News Letter 5856-032
The 4th Year of the 4th Sabbatical Cycle
The 25th year of the 120th Jubilee Cycle
The 15th day of the 8th month 5856 years after the creation of Adam
The 4th Sabbatical Cycle after the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Middle of the 70th Jubilee Since Yehovah told Moses To go Get His People
The Sabbatical Cycle of Sword, Famines, and Pestilence
October 3, 2020
Shabbat Shalom to the Royal Family of Yehovah,
This week we are going to be looking at News events that are covering trends in our society that to me are quite troubling. We seem to be racing to the abyss and no one seems to care or know it.
Shabbat Zoom Meeting
1st Day of Sukkot we will have two services. Sept 4, 2020, at 10 Am Eastern time zone.
Sept 4, 2020, at 3 PM.
On Sabbath Sept 5, 2020, we will meet at 1 PM Eastern Time zone
On the 8th Day, Sept 11, 2020, we will meet at 10 AM Eastern and again at 3 PM Eastern time zone
Sabbath Sept 12, 2020, will be a 1 PM Eastern.
Joseph Dumond is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Joseph Dumond’s Personal Meeting Room
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Over a month ago Henry asked for help in getting a printer so he could help share the message in Kenya. Some of you volunteered the funds for this so we sent them all on to Henry who has not updated us with this note. I had forgotten to post it a couple of weeks ago when it came in. Thank you to each and everyone who helps us to do this work in Kenya and other places around the world.
Shalom Joe and friends.
I give Glory to the heavenly Father and Elohim of all creation for His Love.
Now we have the highly needed ministerial aid ever. The Multifunctional Epson L850 printer. The machine will help me get the Gospel to a wider population in the best cheaper efficient way possible. The machine can photo copy copy, scan and print in 6 colors. Equally that me thank you so much for helping me and Yehovah ministry here in Kenya and the nations around.
Yehovah bless you so so much. Thank you.
We will now be able to get the message through printed materials to the world where we may not reach in person.
A lot of people ask for the teaching and learning aids but I couldn’t meet their needs. But now I look forward to doing my best. It has been a very unattainable undertaking to always getting everything from the cyber cafe, but now I will be doing it inside my living.
Now the best thing is now the covid-19 epidemic is easing. Earlier the infection was going up in double digits. Throughout part of last week and this, we are getting less and less numbers being report and fewer fatalities and in sometimes no death. The curve seems flattening.
I hope in the near future soon thing might return to normal.
Then we resume the ministry gospel spree for the Glory of the kingdom.
Again let me thank you so much for standing with us.
As we pray for you all, remember us in you do.
Ivan never know how to thank you enough.
Let His Mercy and Providence be in you ever.
France: More Terrorism, More Silence
This brand of extremism has also managed to transform many European citizens into prisoners, people hiding in their own countries, sentenced to death and forced to live in houses unknown even to their friends and families. And we got used to it!
- “[T]his lack of courage to follow in Charlie‘s footsteps comes at a price, we are losing freedom of speech and an insidious form of self-censorship is gaining ground.” — Flemming Rose, Le Point, September 2, 2020.
- “To put it simply, freedom of speech is in bad shape around the world. Including in Denmark, France and throughout the West. These are troubled times; people prefer order and security to freedom.” — Flemming Rose, Le Point, August 15, 2020.
On September 25, in Paris, two people were stabbed and seriously wounded outside the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, where 12 of the satirical magazine’s editors and cartoonists were murdered in 2015. Pictured: Firefighters and paramedics evacuate a wounded victim from the site of the attack. (Photo by Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images)
On September 25, in Paris, two people were stabbed and seriously wounded outside the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, where 12 of the satirical magazine’s editors and cartoonists were murdered by extremist Muslims in 2015. The suspect, in police custody, is being investigated for terrorism.
The accused murderers in the 2015 attacks are currently on trial in Paris.
Shortly before the knifing attack, on September 22, Charlie Hebdo‘s director of human resources, Marika Bret, did not come home. In fact, she no longer has a home. She was evicted after serious and concrete death threats from extremist Muslims. She decided to make her “exfiltration” public for French intelligence to alert the public to the threat of extremism in France.
“I have lived under police protection for almost five years”, she told the weekly Le Point.
“My security agents received specific and detailed threats. I had ten minutes to pack and leave the house. Ten minutes to give up a part of one’s life is a bit short and it was very violent. I will not go home. I am losing my home to outbursts of hatred, the hatred that always begins with the threat of instilling fear. We know how it can end”.
Bret also claimed that the French Left abandoned the “battle for secularism“.
From the start of the trial of the men accused of committing the murders at Charlie Hebdo in 2015 — and especially since the renewed publication of Mohammed cartoons — Charlie Hebdo has received threats of all kinds — including from al Qaeda. Security today at the satirical magazine is massive. “The address of our headquarters is secret, there are security gates everywhere, armored doors and windows, armed security agents, we can hardly get anyone in”, Bret said.
Today, there are 85 policemen protecting Charlie‘s journalists.
Bret has become another example of the clandestine nature of freedom of expression in France, the country of Voltaire. The first was Robert Redeker, a professor of philosophy. On September 17, 2006, he arose early to write an article for Le Figaro on Europe’s grappling with Islam. Three days later, he was in a safe house and on the run.
Last January, Mila O., a 16-year-old French girl, made insulting comments about Islam during a livestream on Instagram.
“During her livestream, a Muslim boy asked her out in the comments, but she turned him down because she is gay. He responded by accusing her of racism and calling her a ‘dirty lesbian’. In an angry follow-up video, streamed immediately after she was insulted, Mila responded by saying that she ‘hates religion'”.
Mila continued, saying among other things:
“Are you familiar with freedom of expression? I didn’t hesitate to say what I thought. I hate religion. The Koran is a religion of hatred; there is only hatred in it. That’s what I think. I say what I think… Islam is sh*t… I’m not a racist at all. One cannot simply be racist against a religion… I say what I want, I say what I think. Your religion is sh*t. I’d stick a finger up your god’s a**h*le…”
After her school’s address was posted on social media, she was forced to leave and transfer to a different school, this time kept secret.
The journalist Éric Zemmour was attacked several times outside his house; the French-Moroccan journalist Zineb el Rhazoui also found the address of her home published on social media.
Meanwhile, to his credit, French President Emmanuel Macron has been defending Charlie Hebdo‘s right to freedom of expression. Blasphemy, he said, “is no crime.”
“The law is clear: we have the right to blaspheme, to criticize, to caricature religions. The republican order is not a moral order… what is outlawed is to incite hatred and attack dignity.”
A 2007 legal case ruled that “In France it is possible to insult a religion, its figures and its symbols … however, insulting those who follow a religion is outlawed.”
The courageous words of the French authorities, however, seem harmless, pale and dull, compared to the strength of extremist violence and intimidation.
Islamic fundamentalism has already managed to displace not only thousands of persecuted Christians — such as Asia Bibi, forced to flee for her life from Pakistan to Canada after she was acquitted of committing blasphemy. This brand of extremism has also managed to transform many European citizens into prisoners, people hiding in their own countries, sentenced to death and forced to live in houses unknown even to their friends and families. And we got used to it!
On the day of Iran’s death sentence against Salman Rushdie for his novel, The Satanic Verses, he and his wife, Marianne Wiggins, were taken from their home in North London by the British secret service, to the first of more than fifty “safe houses” in which the writer lived for the next ten years.
The Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders — whose name, as the next to be murdered, was found on a sheet of paper knifed into the murdered filmmaker, Theo van Gogh — has been living in safe houses since 2004. “I am in jail,” he says, “and they are walking around free.”
Ten years ago, a Seattle Weekly reporter, Molly Norris, in solidarity with the endangered makers of the television cartoon “South Park,” also drew a caricature of Mohammed. The last newspaper article that talked about her stated:
“You may have noticed that the Molly Norris strip is not included in this week’s issue. That’s because there is no more Molly… on the advice of FBI security specialists, she will be moving and changing her name…”
The Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, which first printed cartoons of Mohammed in 2005, gave up. The paper declined to republish the caricatures of the Prophet of Islam when Charlie Hebdo printed them again on its front page. The editor who published the cartoons at Jyllands Posten, Flemming Rose, is still escorted by bodyguards. “I really admire Charlie‘s courage,” he said.
“Heroes who have not succumbed to threats or violence. Unfortunately, they received limited support. No publication in France or Europe behaves like Charlie. That is why I believe that in Europe there is an unwritten law against blasphemy. I am not criticizing the journalists and editors who make this choice. We cannot blame people who, unlike Charlie, do not put their lives in danger. But let us not be fooled: this lack of courage to follow in Charlie‘s footsteps comes at a price, we are losing freedom of speech and an insidious form of self-censorship is gaining ground”.
In recent days, the new editor of Jyllands Posten, Jacob Nybroe, repeated:
“We will not publish them anymore. I confirmed this editorial line when I arrived and received a lot of applause. I may look like a coward, but we cannot do it”.
The names of Danish cartoonists appeared on the same “hit list” that Al Qaeda published with the name of Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in chief, Stéphane Charbonnier, murdered in the 2015 massacre. The Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard is alive only because during a terror assault on his home, he hid.
Today Jyllands Posten‘s headquarters has bulletproof windows, metal bars and slabs, barbed wire and video cameras. It sits opposite the port of Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark, and is under surveillance day and night. Each automatic door, each elevator, requires a badge and a code. You enter it as if it were a bank vault. One door opens and after it closes, the next door opens. The journalists who work there enter one at a time. “To put it simply, freedom of speech is in bad shape around the world. Including in Denmark, France and throughout the West,” Rose said, “These are troubled times; people prefer order and security to freedom.”
If all of us do not defend our freedoms, soon we will not have them anymore.
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.
Step by Step
While the USA gears up for an historic election, the world marches on.
We have now reached the milestone of 1 million dead worldwide from the CORNA virus. Over 205,000 in the USA alone. And still many of you think this is fake news.
More than 1 million people have died worldwide from Covid-19, and the United States accounts for more than 20% of the death toll.
In less than nine months, the death toll jumped from one coronavirus-related death — in Wuhan, China, on January 9 — to 1,002,628 early Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The US has been hit hard by the virus, with almost 7.2 million reported infections and more than 205,000 deaths.
With recent spikes in US cases, health experts warn things could soon get worse.
Around the world, a second wave has already begun.
WHO warns of ‘very serious situation‘ in Europe, with ‘alarming rates’ of virus transmission
In France, Covid-19 hospitalizations have risen in recent days in large cities such as Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille.
Earlier this year, the first coronavirus wave spiked fast in France, but it was cut short by a strict nationwide lockdown. In total more than 31,000 people died there from the disease, out of more than 443,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
Now, the number of new infections is rising fast. A record was set over the weekend with more than 10,000 new cases in a single day. The number of clusters has been rising steadily and, most worryingly, nationwide, the number of people in intensive care has risen 25% in the past week.
