Israel.  Hagee’s $150 million dollar empire is entirely devoted to the Empire, and the Empire’s strategic alliance with the Zionist State, Talmudic racial supremacy, and a Jewish driven International Banking System fueling the advent of the global New World Order.  One may be forgiven for seeing Hagee as a version of the second beast with two horns in the Apocalypse, providing religious legitimacy to the Dragon and The First Beast with his satellite television audience of 100 million awesomely mesmerized. ‘Who is like the Beast? Who can make war with him?’ seems to be making its way to the forefront of Evangelical and Pentecostal Television in a nightly paroxysm of moral and political obscenity differing from the ancient offerings of Al Goldstein’s Midnight Blue only in Mr. Hagee’s insistence on thankfully covering his rotund temple with tailored clothes, and in his avoidance of the ‘F’ word.  Paradoxically, in terms of absolute and ultimate evil, he may have trumped Goldstein in spades.

     Perhaps the most absurd of Hagee’s intellectual deficiencies and theological assertions contradicted by history is his insistence on the application of an absolutely toxic brand of exegetical quackery when it comes to half of Genesis 12: 3, which states that I [God] will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.”  Ignoring the 7 fold structure of God’s promise in Genesis 12: 2-3; the Old Testament’s account of the specific reasons for the judgment of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B. C. at the hands of the Assyrians; the Old Testament’s account of the specific reasons for the judgment of the Southern Kingdom of Judah at the hands of the Babylonians in 586 B. C.; the entirety of the New Testament teaching on the nature of the Kingdom of God in Christ; the specific condemnations of National Israel for its rejection of Jesus Christ chronicled in the New Testament (Matthew 21-24 as merely one example); the New Testament’s use of the 7th aspect of God’s promise in Genesis 12: 3 (Acts 3: 25; Galatians 3:8); and most importantly, the eschatological evidence in the New Testament that the evil World System and its Beast have their roots in False Israel and “signs and wonders” of demonic source and origin, the Christian Zionist juggernaut led by Hagee seems determined to provide redemptive history with the ultimate fulfillment of 2 Corinthians 11: 13-14. There, in Paul’s conflict with the Judaizing infiltrators of the Church of Corinth in the first century, the Apostle observes that, Such men [Judaizers] are false apostles, deceitful, workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”  The Ugly Truth’s re-post today on “Israel Wields Bible’s Soft Power as Far as Brazil,” seems grimly suggestive of what is developing.  Global deception is well underway, courtesy of The Hidden Hand.

     If Hagee believes the United States has been especially blessed of God since the establishment of the modern Zionist State in 1948, he must be looking at a different America than that observed by an increasing number of his countrymen and countrywomen.  Economically, the United States has seen the evaporation of its once awesome manufacturing capability; the accumulation of a national debt approaching $17 trillion dollars; the eclipse of what was the strongest middle class of any country on the planet; and a binge of Fiat Money creation by the Federal Reserve matched only by the intoxicating resort to perpetual borrowing from foreign Central Banks and the postponement of the day of reckoning.

     Militarily, the tie-one-for-the Gipper outcome in the Korean War and the military disaster of Vietnam, have now paled in comparison to the eroding cancer of America’s Israeli-driven War on Terror in the Middle East and Central Asia.  The final tally for the invasions and losing wars of counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan in lost lives and casualties remains to be tabulated, as do the final economic numbers for these miserable ventures.  Steiglitz of the World Bank speaks of a $3-5 trillion dollar expenditure on these quixotic efforts, even apart from new ventures in Syria and the threatened war with Iran.  Add the eventual tally for the Empire’s military competition with China in Africa for raw materials and minerals, and the larger picture emerges.  Paul Craig Roberts wryly observes that dying Empires run out of both men and money before the life support plug is pulled.

     Politically, the United States continues to be downgraded in the eyes of the global community, even as its adoption of Israeli police state philosophy and methodologies connect the War on Terror to a War on the American Constitution.

