"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Wizard of Oz and Skyrocketing Silver and Gold

One of my earliest memories as a child is being sick in bed and having my mother read to me The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum, a book most people know by its shortened title The Wizard of Oz.

Rachelle and I have attended the award winning West End theatre presentation of Wicked in London, England. Wicked is the musical prequel to The Wizard of Oz. Fellow Oklahoman and Broken Arrow friend Kristen Chenowith played Glinda the Good Witch of the South when Broadway brought Wicked to the Broadway stage in New York in 2003.

Few people have actually read The Wizard of Oz. Most people are familiar with the book through the Broadway play adapted from it or the classic Hollywood 1939 film version starring Judy Garland
The differences between the the book, written in 1900, and the later film and Broadway adaptations of the book may at first seem minor, but as is the case in many attempts to bring written material to life through the visual arts, small changes impact the overall theme of the original author.

For example, in order to showcase new improvements in Technicolor, movie producers changed Dorothy's silver shoes in the book version to ruby slippers for the 1939 film version.
Unfortunately changing silver slippers to ruby caused the public to miss the economic and financial lessons of Baum's book. 
Most see the The Wizard of Oz as a cute morality play for children. But Frank Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz in the late 1890's as a powerful allegory of the economic problems faced by the United States. Our country's economic and financial problems in 2020 are very similar to the issues of the 1890s, as I'll explain.

Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz is to economics what John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is to Christianity. If you understand Baum's allegory, you will know why America and European countries are in their current economic crises and why we are headed toward a financial panic in America the likes of which our country has rarely seen. 

To understand the allegorical parts of The Wizard of Oz, you must have some historical background regarding the economic crisis throughout America during the 1880's and 1890's. You will not regret reading carefully this post, even if you don't like history or economics. Your retirement savings and your economic future are in the balance.

In what is now called The Crime of 1873, the United States government took silver out of monetary circulation and went to gold as the standard for the American dollar.

From the formation of the United States in 1776 until the year of the 'crime' of 1873,  the United States had been on a bimetallic standard. For approximately one hundred years after America's founding as a country, an American citizen could go into a reserve bank, hand over any amount of paper currency (i.e. $10, $20, $100, $1,000, etc...) and be given either gold or silver in return. You would be given about 15 times more silver than gold in terms of weight (for silver traded to gold at a ratio of about 15 to 1).

So an American could choose the metal (e.g. "silver OR gold") to exchange for the American dollars. But in the "Crime of 1873" the U.S. government decided to take silver out of monetary circulation. That meant you could no longer get silver for your dollars.

Therefore, the amount of money in circulation shrank after The Crime of 73. .

Beginning in 1873 the government only issued dollars and increased the money supply in proportion to the amount of gold it held in reserve. Silver no longer served as a reserve metal for dollars. Therefore, beginning in 1873, the collective pool of money available for the exchange of goods in the American economy decreased. A decrease in the available money supply will always lead to deflation.

Less money in circulation means lower prices.

Let me illustrate how a decreased money supply lowers prices. Let's say you are on the game Survivor and you and your fellow contestants have not eaten food for 20 days. On the 21st day you and the other 10 contestants are each are given just $20 to bid on 11 different dishes of sumptuous food that have been prepared and brought to the camp. You can also choose to bid on new bedding materials which will make your night's sleep more comfortable.  Everyone with $20 in hand sees what is available for purchase because it is all laid out in front of all the contestants.

There's a steak and baked potato, there's a cheeseburger, a chicken salad sandwich as well as blankets, pillows, air mattresses, etc...   You're limited as to what you can buy since you have a limited supply of money.
Due to the small amount of money in circulation the price of everything goes down!  
However, if you and each of your fellow contestants had been given $100 each instead of $20, then the price of everything goes up! Why? Because the money supply has gone up, and when more money is in circulation, the price of goods for cheeseburgers and other commodities soars.
Prices always eventually go up (i.e. inflation) in proportion to an increase in the money supplyand prices always eventually go down (i.e. deflation) in proportion to the decrease in the money supply.
This Survivor illustration helps you understand The Crime of 1873.

The government declared that silver could no longer be used as government money. Silver was taken out of circulation. It's like contestants on Survivor having a large portion of their money taken away before they can bid on goods.

The government decreased the money supply in 1873 and prices for goods across the nation fell as did the demand for those goods by the American public because Americans no longer had access to silver coins.

For the next 25 years, from 1873 to 1898, the United States experienced an average yearly deflation of 1.5%.

The people who were hurt the most by the government's decision were farmers from Kansas and the Midwest. The prices people were willing to pay for the farmers' crops decreased. Even worse, because farmers were already in debt (as most farmers are), they were having to use the dollars from the shrinking money supply to pay off their old debts. 

Think back to Survivor illustration and imagine trying to buy food and bedding materials when you have to pay a past debt with the limited $20 you have in hand. It would be much easier to pay off your old debts if your supply of money is greater. Many farmers in the late 1800's were facing bankruptcy because their debts was high, prices were too low, and there was not enough money in circulation for them to survive economically.

There is an important economic principle that can be derived from the 1873 government decision to remove silver from circulation, a principle that will shed light on today's economic problems and the allegory behind The Wizard of Oz.

The economic principle simply stated:
When people or nations  (governments) are in debt, the more money pumped into circulation (i.e. "inflation"), the easier it is to pay off  those debts. 
The more massive the debt, the more critical the need for a massive increase in money supply.  If deflation is occurring when there is indebtedness, then the debtor will struggle to pay old debts with scarcer, more valuable dollars. Debtors always need an ever increasing money supply.

 Enter Frank Baum and The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and her cast of characters represent farmers (the Scarecrow), industrial workers (the Tin Man), and fearful politicians (the Cowardly Lion), and they all need help.

They follow the Yellow Brick Road (the gold standard) to the Emerald City (Washington D.C.). Oz is the abbreviation for the measurement of gold (i.e. "ounces" or oz.), and the Wizard behind the curtain represents the politicians pulling the strings to decrease the money supply by using only gold as a monetary standard and not silver,  harming all the weary travelers.

What Dorothy and her friends need is the addition of silver back into the money supply. The entire Oz narrative is the struggle between the common man and the powerful Washington elites over the supply of money.

In the Emerald Palace Dorothy and her friends enter 7 passages and climb 3 flights of stairs ( 73 representing The Crime of 73). Silver is found throughout the Wizard of Oz as the answer to the problems at hand, including the Tin Man receiving "a new ax with a handle made of gold and a blade polished so that it glistens like burnished silver and a silver oilcan to oil himself," a statement by Baum which describes his belief that the industrial worker will be helped with the addition of silver to the monetary supply.

And of course, Dorothy's passage back to her farm in Kansas is to click her "silver shoes" three times together, representing that the power to solve the farm girl's problems was there all the time (adding silver to the currency).

There are so many more economic principles in The Wizard of Oz, and for further study I would recommend that you read The Fable of the Allegory: The Wizard of Oz in Economics.

Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz,  was an economic activist. He was considered a progressive, someone we might call 'liberal,' today.

