There’s Something about Obama

There’s Something about Obama
Vol: 77 Issue: 18 Monday, February 18, 2008

There are a lot of cute names for it, “Obamamania” “Obamarama” (I liked Red-Eye’s “Baraca Blast”) but cute names aside, the phenomenon is real enough.

The Drudge Report featured a video link this morning of yet another fainting episode at an Obama rally — this marks at least the sixth time some lady has swooned at Obama’s feet since he’s been on the campaign trail.

Those in the mainstream media not caught up themselves by the Obama mystique call it, ‘a bit creepy’.

Noted conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer,

“Obama has an astonishingly empty paper trail. He’s going around issuing promissory notes on the future that he can’t possibly redeem. Promises to heal the world with negotiations with the likes of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

“Promises to transcend the conundrums of entitlement reform that require real and painful trade-offs and that have eluded solution for a generation.”

“Promises to fund his other promises by a rapid withdrawal from an unpopular war — with the hope, I suppose, that the (presumed) resulting increase in American prestige would compensate for the chaos to follow.”

But Krauthammer is a conservative columnist. Even more revealing are some of the comments by liberal media.

ABC’s Jake Tapper spoke of the “Helter-Skelter cultish qualities” of what he terms “Obama worshippers.”

(Tough words. “Helter-Skelter” was found written in blood on a refrigerator at the scene of the 1969 Manson Family LaBianca murders.)

The LA Times Joel Stein calls it the “Cult of Obama.” And TIME Magazine’s Joe Klein, (the ‘anonymous’ author of the book “Primary Colors” about the 1992 Clinton campaign), described it this way;

“There was something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism,” he wrote.

“The message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is.”

Even ultra-liberal NY Times columnist Paul Krugman is having second thoughts, writing that “the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to a cult of personality.”

Notice the adjectives being tossed about, here, ‘messiah’ and ‘cult’. And don’t lose sight of who is tossing them; ABC, the LA Times, the NY Times, TIME Magazine . . . the principle propaganda arm of the American Left.

Then there is MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who reported that, on hearing Obama’s Potomac primary victory speech, “I felt this thrill going up my leg . . .”

Matthews also once said of Obama, “. . . [Obama] comes along, and he seems to have all the answers. This is the New Testament!”

Assessment:

I was watching Brit Hume’s broadcast the other day in which they highlighted a lady standing just behind Obama as he delivered a stump speech.

Hume noted her fervor, eyes shining, as she clasped her hands together in an almost prayer-like pose as she gazed adoringly at the candidate.

Another panel member noted the way Obama’s audience seems to go into a trance when he speaks, saying that that reminded him of the 1960’s.

I don’t know about that. I grew up in the Sixties. I saw a lot folks in that trance-like state — but it wasn’t because of politics.

Watching Obama’s audience put me more in mind of the Nazi rallies of the 1930’s German newsreels than it did a bunch of stoned hippies chanting, ‘tune in, turn on, and drop out.’

I am willing to concede that some of the liberals that expressed concern about the Obama cult did so because they are members of the Clinton cult, but this is hardly empty political rhetoric.

There is much more to it than just politics as usual. There’s something about Obama that doesn’t quite seem kosher.

First, there is the whole ‘Obama the Muslim’ charge.

Obama’s father and stepfather were both Muslims. It is no stretch to assume Barack Hussein Obama was therefore raised as a Muslim until his parent’s divorce.

His devotees claim Obama is really a devoted Christian, despite the ties that exist between his ‘pastor’ and Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Given that we are in the midst of a war with Islamic fundamentalists, that should at least give voters pause for reflection.

Not so. It just doesn’t seem to matter. It doesn’t seem to matter that Obama has spent more time running for president than he has serving in the US Senate.

It doesn’t seem to matter that Obama is more or less a blank page . . . no legislative accomplishments to speak of, appearing out of nowhere as a Democratic standard-bearer even before coming to the Senate, born in Hawaii, raised in Indonesia . . . do we really know anything about the guy?

Just for fun, I Googled “Obama Messiah” to see what would happen. Google kicked back 206,000 hits in which “Obama” and “Messiah” occurred in the same document. (The first ten were about the “Obama Messiah Watch”. )

Back in 1957, Paul-Henri Spaak, former Belgian Prime Minister and President of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe, cried out in desperation:

“We do not want another committee. We have too many already. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, and to lift us out of the economic morass in which we are sinking. Send us such a man and, be he God or the devil, we will receive him.”

The Bible says in the last days, a politician will arise who will captivate the world the way that Obama has captivated America. He will seemingly have all the answers to what ails us, and will be embraced as the world”s messiah.

The Apostle Paul says that he will go so far as to sit on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant and proclaim himself to be the messiah.

As a kid growing up, I could never quite picture it. It sounded too fantastic — surely everybody would be able to tell they were being hoodwinked. We had just defeated the Nazis and were locked in an ideological Cold War with the Soviets.

If we understood anything, I thought, we understood the power of propaganda and the dangers inherent in a political cult of personality. Maybe the Europeans would accept ‘such a man’ whether ‘he be God or devil’ but America never would. That’s what I used to think.

But I grew less resistant to the idea during the Clinton years, when up was down, and black was white and it all depended on “what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

That was then. Before we had mainstream media commentators equating Barack Obama to the New Testament. And housewives fainting in the aisles.

This is now, and now, it isn’t so difficult to imagine, anymore. I’m not saying Barack Obama is the antichrist — I don’t know who the antichrist is, and I don’t believe I ever will, so his identity is irrelevant.

What is relevant is the conditioning process preparing the way for him is evidently almost complete.

And if the stage is set for the antichrist, then the next event on God’s prophetic calendar is to withdraw the Restrainer — and the vessels He indwells.

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:8)

But first, the Rapture!

The Fellowship

The Fellowship
Vol: 77 Issue: 16 Saturday, February 16, 2008

The dictionary defines the noun, ‘fellowship’, as follows: “1) a friendly association, esp. with people who share one’s interests; a group of people meeting to pursue a shared interest or aim.”

Add the word “Christian” and it defines the ‘shared interests and aims’ that hold such a fellowship together.

A ‘Christian fellowship’ is deeper than a ‘friendly association’. Unlike secular fellowships, it addresses both the secular and spiritual dimensions of our existence.

It is that spiritual dimension that makes a Christian fellowship unique. By definition, a Christian is set apart,(the word ‘church’ means ‘called out ones’) — sometimes even from members of his own family and friends.

It is that spiritual dimension to our humanity that either brings us together or drives us apart.

The Apostle Paul wrote: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2nd Corinthians 6:14)

This is not so much a command as it is a warning. Paul is not commanding Christians to shun unbelievers.

That would make no sense. Paul’s mission was to carry the Gospel to the lost. You can’t do that if you avoid contact with them.

Instead, Paul is warning of the consequences of ‘yoking’ oneself ‘unequally’ in the spiritual sense. “Fellowship” involves shared interests and shared aims.

Unbelievers can be very spiritual. I’ve heard some very spiritual conversations about Buddha; about Mohammed; about God; about the afterlife; about the existence of heaven and hell; but the moment one introduces Jesus into the discussion, an invisible line is drawn in the sand.

What had previously been a friendly conversation suddenly becomes tense. It generally ends in one of two ways. It either gets heated, or it drifts off into an awkward silence. Nobody is neutral when it comes to Jesus.

Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36)

Unbelievers (and even some new believers) read those verses and they don’t understand. After all, wasn’t Jesus tolerant, kind, family-oriented and peaceful? Isn’t that the basis for asking oneself the question: “What Would Jesus Do?”

Why, then, would He say He didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword? Or that He would set families against one another?

Mature Christians don’t have to ask that question. They need only look to those family members of their own who shun them as ‘holy rollers’ or well-meaning, but deluded eccentrics.

Or those former friends who now cross the street when they see you coming? Or avoid making eye contact when they can’t?

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He doesn’t so much bring the sword as He invites it.

For many Christians, coming to Christ means making foes from among one’s own household. That is why a Spirit-led Christian fellowship is deeper than ‘a friendly association’ — deeper even than some family ties.

There is nothing quite as satisfying to the spirit as fellowshipping with like-minded believers.

There are no doctrinal hurdles to first be overcome, no need to carefully choose words to avoid kicking somebody else’s sacred cow; just the opportunity to just talk freely.