Cases in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy have also increased.
New restrictions were imposed across England this week barring people from meeting socially in groups of more than six, of all ages, indoors or outdoors. Scotland and Wales have also tightened their social distancing rules.
In the latest propaganda coming out of Asia, Chinese planes have been flying across the border each and every day into Taiwan territory. With each day they fly more planes and they do so from four directions into Taiwan. With a collapsing economy and the embarrassing loss to India of disputed land, the Chinese leader may need something to justify his leadership. But it is the propaganda that is disturbing for those who are from America. You are becoming the most hated of people.
China Says Killing Americans over Taiwan is ‘Morally Justified’
Since then, the situation has deteriorated. When U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach visited the island to attend the memorial service for former Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui, known in China as the “godfather of Taiwan secessionism” and everywhere else as “Mr. Democracy,” China’s planes again flew to Taiwan’s side of the median line.
Now, Beijing is sending aircraft near Taiwan “almost every day” and directing them to approach in all four directions.
At the same time, the Chinese are ramping up the rhetoric. “The U.S. and Taiwan must not misjudge the situation, or believe the exercise is a bluff,” stated the same Global Times editorial. “Should they continue to make provocations, a war will inevitably break out.”
“Deployment of the U.S. army to Taiwan means the start of a cross-Straits war,” another editorial from the paper announced.
Ominously, Hu Xijin, the Global Times editor, wrote that China is “morally justified” to wage war on Taiwan.
“Hu Xijin is not just urging China to commence a war to murder millions of Taiwanese, he wants China to be able to kill millions of Americans as well,” wrote China military analyst Richard Fisher in the Taipei Times on September 21.
Fisher, a senior fellow of the Virginia-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, told Gatestone on September 26 that Beijing “may not just yet have the overall ability to invade Taiwan,” but it is “repeating dangerous military exercises” to “terrorize” Taiwan and “frighten” America.
As we have shared with you before, once you have the population in agreement or numb about wiping out a certain group of people, when it then begins, no one will say anything. In WW II it was the propaganda about the Jews. Prophecy is showing us this time it is going to be the Keltic peoples who will be wiped out. The Americans are part of those Keltic people.
The Election of 2020
The article that follows this introduction is copied in its entirety from the Atlantic. You can read the whole article or watch the interview with PBS news which for me is quite stunning. The potential for a second Civil War did happen once before in 1877.
November 2020: President Trump has lost the election. He blames voter fraud. He blames ‘deep state’ interference. He refuses to step down … What next?
The scenario is scarily believable: It’s November 2020. President Trump has just lost the election. He blames voter fraud. He blames ‘deep state’ interference. He blames illegal immigrants. He refuses to step down. Riots and demonstrations erupt across the divided United States …
The sabre-rattling is getting louder. Governors. Judges. Preachers. Politicians. All are ramping-up the rhetoric, pushing the deep political divide within the United States towards a second Civil War.
Social scientists put aged, white male evangelical populations in one corner. The other holds young, highly educated women of color. In between are countless pockets of outraged interest groups, all fixated on their own fears.
“Almost every cultural and social institution — universities, the public schools, the NFL, the Oscars, the Tonys, the Grammys, late-night television, public restaurants, coffee shops, movies, TV, stand-up comedy — has been not just politicized but also weaponized,” warns Hoover Institution historian Dr Victor Hanson.
“(The US stands) at the brink of a veritable civil war”.
Here is a brief history of that time in 1877.
The Compromise of 1877
The Compromise of 1877 gave Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency in exchange for the end of Reconstruction in the South.
- The Compromise of 1877 resolved the disputed 1876 presidential election between Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden and Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes.
- Democrats agreed that Rutherford B. Hayes would become president in exchange for the withdrawal of federal troops from the South and the granting of home rule in the South.
- President Hayes’ withdrawal of federal troops from Louisiana and South Carolina marked a major turning point in American political history, effectively ending the Reconstruction Era and issuing in the system of Jim Crow.
A contested presidential electionThe Compromise of 1877 resolved the tumult that had arisen following the 1876 presidential election. In that election, Democratic candidate Samuel J. Tilden of New York won 247,448 more popular votes than Republican Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio. But the electoral votes in the three southern states of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina were disputed. For almost four months, from November into late February, tensions remained high as the question of who was to become the nation’s next president remained unresolved.
Portrait of Rutherford B. Hayes.In January 1877, Congress established a 15-member Electoral Commission to resolve the issue of which candidate had won the contested states. The commission voted 8-7 along party lines to award the votes of all three states to Hayes. As the commission deliberated, members of Congress and others made their own efforts to end the crisis, but no written, formal agreements resulted.start superscript, 1, end superscript
The presidency in return for home rule in the SouthDuring Reconstruction, the period after the Civil War when the South reorganized its political, social, and economic systems to account for the end of slavery, federal troops occupied the South. These troops served to guarantee African American men’s right to vote, and the Republican-controlled federal government would only end the military occupation when states rewrote their Constitutions to recognize the citizenship and voting rights of African American men. White Southerners generally despised these troops, and wanted an end to the intervention of the federal government in the South.squaredThe Compromise of 1877 gave white Southerners their chance to stop the military occupation of the South. In the compromise, Southern Democrats agreed not to block the vote by which Congress awarded the contested electoral votes to Rutherford B. Hayes, and Hayes therefore became president. In return, Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops from actively intervening in the politics of Louisiana and South Carolina (the last two states occupied by federal troops). Accordingly, within two months of becoming president, Hayes ordered federal troops in Louisiana and South Carolina to return to their bases.cubedCartoon showing a Southern veteran and a Northern veteran (missing a leg) shaking hands over a tombstone that reads “In Memory of Union Heroes in a Useless War.” In the background, an African American family kneels in chains.The removal of the federal soldiers from the streets and from statehouse offices signaled the end of the Republican Party’s commitment to protecting the civil and political rights of African Americans, and marked a major political turning point in American history: it ended Reconstruction.Another important part of the Compromise of 1877 was that Republicans agreed to home-rule in the South. Home-rule meant that the Republican Party would refrain from interfering in the South’s local affairs, and that white Democrats, many of them racist, would rule. Southern Democrats, for their part, pledged that they would “recognize the civil and political equality of blacks.” They did not subsequently carry through on this promise but instead disfranchised black men from voting and imposed Jim Crow segregation across the South.start superscript, 4, end superscript
The end of ReconstructionIn all, with the Compromise of 1877, the Republican Party abandoned the last remnant of its support for equal rights for African Americans in the South. With the withdrawal of federal troops went any hope of reconstructing the South as a racially-egalitarian society after the end of slavery. As Henry Adams, a black Louisianan, lamented, “The whole South—every state in the South—had got into the hands of the very men that held us as slaves.”start superscript, 5, end superscriptIn the aftermath of the Compromise of 1877, a few African Americans in some areas of the South continued to vote and serve in government offices into the 1890s, but the Compromise of 1877 marked the effective end of the Republican Party’s active support of civil rights for black Americans. Southern states rapidly passed laws disenfranchising African Americans and implementing racial segregation.
One month from today on Nov 3, 2020, there is going to be great chaos in the USA elections.
President Donald Trump has named federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana as his nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. This is going to be rushed through before the coming election so that there are 9 Supreme Court Justices. The reason for this is historic and I want you to understand why. The Atlantic published an article early this past week and I want you all to read it and understand the complexities of the coming USA election. I understand many of you are not Americans as I am not. I get it. The purpose of this article is to show you the explosiveness of this election and the mail-in ballots.
But then there was the Presidential (debate), on Tuesday last week. I use the word with caution. After this debate, the press picked up on the fact that President Trump did not condemn the “Proud Boys” white militia group as a racist group. It was the first time I had heard of them and many others which the media said were racist militia groups supporting Trump. And once again the race divide is being pushed forward. And this divide is also spilling over into Canada now as well.
According to Barton Gellman, the polls show Trump will win the vote on election night. But, it will take days for the mail-in votes to be counted. And the projections show that with each day those votes are counted, Biden will pull ahead and win. So Trump could claim victory on election night and then Biden wins once the total votes from the mail are counted in the weeks following the election. We are in very dangerous times when riots and civil war can actually break out. Read this article and understand the times we are in. Understand we are in the middle of the 70th week when Israel is going to be cut off. How that is going to come about, we are not told. But we are told that war is coming as Lev 26 tells us.
Lev 26:23 And if you will not be reformed by Me by these things, but will still walk contrary to Me,
Lev 26:24 then I will walk contrary to you and will punish you seven times more for your sins.
Lev 26:25 And I will bring a sword on you that shall execute the vengeance of the covenant. And when you are gathered inside your cities, I will send the plague among you. And you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.
Lev 26:26 When I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight. And you shall eat and not be satisfied.
Lev 26:27 And if you will not for all of this listen to Me, but will walk contrary to Me,
Lev 26:28 then I will walk contrary to you also in fury. And I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.
Lev 26:29 And you shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters you shall eat.
W.H.O. declared a worldwide pandemic on March 10, 2020. The UN warned in April and then in July that 270 Million would be in famine mode by Dec 31, 2020. We have the USA leaving the Paris accord in November 2020. We have the UK leaving BREXIT and it looks like they will do so this Dec 31 without a deal. Both the Paris Accord and the BREXIT are Israel leaving the covenant made with many mentioned in Daniel 9.
There are very few letting others know what we have been saying this since 2005. That war is coming and now already begun. In a recent interview, Chaim Goldman did mention us as the only ones doing so. You can listen to it at the 7-minute mark at this link. And I have to ask why are many other Hebrew Roots leaders or Christian leaders and even the News station not contacting us to learn more about how we knew this was coming and about what is coming next?
Please do read and watch the videos in this article and get ready for something the USA has not seen in 123 years.
In the Atlantic Magazine this week was an article titled;
The Election That Could Break America
If the vote is close, Donald Trump could easily throw the election into chaos and subvert the result. Who will stop him?
This article appears in the November 2020 print edition. It was first published online on September 23, 2020.
The danger is not merely that the 2020 election will bring discord. Those who fear something worse take turbulence and controversy for granted. The coronavirus pandemic, a reckless incumbent, a deluge of mail-in ballots, a vandalized Postal Service, a resurgent effort to suppress votes, and a trainload of lawsuits are bearing down on the nation’s creaky electoral machinery.
Barton Gellman spoke with Adrienne LaFrance about what could happen if the vote is close, live on September 24.
If we are lucky, this fraught and dysfunctional election cycle will reach a conventional stopping point in time to meet crucial deadlines in December and January. The contest will be decided with sufficient authority that the losing candidate will be forced to yield. Collectively we will have made our choice—a messy one, no doubt, but clear enough to arm the president-elect with a mandate to govern.
