Neither Jew Nor Gentile. . .

Neither Jew Nor Gentile. . .
Vol: 58 Issue: 18 Tuesday, July 18, 2006

According to Scripture, there are four classes of created rational beings in the universe, namely, angels, Gentiles, Jews and Christians. That fact is critical to rightly dividing the word of truth. Each is a different spiritual being, each has a different origin, present estate and a unique destiny.

Angels are the first of the created, rational beings.

“Praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts. . . Let them praise the name of the LORD: for He commanded, and they were created.” (Psalms 148:2,5)

The Bible teaches that their home is in heaven (Matthew 24:L36), their activity is both on earth and in heaven (Psalms 103:20, Luke 15:10, Hebrews 1:14) and their destiny is the Eternal City of Revelation 21:12.

“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. . .” (Hebrews 12:22)

Angels are unique creations of God, not to be confused with any other of God’s created beings. Even though some fall, as was the case with Satan, the fallen angels remain angels throughout their existence. Their numbers are constant; they neither propagate nor die.

The second class of created beings are the Gentiles. The Gentiles trace their origin to Adam. They are partakers in the fall of man, but Scripture says that some of them will share, as a subordinate people, with Israel during the Millennial Kingdom. (Isaiah 2:4, 60:3,5,12, 62:2, and Acts 15:17)

As to their estate, from Adam until Christ, the Gentiles “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12).

Since the Resurrection, the door of Gospel privilege has been opened to the Gentiles, and out of both Gentiles and Jews of this age, God is calling an elect company.

“Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as He did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” (Acts 11:17-18)

The period of time bounded by the Babylonian captivity through to the end of the Church Age is called by Scripture “the times of the Gentiles.” (Luke 21:24)

The third class of created beings are the Jews. By the calling of Abraham, and all that God accomplished through him, a new race of beings was begun that, under unalterable Divine covenant and promise, continues forever.

So different is this race of created beings that some five-sixths of Scripture bears directly or indirectly on the Jews. The destiny of the Jews is traceable through the Millennial Kingdom and into the new heaven and earth which follows.

In this present Church Age, all Divine progress in the national and earthly program for Israel is on hold; individual Jews have the same privilege as the individual Gentiles of personal faith in Christ as Savior. But Scripture is clear that, when the present age concludes, God will again turn His attention to the national redemption of Israel.

The fourth class of created beings are the Christians. Christians are those called out of both Jew and Gentile, and are formed by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.

“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him.” (Romans 10:12)

Christians are neither Gentile nor Jew, but a new spiritual creation in Christ.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)

The Christian, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20), having been raised WITH Christ (Colossians 3:1-3) and are so different than any other created rational being that, of the Christian, Jesus says, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 15:19, 17:14,16)

Note carefully that the spiritual rebirth and heavenly position [in Christ] are by faith alone. By definition, human operation is excluded. The only responsibility imposed on the human side of the equation is trusting in the only One Who can save.

The Scriptures which direct a Christian in his walk with the Lord are adapted to the fact that the Christian is no longer striving to secure a standing before God, but is already ‘accepted in the beloved’.

“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6)

Christians, by their existence, have already attained every spiritual blessing; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ . .” (Ephesians 1:3)

Obviously, no human effort can bring a person to fulfill God’s standard of sinless perfection. God, anticipating the believer’s inability to walk worthy of his high calling, freely bestows His empowering Spirit to indwell each believer.

Scripture also promises that when their elect number is complete, as unique citizens of heaven, they will be removed from the earth at the Rapture. The bodies of believers who have died will be raised and living saints will be translated. (1st Corinthians 15:20-57, 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18)

At the Bema Seat in glory, believers will be judged as to their rewards for service. (1st Corinthians 3:9-15, 9:18-27, 2nd Corinthians 5:10,11), the Body of Christ will be wed to the Bridegroom, (Revelation 19:7-9) and return WITH Him to share as His consort during the Millennial Reign.

This new creation, like angels, Gentiles and Jews, can be traced into eternity future, but they are unique from the rest. They possess no land, no house, no earthly capital or city, no earthly kingdom and no earthly king.

Scripture promises that the Jews will inherit the earth. The Gentiles will inhabit it with them as a subordinate people. But the Church does not share in that inheritance.

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:17)

The Jews and Gentiles inherit the earth. Church Age believers inherit the universe!

The Age of Grace concludes at the Rapture. The Tribulation Period is the final seven years of the Age of Law, under which God will judge a Christ-rejecting world. During this period, some Gentiles will become believers, but, unlike during this present age, they are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Whose earthly ministry concludes at the Rapture.

During the Church Age, believers are promised to ‘resist the devil and he will flee from you,’ because ‘greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world. (James 4:7, 1st John 4:4)

But during the Tribulation, “it was given unto him [antichrist] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.” (Revelation 13:7) Those who enter the beast’s worship system, believers or not, and accept his mark are forever lost.

Assessment:

As you can see from the revealed Word, there is no place for the Church during Daniel’s 70th week. The Church is excluded from the judgments pronounced against a Christ-rejecting world, and the Church plays no role in the national redemption of Israel.

Since the Church Age is characterized by the promise that, “He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever” (John 14:6) while, during the time of Jacob’s Trouble, the Holy Spirit’s role is limited to ‘sealing’ the 144,000 Jewish evangelists of Revelation 7:3-8, the Church’s presence on earth during the Tribulation has no place in the plan of God.

Since, by definition, Church Age believers are NOT Christ-rejecting and are NOT part of God’s plan for the national redemption of Israel, the only role the Church could play during the Tribulation would be to face the judgments of God, bereft of the indwelling Holy Spirit, comfortless, and with no earthly destiny or purpose apart from becoming the antichrist’s cannon fodder.

Consider it this way. For the last two thousand years, Church Age believers have enjoyed fellowship with God, thanks to the imputed righteousness of Christ and empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus promised He would not leave us comfortless, and that the Holy Spirit will abide with us forever.

But, in the final hours of human history, when man’s corruption has reached its peak and God pours out His judgment against them for their unrepentant sin, (“Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts,” – Revelation 9:21), some would argue that those living in those days will be stripped of their indwelling Spirit, God breaks fellowship with them, leaving them to face the worst period of spiritual trial in the history of creation alone.

For that to be true, of all the generations of believers from the Apostle Paul until the revelation of ‘that Wicked’ — the believers of the last days are the only ones to whom the promise, “I will not leave you comfortless” is meaningless.

The new spiritual creation must then, by definition, revert back to its old form of either Jew or Gentile, and share in the judgments being poured out upon them. The new creature, indwelt by the Holy Spirit and spiritually empowered to resist the devil, with the promise that ‘he will flee from you’ — will find that is no longer true. How else could they be ‘overcome’ by him as Revelation 13:7 says the Tribulation saints will be?

It is not POSSIBLE for Church Age believers to play a role in the Tribulation, other than as recipients of God’s justice for sin, although believers, by definition, have already been judged and found righteous at the Cross.

Consider the Promises of Jesus, given the Church, in the context of the Tribulation Period.

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:26-27)

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. . . ” unless you are among those believers of the last generation. If the destiny of the Church is to partake in God’s judgment against the world, then my heart should be troubled indeed, and I should be very, very afraid.

His peace was for all the generations that went before. But not for mine?

The Scriptures say otherwise.

Crossing the Rubicon

Crossing the Rubicon
Vol: 58 Issue: 17 Monday, July 17, 2006

Since the start of offensive operations against Hezbollah, more than 700 missiles have been fired into Israel. Rockets fell in Safed, Kiryat Shmona, Karmiel, Nahariya and other cities throughout the North.

