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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

First Mid-Week Advent Service, 2016. The Sceptre - Genesis 49

Advent, November 30, 2016

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Mid-Week Advent, Wednesday, 7 PM Central Standard

The Hymn #81 Gerhardt       O Jesus, Christ, Thy Manger Is  
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody Psalm 100 p. 144
The Lection - Isaiah 40 KJV
The Sermon Hymn #61     Comfort Ye My People  

God the Creator -  The Sceptre

The Prayers and Lord’s Prayer p. 44
The Collect for Peace p. 45
The Benediction p. 45
The Hymn #552                                  Abide with Me

Isaiah 40 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.
18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from theLord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

The Sceptre Prophesy

Genesis 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

One of the most stunning aspects of the Old Testament is the accumulation of Messianic prophesies and how they were fulfilled exactly. That shows us the Holy Spirit's work in the Word, because the Old Testament writings, from Genesis through Malachi, are filled with detailed predictions that are cited in the New Testament or known to all Christians.
The John the Baptist passage from Isaiah 40 is significant, because John was a central figure just before the public ministry of Jesus. He had the hardest task of all, because the Old Testament prophets spoke of a prophet to come. John pointed to Jesus and said about this ordinary looking person - He is the One.
If fathers and mothers think no one listens to them, as many pastors do as well, think of the prophets who spoke the truth and had many people miss the message altogether.
The chief passage is the most important Gospel in the Old Testament - Isaiah 53. That is such a compelling message about Jesus that no one can miss it, and that chapter is considered the best way to convert Jews to the Christian Faith. At the end, and for many centuries, the passage was dark to almost everyone. 
The disciples certainly knew it but did not apply it, as shown in many conversations about which one was the greatest and their talk about glory in God's Kingdom.
The Genesis 49 prophesy intrigues me because of its obscurity and the details that led to it being fulfilled thousands of years later.
The Messiah (Shiloh) will not come until the rule over Israel departs from Judah. In other words, once a non-Jew ruled over Israel, the Messiah would be revealed.
Consider the historical complications that made this come true. Israel became a powerful force in the region and kept together even during the Babylonian exile, a feat in itself. They returned and rebuilt Jerusalem, a city ideally suited for defense against any enemy.
Around 300 BC, Alexander the Great's general took over the area and controlled it. But the Maccabeean revolt returned the rule to Israel, and it continued. Once that kingdom became weak and Rome stepped in, something new developed. Herod, a non-Jew, became ruler. The sceptre departed from Israel.
We know from the Wise Men that Herod was very concerned about prophesy. He knew the Messiah was going to be revealed, and he wanted to stop it. That led to Slaughter of the Innocents, but the Holy Family was warned and escaped.
How did they end up so close to Jerusalem, at Bethlehem? They had to be there to be enrolled in the taxation because they were from the House of David.
So this was a combination of centuries of history, various governments, a failed independence drive, and Roman occupation. Apart from all those things governed by God alone, Christmas would not have happened, and the hostility would not have been so great.
Government persecution of religion often causes revolts, as it did with the Jews. But another cause of hatred and hostility is religion itself. Religion is a powerful force. When united with God's will (through His Word) it is a powerful good. But when united with evil (false doctrine, apostasy, atheism, etc) it is a powerful evil.
Long ago I realized that arguing for a correct translation of the Great Commission made people's hair start on fire. They became enraged when I said that the Greek text clearly says "teach all nations," a far cry from the Pietistist and Fulleristic "make disciples of all nations."
One of my pastor friends wrote about this to the WELS ministerium and was pushed out of the ministry. So was the circuit pastor who agreed with him and signed the letter.
That is how much people hate the truth. My essay on Making 
Disciples: The Error of Modern Pietism was banned at the ELDONUTs conference. They did not even want to see those pernicious, soul-destroying booklets. Ditto The Faith of Jesus.
Book burning is not dead. They were saved from the match by local fire codes and a building more tinder than steadfast.
Jesus taught the truth by saying, "Righteousness comes from believing in Me, not from works of holiness, no matter how sacrificial they might be." The Pharisees built their cult on their works, so that infuriated them.
The title of King (Messiah) was likewise a threat to Rome. That is the strange thing about fear. Pilate was an especially violent leader, appointed by Rome, and he was terrified by the threat of Jesus, who was in fact no threat at all. Thus the Jewish Messiah died from Roman punishment, egged on by Jewish opponents.
And yet Jesus was sent as the Savior to His People first and to the Gentiles.
The Gentiles carried out the punishment and provided the framework of world empire to spread the Gospel by persecution.
That is why it seems to feeble to imagine that money and methods will spread the Gospel when God did all this without either one.
Trust the Word

The reality of this prediction from Genesis 49 is that God's rule over the entire universe should humble us about the glory of our works compare to the power of his.