One of his political friends, William Jennings Bryan, was the Democratic nominee for President in the 1896 and 1900 Presidential elections. Bryan rocketed to fame at the 1896 Chicago Democratic National Convention where he delivered his famous Cross of Gold Speech.

Bryan, who was a devout Christian and went on to infamy in the Scopes Trial, was also a liberal economist, and he closed his famous speech by declaring,
 "Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the laboring interests and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold." 
Bryan and Baum eventually got their wish of a bimetal standard for the American dollar, for the U.S. government reversed course early in the 1900's and added silver back as part of the American currency. You probably remember paper bills with the words "Silver Certificate" etched on the top.

When the government increased the money supply in the early 1900's, the motive was to help the western farmers, just as Frank Baum and William Jennings Bryan requested.

 But for the last 100 years the government has continued to RADICALLY and RECKLESSLY increase the money supply in America. Why? Because the U.S. government began taking on massive debt of its own. With World War I and then World War II the U.S. government became a debtor nation. However, with the addition of massive social programs in the mid-to-late 20th century, U.S. government became swamped in debt. 

The U.S. government has become the Kansas farmer of the late 1800's. Our national debt has crossed the  twenty-six trillion dollars mark. How do you ever get enough cheap dollars to pay off that kind of debt while continuing to spend for an annual operating budget? Is it even possible? Do you add another precious metal as a standard to the American dollar? No. The United States government did something mind-boggling.

The United States government decided in the 1970's to move the American dollar OFF BOTH THE GOLD AND SILVER STANDARD.

What was once an argument in Frank Baum's day over a bimetal standard (silver and gold reserve for the dollar) versus a mono-metal standard (a gold reserve only), became an argument and an ultimate decision by our government to remove the dollar completely from any gold, silver or precious metal reserve standard.

Frank Baum, William Jennings Bryan and every other 19th century economists--both liberal and conservative--would have never dreamed the U.S. government could or would do such a thing.

 But it is exactly what our government has done. Try to go into any bank with a $100 bill today and ask to get paid in silver and/or gold for that $100 bill.

It won't happen.

It can't happen.

The government's decision to move the dollar off any precious metal standard had its genesis in a highly secretive meeting of bankers and politicians in 1910 as they met on an island off the coast of Georgia called Jekyll Island.

You may read about the extraordinary results of the government's decision in a highly readable book entitled The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Look at the Creation of the Federal Reserve.

What we now have in America is a system where the supply of money is controlled by the United States Federal Reserve and not by the amount of silver and gold we have in reserve to back those dollars.

European countries also have this same kind of currency system. The supply of euros is dictated by European Central Banks, all controlled by European governments.

There is no precious metal backing for currencies. If governments need an increase in the money supply, then governments simply create paper money. Remember that the people who benefit most with the high inflation caused by an increase in the money supply are those people (or governments) who are in debt. Those harmed by an increase in the money supply are the frugal and the savers. In other words, what Frank Baum wanted in 1900 for western farmers in debt, we now have in spades for western governments drowning in debt.

Baum wished to add silver to gold as a metal reserve to increase the amount of dollars in circulation, but he never dreamed of a government currency WITHOUT A STANDARD. Now we have NO precious metal standard.

The government cannot have the money supply bound by the amount of gold and silver we have in Fort Knox (if in fact any is still there), because the government needs MASSIVE AMOUNTS of dollars in circulation for the government to pay its massive debts.

The American dollar today is what is called a fiat currency.

The government prints it. People trust it and use it. If the government wishes to increase the money supply, they do so by simply allowing the creation of more paper dollars, in a process called fractional reserve banking, where the 'reserves' are paper money deposits, not metals!

The only thing that guarantees the fiat money has value is the trust of the people in the currency.

What happens when people begin losing trust in government currency?

The dollar becomes worthless.

This is beginning to take place in the United States as investors flee the commodities. When people  lose trust in the U.S. government and turn away from the government's fiat currency, economic collapse soon follows.

When that happens, the U.S. will face bankruptcy like Italy, Greece and other European countries.

The worst possible case scenario is for a government to be forced to pay back their debts in another government's currency. When this happens the money supply of the debtor government shrinks because the debtor country's currency is considered worthless by the lender country.  The indebted government is then forced to pay its debts using another country's stronger currency (think China).

This is why people find protection in precious metals or a stronger government's currency when governments are swamped by debt. The massive expansion of the supply of money which has no metal standard behind it is recklessly endangering a country's freedom and future.

 To say what is happening in America today is ultimately highly inflationary is a gross understatement.  One day soon people will lose complete confidence in the American dollar because the government hands out trillions of dollars to non-working people, causing people to depend on a bankrupt government's social programs than individual work.

As the Bible says, "The borrower is a servant to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7).

Our problem today is the very opposite of the one Dorothy faced in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy needed an increase in the money supply. Deflation was ruining the economics of the Kansas farmer. The farmer couldn't get a good price for his crop, and he couldn't pay off his past debts with a shrinking money supply.

But over the last four years we have received as a nation a far greater money supply (printed money) than Dorothy (Frank Baum) ever wished.

We have had a grotesque growth in the money supply because silver and gold have both been REMOVED as a reserve for the American dollar.

With the Feds doing everything in their power to fight to keep money cheap to pay off government debt and support non-working people, there is coming very soon a rate of inflation the likes of which America has never seen. 

Silver and gold are spiking.

Where are the economic John Bunyan's of our day? Where are the Frank Baum's of our day? Where are the people with enough sense to know that America is in need of being taught lessons that are much more profound than cute children's fables suitable for Broadway and the big screen?

The Fear of Your Death and of Our Immortal God

There is an abundant fear of death in our world.

The extent of that fear reaches absurd proportions when family members are prevented from being next to a loved one dying lest others die. 

If the public believed in the resurrection from the dead and God's promise of eternal life to those who trust Him and surrender their lives to Jesus' control, then one would demand to be next to a loved one dying because it is a "see you soon moment" rather than a fearful "this is the end of existence moment."

People fight dying because nobody likes non-existence. 

Most people either don't believe or understand the full impact of life, death, and the resurrection of the righteous to immortal life and for that reason, there is an inordinate fear of death.

Those afflicted with thanatophobia (e.g. "the fear of death") would serve themselves well be reading a few scholars who have recently written some seminal books on life, death, and resurrection.

It could change your life. 

Seminal writing is rare in the theological. The word "seminal" comes from the Latin word serere, which means "to sow." Writing that is seminal represents the seed (Latin: semen) of a future and greater harvest of truth that sets people free from the bondage of fear, for Jesus said, "When you know the truth, the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32).

An example of seminal theological truth is Luther's Ninety-Five Theses (1517). In those theses that Luther penned, he declared that it is faith in Christ's work justifies a sinner before God, not the sacraments. Luther's writings on justification, though biblical, were deemed heretical by the Roman Catholic Church.

Five centuries later Luther's heresy has become evangelical orthodoxy, widely accepted by Christians around the world, including many Roman Catholics. Seminal theological writings are rare because as Solomon once declared:
"Is there anything of which one might say, "See this, it is new"? Already it has existed for ages which were before us" (Ecclesiastes 1:10).
Truth exists independent of truth's discovery. The only thing ever lost is one's understanding of truth. "God's word is truth" (John 17:17), and it isn't lost. But rare is the individual who uncovers truth from God that has been lost by others. When men are in darkness, the comprehension of truth in the mind of one man is often ridiculed. 