To be able to say ‘rapture’ without first either having to explain it or defend it is, well, rapturous. To actually be able to discuss it — in depth — and without the discussion degenerating into an adversarial debate — is beyond value.

And to have a multitude of counsellors with whom to share the trials and burdens and cares of this world, counsellors who understand this world and that to come . . . this is a gem beyond price.

The Omega Letter has become such a fellowship and thanks to the world-wide web, it is a fellowship that knows no borders.

We come from every corner of this earth, from every continent; to share our trials and tribulations, toils and troubles, victories and defeats, to edify one another, to teach and to learn, to pray for one another and to rejoice at each other’s praise reports.

We are many individuals, from many cultures, nations and walks of life, but we are one family in Christ.

We are doctors, lawyers, laborers, computer geeks, grandmothers, military officers, American, Canadian, Israeli, Australian, European, Mexican, Brazilian (even one Islamic country I’d rather not name) — we have many viewpoints and perspectives — but we are one in Christ.

We are committed to understanding the times in which we live and imparting that understanding to a lost and dying world.

You each prove your commitment to that shared goal every month through your subscriptions. In addition to paying the bills, it is the subscription fee that serves as the primary gatekeeper to our forums.

There are lots of folks who love to seek out and disrupt Christian fellowship forums for the fun of it, but very few who will pay for the privilege when there are so many targets they can stir up mischief in for free.

I claim no credit for the Omega Letter fellowship becoming what it has become. I had nothing to do with it — the fellowship is the sum of its members, as reflected by its members.

A member of our fellowship was relating in the forums the other day that he had been the victim of a drug scam at a fast food store. I found his post exemplary of what I’ve been struggling to articulate.

Your average guy would be screaming bloody murder. Our guy’s concern wasn’t for himself, but for the people who scammed him. The member’s replies were equally filled with prayers — for the scammers!

That is what transcends geography and nationality and identifies us as one family in Christ.

Another member has taken it upon herself to keep track of member’s birthdays. Another has constructed a member’s directory.

Some have taken on teaching responsibilities. Others as prayer warriors. (One forum is dedicated specifically to prayer requests.) We share, we laugh, we fellowship!

If you’re a member and haven’t taken the time to visit the members forums lately, you are depriving yourself of the best part of the Omega Letter.

(If you aren’t a subscriber, you don’t know what you’re missing. The OL Daily Digest is just the icing. The fellowship forums is where we keep the cake.)

I’ve wanted, for some time, to find a way to personally thank each of you for having blessed me through the years with your friendship and your prayers — without sounding sappy.

I was unsuccessful. It still sounds sappy. But it is hard to write a love letter without sounding sappy, since that is what this is.

May God richly bless each of us, and our Omega Letter Fellowship, until He comes.

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25)

Special Report: All Roads Leading To Tehran?

Special Report: All Roads Leading To Tehran?
Vol: 77 Issue: 15 Friday, February 15, 2008

The death of Imad Mughniyeh had terrorist leaders across the Middle East squealing at the top of their lungs.

(Actually, depending on the speaker, somewhere between a shriek and a squeak)

Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah shrieked: “Zionists, if you want this type of open war, then let it be, and let the whole world hear: We, like all other people, have a sacred right to defend ourselves, and everything we can do to defend ourselves, we will do.”

Nasrallah’s audience squealed; “At your service, Nasrallah!” in response, raising their fists in the air.

“If they want war, we want war. If they want peace, we want peace,” said Moussa Khader, a 55-year-old demonstrator quoted by the Washington Post.

“We’re just waiting for an order.”

It that order comes, it won’t come from Nasrallah. It will come from Tehran.

One of the reasons that Imad Mugniyeh was so difficult to get to is because he’s spent most of the last dozen years in Tehran where he served as a liaison between Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

Mugniyeh didn’t return to Damascus until about two years ago, and had been in hiding ever since.

Since disappearing into Iran, Mugniyeh had not been seen by any Western intelligence service, noted the World Tribune.

Mugniyeh had totally reinvented himself; plastic surgery gave him a new face, Iran gave him a new identity, and a decade in hiding gave him anonymity.

He reappeared during a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Damascus in 2006. That appearance sealed his doom. Since the, Israeli, French and US intelligence services coordinated efforts to track him down.

Still quoting the World Tribune; “Mughniyeh was considered untouchable and to most unrecognizable,” a senior intelligence source said. “This is a monumental intelligence achievement.”

Israel, for its part, is continuing to officially deny any involvement. A statement from the Israeli Prime Minister’s office said only that:

“Israel is looking into the reports from Lebanon and Syria regarding the death of a senior Hizbullah figure and is studying the details arising from this, as they have been reported in the media in recent hours. Israel rejects the attempt by terrorist elements to ascribe to it any involvement whatsoever in this incident.”

The US response was somewhat less subdued, however. “The world is a better place without this man in it,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

“One way or the other, he was brought to justice.”

Assessment:

The Middle East is bracing itself for the expected Hezbollah counter-strike over what the media is terming Mugniyeh’s ‘assassination’. (“Assassination” is too honorable a word. A better word might be ‘euthanized’ — like putting down a rabid dog.)

Ha’aretz speculates that Hezbollah will most likely retaliate directly against Israel, but thinks the United States would make an inviting secondary target.

“American targets might also be a “suitable” object for vengeance, and an attempt to parlay Mughniyah’s slaying into political leverage.

If American targets or civilians in the Middle East or Middle America are harmed as a result of an Israeli assassination, Nasrallah can hope for resulting pressure from the American public against Israel. “

Somehow, I doubt that even the Left will turn against Israel over this. Mugniyeh has as much American blood on his hands as he does Israeli. If anything, it should underline the nexus that exists between Islamic terrorism and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Iranian news agency IRNA called Mugniyeh a ‘martyr’ saying his ‘assassination’ would ‘boost the spirit of Hezbollah forces’.

Syria’s Foreign Minister claimed the killing of Imad Mugniyeh has ‘ruined all hopes for peace’ saying, “Whoever seeks peace does not act in terror.”

If it wasn’t so deadly, it would be funny. Every single Israeli peace overture ever extended to Syria was met by a terrorist attack.

Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel as a consequence of using the location to launch rocket attacks against civilian targets in northern Israel.

Syria also threatened to sue the United States for supplying Israel with weaponry.

“We will punish the United States,” Mouallem said during a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki.

“There are Syrians who were sacrificed during the Israeli war against Lebanon, and they will file a law suit against America, which provided Israel with the weapons.”

Ok, serious or not, that IS funny. Syria and Iran provided Hezbollah with weapons, many of which were used directly against the United States.

Overall, Hezbollah’s body count runs into the tens of thousands; Jews, Americans, other Westerners, plus the innocents who died as a consequence of collateral damage.

The killing of Imad Mugniyeh, and its aftermath is a reminder that we remain at war with an enemy undeterred by reality.

To the enemy, the cold-blooded murderer of women, children, and the helpless, Imad Mugniyeh, is a ‘martyr’. And whoever it was who finally caught up with him is a ‘murderer’.

As to the enemy himself, well, all roads seem to lead through Damascus and straight to Tehran. Mugniyeh avoided justice for a dozen years with Tehran’s open assistance.

Osama bin-Laden is also believed to have spent time in hiding in Tehran under the protection of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Iran has been training and providing material support (and personnel) to al-Qaeda forces in Iraq. It is colluding with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to topple the US economy, using its oil wealth to undercut the US dollar.

And it is actively seeking nuclear weapons with which it has openly promised to ‘wipe Israel from the face of the map.’

And the clock continues to tick. . . .

The Cup of Trembling

The Cup of Trembling
Vol: 77 Issue: 14 Thursday, February 14, 2008

It was only a week ago that the leaders of several religious parties that make up Olmert’s coalition government reacted to rumors that Olmert has been in secret negotiations with the Palestinians over the division of Jerusalem and the ‘Right of Return’.

The Jerusalem Post published a story last week that quoted Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Queria saying the PA was involved in ‘secret’ negotiations with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

According to the report, both Jerusalem and the Right of Return are being negotiated, despite the official Israeli position that neither issue is even on the table.

Olmert denied the allegations, and gave his personal assurances to Shas that the rumors were untrue.