On Friday, an Iranian radar-guided missile fired by Hezbollah destroyed an Israeli naval missile ship off the Lebanese coast, killing all four Israeli sailors aboard. Hezbollah has also been firing rockets from areas close to the Golan Heights, hoping to draw an Israeli response on Syrian territory and thereby draw Damascus into the conflict.

The Rubicon (Rubico, in Italian Rubicone) is an ancient Latin name for a small river in northern Italy. The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has survived to refer to any person committing himself irrevocably to a risky course of action, another way of saying passing the point of no return.

Hezbollah ‘crossed the Rubicon’ when it fired its first long-range missile into Haifa. The missile was an Iranian Fajar-3 medium-range ballistic missile of Syrian manufacture. Iran announced its first successful test of the missile in April, saying it was the most advanced missile in its arsenal, was invisible to radar and could hold multiple warheads that could attack several targets at the same time.

The Fajar-3 has a range of more than thirty miles, putting huge Israeli population centers at risk in the center of the country. It can carry a 200-lb warhead, making it much more deadly than the 30lb Katyusha rockets that have been raining down on Israel for months.

International intelligence estimates are that Hezbollah has an arsenal of between 10,000 and 13,000 missiles, including some with a range of nearly sixty miles that could potentially hit Tel Aviv.

To understand the psychological red line the Haifa attack represents to Israelis, imagine if Mexican drug lords started lobbing mortars over to the sparsely-inhabited Texas side of the border. The reaction from the US side would be measured to meet the threat. We’d go after the drug lords responsible.

Now, suppose other Mexican drug lords started lobbing missiles into downtown Dallas, Houston and Austin. Washington would have no choice but to try and wipe out the Mexican drug cartel in its entirety or face escalating destruction of its cities.

With missiles raining down on Dallas, do you think Washington would hesitate about invading Mexico to stop it? Now, what if Venezuela were supplying the Mexican drug lords with long-range missiles, which were being transferred through Mexico City while the Mexican government looked the other way?

It is unlikely the US would heed calls from Israel to ‘exercise restraint’ — even if Israel did acknowledge America’s right to defend itself.

Assessment:

Both Hamas and Hezbollah say the conflict could be over in an instant. All Israel has to do is agree to a prisoner exchange; the three Israeli soldiers kidnapped by the terrorist groups for a little over a thousand Palestinian criminals serving time in Israeli jails. And Israel has been under global pressure to do so.

Israel itself set the precedent in 1985 when Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin traded 1150 prisoners for three Israeli soldiers held in Lebanon. (Among those released in that swap was Hamas’ founder and spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin. And 800 of the 1150 released prisoners eventually resumed the battle with Israel.)

While such a trade might sound a bit lopsided to Western ears, the demand is a testimony to Arab respect for the value Israel puts on human life. It also provides an opportunity to clearly see the contrast between the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the god of Mohammed. Islam claims the Koran is the is the ‘third testament’ and that Allah is the same god as the God of the Christians and Jews.

Because the jihadists have no respect for human life, whether their own or that of their enemy, Israeli values are alos Israel’s biggest vulnerability. Israel shares this same vulnerability with the United States, Australia and other Christian nations. Islam exploits it.

God is not schizophrenic.

Although the world portrays Israel as a brutal occupier with no respect for human life, the Israeli offensive is targeted at the terrorists. Israel’s respect for life prompted it to warn Lebanese civilians by dropping leaflets before attacking, even though warning the civilians meant warning Hezbollah as well.

As I am writing this, two more rockets fired by Hezbollah from Lebanon landed in the Israeli port city of Haifa. Hezbollah isn’t aiming at military targets. The rockets come without warning, and fall indiscriminately on soldier and kindergarten student alike. A direct hit on an Israeli preschool would cause as much celebration among the jihadists as a direct hit on an Israeli military installation.

The goal is to kill anybody and everybody possible without distinction — in the name of their god.

The prophet Ezekiel addressed them specifically, saying, “Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end: Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee.” (Ezekiel 35:5-6)

In this incredible prophecy, Ezekiel, under the inspiration of God, even addressed the ‘two state solution’ issue; “Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there:” (35:10)

Now that Israel has ‘crossed the Rubicon’ to meet them, there is no turning back for either Hezbollah or Hamas.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate. As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 35:14-15)

That’s Why They Call it ‘Treason’

That’s Why They Call it ‘Treason’
Vol: 58 Issue: 15 Saturday, July 15, 2006

That’s Why They Call it ‘Treason’

Having failed in the criminal court system, one supposes it was only a matter of time before the Valerie Plame Affair made its way into the civil court system. After all, there is no better way to embarrass the government than to haul it into civil court where it is more or less defenseless.

In America, the government always starts three steps behind when it stands before the courts. The court system is slanted (as it should be) in favor of the individual citizen, which is why the government fears the civil court system even more than the criminal branch.

So it was big news when Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson announced they were suing the government in civil court for ‘outing’ Valerie Plame as a CIA employee.

Plame told at a news conference she trusted the government to protect her and that the government “betrayed that trust. I’d much rather be continuing my career as a public servant than as a plaintiff in a lawsuit,” she said.

Talk about a case of the pot calling the kettle black! “The government betrayed that trust?” Valerie Plame was given a position of trust within the CIA and she used that position to work against the public that she claims she wants to serve, by arranging her husband’s partisan junket to Niger and then lying about it.

A quick refresher:

Plame’s identity as a CIA officer was revealed in a July 14, 2003, article by syndicated columnist Robert Novak. Novak’s column appeared eight days after Wilson alleged in an opinion piece in The New York Times that the Bush administration had twisted prewar intelligence on Iraq to justify going to war.

Interestingly, the information that Wilson claims was ‘twisted’ turned out to be true. And the 9/11 Commission was so suspicious of Wilson and Plame’s testimony that it concluded neither was a trustworthy witness.

For starters, Wilson insisted that his wife, CIA employee Valerie Plame, was not the one who came up with the brilliant idea that the agency send him to Niger to investigate whether Saddam Hussein had been attempting to acquire uranium.

“Valerie had nothing to do with the matter,” Wilson says in his book. “She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip.” In fact, the Senate panel found, she was the one who got him that assignment. The panel even found a memo by her recommending Wilson for the job.

At Friday’s news conference, Wilson noted he had written an op-ed criticizing the administration’s defense of going to war in Iraq, saying “I exercised my civil duty to hold my government to account.”

Wilson didn’t hold ‘his government to account’. He went after the partisan administration, not the government itself. His wife WORKS for the government.

And there is no ‘civil duty’ to oppose one’s government in time of war. One’s civil duty is to defend one’s country in time of war. If there were a civil duty to oppose one’s government in time of war, that government would not last beyond the first war it was in. That’s why all governments have laws against treason.

Moreover, if Wilson was sent by the CIA, is it not passing strange that he was under no obligation to keep his mission and its conclusions confidential? But Wilson exposed the entire mission on the front page of the New York Times, before the war and in plenty of time to embarrass the government.

Finally, as it happens, Wilson was lying all along. The Senate report says fairly bluntly that Wilson lied to the media. Schmidt notes that the panel found that, “Wilson provided misleading information to the Washington Post last June. He said then that he concluded the Niger intelligence was based on a document that had clearly been forged because ‘the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.'”

The problem for Wilson is that he “had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports,” the Senate panel discovered. Schmidt notes: “The documents purported sales agreements between Niger and Iraq were not in U.S. hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip to Niger.”