The Dark Ages brought about a great loss of human understanding of what it means to be made right with God through faith in Jesus alone. Luther's writings were seminal in that it only uncovered pre-existent and eternal truth. The greatest opposition to Luther's writing on justification by faith came from church leaders who adhered to centuries of church dogma on the subject.

Though Luther's teaching on being right with God through trusting Christ seemed new, it was in reality quite old truth because it was found in Scripture. Accepted church dogma can sometimes be the greatest hindrance to uncovering eternal truth via sola Scriptura (Scripture alone).

So for those afraid of death, it is possible that some seminal theological writing has taken place in the late 20th century and early portions of this century that could help you. New Testament scholars such as F.F. Bruce, Edward Fudge, John R.W. Stott, Richard Bauckham, John W. Wenham, and others have written on the subject of death, resurrection, the judgment, and afterlife, rejecting Plato's separation of soul and body and holding to what they call the biblical truth of indivisible unity between body and soul.

To these writers, the Hebrew word nephesh describes the life of man as soul and body united, with the consequence of sin being death to the whole person, both body and soul. The Bible portrays every man as a mortal. The belief that there is an independent, immaterial soul that lives apart from the body is from Plato, and not the Bible, say these New Testament scholars. They point out that the unique and profound teaching of both the Old and New Testaments is the resurrection of dead persons to face either judgment and eventually eternal death (i.e. 'the second death'), or to escape the coming judgment and to be granted the gift of immortal life through Jesus Christ.

In summary, the seminal theological writing of these modern scholars revolves around the following biblical truths:
(1). God alone possesses immortality (I Timothy 6:16), and the gift of God is eternal life to only those whose names are "written in the book of life" via their union with Jesus Christ (see John 3:16 and Revelation 20:12).
(2). Death destroys every mortal human being and is called "the last enemy" of those who die in Christ (I Cor. 15:26). But, these scholars say, "there is coming a day when all those who are in the tombs will hear His voice" (John 5:29) and be resurrected to life (nephesh) by God's power.
(3). Everyone will be resurrected from the dead, both the righteous and the unrighteous, and will either be judged and righteously punished for their actions on earth (John 5:29), or will be credited with the righteousness of Christ via their faith in Him and graciously escape the 'day of wrath' (Proverbs 11:4), being given immortal life which Jesus earned by His actions when He came to earth (Revelation 20:12).
(4). The punishment of the wicked by God is both equitable and proportional. That Day of Judgment will reveal various sentences of length and intensity for individual sinners, some punishments being more severe than others (Matt. 10:15).
(5). Hell is a holy prison where God's wrath is measured out in direct portion and relation to one's sins and crimes committed by each creature judged, with the final end of the unrighteous being their utter destruction, called "the second death" (Revelation 20:14).
(6). The end of every sinner without Christ is eternal death and the end of every justified sinner is immortal life (Romans 6:23).
Ironically, Martin Luther had a hand in these modern seminal writings. 

Both Luther and William Tyndale believed that "the dead are asleep, and feel nothing at all." Time is inconsequential during death, taught Luther, so regardless of the passage of time on earth, the next conscious thought after closing one's eyes in death is the awareness of hearing Christ's voice and feeling the power of the Creator in being raised from the dead. So when Jesus says, "Today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43) to the dying thief who believed in Him, it was indeed that day from the thief's perspective that he was with Christ in heaven. It's a little like going to sleep through anesthesia prior to surgery, only to wake up seemingly an instant later only to discover the long surgery is over. Time as measured on earth is irrelevant in the resurrection.

So, there is technically nothing wrong with a believer in Christ saying at his mother's funeral, "Mom is smiling in heaven today," even though the reality is his mom arrives in heaven the same day as he does. The general resurrection for all mankind occurs on that coming day when the voice of Christ will raise the dead (John 5:28). For those who wonder at the power of God to raise the dead after millenniums of corruption and cellular dissolution, one only has to look at the universe to see the majesty and power of the Creator to call into existence by fiat things that are. On that great day of resurrection, which is the central theme of New Testament Christianity, God's people will experience the perishable being clothed:
"...with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory" (I Corinthians 15:54 NIV).
John Calvin opposed Luther's views on the death of both body and soul, and at the young age of twenty-five, he published Psychopannchia, a refutation of Luther's conditional immortality. Calvin took the position that the soul is innately immortal, and most post-reformation evangelicals have followed Calvin's views since. Unlike 'justification by faith,' Luther's teaching on the conditional immortality of the soul never blossomed into evangelical orthodoxy, even though Luther's writings on this subject were comparable to his writings on justification by faith in both breadth and depth.

What if we are living in a new day of fresh discovery of the eternal truth that God alone has immortality and that the gift of God is eternal life to only those who trust Jesus? What changes? Answer: Our understanding of heaven and hell.

The Implications

The Bible's use of the word "reward" for believers is always singular in the New Testament. Contrary to modern church dogma that various 'rewards' are given to Christians for the way they lived their lives on earth, the New Testament speaks of a singular reward given to all believers in union with Jesus Christ. This reward is eternal life. Jesus earned this reward for us by His perfect obedience as Man. Though He is God, He became Man for us. Eternal life is granted to only those who trust Him:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Notice, the wicked who die apart from Christ perish. If what these modern biblical scholars are saying is true, those who reject the only Savior given to mankind (Acts 4:12) will be raised from the dead to face the righteous condemnation of God for their sins against mankind and their Creator (Psalm 2:12), will serve penal sentences for their actions, and will then perish. Without question, the Bible teaches that hell is real and not imaginary, penal (punitive) and not corrective, and is eternal not temporal in terms of the end result of all punishments meted out by God.

The Bible's hell is the prison created by God where various sentences of divine punishment are served by those raised to judgment in order to die a second time as a consequence of their sins. However, it is in hell that God recognizes good things done in this life by giving a lighter sentence of punishment (Matthew 10:15). Degrees of punishment in hell is not mercy; it is justice. Righteous judges on earth never give the same sentence for different crimes. The punishment must always match the crime to be considered true justice.

So it is with the most righteous Judge of all. A person who dies without union to Christ, but has lived a moral, ethical, and selfless life as measured by the natural law in the heart of every man (see Romans 1:20), will receive a far less severe punishment from God than the rapists, serial murderers, and child abusers who also die without Christ. Therefore, the eternal part of hell is the end result of punishment (i.e. 'the second death') and not the process of punishing. The teaching of Jesus shows that the eternality of hell is not the torment, but the final punishment of destruction: 
"Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
My friend, Kyle Williams, told me he was in a bookstore and saw a book cover with a picture of a man holding a beer in his hand with the title being I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. Christ isn't sitting behind that kind of bar when He judges man. It will be a solemn experience for those without a Savior, and the severity and intensity of divine punishment will be in direct proportion to the wickedness of the thoughts, actions, character, and life choices of the one judged by Christ (see Romans 2). The good news of the gospel is that all those in Christ escape this day of wrath (see Romans 8:1).

