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Pastor's Commentary

The Witness
Friday, April 12 2019
                                              
The role of the witness has always played a vital part in the court systems across the world in determining truths that would otherwise be unknown to the authorities. As is often the case people lived or died depending upon the credible voice of the witness. So it was imperative of a witness to be truthful in their delivery of events as they would provide sworn testimony to its validity. We have heard such terms as; witness tampering, wherein certain unscrupulous folks would in some way, shape or form, threaten a witness to prevent certain truths from becoming known. Obviously when these facts were to be found out it further substantiated the guilt of the criminal, thus bolstering the witness’ voice. It’s common practice in our day and time to discredit the witness, albeit in some cases a person’s credibility may be suspect, thereby making his/her testimony in-valid or inadmissible as evidence. There is one piece of evidence that is critical in our quest to obtain truth and that is not silencing the testimony of the witness. To discount the words of the credible witnesses of certain facts is to undermine the very foundation of truth for which one stands. To cast aside verifiable evidence is not only folly at its highest level but total deception or delusion on a grand scale.
One may think the testimony of the witness is a relatively new thing, however that is not the case, it goes back to Biblical days. The Lord says; in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established (Matt 18:16). A last thought on this should be taken in account, being a false witness had severe penalties. It is with this backdrop I want to present some incredible accounts of events past that that have taken place whereupon the attendant crowds that witnessed it never perceived the significance of it. I dare say that multiple thousands were on hand as the events unfolded, but seemed oblivious to the truth that played out before their very eyes. If as they say, hind-sight is 20-20, we in our day and time should with great visibility perceive the significance of not only this historical event, but as an event that affects our very own lives.
The first event is an event that has taken place in Israel for millennia, so called the Day of Atonement as it took place once every year. In 1490 BC God would give the Nation of Israel explicit instructions concerning the atonement (covering of one’s sins) for the sins of the people for a whole year. This physical act would forever be an “object lesson” to the people of Israel in how the Lord would deal with their sins, in other words, there has to be an atonement. On this great day, once a year, the High Priest would take two goats and stand before the door of the Tabernacle of the people with a goat on either side. At that point he would reach into a small box or bag and retrieve two lots, one for each hand. Each lot had a different word inscribed on it, of which he would place one on the head of the goat to the right and the other on the head of the goat to the left. One goat would have the stone about his neck that said sacrifice and the other the word, scapegoat. The goat that had the word sacrifice would be slain and sacrificed upon the Alter in the Tabernacle/Temple that day. The other goat would have the sins of the people confessed over it and become the scapegoat to be released into the wilderness (Lev. 16). The importance of this ceremony cannot be overstated, as God received the sacrifice, the sins of the people were covered for the year. Now let us journey into distant future and view another event that would take place. At the trial of Jesus before His countrymen and rulers an event would play out that seemed to miss the attention of those at hand. At a certain point in Jesus’ trial, two individuals were presented to the crowds at hand, Jesus and Barabbas. Before we go further a point needs to be made, Jesus said God was His Father, and the Father proclaimed it so, when at Jesus’ Baptism a voice was heard from Heaven saying; “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17). It would seem Barabbas has a story to tell too, Bar in Hebrew means; son of, and Abba means father. To put this together, Jesus was the Son of His Father, accordingly Jesus lived a sinless life and Barabbas was the son of his father who lived a life of sin. As mentioned prior concerning the Day of Atonement, two goats were to be presented to the people, one to be marked sacrifice and the other marked scapegoat. At a certain point leading up to the Crucifixion, Pilate would declare; whom will you that I should release unto you? Barabbas or Jesus which is called Christ? (Matt 27:17). The Priests and the attendant masses would say; give us Barabbas, multiple times in fact. Thus marking and/or identifying the one who would die upon the alter/cross and the other who would be set free. Jesus would become the sacrifice and Barabbas would represent the scapegoat. In my mind it seems incredible these folks at hand didn’t pick up on the events and realize that they have been re-enacting this very event for over 1500 years with goats. We may surmise, a credible witness should be able to discern what he is seeing also.