     And culturally, a Zionist-run America has produced the full blown acceptance of abortion-on-demand, homosexuality and every other form of sexual perversion, and the replacement of a lawful society with one soaked in lawless and violence. The questions I thought Ron Paul should have asked Ralph Reed and the denizens of the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference during the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary sweepstakes, may be asked of John Hagee and the advocates of an American Empire wedded to Israel at this very moment.  How would he and they respond to the following presentation and analysis?:

     “The truth of the present crisis is that every advocate of American Empire and its marriage to the Zionist Beast, is an avowed advocate of supporting–and being financed–by the very people who have given us every one of the maladies we decry: a fiat American currency, a direct Federal income tax, usurious interest rates, endless foreign wars, a morally polluted American culture, an economic globalism which has destroyed the once-vaunted American manufacturing economy, and the imposition of a domestic technological surveillance structure that threatens to replace the freedoms of our beloved Old Republic with a repristinated Stalinism.

     “To  all Ladies and Gentlemen of genuine Christian faith and commitment and all American patriots of any religious persuasion, I simply ask a few simple questions of you, and of the American people who are listening.  First, why is the domestic and foreign policy of the modern American conservative movement and the Republican party being defined by a view of Biblical prophecy unheard of until the 19th century, and largely promoted worldwide by the House of Rothschild’s distribution of the Scofield Reference Bible through its Oxford University Press?  Secondly, why are we in an alliance with a nation that has repeatedly committed crimes against the United States, including the Lavon Affair, Mossad involvement in the Kennedy assassination, the premeditated attack on the USS Liberty in June of 1967, the Pollard spy case, participation with Communist China in the theft of American nuclear secrets at Los Alamos through the PROMIS affair, and the more recent Ben Ami Kadish and AIPAC/Rosen/Weissman spy cases?

     “Why are we in an alliance as American conservatives with a domestic Jewish lobby which has militantly supported and financed the radical feminist, abortion, and homosexual lobbies most of us are sworn to oppose?

     “Why are we, as a pro-life movement, committed to policies of genocide against the Palestinians and the advocacy of the mass murder of Iranians, at the behest of an ‘ally’ which is the chief nuclear, biological, and chemical military power in the Middle East, and a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signed, however, by Iran?

     “And why, pray tell, are people presently in Washington, talking about recovering American Constitutional Principles, in the context of ongoing obeisance to the chief players in a central banking cabal which has handed to us the direct Federal income tax, the Federal Reserve Board, $17 trillion in national debt, and every globalist trade treaty that has destroyed both American sovereignty and our economic vitality?  

     “And why are American Christians and patriotic Americans across-the-board not concerned that Israeli intelligence is promoting agitation-propaganda through the Rupert Murdoch News Corp chain designed to begin a Third World War?  Why are these people silent about the Israeli infiltration of our intelligence agencies, our Homeland Security Department, our Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), and our telecommunications industry? Who is the real perpetrator of what happened on September 11th, 2001, and why?

     Additional recent news stories simply and finally underscore the Beastly character of what Matthias Chang terms the Zionist-Banking-U. S. Military Industrial Complex.

John on Patmos:  Exiled Because of Resistance to the Emperor Worship Cultus.  What Did He Learn of the Beast?

John on Patmos: Exiled Because of Resistance to the Emperor Worship Cultus. What Did He Learn of the Beast?

     Several of these recent stories will suffice to illustrate the Beast’s stranglehold on the Empire.  The first is Keith Johnson’s February 11th, 2013 essay for the American Free Press entitled, “Wall Street Vultures Drive Up Food Prices Even as Billions Across the Globe Starve.”  Johnson chronicles how the poster boy of Jewish Global Finance and Power, Goldman Sachs, made $400 million dollars in profits last year by betting on the prices of food staples like wheat, corn, and soy.  The pouring of billions of dollars into the commodity derivatives markets, and the financialization of the commodities market with products like the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI), has enabled food speculators like Goldman Sachs to control 61% of the market for basic foods, up from 12% in 1996.  This in turn has facilitated the doubling of global prices for food since 2003, with an estimated 868 million undernourished people the victims.  Trace who and what Goldman Sachs is funding politically in the United States and globally.  Can you say, “He [the Beast] also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.  . . . His number is 666. . . .?”

