“If We Make it Idiot-Proof, They’ll Just Invent a Better Idiot”

“If We Make it Idiot-Proof, They’ll Just Invent a Better Idiot”
Vol: 80 Issue: 7 Wednesday, May 7, 2008

During the Second World War, historians tell us, it wasn’t the Germans who perpetuated the Holocaust — it was the Nazis.

So it wasn’t something rotten at the heart of German culture that prompted it to start two world wars in the space of two decades after all.

World War I and its aftermath sowed the seeds of Nazism– it wasn’t — repeat, wasn’t — the German culture or its people that was behind the systematic murder of 12 million Jews, Poles, homosexuals, gypsies and Russian POW’s.

It was the Nazis.

Need proof?

Once the Nazis were defeated and their leadership was all dead or imprisoned, Germany became a model world citizen.

The mere possession of Nazi-era memorabilia can be a crime — speaking warmly of Hitler’s regime or its goals IS a crime.

Nazism, historians carefully explain, was not merely a political ideology — it was a religion. Schoolchildren prayed their nightly prayers to Hitler. Grace before meals was directed at Hitler.

The Nazi Shutzstaffel (SS) was a religious organization that swore a blood oath of worship to Adolf Hitler. The Nazi doctrine was a mixture of Aryanism, Thulism and Theosophy covered by a thin veneer of Catholicism.

The war against the Imperial Japanese was not a war against the Japanese people. It was a war against the militaristic Shinto religion that spawned it.

Like the German people, the Japanese were forgiven for their part in wartime atrocities — it wasn’t the people, but the evil religious ideology of Japanese Imperialism.

Once the Nazis were gone, Germany became one of America’s most reliable allies in Europe. After MacArthur had Emperor Hirohito renounce claims of deity, post-war Japan became America’s most reliable ally in the Far East.

It wasn’t the German people that were the enemy — it was the Nazi ideology that the Allies smashed to rubble. Similarly, the Japanese people were not the enemy, but the Shinto-inspired emperor-worship that inspired Japanese fanaticism.

World War II wasn’t fought to smash a people. It was to smash the ideology that inspired them to make war.

The Cold War raged between the US and Soviet Union from 1948 through to the 1991 collapse of the Soviet system. It was a war between East and West; between the ideologies of capitalism and communism, but NOT a war between people.

America was never at war with the Russian people, or with the people of Eastern Europe. When the Wall came down, the people from both sides embraced like long lost relatives, not as conquerors or the conquered.

No sanctions were imposed on the victims of Soviet ideological domination. It wasn’t a war against the Soviet people.

It was against Soviet ideology.

There is a good reason why the US separated the ideology from the people in past wars. If the war is between a people, no peace can be possible, ie, the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Making the war one of ideologies allows the people who fought it room to make peace by renouncing their ideology. Germans couldn’t renounce being Germans or Japanese renounce being Japanese.

But if they didn’t have Nazism or Shintoism to renounce, we would still be at war. The North Koreans lost the Korean War, but maintained their ideological worship of Kim il Sung and his successor, Kim Jong il.

We defeated North Korea’s army, but never made peace with North Korean people. The Korean War never ended — no peace treaty has ever been signed.

Assessment:

Some brainwave in Washington has issued a memo advising US officials to avoid linking al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups to Islam and not to use Islamic terms like “jihad” or “mujahadeen” which, according to this government genius, might “unintentionally legitimize’ terror.

“There’ s a growing consensus [in the Bush administration] that we need to move away from that language,” said a ‘former senior administration official’ quoted in this morning’s Washington Times.

What ‘language’ is that?

“Avoid labeling everything ‘Muslim.’ It reinforces the ‘U.S. vs. Islam’ framework that al Qaeda promotes,” according to “Words that Work and Words that Don’t: A Guide for Counter-Terrorism Communication,” produced last month by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).

Instead, in two documents circulated last month by the NCTC officials are urged to use terms such as ‘violent extremists’, ‘totalitarian’ and ‘death cult’ to characterize al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

The documents, first reported by the Associated Press, were posted online last week by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Instead of calling terrorist groups Muslim or Islamic, the guide suggests using words like totalitarian, terrorist or violent extremist “widely understood terms that define our enemies appropriately and simultaneously deny them any level of legitimacy.”

By employing the language the extremists use about themselves, the guide says, officials can inadvertently help legitimize them in the eyes of Muslims.

“Never use the terms ‘jihadist’ or ‘mujahedeen’ … to describe the terrorists,” the guide says. “A mujahed, a holy warrior, is a positive characterization in the context of a just war.

In Arabic, jihad means ‘striving in the path of God’ and is used in many contexts beyond warfare. Calling our enemies jihadis and their movement a global jihad unintentionally legitimizes their actions,” the memo says.