As a branch eventually dies after being separated from the tree, so too, every unredeemed sinner raised to life to face judgment before the Creator will be "cast out" from God's presence to eventually die again (Matthew 13:41-43). The process of dying the second death while in hell will vary in degree, intensity and time -- according to the sins and crimes committed on earth; but the final end will be the second death for all the wicked (Revelation 20:14). Let me make it simple and clear. According to the Bible, the wicked will be destroyed (Psalm 37:38).

Those evangelicals who have believed in the eternal torment of the wicked may find it rather shocking to consider that the 'gift of God," which is called eternal life in Scripture (John 3:16), is only given to believers in Jesus and never to those who die apart from Christ. Jesus says those without Christ will perish (see again John 3:16). There are numerous other biblical passages where the end of wicked is made just as clear.
A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.
(Psalm 37: 10-11)
The wicked are like chaff that blows away.
(Psalm 1:4)
The wicked will be punished with everlasting destruction
and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.
(II Thessalonians 1:9)
As Edward Fudge writes,
"The wicked will not enjoy any of God's blessings that the redeemed enjoy, because they will perish (Romans 2:12). They are anathema, which means marked for destruction (I Cor. 16:22; Gal. 1:8-9). This is not a theoretical statement that might really happen and might not. No, God will destroy them (Rom. 2:12; I Cor. 3:17). Paul says it in every he can say it. The wicked will suffer destruction (Gal. 5:21; 6:8; Phil. 1:28; 3:19). That destruction will be sudden when it comes (I Thess. 5:3), and once accomplished, it will be everlasting (II Thess. 1:9)." (Hell: A Final Word, page 128).
For those Christians who object by saying, "But Jesus said in the parable of the sheep and the goats that These (the goats) will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into life eternal' (Matthew 25:46). 
"Doesn't eternal punishment mean eternal punishment?"
Yes, it does. But it is called eternal punishment, not eternal punishing

We read in the Bible of "eternal salvation" (Hebrews 5:9), "eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12), "eternal judgment" (Hebrews 6:2), "eternal punishment" (Matthew 25:46), and "eternal destruction" (II Thessalonians 1:9). 

These five works of God will not be fully known or experienced by individuals until the age to come. But there is something very interesting about these eternal activities of God.
(1). Eternal salvation is the result of saving
(2). Eternal redemption is the result of redeeming.
(3). Eternal judgment is the result of judging.
(4). Eternal punishment is the result of punishing.
(5). Eternal destruction is the result of destroying.
We Christians correctly point out that the Bible teaches the process of saving us is not eternal. God doesn't keep continually saving; He saved us at the cross. It is the results of saving which are eternalEternal salvation is life. Yet, many Christians contradict Scripture and logic by not teaching that the process of punishing comes to end as well, and it is the end result of God's punishing that is eternal. Eternal punishment is death.  

Eternal salvation results from a saving that ends, but the sinner's salvation (life) is eternal. Eternal redemption results from a redeeming that ends, but the sinner's redemption (forgiveness) is eternal. So too, the punishing of a sinner (God's judicial review of one's life at the judgment) ends, but the sinner's punishment is eternal (the second death). God's eternal destroying of the sinner stops, but the destruction of that sinner is eternal. 

The Principle

The reward for every sinner who surrenders his or her life to Jesus Christ and trusts His work on the cross for sinners is the gift of eternal life. That life eternal is won by the perfect obedience of Christ on behalf of His people. The notion that there will be different degrees of enjoyment in heaven based upon one's meritorious works on earth is both contrary to the teaching of Scripture and the principles of grace.

But on the other hand...


The degrees of punishment, retribution, and vengeance in hell vary according to the actions of a person in this life. The moral, good and selfless person who rejects Christ will find the process of punishing and the progress toward his ultimate destruction (the second death) less painful, more tolerable, and ultimately unequal to that of a rapist, serial murderer, and other vile criminals. All the wicked will end up like ‘chaff blown away’ (Psalm 1:4), but the process of dying the second death will vary according to ‘the deeds done in the body.”

The Bible declares that this process of dying the second death in the prison of hell will include distress (Romans 2:9), fury (Romans 2:8), tribulation (Romans 2:9) and resentment (Luke 13:28). God’s wrath will be judicially measured and meted out according to the individual's crimes committed on earth (Romans 2:8; I Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9), but in the end, the Lord will remove the wicked."
"The face of the LORD is set against those who do what
is evil, to erase all memory of them" (Psalm 34:16).
After proofreading this article for me, my wife said, "Wade, it gives me a great deal of comfort knowing that Adolph Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and others who lived such wicked lives on earth will be destroyed by God and not live for eternity." I told her it also could bring great comfort to those who see the inherent beauty of justice, for God will not punish all the wicked the same. Of course, the ultimate plumb-line for truth is not our comfort. Truth will set people free. The truth of Scripture regarding death, resurrection, judgment and eternal life will free people to see the depth and beauty of both God's love and His justice.

Truth is eternal

Heaven is equal ground; hell is unequal ground. 

The reason there is such a fear of death in our world today is that people know intuitively and individually that this life is all there is for the wicked, other than a fearful waiting for the Judgment.

For indeed, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living (immortal) God (Hebrews 10:31). 

It is fearful, that is, unless you know that the immortal God has given to you the gift of immortal life. 
"For the wages of your sin is death, but the free gift of God is immortal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23). 

The New England Journal of Medicine and Masks

I'll keep this short and to the point.

I'm for people wearing masks.

I will never wear a mask myself, except out of respect for the elderly and the vulnerable, but I'm for you wearing one if you choose. If a business requires me to wear a mask, I will always be respectful, but I will most likely go somewhere else that doesn't require a mask.

If there is a civil order for me to wear a mask in my home or my private business, I will defy the civil order.

In my research, I've determined that masks outside of a hospital environment may actually help spread infections and do not prevent infections.

You see, I agree with the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

They are the experts, and they've studied masks.

In their May 2020 online release of a peer-reviewed scientific study on the use of universal masks outside of hospitals, the New England Journal of Medicine comes to a few startling conclusions.

Please read the entire article for yourself, but I will highlight a few:
We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection.
The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal.
In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.
First and foremost, a mask is a core component of the personal protective equipment (PPE) clinicians need when caring for symptomatic patients with respiratory viral infections, in conjunction with gown, gloves, and eye protection.
Masks are not only tools, they are also talismans that may help increase health care workers’ perceived sense of safety, well-being, and trust in their hospitals. Although such reactions may not be strictly logical, we are all subject to fear and anxiety, especially during times of crisis. One might argue that fear and anxiety are better countered with data and education than with a marginally beneficial mask.
I respect that you choose to wear a mask. Because I choose to not wear a mask, please refrain from saying of me:

1. You don't know the science behind wearing a mask.
2. You don't care for other people.
3. You are only being political.

On the contrary, I know the science, I do care for people, and I care not what party, President, or platform supports mandatory masks.

I do not agree.

That's liberty.

And I'll fight for your freedom as much as my own.