Olmert promised the Shas leader that Jerusalem would not be discussed until the end of the negotiations with the Palestinians and that he would make sure Livni abided by that vow.

“We are satisfied for now, but if secret negotiations begin tomorrow, we are leaving,” a source close to Yishai said following his meetings with Olmert and Livni.

“He believes the prime minister and the foreign minister. If he didn’t, we would leave the coalition.”

Were Shas to leave the coalition, it would bring down the Olmert government and force new elections.

Despite Olmert’s denial, Ha’aretz is reporting that not only has Israel been negotiating over Jerusalem, but there is already a done deal.

Frankly, there is no way to be certain what is true and what is a rumor — after all, this is the Middle East.

There is a strong faction within Israel that is so tired of non-stop war that they would be willing to live with almost any settlement that would allow them to live in peace.

It would seem that desperation covers a multitude of sins. . . .

Assessment:

In 1993, that desperation had come to a head; five years of non-stop violence during Arafat’s first intifada exhausted the public will to resist.

The PLO and Israel had just signed an agreement that had been hammered out in Oslo under which Israel would exchange land for peace with the Palestinians.

The Oslo agreement put of Israel’s holiest places, like the tomb of the Patriarchs and Joseph’s Tomb, under Palestinian administration.

Under that agreement, the Palestinian side promised to respect the holy places of Christians and Jews as they do their own.

They lied.

In 2000, following repeated Islamic attacks on Jews worshipping at Joseph’s Tomb, Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered a withdrawal from the area.

Within an hour of the withdrawal, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph’s Tomb and reportedly began to ransack the site. Palestinian mobs reportedly tore apart books, destroying prayer stands and grinding out stone carvings in the Tomb’s interior.

Palestinians raised an Islamic flag over the tomb. Amin Maqbul, an official from Arafat’s office, visited the tomb to deliver a speech declaring, “Today was the first step to liberate (Jerusalem).”

The Palestinians burned the tomb, constructed a mosque on the site, and painted the dome of the compound an Islamic green.

Last week, the Israeli government announced its intention to restore the damaged tomb site. The Palestinians rioted, set the tomb afire again, and this week, claimed that Joseph was really a Muslim.

The Biblical patriarch Joseph lived and died about TWENTY-FOUR CENTURIES before Mohammed. But Islam also claims Abraham, who lived and died two centuries before Joseph was also a Muslim.

This is as ridiculous as making a claim that Abraham was really a Christian. The Bible says we are spiritual heirs to Abraham, but that neither makes Christians Jews nor does it mean Jews are really Christians.

Abraham had faith, and God counted it unto him as righteousness, but Abraham was not a Christian, for the same reason that Abraham could not be a Muslim.

Christian doctrine would not be articulated for another twenty centuries after Abraham and one can not follow a doctrine that does not yet exist.

If a Christian were to claim Abraham’s doctrine, he wouldn’t be claiming Christianity, he’d be claiming Judaism. Claiming Joseph as a Muslim patriarch doesn’t make Joseph a Muslim. It would turn Muslims into Jews.

It is ridiculous on its face. Yet NOBODY laughed, not even the Jews. And I’ve yet to see a single mainstream media organization question either claim.

As impossible as it seems, the world has begun to accept any Islamic claim, no matter how ridiculous, rather than take the chance of inflaming the tender sensibilities of the Religion of Perpetual Outrage.

Until this generation, the word ‘Jerusalem’ meant “Jew.” The Israelites split into two kingdoms, dividing themselves between the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom (“Israelites”) and the two tribes that made up the southern Kingdom of Judah. (“Jews”)

Judah’s capital, Jerusalem, was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, the First Temple was sacked and its treasures carried away to Babylon.

A hundred years later, the Persian King Ahasuerus Longimanus (or ‘Xerxes’) issued the decree to Ezra to rebuild both Jerusalem and the Temple.

The western retaining wall of the 1st Temple — the one destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar — still stands in Jerusalem today.

These facts have stood as solidly for the last two thousand years as has the Western Wall that testifies to their accuracy.

Still, according to the Islamic version, the Jewish claim to Jerusalem is unsupported by history.

And it is the Islamic version that the world has whole-heartedly embraced.

Accepting the claim of Joseph as an Islamic patriarch is like claiming Abraham Lincoln was a follower of John F Kennedy — but try and find a mainstream news story that sounds even remotely skeptical.

Uniquely to this generation, truth is not what is actually true, but rather, it is what people prefer to accept as true. I say ‘uniquely’ because there have been historical examples, like the Nazis, but that was localized to Nazi-occupied territory. And so on.

In this generation, the deception is as universally accepted as it is transparent. Because this is the generation of whom Paul was speaking when he wrote:

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:12-13)

Bulls Eye! Scratch Hezbollah #2

Bulls Eye! Scratch Hezbollah #2
Vol: 77 Issue: 13 Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bulls Eye! Scratch Hezbollah #2

As a former Marine, I take considerable satisfaction at the news that Imad Mughniyeh has just been introduced to the 72 Virginians awaiting him in the afterlife. (Surprise!)

Mugniyeh was Israel’s Ayman al Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden and Carlos the Jackal rolled into one neat, murderous package.

In fact, until eclipsed by the September 11 attacks, Mugniyeh was our bin-laden/Zawahiri/Carlos, as well. Up to September 11, 2001, Mughniyeh was responsible for more American terrorist casualties than any other living terrorist.

He’s been on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list since the mid-1980’s. Mughniyeh was the brains behind the Beirut Hostage Crisis in which journalist and Batavia native Terry Anderson was kidnapped and held hostage for six years and nine months. It was Mugniyeh who ordered the murder of CIA station chief Col. William Buckley.

Mugniyeh was also indicted for the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847. During that hijacking, a US Navy diver was discovered to be among the passengers. Robert Stetham was shot dead and his body dropped unceremoniously on the tarmac.

Just outside Camp Lejeune, on a stretch of road named ‘Freedom Way’, 241 trees line the boulevard — one for each of the young Marines killed in the Beirut Embassy car-bombing.

The first time I saw those trees, they were just saplings. Today, they are tall, mature trees. It will be twenty-five years this April since Imad Mugniyeh murdered 241 young Marines and 58 French soldiers.

On February 12, 2008, justice was at least partially served when Mugniyeh met his fate the same way as did those sleeping Marines.

Somebody blew him to bits with a car bomb.

Assessment:

To this point, nobody knows who is responsible for Mugniyeh’s death. Hezbollah blames Israel, but Israel denies any involvement.

The CIA is also a prime suspect, as are at least a dozen other countries.

(In all, Mugniyeh was wanted by at least FORTY-TWO other countries.)

Last night, while we were chatting in the OL Chat Room, at about 10:45 p.m. Iman Mugniyeh was dispatched by persons unknown to meet Allah face to face.

Security forces quickly sealed off the area and removed the destroyed car, which had its driver’s seat and the rear seat blown away by the force of the blast.

According to Israeli intelligence, the government of Saddam Hussein had forged ties with Mughniyeh, long renowned as one of the cruelest men alive.

In April, 1997 Mugniyeh came close to blowing up an Israeli El-Al airliner above Tel Aviv.

A Lebanese national carrying a forged British passport in the name of Andrew Neumann was severely injured when the bomb went off in his Jerusalem hotel room two hours before he was due to board the plane.

“Neumann” eventually admitted that Imad Mughniyeh was behind the plot.

“Osama bin-Laden is a schoolboy in comparison with Mughniyeh, one Israeli Aman(Army Intelligence) officer was quoted saying.

We have studied him, and determined that he is a clinical psychopath. He had two brothers killed by the Americans, and that only inflamed his strong motivation.

It is impossible to know exactly how long Mugnieyeh’s list of victims really is, but it is no stretch to number it in the thousands.

I am not sure that rejoicing over the death of such an individual as Imad Mugniyeh is a sin — but if it is, Scripture tells me to confess my sins and be healed.

I confess that I am torn. I am not sure which gives me the most satisfaction; 1) Mugniyeh’s discovery of Allah’s true identity; or, 2) Mugniyeh’s meeting with his 72 Virginians. Despite all that, I am still a bit disappointed that Mugniyeh got off too easy.

Because where he is now, he won’t have to worry about running into any of those 241 Marines.

Rest in pieces.