As Susan Schmidt reported back on page A9 of Saturday’s Washington Post: “Contrary to Wilson’s assertions and even the government’s previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence.”

There is plenty of time for verbal partisan in-fighting once the blood-and-guts fighting is over and our forces are no longer on the battlefield. Opposing one’s government in time of war has a different name.

The dictionary, the USC Civil Code and the Bible all define that as ‘treason’.

(The BIBLE? See Romans 13:1-7)

Assessment:

For a ‘secret’ agent, Valerie Plame has a real problem with publicity. Her career as a ‘secret’ civil ‘servant’ was ‘ruined’ by the Bush administration to the tune of; several photospreads in Vanity Fair, a $2.5 million book deal for Plame, tentatively entitled “Fair Game” (to sit on the shelf beside Joe Wilson’s $2.5 million book, “The Politics of Truth”).

Ummm, Plame and her family were ‘ruined’ to the tune of five million dollars? I suppose if treason can be termed a ‘civil duty’ then becoming a millionaire can be described as being ‘ruined’. It all depends on how one defines ‘ruined’.

The Wilsons claim that Plame was a secret agent until her status was blown by the Bush administration. (Actually, it was blown by Bob Novak who said he got Plame’s name from ‘Who’s Who in America’.

(I told you Plame had a real publicity problem for a ‘secret’ agent)

But in an intervew with Wolf Blitzer on July 14, 2005, Wilson admitted, “My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.” So what’s the deal?

It is really pretty simple. They sold out their nation, cashed in on it politically and financially, and now they are making another trip back to the feed trough to cash in again.

I feel somewhat sorry for both Wilson and Plame. History will treat both unkindly. While it has become fashionable to separate the Bush administration out from ‘the government’ as some kind of separate entity, the fact remains that the Bush administration IS the government, and will remain so until a new government is elected in 2008.

Where is there an exemption in the treason law for those who don’t happen to like the officials currently in office? It is fair to say that Osama bin Laden doesn’t like Bush, either. Does that make him a patriot? Is 9/11 suddenly noble?

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. To argue that ‘Bush lied’ is to argue a logical impossibility. Bush would have to have known what nobody else on earth knew in order to earn the title of liar. Otherwise, he was at worst as mistaken as every other government leader except Saddam Hussein.

And if that is true, then the entire Iraq War opposition machine is based on a fraud as transparent as the Valerie Plame Affair.

There is no point in going back over the real causes for the Iraq War. Everybody can recite them in their sleep. The imaginary cause, i.e. “we’re going to steal Iraqi oil” has lost some of its luster — since we didn’t — but the opposition is so firmly entrenched now that it no longer needs a reason.

That’s because it never needed a reason. The ‘anti-war’ movement is merely a renaming of the anti-Bush movement so it doesn’t sound so petty. As noted, there is no exception to the treason law that you don’t like the administration in power.

The Valerie Plame Affair is being styled as a case of two ‘patriots’ — Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame — going after a corrupt and unfaithful government who betrayed them by leaking Valerie Plame’s name to the press.

Plame and Wilson don’t expect to win. She wasn’t a secret agent. Her name wasn’t leaked by the government. But the facts are unimportant.

What matters is that the allegations are kept alive and at the top of the news during the mid-term election cycle. Afterwards, it will die the natural death of all such frivolous lawsuits — after the damage is done.

It is possible to love America and not love the Bush administration. But it isn’t possible to hurt the Bush administration’s war effort without hurting America.

That’s why the dictionary calls opposing one’s own government’s war efforts ‘treason.’

Lessons From War

Lessons From War
Vol: 58 Issue: 14 Friday, July 14, 2006

Lessons From War

When I was in training for duty with WESPAC (Western Pacific Theater of Operations) in 1970, we had to take classes in a course called ‘Know Your Enemy.’

We learned as much as possible about the Vietcong; their weaponry, tactics, food, organization tables, etc. The same with the NVA regulars. We learned how they fought, where their weaknesses were, and what to expect if we were captured.

It was during this course that I got my Geneva Convention Card. If captured, I was supposed to give it to my captor, who would then know that I was to be well-treated under the terms of the Geneva Conventions as a uniformed American serviceman.

(The instructor explained that the card was part of a ritual: You were to hand the card to your captor, squat down on your haunches, and while down there, kiss your butt goodbye.)

I don’t know if they even bother issuing Geneva Convention Cards to our forces anymore. Our forces would be better served if they were issued suicide pills.

In mid-June, the Pew Research Organization released a poll taken among Muslims under the title, “The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other.”

After reading the results of this poll and comparing them to public statements made by Western leaders, it is painfully obvious that our leaders need the ‘Know Your Enemy’ classes every bit as much as do our troops.

More, even, since they are making life and death decisions for our troops while remaining painfully ignorant of who they are sending them to fight.

Solid majorities of Muslim respondents across the Middle East, together with Muslims living in Europe, Russia and North America agree with the statement, “Relations between Muslims and Westerners are generally bad.”

The majority of Muslims blame the West for their lack of prosperity, rather than government corruption, lack of education or Islamic fundamentalism.

The poll results revealed a much deeper hatred of the West among Muslim populations than vice-versa. The opinion in the Islamic world is that the war is the West’s fault. The poll asked if Muslims believed the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Arab Islamic jihadists.

Among Europeans: British Muslims: No – 56% French: Non! 46% Germans: Nein! 44% Among the Arab world, a solid majority believes there was no Islamic connection to 9/11 — with the exception of Pakistan, where ‘only’ 41% think Islam was not involved.

From the majority Muslim perspective, the September 11 attacks were an invention designed by the West as an excuse to steal Arab oil.

All the Muslim populations polled display a solid majority of support for Osama bin Laden. Likewise, suicide bombing is popular.

Assessment:

It is impossible to square the attitudes expressed in the Pew Poll with the Western fiction that we are really at war with a minority of Islamic ‘fundamentalists’ out of a majority of peaceful practitioners of a great religion of peace and love.

The MAJORITY believe the United States government is so depraved that it murdered three thousand of its own citizens in order to justify a war where it could steal Islamic oil wealth. Believing that, OF COURSE they hate us.

And they really DO believe that. Most of them live in countries in which their own governments actually ARE that depraved. It is much easier to believe it of America if it is routine in your own country.

Take your average pre-war Iraqi. His government massacred tens of thousands, invaded Kuwait, massacred thousands more, and raped the country of whatever was left. How hard would it be for him to believe America is no better? Especially when the New York Times is constantly running headlines that say that it isn’t?

September 11th wasn’t some kind of once-in-a-lifetime event. And there is no form of appeasement that is going to work. Our enemies hate us as much as Hamas and Hezbollah hate Israel.

Israel tried appeasing its enemies. Starting in September, 1993, Israel embarked on a policy of appeasement under the euphemism, ‘land for peace.’ Israel surrendered land to the Palestinians, who used that land to stage more attacks against the ‘Israeli occupation.’

The ‘Israeli occupation’ of Gaza was the reason for attacks on Israeli targets that eventually forced Israel to fence Gaza off. When Israel finally capitulated and pulled out of Gaza, the Israeli ‘occupation’ ended — but the attacks grew more intense. Hamas has fired more than 1,000 rockets into Israel from ‘unoccupied’ Gaza since Gaza became ‘unoccupied’.

