The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Part I

President Biden Rhetoric Gaffe Errs Towards Nuclear Proportions, Claims We Are Reaching the Point of Armageddon — Are We?

Are we looking at the imminent threat of the battle of Armageddon? Are we looking at the potential for a nuclear exchange that would bring about the end of life on earth as we know it? Are we looking at the end of history?

Is President Biden right that even as Vladimir Putin is saber-rattling about the use of so-called tactical nuclear weapons, is he right that Armageddon may be approaching? Well, all of these questions are urgent by definition, and we need to take a closer look at them, and we’re looking at a host of different issues we really need to separate a bit. Number one, what exactly does Armageddon mean, and why would the President of the United States be speaking of a plane, that is to say, a vast plane of terrain in the Middle East as if that is supposed to be axiomatic of what we understand to be the world’s final cataclysmic battle? Well, of course, you and I know it is because of scripture. It is because the battle of Armageddon, as it is mentioned in scripture, or the battle that will take place on the field of Megiddo, this actually is presented as a part of the sequence of God’s wrath being displayed in the final events that will lead to God’s judgment of all on planet earth.

We are looking at nations raging against nations in what will be a final cataclysmic battle of the nations against one another, and the terrain that is at stake here is, of course, not accidental, because we are talking about land within the covenant promise of Israel, and we are talking about what unfolds in biblical history. Now, you don’t actually expect the President of the United States to be making references to scripture, but that’s exactly what President Biden was doing in recent days, whether or not he recognized that is what he was doing. Speaking last Thursday, President Biden said, “Think about it, we have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis.” He went on to say, “We’ve got a guy I know fairly well. His name is Vladimir Putin.”

“I spent a fair amount of time with him. He is not joking when he talks about the potential use of tactical and nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming.” He went on to say, “It’s part of Russian doctrine that they will not, they will not. If the motherland is threatened, they’ll use whatever force they need including nuclear weapons.” He went on to say, “I don’t think there’s any such thing as an ability to easily use a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon.”

Now, when the President was using this reference to Armageddon, he was clearly talking about the threat that a large scale nuclear exchange, especially between Russia and its allies, and the United States and its allies could end with an utter destruction of life, as we know it, on earth. We are talking about what is threatened in terms of nuclear warfare as the finality of a massive nuclear exchange, that at least according to some scientists and many who observe the reality of the threat of these nuclear weapons, it could make large portions of the entire planet of the earth uninhabitable. At least that is the warning that has had the attention and concern of the world for decades now. The biblical context of the reference to the battle of Armageddon in the book of Revelation is found in chapter 16 of Revelation, in particular, in the paragraph that begins at verse 12. John writes by the Holy Spirit, “Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up so that the way of the kings from the East might be prepared, and I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and to the whole world to gather them to the battle of the Great Day of God Almighty.”

“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame, and they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew Armageddon.” Now, just hearing that passage read from Revelation 16, Christians should, at least, notice the fact that throughout, at least, say the last century, many Christians have referred to this battle by calling it the Battle of Armageddon, when actually in the scripture itself it is called the battle of that Great Day of God Almighty, but nonetheless, it’s going to take place at Armageddon, so it’s not wrong to say it’s the battle of Armageddon. It is more accurate to say that it is the battle of that Great Day of God Almighty in which the kings of the earth shall go into battle, and it is right to say that it will take place in the place called in Hebrew Armageddon. Let’s understand that the President of the United States was sending a very clear and urgent signal last Thursday night, when he talked about an impending Armageddon. Speaking of our current moment and the threat made by Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, that he might use tactical nuclear weapons.

Well, what you have there is the reality that the President invoked Armageddon as a sign of how seriously he takes the threat posed by Vladimir Putin and his nuclear weapons, but as you’re thinking about this, you recognize there are questions about just how sincere President Biden was last Thursday in mentioning an impending Armageddon. Now, why would we wonder about that? Well, for one thing, the President did not make this statement in, say an address to Congress. He didn’t make this statement in an address to the American people. He did not make this statement even in any kind of public context. No, talking about the threatened end of existence on planet earth and the final cataclysmic battle that would end human history.

No. With reference to Armageddon, he was speaking in private to a group of elite democratic political fundraisers in the home of James Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch, who is the Chairman of the company that owns and controls Fox News. Now, perhaps you’re thinking what I’m thinking, and that is this, that if indeed we are to realistically face the prospect of Armageddon and a nuclear exchange with Russia, at the very least, you might think that the President would offer that warning to the American people, or that briefing in terms of an update of where we stand on this issue in some kind of public forum or to elected leaders, or for that matter, to other leaders of other nations, not to an elite group of liberal democratic fundraisers meeting in the house of a media mogul. The editors of The Wall Street Journal get right to the point when speaking of the President, they say, “He needlessly raises nuclear anxiety at a cocktail party. That,” they wrote, “Won’t help deterrents,” speaking of nuclear deterrents, the effort to deter other nations from the use of any kind of nuclear weapon.