Will I Listen to an Expert on the State of My Soul?

I recently spoke to the Enid City Council during what many deem a public health emergency.

While I was speaking, several individuals took to social media to express their opinions about a pastor speaking on a pandemic. I am accustomed to criticism, and I love and respect everyone who disagrees with me. I have no desire to make people believe like I believe, but I have a strong desire to prevent people from forcing me to believe like they believe.

Here's a sample of some of the comments from people who listened to me speak:
"This man will be the death of Enid."
"Why do we have to listen to a preacher on public health?"
"This guy, though a fantastic speaker, is no medical expert!"
I chuckled when I read these comments. I get their sentiment. The people who posted their opinions of wanting to hear "medical experts" are sincere, but they don't know the full implications of all that they're asking.

An attorney sat behind me during the city council meeting and suggested that we have a drinking game (acknowledging that drinking was not my forte). He suggested that we take a shot every time a certain councilman used the word "expert" and encouraged Enid citizens to listen to the medical experts and ignore everyone else.

I would have become drunk had I taken the attorney up on his bet.

I understand that some people don't like what this preacher says about mandatory masks. They don't deem me to be an expert on public health.

For the sake of this post, I will concede their point. I am no expert on public health.

But I am an expert on the Bible and the human soul. I've learned the original Hebrew and Greek of the Scriptures (Old and New Testaments respectively). I know the chronology of ancient nations and the history of all the narratives of the people and nations found in the Bible. I can quote for you the order of the books of the Bible forwards and backward, give you biographies and timelines of the authors, and speak to you authoritatively on what the Bible says about your soul and eternal state of your life.

I am an expert on the subject of God's judgment on human lives.

Are you ready to listen?
1. God says unless you repent of your sins, you will be judged and punished by Him after you die.  (Hebrews 9:27).
2. If you continue in your homosexual behaviors, adulterous sexual behaviors, pedophilia (sexual activity with children), bestiality, and other sexual deviancies, you will be punished by your Creator and die a second death (I Corinthians 6:9).
3. To actually save your life eternally, you must lose your life temporally. To escape the judgment of God, you must die to yourself and to your selfish desires, and follow Jesus Christ and His desires for your life (Matthew 16:24-26). 
4.  Unless you give up your dunken behaviours, and unless you resist your impulse to destroy another person's property and steal from them, you will experience God's judgment (I Corinthians 6:9-10). 
5. It is imperative that your hatred of people who believe differently than you evaporate, because unless you change your practice of cursing people who see life differently than you, you will experience God's judgment on your life after your death (Matthew 5:22). 
6. It is necessary for you to receive Jesus Christ as your Master (your Boss), and trust His work on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, or you will die an eternal death after the judgment (John 8:24; John 3:18)
7.  Your love for people, even those who disagree with your positions, is the evidence that you have the gift of life eternal. If you say you know God but don't love people who disagree with you, you are a liar, and the Truth is not in you (I John 4:20). 
How many of you disagree with me, want to argue with me, or resist everything I've written above?

I'm fine with your disagreement, always have been, always will be. I protect your liberty to disagree and love you regardless.

You deserve as an American the freedom to disagree with me. We live in a free country. For me to force you to accept my biblical expertise would be wrong. My job is to be winsome and convincing, then trust you and the decision you make about following my expert advice regarding your soul and how to avoid God's judgment.

Yet, you're demanding that I accept  "medical expertise' and a proposed mandatory law for physically healthy people to wear masks? You demand my acquiescence to so-called medical expertise that healthy people cover their faces with a mask because Americans are in danger of physically dying.

Ironic, is it not, that you want the "advice of medical experts on public health," but you shut your ears to the "advice of biblical experts on spiritual health."  One's physical death is trivial compared to God's judgment and the experience of the second death (Revelation 2:11).  

I am a logical man.  I accept the denigration of my speech about public health by those who believe I am no expert on public health. But if your logic is valid, then you must be consistent and accept my expertise on your spiritual health.

Eternal life is far more important than your physical life.

I have fought for the civil rights of all Americans, including the rights of homosexuals to live without government interference in their private lives.  God clearly states in His Word that self-identified homosexuals who do not repent of their deviant sexual behaviors will experience judgment,  but I don't want my beliefs forced on you? And, by George, I'll not have you force your beliefs on me.

Yet out of fear of death, you wish to make laws that healthy people should mask-up, churches should close-up, and singers should shut-up.

Sorry.

You can't have it both ways.

Either accept the opinion of experts on public health and the opinion of experts on spiritual health, and press for mandatory laws to help people avoid physical death and God's impending judgment at the second death, or choose the path of freedom (which I do) and let both sides disagree and only establish those laws that protect the rights of individual liberty for every American.

Don't Play the Blame Game and Get On With Life

Nobody but you is in control of your joy in this life.
Last night the Enid City Council voted against a mandatory mask law in the city of Enid. The 5-2 vote came after a rousing flurry of speeches from intelligent, passionate citizens.

The people of Enid care for their neighbors. Still, they're smart enough to know that academics, scientists, and public health officials are in disagreement over the efficacy of masks, so why mandate a law that everyone must wear a mask and back violations with civil penalties? The entire nation of Sweden has never made lockdown or masks mandatory, and they've flattened the curve far better than the United States.

The chief of police courageously and publicly stated he would not enforce any civil penalties for citizens choosing not to wear a mask. His officers, he said, have more important things to do than to track down a person not wearing a mask and issue a citation of $100 for the first offense and $200 for the second offense.

Enid gets it. We want our leaders to tell citizens the truth and then trust citizens to do the right thing. The truth is, people are going to die from Covid-19, the flu, and other infectious diseases currently unknown to mankind. Educate yourself, take precautions, be considerate of your neighbor, but the idea that a healthy person should cover his mouth with a mask and be tackled by police and fined for not wearing a face mask is absurd. To mask the healthy, according to a flurry of recent scientific reports, doesn't work as a public health policy. Review the pertinent and medical literature for yourself. I heard medical "experts" last night give anecdotes about masks. We don't need anecdotes. I've got plenty that could confirm the other side of the story, but won't bore you with them. Research is done to find the truth.
The research data shows that the sick should isolate, mask and glove up if they must go out, always keeping their social distance, while taking personal responsibility for their illness.
Emmanuel Enid, the church I pastor, has a sign on the door that says anyone with a fever, cough, or symptoms of Covid-19 is to stay home and watch online. If they've tested positive and have no symptoms (asymptomatic), we would ask that they wear a mask, keep their distance. We provide masks for those who want or need them, sanitized soap at every entrance, and we disinfect the air and seats after every service. But we don't demand a mask over the mouths of the healthy and trust the sick to be good neighbors and stay away. For your information, that's the same thing we with the flu, Corona colds, and any other infectious diseases. We tell the truth and trust the people.

The word disease means "DIS- ease." If people have their physical ease "DIS -turbed," people should stay home until they are back at ease.