     The second story relates to the American military, the accompanying Warrior Cultus, and the untold story of what serving the Empire does to the Warriors.  Victor Thorn unfolds this metastasizing evil for the same edition of the American Free Press.  Citing the work of journalists Kelly Patricia O’Meara for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights and Clay Dillow for Popular Science, Thorn takes the uninitiated into the bizarre world of the utilization of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Transcranial Ultrasonic Mind Control for American military personnel.  Google these terms with the names of the journalists in question.  We may well ask, “What is the Empire’s real position on the value of innocent human life?”  Its position on the innocent lives in Palestine, the Middle East, and Central Asia has already been established.  But what is it doing to its own flesh and blood?  And what mythology sells its soul-devouring agenda to the comatose subjects of Caesar?

     Thorn proceeds to the most ugly fact haunting the Warrior Cultus.  In 2012, the number of American soldiers who committed suicide surpassed those killed on battlefields. He cites Kelly O’Meara’s research, which tells us that from 2001-2009 the United States Army suicide rate increased more than 150%, even as military orders for psychiatric drugs for troops rose 76% over the same period.  Put differently, what happens when, as Michel Lonsdale asks Robert De Niro in the movie Ronin, True Belief for the Warrior has died? Who does the Warrior subsequently decide that he is?  What life is left when Belief in an Empire Served has Died?

     In terms of the last 12 years, these lies of the American Empire woven as mythology began with the lie of what really happened on September 11th, 2001 and who was behind the attack.  That was compounded with the lies regarding why the Empire was invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

Tillman Had Honor, Courage, and Integrity:  The Empire Doesn't

Tillman Had Honor, Courage, and Integrity: The Empire Doesn’t

Pat Tillman as Poster Boy: War and Football Merge for the Empire

Pat Tillman as Poster Boy: War and Football Merge for the Empire

     That then led to the pack of lies surrounding the tragic death in Afghanistan of NFL star Pat Tillman.  Read the complete Wikipedia account to refresh historical memory.  The official story was that Tillman was killed by “enemy fire.”  After an extensive official cover-up of the truth, the United States Government finally acknowledged that the official story, used ongoingly in television ads and football stadium halftime ceremonies around the country to drive the American public to greater ongoing support for the War on Terror, was a lie.  The new version said that he was killed by “friendly fire.”  Or not so friendly fire.  . . . read the Wikipedia account thoroughly for the troubling circumstantial evidence, never properly investigated, that Tillman came to oppose American military involvement in Afghanistan, and was subsequently murdered by some of his own uniformed colleagues for that opposition. The point is simply this:  the Government that lied about 9-11, lied about the reasons for the invasions and occupations of two foreign countries, and lied about Pat Tillman, is the same Government being used by the Zionist Beast that controls it to justify illegal interventions in Libya and Syria among others, as a prelude to a mass murder in Iran being sold by Netanyahu and his American apologists as “self defense.”

     “Enemy Fire,” “Friendly Fire,” “Al-Qaeda,” “Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq,” “Bin Laden,” “Democracy,” “Freedom,” and “Self Defense” . . .  Has George Orwell risen from the dead to write American, Israeli, and NATO press releases? And what Beast is being served by the American, Israeli, and NATO press secretaries? Put differently, how do people like John McCain keep effectively spinning these Red, White, and Blue whoppers for a new set of coming victims and their families? Even as McCain’s father, Admiral McCain, wove myths to protect Israel after the USS Liberty attack in 1967?  Whose script are these mannequins reading from?