The divine Promises are not like ours. We try to keep them but cannot. God keeps all His Promises and does not forget them, even when centuries multiply.

Two Blogs from Six Years Ago

I started two blogs for fun, six years ago. A list of email addresses reminded me they still existed.

The Timid Lutherans - Some may detect this as satire, but the humorless advocates of UOJ, booze, and entertainment seeker services do not much discernment.

The WELS Potato - The name was inspired by a WELS pastor who compared WELS to America's favorite vegetable:

  • Thin-skinned.
  • Full of eyes but blind.
  • Half-baked.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Timid Lutherans Take the Pledge

"I am not taking the hit for your issues, you troublemaker."

Already some people sent in the names they want me to list. They added their own comments too.

Joe - "Sign me up. I am sick and tired of people rocking the boat."

Sally - "Debate makes me upset, so I am 100% for what you are doing."

Cedric - "I know all the DPs are on your side. The Holy Spirit picked them and He knows what He is doing."

Bill - "I used to read independent publications and websites, but they got me thinking all the time. I like your approach. I am sticking to synod publications only."

Gertie - "I am so thankful you started this blog. I want to be with it and say I read blogs, but the blogs have all kinds of links that take me here and there. Pretty soon I start to doubt the circuit pastor, and I am his wife. This helps."

Don - "Pure gold."

Lawrence - "From your PC to God's ear, my dear friend."

Mom - "Why don't you write to me, your own mother? I put you through college, seminary, detox, and several 12-step programs. I darned some socks for you. I will phone you. Please pick up this time. Love you to death."

 I lost control and burst out weeping:
big, heaving bouts of uncontrolled laughter.
A stole with an academic gown?
No worse, doctoral stripes for a drive-by DMin
from Fuller Seminary.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Lutheran Collapse Began with the UOJ and Kicking the KJV to the Curb

 Only one WELS DP spoke out against the NIV,
and Kudu Don Patterson, Church and Changer,
replaced him.

Universal Objective Justification began rapid the descent of the Olde Synodical Conference, because the leaders instilled and protected a radical apostate spirit.

A WELS veteran told me about the new graduates of Mordor, long ago, trashing the KJV every chance they could get. That is the modus operandi of all the mainlines, to pick apart one thing to sneak the agenda inside their denomination. They elevate their cause as the noblest, most God-pleasing insight since Creation and hide the net effects of their agitation.

Univesalsim, in the form of UOJ, is the last fetid belch of Pietism. All the mainlines share the same DNA on this issue. Halle University and Schleiermacher are the turning points in modern theology, where faith-without-belief became the norm. Read the Social Gospel Lectures of Rauschenbusch at Yale, or any other specimen of modern theology:

  • Miracles are not miracles.
  • Jesus is a man but not the Incarnation.
  • He died on the cross to show solidarity with the oppressed.
  • His disciples imagined He rose from the dead.
  • The Christian Church must redeem society.
  • The Gospel is telling people they are already saved.
The "great ones" teach the same thing - Barth, Tillich, Bishop James Pike.

 This is how apostates hide.
Just ask a few questions.

As the children of an earlier generation have said, their parents and teachers and congregations taught Justification by Faith. This comes from WELS and the LCMS, but not UOJ is the Chief Article - as Fulleroid Frosty Bivens Pastor-without-Parish Paul McCain both teach, with an NIV in one claw and an axe in the other.

We were on the KJV - why the digression? The change to modern translations was a doctrinal agenda - and the apostates won. A trio of frauds began this - Wescott, Hort, and Tischendorf. They are behind the all the modern texts of the Bible with their stance of finding - with their own delusional theories - the "true text of the New Testament."

The alternatives are simple - either accept the traditional text of the Christian Byzantine Empire, which lasted 1100 years, preserving Greek and classical culture - or the constantly changing text voted on by modern frauds who follow the original Three Stooges of text science -  Wescott, Hort, and Tischendorf.