The American people must take responsibility for our lives, including our mental, physical, and emotional health and welfare. We should lose weight, get in shape, stop smoking dope and tobacco, limit our alcohol intake, eat right, work on our relationship with God, and refrain from blaming others for the state of our lives. Sweden gets this policy of personal responsibility and collective herd immunity. When the winter of 2020 dawns, Sweden's professional epidemiologists predict that their country will not have the boomerang nightmare of sick people everywhere (like their European neighbors) because they haven't isolated and masked the healthy.

The Governor of Oklahoma tested positive for Covid-19 this. He is "a little achy," but doing well. He is doing what any sick person should do - he's isolating from family and friends, taking precautions to not infect others, and getting on with his life. Soon, his body will develop antibodies to Covid-19. God made your body the most amazing machine in the universe. Trust Him and yourself, and when your time comes to die, commit your soul to Him.

Covid-19 cases in Garfield County are going to increase. More people are going to be hospitalized. The local hospitals, as we heard last night, have plenty of capacity. They need to get prepared for more hospitalizations this winter with Covid-19 and the flu season.

When those things I predict begin to happen soon, don't blame increased sickness on healthy people not wearing masks. Do your research. Verify the science. Take responsibility. And most of all...

Don't play the blame game and get on with life.

The Anecdotes and Science Behind Wearing a Mask

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
This will be a short read to prove a specific point.

Those who say they know how Covid-19 spreads, what cures Covid-19, and when Covid-19 will end are not telling you the truth.

1. Anecdotal stories are used when they conform to one's beliefs.

For example, New York's Dr. Vladimir Zelenko claimed to have kept hundreds of Covid-19 out of the hospital with a cocktail of antibiotics, zinc, and hydroxychloroquine. He says this treatment has given his hundreds of patients "excellent positive results."

Of course, the medical establishment excoriated Dr. Zalenko because there were no scientific peer reviews to verify Dr. Zalenko's claims. In other words, Dr. Zalenko's claims were anecdotal. By definition, anecdotal means "conclusions based on observations and not research."

Yet, when it comes to wearing a mask, we are told over and over again that someone "caught Covid-19 because they did not wear a mask." Even in alleged "scientific articles" about wearing masks, the article is filled with anecdotal stories about catching Covid-19 because someone didn't wear a mask.

Take a look at how "the spread of Covid-19" is reported after big rallies of people crammed close together.

Headlines of articles after Black Lives Matter massive rallies in every state blare "Black Lives Matter Protests Have Not Led To Covid-19 Spikes." But after one President Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the same headlines blared "Trump Rally Likely Contributed to Covid-19 Cases."

Anecdotal stories are used to prove a point.

I could tell you anecdotal stories all day about how people in our community who have caught Covid-19. My wife is a nurse. She hasn't tested positive for Covid-19. I've tested positive for antibodies. How can two people live in the same house and not both be positive for Covid-19?

I'm ministering to a couple where the wife has Covid-19, but her husband has tested negative. The husband cared for his wife for two straight weeks while she manifested symptoms - closely caring for her without protection - and he has not tested positive. He wore no personal protection.

There's an ethnic family in our community that has two members who have tested positive for Covid-19, but they live in the same house with over a dozen other members of their family, and all the rest of the family members have tested negative. None of them wore masks.

Dr. Joseph Fair in New York was hospitalized in the Covid-19 unit. The hospital assumed he had Covid-19 and did not protect him from other Covid-19 patients. After weeks in the Covid-19 unit with severe lung illness, the doctors discovered Dr. Joseph Fair never had Covid-19 and while exposed to it in the hospital unit, he never came down with Covid-19.

My point is nobody knows how Covid-19 is caught.

I'm not asking you to base any decision on my anecdotal evidence. I respect the decision that you make. If you feel led to wear a mask, then wear a mask. However, please know that those who wear masks will still get Covid-19. There is no scientific evidence that wearing a mask will protect you from Covid-19, and there is no scientific evidence that not wearing a mask means you will come down with Covid-19.

Pay attention to what people are saying who get sick with Covid-19. "We isolated. We wore masks. We don't know how we got Covid-19. We did everything we were supposed to do."

So far, everything about wearing a mask is anecdotal. People tell stories that conform to an agenda.

2. The United States Public Health Service and the U.S. Navy Scientific Study on the Spread of H1-N1.

But those who know history have an advantage.

When the most severe pandemic in world history broke out in the spring of 1918, people had no clue how H1-N1 was transmitted. They thought they knew. They thought it was spread via droplets from a sneeze, or a cough, or a through an infected person in close proximity spreading the disease in their aerosolized breath.  Thus, people were told they needed to wear masks to protect themselves.

More than 50 million people died of H1-N1. 1/3 of the world's population became infected.

But like today's Covid-19, all the evidence of how H1-N1 was spread came anecdotally.

Until late 1918.

It was then that the United States Public Health Service and the United States Navy performed a clinical and scientific study to test the transmission of H1-N1. They used 100 young volunteers who were not infected with H1-N1 and intentionally tried to infect them by placing dying and infected patients in the same room and having the sick H1-N1 patients coughing and sneezing and breathing on the 100 subjects, none of whom were masks. The scientists then took even more aggressive measures on the 100 subjects, attempting to infect them with H1-N1.

Of course, the young people thought they were signing their death warrants when they signed up for this scientific experiment, but they all volunteered because they wanted to help their nation.

You can read the results of the scientific research on the transmission of H1-N1 in this PDF report.
Not one subject in the clinical test by the United States Public Health Service and the United States Navy caught H1-N1.
Let me put that in simple language. The government attempted to infect 100 healthy patients with the most virulent disease in the history of man, but they couldn't do it.

The scientists involved in the clinical study summarized their findings in a compelling final paragraph of their report.
We entered the outbreak with a notion that we knew the cause of the disease, and were quite sure we knew how it was transmitted from person to person. Perhaps, if we have learned anything, it is that we are not quite sure what we know about the disease.
That's humility. We don't know what we don't know.

The problem with Americans in 2020 is that we are arrogant and believe anyone who disagrees with us is wrong.

My suggestion is that we all - including politicians, doctors, city officials, attorneys, and everyone else - find a little humility and stop demanding everyone agree with us.

Take personal responsibility. Follow individual ingenuity as you navigate your family, your business, and your life through these difficult days. And most of all, give other Americans liberty to see it differently than you.

The 4 Real Reasons For Mandating Masks in Public

A protest rally in Brooklyn during late June 2020
This post is about political leaders in a city or state who wish to mandate that everyone wear masks in public. This post is not about people who voluntarily wear masks.  Any person who chooses to wear a mask for health reasons should be respected and honored. Wearing a mask in certain situations is beneficial and wise. I'm writing in opposition to mandatory masks and to limiting the size of public gatherings.

Enid, Oklahoma's city council is scheduled this Wednesday afternoon/evening, 5:00 pm, July 15, 2020, to consider making masks mandatory for every person in public. The council will also consider limiting the size of public gatherings, including churches, sports activities, funerals, etc... An Enid city councilmen named Ben Ezzel, according to the Enid News and Eagle, has repeatedly pushed Enid Mayor George Pankonin for more mandatory measures as Covid-19 cases began spiking again after Enid reopened the beginning of June. 