Israel Asset and Warmonger John McCain Spins Mythology on the Pat Tillman Death

Israel Asset and Warmonger John McCain Spins Mythology on the Pat Tillman Death

     This then leads to the recent tragic death of Chris Kyle, the American Sniper.  Kyle holds the all-time record for kills for an American military sniper.  He also holds a distance record for a kill notched at some 2,100 yards removed from the targeted victim.  Unlike what is now known about Pat Tillman, Kyle remained a Warrior For Whom Belief in Empire Lived, until his tragic and ironic death at the hands of an American Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)  victim and Marine Corps denizen, who shot Kyle to death on a Texas gun range.  The American Sniper’s  undeniable prowess with a high-powered rifle and scope is unquestioned and formidable.  His ability to think theologically, morally, and philosophically about what it was he was actually serving is the issue in question, not simply for him, but for the thousands who flocked to Texas Stadium for his funeral adorned in American Flags and carrying placards of support for every long since discredited canard used to support the War on Terror and the War on Civilizations.  Michel Lonsdale might ask these well meaning folks also, “Where do You go, and what do You do when Belief has died?  Who are You, really?”

     The Christian Cross was strongly in evidence in Texas Stadium, albeit as a supplemental secondary symbol for the more prominently evidenced Old Glory.  But did the faithful really believe their fallen hero was a defender of a culture informed by the morality of the New Testament and the Lord Jesus Christ? How sustainable is that in the wake of the Roe v Wade decision, the societal and legal imprimatur now placed on homosexuality and the legitimacy of sexual perversion of every brand, and the Economic Darwinism that divides a predatory Elite from the vulnerable?  How sustainable is that given the foundational falsehoods undergirding the War on Terror and unswerving American support for a Zionist ideology that empowered the first century mob that called for the release of Barabbas and the death of Christ, even as it now seeks the eradication of Palestinians and Iranians in the name of an Eretz Yisrael in continued disobedience to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and mere human decency itself?

     The February 28th New York Times, the American Jewish Power Elite’s print daily of record, informs us in Matt Haber’s piece for the Thursday Styles section, “A Hush-Hush Topic No More,” that the latest trend in the Empire’s evolving mores in matters sexual involves the move toward the eventual mainstreaming of “sex play involving bondage and domination.”  The reader is treated to the inside scoop on the Big Apple’s Paddles nightclub on West 26th Street; a report on the “blockbuster success” of E. L. James’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy (65 million copies sold worldwide according to Publishers Weekly); and the February premiere of the movie “Kink” at the Sundance Film Festival, a documentary directed by Christina Voros and produced by James Franco, tabbed by The Hollywood Reporter as a “friendly film” to the world of “bondage/discipline, domination/submission, and sadism/masochism.”

     This is the wave of the Empire’s present and future.  It is Emperor Domitian’s Rome all over again.  Does the Christian or denizen of the Old American Empire die and kill for it, as the members of the Cult of the American Sniper apparently believe?  This remains the compelling question of the day, and during the increasing onset of nightfall.

The American Sniper Funeral at Texas Stadium: Flag, Football, Cross, Cowboys, Coliseum, and 7000 True Believers

The American Sniper Funeral at Texas Stadium: Flag, Football, Cross, Cowboys, Coliseum, and 7000 True Believers

The American Sniper at Rest on the 50 yard line at Texas Stadium

The American Sniper at Rest on the 50 yard line at Texas Stadium

A Bereaved American Witnesses the Chris Kyle Funeral Motorcade

A Bereaved American Witnesses the Chris Kyle Funeral Motorcade

     The argumentation for a suspense of Belief in Empire and its War on Terror has already been made.  The pictures of the Kyle funeral introduced into evidence simply chronicle the record of that day for those who cling unknowingly to the Beast as the Lamb. The symbolism of the funeral and its venue, suggest that someone was indeed disguised that day as an Angel of Light (2 Corinthians 11: 13-14). The light was extinguished, enshrouded in an impenetrable darkness.