As a nation, we have never failed to clear that bar. But in this election year of plague and recession and catastrophized politics, the mechanisms of decision are at meaningful risk of breaking down. Close students of election law and procedure are warning that conditions are ripe for a constitutional crisis that would leave the nation without an authoritative result. We have no fail-safe against that calamity. Thus the blinking red lights.
“We could well see a protracted post-election struggle in the courts and the streets if the results are close,” says Richard L. Hasen, a professor at the UC Irvine School of Law and the author of a recent book called Election Meltdown. “The kind of election meltdown we could see would be much worse than 2000’s Bush v. Gore case.”
A lot of people, including Joe Biden, the Democratic Party nominee, have misconceived the nature of the threat. They frame it as a concern, unthinkable for presidents past, that Trump might refuse to vacate the Oval Office if he loses. They generally conclude, as Biden has, that in that event the proper authorities “will escort him from the White House with great dispatch.”
The worst case, however, is not that Trump rejects the election outcome. The worst case is that he uses his power to prevent a decisive outcome against him. If Trump sheds all restraint, and if his Republican allies play the parts he assigns them, he could obstruct the emergence of a legally unambiguous victory for Biden in the Electoral College and then in Congress. He could prevent the formation of consensus about whether there is any outcome at all. He could seize on that un-certainty to hold on to power.
Trump’s state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for post-election maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states. Ambiguities in the Constitution and logic bombs in the Electoral Count Act make it possible to extend the dispute all the way to Inauguration Day, which would bring the nation to a precipice. The Twentieth Amendment is crystal clear that the president’s term in office “shall end” at noon on January 20, but two men could show up to be sworn in. One of them would arrive with all the tools and power of the presidency already in hand.
“We are not prepared for this at all,” Julian Zelizer, a Princeton professor of history and public affairs, told me. “We talk about it, some worry about it, and we imagine what it would be. But few people have actual answers to what happens if the machinery of democracy is used to prevent a legitimate resolution to the election.”
Nineteen summers ago, when counter-terrorism analysts warned of a coming attack by al‑Qaeda, they could only guess at a date. This year, if election analysts are right, we know when the trouble is likely to come. Call it the Interregnum: the interval from Election Day to the next president’s swearing-in. It is a temporal no-man’s-land between the presidency of Donald Trump and an uncertain successor—a second term for Trump or a first for Biden. The transfer of power we usually take for granted has several intermediate steps, and they are fragile.
The Interregnum comprises 79 days, carefully bounded by law. Among them are “the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December,” this year December 14, when the electors meet in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to cast their ballots for president; “the 3d day of January,” when the newly elected Congress is seated; and “the sixth day of January,” when the House and Senate meet jointly for a formal count of the electoral vote. In most modern elections these have been pro forma milestones, irrelevant to the outcome. This year, they may not be.
“Our Constitution does not secure the peaceful transition of power, but rather presupposes it,” the legal scholar Lawrence Douglas wrote in a recent book titled simply Will He Go? The Interregnum we are about to enter will be accompanied by what Douglas, who teaches at Amherst, calls a “perfect storm” of adverse conditions. We cannot turn away from that storm. On November 3 we sail toward its center mass. If we emerge without trauma, it will not be an unbreakable ship that has saved us.
Let us not hedge about one thing. Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede. Not under any circumstance. Not during the Interregnum and not afterward. If compelled in the end to vacate his office, Trump will insist from exile, as long as he draws breath, that the contest was rigged.
Trump’s invincible commitment to this stance will be the most important fact about the coming Interregnum. It will deform the proceedings from beginning to end. We have not experienced anything like it before.
Maybe you hesitate. Is it a fact that if Trump loses, he will reject defeat, come what may? Do we know that? Technically, you feel obliged to point out, the proposition is framed in the future conditional, and prophecy is no man’s gift, and so forth. With all due respect, that is pettifoggery. We know this man. We cannot afford to pretend.
Trump’s behavior and declared intent leave no room to suppose that he will accept the public’s verdict if the vote is going against him. He lies prodigiously—to manipulate events, to secure advantage, to dodge accountability, and to ward off injury to his pride. An election produces the perfect distillate of all those motives.
Pathology may exert the strongest influence on Trump’s choices during the Interregnum. Well-supported arguments, some of them in this magazine, have made the case that Trump fits the diagnostic criteria for psychopathy and narcissism. Either disorder, by its medical definition, would render him all but incapable of accepting defeat.
Conventional commentary has trouble facing this issue squarely. Journalists and opinion makers feel obliged to add disclaimers when asking “what if” Trump loses and refuses to concede. “The scenarios all seem far-fetched,” Politico wrote, quoting a source who compared them to science fiction. Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, writing in The Atlantic in February, could not bring herself to treat the risk as real: “That a president would defy the results of an election has long been unthinkable; it is now, if not an actual possibility, at the very least something Trump’s supporters joke about.”
But Trump’s supporters aren’t the only people who think extraconstitutional thoughts aloud. Trump has been asked directly, during both this campaign and the last, whether he will respect the election results. He left his options brazenly open. “What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense. Okay?” he told moderator Chris Wallace in the third presidential debate of 2016. Wallace took another crack at him in an interview for Fox News this past July. “I have to see,” Trump said. “Look, you—I have to see. No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no.”
How will he decide when the time comes? Trump has answered that, actually. At a rally in Delaware, Ohio, in the closing days of the 2016 campaign, he began his performance with a signal of breaking news. “Ladies and gentlemen, I want to make a major announcement today. I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters, and to all the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election.” He paused, then made three sharp thrusts of his forefinger to punctuate the next words: “If … I … win!” Only then did he stretch his lips in a simulacrum of a smile.
The question is not strictly hypothetical. Trump’s respect for the ballot box has already been tested. In 2016, with the presidency in hand, having won the Electoral College, Trump baldly rejected the certified tallies that showed he had lost the popular vote by a margin of 2,868,692. He claimed, baselessly but not coincidentally, that at least 3 million undocumented immigrants had cast fraudulent votes for Hillary Clinton.
All of which is to say that there is no version of the Interregnum in which Trump congratulates Biden on his victory. He has told us so. “The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election,” Trump said at the Republican National Convention on August 24. Unless he wins a bonafide victory in the Electoral College, Trump’s refusal to concede—his mere denial of defeat—will have cascading effects.
The ritual that marks an election’s end took its contemporary form in 1896. On the Thursday evening after polls closed that year, unwelcome news reached the Democratic presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan. A dispatch from Senator James K. Jones, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, informed him that “sufficient was known to make my defeat certain,” Bryan recalled in a memoir.
He composed a telegram to his Republican opponent, William McKinley. “Senator Jones has just informed me that the returns indicate your election, and I hasten to extend my congratulations,” Bryan wrote. “We have submitted the issue to the American people and their will is law.”
After Bryan, concession became a civic duty, performed by telegram or telephone call and then by public speech. Al Smith brought the concession speech to radio in 1928, and it migrated to television soon afterward.
Like other rituals, concessions developed a liturgy. The defeated candidate comes out first. He thanks supporters, declares that their cause will live on, and acknowledges that the other side has prevailed. The victor begins his own remarks by honoring the surrender.
Concessions employ a form of words that linguists call performative speech. The words do not describe or announce an act; the words themselves are the act. “The concession speech, then, is not merely a report of an election result or an admission of defeat,” the political scientist Paul E. Corcoran has written. “It is a constitutive enactment of the new president’s authority.”
In actual war, not the political kind, concession is optional. The winning side may take by force what the losing side refuses to surrender. If the weaker party will not sue for peace, its ramparts may be breached, its headquarters razed, and its leaders taken captive or put to death. There are places in the world where political combat still ends that way, but not here. The loser’s concession is therefore hard to replace.
Consider the 2000 election, which may appear at first glance to demonstrate otherwise. Al Gore conceded to George W. Bush on Election Night, then withdrew his concession and fought a recount battle in Florida until the Supreme Court shut it down. It is commonly said that the Court’s 5–4 ruling decided the contest, but that’s not quite right.
The Court handed down its ruling in Bush v. Gore on December 12, six days before the Electoral College would convene and weeks before Congress would certify the results. Even with canvassing halted in Florida, Gore had the constitutional means to fight on, and some advisers urged him to do so. If he had brought the dispute to Congress, he would have held high ground as the Senate’s presiding officer.
Not until Gore addressed the nation on December 13, the day after the Court’s decision, did the contest truly end. Speaking as a man with unexpended ammunition, Gore laid down his arms. “I accept the finality of this outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College,” he said. “And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”
We have no precedent or procedure to end this election if Biden seems to carry the Electoral College but Trump refuses to concede. We will have to invent one.
Trump is, by some measures, a weak authoritarian. He has the mouth but not the muscle to work his will with assurance. Trump denounced Special Counsel Robert Mueller but couldn’t fire him. He accused his foes of treason but couldn’t jail them. He has bent the bureaucracy and flouted the law but not broken free altogether of their restraints.
A proper despot would not risk the inconvenience of losing an election. He would fix his victory in advance, avoiding the need to overturn an incorrect outcome. Trump cannot do that.
But he’s not powerless to skew the proceedings—first on Election Day and then during the Interregnum. He could disrupt the vote count where it’s going badly, and if that does not work, try to bypass it altogether. On Election Day, Trump and his allies can begin by suppressing the Biden vote.
There is no truth to be found in dancing around this point, either: Trump does not want Black people to vote. (He said as much in 2017—on Martin Luther King Day, no less—to a voting-rights group co-founded by King, according to a recording leaked to Politico.) He does not want young people or poor people to vote. He believes, with reason, that he is less likely to win reelection if turnout is high at the polls. This is not a “both sides” phenomenon. In present-day politics, we have one party that consistently seeks advantage in depriving the other party’s adherents of the right to vote.
Just under a year ago, Justin Clark gave a closed-door talk in Wisconsin to a select audience of Republican lawyers. He thought he was speaking privately, but someone had brought a recording device. He had a lot to say about Election Day operations, or “EDO.”
At the time, Clark was a senior lieutenant with Trump’s reelection campaign; in July, he was promoted to deputy campaign manager. “Wisconsin’s the state that is going to tip this one way or the other … So it makes EDO really, really, really important,” he said. He put the mission bluntly: “Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes … [Democrats’] voters are all in one part of the state, so let’s start playing offense a little bit. And that’s what you’re going to see in 2020. That’s what’s going to be markedly different. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program, and we’re going to need all the help we can get.” (Clark later claimed that his remarks had been misconstrued, but his explanation made no sense in context.)
