Tag Archives: History


THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT:  YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, Deuteronomy 5:10. Tanakh Version, JPS.

One would think of this commandment as self evident in creating a civilized society. No such luck. Stealing has been a problem since humanity began. In ways large and small there are people who can always justify “taking” what they want or think they “need.” Is it a new pen, change from the cash drawer, shop lifting, or embezzling from the boss that tempts you? Would you get a thrill out of breaking and entering? Would you do it because you “deserve” more things or because “everybody else does it?”

Cain’s anger and choice to steal his brother’s flocks led directly to murder. How many murders today are the result of first deciding to steal?

Reading recently about the woman chosen to head ObamaCare in Colorado who has been indicted for embezzling massive amounts from a federal housing program in Wyoming leaves me scratching my head. It’s simply startling what people think they have a right to, and what they will do for financial gain. Some of them get away with their predations for many years and seem to never get caught. Some in the Government are known by Department heads to be padding accounts, double-dipping, and getting paid for personal travel for years and yet they receive no punishment at all when they are finally publicly exposed. They may even get promoted or simply transferred.

How much of the public debt has accrued because of theft and malfeasance all down the line? There is mind numbing malfeasance and outright theft by elected and appointed officials, and administrators within the bureaucracy, and recipients of government contracts and programs. Virtually penniless elected officials become millionaires, if not billionaires, and no one says a word.

In the end stealing leads not just to dishonor, fines or jail time for the thief, it also leads to a gradual breaking down of inhibitions in all who are willing to steal for their own gain. If the man at the top is willing to lie, cheat and steal, then the restraints that inhibit such behavior in others below him weaken and gross immorality occurs.

I have often wondered about Adolph Hitler’s underlings. If there had been no Hitler, would Eichmann, for instance, have been just a faceless bureaucrat all his days? Would the men who carelessly murdered and maimed their fellow citizens in the name of the state have been the animals they were? The same questions could be asked in any bureaucracy that falls into lawlessness. The old saying that, “A fish rots from the head down” is only the truth.

The public loss of confidence in the honesty and integrity of members of the government is another symptom of rot at the top. The corruption may take time to filter through society, but filtered or not, it does continue to taint all down the line and becomes public knowledge. TRUTH will out and eventually shine through to those who have open eyes to see and ears to hear. Many eyes and ears are beginning to open. Every honest citizen has begun to wonder if there is anyone at all in government worthy of trust.

God Himself has told His people not to steal. He knows how sin weakens us and always leads to greater sinning. Theft makes slaves of us all.




“The real question of government versus private enterprise is argued on too philosophical and abstract a basis. Theoretically, planning may be good, but nobody has ever figured out the cause of government stupidity and until they do (and find the cure) all ideal plans will fall into quicksand.”    Richard Feynman

Today we once again find ourselves in the dirt and muck of government stupidity, and because the swamp that is Washington D. C. needs to be seriously drained, quicksand has entrapped us all. Just try to lift your feet out of the mud and find someone who will help you to solid ground. Chances are not too good that anyone will be there. It all depends on who you know, how much money you “donate” to whom, and how well you know how to play the political games.

There are so few who win elections and actually attempt to correct the problems that beset this country. Those who do are attacked mercilessly, even by their supposed friends. What are we, the patriots who stand by the law of the land, the Constitution, to do in this situation?

Some throw up their hands in despair, and it is tempting to withdraw from all public and political life, but I am reminded here of a statement by Plato: “The punishment that the wise suffer who refuse to take part in government, is to live under the government of worse men.”

Can it get much worse? The worse men and women are in charge today and they tell lies on top of lies on top of even more lies, ad nauseum. They even seem to believe their own lies. Again, what do we do?

Study history, not just about our land, and the founders, but also about people who would be our leaders today. Study their records. What are the outcomes of programs or laws they have championed? Are they constitutional? Have the programs worked? If not, should we get rid of them? Right away or over time so people can adjust? Should we get rid of the people who continue to do the same things in spite of failure and ask for more and more money?

Learn to question everything. Look between the lines. Check serious meanings, imagine outcomes.