Israel ‘occupied’ South Lebanon until 2000. As in Gaza, the occupation was to prevent attacks against Israel from just outside its borders. Hezbollah has done to South Lebanon exactly what Hamas has done to Gaza: turned it into a military base and terrorist operations center from which to continue the war against Israel. South Lebanon bristles with Hezbollah’s 10,000 Katyusha rockets that put northern Israel under the gun.

Before Israel can put a stop to the attacks emanating from Gaza, it must first retake it. The same for South Lebanon. It is much easier to suppress an enemy if you are already in control of the area.

There is a lesson in there somewhere. If your death is the enemy’s goal, cutting off your finger isn’t going to appease him. It will just make him harder to fight.

It is an open secret that Iran is directly behind the current escalation in the Middle East conflict. The G-8 is too preoccupied with Israel to spend much time debating the Iranian nuclear menace.

Tehran has already provided ample evidence of the impotence of Western appeasement when it comes to its nuclear ambitions. The degree to which it will go to protect it is evidenced by the carnage and destruction it orchestrated just to provide it with some cover.

Israel’s current war is an object lesson in the efficacy of attempting to appease Islamic ambitions. Turn on the television and watch some of the war coverage.

And pray it doesn’t soon come to a neighborhood near you.

All Roads Lead to Damascus

All Roads Lead to Damascus
Vol: 58 Issue: 13 Thursday, July 13, 2006

All Roads Lead to Damascus

With tensions already running high from the June 25 capture of a 19-year-old Israeli corporal by Hamas terrorists, Hezbollah terrorists infiltrated Israel on Wednesday and kidnapped two more Israeli soldiers. Three other Israeli soldiers were killed in the raid, and five more died after Israeli forces pursued the kidnappers into Lebanon.

In an instant, Israel opened a second front against Lebanese targets, calling the move “an act of war” — and vowed to hold the Lebanese government accountable for the safety of the two soldiers. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised the Israeli response would be “restrained but very, very, very painful.”

It was more pain than restraint as Israel sent planes, tanks, gunboats and ground troops to southern Lebanon. If Lebanese news broadcasts are to be believed, some 47 Lebanese civilians–including at least two large families — have been killed so far in a barrage of airstrikes and artillery.

The Israelis launched attacks on the Beirut airport and Hezbollah’s television station in the capital’s predominantly Shiite Muslim southern suburbs. Lebanese television reported that Israeli aircraft attacked two runways, forcing the facility to close and sending flights to airports elsewhere in the Middle East.

Like the case of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was taken two weeks ago, the IDF troopers were inside Israel. They were not captured on the battlefield while they were conducting offensive operations against the Arabs. In such a case, they would be prisoners of war, entitled to (although unlikely to receive) the full protections of the Geneva Conventions.

Hezbollah’s leader, Hasan Nasrallah said in a news conference that the attack had been planned for months and was aimed at forcing negotiations that would win the release of three Lebanese held in Israeli jails.

“Let this be clear, the prisoners will only return home through indirect negotiations and a trade,” Nasrallah told reporters at a news conference in southern Beirut, one of Hezbollah’s strongholds.

“If the Israelis are considering any military action to bring the hostages home, they are delusional, delusional, delusional.”

“We don’t want an escalation in the south, nor war,” he said. “But if the Israelis want an escalation, then we are ready for a confrontation and to its furthest extent. If Israel chooses confrontation, we are ready, and it should expect surprises.”

Before we go on, let’s take a second to recap, first stripping away the propaganda and looking at the event itself.

These IDF troopers weren’t captured in combat, they were kidnapped during an infiltration of Israel. This is more than a mere distinction. Prisoners of war are taken for the purpose of removing captured combatants from the battlefield. The IDF soldiers were kidnapped to use as hostages to extort concessions, (in this case, a 1,000 to 3 prisoner swap) from a sovereign nation.

By way of illustration, a person captured by police in the commission of a crime is a ‘prisoner’. An innocent person kidnapped for the purpose of extorting ransom is a ‘hostage’.

Under any reading of any of the relevant international charters, infiltrating another country is an act of war and taking hostages is a war crime.

In addition, under any reading of the relevant international charters, Israel is a member state of the United Nations. And Hezbollah and Hamas are international terrorist groups of global reach who exist for the sole purpose of Israel’s destruction, as well as elected government officials in both the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon.

So Israel’s reaction is not only a no-brainer, it is an appropriate and legal response to what amounts to a war crime perpetrated against its citizens by another UN member-state.

It comes as no surprise that the immediate international reaction was to condemn Israel for ‘over-reacting’. The Russian government issued a statement calling Israel’s reaction ‘unjustifiable.’

The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying, “We obviously condemn this disproportionate act of war,” which would be reasonable, had it been issued against Hezbollah, and not Israel.

Let’s see. More than 1,000 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza since the Israelis pulled out and turned it over to the Palestinians. (That’s before Hamas infiltrated from the Gaza side to kill three soldiers and kidnap Cpl. Shalit to hold for ransom.)

Hezbollah shells northern Israel so regularly the residents all have bomb shelters and listen for sirens that warn them of incoming Katyusha rockets. (A woman in Nahariya was blown off her first-floor balcony and killed by a Katyusha rocket originating in Lebanon this morning).

Hezbollah regularly conducts raids into Israel to conduct abductions, conduct targeted assassinations, and when the opportunity arises, the occasional massacre, with the full blessing of the Syrian-backed Lebanese government.

Over-reacting? I don’t think so. Surprisingly, neither does the new German government under Angela Merkel:

“We call on the powers in the region to seek to bring about a de-escalation of the situation. We cannot confuse cause and effect. The starting point is the capture of the Israeli soldiers . . . The attacks did not start from the Israeli side, but from Hezbollah’s side.”

In his statement, President Bush supported Israel, sort of, in a convoluted statement that exonerated [almost] everybody: “My attitude is this. There are a group of terrorists who want to stop the advance of peace. And those of us who are peace-loving must work together to help the agents of peace – Israel, President Abbas, and others – to achieve their objective. . . [But] whatever Israel does should not weaken the government in Lebanon.”

Since Abbas is the head of Fatah (whose al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades kidnapped Shalit) and Hezbollah holds legislative seats in the Lebanese government, just who does that leave as the enemy?

According to the President, “Syria must be held to account. President Assad needs to show some leadership towards peace.”

Assessment:

Hezbollah is supported and funded by Iran, with that support and funding being channeled into the Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley through Syria, and that arrangement has been in place and operational for more than a decade.

For that reason, the situation needs to be viewed in the wider context of the whole Iran-Syria axis. Iran’s mullocracy is dedicated to Israel’s destruction, and its main ally in that effort is Syria.

Damascus plays host to both Hamas and Hezbollah, both of whom openly maintain offices and are listed in the Damascus phone book.

Strategically, Israel faces a strategic foursome, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. Indeed, The New York Sun published a column by David Twersky about the Israeli incursion into Lebanon under the title, “The War on Iran Has Begun.”

In his column, he writes, “Years from now, the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit will be regarded like the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Against the backdrop of Kassam rocket fire on Israelis living within range of the Gaza Strip, it was the fate of Corporal Shalit that triggered the Israeli return to Gaza, which in turn brought the Hezbollah forces into the game.”

“Israel is fighting two Iranian proxies on two fronts. It may, or may not, open a third front against a third Iranian proxy, Syria. It is from the Syrian capital that Khaled Meshaal, the exiled leader of Hamas, has been laying down Palestinian Arab negotiating conditions. Why listen to Mr. Meshaal? Because the Hamas troops are loyal to him, rather than to their erstwhile leader, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah, let alone the increasingly (as if that were possible) hapless Palestinian Arab leader, Mahmoud Abbas.”