Of all the favorable signs for Trump’s Election Day operations, Clark explained, “first and foremost is the consent decree’s gone.” He was referring to a court order forbidding Republican operatives from using any of a long list of voter-purging and intimidation techniques. The expiration of that order was a “huge, huge, huge, huge deal,” Clark said.
His audience of lawyers knew what he meant. The 2020 presidential election will be the first in 40 years to take place without a federal judge requiring the Republican National Committee to seek approval in advance for any “ballot security” operations at the polls. In 2018, a federal judge allowed the consent decree to expire, ruling that the plaintiffs had no proof of recent violations by Republicans. The consent decree, by this logic, was not needed, because it worked.
The order had its origins in the New Jersey gubernatorial election of 1981. According to the district court’s opinion in Democratic National Committee v. Republican National Committee, the RNC allegedly tried to intimidate voters by hiring off-duty law-enforcement officers as members of a “National Ballot Security Task Force,” some of them armed and carrying two-way radios. According to the plaintiffs, they stopped and questioned voters in minority neighborhoods, blocked voters from entering the polls, forcibly restrained poll workers, challenged people’s eligibility to vote, warned of criminal charges for casting an illegal ballot, and generally did their best to frighten voters away from the polls. The power of these methods relied on well-founded fears among people of color about contact with police.
This year, with a judge no longer watching, the Republicans are recruiting 50,000 volunteers in 15 contested states to monitor polling places and challenge voters they deem suspicious-looking. Trump called in to Fox News on August 20 to tell Sean Hannity, “We’re going to have sheriffs and we’re going to have law enforcement and we’re going to have, hopefully, U.S. attorneys” to keep close watch on the polls. For the first time in decades, according to Clark, Republicans are free to combat voter fraud in “places that are run by Democrats.”
Voter fraud is a fictitious threat to the outcome of elections, a pretext that Republicans use to thwart or discard the ballots of likely opponents. An authoritative report by the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan think tank, calculated the rate of voter fraud in three elections at between 0.0003 percent and 0.0025 percent. Another investigation, from Justin Levitt at Loyola Law School, turned up 31 credible allegations of voter impersonation out of more than 1 billion votes cast in the United States from 2000 to 2014. Judges in voting-rights cases have made comparable findings of fact.
Nonetheless, Republicans and their allies have litigated scores of cases in the name of preventing fraud in this year’s election. State by state, they have sought—with some success—to purge voter rolls, tighten rules on provisional votes, uphold voter-identification requirements, ban the use of ballot drop boxes, reduce eligibility to vote by mail, discard mail-in ballots with technical flaws, and outlaw the counting of ballots that are postmarked by Election Day but arrive afterward. The intent and effect is to throw away votes in large numbers.
These legal maneuvers are drawn from an old Republican playbook. What’s different during this cycle, aside from the ferocity of the efforts, is the focus on voting by mail. The president has mounted a relentless assault on postal balloting at the exact moment when the coronavirus pandemic is driving tens of millions of voters to embrace it.
This year’s presidential election will see voting by mail on a scale unlike any before—some states are anticipating a tenfold increase in postal balloting. A 50-state survey by The Washington Post found that 198 million eligible voters, or at least 84 percent, will have the option to vote by mail.
Trump has denounced mail-in voting often and urgently, airing fantastical nightmares. One day he tweeted, “mail-in voting will lead to massive fraud and abuse. it will also lead to the end of our great republican party. we can never let this tragedy befall our nation.” Another day he pointed to an imaginary—and easily debunked—scenario of forgery from abroad: “rigged 2020 election: millions of mail-in ballots will be printed by foreign countries, and others. it will be the scandal of our times!”
By late summer Trump was declaiming against mail-in voting an average of nearly four times a day—a pace he had reserved in the past for existential dangers such as impeachment and the Mueller investigation: “Very dangerous for our country.” “A catastrophe.” “The greatest rigged election in history.”
Summer also brought reports that the U.S. Postal Service, the government’s most popular agency, was besieged from within by Louis DeJoy, Trump’s new postmaster general and a major Republican donor. Service cuts, upper-management restructuring, and chaotic operational changes were producing long delays. At one sorting facility, the Los Angeles Times reported, “workers fell so far behind processing packages that by early August, gnats and rodents were swarming around containers of rotted fruit and meat, and baby chicks were dead inside their boxes.”
In the name of efficiency, the Postal Service began decommissioning 10 percent of its mail-sorting machines. Then came word that the service would no longer treat ballots as first-class mail unless some states nearly tripled the postage they paid, from 20 to 55 cents an envelope. DeJoy denied any intent to slow down voting by mail, and the Postal Service withdrew the plan under fire from critics.
If there were doubts about where Trump stood on these changes, he resolved them at an August 12 news conference. Democrats were negotiating for a $25 billion increase in postal funding and an additional $3.6 billion in election assistance to states. “They don’t have the money to do the universal mail-in voting. So therefore, they can’t do it, I guess,” Trump said. “It’s very simple. How are they going to do it if they don’t have the money to do it?”
What are we to make of all this?
In part, Trump’s hostility to voting by mail is a reflection of his belief that more voting is bad for him in general. Democrats, he said on Fox & Friends at the end of March, want “levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
Some Republicans see Trump’s vendetta as self-defeating. “It to me appears entirely irrational,” Jeff Timmer, a former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party, told me. “The Trump campaign and RNC and by fiat their state party organizations are engaging in suppressing their own voter turnout,” including Republican seniors who have voted by mail for years.
But Trump’s crusade against voting by mail is a strategically sound expression of his plan for the Interregnum. The president is not actually trying to prevent mail-in balloting altogether, which he has no means to do. He is discrediting the practice and starving it of resources, signaling his supporters to vote in person, and preparing the ground for post–Election Night plans to contest the results. It is the strategy of a man who expects to be outvoted and means to hobble the count.
Voting by mail does not favor either party “during normal times,” according to a team of researchers at Stanford, but that phrase does a lot of work. Their findings, which were published in June, did not take into account a president whose words alone could produce a partisan skew. Trump’s systematic predictions of fraud appear to have had a powerful effect on Republican voting intentions. In Georgia, for example, a Monmouth University poll in late July found that 60 percent of Democrats but only 28 percent of Republicans were likely to vote by mail. In the battleground states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina, hundreds of thousands more Democrats than Republicans have requested mail-in ballots.
Trump, in other words, has created a proxy to distinguish friend from foe. Republican lawyers around the country will find this useful when litigating the count. Playing by the numbers, they can treat ballots cast by mail as hostile, just as they do ballots cast in person by urban and college-town voters. Those are the ballots they will contest.
The battle space of the Interregnum, if trends hold true, will be shaped by a phenomenon known as the “blue shift.”
Edward Foley, an Ohio State professor of constitutional law and a specialist in election law, pioneered research on the blue shift. He found a previously unremarked-upon pattern in the overtime count—the canvass after Election Night that tallies late-reporting precincts, unprocessed absentee votes, and provisional ballots cast by voters whose eligibility needed to be confirmed. For most of American history, the overtime count produced no predictably partisan effect. In any given election year, some states shifted red in the canvass after Election Day and some shifted blue, but the shifts were seldom large enough to matter.
Two things began to change about 20 years ago. The overtime count got bigger, and it trended more and more blue. In an updated paper this year, Foley and his co-author, Charles Stewart III of MIT, said they could not fully explain why the shift favors Democrats. (Some factors: Urban returns take longer to count, and most provisional ballots are cast by young, low-income, or mobile voters, who lean blue.) During overtime in 2012, Barack Obama strengthened his winning margins in swing states like Florida (with a net increase of 27,281 votes), Michigan (60,695), Ohio (65,459), and Pennsylvania (26,146). Obama would have won the presidency anyway, but shifts of that magnitude could have changed the outcomes of many a closer contest. Hillary Clinton picked up tens of thousands of overtime votes in 2016, but not enough to save her.
The blue shift has yet to decide a presidential election, but it upended the Arizona Senate race in 2018. Republican Martha McSally seemed to have victory in her grasp with a lead of 15,403 votes the day after Election Day. Canvassing in the days that followed swept the Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema, into the Senate with “a gigantic overtime gain of 71,303 votes,” Foley wrote.
It was Florida, however, that seized Trump’s attention that year. On Election Night, Republicans were leading in tight contests for governor and U.S. senator. As the blue shift took effect, Ron DeSantis watched his lead shrink by 18,416 votes in the governor’s race. Rick Scott’s Senate margin fell by 20,231. By early morning on November 12, six days after Election Day, Trump had seen enough. “The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged,” he tweeted, baselessly. “An honest vote count is no longer possible—ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”
Trump was panicked enough by the blue shift in somebody else’s election to fabricate allegations of fraud. In this election, when his own name is on the ballot, the blue shift could be the largest ever observed. Mail-in votes require more time to count even in a normal year, and this year there will be tens of millions more of them than in any election before. Many states forbid the processing of early-arriving mail ballots before Election Day; some allow late-arriving ballots to be counted.
Trump’s instinct as a spectator in 2018—to stop the count—looks more like strategy this year. “There are results that come in Election Night,” a legal adviser to Trump’s national campaign, who would not agree to be quoted by name, told me. “There’s an expectation in the country that there will be winners and losers called. If the Election Night results get changed because of the ballots counted after Election Day, you have the basic ingredients for a shit-storm.”
There is no “if” about it, I said. The count is bound to change. “Yeah,” the adviser agreed, and canvassing will produce more votes for Biden than for Trump. Democrats will insist on dragging out the canvass for as long as it takes to count every vote. The resulting conflict, the adviser said, will be on their heads.
“They are asking for it,” he said. “They’re trying to maximize their electoral turnout, and they think there are no downsides to that.” He added, “There will be a count on Election Night, that count will shift over time, and the results when the final count is given will be challenged as being inaccurate, fraudulent—pick your word.”
The worst case for an orderly count is also considered by some election modelers the likeliest: that Trump will jump ahead on Election Night, based on in-person returns, but his lead will slowly give way to a Biden victory as mail-in votes are tabulated. Josh Mendelsohn, the CEO of the Democratic data-modeling firm Hawkfish, calls this scenario “the red mirage.” The turbulence of that interval, fed by street protests, social media, and Trump’s desperate struggles to lock in his lead, can only be imagined. “Any scenario that you come up with will not be as weird as the reality of it,” the Trump legal adviser said.
Election lawyers speak of a “margin of litigation” in close races. The tighter the count in early reports, and the more votes remaining to count, the greater the incentive to fight in court. If there were such a thing as an Election Administrator’s Prayer, as some of them say only half in jest, it would go, “Lord, let there be a landslide.”
Could a landslide spare us conflict in the Interregnum? In theory, yes. But the odds are not promising.