The Joy of Thy Salvation

The Joy of Thy Salvation
Vol: 77 Issue: 12 Tuesday, February 12, 2008

King David of Israel is referred to by Scripture as “a man after God’s own Heart.” (Acts 13:22) King David is also the patriarch with the most blood — innocent and otherwise — on his hands.

David was a warrior-king but there is no sin in being a warrior. The OT is filled with accounts of bloody battles being led by God’s hand-picked leaders, from Moses to Joshua to Gideon to David.

But among the patriarchs, David uniquely holds the record for depravity.

David was a king chosen expressly by God Himself. Under David’s rule, Israel became a world superpower.

Despite all that God had given him, David wanted more. David wanted Bathsheeba, who was the wife of one of his most trusted soldiers, Uriah.

David sent Uriah to the battle front with an urgent message for its commander.

Uriah was too loyal to read it, or he would have discovered he was carrying his own death warrant. The message instructed the commander to put Uriah in the thick of battle where he was sure to be killed.

After Uriah’s murder, David claimed Bathsheeba for himself.

Later, convicted of his sin by the prophet Samuel, David went to the Lord in prayer, and in so doing, revealed exactly why David was called “a man after God’s own Heart.”

His prayer of contrition, as recorded in Psalms 51, has inspired sinners for three millennia. Having outlined his sin, David cries out to the Lord, saying;

“Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.” (Psalms 51:12-13)

Note that what David asked was NOT for a restoration of his salvation, but rather, David prayed that the Lord would restore unto him the “joy of Thy salvation.”

Assessment:

“Salvation: The act of saving; preservation or deliverance from destruction, danger, or great calamity.”

It is one thing to experience salvation, but it is quite another to explain it. Especially to someone that has no Bible background.

Being ‘saved’ — by definition — means that until the moment of salvation a person is ‘lost’. To someone that IS lost, this is a very difficult concept to communicate.

If salvation means to be ‘preserved or delivered from destruction, danger or great calamity’ the skeptic cannot even consider his need to be saved unless he first recognizes such destruction, danger or great calamity exists.

I never cease to be fascinated by the atheist who denies the existence of heaven and hell, but admits to fearing death. If there is no certain judgment beyond the grave, what is there to fear?

Death is merely a cessation of consciousness, an end to existence. Without the fear of judgment, what is so terrifying about death? We aren’t terrified to go to sleep. We aren’t terrified of general anasthesia, in and of itself, before an operation.

Humanity fears death because of the existence of God, whether the atheist wants to admit it or not. We are all built with a God-shaped vacuum in our being.

Humans try and fill that void with all kinds of things; money, drugs, sex, pagan religions, personal relationships, and on and on, but nothing ever quite fits except God.

One cannot communicate the need for salvation without first communicating what one is being saved from. The atheist demands to know, “how can a loving God condemn people to hell?”

It is the nature of all human beings to sin, which further separates them from God, which turns that aching void into an insurmountable chasm.

All human beings are sinners, by nature and by personal action, and none are righteous. Some may sin to a greater or lesser degree, but all have failed to attain to the standard of God, which is perfection of character, spiritual righteousness and performance (Romans 3:9-10)

Since God created man in His eternal image, all human beings have an eternal destiny. We were created to spend eternity in God’s presence, but the fall of man and our inherited sin nature render us ineligible for heaven.

But being eternal, we have to go somewhere.

The Lord created the Lake of Fire for the devil and his rebellious angels, and not for mankind. But since sin bars us from heaven, and since we are eternal, when we shuffle off this mortal coil, there are only two choices. (And make no mistake, there is a choice.)

If not to heaven, well, then, there is only one other place left. God doesn’t condemn us to hell, we condemn ourselves by choosing to go there.

It IS a choice, but it is NOT God’s choice. If it were God’s choice, He would not have provided the way of salvation.

Confronted with the choice of condemning the human race, God’s choice was to bear the condemnation in His Own Body at the Cross, so that the human race might be saved through faith in His accomplished work.

Through Jesus Christ, God paid our ransom to deliver us from the bondage (and the consequences) of sin.

Sin places humanity into a state of captivity from which a price must be paid in order that a person might be redeemed or purchased out of that state.

The state of captivity, brought about by the sinful condition of humanity, is like a slave market where people are sold as the possession of the purchaser, and in order to be free, the slave must pay for a release or deliverance; this is a ransom.

Humanity is “sold under sin” (Romans 7:14) and therefore fall under the judgment of God.

The judgment has already been pronounced by God and the penalty is eternal death.

The death of Jesus Christ is the ransom paid in order to redeem the human race from the penalty of sin. The ransom is paid to God, as a payment for the release of humanity from the penalty of their sinful state. (cf. Matthew 20:28, 1 Peter 1:17-19, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, Galatians 3:13)

God’s perfect justice demands that a penalty for sin be paid. Jesus Christ is a propitiation that satisfies the justice of God and allows Him to forgive sinful human beings through His mercy and grace.

By committing sins, which all have their direction toward God, humanity has become separated and alienated from God.

A reconciliation cannot be effected because humanity cannot meet the requirements of God in a sinful state and cannot be removed from the authority of judgment by God.

It is Jesus Christ who is the Mediator of the reconciliation between man and God.

Finally, God Himself provided a Substitute to pay that penalty for us. The perfect and sinless life of Jesus Christ is the substitute for that of sinful human beings, and His death is also a substitute for the eternal spiritual death that has been pronounced as the judgment against all sinful human beings.

The problem with salvation, from the perspective of the lost, is admitting that they have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

Pride will not let them depend entirely on the substitutionary payment made on their behalf — pride demands that they participate in some way in the process.

But to the lost, participation in the process means giving up all the stuff they like, living like a monk, wearing a hair shirt and walking around praying all the time.

Being saved means BEING saved. One doesn’t save oneself from drowning — in fact, a drowning person’s panicky flailing about can pull down both parties. Being saved means relaxing and allowing Jesus to save you.

Your participation is limited to accepting the fact you cannot save yourself.

Imagine you have a child that gets lost in the woods for days. You are out there, searching under every bush for your lost child, when suddenly, you see him afar off.

You run to the child, calling his name, as he runs to you, in slow motion, like in the movies.

Both of you have your arms outstretched, but, just as you are about to embrace your lost child, you notice that he is all dirty and smelly and matted from his time in the wilderness.

So, instead of embracing your lost child, you hold him at arm’s length, scold him for being dirty, and tell him you will embrace him after he’s had a bath.

That is the way the lost generally understand salvation. That before they can embrace Jesus, and He them, they must first clean themselves up. That is too big a job to contemplate, and so they hide under a bush.

The lost fail to grasp the simplicity of salvation. Ephesians 2:8 explains, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: “

Look at the elements: For BY GRACE are ye saved — through FAITH — and THAT not of yourselves — it is a GIFT of God.

It is so simple that most people can’t explain it, and even if they can, even more can’t accept it without further complicating it. God grants the ‘grace’ (an unmerited, undeserved gift) through faith that is ‘not of yourselves’ but is rather a gift from God.

There is no room in that equation for us to play any greater role than accepting that gift with gratitude.

Thank you, Jesus, for the Gift of eternal life. I pray right now that You will burn its truth into my soul, and help me to communicate to others their need for salvation.

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude:24-25)

Special Report: McCain Vs Obama

Special Report: McCain Vs Obama
Vol: 77 Issue: 11 Monday, February 11, 2008

There is an ongoing pundit war about the political demise of Hillary Clinton. One side is predicting her eventual nomination following a hard-fought, but close campaign.

The other is forecasting her imminent defeat. It’s early in the race and the polls show Hillary at least neck-and-neck, but the pundits on both sides of the question remain rock-solid in their respective positions.

I’m going to go out on a limb, here. I don’t think that Hillary can win the nomination. There was a time when she might have had a shot at it, but her time is past.

She miscalculated. She should have gone up against John Kerry in ’04 as a political debutante fighting against the Washington establishment.

Instead, she waited to get four more years in the Senate on her resume so she could run in ’08 as a “tested leader” with 35 years of public service experience as the Washington Establishment.

The electorate is sick of the Washington establishment, and for the first time in 56 years, both sides have a chance to divest themselves of the Washington establishment and vote ‘outside the box’.

The last time one side or the other didn’t have an incumbent establishment candidate was 1952. They chose war hero (and Washington newcomer) Dwight D Eisenhower.