One of the Wescott/Hort rules is hilariously simple - "the more difficult text is the better one." But more difficult for whom? Answer - more difficult for the Christian believer. Thus the nonsense of Wescott/Hort became an engine for turning apostasy into the actual, genuine, scientific text of the New Testament. 

Add to this the manuscripts that Tischendorf discovered on his own - Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. We know more about Obama's parents than the lineage of these two, but Tischendorf said they were the best! Since hardly anyone studies the texts at all (once my dream), 99.9% of all clergy and professors can easily be fooled.

This approach caught on almost a century ago, in spite of the popularity of the King James Bible and its constant sales. As new translations were introduced as great money-makers for the promoters, it became necessary for the leaders to snipe at the KJV and talk about how difficult it was for everyone. No mention was made of its link to Tyndale, and Tyndale's work within the Lutheran Reformation. 

 Apostates will sit down and talk any time.

The classic, old NIV, which no longer exists, was ridiculously sloppy, but the LCMS and WELS participated in the unionistic effort and declared - It was good.

The New NIV was created on top of the NIV, with some of the same clowns backing it, and LCMS-WELS declared - It was very good.

The old NIV did not insert UOJ into Romans 3, but the New NIV has done it.

Romans 3 - New NIV - There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 

But now the denominations are forbidden to quote the old NIV or print books based on the old NIV. The Biblegate NIV website, with so many translations available, once included the old NIV and gave its date. Now there is but one NIV on that website and it is the new one, no date. 

The alcoholic morons who run the LCMS and WELS have tied themselves to a constantly devolving, bad paraphrase of a corrupted New Testament text. 

You deny God justifying the entire world? Lookee here, Rev. Cirrhosis says, "All have sinned and all are justified!"

And that is why the KJV had to be thrown under the bus.

 The help desk at synod headquarters is staffed 24/7.

Monday, November 28, 2016

One More Time - Fresh Roses on the Altar - New Computer for the Broadcast

 "Those were the days, my friend,
we thought they'd never end..."

"When Morn, the rosy-fingered child of Dawn, appeared..."

"Blow, blow, thou bitter rain, the hard rain down can rain..."

Sassy showed great patience about her morning walk. I checked outside, lacking her radar ears, and saw how the rain was beating down steadily at 7 AM, after a night of howling winds and dreams about limbs crashing down around me. We walked at 8 AM instead, with her permission and appreciation.

The trees have given up their green and dropped their leaves, almost at once. Drifts are all over the driveway, piles of soggy maple leaves that I love to use for mulch.

Nevertheless, we had fresh roses on the altar yesterday, the First Sunday in Advent. That shows how persistent roses are in cold weather and why they have such a long blooming season, from one month after planting the bare roots to the first real winter days.

Falling in Love and Easy Does It bloomed on Saturday, but not in those big deluxe flowers that we enjoyed a few weeks ago. Not as deep as a well nor as wide as a barn door, but 'twill do, 'twill do. (Oxford aka Shakespeare)

We will remember with advantages that First Sunday in Advent when garden roses were on the altar.

Mid-week Advent services will be at 7 PM Central,
because we are not a Church Growth coven.

The new, used desktop came on Saturday, boasting a quad-core i7 CPU and 16 gigs of RAM. Quad-core is like having four computers share the work. RAM is where computing really happens - certainly not on the hard drive - so there is never too much RAM. Often RAM costs too much. This was used with a one-year warrantee.

We have used Ustream so long that the computer was obsolete for the demands of Windows 10 and the latest version of Ustream software. The honest tech helpers admit they have problems with each new Ustream edition.

I hope to learn video editing and alternatives to Ustream. We can always use Facebook for an alternative, but not everyone cares to use FB or has it on their computer.

YouTube is a better alternative, and I can learn how to broadcast there, too. So much to learn. I have been urging my graduate students to learn more about video, so now I get to lead the way. I am going to be learning on an iPad sent as a gift.

LI says we have the best desktop for streaming video now, and it will be good for some years ahead. He did not like the idea of streaming to two platforms at once, and I see the logic of that. More complications and more demands on the system.

I have stubbornly resisted mobile computing. For me, a mobile computer is a desktop I carry from the office to the chapel. I do not text and resist answering texts. My geezer phone has a five item menu for texting in emergencies. If I get a spam text, I answer, "Have a nice day" from the menu.