 Enid has abundant ICU bed capacity
Here are the facts. Enid, Oklahoma serves as the county seat for Garfield County. There have been only 102 cases of Covid-19, with 75 recoveries and 2 deaths, in our entire county. According to recent public statements in the Enid News and Eagle by the leaders of our two major hospitals in Enid, we have 3 patients in the hospital with Covid-19, and almost 75% hospital capacity available. In other words, the number of Covid-19 cases have more than tripled since opening back up, but ICU beds available for treatment of Covid-19 patients remain at seasonal levels. We have plenty of hospital ICU capacity, and the number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 is not growing. They're being treated at home. 
Emmanuel Enid, the church I pastor, closed its buildings in March out of an abundance of concern for our local hospital capacity. We kept the buildings closed until the end of May, but during the time our buildings were closed, we went throughout our community helping people with food, transportation for doctor visits, and other needs that were called in to a Covid-19 hotline that we established.

But since late May, the buildings of Emmanuel Enid have opened and hundreds of people have come to our facilities every weekend, and large groups have gathered almost every day of the week for different events, including funerals. Even though we've averaged about 700 on campus on Sunday, that is only half of our typical attendance. Some come to the buildings, but some choose to stay home and watch online. Some wear masks, but some do not. We provide masks, but they are not mandatory. We disinfect after every service. 

Let's review the spread of Covid-19 in Garfield County since we opened the buildings in late May. Though cases have increased to 102 in Garfield County, hospital admissions have not gone up. Our church has purchased a van and our Pastor to Pacific Islanders, Yohanes Arwakon, has taken nearly 100 Pacific Islanders to be tested for Covid-19. We are ministering to two Pacific Island families who have Covid-19. We teach them how to take personal responsibility, how to distance from others, how to wash their hands, and provide masks for them. We are on the front lines with the ethnic group in our area that needs the most help. And they are doing quite well taking personal responsibility. 

A handful of individuals in our church have been diagnosed with Covid-19. The Oklahoma Blood Institute has told me that I have developed Covid-19 antibodies. My wife has not had Covid-19. In our ministry to people in Enid from the very beginning of Covid-19 (March 11), we've discovered that no matter what measures a person takes, some simply can't avoid catching Covid-19. 

Most of the people that we know who have had Covid-19 (about two dozen) all followed health protocols. They wore masks. They washed their hands. They socially distanced. They still got Covid-19. None of them has died, and all except for two were never hospitalized. 

Cases of Covid-19 throughout the United States and in Enid are indeed going to go up. Even more Americans are going to get Covid-19 in the weeks to come. What political leaders should be carefully monitoring is hospital capacity and the mortality rate. Those two indicators are in very good shape

Politicians who wish to make mandatory mask laws should be required to visit families with Covid-19 and to talk with business owners who must make a living during Covid-19. Doctors who wish to make laws for stopping the spread of Covid-19 should be required to make some house calls to families who already have loved ones with Covid-19 or to business owners.

We've been doing that every single day. A mandatory mask law and limiting the size of public gatherings are not needed, and in my opinion, such laws could even be more harmful than helpful in Garfield County.  Are they needed in Houston? Maybe. Maybe not. We're not Houston. 

There's a reason doctors aren't given the privilege of making laws and politicians are term limited. Doctors tend toward bias from only seeing the sickest and politicians tend toward bias due to power. We are grateful for doctors and politicians and the roles they play, but the people should be heard, for we are America's government.

People in Enid, Oklahoma, want to make our own decisions regarding wearing masks. The people in our county want to make our own decisions on how to operate our businesses during Covid-19. If a private business demands masks, we will respect them. But let the owners of that business make that decision. For example, it would be reckless for a privately-run nursing home or assisted living center not to require masks. They care for the most vulnerable. When these facilities open again and I make my weekly visits, I gladly will wear a mask for the sake of the citizens inside and out of respect for the requirements of that facility.

America thrives on the principles of personal responsibility, ingenuity, and liberty. The way to stop Covid-19 is for doctors to plead personal responsibility, politicians to encourage private ingenuity, and for all Americans to respect individual liberty.

Now to the four real reasons for mandating masks in public by political officials other than "the common good" reason which is the publicly stated one.


1. Some in political power think they're smarter than we are. 


A New York Times editorial from May 2018 suggested that liberals are not as smart as you think they are. The truth of the matter is even more precise. Liberal politicians aren't smarter than you are, though they often think they are. That's why they feel they can tell you what is best for you, what is best for your business, what is best for your family, and what is best for your community. They think they know better than you.

The city of Norman passed a mandatory mask law (Oklahoma University). The city of Stillwater passed a mandatory mask law (Oklahoma State University) last week. Tulsa's mayor is considering a mandatory mask law. Oklahoma City's mayor is considering a mandatory mask law. 

What do all these places have in common? They have mayors, city councils, and political leaders who may think they're smarter than the average citizen. Norman citizens are seeking a recall of their mayor and their entire city council through an initiative petition. 

But take a look at how the city leaders of Moore, Oklahoma, are handling the mask issue. Moore's mayor, who leads a city that sits just north of Norman, was recently asked about mandatory masks. He said,
 "We don’t want the government saying you have to wear certain clothes or wear your hair a certain way. We just don’t have any way to enforce this, and I don’t think Norman does either.”
The mayor of Moore gets it. By the way,  the city of Moore currently has the 11th highest COVID-19 case total of any city in the state, with 278 confirmed cases and nine deaths as of Thursday morning, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Enid, Oklahoma, is more than 300% lower than Moore in  the number of cases, hospitals, and deaths due to Covid-19. And Enid's mayor and city council are considering a mandatory mask law and limiting public gatherings? 

2. Change in November requires a chaos that voters remember. 


Last October 2019 I read a startling article from Market Watch that predicted Donald Trump would be re-elected as President in a landslide. 

Moody's Analytics and Market Watch have accurately predicted the re-election prospects of a sitting President since Richard Nixon by a statistical analysis of the growth of the stock market and the decrease in the unemployment rate. 

Bottom line: If the stock market goes up by a certain percentage, and the unemployment rate goes down by a certain percentage, the sitting President is always re-elected. 

The numbers in October 2019 suggested Trump would win in a landslide. The article stated
Trump is headed toward another four years in the White House. And, if the numbers are right, it won’t even be close. In fact, his Electoral College victory could very well be wider than the 304-227 margin he enjoyed over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
Then came March 2020 and the Covid-19 scare.

The stock market crashed. People were told to stay home. The unemployment rate soared. 

Listen carefully: I was never a supporter of Donald Trump. But what I've seen and heard since March 2020 has driven me toward support of our sitting President. 

Ask yourself the question, "Who is supporting closing businesses? Who is demanding mandatory masks? Who wants to close churches and public gatherings?" 

There's a rule in preaching that I've never forgotten. "He who shouts the loudest is typically the guiltiest."

3. There'll be billions for a vaccine when a public panic is seen. 


I am not anti-vaccine. I typically get a flu shot. However, I have a few friendships with scientists at the National Institute of Health, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. They've explained to me how big pharma makes money. 

For a vaccine to bring billions of dollars into the coffers of a pharmaceutical company, the general population must all agree to take a vaccine. It is an axiom of modern science that those scientists with patents on their medicine aren't happy with people who are healthy without their medicine. 