The city of Damascus remains the oldest, continuously inhabited city on the face of the earth. In all its long history, it has never been totally destroyed. However, the Bible says God has future plans for Damascus, sometime between now and the conclusion of the Tribulation Period.

Isaiah writes; “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. . . And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean.” (Isaiah 17:1,4)

Isaiah’s depiction of Damascus troubling Israel in the last days comes at a time when the ‘glory of Jacob (Israel) is made thin’ — if ‘Israel’s glory’ were any thinner, it would be transparent.

It is hard to imagine how Israel’s standing among the nations of the earth could be lower.

Isaiah says that the destruction of Damascus shall occur “In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow.” -Isaiah 17:11.

Israel, “Thy Plant”, which was ‘born at once’ (Isaiah 66:7) is the modern state of Israel. Israel did not exist in Isaiah’s day (the kingdom of Israel was destroyed a century before by Sargon) and did not exist again as a nation until May 14, 1948.

Isaiah accurately forecasts the global reaction already evident in the world’s relationship with Israel. “Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.” (Isaiah 17:12-13)

Isaiah further establishes that this is a future event and not history. Of Israel’s enemy, Isaiah says, “And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.” (Isaiah 17:14)

Isaiah speaks of overnight destruction — ‘at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not’ says the prophet. Ancient armies didn’t make war at night and the overnight destruction of a city of Damascus size was a physical impossibility, even if the invaders met zero resistance.

Israeli use of nuclear weapons is made even more likely by the probability of a open war — on a scale not yet seen — by a determined an enemy already ‘within its gates’ — the [Philistine] terrorists.

Numbers 33:55 says, “But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.”

The ancient Israelites were warned, says Judges 2:2-3, “And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”

All in all, a pretty coherent description of the developing crisis in the Middle East. Lightning war, entire regions made uninhabitable, specific details like identifying Damascus by name.

All of it happening at precisely the same point in history, under the precise geopolitical situation existing in this generation (to the exclusion of all generations prior to 1948) all leading to the exact outcome foretold by the prophets.

The Bible claims 100% accuracy, 100% of the time, past, present and future. None other among the world’s sacred writings make similar claims. Only the Bible.

It remains an open challenge to the world system. Over the centuries, every generation has had its great thinkers and philosophers who dedicated their lives and considerable intellects to disproving the Scripture.

“Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” [Isaiah 46:8-10)

Misplaced Faith

Misplaced Faith
Vol: 58 Issue: 12 Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Faith in Christ means a pretty substantial faith that you are right about where to put your faith. I have to admit that, from time to time over the years, I’ve heard some skeptic’s argument, some new interpretation of an accepted doctrine, or heard of some new archeological discovery that caused me to go, “Hmmm.”

I admit that I’ve asked myself on more than one occasion if maybe I am following ‘cunningly devised fables’ concocted by brilliant men who lived centuries ago and refined in secret in the centuries since.

After all, if the Bible is true, then the writings of Buddha, which are unquestionably brilliant, are false. But one seldom hears of Buddhist suicide bombers or Buddhist killers or even Buddhist thieves. Their doctrine of ‘karma’ is not too much different than Jesus’ doctrine of ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’

‘Karma’ is the belief that what goes around, comes around. A good man in this life comes back a better one in the next. A bad man in this life may come back in the next one as a dog. Or a pigeon. Or a chicken. (Karma also explains Buddhist vegetarianism. Yuck)

Still, while there are bad Buddhists (just as there are bad Christians) most of the followers of Buddha are pacifists who work hard at being good neighbors.

An evolutionist’s faith is rooted, first and foremost, in his own conviction that he is right about where to put his faith. As when one comes to Christ, that decision comes first. The search for confirmation that one’s faith is correctly placed comes afterwards.

The dedicated evolutionist is one who first concluded evolution made sense, then investigated his conclusion until he was satisfied he was right in reaching it. The rest of his energy is devoted to convincing others that his conclusion is right, creating new dedicated evolutionists in the process.

That is not too different in practice than is Christian dedication to leading others to Christ. But is it truly different in theory? Is it a case of being right? Or of being saved?

The evolutionist will make his point, and your reaction is to disprove his point first, then go back to your point, and so on, by which time the point you were trying to make gets lost in the argument over details. Soon, you find yourself, red-faced, eyes bulging, shouting, “Jesus loves you!” while resisting the temptation to grab the guy by the lapels and shake some sense into him.

What’s happened is that your faith is less in Jesus than it is in being right personally. It’s no longer about Jesus. It’s now about you. All somebody has to do to shake your faith is seemingly prove you wrong.

And you didn’t even see it coming.

Assessment:

Nobody puts their faith in something they don’t believe in. Evolution has been disproved so many times that, even though it is taught as fact in schools, it still bears the label ‘theory.’ ‘Theory’ means ‘unproved’. The evolutionist’s faith isn’t in the evidences from science. The evolutionist believes he is right because he has faith in himself.

Salvation comes by putting one’s faith in Christ instead of in oneself. It isn’t a case of being right so much as an understanding of how wrong you are by nature.

It is possible to put one’s trust in Jesus for their salvation and still be wrong.

One can be wrong about the timing of the Rapture and still be right about trusting Jesus for their salvation. One can be wrong about Bible prophecy and still be right about trusting Jesus for their salvation.

One can be wrong about their understanding of who the antichrist is, or is not, and still be right about trusting Jesus for their salvation.

It is even possible for one to be wrong about their church and its doctrine and still be right about trusting Jesus for their salvation.

Beyond the need for salvation and the way to obtain it, the battle isn’t over faith in Jesus, it is over one’s personal faith in oneself and one’s own rightness. What happens to that person when they lose the battle to someone with superior debating skills?

I’ve known many Christians who’ve been utterly demolished by skeptics who make a career out of debating the existence of God.

The Christian marches in, full of faith in his knowledge of details and doctrine, and has his faith shattered because his faith was rooted in his being right on all the details, rather than being in Jesus.

He gets a few details wrong, the skeptic uses those details to obscure the central truth, and the Message is lost in the debate. But the debate was supposed to be about the Message. Instead, it became about him.

The Christian’s faith in himself is in shambles. The skeptic walks away more convinced than ever of his rightness.

The final score? One wounded Christian. No victories for the Kingdom. Our faith was more in being right than being in Christ. And we pay the penalty for our misplaced faith.

None of us knows everything there is to know of God and His plan for the individual believer. What we DO know is that there are as many denominations within Christianity as there are letters in the alphabet, and each is convinced that their way is the only ‘right’ way.

But the Bible says that the ONLY way to heaven is through faith in Jesus. Everything else leads to bitter and endless debate that always degenerates into an argument over who gets to be right.

Debates are useful tools for sharpening one’s understanding of the things of God. But the problem with debates is that somebody has to be wrong. That doesn’t mean that it was God.

The Bible says, and logic and experience confirm, that all men are sinners who have missed the mark and come short of the glory of God. The Bible further says, and logic further confirms, that man is by nature a sinner from the day he is born until the day he dies.

The Bible says, and logic further confirms, that man is spiritually hopeless on his own. Spiritually, all men are equal.

Logic says that man is therefore lost without Someone to save him. The Bible says that God Himself took on human form in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus lived the life God expects of each of us, and, having complied with God’s standards, was uniquely qualified to pay the penalty failure to meet God’s standards demands.

