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Cleansing or rebirth?

Which is the meaning, a proper understanding of baptism? Both. Though according to Joseph Campbell, writer of The Hero with a Thousand Faces rebirth is ascendant, rises to greater importance in an individual’s heroic quest to make a difference or to become all one can be. Campbell includes St John’s gospel account as evidence rebirth is greater, when Nicodemus furtively met with Jesus after nightfall. I am said, “You must be born again.”

Responsibility and authority met that night. To be more accurate, responsibility furtively engaged authority in dialogue under cover of darkness. “You must be born again.” Dissembling. Foot dragging. Wonderment. Approximately three years passed. Preparation of the body of Jesus for burial:

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. –John 19:38-40 (NAS)

Much occurred on the path between Wonderment and Preparation. But the two budding, secretive as they were, heroes: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus grew into their responsibility of preparing a body for proper burial, especially important if Jesus was to experience a resurrection. Both had resources. Joseph brought linens. Nicodemus, burial spices, a royal sufficient amount suit for a king. Not sure in the sacred texts we ever see Joseph or Nicodemus in the light, during the day when most individuals conduct their business. But since they had met authority, it didn’t matter when they worked: day or night.

When Donald Trump was chosen on Election Day November 8, 2016, to be our current President, we as Americans met authority in the making. The manner in which he obtained his authority is all but poetically stated in the Declaration of Independence: “…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Weeks later, on December 19, 2016, because our government was constitutionally established as a representative republic, most of the Electors in what’s known as The Electoral College faithfully cast their votes according to the voters’ consent. On January 20, 2017, at high noon, Americans met authority, with powers, in the person of President Trump, for real.

Immediately was heard the often fateful sound of a swiftly cast spear intended to pin President Trump against a wall, along with cries similar to, “Crucify him. Crucify him.” “He’s not our president, we have no president but Hillary” Rumors swirled former President Obama was also behind it, was in the process of establishing a Shadow Government with Valerie Jarrett “ensconced” in her very own “Attila the Hun chair” living with the Obama’s in his new headquarters in Washington, DC that is. Shadow government, under the cover of darkness. Hmm. There’s a theme brewing.

Then came talk of The Deep State occupying The Swamp candidate Trump had proposed to drain. Claims the deep state and Obama’s shadow government existed were bolstered by leak-a-day media articles printed primarily by The New York Times and The Washington Post that exposed complete transcripts of phone calls and meetings Trump had engaged in by the light of day; as if what he had done by the light of day had actually, clandestinely been done under the cover of darkness. Oh, the media’s deceit, claiming day is night and night is day, insinuating (that’s mostly what they do nowadays) #DemSpokesJournalists such as Rachel Maddow, George Stephanopoulos, Chris Wallace, Chris Matthews, and Shep Smith are light while Trump is darkness.

When David in the first book of Samuel had a spear thrown at him by King Saul, David didn’t wait around. He fled to the era transitional judge/prophet Samuel. They met in one town, but quickly took refuge in a nearby town, the town of Samuel’s (and Joseph’s) birth, since known as Arimathea. “While you have life, live.” That’s the lesson of the name Arimathea which more specifically translates “a lion dead to the Lord.” Or as thought of in Ecclesiastes 9:4, “A living dog is better than a dead lion.”

So at the sound of the spear President Trump avoided the point, the intent of the point. Now, though much like a lion in character, he consistently and persistently lives strong, inexplicably thriving in his lesser capacity laid upon him by a feckless Republican Congress intent on swindling voters. In other words he’s been doing pretty good, considering his new life amongst the pups is not what he had anticipated, with not a few curs nestled in between them. But ever jubilant, joyous, ebullient, encouraging; he continues to inspire those who cast their lot with him in the last election. They will not let go. They will not be deterred. #FakePolls don’t poll them. Yet they live, strong, like their president.

But who will pull our government out of the doldrums? Who are they like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus that possess the tools of such a trade? That can lift and carry the weights of linen and spice necessary to ply their craft? That know how to apply linen and spice for a resurrection effect? All the while under authority, under the cover of darkness? Who are they that take the rebirth of baptism seriously?

The texts tell us Samuel, when God called out his name said, “Speak, Lord, for your servant (under authority) is listening.” Joseph of Arimathea chiseled his way into a large rock, to create a space for himself, a place of rest from his earthly labors, the same fresh, unused tomb from which later the stone was rolled away. Nicodemus notably stood his ground, tried to slow the Sanhedrin down when he said, “Listen to the one you judge before you judge him. He’s not even here.” In such manner, by such actions and endeavors they prepared themselves for the impending task of assisting in a rebirth they were powerless to perform by themselves, powerless to circumvent or destroy.

The soldier-journalists sent by The Swamp that threw the spear, arrived in Arimathea and began searching. Suddenly, without warning, every single one of them began making unintelligible claims about what the future had in store for Trump and his voters. Upon return to The Swamp from where they were sent, more soldiers were sent in search of the real Trump. It was as if the president was invisible to them, even though he actually was standing present with them, as clear as day. They also could not stop talking. Like the first squadron of soldiers they returned home empty handed, overflowing with useless prattle. Several more squadrons were sent, only to return with identical results. None of them: print, cable, network, nor web-based laid a glove on Trump or his voters. Yet they babble on endlessly, to this day; as if they have a clue what makes Trump and his voters tick.

The voters. They chose Trump to govern. They did not expect debilitating deep state leaks. Nor did they vote for the #resist movement evident in both parties. Nor did they pull a lever to “improve upon” Obamacare by increasing exponentially their healthcare insurance deductibles. They expected their votes cast by the light of day to install into office a president who would be allowed to govern with authority from morning ‘til night, allowed to exercise his constitutional powers by the light of day.

It’s slightly over two hundred days since Trump’s inauguration. We find ourselves viewing a lifeless body known as polarized government, the government our ancestors established to be of, by, and for the people; in shambles. And we’re here waiting for Joseph and Nicodemus to arrive to claim the body, to take it down from its out of reach height of humiliation and shame.

We’re waiting for individuals under authority who are equipped to work under cover of darkness to do what we by the light of day are unable to do. Will individuals like a Joseph and a Nicodemus show up? Will they wrap the linens and spices, fit for a king, around the lifeless corpse of this government destined for rebirth? If they show up, will we ever know, perhaps it will be years from now, who they were? Will Patriot Games stories be written about them? Will there be a movie? Sequels?

[Published at on 8/10/2017.]

New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. For Permission to Quote Information visit

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

The Time Travel Pundit

The Time Travel Pundit provides allegorical commentary on the benefits and perils of time travel because, according to one sacred writing, effective interpreters of things significant utilize the familiar and old to illustrate the richness of the present. Don Swank is a retired window washer and inactive runner, he earned his B.A. Degree in Business and Economics at Seattle Pacific University in 1971, and his M.Div. Degree at Asbury Theological Seminary in 1974. He lives near Toledo with his wife of 40 years. Tap the blue button to visit his site:


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