Where do we get such idiots? Do they come in a box or something? Shouldn’t some — at least peripheral — grasp of history be a requirement for government service?

It is as retarded as divorcing the Irish Republican Army from Catholicism or declaring Northern Ireland’s Protestantism irrelevant.

What you are left with is a war that cannot be won by either side because there ARE no sides. Just Irish national suicide.

America is not fighting a war against terrorism — it is fighting a war against Islamic-inspired religious terrorism based on an ideology that is central to Islamic history and basic religious doctrine.

Islamic ideology demands either conversion to Islam or submission to Islamic authority. There are but three acceptable conditions of existence under Islamic law.

One is as an observant Muslim, the second is that of dhimmi and the third is as guest of honor at an execution.

If Islamic ideology is removed from the equation, then WHO is the war against? The Arab people? Iran is not an Arab country — it’s Persian.

The most populous Muslim country in the world is Indonesia, not Saudi Arabia. The Chechens are neither Arab nor Persian.

The 9/11 hijackers were not “Saudi” — even though most of them were Saudi nationals, they weren’t acting on behalf of the Saudi government — they were acting on behalf of Islamic jihadist ideology.

Remove Islam from those three planes and September 11, 2001 was just another warm and pleasant late-summer day.

Take Islam out of the rubber dinghy and the USS Cole would never have been attacked, and our embassies in Africa would still be intact.

Remove Islam from the equation and the Iraq War would have ended five years ago. Without the Islamic Taliban, who would we be fighting in Afghanistan?

What is there about Pakistan having nuclear weapons that makes it more disturbing than the fact that India has nuclear weapons?

Why is the West more worried about Iran obtaining nukes than the fact Israel has had nukes for at least thirty years?

WHO are we at war with? If you ask the brainwave in Washington that authored this memo, then the answer is as simple as it is terrifying: “I dunno.”

As to the idea of ‘victory’ how will we know when we’ve achieved it? What are you asking me for?

I don’t even know who we’re fighting.

Spy Vs. Spy

Spy Vs. Spy
Vol: 80 Issue: 6 Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Like most Baby Boomers, I grew up believing there was nothing beyond the capabilities of Western intelligence services.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. would always be one step ahead of the evil THRUSH. SMERSH was no match for James Bond and MI6.

When Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States and the Western world, I knew his number was up. There is no way one guy could defeat the combined forces of the Spies With the White Hats.

I was sure that it was only a matter of time after the twin embassy bombings in Africa that Osama’s hours were numbered. But then came the USS Cole, the 9/11 attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and Osama is still out there ten years later.

On May 11 1998, the government of India announced it had concluded five successful nuclear weapons tests. Despite a $27 billion budget and a galaxy of spy satellites, U.S. Intelligence agencies failed to detect the blasts.

National Security Advisor Sandy Berger told reporters the United States still had no confirmation of the test nearly 12 hours after the blast occurred.

The very next day, Pakistan warned that it was also preparing to conduct nuclear tests. US intelligence laughed it off. The New York Times reported on May 12 that; “U.S. intelligence officials say that in spite of Pakistani claims that it will match India’s nuclear tests, there are no indications that Pakistan is preparing for such a test. “

On May 28 1998, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan totally blindsided US and other Western intelligence agencies when it conducted five successful nuclear tests.

Duke professor emeritus Richard Stubbing was responsible for the defense and intelligence budgets at the federal Office of Management and Budget from 1974 to 1981. Stubbing is the author of “The Defense Game” which takes a realistic look at the real “Jack Bauer”.

If Professer Stubbing is right, the most accurate fictional portrayal of America’s intelligence services was the Mad Magazine comic strip, “Spy vs Spy.”

Assessment:

The intelligence failures continued throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Stubbing says, the most egregious examples being the failure to spot the collapse of the Soviet economy in the mid-1970s and the failure to identify Pakistan’s clandestine sharing of nuclear technology with Iran, Libya and North Korea.

More recently, Stubbing notes, the U.S. has been unprepared for a number of terrorist acts, including the 1993 attack on the Twin Towers, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 1996 attack on a U.S. Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia, the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, the 1999 attack on USS Cole in Yemen and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

“Accurate and timely intelligence is the critical first line of defense against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” Stubbing notes.

“We are currently spending about $40 billion annually on intelligence. The nation deserves and should demand much better performance from the intelligence community.”

So, what are we getting for our $40 billion? Evidently not much.

When the Israeli Defense Forces bombed the North Korean-built nuclear facility in Syria, it was news to the CIA. But the CIA, it turns out, KNEW about the construction project and had it under surveillance since 2001.

They just didn’t know what it was until the spring of 2007, only a few months before the facility was to become operational.

The information the CIA had included photographs of the interior and the exterior of the building located in Dayr az Zawr showing key features of the reactor.