Our faith is rooted in understanding our inability to meet God’s standards, first, with our faith in Jesus Christ to meet that judicial standard on our behalf rising out of that first understanding.

There is a difference between winning a debate and sharing the Gospel. Sometimes, listening to Christians debating non-Christians (or especially each other) it seems like a distinction without a difference.

It becomes more about the personal vindication by being ‘right’ than it is about sharing what you know and leaving the rest up to the Holy Spirit. Salvation comes by putting one’s faith in Christ instead of in oneself.

To the unsaved observer, that looks like ‘humility’ — which is a lot more attractive than arrogance. And it is the unsaved observer that is the mission. Leading him to a saving knowledge of Christ is the mission.

Not winning the debate. That’s a mission you take on for yourself.

Note:

Big storm here this morning. Had to shut down my computer until it passed. Sorry for being late with this morning’s briefing.

The Cindy Sheehan Saga: Perilous Times

The Cindy Sheehan Saga: Perilous Times
Vol: 58 Issue: 11 Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Cindy Sheehan made a trip to Fort Erie last month to rally the ‘troops’ — specifically, American troops who deserted and fled to Canada. Fort Erie is directly across the border from Buffalo, New York, and, coincidentally, my home town.

The Iraq War deserters are trying to make a case for political asylum by offering the same arguments as did their ideological fathers of a generation ago, but so far Canada has refused to grant them asylum.

About 20 former U.S. soldiers, referred to as ‘war resisters’, have applied for refugee status in Canada. Organizers estimated there may be as many as 200 soldiers in the country who have not yet sought formal protection.

Like Cindy Sheehan’s son, Casey, they all volunteered for military service. They weren’t conscripted. They aren’t civilians opposing forced military conscription but deserters avoiding combat duty. Casey Sheehan would have been ashamed of them. Almost as ashamed as he would be of his mother.

Cindy Sheehan has made a career out of Casey’s death by making a mockery of the cause for which he died. It is hard to imagine anything more cynical than Sheehan’s comment in Fort Erie, through large crocodile tears; “I begged him not to go to Iraq. And I wish he was standing up here with these people because he didn’t want to go.” Translation: It isn’t about Casey. It’s about Cindy.

But Casey not only wanted to go to Iraq, Casey believed in everything his mother is using his sacrifice to tear down.

Casey Sheehan was an altar boy who became his Scout troop’s second Eagle Scout. When he was twenty years old, he volunteered for military service, enlisting in the Army. Sheehan was a Humvee mechanic with the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, with secondary training as a combat medic.

Here is Casey’s story.

On April 4th, 2004, al’Sadr’s Mahdi forces blocked roadways and bridges with burning tires, vehicles and trash. Visibility was less than 300 meters anywhere in the city. They began to attack American vehicles on patrol throughout Sadr City – some were protecting Shia worshipers (Holy Arbayeen) while others were escorting city government vehicles.

A battle raged across Sadr City. Insurgents assaulted American troops while looters and mobs formed and stormed through the streets. Word spread quickly across the American FOBs that there was trouble.

Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment were ambushed with RPGs and pinned down and dying. While fighting off an attack himself, the Commander of the 2/5th, LTC Volesky, called for help. A Quick Reaction Force (QRF) was formed of volunteers – their mission was to go out and rescue the American troops.

Casey Sheehan’s Sergeant asked for volunteers. Sheehan had just returned from Mass. After Sheehan volunteered once, the Sergeant asked Sheehan again if he wanted to go on the mission. According to many reports (and according to his own mother), Casey responded, “Where my Chief goes, I go.”

The QRF was launched. Not long after entering the Mahdi area, the QRF was channeled onto a dead-end street where the roofs were lined with snipers, RPGs, and even some militia throwing burning tires onto the vehicles. The Mahdi blocked the exit and let loose with everything they had.

Sheehan’s vehicle was hit with multiple RPGs and automatic-weapons fire.

Specialist Casey Sheehan and Corporal Forest J. Jostes were killed.

A second QRF was formed – all volunteers – to go rescue the first. Specialist Ahmed Cason was hit in the second QRF – but kept fighting until he bled to death.

Seven men died with Casey Sheehan on Palm Sunday, April 4th, 2004.

They were Spec. Robert R. Arsiaga, Spec. Ahmed Cason, Sgt. Yihjyh L. “Eddie” Chen, Spec. Stephen D. Hiller, Spec. Israel Garza, Cpl. Forest J. Jostes, and Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell.

If Casey’s mother’s campaign is successful, they will have died for nothing.

Assessment:

It is hard to say whether Cindy Sheehan is more of an opportunist or whether she is more the fool. I don’t know whether to feel contempt or sympathy, so I end up feeling something of both.

Notes the New York Post, “Sheehan has been posting on Michael Moore’s Web site, writing, “We have such a strong coalition of groups. GSFP, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and the Crawford Peace House. I talked with John Conyers today and he wrote a letter to George signed by about 18 other Congress members to request that he meet with me. I also talked to Maxine Waters tonight and she is probably going to be here tomorrow.”

It turns out that the Crawford Peace House Web site includes a photo depicting the entire state of Israel as “Palestine,” and it carries a link to a report that when Prime Minister Sharon visited Crawford, the “peace house” greeted him with an “800-foot-long banner containing all of the United Nations resolutions that Israel is in violation of.” The Crawford Peace House site also features a photo of Eugene Bird, who has suggested that Israeli intelligence was responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and Military Families Speak Out all have representatives on the steering committee of United for Peace and Justice, an anti-war umbrella group. They share that distinction with the Communist Party USA. UPJ organized the march during the 2004 Republican Convention in New York, at which a New York Sun poll of 253 of the protesters found that fully 67% of those surveyed said they agreed with the statement “Iraqi attacks on American troops occupying Iraq are legitimate resistance.”

In other words, Sheehan’s “coalition” includes a lot of people who think the persons who killed her son were justified. So does Sheehan herself, although she doesn’t say so in so many words.

Sheehan cuts a pathetic figure, someone so desperate to stretch out the fifteen minutes of fame earned for her by her son that she makes a perfect pawn for the liberal left’s agenda of damaging the Bush administration by hurting America’s war effort.

Her own family issued a press statement, saying, “The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son’s good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect.

It was signed, “Casey Sheehan’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.”

The Cindy Sheehan saga, with all its twists and turns, her Machiavellian handlers, their agenda, the methods and their tactics, and especially the level of public support Sheehan enjoys, echo the Apostle Paul’s description of the social conditions as they will exist in the last days of the Church Age.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2nd Timothy 3:1-7)

War Crimes Get Global Nod

War Crimes Get Global Nod
Vol: 58 Issue: 10 Monday, July 10, 2006

The Palestinian terror group associated with the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party, the al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, said last week that it possesses chemical weapons and that it planned to use them against Israel.

Spokesman Abu-Qusay told the Arabic newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi on June 26 that an Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades unit has produced 20 kinds of chemical and germ weapons over the past three years. He said the weapons would be loaded on home-made Palestinian Kassam rockets and fired into Israeli towns near Gaza in retaliation for Israeli operations aimed at recovering a kidnapped Israeli soldier.

If death is coming to the Palestinians from the Israeli occupation, then we will send death back to their people, Abu-Qusay said. We tell the Israelis that the chemical materials in our possession will cause extreme damage to your lives.

To briefly reset the stage, Two weeks ago, a 19-year old Israeli tank gunner named Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists who tunneled into Israel under a border fence and attacked from the Israeli side.