The American Sniper Receives the "Grateful Nation" award from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).  Jewish Air Force Chief of Staff Norman Schwartz presenting.  But what "Grateful Nation" is referenced at this event?

The American Sniper Receives the “Grateful Nation” award from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). Jewish Air Force Chief of Staff Norman Schwartz presenting. But what “Grateful Nation” is referenced at this event?

     Which leads us to the last question of this particular day headed toward an impending night soon to overtake it.  What will be the fate of those who openly question the American Empire, its marriage to the Zionist Beast, and the unmistakable Emperor Worship Cultus that accompanies it?

     Chapter 1, verse 9 of the Apostle John’s Apocalypse is here most instructive and concurrently proleptic in suggesting the probable answer. John begins his own story and that of all of history by telling us under the influence of the Spirit of God that he is writing from an island called Patmos.

Not a Bad View for an Exile on Patmos:  An Aegean Sunset.

Not a Bad View for an Exile on Patmos: An Aegean Sunset.

     Patmos is a small, rocky island of 50 square miles in that part of the Aegean known as the Icarian Sea.  The barren nature of the island made it a logical choice for the Roman government and Emperor Domitian (81-96 A. D.) as a place of banishment for criminals.  In physical appearance, the island was a striking first century paradox, with the island’s desolate countenance in absolute contradiction to the magnificent scenery posited by the white crags of the shoreline and the beauty of the open ocean beyond.

     The Apostle was exiled there by Emperor Domitian for a simple reason.  John was in staunch resistance to the demands of the Emperor that the Cult of Emperor Worship be enforced and its practices observed by its subjects.  Christians who recognized that Christ was Lord, not Caesar, were facing increasing hostility and the targeting of the central Roman government.

     John does not acquiesce to the demands of the first century Beast in any way.  From Patmos, at the approximate age of 100 and after the death of all of his earliest and closest colleagues, he writes his Apocalypse to encourage the faithful to engage in the identical resistance to the machinations and deceptions of Beast and Empire.  Their Souls in Eternity depend on this resistance and this faithfulness. The resistance requires suffering and faithful endurance (1:9).  For those who persevere, the endgame is the Crown of Life.  There can be no synthesis of the agendas of the Christ and the Beast.  The lines of demarcation must be understood in the Spirit’s provided discernment, and observed faithfully even to the point of death (2:10).  For those who understand the meaning of Eternity and the Crown of Life, they are assured that they will avoid the “Second Death” (2:11). Those who follow the Beast will be the only ones to experience the Second Death and the Lake of Fire.

     John’s Apocalypse alternates between the first century Beast and the prophecies pertaining to the Beast of the twenty first.  Both Beasts are wedded to the Synagogue of Satan (2:9/3:9).  Both Beasts deceive with both the wielding of the secular sword and the performance of false signs and wonders (chapter 13). Both Beasts demand deification and the trappings of deity.  Both Beasts desire the death and destruction of all who fail to take their mark and swear ultimate allegiance to them.  Take heed, those who confuse the Kingdom of God in Christ with the Emperor Worship Cultus, the Synagogue of Satan, and the Warrior Cultus attached to them.  The clock is running out.

     As for those who pretend to be serving Jesus and the American Republic while working for The Tribe, we know who you are, Alex Jones and Michael Savage, among the many.  We understand how well The Tribe pays, how easy life at present is, compared to a trip to exile on a modern day Patmos somewhere with its mandate of “suffering and patient endurance” (1:9).

     But that life of ease is as illusory as the power of the Beast.  His end shall come.  So shall yours.  And Act II for you and your followers, and the followers of John Hagee and The American Sniper, is an Act Without End.  It gets rather hot in the Lake of Fire.  But you will get every primetime interview with Benjamin Netanyahu, John Hagee, John McCain, Mitt Romney, General Stanley McChrystal, General Norman Schwartz, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Joseph Lieberman that your heart desires.  The studio bookings are great.  But no studio ice water allowed.