Among those “key features” was the lack of an infrastructure to produce electricity, meaning the only purpose remaining for the reactor was to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.

But as of September, 2007 when the IDF destroyed the facility, the CIA still didn’t have a clue.

The intelligence clues that have escaped the West so far continue to pile up, with the most recent clue being a letter from Syrian leader Bashar al Assad sent via ‘intermediaries’ from Damascus to Washington regarding its ties with Iran.

Assad stressed that Syria would NOT withdraw its support for Hezbollah. Noted Syrian spokesman Samir Taqi: “It would be naive to think Syria will neglect or abandon its strategic alliances that do not stem from the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

All indicators suggest that Iran and Syria plan to enhance their strategic ties over the coming year. Damascus and Teheran have discussed joint procurement of advanced Russian weapons and air defense systems, particularly the S-300PMU2.

The S-300PMU2 air defense network is believed capable of stopping any Israeli or U.S. air strike on either Iran or Syria.

Iran and Syria have also been working together to acquire nuclear weapons technology and equipment from North Korea.

The nuclear facility destroyed by Israel was jointly financed, according to Israeli intelligence, by Damascus and Tehran.

The IDF says Tehran wants to deploy nuclear weapons in Syria to improve accuracy and minimize the risk of accidently destroying Jerusalem or hitting a Muslim population center.

Why is all this important? For one thing, the US can no longer conceal its incompetent intelligence-gathering apparatus.

Given that reality, the recent statements by Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff suggesting the US is preparing a military strike against Iran is sobering.

Mullen told reporters April 25 that I’m extremely concerned about what I believe to be an increasingly lethal and malign influence by that government and the Qods Force in particular in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

Mullen said recent events in Basra revealed new shipments of Iranian explosives, including very deadly explosively formed projectiles showing just how much and just how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability.

The Iranian government pledged to halt such activities some months ago. It’s plainly obvious they have not. Indeed, they seem to have gone the other way, Mullen said.

What happens then? Was Ahmadinejad bluffing when he said Iran has thousands of sleeper agents embedded in the US waiting for orders to strike from within?

Were there ever really weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Were they, as rumored, transferred to Syria in the weeks before the invasion? Where are they now?

Were they smuggled to the Western hemisphere on board the Tehran-Damascus-Caracas Terrorist Shuttle? Have they made their way north through Mexico to the US border?

Does anybody know? Apparently not. For the most up-to-date and accurate intelligence, the best source is still a Jewish document more than two thousand years old.

According to Bible prophecy, Israel survives into the Tribulation Period. So does Iran, Russia, Europe, China, and most of the nations of the Meditteranean Middle East. All are major named players in the Gog-Magog Invasion forecast by the prophet Ezekiel.

But Syria does not. According to the prophet Isaiah, “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” (Isaiah 17:1)

The destruction of Damascus is immediate, and permanent, the prophet says.

According to the prophet, Damascus will be destroyed in a single, overnight attack. Isaiah forecasts that: “behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not.” (Isaiah 17:14)

And there is no mention of the continuing existence of a global super-power resembling the United States.

Where’s Beamer?

Where’s My Beamer?
Vol: 80 Issue: 5 Monday, May 5, 2008

Who in the world is Michael Travesser? Oh, he’s the Messiah. No, no. He’s not the Messiah, Jim Jones was the Messiah. No, not Jim Jones, it was David Koresh that was the Messiah.

No, wait, not David Koresh, it was Marshall Applewhite. No, it’s Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda.

(Who? We’ll get to him in a minute — right now, we’re focusing on American messiahs.)

Michael Travesser is the latest claimant to the Throne at the Right Hand of God, as he explained in a National Geographic documentary on cults:

“One day I was in my trailer just relaxing and there was nothing on my mind in particular and then God said to me you are the Messiah.”

Like all good messiahs, all Travesser wants from his followers is unrestricted sex, total worship and devotion — and 90% of his follower’s financial assets and income.

In exchange, his followers are allowed to bask in the glow of his messianic warmth on his religious compound (paid for by his followers).

Michael Travessor is really Wayne Bent, but evidently, ‘Wayne’ isn’t that messianic a name — ‘Michael’ is more Biblical.

Vernon Wayne Howell had the same problem — ‘Wayne’ just isn’t messianic — so Vernon Wayne adopted the moniker, David Koresh. (What could be more Biblical than “David?” Aside from Jesus, that is.)

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda has had ‘666’ tattooed on his arm and encourages his followers to do the same. Miranda isn’t claming generic messiahship, however. No, Miranda says, “The spirit that is in me is the same spirit that was in Jesus of Nazareth.”

So it was really handy that Miranda’s name already included ‘de Jesus’ or he would have had to do what the two Waynes did and change his name to something more Biblical. Instead, he just goes by ‘de Jesus’ or, to his followers, “Daddy.”