It is hard to imagine a Trump lead so immense on Election Night that it places him out of Biden’s reach. Unless the swing states manage to count most of their mail-in ballots that night, which will be all but impossible for some of them, the expectation of a blue shift will keep Biden fighting on. A really big Biden lead on Election Night, on the other hand, could leave Trump without plausible hope of catching up. If this happens, we may see it first in Florida. But this scenario is awfully optimistic for Biden, considering the GOP advantage among in-person voters, and in any case Trump will not concede defeat. This early in the Interregnum, he will have practical options to keep the contest alive.
Both parties are bracing for a torrent of emergency motions in state and federal courts. They have already been skirmishing from courthouse to courthouse all year in more than 40 states, and Election Day will begin a culminating phase of legal combat.
Mail-in ballots will have plenty of flaws for the Trump lawyers to seize upon. Voting by mail is more complicated than voting in person, and technical errors are common place at each step. If voters supply a new address, or if they write a different version of their name (for example, by shortening Benjamin to Ben), or if their signature has changed over the years, or if they print their name on the signature line, or if they fail to seal the ballot inside an inner security envelope, their votes may not count. With in-person voting, a poll worker in the precinct can resolve small errors like these, for instance by directing a voter to the correct signature line, but people voting by mail may have no opportunity to address them.
During the primaries this spring, Republican lawyers did dry runs for the November vote at county election offices around the country. An internal memo prepared by an attorney named J. Matthew Wolfe for the Pennsylvania Republican Party in June reported on one such exercise. Wolfe, along with another Republican lawyer and a member of the Trump campaign, watched closely but did not intervene as election commissioners in Philadelphia canvassed mail-in and provisional votes. Wolfe cataloged imperfections, taking note of objections that his party could have raised.
There were missing signatures and partial signatures and signatures placed in the wrong spot. There were names on the inner security envelopes, which are supposed to be unmarked, and ballots without security envelopes at all. Some envelopes arrived “without a postmark or with an illegible postmark,” Wolfe wrote. (Watch for postmarks to become the hanging chads of 2020.) Some voters wrote their birth date where a signature date belonged, and others put down “an impossible date, like a date after the primary election.”
Some of the commissioners’ decisions “were clear violations of the direction in and language of the election code,” Wolfe wrote. He recommended that “someone connected with the party review each application and each mail ballot envelope” in November. That is exactly the plan.
Legal teams on both sides are planning for simultaneous litigation, on the scale of Florida during the 2000 election, in multiple battleground states. “My money would be on Texas, Georgia, and Florida” to be trouble spots, Myrna Pérez, the director of voting rights and elections at the Brennan Center, told me.
There are endless happenstances in any election for lawyers to exploit. In Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, not far from Wolfe’s Philadelphia experiment, the county Republican committee gathered surveillance-style photographs of purportedly suspicious goings-on at a ballot drop box during the primary. In one sequence, a county employee is described as placing “unsecured ballots” in the trunk of a car. In another, a security guard is said to be “disconnecting the generator which supplies power to the security cameras.” The photos could mean anything—it’s impossible to tell, out of context—but they are exactly the kind of ersatz evidence that is sure to go viral in the early days of the Interregnum.
The electoral combat will not confine itself to the courtroom. Local election adjudicators can expect to be named and doxed and pilloried as agents of George Soros or antifa. Aggressive crowds of self-proclaimed ballot guardians will be spoiling to reenact the “Brooks Brothers riot” of the Bush v. Gore Florida recount, when demonstrators paid by the Bush campaign staged a violent protest that physically prevented canvassers from completing a recount in Miami-Dade County.
Things like this have already happened, albeit on a smaller scale than we can expect in November. With Trump we must also ask: What might a ruthless incumbent do that has never been tried before?
Suppose that caravans of Trump supporters, adorned in Second Amendment accessories, converge on big-city polling places on Election Day. They have come, they say, to investigate reports on social media of voter fraud. Counter protesters arrive, fistfights break out, shots are fired, and voters flee or cannot reach the polls.
Then suppose the president declares an emergency. Federal personnel in battle dress, staged nearby in advance, move in to restore law and order and secure the balloting. Amid ongoing clashes, they stay to monitor the canvass. They close the streets that lead to the polls. They take custody of uncounted ballots in order to preserve evidence of fraud.
“The president can’t cancel the election, but what if he says, ‘We’re in an emergency, and we’re shutting down this area for a period of time because of the violence taking place’?” says Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute. If you are in Trump’s camp and heedless of boundaries, he said, “what I would expect is you’re not going to do one or two of these things—you’ll do as many as you can.”
There are variations of the nightmare. The venues of intervention could be post offices. The predicate could be a putative intelligence report on forged ballots sent from China.
This is speculation, of course. But none of these scenarios is far removed from things the president has already done or threatened to do. Trump dispatched the National Guard to Washington, D.C., and sent Department of Homeland Security forces to Portland, Oregon, and Seattle during summertime protests for racial justice, on the slender pretext of protecting federal buildings. He said he might invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 and “deploy the United States military” to “Democrat-run cities” in order to protect “life and property.” The federal government has little basis to intercede during elections, which are largely governed by state law and administered by about 10,500 local jurisdictions, but no one familiar with Attorney General Bill Barr’s view of presidential power should doubt that he can find authority for Trump.
With every day that passes after November 3, the president and his allies can hammer home the message that the legitimate tabulation is over and the Democrats are refusing to honor the results. Trump has been flogging this horse already for months. In July he tweeted, “Must know Election results on the night of the Election, not days, months, or even years later!”
Does it matter what Trump says? It is tempting to liken a vote count to the score at a sporting event. The losing coach can bellyache all he likes, but when the umpire makes the call, the game is over. An important thing to know about the Interregnum is that there is no umpire—no singular authority who can decide the contest and lay it to rest. There is a series of lesser officiants, each confined in jurisdiction and tangled in opaque rules.
Trump’s strategy for this phase of the Interregnum will be a play for time as much as a concerted attempt to squelch the count and disqualify Biden votes. The courts may eventually weigh in. But by then, the forum of decision may already have moved elsewhere.
The interregnum allots 35 days for the count and its attendant lawsuits to be resolved. On the 36th day, December 8, an important deadline arrives.
At this stage, the actual tabulation of the vote becomes less salient to the outcome. That sounds as though it can’t be right, but it is: The combatants, especially Trump, will now shift their attention to the appointment of presidential electors.
December 8 is known as the “safe harbor” deadline for appointing the 538 men and women who make up the Electoral College. The electors do not meet until six days later, December 14, but each state must appoint them by the safe-harbor date to guarantee that Congress will accept their credentials. The controlling statute says that if “any controversy or contest” remains after that, then Congress will decide which electors, if any, may cast the state’s ballots for president.
We are accustomed to choosing electors by popular vote, but nothing in the Constitution says it has to be that way. Article II provides that each state shall appoint electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” Since the late 19th century, every state has ceded the decision to its voters. Even so, the Supreme Court affirmed in Bush v. Gore that a state “can take back the power to appoint electors.” How and when a state might do so has not been tested for well over a century.
Trump may test this. According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly. The longer Trump succeeds in keeping the vote count in doubt, the more pressure legislators will feel to act before the safe-harbor deadline expires.
To a modern democratic sensibility, discarding the popular vote for partisan gain looks uncomfortably like a coup, whatever license may be found for it in law. Would Republicans find that position disturbing enough to resist? Would they cede the election before resorting to such a ploy? Trump’s base would exact a high price for that betrayal, and by this point party officials would be invested in a narrative of fraud.
The Trump-campaign legal adviser I spoke with told me the push to appoint electors would be framed in terms of protecting the people’s will. Once committed to the position that the overtime count has been rigged, the adviser said, state lawmakers will want to judge for themselves what the voters intended.
“The state legislatures will say, ‘All right, we’ve been given this constitutional power. We don’t think the results of our own state are accurate, so here’s our slate of electors that we think properly reflect the results of our state,’ ” the adviser said. Democrats, he added, have exposed themselves to this stratagem by creating the conditions for a lengthy overtime.
“If you have this notion,” the adviser said, “that ballots can come in for I don’t know how many days—in some states a week, 10 days—then that onslaught of ballots just gets pushed back and pushed back and pushed back. So pick your poison. Is it worse to have electors named by legislators or to have votes received by Election Day?”
When The Atlantic asked the Trump campaign about plans to circumvent the vote and appoint loyal electors, and about other strategies discussed in the article, the deputy national press secretary did not directly address the questions. “It’s outrageous that President Trump and his team are being villainized for upholding the rule of law and transparently fighting for a free and fair election,” Thea McDonald said in an email. “The mainstream media are giving the Democrats a free pass for their attempts to completely uproot the system and throw our election into chaos.” Trump is fighting for a trustworthy election, she wrote, “and any argument otherwise is a conspiracy theory intended to muddy the waters.”
In Pennsylvania, three Republican leaders told me they had already discussed the direct appointment of electors among themselves, and one said he had discussed it with Trump’s national campaign.
“I’ve mentioned it to them, and I hope they’re thinking about it too,” Lawrence Tabas, the Pennsylvania Republican Party’s chairman, told me. “I just don’t think this is the right time for me to be discussing those strategies and approaches, but [direct appointment of electors] is one of the options. It is one of the available legal options set forth in the Constitution.” He added that everyone’s preference is to get a swift and accurate count. “If the process, though, is flawed, and has significant flaws, our public may lose faith and confidence” in the election’s integrity.
Jake Corman, the state’s Senate majority leader, preferred to change the subject, emphasizing that he hoped a clean vote count would produce a final tally on Election Night. “The longer it goes on, the more opinions and the more theories and the more conspiracies [are] created,” he told me. If controversy persists as the safe-harbor date nears, he allowed, the legislature will have no choice but to appoint electors. “We don’t want to go down that road, but we understand where the law takes us, and we’ll follow the law.”
Republicans control both legislative chambers in the six most closely contested battleground states. Of those, Arizona and Florida have Republican governors, too. In Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the governors are Democrats.
Foley, the Ohio State election scholar, has mapped the ripple effects if Republican legislators were to appoint Trump electors in defiance of the vote in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan. The Democratic governors would respond by certifying the official count, a routine exercise of their authority, and they would argue that legislators could not lawfully choose different electors after the vote had taken place. Their “certificates of ascertainment,” dispatched to the National Archives, would say that their states had appointed electors committed to Biden. Each competing set of electors would have the imprimatur of one branch of state government.
In Arizona, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who oversees elections, is a Democrat. She could assert her own power to certify the voting results and forward a slate of Biden electors. Even in Florida, which has unified Republican rule, electors pledged to Biden could meet and certify their own votes in hope of triggering a “controversy or contest” that would leave their state’s outcome to Congress. Much the same thing almost happened during the Florida recount battle of 2000. Republican Governor Jeb Bush certified electors for his brother, George W. Bush, on November 26 of that year, while litigation of the recount was still under way. Gore’s chief lawyer, Ronald Klain, responded by booking a room in the old Florida capitol building for Democratic electors to cast rival ballots for Gore. Only Gore’s concession, five days before the Electoral College vote, mooted that plan.