The Israelis launched an punitive offensive incursion into Gaza in an effort to recover their missing soldier. The important thing to keep in mind is that Shalit was INSIDE Israel when he was kidnapped by terrorists who violated the border, invaded Israel and kidnapped Shalit.

Shalit was not ‘occupying’ Gaza, either by himself or as part of an Israeli unit. Shalit was on his own side of the same border the Palestinians are demanding that Israel respect. And Shalit was taken by the Palestinians to be used as a hostage.

A hostage that they’ve offered to trade for ONE THOUSAND Palestinian prisoners, or kill, depending on Israeli willingness to put another thousand fighters into the war against its continued existence.

Hostage-taking an international crime under the provisions of the “International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages,” signed at New York in December, 1979.

Under the terms of the Convention, which is binding on all UN members and observers,

“Any person who seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure or to continue to detain another person (hereinafter referred to as the “hostage”) in order to compel a third party, namely, a State, an international intergovernmental organization, a natural or juridical person, or a group of persons, to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage commits the offence of taking of hostages (“hostage-taking”) within the meaning of this Convention.”

By definition, hostage-taking is therefore deemed an act of terror under the terms of the United Nations’ own conventions. Unless Cpl. Shalit fails to meet the definition of ‘person’ because he is an Israeli Jew.

Assessment:

According to a document issued by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, “hostage-taking constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and is also a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions.”

Hostage-taking, therefore, is a clear violation of international law, an act of internationally recognized terrorism, and, according to the United Nations, a ‘war crime.’

In a normal world, the kind where logic and law are applicable, one would expect the legally-elected government of the Palestinian Authority to come under swift international criticism — it is not only engaged in the commission of a war crime; Hamas is hoping to use the fruits of that war crime to obtain the release of other war criminals.

Instead, the European Union, home to the International Court of Justice, the Geneva Conventions and the Hague, issued a condemnation against ISRAEL for “the loss of lives caused by disproportionate use of force by the Israeli De fence Forces and the humanitarian crisis it has aggravated”. Against ISRAEL.

No condemnation of Hamas, of the Palestinians who voted Hamas into power, of the Fatah Party that holds the Palestinian presidency, or even of the act of hostage-taking itself. Just a condemnation of Israel for trying to recover its kidnapped soldier.

No other nation in the world would be expected to negotiate with terrorists, let alone be pressured to do so by the international community.

The Arab world has already sent ambassadors of Arab countries to the UN to draft a resolution demanding an “end to Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip and West Bank” — as if Israel has simply decided to invade Gaza on a whim and had not be subjected to daily rocket attacks from Gaza since last year’s pullout.

The draft also calls for releasing Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of the hostage and the release of Hamas’ lawmakers and ministers arrested by Israeli troops during the Gaza operation.

In all, the draft makes nine demands, all of which are aimed against Israel. It will probably sail right through — unless the United States uses its veto.

As one sifts through all the various intelligence analyses, ‘international reaction’ statements and opinion columns, one gets the sense that the world has gone stark, raving mad.

A terrorist group is in charge of what the international community is working feverishly to have become a recognized state. But a recognized state already exists in the place where the terrorists want to live.

So the international community sides with the terrorists. Against the only legitimate Western-style democracy in the region.

Keep in mind that we are talking about an international terrorist organization that just openly threatened to use weapons of mass destruction against Israeli population centers! Is this nuts, or what?

Hostage-taking is a war crime, by every possible reading of international law. A resolution being prepared for the Security Council is aimed at blaming the victim of the war crime. Moreover, it will require Israeli compliance with the hostage-taker’s demands.

Twenty-five hundred years ago, the Bible predicted the restoration of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. It predicted Israel would be at the center of global attention in the last days, and that the whole world would oppose both its existence and its possession of Jerusalem.

In this generation, there exists a nation so hated that when its citizens are kidnapped by bloody terrorists, the world cheers the terrorists. That hated nation has never launched a war of aggression, but was the victim of five wars aimed at its annihilation.

That hated nation is an island of prosperity in a sea of poverty, and has offered to share its prosperity with any nation that will allow it to live in peace. But the world sides with its enemies.

Why? Because Israel claims its birthright was granted by God and sealed for eternity in the pages of the Bible.

That reason, all by itself, is enough to justify the world’s denial of its right to exist. If Israel has a right to exist, then that right is granted by God. If the right exists, then so does Israel’s God.

That is clearly unacceptable.

Losing the War of Secrets

Losing the War of Secrets
Vol: 58 Issue: 8 Saturday, July 8, 2006

The most recent ‘secret’ investigation to find its way into the headlines exposed a plot to blow up a New York subway train as close to September 11 as possible. This particular secret was blown by the New York Daily News.

The New York Daily News report follows the mold of the New York Times’ recent revelations about how we track terrorist finances.

When the New York Times blew the SWIFT story wide open, the editors justified it by making the bizarre claim that, “it was common knowledge anyway.” In other words, the story wasn’t news, so that’s why they decided it was ok to run it.

Further, they argued, the fact the US was using a Belgian financial center was in the ‘public interest’.

The story caused an uproar in Europe and embarrassed Belgian officials shut the program down. (This was the program that netted, among others, Sheik Khalid Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11)

As in that case, officials pleaded with the NY Daily News not to run the story, but the News decided that sitting on it was not in the public interest.

The News reported, “Three suspects have been busted – including self proclaimed mastermind Assem Hammoud, authorities said. Hammoud is in a Lebanese jail. Another suspect was in custody in England, and a third was picked up in Canada, sources said. Canadian media reported a Montreal man was questioned but later released because there wasn’t enough evidence to hold him.”

Further, noted the News, “Five other suspects remained at-large, but [NYC Police Commissioner] Kelly said their whereabouts “are known and they are being observed.”

Not that it matters. Thanks to the New York Daily News report, the five other suspects now know that they are under observation and that the original plot is blown.

If the government can’t make a case against them with what they have now, they are free to plot anew. All in the name of the ‘public interest’.

Having blown the investigation, the News went on to reveal yet another terrorist-tracking method used by the government. It appears that the jihadists had been unaware that the FBI was monitoring internet chat rooms.

The plot was uncovered more than a year ago by U.S. and Canadian intelligence agents watching a jihadist internet chat room. Officials said the suspects communicated freely, thinking that no one could track them. (They know now.) Similar chat rooms were used by the alleged terrorists arrested recently in Toronto and Miami.

While one might make the NYT argument that it wasn’t a secret, it was to me. I admit I probably assumed that they were monitoring chat rooms, I really didn’t give it much thought.

I do now. And so do future terrorist wannabes.

Assessment:

Jack Cloonan, former senior agent on the FBI’s bin Laden squad in New York, told ABC News that, “The chat rooms have literally exploded since 9/ll because we are now right in the midst of electronic jihad.”

Honestly, did I need to know that? Did you need to know that? In what way is knowing that terrorists use chat rooms to plan terrorist attacks ‘in the public interest’?

Is the public being left out of the terror plotting? Do you, John Q Public, feel slighted? Or is it a public service to let people know where they can go to participate in the plotting?

The ‘public interest’ argument is transparently thin. The reason for revealing classified information is to serve partisan interests. The revelations themselves come at the EXPENSE of the public interest.

Consider the reaction to the revelation of the SWIFT story, for a second. The Belgians were cooperating with us in secret. When the secret was splashed all over the newspapers, they withdrew their cooperation and closed the door on an entire facet of the terror war. One of the most successful, according to the government.