Both the McCain and Obama camps got it right when they positioned themselves as the ‘candidates of change.’

Young voters who have come of age since 2004 were born somewhere between 1986 and 1990. That means that for their entire lives, there’s never been anybody in the White House but a Bush or a Clinton.

Voters under thirty can’t even remember a time before the Bush/Clinton Dynasty.

The discontent with the status quo is what propelled John McCain to having all but clinched the Republican nomination. McCain has had a long Washington career, but built his reputation on bucking the Washington establishment.

When the pundits throw labels around, guys like John Kerry or Ted Kennedy get tagged; “liberal Democrat” prominent moderates get labeled ‘centrist’ conservatives like Newt Gingrich ‘conservative’ George Bush ‘neocon’ and so forth.

But a whole generation of voters know John McCain best by the pundit label, ‘maverick politician’.

That label has earned McCain the undying hatred of the Far Right conservative lobby, but for young voters and the 40% of swing voters, (formerly known as ‘Reagan Democrats’), John McCain is the closest thing the GOP has to offering a breath of fresh air after two decades of bitterly divisive partisan politics.

Conservatives would have been much happier with either Huckabee or Romney — (and so would the Democrats.)

Hillary Clinton is the ultimate Establishment Candidate running on her inflated resume of political public service. They are the right credentials, (which is why she invented them) but not for this electorate.

The polls aren’t necessarily showing it yet, but Hillary Clinton’s campaign is showing all the classic signs of imploding.

The most telling sign is that her funds are starting to dry up. Although they left the White House impoverished and in debt for Bill Clinton’s legal defense bills (indeed they were so broke that when they left the White House, they tried to take the furniture with them) since leaving office, they’ve accumulated a fortune estimated at somewhere between $15-$25 million.

Last week, Hillary wrote her campaign a check for $5 million, about a quarter of the Clinton family’s net worth, just to keep it afloat.

Many paid staffers are now working without salaries. Campaign headquarters in various states are closing or cutting back on non-essential staff.

These are all telling signs, but the most telling sign are all the endorsements Hillary once thought she had in the bag that are going to Obama.

To be a successful national politician requires all the instincts of a professional gambler. If one bets on the right horse, their political career is assured. Bet on the wrong one, and its over.

An endorsement is a bet. That’s the reason that so many prominent Democrats are still reluctant to endorse either candidate — until they are pretty sure who is going to win.

Those Democrats that have endorsed Obama so far have earned prominent places on the Clinton machine’s feared enemies list.

If Hillary wins, they’re cooked, and they know it. If they didn’t really think the odds favored Obama, they’d all be lined up behind Hillary.

My dad was a compulsive gambler who loved the ponies. When I was growing up, our mailbox was stuffed with bookie sheets and insider trips and various ‘foolproof’ systems.

There was one scheme I remember that involved watching the tote board that displayed the odds on the various horses. During the last five minutes before the betting windows close is when the ‘smart money’ bets.

The horse one which the odds change the most in the last five minutes is, in theory, the one that the trainers, jockeys and other racing ‘insiders’ put their money on, and therefore, the most likely winner.

The ‘smart money’ in this race seems to be going to Obama.

My favorite columnist, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, published a column yesterday asking the question, “Can Mrs. Clinton Lose?” but Noonan wasn’t questioning the probability of her defeat.

Instead, she was musing about Hillary’s demeanor when she finally concedes the nomination to Obama. Peggy Noonan is a conservative Republican — a rather odd source for insight into the Democrat’s viewpoint.

But she is the exception that proves the rule — most Republicans are talking up the Hillary candidacy — another tell-tale sign. Noonan explains why:

“Hillary is the easier candidate, Mr. Obama the tougher. Hillary brings negative; it’s fair to hit her back with negative. Mr. Obama brings hope, and speaks of a better way. He’s not Bambi, he’s bulletproof. . . The Democrats continue not to recognize what they have in this guy. Believe me, Republican professionals know. They can tell.”

So can the ‘smart money’ people on the other side — the Democrat ‘professionals’ who are betting it all on Obama.

Note:

Member’s chat tonight at 7 pm at the Omega Letter chat room on the website. Logged-in OL members can get to the chat room from the OL menu — “Members Only” — “Live IRC Chat”.

We plan to kick around ideas for your new Omega Letter redesign. We covet your input and suggestions.

Join us live on the web tonight at 7pm EST tonight, or 11 pm EST (7 PM PST) tomorrow night.

I’m hoping to see you there.

The Cost of Freedom

The Cost of Freedom
Vol: 77 Issue: 9 Saturday, February 9, 2008

I wasted a couple of hours one night recently doing a little late-night channel surfing. It was one of those strange, insomniac nights where it’s impossible to stay away sitting up, and impossible to sleep lying down.

So I settled into a chair, turned on the History Channel and drifted in and out of sleep.

The mind is a funny thing. In that strange place somewhere between half-asleep and fully awake, you never know where it will decide to focus itself. . .

At one point, one of those Craftmatic Adjustable Bed commercials came on. I bet I’ve seen that commercial a thousand times in the past thirty years.

Happy people sitting up in beds contorted to resemble mountain roads, reading, chatting, eating . . . (everything but sleeping) and all, it would seem, for free.

I lost count after the tenth time the announcer uttered the word ‘free’ but I counted fourteen times the word ‘free’ either flashed on the screen or appeared in the text message at the end.

If there is any cost to the consumer for this amazing Bed of the Future, you can’t tell from Craftmatic’s commercial, but if you call right now, they’ll give you a FREE TV — as a 5,000 word disclaimer in 6 point font explains that the ‘free’ offer is “subject to the consumer. . . blah, blah, blah.”

(That’s as far as I’ve ever gotten before the scene switches back to the announcer telling me to ‘act now to get the ‘free’ offer.’)

There is no word among the language of human beings that carries more meaning that the word free.

Offer something — ‘for free!’– and you can evidently convince large numbers of people that they’d sleep more comfortably folded like a taco. (That Craftmatic commercial has been on TV for more than thirty years for a reason).

Nothing sells a product or an idea like attaching the word ‘free’ to it. The Founding Fathers ‘sold’ the colonists on going to war with what was at the time, the world’s greatest superpower, by sprinkling their documents, pamphlets and speeches liberally with the word, ‘free’ and its derivative, ‘freedom.’

Christians often ‘close the sale’ to the lost sinner on his need for salvation by explaining the wonderful sense of freedom in Christ.

American foreign policy abroad is dedicated to the mission of advancing freedom on the theory that truly free societies are peaceful societies.

To a native-born American, freedom is like the air we breathe. (If you were to ask a person what is the most important ingredient to long life, you’d get a million answers before anybody thought of mentioning ‘air’.)

America sells itself to the world as a ‘bastion of freedom’ — ask any naturalized American what is the secret to America’s greatness and he’ll answer with hesitation, “freedom.”

Indeed, freedom is so indelibly part of being an American that ‘freedom’ would probably not even make the top five on the list for a native-born son of Uncle Sam. Americans seldom even think of freedom unless one of those freedoms are threatened.

You can use the concept of freedom to sell a lot of things, and a lot of ideas. Tack ‘free’ onto anything and you can sell it, from hydraulic beds that come with a ‘free’ TV for those inevitable sleepless nights you’ll have — thanks to your Craftmatic bed’s 10,000 positions — to selling the murder of the unborn as a matter of ‘free’ conscience or ‘freedom of choice.’

Like I said, there is no other word quite like ‘free’ among the languages of men. It means something different to everyone, depending on the context, and it is a word that can be attached to any other word — except itself.

Because there is nothing on this earth more expensive than ‘freedom’.

Assessment:

Recently, in an exercise of ‘free speech’, the city of Berkeley, California (which prides itself on being America’s bastion of ‘free speech’) passed a city ordinance denouncing the US Marines manning the US Marine Recruiting Center in downtown Berkeley as “uninvited and unwelcome intruders.”

To add insult to injury, the City Council voted to impose the same zoning restrictions on Marine recruitment stations as are imposed on pornographic movie theaters.

To make certain nobody missed the message, the Council also voted to grant special parking privileges directly in front of the recruiting center to the militant granny group, “Code Pink”.