My undergraduates laughed at me for not texting. I pointed out that their computer skills were limited to tweeting all day long.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Additional Lutheran Books - Spot Them in Book Sales and Find Them on Used Book Sites

 Every serious, faithful Lutheran should start with Luther's sermons
and the Book of Concord.

Looking for Lutheran New Testament commentaries? Here is a complete set online, free, by the great Henry Eyster Jacobs.

Henry Eyster Jacobs helped translate this volume,
and WELS pastors always bought it in the past.
The volume has great Justification by Faith posts from the
Age of Orthodoxy.
Print copies, new reprints, and old prints,
are all over Lutherdom.

Heinrich Schmid was instantly condemned by the Booze Brothers in Fox Valley, WELS, so he must be good. This is a compilation of quotations on various doctrinal topics - in English. Not only was Schmid condemned as a "false teacher," but I was pilloried for listing this link to a free, online copy of Schmid. Oh, the horror! That is how dummified the WELS graduates are today. When I was in Gawa's dogmatics class, we read through many of these quotations in class. Recently, the Mordor class notes stamped JBFA quotations for dogmatics class as MISLEADING!

 Tyndale and Shakespeare (Oxford) established the English language. The Tyndale translation was the basis for the
King James Version. The KJV is literature.

One of the most viewed paged on Ichabod is this extensive list of Lutheran resources, including Luther, Melanchthon, and many other authors of interest to faithful Lutherans.

Good Literature To Read

The two greatest American novels are Moby Dick and The Great Gatsby.

Moby Dick should be read slowly in a good edition, like the Easton Press leather-bound one that EP has given away in so many offers.

Tolkien's The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings will be remembered as the greatest literature in the English language in the 20th century.

C. S. Lewis' best work is the Chronicles of Narnia, but he had strange universalistic ideas.

Pilgrim's Progess is a perfect allegory - an extended parable about the message of the Bible. Bunyan loved the read Luther's Galatians Lectures, which were second only to the Bible for him. How many Lutherans can say that? Like Moby Dick, Pilgrim's Progress should be read slowly.

As someone said, literature should not be categorized as children's literature, because great books are enjoyed by all ages, as the following shows.

Brooks - Freddy the Pig series. They are great fun, much more creative than boilerplate books.

Mark Twain books are fun and adventurous. I should have included him near the top, but this is a great introduction to literature for children - Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Connecticut Yankee, The Prince and the Pauper.

The Wind in the Willows is a classic for all ages, for all time.

Anything by E. Nesbit is good to read. Many authors read her books annually. She had a miserable life, married to a world-class jerk, but her books are a haven of laughter, peace, and hilarious family conflicts.

Those in computer technology are often devoted to great literature, especially in the fantasy category - Tolkien, Lewis, Greek mythology, the Dune series, and the mind-changing Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

 Horrible movie - great book - Hitchhiker's Guide -
satire at its best, defies a summary.
The cover of the Guide had this message written in
"large, friendly letters."

First Sunday in Advent, 2016. On Ustream.

St. Matthew, by El Greco

The First Sunday in Advent, 2016

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Hymn # 245            God Loved the World  
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual 
The Gospel 
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 290      We Have A Sure  

Blessed Is He

The Hymn #306                  Lord Jesus Christ
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #68            The Advent of Our King 

KJV Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

First Sunday in Advent - From the Collects of Veit Dietrich
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, we bless and praise Thee forever, that Thou didst send Thy Son to rule over us poor sinners, who for our transgressions did justly deserve to remain in the bondage of sin and Satan, and didst give us in Him a meek and righteous King, who by His death became our Savior from sin and eternal death: We beseech Thee so to enlighten, govern and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may ever remain faithful to this righteous King and Savior, and not, after the manner of the world, be offended with His humble form and despised word, but, firmly believing in Him, obtain eternal salvation; through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Blessed Is He

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 

If someone is to gain anything from the Scriptures, he must first ask the purpose of the Word of God. One fine way of distracting oneself - and others - is to promote a purpose which is alien to the Bible. I recall one book from long ago that was rather snooty about the Bible not being great literature. In fact, St. Augustine thought the common Greek of the New Testament - called Koine Greek, long before the rock band grabbed the name - was beneath him.