In any of these scenarios, the Electoral College would convene on December 14 without a consensus on who had legitimate claims to cast the deciding votes.
Rival slates of electors could hold mirror-image meetings in Harrisburg, Lansing, Tallahassee, or Phoenix, casting the same electoral votes on opposite sides. Each slate would transmit its ballots, as the Constitution provides, “to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.” The next move would belong to Vice President Mike Pence.
This would be a genuine constitutional crisis, the first but not the last of the Interregnum. “Then we get thrown into a world where anything could happen,” Norm Ornstein says.
Two men are claiming the presidency. The next occasion to settle the matter is more than three weeks away.
January 6 comes just after the new Congress is sworn in. Control of the Senate will be crucial to the presidency now.
Pence, as president of the Senate, would hold in his hands two conflicting electoral certificates from each of several swing states. The Twelfth Amendment says only this about what happens next: “The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.”
Note the passive voice. Who does the counting? Which certificates are counted?
The Trump team would take the position that the constitutional language leaves those questions to the vice president. This means that Pence has the unilateral power to announce his own reelection, and a second term for Trump. Democrats and legal scholars would denounce the self-dealing and point out that Congress filled the gaps in the Twelfth Amendment with the Electoral Count Act, which provides instructions for how to resolve this kind of dispute. The trouble with the instructions is that they are widely considered, in Foley’s words, to be “convoluted and impenetrable,” “confusing and ugly,” and “one of the strangest pieces of statutory language ever enacted by Congress.”
If the Interregnum is a contest in search of an umpire, it now has 535 of them, and a rule book that no one is sure how to read. The presiding officer is one of the players on the field.
Foley has produced a 25,000-word study in the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal that maps out the paths the ensuing fight could take if only one state’s electoral votes are in play.
If Democrats win back the Senate and hold the House, then all roads laid out in the Electoral Count Act lead eventually to a Biden presidency. The reverse applies if Republicans hold the Senate and unexpectedly win back the House. But if Congress remains split, there are conditions in which no decisive outcome is possible—no result that has clear force of law. Each party could cite a plausible reading of the rules in which its candidate has won. There is no tie-breaking vote.
How can it be that Congress slips into unbreakable deadlock? The law is a labyrinth in these parts, too intricate to map in a magazine article, but I can sketch one path.
Suppose Pennsylvania alone sends rival slates of electors, and their 20 votes will decide the presidency.
One reading of the Electoral Count Act says that Congress must recognize the electors certified by the governor, who is a Democrat, unless the House and Senate agree otherwise. The House will not agree otherwise, and so Biden wins Pennsylvania and the White House. But Pence pounds his gavel and rules against this reading of the law, instead favoring another, which holds that Congress must discard both contested slates of electors. The garbled statute can plausibly be read either way.
With Pennsylvania’s electors disqualified, 518 electoral votes remain. If Biden holds a narrow lead among them, he again claims the presidency, because he has “the greatest number of votes,” as the Twelfth Amendment prescribes. But Republicans point out that the same amendment requires “a majority of the whole number of electors.” The whole number of electors, Pence rules, is 538, and Biden is short of the required 270.
On this argument, no one has attained the presidency, and the decision is thrown to the House, with one vote per state. If the current partisan balance holds, 26 out of 50 votes will be for Trump.
Before Pence can move on from Pennsylvania to Rhode Island, which is next on the alphabetical list as Congress counts the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expels all senators from the floor of her chamber. Now Pence is prevented from completing the count “in the presence of” the House, as the Constitution requires. Pelosi announces plans to stall indefinitely. If the count is still incomplete on Inauguration Day, the speaker herself will become acting president.
Pelosi prepares to be sworn in on January 20 unless Pence reverses his ruling and accepts that Biden won. Pence does not budge. He reconvenes the Senate in another venue, with House Republicans squeezing in, and purports to complete the count, making Trump the president-elect. Three people now have supportable claims to the Oval Office.
There are other paths in the labyrinth. Many lead to dead ends.
This is the next constitutional crisis, graver than the one three weeks before, because the law and the Constitution provide for no other authority to consult. The Supreme Court may yet intervene, but it may also shy away from another traumatizing encounter with a fundamentally political question.
Sixty-four days have passed since the election. Stalemate reigns. Two weeks remain until Inauguration Day.
Foley, who foresaw this impasse, knows of no solution. He cannot tell you how we avoid it under current law, or how it ends. It is not so much, at this point, a question of law. It is a question of power. Trump has possession of the White House. How far will he push boundaries to keep it, and who will push back? It is the same question the president has posed since the day he took office.
I hoped to gain some insight from a series of exercises conducted this summer by a group of former elected officials, academics, political strategists, and lawyers. In four days of simulations, the Transition Integrity Project modeled the election and its aftermath in an effort to find pivot points where things could fall apart.
They found plenty. Some of the scenarios included dueling slates of electors of the kind I have described. In one version it was the Democratic governor of Michigan who first resorted to appointing electors, after Trump ordered the National Guard to halt the vote count and a Trump-friendly guardsman destroyed mail-in ballots. John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair in 2016, led a Biden team in another scenario that was prepared to follow Trump to the edge of civil war, encouraging three blue states to threaten secession. Norm-breaking begat norm-breaking. (Clinton herself, in an August interview for Showtime’s The Circus, caught the same spirit. “Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances,” she said.)
A great deal has been written about the proceedings, including a firsthand account from my colleague David Frum. But the coverage had a puzzling gap. None of the stories fully explained how the contest ended. I wanted to know who took the oath of office.
I called Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown professor who co-founded the project. Unnervingly, she had no answers for me. She did not know how the story turned out. In half of the simulations, the participants did not make it as far as Inauguration Day.
“We got to points in the scenarios where there was a constitutional impasse, no clear means of resolution in sight, street-level violence,” she said. “I think in one of them we had Trump invoking the Insurrection Act and we had troops in the streets … Five hours had gone by and we sort of said, ‘Okay, we’re done.’ ” She added: “Once things were clearly off the rails, there was no particular benefit to seeing exactly how far off they would go.”
“Our goal in doing this was to try to identify intervention moments, to identify moments where we could then look back and say, ‘What would have changed this? What would have kept it from getting this bad?’ ” Brooks said. The project didn’t make much progress there. No lessons were learned about how to restrain a lawless president once a conflict was under way, no alternative moves devised to stave off disaster. “I suppose you could say we were in terra incognita: no one could predict what would happen anymore,” Brooks told me in a follow-up email.
The political system may no longer be strong enough to preserve its integrity. It’s a mistake to take for granted that election boards and state legislatures and Congress are capable of drawing lines that ensure a legitimate vote and an orderly transfer of power. We may have to find a way to draw those lines ourselves.
There are reforms to consider some other day, when an election is not upon us. Small ones, like clearing up the murky parts of the Electoral Count Act. Big ones, like doing away with the Electoral College. Obvious ones, like appropriating money to help cash-starved election authorities upgrade their operations in order to speed up and secure the count on Election Day.
Right now, the best we can do is an ad hoc defense of democracy. Begin by rejecting the temptation to think that this election will carry on as elections usually do. Something far out of the norm is likely to happen. Probably more than one thing. Expecting otherwise will dull our reflexes. It will lull us into spurious hope that Trump is tractable to forces that constrain normal incumbents.
If you are a voter, think about voting in person after all. More than half a million postal votes were rejected in this year’s primaries, even without Trump trying to suppress them. If you are at relatively low risk for COVID-19, volunteer to work at the polls. If you know people who are open to reason, spread word that it is normal for the results to keep changing after Election Night. If you manage news coverage, anticipate constitutionality measures, and position reporters and crews to respond to them. If you are an election administrator, plan for contingencies you never had to imagine before. If you are a mayor, consider how to deploy your police to ward off interlopers with bad intent. If you are a law-enforcement officer, protect the freedom to vote. If you are a legislator, choose not to participate in chicanery. If you are a judge on the bench in a battleground state, refresh your acquaintance with election case law. If you have a place in the military chain of command, remember your duty to turn aside unlawful orders. If you are a civil servant, know that your country needs you more than ever to do the right thing when you’re asked to do otherwise.
Take agency. An election cannot be stolen unless the American people, at some level, acquiesce. One thing Brooks has been thinking about since her exercise came to an end is the power of peaceful protest on a grand scale. “We had players on both sides attempting to mobilize their supporters to turn out in large numbers, and we didn’t really have a good mechanism for deciding, did that make a difference? What kind of difference did that make?” she said. “It left some with some big questions about what if you had Orange Revolution–style mass protest sustained over weeks. What effects would that have?”
Only once, in 1877, has the Interregnum brought the country to the brink of true collapse. We will find no model in that episode for us now.
Four states sent rival slates of electors to Congress in the 1876 presidential race between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. When a special tribunal blessed the electors for Hayes, Democrats began parliamentary maneuvers to obstruct the electoral count in Congress. Their plan was to run out the clock all the way to Inauguration Day, when the Republican incumbent, Ulysses S. Grant, would have to step down.
Not until two days before Grant’s term expired did Tilden give in. His concession was based on a repugnant deal for the withdrawal of federal troops from the South, where they were protecting the rights of emancipated Black people. But that was not Tilden’s only inducement.
The threat of military force was in the air. Grant let it be known that he was prepared to declare martial law in New York, where rumor had it that Tilden planned to be sworn in, and to back the inauguration of Hayes with uniformed troops.
That is an unsettling precedent for 2021. If our political institutions fail to produce a legitimate president, and if Trump maintains the stalemate into the new year, the chaos candidate and the commander in chief will be one and the same.
Elijah Must Come First
Would you recognize him when he comes?
For the past few weeks, I have been writing to Dr. David Jeremiah of Shadow Mountain Church. I had previously written to Dr. James Dobson of Family Talk Radio as well as both The 700 CLub in the USA and in Canada. Each time I follow up and contact the office to see if they got my letter and understand what I am trying to convey to them. I have to get the receptionist to understand as much as possible because she is the one who will then pass the message on to the producers of the show and hope they will want to learn more. I have been calling Dr. Dobson since Dec 2019. I have tried many of the major Christian TV and radio hosts in an effort to get this message out to their listeners. Some of you have also done this on our behalf. Most of the time it feels fruitless as if we are constantly banging our heads against the wall and nothing happening and no one is interested in hearing our message.
Here is part of what I wrote to Dr. David Jeremiah.
What would you do if Elijah came to Shadow Mountain Church? Yes, the Elijah that was to come before Messiah comes in the last days.