Code Pink has been picketing the center for months, defacing the building with graffiti calling the Marines “assassins” (and worse) and the City Council thought it might be nice if all those grannies didn’t have to walk so far to the recruiting office carrying those big heavy signs.

Video of the Council meeting showed city officials trashing the Marines, calling them “the President’s own gangsters” and “trained killers” who are known for “death and destruction and maiming.”

(I’m sure that Berkely’s City Council meant that last crack as an insult. But since Marines greet each other as “Devil Dogs” and pride themselves on “heartbreakers and life-takers” — it was an accidental compliment. Allow me to acknowledge it on behalf of my Corps brethren. “Ummm, thanks!” )

But, as I said, I don’t think they meant the ‘trained killers’ with a reputation for ‘death and destruction’ crack, as a compliment.

Especially after one of the council members complained that the Marine’s presence was responsible for “horrible karma.” Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates offered to “help” the Marines evacuate.

Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin and her troop of militant grannies gloated over the vote and turned up at the recruitment center to rub salt in the wound:

“We are the defenders of democracy, the upholders of the Constitution. If it weren’t for people like the people in Berkeley, standing up for what they believe, we’d be living under Hitler.”

To demonstrate their willingness to fiercely defend democracy against the likes of the US Marines, Code Pink’s warriors then publicly defaced the Marine recruitment center again, stretching a banner covered with bloody handprints across the window — while the Marine recruiters attempted to do their duty to their country inside.

It’s a free country, and Code Pink was simply exercising their freedom of speech, explained Berkeley police.

So instead of arresting them for defacing US government property, Berkley gave them preferred parking — and a free sound permit in the event their demonstrations violated local noise ordinances.

Berkeley’s ‘defenders of free speech’ were immediately blasted on Youtube, the internet and talk radio. The San Francisco-based Move America Forward, led by talk show host/conservative activist Melanie Morgan, launched an online petition protesting the city council measures.

The American Legion’s National Commander issued a statement on behalf of America’s veterans blasting the Council decision, saying,

“Without recruiters we have no military. And I don’t think we can count on the flower children from Berkeley to protect this nation when it comes under attack. They have to remember that Marines are not the enemy; the terrorists are.”

The’ horrible karma’ Berkeley feared the Marine’s presence in their city might bring turned out to be nothing compared to karmic peril of trying to kick them out. Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina moved to strip Berkeley of pork barrel spending worth $2.3 million.

“Berkeley needs to learn that their actions have consequences,” DeMint said in a statement. “Patriotic American taxpayers won’t sit quietly while Berkeley insults our brave Marines and tries to run them out of town. Berkeley City Council members have shown complete ingratitude to our military and their families, and the city doesn’t deserve a single dime of special pet project handouts.”

The City of Free Speech was stunned. San Jose’s KNTV interviewed perplexed (and woefully uninformed) Berkeley Code Pink member Xanne Joi.

“I was under the impression that we have the right of free speech,” she protested. “To me, I thought free speech meant you get to say what you want without recrimination.”

In other words, “my freedom of speech is more important than your freedom of speech.” Being ‘free of recrimination’ assures Code Pink’s right to free speech is supreme. You have a right to free speech, provided you don’t disagree with Code Pink.

The ones who pay for those rights with their blood and sweat and suffering, well, they have no rights whatever.

That’s the thing about freedom. If you get it for free, that’s all its worth to you. Need proof? Attach a price tag to that ‘freedom’. Doesn’t have to be blood or death. Money will do.

That’s what separates the Marines from the ‘free speech freeloaders’ like Berkeley’s flower children. Marines willingly pay the cost of freedom, so that morons like Code Pink don’t (usually) have to.

Berkeley stood up to the criticism, picking up the smouldering American flag from the dirt, draping themselves in it and the Constitution, bravely enduring the scorn of a nation to uphold their lofty principles. . . did you say $2.3 million?

Oh yeah, the $2.3 million in federal pork that was earmarked for school lunches, Bay ferry service, disability organizations, UC Berkeley and public safety.

Representative Jim DeMint introduced a companion bill called the “Semper Fi Act of 2008” to reallocate that federal money earmarked for Berkeley to the US Marines instead.

Suddenly, Berkeley’s ‘freedom of speech rights’ DID come with a price tag. (Talk about ‘karmic horror’!)

But not as high a price tag as that paid by the Marines who stand between Code Pink and the terrorists who would as gladly kill militant antiwar grannies as they would steely-eyed “trained killers with a reputation for death and destruction.”

(They’d prefer it, in fact. Militant antiwar grannies are annoying, but as a fighting force, not that formidable).

In any case, shocked at the prospect of having to endure any kind of sacrifice (who knew?) to uphold their principles, Berkeley’s City Council folded like a lawn chair.

Freedom is never free. The price paid in blood to secure our freedom by Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen is incalculable.

Berkeley claims it exercised that freedom, purchased for them by others, “on principle.”

Until the city’s fathers realized that this time, freedom was going to call on them to pay their share — in this case, $2.3 million.

Two of the Council members immediately introduced measures to rescind the previous vote, including Code Pink’s parking privileges. The Mayor issued a public apology.

Evidently, free speech doesn’t actually mean you get ‘the right to speak without recrimination,’ after all.

Because if freedom really was free, there wouldn’t be so little of it in the world.

Semper Fi!

Christian ‘Intolerance’

Christian ‘Intolerance’
Vol: 77 Issue: 8 Friday, February 8, 2008

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6) This verse has gotten Christianity into hot water with the world throughout the history of the Christian Church Age.

This verse gave the Romans their excuse for throwing Christians to the lions. It has served as the main reason for Christian persecution wherever it might be found.

This verse is the one that is behind the UN’s hatred of Christianity, and is the main reason that in Canada, the Bible has been determined, under certain circumstances, to be ‘hate literature’.

Jesus’ claim that He is the only way is what upsets the world. To the world, Christianity is ‘intolerant’ because it teaches the only one way to salvation is through Jesus.

To a Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., that means that they are excluded, since they don’t worship Jesus as God.

Therefore, Christianity is an ‘exclusive’ religion, and people don’t like to be excluded, even when they CHOOSE to be excluded.

It is absurd, really. Consider the premise for a moment. The ‘hate speech’ argument is based on Jesus not letting Muslims, Hindus, etc., et al, into His heaven just because they don’t believe in Him.

So, from the secular perspective, if the ‘mythical’ Jesus won’t let unbelievers into His ‘mythical’ Heaven, that is ‘intolerance’ and ‘hateful’.

Leaving aside why Jesus would exclude unbelievers for a second, one has to wonder why somebody who doesn’t believe in Jesus would want to go to His heaven in the first place?

Whether or not Christianity is intolerant depends on what the word ‘tolerant’ means. And in an age of propaganda, words are not very precise. Remember, in the name of ‘pro-choice’, it is a crime to offer a different choice that abortion within 100 feet of an abortion clinic.

‘Militant’ means any terrorist who isn’t for the moment, targeting YOU. Or it means ‘radical’, as in ‘militant feminist’.

So, ‘militant’ — depending on political worldview — can mean either a crazed terrorist murdering as many innocents as possible or, a group of angry women carrying signs.

“Tolerant” — and its derivatives — is a word like that.

From the perspective of Biblical Christianity, there is no more tolerant worldview than that of Christ. Christianity teaches the obvious truth that all men have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.

Even atheists recognize ‘sin’ — even if they rename it. Were it not for sin, societies wouldn’t need police protection. Nations wouldn’t need armies. Religions would have no reason to exist and no ‘hammer’ with which to keep the faithful in line.

Sin exists. All religions offer a remedy. Some require you to go out and knock on doors and proselytize new members as a means of salvation from sin. Others, like Islam, might require you to go out and blow up a school bus as a means of salvation from sin.

Some require you to keep certain church laws and regulations in order to be saved from sin, while others require an outward act of penitence.

Even secular society has a remedy for sin. When a convicted criminal serves out his sentence for a crime, he is said to have ‘paid his debt to society’. He can never be punished for that crime again under the law. There is nothing intolerant about the recognition for sin, or the existence of a sin debt.

Jesus offers all men the free gift of salvation for the asking. They need only accept the gift of Pardon offered and trust in His Shed Blood as full payment of their sin debt.

If they accept the gift, they are imputed with the Righteousness of Christ and have therefore paid their sin debt and are eligible for Heaven. Their ‘debt to Heaven’s society’ is paid, and like the convict whose sentence is served, they can never be punished for that crime again.