Another approach is history. The apostates have always picked away at the history in the Old Testament. Their bogus claims have included:

  • Ninevah - cannot find it, must be made up. They found Ninevah, oh never mind.
  • Old Testament towns - cannot find them. The names turned up on the Ebla tablets, oh never mind.
  • Luke's titles - never heard of ethnarch before, cannot find it. He must have invented it or he was a poor historian. Found at the right spot, that very title? Oh, never mind.
Here is a history lesson from C. S. Lewis - Imagine all the libraries in all the world have burned down. One library is left where all the books have burned. Only one part of one page can be party read. That is what we know about human history.

But the facts do not convert, which brings us to the main reason for the Bible - to create and sustain faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. That is why proving facts, which was easy to obtain, have no affect on doubters. They can always find something new to offend them. That is why scandal in the New Testament really means "death trigger," because something causes an individual to fall into complete doubt. 

That is why Justification by Faith offends the so-called Lutheran leaders. They do not believe in Christ and do not trust the Word. That is also why their words are hollow. They use terms associated with faith, but they constantly urge works without faith. They do not trust God to bless their denominations from the teaching of the Truth. They run around like rats with their fur on fire, going from one false teacher to another to find out how to have mega-churches. I would take them on a tour of dead mega-churches from this generation - Cathedral of Tomorrow. Crystal Cathedral, Church Without Walls, etc.

The Bible teaches faith by showing us the mighty acts of God and the public ministry of Christ.

2. This Gospel encourages and demands faith, for it prefigures Christ coming with grace, whom none may receive or accept save he who believes him to be the man, and has the mind, as this Gospel portrays in Christ. Nothing but the mercy, tenderness and kindness of Christ are here shown, and he who so receives and believes on him is saved. He sits not upon a proud steed, an animal of war, nor does he come in great pomp and power, but sitting upon an ass, an animal of peace fit only for burdens and labor and a help to man. He indicates by this that he comes not to frighten man, nor to drive or crush him, but to help him and to carry his burden for him. And although it was the custom of the country to ride on asses and to use horses for war, as the Scriptures often tell us, yet here the object is to show that the entrance of this king shall be meek and lowly.

Again it also shows the pomp and conduct of the disciples towards Christ who bring the colt to Christ, set him thereon, and spread their garments in the way; also that of the multitude who also spread their garments in the way and cut branches from the trees. They manifested no fear nor terror, but only blessed confidence in him as one for whom they dared to do such things and who would take it kindly and readily consent to it.

3. Again, he begins his journey and comes to the Mount of Olives to indicate that he comes out of pure mercy. For olive oil in the Scriptures signifies the grace of God that soothes and strengthens the soul as oil soothes and strengthens the body.

4. Thirdly, there is no armor present, no war-cry, but songs and praise, rejoicing and thanksgiving to the Lord.

5. Fourthly, Christ weeps, as Luke 19:41, writes, weeps over Jerusalem because she does not know nor receive such grace; yet he was so grieved at her loss that he did not deal harshly with her.

6. Fifthly, his goodness and mercy are best shown when he quotes the words of the prophets, Isaiah 62:11; Zechariah 9:9, and tenderly invites men to believe and accept Christ, for the fulfilling of which prophecies the events of this Gospel took place and the story was written, as the Evangelist himself testifies. Therefore we must look upon this verse as the chief part of this Gospel, for in it Christ is pictured to us and we are told what we are to believe, and to expect of him, what we are to seek in him, and how we may be benefited by him.

7. First he says: “Tell ye” the daughter of Zion. This is said to the ministry and a new sermon is given them to preach, namely, nothing but what the words following indicate, a right knowledge of Christ. Whoever preaches anything else is a wolf and deceiver. This is one of the verses in which the Gospel is promised of which Paul writes in Romans 1:2; for the Gospel is a sermon from Christ, as he is here placed before us, calling for faith in him.

As Luther carefully observes, this entry to Jerusalem is not war-like, because a warrior king rides a charger, armed with weapons and protected with armor.

2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 

Jesus did not assume the persona of a warrior king, a great departure from the past and future leaders. Jerusalem was destroyed twice - after Jesus - by warrior Messiahs. One Byzantine Emperor, much later, lost all credibility when he used a chariot instead of a charger. It was like coming to battle in a limo instead of a tank.

The Maccabean king did arrive in Jerusalem like Jesus, and people threw garments and branches on the road. But that messiah (anointed king) only brought a temporary vacation from foreign rule (Greek). Later the Romans were invited in to keep the peace - and they kept the Holy Land as a reward.

Jerusalem was a past and future powder-keg, looking back at the occupations and the future Zealot wars they lost. The tensions continue today.