Don’t be afraid to question your most deeply held beliefs. Have the courage to change yourself if you need to. Walk away from any group or person who will not be civil to your opinions and your right to express them.

One thing people loved about Richard Feynman, who is quoted above, was his “no nonsense” approach to life and his joy in living. Remember the hullabaloo after the Challenger explosion? Mr. Feynman was the gentleman who, on a national TV report by the investigating committee, placed the “O” ring in a glass of ice water to show how the ring failed because of cold during take-off. There were many members of the committee unhappy with his actions. Apparently some of them thought such a “simplistic” approach was demeaning to them personally and to the company who had failed in their specs for the flight. There were those who would have white-washed the whole matter if they could.

Mr. Feynman knew government stupidity when he saw it and didn’t pull any punches about what he saw. Listen carefully to those who speak up, listen even more carefully when they are attacked. Maybe some of them are as smart as Richard Feynman, who also said we need to find the cure for government stupidity. Want to bet on when that will happen?



. . . it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.  Matthew 12:12

The question we are left with is whether the commandment to keep the sabbath day holy applies to us today, and, if it does, how do we keep the commandment?

Let’s back up and read again a charge given by Moses to the Children of Israel and then the sabbath day commandment itself:

“The Lord spoke those words – those and no more – to your whole congregation at the mountain.” Exodus 5:10.  “Be careful then to do as the Lord has commanded you. Do not turn to the right or the left.”  Exodus 5:29


“Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; you shall not do any work — you, your son or your daughter, your male or your female slave, your ox or your ass, or any of your cattle, or the stranger in your settlements, so that your male and female slaves may rest as you do. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God freed you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the sabbath day.”

In the commandment there is the charge to keep the sabbath holy; for you and your family to do no work, nor are you to require anyone else, including strangers and slaves, or even animals, to do any work on the sabbath day. The third charge is to remember that the Israelites had been slaves and that God had made them free. Those three things and no more.

Jesus and His disciples were always sabbath keepers, but their enemies put forth that they were sabbath breakers, mostly because Jesus often healed on the sabbath. It was in answer to one such charge that Jesus said: “Wherefore, it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.” On another occasion He declared:  “ . . . the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore the Son of man is also Lord of the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28). If Jesus is Lord of the sabbath then Christians must be under the sabbath law.

After the death of Moses, the Israelites soon encumbered sabbath day observance with rules and ideas far beyond those three simple thoughts.  Of course there are always questions: Who feeds the chickens and milks the cows? Who does such essential chores and cleans up after the children and the sick? Apparently those matters did have to be clarified, and so “rules” were made. This led to such sensible things as being able to “pull your ox out of the mire” on the sabbath. It also led to many things that seem  inconsequential to us in our day but which are still debated in many fundamentalist circles. Which is the real sabbath, Saturday or Sunday? How many steps may one walk on the sabbath? Is flipping on a light switch work? What is carrying a burden? May one drive a car? Depending on the religion one follows, the questions – and answers – seem endless.

So what are you and I to do? The “essentials” have multiplied so much in our time. We still must “heal” on the sabbath, so hospitals and health care people are on duty. Communications must run. The list can be extended. Some people just cannot have their sabbaths free from “work.”

So how do we keep the sabbath day holy? For our family the answer is to make things simple. As much as possible we attend church on the sabbath; we don’t go to movies or other entertainments; we don’t participate in or attend sporting events; unless we are traveling we don’t eat out so others don’t have to work for us; we do no shopping on the sabbath, unless it’s an unavoidable emergency; we try to study the scriptures and just keep things as simple as possible. In short we attempt to devote our time to God. To do well on the sabbath.

I have met people who must work on Saturday or Sunday so they set aside another day as their sabbath. I think God would honor such a commitment. Another good friend studies and prays each morning of the week for at least an hour and feels she keeps the sabbath all week. I can’t say she’s wrong.

Each of us Is faced with the sabbath day challenge if we wish to return to the laws of God.

These are the three charges to Israel: Keep the sabbath holy, require no labor from anyone on the sabbath and remember you were a slave so you know where your liberty comes from. The basic premise of God’s laws is to “proclaim liberty throughout all the land.” (Lev. 25:10). There are Jewish commentaries that indicate only free people are capable of redemption and that is why the Israelites had to be removed from slavery in Egypt. That third requirement of the law, to remember you were a slave, means that sabbath day worship and liberty are somehow inextricably connected.