There is as they say another piece to the puzzle. Israel was given another “object lesson” just prior to receiving of the Day of Atonement instruction. These instructions were for the daily sacrifices that would be offered upon the Alter of the Tabernacle/Temple day by day, continually. They were to take two lambs of the first year, one was to be sacrificed in the morning, the 3rd hour, and the other in the afternoon or the 9th hour (Ex. 29). Any/all other sacrifices were offered between these two main early and late sacrifices. This event would take place for millennia. Now we fast forward to another time and event way in the future, the Jewish Priests were still performing their duties in offering up lambs twice daily as God instructed. However on this particular day it was the Passover. On this great day they were to call to remembrance their miraculous deliverance from Egypt. As you may know the blood of a lamb was placed upon the door’s mantle to their home, top and both sides. When the death Angel passed through that dreadful night in Egypt, if he saw the blood he passed over you (Ex. 12). It was at this Passover that there stood one before the crowds who had been tried and found guilty of crimes for which He was innocent. As previously discussed they would choose a known felon named Barabbas to be set free, thus the scapegoat, but the other, Jesus would become the sacrifice. Something very interesting would transpire before their very eyes. It was while the Romans were busy taking Jesus through the streets for all to see and ultimately to the Golgotha, then the cross, that the Temple Priests were busy preparing the morning sacrifice in the Temple of Jerusalem. And what was that sacrifice, a lamb, without spot or blemish. The Temple lamb was slain for the morning sacrifice at the 3rd hour or nine a.m. at the same time exactly the Lamb of God was placed upon the cross for the sins of mankind. There is more, Jesus’ life was poured out, His blood was shed and when His mission was complete He yielded up the Ghost, died. When Christ died some amazing things happened in the Temple, the huge rug/veil was torn from top to bottom, locomotives couldn’t have ripped that thing apart. Something else very significant also happened, Jesus died at the exact time the Temple Priests were offering up the 9th hour, 3p.m. sacrifice of another little lamb. This information is incredible; this can be no accident of events that portray exactly what the Ministry of Jesus came to fulfill. Couldn’t they have connected the dots and seen something very unique is going on here? How about us in the 21st Century? Do we see the relevance of these great witnesses of historical facts? I have one more witness to bring to the table of truth, this is from an outside source.
One of the main players in the trial of Jesus was Pilate, a Roman Governor at the time. He was an important figure in Roman politics and much could be said of his role overall in his governing of affairs between Rome and the Jewish Nation. As always the case when important people say or write something it is usually written down and kept for future posterity or reference in an archive or chamber vault. In many cases these written words have been found from various safe storage places and placed in museums across the world. It may amaze most folks to know that Pilate had written letters of his time in office. Many of those letters are in safe storage at the Vatican, Rome and Constantinople, Turkey. From a book written in 1887 by Dr. Mahan titled; The Archko Volume, a trove of information concerning letters written by Pilate’s own hand to Caesar. A few of the many excerpts concerning his take on Jesus.  This is the only time I ever read where someone ever gave a description of Jesus. Pilate’s take on Jesus leaning against a tree, he said he had no doubt who He was, he looked celestial with His golden colored hair and beard. In another letter Pilate would speak of his encounter with the Lord in his basilica, he said upon meeting Jesus there face to face, he (Pilate) trembled in every limb as does a guilty culprit, though the Nazarene was calm as innocence itself. On the occasion of the day of the Crucifixion, Pilate would note the crowds assembled demanding the death of Christ. He said he never witnessed such mass frenzy of howling screams and shrieks being delivered to anyone. In another letter he describes a great noise which he thought borne of the winds seemed to announce an agony such as was never heard by mortal ears and the darkness that appeared over Golgotha. One of the Romans would exclaim; either the author of nature is suffering or the universe is falling apart at the time of Christ’ death. In another letter from Pilate to Caesar; the words from Ben Isham, a sentry at the tomb of Christ. He said at the beginning of the fourth watch, they saw a soft and beautiful light over the sepulcher. While giving thought to what that might be all of a sudden the whole place lit up, there appeared crowds of the dead in their grave clothes. All seemed to be shouting and filled with ecstasy while all around was filled with the most beautiful music he had ever heard. The whole air was filled with the praises of God. I wonder what Caesar thought when he read that report? One more letter of note from Pilate’s concluding remarks to Caesar, I am almost ready to say, as did Manlius at the cross, “Truly this was the Son of God”!
Where do we go from here? Historical facts bear record as a witness of truth. Was Pilate as a hardened Roman Governor lying in his words to Caesar or was he another credible witness to the facts? There can be only one responsible conclusion; Jesus is who He says He is.
Pastor Thomas Nosworthy
Light the Way Ministries.
lightthewayministries.org
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Special Guest Commentary