Would you recognize him? Would you argue with him? Would you turn him away? Would you repent if he told you to do so? Would you even listen to him?
There is a scripture in Daniel 8 that tells you how you might recognize him.
Dan 8:13 Then I heard a certain holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that one who spoke, Until when shall the vision last, concerning the daily sacrifice and the transgression that astounds, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled?
Dan 8:14 And he said to me, For two thousand, three hundred evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be vindicated.
The word Sanctuary can also be translated as Saints. It is the Saints that will be trampled underfoot 2300 Days or 6 1/4 years.
When you go to Revelation we read,
Rev 6:9 And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held.
Rev 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Until when, Master, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?
It is the two witnesses who will vindicate or avenge the Saints who will be slaughtered in the years directly in front of us. they will begin their public ministry at the end of the 6 1/4 years and they will work for 3 1/2 years before the coming Great Tribulation. They will be killed at the beginning of that Tribulation.
One of the witnesses knows the timeline or chronology and the other does not which is why he is asking for how long.
Through the Sabbatical and Jubilee Cycles, you can know exactly where we are in these last days. Daniel 9 tells us that in the midst of the 70th Jubilee, which is what the word weeks means (Shabua), Israel, (Messiah) would be cut off and be as if they never were. The middle of that 70th Jubilee is also the middle of the 120th Jubilee. They are the same Jubilee cycle. The middle year is 2020. This is the year according to scripture, that plague and famine and sword will come. We have WHO declaring a worldwide pandemic in March of 2020. We have the UN warning of 270 Million dying of famine by Dec 31, 2020. And we see the USA about to begin a civil war with an election about to be declared or dragged out over many weeks as they count ballots. The left versus the right and the black versus the white.
So, I want to ask you the same question.
Would you recognize Elijah when he comes? Would you argue with him? Would you turn him away? Would you repent if he told you to do so? Would you even listen to him?
We are told in Malachi about Elijah coming before the terrible day of Yehovah. So we do know he must come first. And all of you know when Satan is to be locked away. Knowing when Satan is be locked away, each of you should be able to know when the Two Witnesses are going to show up.
The Great Day of the Lord
Mal 4:1 For behold, the day is coming, burning like a fire pot; and all the proud, and every doer of wickedness, shall be chaff. And the coming day will set them ablaze, says Jehovah of Hosts, which will not leave root or branches to them.
Mal 4:2 But to you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise, and healing will be on His wings. And you shall go out and frisk like calves of the stall.
Mal 4:3 And you shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day which I am preparing, says Jehovah of Hosts.
Mal 4:4 Remember the Law of Moses My servant, which I commanded to him in Horeb for all Israel, the statutes and judgments.
Mal 4:5 Behold, I am sending you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Jehovah.
Mal 4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers, that I not come and strike the earth with utter destruction.
You are reading that unless Elijah comes and turns the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the children back to their fathers, Yehovah would come and utterly destroy the earth. We all know Yehovah is coming to destroy many in the world for not obeying Him, but we do not read about Him utterly destroying the whole earth. So Elijah must be doing something in the last days to prevent this. Or Elijah must be converting enough people to the Torah so that Yehovah does not destroy the earth. This then means he must have a ministry. And because this takes time to do and it takes time for the people to think about it and then to act upon those revelations they are being taught, that Elijah must have a ministry at work years before the Great Tribulation which is the Day of the Lord.
Who is doing something like this now and what is it they are doing? Make a list of all the Ministries out there right now.
You and I both know for a fact we are in the last days.
You have now proven this many times over as have I. Huge world events have confirmed what we have been saying about 2020 since 2005. These huge world events are in no way possible to have been manufactured by any man. Yet we have been telling you about them since 2005. We have been the only ones telling you.
We know the Two Witnesses will be killed at Passover 2030 when the Great End-time Tribulation begins. And we know they work for 3 1/2 years before that, which brings us to the Feast of Trumpets in
2026 as to the time when they begin their work.
When Yehshua was here from 3 BC until His death at Passover in 31 AD, the leaders of the Sanhedrin did not recognize Him, except for Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemos. Even the Apostles did not recognize Elijah being John the Baptist until Yehshua told them that was who he was.
Mat 11:7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say to the crowds concerning John, What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
Mat 11:8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft clothing? Behold, they who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
Mat 11:9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yea, I say to you, and one more excellent than a prophet.
Mat 11:10 For this is the one of whom it is written, “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who shall prepare Your way before You.”
Mat 11:11 Truly I say to you, Among those who have been born of women there has not risen a greater one than John the Baptist. But the least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.
Mat 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of Heaven is taken by violence, and the violent take it by force.
Mat 11:13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.
Mat 11:14 And if you will receive it, this is Elijah who is to come.
Mat 11:15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Elijah was to restore all things.
Mat 17:1 And after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain apart.
Mat 17:2 And He was transfigured before them. And His face shone as the sun, and His clothing was white as the light.
Mat 17:3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah talking with Him.
Mat 17:4 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here. If You will, let us make here three tabernacles; one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.
Mat 17:5 While he yet spoke, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. And behold a voice out of the cloud which said, This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear Him.
Mat 17:6 And when the disciples heard, they fell on their face and were greatly terrified.
Mat 17:7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise and do not be terrified.
Mat 17:8 And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus alone.
Mat 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.
Mat 17:10 And His disciples asked Him, saying, Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?
Mat 17:11 And answering Jesus said to them, Elijah truly shall come first and restore all things.
What are the ALL THINGS that Elijah is to restore?
In Luke we are told that John the Baptist was going to be doing exactly as Malachi said, Turning the hearts of the children to the father and the father to the children.
Luk 1:13 But the angel said to him, Do not fear, Zacharias. For your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
Luk 1:14 And you shall have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth.
Luk 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall neither drink wine nor strong drink. And he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
Luk 1:16 And he shall turn many of the sons of Israel to theLord their God.
Luk 1:17 And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
And then later in Luke, we read that John was teaching the people the Gospel as well as rebuking those leaders of the Sanhedrin as well as King Herod, which is what would eventually get him killed.
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
Luk 3:1 And in the fifteenth year of the government of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the Trachonitus country, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene—
Luk 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests— the Word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
Luk 3:3 And he came into all the country around Jordan, proclaiming the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,
Luk 3:4 as it is written in the book of the Words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.
Luk 3:5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth.
Luk 3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
Luk 3:7 Then he said to the crowd that came forth to be baptized by him, O generation of vipers! Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Luk 3:8 Therefore bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Luk 3:9 And now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.
Luk 3:10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
Luk 3:11 He answered and said to them, He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none. And he who has food, let him do likewise.
Luk 3:12 And tax-collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, Teacher, what shall we do?
Luk 3:13 And he said to them, Continue to do no more than that commanded to you.
Luk 3:14 And the soldiers also asked of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said to them, Do not forcibly extort anyone, nor accuse any falsely. And be content with your wages.
Luk 3:15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts concerning John, lest perhaps he was the Christ,
Luk 3:16 John answered all, saying, I indeed baptize you with water, but He who is mightier than I comes, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to loose. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire,
Luk 3:17 whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor and will gather the wheat into His storehouse. But He will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Luk 3:18 And then indeed exhorting many things, he proclaimed the gospel to the people.
Elijah’s ministry will be preaching the gospel before the Messiah comes. The restoration of all things will be the Truth of the Torah that has been pushed aside by all those false teachers and religions over the past 2000 years. All of us have witnessed the miracle of the growing numbers of people returning to the Torah and keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days. Each one of us is part of this restoration. Each and every one of us.
There have been groups that kept the Sabbath for the past 2000 years and they have been persecuted for it. The AnaBaptists and Waldensians and Paulicians to name a few. We then have the coming of the Seventh Day Adventists about 1844 and then The World Wide Church of God in 1933, who were starting to keep the Holy Days according to the Hebrew calendar.
I want to share a bit of history with you about this time when the Sacred Name Groups began and how they and the Worldwide Church of God group both split from the Seventh Day Adventist at the same time. you can also read this same story from the other point of view at this link. And I think this is important for everyone to know as it is part of our history that leads directly to us today.
Most of you know that after God had called me as His instrument in His Great Commission — after my conversion in the spring of 1927 — my wife and I fellowshipped with Oregon members of the Church of God, whose headquarters was at Stanberry, Missouri. However, we never became members of the Stanberry organization.
Research since the founding of Ambassador College has identified that church (Rev. 3.1-6) as the Sardis era of God’s Church. It issued a weekly church paper called the “Bible Advocate.” It was organized on the pattern of a biennial General Conference.
At the 1933 General Conference, held, as near as I can remember, either early or mid-August, its president and editor of its paper lost the presidency by one vote. This was cast by Elder Burt F. Marrs, acting as the chairman of the conference. He had the deciding vote in caw of a tie
That vote resulted in splitting the church, which thereafter split and re-split until I was unable to keep track of the many splinter groups — spin-offs of what once was the Sardis era of the Church of God. Thus, so far as the ORGANIZED “Sardis Era” of the Church of God is concerned, that 1933 conference may well be said to have marked THE END of the “Sardis Era.”
And that may be of considerable significance. For late in August of that year, the small parent church of the “Philadelphia Era” (Rev. 3:7-12) was raised up near Eugene, Oregon.
On being defeated at the Stanberry 1933 Conference, the deposed president-editor left that church and teamed up with an Elder C. O. Dodd in organizing a competing organization. It claimed world headquarters at Jerusalem (with no member there, so far as I know), and United States headquarters at the little town of Salem, West Virginia.
To draw members from the Stanberry organization after them, they termed their new church “the Bible form of organization.” This was a misnomer, but it appealed to many. Half or more of the Stanberry church left Stanberry and lined up with this new Salem, West Virginia group. They promptly issued their own “Bible Advocate” — almost identical in form and appearance to the Stanberry paper.
This new Salem, West Virginia liaison soon broke up, apparently in 1937, when Elder Dodd went into the “Hebrew Names” movement.Beginning of “Hebrew Names” Teaching
Apparently this new “Hebrew Names” teaching actually began in the 1930s. Dr. John R. Briggs met Mr. August Sheffick, who insisted that the English word “Christ” was of pagan origin. Dr. Briggs thereupon began to emphasize the Hebrew word Yahshua. He was in association with an A. B. Traina in an assembly in New Jersey. Apparently he was going somewhat overboard, and Mr. Traina insisted he calm down, whereupon Dr. Briggs and a Jewish man, Paul Penn, departed to Detroit. Their “Names Evangelization Program” and Kadesh Name Society” began there in February, 1937.