The editors of The Wall Street Journal wrote quote, “It’s tempting to pass this off as one of Mr. Biden’s random soliloquies that the White House quickly walks back.” The editors continue, “Recall the three times he’s said that the U.S. will defend Taiwan militarily, which his staff explained away each time, and sure enough, on Friday,” that means the day after the President made this statement at the Democratic fundraiser, “The White House told reporters there was no new information about Mr. Putin’s intentions that had prompted Mr. Biden’s focus on the bomb.” The White House actually clarified that the President of the United States had no new information when he decided to change his rhetoric on the issue of the threat posed by Vladimir Putin. Now, by the way, is there a legitimate, is there a real threat that is posed by Russia, by Vladimir Putin, and its threatened use of theater or of tactical nuclear weapons?” The answer is yes, this is a real threat. Yes, this is a real issue that we have discussed more than once already on The Briefing, but when you’re talking about the escalation to this kind of language, we need to understand that there are multiple issues of responsibility that become clear here.

One is the President’s responsibility to the people of the United States. It’s one thing, all of a sudden, for the American people to find out by leaked information that the President of the United States raised the specter of Armageddon, not once, but twice with a group of Democratic fat cats. The other dimension that we need to keep in mind is that the rhetoric deployed by a President of the United States makes a difference, so many of the mainstream media certainly understood that with reference to President Donald J. Trump. We also need to look back to the fact that during the presidency of President Ronald Reagan, known as the Great Communicator, at one point, when he believed the mic was dead, and he was waiting to actually make a live broadcast, President Reagan himself made a rather reckless statement about nuclear weapons that also sent shockwaves throughout the world at the time. Lesson to all of us, when you see a mic, you had better assume it’s live, but it is interesting that so many in the mainstream media have decided that when President Biden, speaking to a group of rich Democratic donors mentions Armageddon, the President not having done so to the American people, nor is there any record of him even advising Congress so, and even when his own White House comes out and says, “The President had actually received no new information,” that would indicate why he had changed his rhetorical approach when it comes to speaking of the threat by Russia.

The editors of The Wall Street Journal conclude their statement of concern with these words, “Which brings us back to Mr. Biden. If he really does fear a nuclear escalation, he owes more of an explanation to the American people than cocktail-party doomsday chatter. He needs to marshal support in Congress and around the world to do everything possible to deter Mr. Putin. A crucial part of deterrence in a democracy is preparing the public for the challenges it might confront. Instead,” said the editors, “His comments have needlessly frightened Americans and maybe undermined deterrence.” I mentioned, by the way, the context of the President’s remarks at a Democratic fundraiser, held last Thursday in the home of James Murdoch.

All that just reminds us that when it comes to the political class and the media class, that picture’s a lot more complicated and a lot more related than you might think. You might think that if something were being held on this scale in a home of anyone named Murdoch, it would be more Republican than Democratic, but in this case, no. So democratic, as a matter of fact, that the speaker at this Democratic fundraiser was the Chief Democrat of all, the President of the United States, Joe Biden. Just think about that, Biden in Murdoch’s house, raising money for Democratic Senatorial candidates. That’s a story unto itself, telling us a lot about the media and the corporate class, especially at the most elite level, and that becomes an item of interest even before the President decides to invoke the battle of Armageddon.

Part II

The White House Affirms ‘The International Day of the Girl’ Yesterday — But Doesn’t That Transgress the LGBTQIA+ Revolution?

Next, speaking of the White House and the messaging from the White House, I want to draw attention to an announcement made by the White House yesterday, yesterday, October 11, 2022. What was that day, you asked? Well, in case you missed it, yesterday, according to the White House and the United Nations, yesterday was the International Day of the Girl. Now, that’s by UN declaration and by American affirmation. It goes back at least 10 years ago when the first International Day of the Girl was held.

A statement from the White House in the name of the President says, “Today, on this 10th anniversary, we know that when girls are empowered to dream big and reach their potential, the possibilities for our world are limitless.” Now, let’s just go back a little bit. Even in beginning of the statement, the White House said, “10 years ago, on the first International Day of the Girl, the United States joined nations around the world to recognize the challenges that girls face and commit to expanding opportunity and equality for them in every part of the globe.” So the International Day of the Girl. Now, you can understand where this comes from, and we also have to acknowledge that in many parts of the world, girls are particularly vulnerable.