101 BODACIOUS QUOTATIONS

TO

INSPIRE PATRIOTISM

Introduction

You might be wondering what prompted the writing of this bodacious quotation book? What better time than now to be reminded of how both essential and fragile our country is. America is experiencing one of its darkest periods in recent history.  For over three years, we have witnessed some truly vicious and ugly political unrest.

          A ceaseless cacophony of accusations, innuendo, and intrigue have kept those in Washington and the media ever busy. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, to watch the daily news and social media, one would never know that the stock market had hit all-time highs numerous times in the last 54 months, or we’d had the lowest unemployment numbers in decades, and the lowest unemployment rate among blacks ever!  President Trump also renegotiated trade deals that  were fairer to America.

          Then, in January 2020, our nation was rocked when the Coronavirus landed on our shores and ended our way of life as we know it. Soon there were daily press briefings from the White House and various doctors. Each day virus information was plentiful, contradictory, and confusing. People were dying. We heard that hospitals were going to be overrun with COVID cases.

          The army set up hospital tents in various cities to handle the tens of thousands that were expected to land there. It didn’t happen. Hospitals were going to be inundated and unable to care for all of the sick. The army hospitals were never used – not one patient was seen in many of these. They were eventually dismantled. What happened? All non-essential surgeries and doctors’ visits were canceled. Hospitals were virtually emptied. And now? Many health care workers have been terminated or furloughed because the hospital's operating capital has vanished.    

           Now, thousands have died! Our elderly, who were not adequately protected in nursing homes, have had the most significant number of deaths. The actual numbers of COVID deaths cannot be relied upon because of highly questionable methodologies for assigning the cause of death. The rationale for this might be related to government funding to hospitals for each COVID case.     Time will tell as we compare data from previous years for various causes of deaths to see if the other numbers are in line with past years, OR if there's been a sharp decline in other categories, and they have been pushed into the COVID category.  And, suddenly, in the last several weeks, cases have begun to spike again. There is substantial debate on if it’s because many more people are getting tested. There is so much information out there – unreliable at best, that there’s no sense in discussing it at this point.

          Governors in many states issued draconian lock-down orders threatening people with arrests and the closure of businesses, or cancellation of necessary licenses if they didn’t abide by these rules. Masks and gloves were donned, not in hospitals, but stores and any public places. We even saw a parent handcuffed and arrested in front of his little girl because he dared to play ball with her in an empty field. A salon owner was arrested and jailed for opening her salon to pay her bills and put food on her table. Many other Gestapo tactics, such as these, were used to keep people in line. YES, I am talking about America!

            Americans have turned against one another. Some believe everything that the CDC, World Health Organization, and government say. Others believe there is a conspiracy to subjugate the people as a test to see how much they'll tolerate and for how long. It's been, in my opinion, a phenomenal success. People hate each other more than ever. Make no mistake; the various powers have observed very carefully to see how we've all responded. Unfortunately, it's been too much for many, and suicides have skyrocketed. Prescriptions for mood-altering drugs to cope with the crisis have also gone up dramatically (as if we didn't already have an opioid epidemic.)

          Younger Americans seem to be suffering more than most from deep depression, isolation, and loneliness.  I find this completely paradoxical since they are the generation that is so disconnected from one-on-one relationships, and so completely connected to their phones and other electronic devices. You can’t sit in the same room, or at the same table with them, without sharing their time with their hand-held devices! And yet, they are  the ones suffering from their own self-created lack of meaningful relationships with others.  

           The mainstream media, who now chooses to cherry-pick what they report, excluding vital details, has become an op-ed machine rather than a fair and unbiased media. What was once the actual news is now a daily dose of propaganda. And fear mongering. I once believed everything I heard on the evening news! I now question absolutely everything I hear on the evening news! I have no faith in the honesty, integrity, or intentions of what is being "reported." Who exactly can we turn to for the facts and not opinions? I don't know.

           Just when we were beginning to see the light, and the states were opening things back up, one rogue cop, caught in the horrendous act of murdering a black man by kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes, captured the country’s attention.  The anger and outrage at this injustice rocked every corner of our nation. But, within the black community, it ignited a firestorm of rage and anger. That moment symbolized, for many, both black and white, the brutality of a small percentage of police that has unfairly tarnished ALL police officers. To believe this of an entire segment of people is blatantly untrue and unfair.

           That was the tinderbox that erupted into the scenarios we are now witnessing, hour by hour, day after day, that could be right out of the movie “Escape from New York.”  Cities are burning. Businesses looted. People are being shot, and armed citizens are patrolling their neighborhoods to keep looters out and their areas safe with their weapons.

          A six-block area has been taken over by anarchists. Checkpoints have been established for entering and exiting, and there are check-points to allow people in or out. They are extorting business owners, and the Mayor of Seattle seems to think it’s a “summer block party.”  I guess she is not aware that a new country has been set up in a six-block area now known as CHAZ/CHOP – Capital Hill Autonomous Zone. You can’t make this stuff up!

          All across our country,  statues and monuments are being defaced and torn down – while those in charge sit on their hands and let the anarchists destroy America, insisting there is nothing they can do. Every day the frenzy continues as the calls for changing names of military bases, schools, colleges, sports teams, etc., escalates. It is complete insanity.

           Right on cue, the media and politicians have seized upon the opportunity to stoke the coals of division and hatred. I cry for our nation and what we have allowed ourselves to become.  I don't know the people seen on T.V. I don't come in contact with the level of black, or white,  Americans seen on there – they don't represent those with whom I daily interact.  People with thinking brains understand that these broad generalizations are not only untrue, but inherently harmful to us individually, and collectively as a nation.    