If they reject the offer of Pardon, then they stand before the Righteous Judge with that debt unpaid. Nothing intolerant about that.

Jesus is Divinely fair in His judgement. His Pardon is based on the fact He has already paid for the crimes, and offers His payment on our behalf.

Nothing intolerant about that.

The Bible gives us a genuine basis to recognize hypocrisy and confront it for what it is. Because the Bible upholds the dignity of all persons as image-bearers of God, we have a basis for a genuinely diverse culture.

When faithful to the Scriptures, Christianity is epitome of tolerance.

Assessment:

As noted, it all depends on the meaning one assigns to the word ‘tolerant’. When tolerance means that we are to accept all beliefs as equally true and valid, Christians must respectfully object.

The notion that truth is a social construct is what gives the world a reason to hate Christianity as ‘intolerant’ and ‘hateful’.

To a Christian, truth matters. To the world, the truth is whatever they want to believe is true.

In the sense of ‘Christian intolerance’ the word ‘tolerant’ really means ‘pluralist’. ‘Pluralism’ is a curious philosophy, in that it holds that a number of simultaneous and conflicting truths can exist at the same time with each separate truth remaining equally true.

Pluralism holds that distinct cultural beliefs are true for that culture–but not for cultures that operate out of a different “paradigm” (like Christianity.)

Pluralists say that truth is a “social construction.” It is created through social consensus and tradition, not discovered in reality that exists independently of our beliefs. Truth is, therefore, subjective interpretation, rather than facts based in reality.

To the pluralist, all religions are equally valid and all religions lead to God. All gods are equally ‘god’, which is the logical equivalent to saying there is no God at all — and then making a religious worldview out of it.

Therefore, defining ‘tolerant’ as the semantic equivalent to ‘pluralist’ means that Christianity is intolerant because it stands or falls on that central truth that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and that no man comes to the Father but by Him.

Under the Romans, Christianity was outlawed because it was ‘hateful’ and ‘intolerant’.

Under revived Rome, the Apostle John says the Tribulation saints will be persecuted and put to death for refusing to accept his universal symbol of religious pluralism, what we call ‘the Mark of the Beast.’

The Mark of the Beast isn’t merely an economic system, although John says that without it, no man would be able to buy or sell.

John also says that it will become a universal, pluralistic religious system saying that, he will “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:15)

Those who don’t accept voluntary inclusion into the pluralistic religion of the false prophet because of their faith in Christ will be executed for their intolerance.

(As a side note, the ‘Tribulation Saints’ are those who are converted by the 144,000 Jewish evangelists sealed by the Holy Spirit (Revelation Chapter 7) and not the Church Age saints. During the Tribulation, power is given to the antichrist (and Satan) “to make war with the saints, and TO OVERCOME THEM,” — something not possible with Church Age believers Personally indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God.)

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome THEM: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1st John 4:4)

This is part of the continuously unfolding tapestry of Bible prophecy for the last days. Religious pluralism, in some form, is the universal religion of the antichrist.

Christianity is not the only faith that makes claims of exclusivity. So does Islam. So does Judaism. Exclusivity is a fundamental of each faith.

All three are currently engaged in a global war aimed at wiping each other out. Whether or not they succeed, there is little doubt that ‘fundamentalism’ is rapidly becoming a dirty word in these last days.

The false prophet is depicted by John as having, “two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” The Lamb is symbolic of Christianity, whereas the dragon is another name for Satan.

Logically, the pluralist religion of the antichrist will be some counterfeit form of Christianity that includes all other faiths under a single religious umbrella. We are getting closer, but we aren’t there yet.

The problem is, one cannot reconcile ‘tolerance’ with ‘faith’. ‘Tolerance’ (religious pluralism) dictates that there are many truths.

The indwelt Church stands as an obstacle on the path to religious pluralism during the Church Age, until it is recalled at the Rapture.

The reason, in part, is because faith recognizes only one truth. One cannot have ‘faith’ in conflicting truths — the Bible says, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Each of us goes to work each Monday because we have faith that our paychecks will be there Friday. Not just that we will be paid, but how much we will be paid.

If that paycheck was only there sometimes, and the amount reflected the whim of a different paymaster each week, who would keep showing up for work on Monday?

Our work is the ‘substance’ of things hoped for (our paycheck) and the fact we show up each Monday is the unseen evidence of our faith in payday. Do you follow?

One cannot be ‘tolerant’ of conflicting ‘truths’, any more than it would intolerant to refuse to go to work without faith in payday being the same ‘truth’ every week.

Faith and tolerance are polar opposites. That doesn’t make Christianity intolerant of the world.

It makes the world intolerant of Christianity.

How They Know?

How Did They Know?
Vol: 77 Issue: 7 Thursday, February 7, 2008

Nobody would classify the Bible as a work of science or a medical text book, but the Bible does make certain scientific and medical statements.

Assuming that the Bible is Divinely inspired, and given that it claims a 100% accuracy rate, 100% of the time, it is only reasonable to conclude that it should be completely accurate in every scientific and medical detail.

Taking it another step further, if the Bible is Divinely inspired, then the scientific and medical errors found in the pages of other ancient, non-inspired texts should be entirely absent from its pages.

The bulk of the medical information in Scripture is found among its first five Books, the Pentateuch, and are generally accepted as being written by Moses.

Moses, according to Scripture, was educated with “all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22) so it would be entirely natural for the Pentateuch to reflect some of that Egyptian ‘wisdom’ — if Moses were writing according to his own knowledge.

While some medical practices in the Pentateuch are similar to those found in ancient Egyptian documents, the Pentateuch exhibits a conspicuous absence of those harmful malpractices that plague the writings of the Egyptians.

Moses penned the most advanced, flawless medical prescriptions that had ever been recorded. Moses taught the Israelites to practice sanitation to prevent the spread of disease.

(The Egyptian prescriptions generally involved rubbing oneself with, ahem, camel poop.)

Every statement that pertained to the health and medical well-being of the Israelite nation recorded by Moses could theoretically still be implemented and be completely in accord with every fact modern medicine has learned in regard to germ spreading, epidemic disease control, communal sanitation, and a host of other medical and scientific discoveries.

In 1872, a German Egyptologist named Georg Ebers discovered an ancient Egyptian papyrus (the Ebers Papyrus) that outlined what constituted the Web MD of the ancient world.

Altogether, the papyrus contains 811 prescriptions for what ails you, including “salves, plasters, and poultices; snuffs, inhalations, and gargles; draughts, confections, and pills; fumigations, suppositories, and enemata,” wrote Cyril Bryan of the Ebers Papyrus in “The Ancient Egyptian,” published in 1930.

The ancient Egyptians were renowned in the ancient world for their progress in the field of medicine.

During the days of in the Medo-Persian Empire, the ancient historian Herodotus recorded that it was king Darius practice to keep in attendance certain Egyptian doctors, who had a reputation for the highest eminence in their profession.

Could the amazingly advanced medical knowledge reflected by the Pentateuch have come from Moses’ Egyptian education?

In ancient Egypt, if you went to the doctor for a splinter, he would write you out a prescription for a poultice consisting of “worm blood, mole and donkey dung.”

Of course, if you followed that prescription, the tetanus spores in the donkey poop would probably result in an agonizing death from lockjaw.

Got pimples? The Egyptian free clinic prescribes a poultice made of “a hog’s tooth, cat dung, dog dung, eau-of-samu-oil, berries-of-the-xet-plant,” which the patient is to “pound and apply as a poultice” to their skin.

Various other ingredients recorded by “The Ancient Egyptian” for the plethora of remedies concocted included dried excrement of a child (p. 98), hog dung (p. 115), and a farmer s urine (p. 131).

One recipe to prevent hair growth included lizard dung and the blood from a cow, donkey, pig, dog, and stag (p. 102).

Let’s face it. The active ingredient in most of these Egyptian prescriptions is animal poop. And ancient Egypt is reputed to have had the most advanced medical knowledge in the world at that time.

For three thousand years, when medical ‘science’ wasn’t advocating better living through the liberal application of poop, it recommended blood-letting as a way to allow diseases to leave the body.

Blood-letting was considered a legitimate medical treatment until the early 20th century.