You look at many of the continents of the world, many of the cultures of the world, girls are mistreated, they are discounted. They do not have the same privileges and the same opportunities given to boys, but even as we understand, that there’s a real issue of concern, and even of dignity when it comes to the International Day of the Girl, the weird thing is that when the White House makes this statement about the International Day of the Girl, it uses a word and references a gender, it has avoided referencing with any coherence in many previous statements and announcements. To state the matter clearly, the White House and the President of the United States, and so many in Congress, and so many, of course, in the Democratic Party, absolutely have no idea what or who a girl is. As a matter of fact, this White House doesn’t really know what a woman is either, and sometimes appears to deny the very existence of women until it’s politically expedient to speak on behalf of girls and women, and then all of a sudden, they seem to know who females are, both girls and women. When it comes to pregnancy, for example, the White House refers to pregnant people.

Not only that, when it comes to many other issues, it’s people with this, people with that. It is people who can this, people who can that. It is people, but yesterday was not the International Day of the Person, it was the International Day of the Girl. The LGBTQ revolution, in general, and the T, the transgender revolution particularly, has made the use of terms like girl, boy, man, woman, absolutely contested, but you don’t know that when those on the left see an opportunity for political gain in using the word, and you certainly see that in this White House. By the way, you also just have to ask the question, “What exactly would the International Day of the Girl mean?”

Well, it means taking on big issues. “What would those be?” Well, consider this agenda, “From combating the climate crisis and standing up for human rights to fighting for equitable access to education, healthcare, and opportunity, girls are strengthening democracies, powering economies, and enriching communities everywhere.” Now, the weird thing there is that the very first challenge that is mentioned is the climate crisis. I’m not saying there isn’t any kind of concern about the climate.

I’m simply saying that’s a very strange place to begin in a White House announcement about the International Day of the Girl. Later in the statement, the President speaks in the first person, “I am committed to addressing gender-based violence wherever it occurs, online, in school, at work, or at home, which is why I am proud to have reauthorized and strengthened the violence Against Women Act.” Well, there that word is again. In this case, it’s in the form of woman. You have references in this White House statement to girls and to women as if the White House thinks those are specific, identifiable people, but the very next sentence, don’t worry, there’s not that much clarity here.

In the very next sentence, we read, “And by supporting LGBTQI+ rights across this nation,” the President said, “I affirm that everyone deserves respect, protect, and belonging.” So the White House wants to talk about girls and women, but it understands it has likely just transgressed the transgender ideology, and so in the very next sentence, it has to come back and say, “Well, we didn’t mean that exactly as people meant it. Oh, I don’t know. In ancient history, say 10 years ago.” You’ll also note the construction the White House uses here, LGBTQI+, and as we just have to repeat every time we use that expression, that plus sign, well, it covers a whole lot.

Also, I was also taken aback, at least a bit, when I read this statement from the White House, “Now, therefore, I, Joseph R. Biden Jr., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 11, 2022, as International Day of the Girl. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with programs, ceremonies, and activities that advance equality and opportunity for girls everywhere.” Now, I know what the White House means, but no one in the White House appears to recognize the irony in the President identifying himself as President of the United States of America, and then invoking the authority given him by the Constitution of the United States, he then declares yesterday, October 11, 2022 as International Day of the Girl. That’s a rather sudden and unexpected expansion of the authority and powers of the President of the United States. International, but when it comes to those who claim to have some kind of international authority in office, what about the Secretary General of the United Nations?

Now, I talked about the United Nations and said quite a bit about it yesterday. I had no idea that we’d be back to it today, but UN Secretary General António Guterres released a statement, and what I want you to know is how close this is to the statement released by the White House. I wonder if there was a little bit of cooperation here. The Secretary General of the United Nations makes a statement about yesterday being the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl, and then he goes on to cite the challenges facing girls, and he makes this statement that these challenges are, “Made worse by concurrent crises of climate change, COVID-19, and humanitarian conflict.” Again, first in the list, climate change.

Let me be clear, I’m not saying that that is not an issue of moral and worldview significance. I’m just saying that it’s hard to imagine that if you ask the average girl in the world, “What is your greatest concern?,” that her answer is going to be climate change. Just ask the United Nations Secretary General. Just ask the President of the United States. You’ll notice something else, by the way.

The United Nations has also fallen headlong into the transgender ideology, but it trips up when it comes to something like the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl, and that’s because even in the ideologically corrupted and confused United Nations, it is unlikely that they have the political courage to simply stop using the word, girl. Why would that be? It is because the words, woman and man, boy and girl are actually indispensable if you want to make sense and speak about the creation order in terms of reality. Every once in a while, even at the United Nations, and at the White House, reality oddly breaks through.

Part III

‘Under Jewish Law, a Fetus Does Not Become a Human Being or Child Until Birth’: Jewish Women File Religious Liberty Lawsuit in Kentucky Against Anti-Abortion Laws

Finally, for today’s Briefing, a story from the Washington Post that originates here in Kentucky, but has deep significance all across the nation, Yonat Shimron reports, “Three Jewish women in Kentucky have filed a lawsuit arguing that a set of state laws that ban most abortions violate their religious rights.”