          Many officials of these large cities have refused to address the rioters and insist upon calling them, protesters. They seem to have limited knowledge of vocabulary for no one in their right mind would equate a protester and a rioter who burns, loots,  and harms people, as the same thing.        The very thing that the black community, what all communities need, are jobs and businesses. Now, thousands have seen their streets and businesses burned and destroyed, some of which will never return. Those jobs are permanently lost.  Those black communities will again know the pains of hopelessness and living in burned-out hulls of their former cities.

           But take hope. While all of this has happened, America's elite have raised over twenty million dollars – wait for it – not to help rebuild those cities, but to bail out the “protesters” who have destroyed those cities. Yes, this is where we are. There seems to be no help for those who work and play by the rules. No support is arriving from Hollywood elites and wealthy athletes for those people. One must question why?

           I’m watching this and feeling astounded, and at times utterly hopeless. The Washington leadership (can we call it that?) is still dividing us, still trying to rush through bills that are an atrocity, and I'm thinking to myself, has pandering and appeasement ever gotten anyone anywhere?'  Has that given people jobs and hope? Has that lifted them out of poverty? And, I feel, most importantly, has that increased their self-respect and self-reliance?  That I can answer with a resounding NO! To deny any human being the chance to work and produce, to feel a sense of accomplishment for a job well done, is to deny a basic human need – to feel valued.

          I don’t understand all of the machinations of politics (I couldn’t sleep at night if I did). I do know one thing as a person who loves their country – that we can’t, we must not give up on America. Too many people have given their lives for our America. We are in a fight for the very soul of this country. That might sound dramatic, but it is a fact. Many want to tear it apart – rebuild it into what they “envision” would be a better place. The founding fathers had a profoundly inciteful vision for the greatest country that the world has ever known. They knew history, and they sought to use their knowledge to create a more perfect union. (Where have we heard that before?)

            There are days when I question everything. At moments I give up hope and want to surrender. Times when I think if that is what THEY want, then they can have it. But it is not ours to give away! We owe a debt to our country to protect it from enemies, both foreign and domestic. That is our duty as a patriotic American who is willing to speak up and stop the insanity.

           I call upon my strong faith in God, knowing that whatever He has in store, He is with us. When America turned Him out of their schools, their homes, and their hearts, our decline began.  That is what happens when we shrugged our shoulders and said, “Oh well, what can you do?” Or, “Live and let live.” Now you can see the left doesn’t want people to live and let live. They want to control us. There seems to be no middle ground. This indeed is something new.

            I have seen the thousands of crosses marking graves of our soldiers who fought for democracy around the world and paid the ultimate sacrifice. I mourn with families who have known the pain of losing those heroes. I remind myself that I will do everything humanly possible to ensure that America is a country of citizens who deserve to live in peace and prosperity, fellowship, and understanding. Abraham Lincoln was well aware, as our country teetered on the brink of civil war, that "A house divided against itself cannot stand."  (Mark 3:25)

            America is equivalent to a marriage. Sometimes we see all the best she has to offer, and we're starry-eyed and optimistic. Other times, we see everything as irreconcilable and dark. Then, it's as though we would like a divorce.  But saving America is worth the fight. We have a lot of work ahead of us. A great deal of understanding and healing needs to be done.

          We need to commit to providing more opportunities for all. And, more of a commitment to make each person responsible for their actions. We must step up to the plate and take personal responsibility – stop pointing the finger and passing the buck. Even though it seems impossible through the lens of the current crisis, I do believe in miracles. It's going to take courage, strength, consistency, fairness, rules for all, and laws that everyone must follow - not just a few. It will also necessitate a commitment from those in Washington to come together and serve America – not themselves. I don’t believe they will do that willingly. Their strength lies in our discord!

            How could I express all of these thoughts and feelings in a small book? I've always been enamored with quotations! With just a few carefully chosen words strung together like a beautiful strand of pearls, they present a profound concept. These BODACIOUS quotations have been hand-picked for an important point or reminder about freedom, honesty, politicians, government, personal duty, economics, liberty, and above all else, man's responsibility to think for himself. History has gifted us with brilliant people, whose insightful reasoning and words of wisdom have proven ageless. They deserve to be heard once again as valuable reminders to each of us.

          It is my sincere hope that you will become even more bodacious in your patriotism. I hope that you will find meaningful ways to become a better, more involved citizen. I pray that this will stimulate conversation and inspire each of you to understand your unique "Power of One" and step into your new bodacious life! America is depending upon you.

 

More Commentaries 

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Friday, 31 July 2020
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Wednesday, 29 April 2020
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Tuesday, 03 December 2019
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