We can be slaves to many things in this life. Maybe what we need to remember as part of our sabbath is that truth, which comes from God, is what sets us free. Is that part of the link between the sabbath and liberty? This is a matter I have not fully been able to understand, but I feel that it is true and someday someone will be able to explain it.

If we develop faith that the sabbath is made for man as a blessing, then the day will come when we will ” . . . call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the  Lord, honorable.” (Isaiah 58:13).

How and why was the sabbath made for you and me?



Continuing the message of Jeremiah, the Prophet, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 17 KJV):

27. But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; THEN I WILL KINDLE A FIRE IN THE GATES THEREOF, AND IT SHALL DEVOUR THE PALACES OF JERUSALEM AND IT SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED.
. . .

And guess which offer the inhabitants of Jerusalem chose?

So war came. People outside of the city of Jerusalem were carried captive to Babylon and the city itself was besieged. In spite of having supplies of food and underground cisterns of clean water, after two years of siege people starved, fought each other for food, and parents killed and ate their own children. When Jerusalem finally fell, most of the remaining inhabitants in the city were killed by the sword. Over 1,500,000 people perished as a result of the siege. Thereafter the temple was desecrated when the priests were forced to sacrifice pigs on the altar, it was then razed and its treasures taken to Babylon. The remaining people were carried captive as slaves into Babylon.

King Zedekiah was forced to watch all of his sons be ceremonially killed, after which his eyes were put out. The blind king was then taken to Babylon to live as a prisoner in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace where he was also made to eat at the King’s table with the very man who murdered his family.

And they could have been saved had they simply kept the sabbath day holy.

The people of Judah would not be allowed to return home for forty years, and the Kingdom would never again be whole and strong. When the forty years were fulfilled, Cyrus, the Persian, would send some Jews home, and the prophet Ezra and a few others would return and rebuild some of the walls of the temple and establish a presence in the land. Priests were ordained but served in a conquered land. As was their custom, the Babylonians would move captives from other conquered lands into the former Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. These displaced persons decided to worship the same God as the previous inhabitants so they pretended to be Israelites. They were called Samaritans and were hated by the Jews who were left in the land. Even in the time of Jesus the Samaritans were outcasts from life among the people of Judah.

Again, the question for us remains. Do we still need to keep the Sabbath Day holy? Will our land and people change if we do? How will it help us as individuals?

Do you know how to keep the Sabbath Day and do you believe it would help our land remain free?



The message of Jeremiah, the Prophet, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that Great City: (Jeremiah 17 KJV)

21. Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;

22. Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, nor do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.
. . . . . . . . . .

24. And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein:

. . . . . . . . . .
And so the great blessing was promised. Think of it, all they had to do was keep the Sabbath Day holy and their city would remain forever.  Does such a promise apply to us? Is keeping the Sabbath Day holy the best thing we can do to keep our land free and safe?

When God sent angels to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah He revealed His plan to Abraham, and Abraham argued with God to spare the cities if he could find 50, then 40, or 30, or 20, or even 10 righteous souls therein. There were not enough righteous people to spare the cities from destruction. How may our righteousness work to save us and how many of us need there be? Is the righteousness of the people in our land at least partially determined by our Sabbath Day observance?

Three BIG Questions:  What is it about Sabbath worship and observance that would have made the people of Jerusalem worthy of God’s blessing? Does such observance change us to make us worthy of those blessings, too? How do you think such observance can change you and me?

More tomorrow.



The following brief history of the split Kingdoms of Israel and Judah may be helpful in understanding the importance of sabbath day worship for the children of Israel, and the decision we must make about whether or not it applies to us.

The Children of Israel split into two kingdoms after the death of King Solomon, the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. The Kingdom of Israel was the first to fall into idolatry and wickedness, and the people were conquered and taken away captive by the Assyrians in 721 B.C. They have not been found since, hence the “lost Ten Tribes of Israel.”