There are dozens of governments cooperating with the United States whose cooperation is dependent on secrecy. Particularly Middle Eastern governments whose cooperation with the US could spark an internal Islamic conflict that could bring them down.

If they can’t be sure that their cooperation won’t make US headlines, they aren’t going to take the risk. And our warfighting ability is further compromised, to the delight of our enemies.

The Electronic Jihad story that grew out of the Daily News’ report is one of 1,206 stories on Google’s news crawler today. Do you suppose that terrorist plotters using internet chat rooms can’t figure out how to use Google?

Finally, do you suppose that any of the editors of any of the newspapers under discussion are unaware of the potential consequences of their stories?

The most important weapon in any war is warfighting intelligence. It isn’t the side with the most troops or the best weapons that wins the day. It’s the side with the best intelligence. And thus it has been since the wars of Hannibal, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan.

Revelations of government programs without congressional or court oversight have become routine, whether they involve secret prisons in eastern Europe, CIA kidnappings and “renditions” of suspects to other countries, or the formerly secret NSA terrorist wiretap program.

All of these warfighting tactics shared one common flaw. They only worked when they were secret.

The Doctrine of Demons

The Doctrine of Demons
Vol: 58 Issue: 7 Friday, July 7, 2006

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2nd Timothy 2:15)

Today I received an email from a friend who continues to struggle in the battle between the flesh and the spirit, despairing of the fact that he is convinced he is losing the fight.

My friend and I have been corresponding for years and I am certain of his sincere desire to be saved, but as he noted in his email, I ve never bought into the doctrine of once saved, always saved . Consequently, my friend is only certain of his salvation when the enemy is taking the day off.

Let the enemy unleash an attack, my friend falls (as do we all) and now he has to start all over again what he calls a re-re-birth . In the meantime, until he is able to get himself back under control, he believes he has lost his salvation and is useless to God.

The Apostle Paul admonishes believers to put on the whole armor of God for the expressed purpose; that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)

The purpose of that armor is SO important that Paul restates it in verse 13, saying, Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Paul lists the believers spiritual armor as follows:

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6:14-17)

Let s look at each component a little more closely:

First, the truth. Note the anatomical analogy Paul uses. In battle, that is an extremely vulnerable target. Strike a serious blow there, and the victim is rendered helpless.

Secondly, the breastplate of righteousness. The torso is the biggest and easiest target to strike, but it is also the easiest to armor. If one is covered by the righteousness of Christ, the heart is protected.

Thirdly, the feet. A battle tactic commonly employed in Paul s day was to sow the battlefield with nails and other sharp objects. Foot soldiers with injured feet are not very effective. If one is fully prepared ( shod ) with the Gospel, one can engage the enemy uncrippled.

Fourth, Paul says, Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (v16) If one is certain of his standing before God, the enemy s whispering campaign falls on deaf ears.

Finally, Paul says to, take the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God:

The helmet of salvation . In battle, the most effective way to take an enemy out is a head shot. If the enemy can convince you that your salvation is in doubt, he has sidelined you as a threat.

Without truth, the righteousness of Christ, knowledge of the Gospel, faith in its promises, and the certain knowledge of your standing before Christ, the Christian s only offensive weapon; the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God is not very effective.

Assessment:

Above all , Paul writes, is the shield of faith. Without faith, one can never be certain of one s salvation. And just how effectively can the unsaved communicate the truth of the Gospel — or wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God ?

If the doctrine of eternal security is a true doctrine, then the enemy has no power over the Christian. He can t inspire fear, he can t inspire doubt, he can t inspire faint-heartedness in short, HE is defeated.

The only weapon the enemy can deploy against a Christian is doubt. The question can t be examined often enough what good is the Word of God in the hands of the unsaved?

The Scriptures say, For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; (1 Corinthians 1:18) and, . . . the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Can a person who is once saved, become a natural (unsaved) person again through sin? Having been once saved, does the preaching of the Cross become foolishness to the Christian who has sinned his way out of fellowship with God?

If the Word of God doesn t become ‘foolishness’ to the lost sinner (and the Bible clearly says it does), then why is it that the once-saved sinner now out of fellowship stills knows enough to ask God to save him again? How can a sinner out of fellowship with God discern the spiritual need to be saved (again)?

The Scriptures say that salvation CANNOT be achieved the acts of men. (Corinthians 3:15, Ephesians 2:8, 2 Timothy 1:8-9, Titus 3:5)

Salvation, according to Scripture, comes to us by God s love for us, not by our love of God. (Psalms 6:4, 17:7, 31:16, 109:26, Isaiah 63:9, Titus 3:4)

1 John 4:19 says that “We love him, because He FIRST loved us,” — and NOT the other way around.

The person who has sinned themselves out of salvation cannot, of his own volition, return to the Throne and ask to be saved a second time.

A Pentecostal preacher that I know once told cited Hebrews 6:4-6 as his proof text that people CAN fall away to the extent they can lose their salvation.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.

It proves exactly the opposite. If his proof text means one can lose one s salvation, then it also means that, once lost, they are forever lost and have NO HOPE of being re-saved — unless there is another way of interpreting the word impossible .

Salvation is accomplished by Jesus Christ alone. (Matthew 1:21, 18:11, Luke 2:11, 7:50, 9:56, 19:10, John 3:17, 4:42, 12:47, Acts 2:47, 4:12, 5:31, 13:23, Romans 5:9, 10, 11:26, 1 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Corinthians 2:15, Ephesians 5:23, Philippians 3:20, 2 Timothy 1:10, Titus 3:6, Hebrews 7:25, 2 Peter 1:1, 10-11, 2 Peter 2:20)

Salvation is a gift extended by God s grace and not something to be earned by good works or lost by bad ones. (Acts 15:11, Ephesians 2:5, 8, 2 Timothy 1:8-9)

The state of salvation is eternal, (Isaiah 45:17) physical, (Ephesians 5:23) and comes through the Sovereign Call of God. (Psalms 20:6, 28:8, 57:3, 2 Peter 1:10-11) A person who has been saved is saved from eternal judgment. (Psalms 76:9, 109:31)

The doctrine of eternal security was not given the Church as a ‘license to sin’, as its opponents claim. The doctrine of eternal security was given the Church as a defensive weapon to keep them from succumbing to wounds suffered in the battle with the enemy.

Without the helmet of salvation, the Sword of the Spirit is useless. And without the Sword of the Spirit, the Christian is defeated before he even steps onto the field.

Opponents of the doctrine of eternal security sometimes deride it the ‘doctrine of demons’. Logic says exactly the opposite.

Why would ‘demons’ promote a doctrine that renders the Christian invulnerable in battle, rather than the one that guarantees the Christian’s defeat — since all Christians sin?

Do YOU know anybody that has never sinned since being saved — not even once? What about YOU?

Then, there is the problem with the logic behind conditional salvation.

If a Christian can sin his way out of being saved, which sin is it? (I’ll only have to avoid THAT one)

If it isn’t one sin, but a preponderance of sins, how many sins constitute a ‘preponderance’? (So I can stay under the limit)

And, having sinned oneself out of salvation, how does one get around the problem of “crucify[ing] to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put[ing] Him to an open shame. ?

But the bottom line is this: If eternal security is a false doctrine, then we are defeated, and even Jesus can’t save us from ourselves.

And THAT, my friends, would be the ‘doctrine of demons’ in a nutshell.

Note:

An early morning doctor’s appointment (which slipped my mind) necessitated republishing an old Omega Letter — this one from October, 2004. But it is a subject worth revisiting. I hope you don’t mind.