God created the human body as the most efficient virus fighting machine that mankind will ever know. What the laboratory invents, the human body prevents. Humans adapt far faster than any supercomputer. 

If the American people focused more on healthy eating, personal exercise, decreased smoking of tobacco, drinking of alcohol, and personal hygiene, America might be surprised how fast Covid-19 disappears. 

Big pharma should never be given a platform on television, particularly any person with financial ties to a potential vaccine for Covid-19.

4. If they don't like what you say, it will be you that has to pay. 


I find it incredulous that large gatherings were banned because of Covid-19 until Black Lives Matter rallies began taking place all over the United States.

Suddenly, public health officials began saying social justice mattered more than social distance

So the message sent, whether intended or not, is that the only people who should keep their mouths covered are those with whom politicians and public officials in power disagree.  

Churches were closed in California and people were told they could not sing....

But rallies and riots and protests and pandemonium were allowed in the streets in every state of the union because the message behind the protests was deemed meritorious by health officials. 

That's right.

You can beat your neighbor and destroy his business in California, but you darn not better sit next to your neighbor and sing. 

The national media gives reports after Black Lives Matter rallies that stating No Covid-19 Cases Traced to Any Black Lives Matter Mass Rallies Held Two Weeks Ago

But the President holds a public and civil rally in Tulsa and the national headlines: Trump Rally Perfect Storm for the Spread of Covid-19


Summary

I am not asking anyone to agree with what I've written. I always respect you if you disagree with me. The issue is whether or not you will respect me for pointing out that I do not believe mandatory masks or limiting the size of public gatherings is in the best interest of our community based on facts. If you do agree with the premise of this article, one that I trust is a balanced and fair,  it would be wise to let your city councilman and mayor know before Tuesday night.

Covid-19 and When God Strikes Down the Tall Tree

If you don't believe the Bible, you might want to stop reading.

On second thought...you might be the one person who should slow down and read this thoroughly.

The LORD makes a promise to the proud in Ezekiel 17:24: "I the LORD bring down the tall tree and I exalt the low tree."

In the Bible, people are often compared to trees.
"The person who delights in the LORD will be like a tree planted by streams of water" (Psalm 1:3).
When the LORD promises to "bring down the tall tree," He is repeating a theme that occurs throughout the Bible.

God promises to bring down the proud. He hates pride (Proverbs 6:16-19). The promise to bring down the proud person and to exalt the humble person is a promise that is repeated by the Messiah. Jesus said,
"For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled by the LORD, and those who humble themselves will be exalted by the LORD" (Luke 14:11). 
Let me show you an example from history how God strikes down the tall tree.

In 722 BC, a powerful and proud Assyrian king conquered northern Israel and other kingdoms. This Assyrian king wiped out Samaria, the capital of northern Israel. The king took captive the Hebrew men from northern Israel and brought them to Ninevah (capital of Assyria) as slaves. He then brought men from other nations into northern Israel and ordered them to take the Hebrew women as their wives.

The "half-breed" descendants of these marriages were the people called "Samaritans" by the Jews in Jesus' day. Jesus, born a Jew, did not follow the local custom of avoiding Samaritans. Humility never sees oneself as superior to others. Jesus went through Samaria rather than around it, and one of the classic stories of how Jesus heals wounded people is Jesus bringing real life to the Samaritan woman at the well.

But I digress.

The powerful king of Assyria ruled over an equally proud Assyrian people.  Listen to what this proud king said of himself and his accomplishments.
“By the strength of my hand I have done this,
and by my wisdom, because I have understanding.
I removed the boundaries of nations,
I plundered their treasures;
like a mighty one I subdued their kings.
As one reaches into a nest,
so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations;
as people gather abandoned eggs,
so I gathered all the countries;
not one flapped a wing,
or opened its mouth to chirp." (Isaiah 10:13-14).
Ancient Assyria reminds me of modern America.

Our land is filled with proud people and proud rulers. We boast of our economy and wealth. We brag about our sports teams and entertainment. We humbly serve no one but ourselves. We demand equal outcomes and in rage shake our fist at those who oppose us. Even demonstrations are filled with rage as tall trees bow to none and demand others bow to them.

We are a country of tall trees.

The LORD never changes. "I the LORD bring down the tall trees."

Listen to what the LORD did to the people of Assyria:
"The angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand of the Assyrians. When the people got up the next morning--there were all the dead bodies" (II Kings 19:35). 
The LORD struck down the mighty and proud Assyrian people and their king.

When you were in Sunday School and read how "the angel of the LORD" came and struck down the Assyrians, you probably imagined some creature with two white wings holding a sword in his hand putting to death the Assyrians.

That's not how the LORD brought down the Assyrians.

The LORD used a disease.

In Isaiah 10 the proud Assyrian king flaunts his power to the proud Assyrian people. The LORD initially responds to the arrogant king by reminding him that the king and his proud people are in the LORD's hand and not the other way around. And then, true to His promise of "bringing down the tall tree," the LORD tells the Assyrian people how He will bring them down.
"Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it,
 or the saw boast against the one who uses it?
As if a rod were to wield the person who lifts it up,
or a club brandish the one who is not wood!
Therefore, the Lord, the LORD Almighty,
will send a wasting disease
upon his sturdy warriors...
and the remaining trees of his forests will be few." 
Ouch.


If the LORD over all nations can send a wasting disease to humble the Assyrian people of the 8th
Century before Christ, then surely He could send a wasting disease to humble the American people of the 21st Century after Christ.

185,000 people died in Assyria.
120,000 people have died in America so far.

After the plague, Assyria fell from power and was eventually conquered by Babylon in the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC.

It's yet to be seen what will happen to America.

Objections: 

1. Are you saying everyone who gets sick or dies of Covid-19 is guilty of personal pride?
Answer: No. Job experienced disease, economic collapse, and the death of all his sons and daughters, and yet he was a humble man. The evidence of his humility is in his statement after all the tragedies had occurred: "The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away, blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21). At the end of Job's life, the LORD exalted Job, fulfilling His promise to "exalt the humble" (Job 42:12)
2. Is the LORD'S exaltation of the humble in this life or the next?
Answer: Sometimes this life, but always in the resurrection. Whether there is an exaltation of the humble in this life is the LORD'S prerogative, but the exaltation of the humble in the resurrection is the LORD's promise. After Jesus repeated the promise that the proud will be brought down and the lowly will be exalted, He said, "You will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous" (Luke 14:14). If our only concern is that the LORD exalts us in this life, the Apostle Paul gives to us a strong warning: "If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be more pitied than anyone" (I Corinthians 15:19). 
3. Is the LORD bringing down every tall tree a guaranteed promise? 
Answer: Yes. This one fact alone should cause the proud person to tremble.  
"Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” —Psalm 96:9-10
Your life is not in your hands. Trust the LORD. Humble yourself before Him and He will lift you up.

But if you keep thinking you're in control of your life and that you are the captain of this ship called life, then the LORD will eventually cut you down.

That's the lesson of Covid-19.

God strikes down the tall trees