By about 600 B.C., the Kingdom of Judah had also turned away from God. Under King Zedekiah, and others before him, the people had become idolatrous, indulged in fertility rites to heathen gods, sacrificed their own children by burning them alive before Baal and Moloch, and the poor and needy were abused and neglected by all, including the judges and the rich. At that time the City of Jerusalem was referred to as a “great” and indestructible city, though many today think of it as a dusty little backwater. In truth over 1,500,000 souls would perish there during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem.

God sent many, many prophets to call the people to repentance. Not only did the people refuse their messages, they also stoned and killed any prophets they could. Jeremiah was the chief prophet from that period. He was told by God that He, God, had known Jeremiah before He had formed him in the belly and that he was called as a prophet to the nations, plural, even though he left the land of Judah only once when he was forced to go to Egypt with some Jewish escapees and was killed there. Were his words to the nations also meant for us?

Jeremiah never relented from his calling even though he was beaten, threatened continually, and was at one time imprisoned for a long time in a hole in the ground where people could come to spit and urinate on him, throw garbage and mock and stone him, until the King heard the words Jeremiah spoke even from the pit. Zedekiah felt threatened by the situation and released the prophet.

It is important to know that everything with God is a two-sided coin, a commandment comes from Him with a promise of blessings IF the people are obedient, or with a cursing if they break the commandment.

The time came when God sent Jeremiah to both King Zedekiah and all the people of Jerusalem with a message that informed every one of the choice they would have to make, and what the consequences of that choice would be.

What Believers now need to decide for our land is if that same message is valid for us. When the angels of God come to sift our cities, will the words of Jeremiah stand against our nation, too?

Consider the words of the prophets well.

Part Three coming up.



I had thought of beginning at the beginning, but I think if we really want to do something of worth for our country the following may be more urgent.

There was a time in the United States, not that long ago, when so-called “Blue Laws” were in effect in almost every State. Businesses were closed on the Sabbath, alcohol could not be served, church-bells rang out and called the faithful to commune in prayer. Why was such an “unconstitutional” thing ever allowed?

The people who settled America, contrary to popular revisionist history, were, by-and-large, a God believing and God fearing people, steeped in Holy Biblical Scripture and Judeo-Christian ethics. Central to worship of God was the belief that it was He who created the heavens and the earth in six periods of time (what those “periods” or “days” meant will be argued until we “know all things”), and that even the Great God Himself rested on the seventh day. And when He gave to man his reckoning, He commanded all men to also rest on the Sabbath Day, the first Holy Day.

There is a question here that is not fully answered by the biblical text. Were all people from the time of Adam under command to keep the Sabbath day holy? Were people like Noah and the Patriarchs under the Sabbath day law? When the Israelites left Egypt they were told not to gather manna on the Sabbath before the commandment was codified on the stone tablets. So it would seem that the law existed from the beginning.

Why would God be so concerned for His creatures that He would assign them a day of rest? What blessings would accrue to man from that law? Why did our forebears in America think that such a law was so important they codified it beyond the Scriptures and enjoined it upon their children? In short, why did we have those “Blue Laws” for so many decades?

These are not specious questions, but are as relevant today as they were in the beginning. God required not only Sabbath Day worship, but also established sabbaths upon the land when it was finally granted to the Children of Israel. Modern man knows that those Sabbath Years were important in caring for the land, to let it rest and again become fertile and productive. Also in those Sabbath Years the poor shared in what the land produced without aid. So two important functions were put into effect.

God blessed the land with His protection and divine grace, so long as the people loved and honored Him and kept His commandments.

What is so important in keeping the Sabbath Day holy? Should you and I even be concerned with such  question? How does breaking this commandment affect our homes, cities and states today?

More tomorrow.


“. . . within an established totalitarian regime the purpose of propaganda is not to persuade, much less to inform, but rather to humiliate.” Theodore Dalrymple

In the early stages of a totalitarian political upheaval, propaganda is always used to win the hearts and minds of the people being groomed for take-over, so it sounds soothing, reasonable and just. Once a core of supporters is established within a society, propaganda takes on a different purpose and is used to shape minds and make sure no one questions the purposes of the movement or its leaders. This is a very dangerous time for anyone on the inside who wavers in their commitment to the movement.