Shimron continues, “The lawsuit filed in Jefferson Circuit Court in Louisville is the third such suit brought by Jewish organizations or individuals since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the right to an abortion in its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.” “In all three suits, the first in Florida, the second in Indiana, the Jewish plaintiffs claimed their state is infringing on their religious freedom by imposing a Christian understanding of when life begins.” Now, let me just back up for a moment. Here, you have some representatives, almost assuredly of liberal Judaism, who want to claim that a law that bans abortion or restricts abortion, and we’re going to have to come back restrict abortion until when, but nonetheless, a law that would ban a restrict abortion supposedly violates their religious freedom and their religious liberty, the free exercise of their religion, “By imposing a Christian understanding of when life begins.” Well, let’s just underline something that is obvious.

The first issue here is the recognition that the law is going to have to stipulate one way or another when human life begins. There’s no way around it. There’s no way that a society can have no opinion and no policy, no legal precedent on that issue, and that’s because you have to decide when something is just, say a biological accident, and when it is murder. When you’re looking at an act and you say, “That is an assault on a human being,” and you say, “No, that’s not an assault upon a human being.” On all kinds of grounds, including everything in taxation to citizenship, the law has to make a distinction about who is and is not a person.

The legal logic behind pro-life bans on abortion is that identifying the beginning of a human life and the establishment of human personhood, at anything other than fertilization that creates a new human being, at any other point, it is merely arbitrary and it subverts human dignity. That means that somehow, the law is failing to recognize human beings in early development as being human beings or persons at all, but the interesting thing that’s used in this article is the statement that these Jewish plaintiffs claim that their state, in this case, it’s Kentucky, but the other two states in play here are Florida and Indiana, we are told that the claim is that, “Their state is infringing on their religious freedom by imposing a Christian understanding of when life begins.” Now, that’s a fascinating turn of phrase, because it is quite arguable that that is not at all what is at stake in terms of this controversy, because the use of the phrase, “When life begins” actually makes it virtually impossible to say that it would begin at any point other than fertilization, because that is exactly when life begins. It’s very well-documented. That’s just a matter of objective biological fact.

The issue here, in many ways, can be reducible to the question of personhood, when someone is recognized as being a human person, and thus, deserving of dignity and having a life, that is to be respected and preserved. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed here in Kentucky say, “Judaism has never defined life beginning at conception.” They went on to argue, I quote again, “Millennia of commentary from Jewish scholars has reaffirmed Judaism’s commitment to reproductive rights.” It’s incredibly important for us to look squarely and honestly in the face, one of the arguments made by these Jewish women in the complaint filed here in Kentucky. I read from the text, “Under Jewish Law, a fetus does not become a human being or child until birth.”

Now, just let that settle in. These women say that it is an infringement of their religious liberty, the free exercise of their religion, it is an imposition or an establishment of Christianity to declare that life begins at fertilization or at conception, but they make their own argument clear when they say a fetus does not become a human being or child until birth all the way until birth. This would mean that the argument they are making is that it is an unconstitutional infringement upon their religious rights to have any ban or limitation on abortion up until the moment of birth. Now, first of all, this is an illogical and completely illegitimate argument, supposedly based on religious liberty or religious freedom, but I want to simply say this is also a matter of who gets to define Jewish authority on this issue, and I’m actually going to give priority to a Jewish authority named David, King of Israel. He said in Psalm 139, beginning in verse 13, and I quote, “For You formed my inward parts, You covered me in my mother’s womb.”

“I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth, Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed, and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me went as yet there were none of them.” Again, I’m simply going to have to say, I understand that these Jewish women have filed this suit in the name of their Jewish religious understanding, but they went on to claim that Judaism has never recognized the inhabitant of the womb as being a human person, and I’m simply going to have to say, they’re going to have to take that argument up with King David. I’m going with King David.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing. I want to remind you about Boyce College Preview Day coming up on Friday, October the 21st. I’m just thankful to God for what’s going on here on the campus of Southern Seminary and Boyce College. Boyce College is simply one of the most faithful, outstanding educational opportunities for Christian young people looking for a Christian worldview undergraduate college experience. Listeners to The Briefing can register for this event.

Again, it’s October the 21st. You can register for this event, and you, as a student or as the parent of a student can join hundreds of other students and to their families for Boyce’s Preview event. You’ll have the chance to tour the campus, to learn about our academic programs, to meet the world-class faculty, and you’ll spend extensive time with the entire Boyce College family. I’m looking forward to spending time with those who come to this event as well, including a special event at a private Ask Anything Session. Hotel lodging is provided for those who attend.

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The Briefing

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

It’s Wednesday, October 12, 2022.

I’m Albert Mohler, and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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