An eyewitness account of George Washington s death relates that he came down with a chill, and in an effort to cure him, those who attended him resorted to bloodletting; a vein was opened, but no relief afforded. ( The Death of George Washington, 2001).

We know now that bloodletting was exactly the wrong treatment, regardless of the malady. Victims of a traumatic injury are given glucose IV’s to strengthen the blood and prevent the patient from going into shock.

Thousands of years before the lethality of blood-letting was discovered, mankind had been informed by God that blood was the key to life. In Leviticus 17:11, Moses wrote: For the life of the flesh is in the blood.

How could Moses have known almost 3,500 years ago that life was in the blood, something it took the rest of the scientific and medical community thousands of years to discover?

In 1847, a German doctor, seeking to reduce the mortality rate among pregnant mothers, noted that medical students would perform autopsies in the morning, then go directly from the morgue to the hospital wards without washing their hands.

He ordered everyone in his ward to wash his or her hands thoroughly in a chlorine solution after every examination. In three months, the death rate fell from 18% to 1%.

Had Dr Semmeliweis simply read the Pentateuch, he could have learned what the ancient Israelites knew three thousand years before;

He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days. He shall purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean. (Numbers 19:13)

Moses also gave instructions for the mixing of the ‘water of separation’ [or ‘purification’.] Numbers 19:17’s ingredient list sounds like a typical ancient superstition.

It calls for the combination of the ashes of a red heifer, hyssop, cedar wood and scarlet.

In point of fact, this combination of ingredients produces what amounts to an antibacterial soap. Lye soap is made by pouring water through ashes.

Hyssop’s medicinal properties include expectorant, carminative, relaxes peripheral blood vessels, promotes sweating, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal, antispasmodic. Its active constituents are volatile oil, flavonoids, tannins and bitter substance (marrubin).

A strong tea made from the hyssop leaves and flowering tops is used in lung, nose and throat congestion, and externally it can be applied to bruises, to reduce the swelling and discoloration.

Cedar has long been favored for use in storage cabinets because of its ability to repel insects and slow decay. In oil form, applied to humans, it is an antiseptic, astringent, expectorant (removes mucus from respiratory system), anti-fungal, sedative and insecticide ( Spa Essential Oils, 2005).

Cedar leaves and twigs are rich in vitamin C, and it was their effectiveness in preventing or treating scurvy that led to the tree s being called ‘arbor vitae’ or’ tree of life’.

Lastly, Moses called for the inclusion of ‘scarlet’ — mostly probably scarlet wool. (Hebrews 9:19) Adding wool fibers to the ‘water of purification’ would make it gritty, like Lava soap.

The education Moses received in Egypt taught him to treat open sores with animal dung, but Moses taught the Israelites how to make lye soap.

The book of Leviticus lists a number of diseases and outlines ways by which an Israelite would come in contact with germs. Those with such diseases as leprosy were instructed to dwell alone outside the camp (Leviticus 13:46).

If and when a diseased individual did get close to those who were not diseased, he was instructed to cover his mustache, and cry, Unclean! Unclean! (13:45).

Here’s another seeming superstition; the ‘covering of one’s mustache’ to prevent disease. Until you give it about three seconds thought — what do you do when you cough — and why?

We are taught to ‘cover our mustaches’ to keep from spreading germs!

So, Moses, having been educated in the finest schools in Egypt in the many uses of poop in the treatment of disease, prescribed the use of soap and water to prevent disease and instituted the practice of quarantine to prevent its spread — three thousand years ago in the middle of the Sinai desert!

The ancient Israelites were instructed in peculiar dietary habits such as avoiding certain animals, birds and fish as sources of food. (Leviticus 11:1-3)

In 1953, a researcher with the Johns Hopkins Institute of Medicine did a test in which he planted a certain seedling in the fresh muscle juices of various ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ animals as cited by Leviticus.

He would then record the percent of seeds that grew in the meat juices as compared to those that grew under normal circumstances. Seeds grown in the juices of ‘clean’ animals, like the ox, sheep, calf, goat or deer, grew 90% of the time.

Those nurtured in the juices of an ‘unclean’ animal; swine, rabbits, camels and horses failed to grow more than half the time, due to their natural toxicity. Similar tests between ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ birds yielded similar results.

The same experiment was conducted with fish, both those with fins and scales [clean] and those without [unclean].

Clean fish had almost zero toxicity while unclean fish were exceeding toxic to the seedlings. How could Moses know all that?

Lastly, let’s look at the Bible’s instructions for circumcision. For centuries, Western medicine considered it to be a barbaric practice of no medical value.

Modern research proves that circumcision virtually eliminates any risk of penile cancer. Circumcised infants suffer 20 times fewer urinary tract infections than uncircumcised infants.

Circumcision reduces the risk of getting or transmitting many sexually transmitted diseases. Again, how could Moses have known all this in the Sinai desert three thousand years ago?

But wait! As long as we’re on the subject, there’s more!

The 1953 edition of Holt Pediatrics contains a section titled, “Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn. The section deals with the occurrence of occasional spontaneous bleeding among newborns that can sometimes cause severe damage to major organs such as the brain, and even death.

In the discussion pertaining to the reasons for such bleeding, the authors note that the excessive bleeding is primarily caused by a decreased level of prothrombin, which in turn is caused by insufficient levels of vitamin K.

A chart outlines the levels of available prothrombin in a newborn. It dips from about 90% of normal on its day of birth to about 35% on its third day of life outside the womb.

After the third day, the available prothrombin begins to climb. By the eighth day of the child s life, the available prothrombin level is approximately 110% of normal, about 20% higher than it was on the first day, and about 10% more than it will be during the rest of the child s life.

That means that the best possible time to perform such a procedure is on the eighth day after birth.

Genesis 17:12-14 specifies that circumcision be performed on the eighth day after birth — even if the eighth day fell on a Sabbath.

Assessment:

There is simply no explanation for the advanced medical knowledge outlined by Moses in the middle of the Sinai desert three thousand years ago.

Moses couldn’t have learned it in Egypt. What Moses learned about medicine in Egypt would kill more often than it would cure.

He couldn’t have learned it while tending Jethro’s herds. He couldn’t have learned it while leading the Exodus out of Egypt.

But there it is. Medical knowledge so advanced that most of it was unknown to Western medicine for another thirty centuries!

The Bible contains more than just amazing medical knowledge. Let’s briefly consider a few other examples of Divine inspiration.

Paul notes that each star in the heavens is unique. (1st Corinthians 15:41) It wasn’t until man invented advanced telescopes in the 20th century that it was learned the light spectra of every star is different with no two stars being alike.

Jeremiah 31:35-36 details the precision with which the universe is governed. Job 26:7 reveals that the earth is suspended in outer space.

Ecclesiates 1:6 reveals the movement of the wind — something not discovered by secular science until the early 20th century, when meteorologists discovered that the wind circulates in cyclonic patterns, rather than a straight line.

Job 28:25 includes principles of fluid dynamics, AND it reveals that air has weight, (something only learned by science in the last 300 years.)

Psalms 135:7, Jeremiah 10:13 and Job 36:27-29 offer a complete description of the earth’s hydrological cycle.

Ecclesiastes 1:7 and Isaiah 55:10 describe the recirculation of the world’s water supplies. Job reveals that it is condensed water vapor in clouds that is responsible for rain. Isaiah 40:22 reveals that the earth is round.

The Apostle Peter describes the eventual destruction of the current universe using precise scientific terms unknown to secular for another fifteen centuries.

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”

It wasn’t until the mid 1940’s than man discovered nuclear fission, wherein splitting the atom causes the elements of that atom to ‘melt with fervent heat’ — heat so fervent that splitting the atom of a single element triggers a nuclear explosion that can vaporize a city.

Over 20,000 known manuscripts document the New Testament text. This makes the New Testament the most reliable document of antiquity (a document written before the printing press).

These manuscripts vary in size from a part of a page to an entire Bible (Old and New Testaments).

The earliest New Testament manuscripts date from the second century (100-199) AD.

These manuscript copies were written in different languages by people of different nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds.

In spite of all those differences between the authors, each book of the Bible melds seamlessly into the entire work, as if penned by a single individual. Because, in the final analysis, it was.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2nd Peter 1:20-21)

You can trust the Bible. We have God’s Word on it.