Once a totalitarian regime is established, propaganda takes on yet another purpose. The people as a whole now need to be controlled so new methods are set up for everyone but the strongest leaders. They control by trusting no one and intimidating and humiliating everyone below them. Any one who questions will be destroyed by any means at hand, whether it means blackmail, loss of home and fortune, threats to family, exile, prison and even death if deemed necessary.

This is also a dangerous time for the leaders because a Strongman will always arise and destroy any one he perceives to be a threat. No one is ever safe.

Eventually everyone in such a society is forced to participate in the evil used against them in order to assure their own survival. They are afraid to speak out against what is happening and give their silent assent to the destruction of their neighbors. They will eventually bear witness against even such neighbors and friends out of fear for their own safety and prosperity. All children are taught to turn against their parents and siblings. And the propaganda includes visible punishment so that everyone knows what awaits them if they speak up. Everyone is humiliated by the lies and ugliness they are forced to participate in. Few people in such circumstances have the strength or will to resist and so they suffer even greater personal shame.

Solzhenitsyn’s novel The Third Circle paints a horrifying picture of people caught in Soviet communism and how they are all subverted by their leaders. In The Black Book of Communism actual first hand witnesses retell the true history of communism in several societies during the time they were under USSR domination and the Soviets were militarily meddling in other countries (which they still seem to be doing).

Why no one pays attention to the histories of the USSR and those countries left within their control after WWII,  or China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea and all other countries who have endured communism (you can safely read “socialism” here) is a continuing mystery to me.

What but soothing propaganda from on high keeps us believing we will never face such a fate?


Not to know what happened before you were born, that is to be always a boy, to be always a child. –Cicero

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana

So here we are today, historically illiterate beyond belief, and unaware of the dangers that beset us. How do we wake up those who have been taught no history, nor how to think with any logic or common sense? They are grown-up children with no real thought at all, no feelings for others nor knowledge of the needs and desires of their fellow beings.

Hannah Arendt famously coined the term “the banality of evil” and in our age that thought is true, many are so banal in their evil. But there are others who “think” and believe what they think is true simply because they are the ones who think it. Or, as someone else said, “If what you think about is BS, then what difference does it make?”

Are we to “repeat” history in our day? At a time when we are faced not only with a lack of historical context but have leaders and educators actively lying about that history, what are we, who lived that history, going to do?

I have wondered what some of these people who lie or rewrite our history do in the middle of the night when they awake, review their actions and have a crisis of conscience. I have finally concluded that they sleep the sleep of the just and never awake to question anything, especially not themselves. Thus we have IRS agents and other government bureaucrats who truly believe they have done nothing wrong, and see no inconsistency in hiding behind the Fifth. They continue their lies to advance their own agenda.

One of my grandsons watched “The Great Escape” and concluded that he “knew all about World War II and the Wehrmacht.”  Sorry, but not so. Later I gave the boys the series “Victory at Sea”, to watch. There was an episode about the Americans going onto a Pacific island and encountering a fearsome and very bloody Japanese attack. I was stunned to hear the boys talking about how “stupid” the Americans were to go there when there were that many of the enemy. I made them pause the episode and asked how the Americans could possibly have known the Japanese were there. Well, they could have seen them. How? Well, by satellites. They didn’t have any. Well, they should have flown planes over. What makes you think they didn’t? Have you ever heard of camouflage?  And planes have a limited range and get shot down. Their intelligence capabilities were very limited. The boys finally conceded that they knew very little and returned to their viewing. Then I heard a couple of them laugh about a dead body floating in the water. In black and white it didn’t look so bad to children raised viewing death and destruction on the big screen and seeing violent video games. Again I made them hit pause, and said, “That boy was somebody’s son or husband or father. He could have been my friend’s older brother. I remember the sadness and pain when he was killed in the Pacific.” That brought shock and silence.

The shock and silence of those who are not taught the realities of history.

We have many who are liars about history and everything else, and are too smug and self-satisfied to suffer “the long, dark tea-time of the soul” which leads to adulthood. They will always be children and condemned to learn the hard way.

It’s too bad they blind others and carry them to destruction with them.