But Jesus came as the true Messiah, as Luther observed, from Mt. Olive, to bring comfort, peace, and forgiveness. But he also said, "Go to the village against you," which Luther interprets in a lively and creative way. The literalists say, "That is just a location - against you," but Luther connects two words and shows how they fit the entire Biblical narrative.

The village is not named, so it represents the entire world (Great Commission - teach all nations) and that village is "against you" but you must enter and not go around it or avoid it.

Against you - that refers to bearing the cross. No one should deny that clergy look for easy positions and that they often consider deluxe congregations the best kind of call. They are called plum parishes, though in time they shrivel and become prune parishes. Nevertheless, at their prime, pastors want them - the salaries, benefits, easy work, plenty of helpers, no opposition.

In their own denominations, where everyone is supposedly a beloved brother pastor, they resist opposing anything wrong, lest someone be offended and give them setbacks or even get rid of them. The supposedly conservative groups say, "Rah. Rah. We always fight for the truth," but this longing for luxury really makes them fight the truth. Likewise, laity seek forgiveness without faith or forgiveness. One man abandoned his marriage, refused reconciliation with his wife, and expected Holy Communion. His pastor thought that was OK - CLC (sic).

Now the LCMS has joined WELS and the ELS in saying that discussing doctrine is grounds for removal from the ministerium - being thrown under the bus.

That is the situation among the "conservative" Lutherans today, so teaching the Truth means bearing the cross. The Europeans have a saying, "No cross, no crown," but that is replaced in happy-slappy Church Growth congregations with "Don't frown, be a clown."

3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 

Luther has an interesting comparison, the old animal being burdened in the past and now brought to Christ, the young one never ridden by anyone and now only subject to Christ.

75. These are the two asses: The old one is the exterior man; he is bound like this one, with laws and fear of death, of hell, of shame, or with allurements of heaven, of life, of honor. He goes forward with the external appearance of good works and is a pious rogue, but he does it unwillingly and with a heavy heart and a heavy conscience.

Therefore the apostle calls her “subjugalem,” the yoked animal, who works under a burden and labors hard. It is a miserable, pitiable life that is under compulsion by fear of hell, of death and of shame. Hell, death and shame are his yoke and burden, heavy beyond measure, from which he has a burdened conscience and is secretly an enemy to law and to God. Such people were the Jews, who waited for Christ, and such are all who rely upon their own power to fulfill God’s commands, and merit heaven. They are tied by their consciences to the law, they must, but would rather not, do it. They are carriers of sacks, lazy beasts of burden and yoked rogues.

76. The colt, the young ass, of which Mark and Luke write, on which never man rode, is the inner man, the heart, the mind, the will, which can never be subject to law, even if he be tied by conscience and feels the law.

But he has no desire nor love for it until Christ comes and rides on him. As this colt was never ridden by anyone, so man’s heart has never been subject to the good; but, as Moses says, Genesis 6:5 and Genesis 8:21, is evil continually from his youth.

Everything is done to fulfill the prophets. Others tried in the past, to fulfill the Scriptures and failed to create a lasting kingdom. Two false messiahs tried after Jesus, and they also failed to establish anything except death and destruction. We should always stop and consider the wide variety of Promises fulfilled by the Savior in the course of His career. They build up faith in the truth of the Word and also in the power and direction of the Father's will.

Everything leading up to the death and resurrection of Christ was directed by the Father, including the Roman system of crucifixion and the various Jewish customs discussed in the Passion story.

5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.

The disciples did all these things for one purpose - to present Jesus to the crowds. In doing so, they brought faith to them, in presenting the Living Word.

Since the great monster Castro (or his body double) is dead, it is worth remembering how he murdered people. So many yelled "Christ is King" before they were shot that the executioners could not go on with their work.

That is how powerful faith is, and yet the faithless teach against faith and extoll unfaith.

 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

There are two kinds of faith, as Luther spoke about in his sermon on this text. One is the meaningless faith that simply acknowledges Christ. This is represented well by the demons who confessed Christ when being exorcised, but not in a good way. Apostates are like that. As James says, "They believe, but their hides bristle" like that of a dog threatened.

This great triumph preceded the miraculous conversion of thousands in Jerusalem, after the Resurrection of Christ. The entire Passion narrative built a foundation for the Christian Church, showing Jesus as the true Messiah, the crucified Messiah, and finally as the Risen Lord and Ascending Savior.