This group first obtained a charter as “Assembly of Y.H.V.H.” and later as “Yahveh Beth Israel.” Dr. Briggs acted as executive. Apparently there was little growth or fruit borne, and he died in 1961, having ordained ministers to continue his work. This group believes Christ (whom they call “Yahshua”) was kept in prison a couple of days, and not crucified until the preparation for the weekly Sabbath, 28 A.D., and that He was raised three days later on the last day of Unleavened Bread. They dip three times to baptize (The Faith magazine, March 1969, page 4, and literature and correspondence from “Yahveh Beth Israel”).
But what is more important than this group, is that Mr. Briggs had persuaded Elder C. O. Dodd to accept the Hebrew names. He had started a new magazine called The Faith. Mr. Dodd then went in with Mr. Traina.
Now we are getting into history I personally remember. Mr. Dodd, now leaving the Salem group as he had the Stanberry organization, was rebaptized in Michigan in the name of “Yahshua” by Elder Earl Bigford in 1941. His “Faith Bible and Tract Society” had been publishing The Faith magazine, beginning March 1937.
I received The Faith somewhat regularly and remember the articles by Mr. Traina on speaking or writing the names of God or of Christ only in the Hebrew language — which they, of course, termed the “sacred names.”
Mr. Dodd and I discussed this new doctrine on the telephone.
Herbert Armstrong would then go on to grow the Radio Church of God and then the World Wide Church of God which I came into in 1982 and was there until they spilt apart in 1994, just 8 years after Mr. Armstrong died. Many of these members would go on to plant new groups keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days. Last time I was told there were over 800 various groups.
It would be in the late 1990s and early 2000’s that people began to be drawn to what is now known as the Hebrew Roots movement. Nehemiah Gordon began to look for the barley and the crescent moon in the late 1990s. It was through Nehemia and Michael Rood that I first learned about the barley and the crescent moon in 2004. I only began to obey and understand this new to me teaching by Passover 2005. And that is when I was shown the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and what they meant and showed us from prophecy. About 2011, Keith Johnson and Nehemia began to teach about the name of Yehovah as the proper pronunciation of our Father’s name.
Over the last 176 years Yehovah has restored, the Sabbath, The Holy Days, The Holy Days being kept according to the Barley being Aviv and according to the crescent moon to begin the month. Yehovah has restored the Sabbatical and Jubilee years to the proper time and He has restored His name so we can all know it. Yehovah is calling thousands of people to come and know HIs truths around the world. And He is doing all of this just before the end of this age. Elijah will be doing all of these things just before the Great and terrible Day of the Lord.
Do you know how to recognize him?
The original Elijah was what some would call arrogant by mocking the Priests of Baal in verse 27.
1Ki 18:17 And it happened when Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, Are you he that troubles Israel?
1Ki 18:18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of Jehovah, and you have followed the Baals.
1Ki 18:19 And now send and gather to me all Israel to mount Carmel, and four hundred and fifty of the prophets of Baal, and four hundred of the prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.
The Prophets of Baal Defeated
1Ki 18:20 And Ahab sent to all the sons of Israel, and gathered the prophets together to mount Carmel.
1Ki 18:21 And Elijah came to all the people and said, How long are you limping over two opinions? If Jehovah is God, follow Him. But if Baal is God, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word.
1Ki 18:22 And Elijah said to the people, I, I alone, remain a prophet of Jehovah. But Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
1Ki 18:23 And let them give us two bulls, and let them choose one bull for themselves, and cut it in pieces and lay it on wood. But place no fire. And I will dress the other bull and lay it on wood, and place no fire.
1Ki 18:24 And you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of Jehovah. And it shall be, the god that answers by fire, He is God. And all the people answered and said, The word is good.
1Ki 18:25 And Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, Choose one bull for yourselves, and prepare first, for you are many. And call on the name of your god, but place no fire.
1Ki 18:26 And they took the bull which was given them, and they dressed, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any who answered. And they leaped on the altar which was made.
1Ki 18:27 And it happened at noon Elijah mocked them and said, Cry with a great voice, for he is a god. Either he is meditating, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey; perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened!
1Ki 18:28 And they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves with knives and spears until the blood gushed out on them, as is their way.
1Ki 18:29 And it happened when midday was past, and when they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor anyone who paid attention.
1Ki 18:30 And Elijah said to all the people, Come near to me. And all the people came near him. And he repaired the broken down altar of Jehovah.
1Ki 18:31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the Word of Jehovah came, saying, Israel shall be your name.
1Ki 18:32 And with stones he built an altar in the name of Jehovah. And he made a trench around the altar big enough to contain two measures of seed.
1Ki 18:33 And he arranged the wood, and cut the bull in pieces, and placed it on the wood, and said, Fill four water jars with water and pour on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.
1Ki 18:34 And he said, Do it the second time. And they did itthe second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
1Ki 18:35 And the water ran all around the altar. And he filled the trench also with water.
1Ki 18:36 And it happened at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your Word.
1Ki 18:37 Hear me, O Jehovah, hear me, that this people may know that You are Jehovah God, and that You have turned their heart back again.
1Ki 18:38 And the fire of Jehovah fell and burned up the burnt sacrifice and the wood, and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
1Ki 18:39 And when all the people saw, they fell on their faces. And they said, Jehovah, He is the God! Jehovah, He is the God!
1Ki 18:40 And Elijah said to them, Take the prophets of Baal. Do not let one of them escape. And they took them. And Elijah brought them down to the torrent Kishon and killed them there.
Even after this great miracle which Elijah just saw we read in Chapter 19 how much doubt was in Elijah’s mind about who he was. He did not know at this time he was some great prophet. He fled Jezabel and ran for his life.
The part of the prophecy Elijah said about Elisha was a prophet before Hazael was king, and Hazael was king before Jehu, and the heavy famine which he brought on the land took place before the reign either of Jehu or Hazael. The meaning of the prophecy may be this: Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha, shall be the ministers of my vengeance against this disobedient and rebellious people. The order of time, here, is not to be regarded as Jehu does not come to reign until 12 years after Ahab is dead and he does wipe out all the descendants of Ahab. Ahab died in 853 BC. Hazael takes the throne in 842 BC and Jehu in 841 BC.
Hazael is first mentioned by name in 1 Kings 19:15. God tells Elijah the prophet of God to anoint Hazael king over Syria. Years after this, the Syrian king Ben-Hadad II, probably identical to Hadadezer mentioned in the Tell Dan Stele, was ill and sent his court official Hazael with gifts to Elijah’s successor, Elisha. Elisha told Hazael to tell Hadadezer that he would recover, and he revealed to Hazael that the king would recover but would die of other means. The day after he returned to Hadadezer in Damascus, Hazael suffocated him and seized power himself. He was also predicted by Elisha to commit heinous crimes against the Israelites.
During his reign (c. 842–800 BCE),King Hazael led the Arameans in battle against the forces of King Jehoram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah. After defeating them at Ramoth-Gilead, Hazael repelled two attacks by the Assyrians, seized Israelite territory east of the Jordan River, and the Philistine city of Gath. Although unsuccessful, he also sought to take Jerusalem (2 Kings 12:17–18). Hazael’s death is mentioned in 2 Kings 13:24.
But this could also be directed to the end of this age when the Beast hears tidings out of the East and the North.
Dan 11:40 And at the end-time, the king of the south shall butt at him. And the king of the north shall come against him like a tempest, with chariots and with horsemen and with many ships.
Dan 11:41 And he shall enter into the countries and shall overflow and pass over. He shall also enter into the glorious land, and many shall be stumbled. But these shall escape out of his hand: Edom and Moab, and the chief of the sons of Ammon.
Dan 11:42 And he shall stretch out his hand on the lands. And the land of Egypt shall not escape.
Dan 11:43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt. And the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
Dan 11:44 But news out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him. Then he will go out with great fury to destroy, and to devote many to destruction.
Yehovah uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
We read in revelation how the Two Witnesses will have fire come out of their mouths to destroy their enemies.
Rev 11:5 And if anyone will hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone will hurt them, so it is right for him to be killed.
Elijah did the same thing.
2Ki 1:9 And he sent to him a commander of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him. And, behold, he sat on the top of a hill. And he spoke to him, Man of God! The king has said, Come down.
2Ki 1:10 And Elijah answered and said to the commander of fifty, If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from the heavens and burn up you and your fifty. And there came down fire from the heavens and burned up him and his fifty.
2Ki 1:11 And he turned and he sent to him another commander of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said to him, Man of God! So says the king, Come down quickly.
2Ki 1:12 And Elijah answered and said to him, If I am a man of God, let fire come down from the heavens and burn up you and your fifty. And the fire of God came down from the heavens and burned up him and his fifty.
2Ki 1:13 And he turned and sent again a third commander of fifty and his fifty. And the third commander of fifty came up and fell on his knees before Elijah, and begged him, and said to him, Man of God, Please let my life and the life of these fifty, your servants, be precious in your sight.
2Ki 1:14 Behold, fire has come down from the heavens and burned up the two commanders of the former fifties with their fifties. And now let my life be precious in your sight.
2Ki 1:15 And the Angel of Jehovah said to Elijah, Go down with him. Do not be afraid of him. And he arose and went down with him to the king.
Some people think and others say that the two witnesses are the Jews and Israel in the last days. I strongly do not agree with that. I firmly believe they are two people and one will be from Judah and the other from Israel. And knowing how close we are to the end when they will call for the worldwide drought in 2026, I believe they both will have ministries working and growing before that time. And somehow they will be involved with the political leaders at this time as well.
Daniel 8 also tells us a couple of other things. First off it shows us that one of the Saints, and I believe this to be one of the two witnesses, knows how long this slaughter of the Saints will last and the other does not. Again the word sanctuary should be translated as Saints and it is the Saints who will be trampled. At the end of those 2300 mornings and evenings, then the Saints will be vindicated. The word vindicated can also be translated as “1d3) to justify, vindicate the cause of, save
Dan 8:13 Then I heard a certain holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that one who spoke, Until when shall the vision last, concerning the daily sacrifice and the transgression that astounds, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled?
Dan 8:14 And he said to me, For two thousand, three hundred evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be vindicated.
The Saints who are under the altar in Rev 6: seek vengeance for their murders.
Rev 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Until when, Master, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?
This is what the Two Witnesses will be doing starting at the Feast of Trumpets in 2026 at the end of those 2300 Days which we believe began May 25 to May 31 with the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent riots that are still going to this day.
We are now just 6 years from the Feast of Trumpets in 2026. Where is Elijah? Where is his ministry? Do you recognize Elijah or will you when you see him? Would you argue with him? Would you turn him away? Would you repent if he told you to do so? Would you even listen to him? Do you think he is arrogant or will you think that about him? Does he keep the Holy Days by the Barley being Aviv? Does he go by the crescent moon to begin the month? Are you going to support him when you find him?