Miranda heads a cult that claims membership in more than thirty countries. “The prophets, they spoke about me. It took me time to learn that, but I am what they were expecting, what they have been expecting for 2,000 years,” he tells his followers.

He says he has a church-paid salary of $136,000 but lives more lavishly than that. During an interview, he showed off a diamond-encrusted Rolex to a CNN crew and said he has three just like them.

He travels in armored Lexuses and BMWs, he says, for his safety. All are gifts from his devoted followers. All this leaves me with just one question:

What’s wrong with you guys?

Assessment:

Where’s my Lexus? (Ok, I’ll settle for the Beamer.) I not only DON’T have a Rolex, but my Timex is broken! Not only am I not pulling down $136,000 in salary from the Omega Letter, none of you have offered me your women-folk.

Oh, I’m not the Messiah — but I DO know Him. Shouldn’t that count?

There is no doubt that you are members of a cult — Janet Reno defined a cult on a “60 Minutes” broadcast on June 26, 1994:

“A cultist is one who has a strong belief in the Bible and the Second Coming of Christ; who frequently attends Bible studies; who has a high level of financial giving to a Christian cause; who home schools for their children; who has accumulated survival foods and has a strong belief in the Second Amendment; and who distrusts big government. . . .”

The Omega Letter has a strong belief in the Bible. We anticipate the Second Coming of Christ. We have a forum dedicated to Bible study. Many of us give generously to Christian causes.

Some of us have emergency survival kits tucked away and few of us trust the government. So, according to the former US Attorney General:

“Any of these may qualify a person as a cultist but certainly more than one of these would cause us to look at this person as a threat, and his family as being in a risk situation that qualified for government interference.”

So, if we’re a cult, how come we don’t have a big compound? Bodyguards? Three diamond encrusted Rolexes? How come I drive myself in a Smart Car instead of a chauffer-driven Beamer? WHERE’S MY LEXUS????

We don’t have any of those things because we’re not really a cult — I was just pulling your leg. If the OL has a ‘leader’ so to speak, I suppose I would be it, but cults venerate their leaders. (If I catch any of you ‘venerating’ me, you’ll find your login information doesn’t work anymore).

Our ‘leader’ is Jesus Christ. Our doctrine is ‘sola Scriptura’ – if it isn’t Biblical, it isn’t doctrinal. Salvation isn’t dependent on OL membership, salvation is a gift of grace through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, lest any man should boast.

We await the Second Coming of Christ, (but so did the Apostles, so if we’re nuts, so were they.)

But as we approach the end of the age, there are enough Christs around to have a convention. And enough people willing to buy tickets to fill the convention hall.

In 1978, more than nine hundred members of the People’s Temple committed suicide in Guyana.

In 1993, eighty-one of David Koresh’s followers were immolated in a mass suicide on their compound outside of Waco, Texas.

In 1974, Marshall Applewhite met Bonnie Nettles, declared himself the messiah and the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and formed a cult called “Heaven’s Gate.”

In 1997, thirty-eight members of Marshall Applewhite’s ‘Heaven’s Gate’ cult committed mass suicide in San Diego, believing they were shedding their mortal bodies so they could join the aliens riding aboard the Hale-Bopp Comet.

They were found all dressed in black, wearing arm bands saying “Heaven’s Gate Away Team” and in a final bizarre twist, each was found with five dollars in quarters in their pockets (presumably for the alien vending machines aboard the Good Ship Hale-Bopp.)

When Jesus was asked by His disciples; “What will be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the age?” the first thing He spoke of was a rise in messianic cult activity.

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. . . And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. . . For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:3-4, 11, 24)

It would be fair to say that there have been ‘Christian cults’ for as long as there has been a Christianity, but up until the past century, they were few and far between – and far less grandiose than those of recent years.

The Millerites of the 1840’s were a cult, but Reverend William Miller didn’t believe he was Christ — he and his followers were waiting FOR Christ. Charles Taze Russell had some pretty whacked-out doctrinal views, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses never thought Russell was Christ.

Joseph Smith and Brigham Young fathered the Mormon Church of Latter Day Saints, but the Mormons never thought either Smith nor Young was Christ. Neither did Miller, Russell, Smith or Young believe that they were Christ.

Until the 20th century, thinking you were Jesus Christ was a one way ticket to a nice, safe place where people wearing white coats would bring you your food on paper plates with plastic utensils.

Over the past couple of decades, any cult worth its salt HAD to find its own messiah first. If they didn’t have their own Jesus, they made one up.

On the other side of the world, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes that the Islamic messiah is about to climb out of his well, start a world war, and eventually lead the Islamic world into a triumphant victory against the West.

In Israel, there are signs everywhere heralding the coming of the Jewish messiah.

There are messianic cults springing up all over the world; in China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, Europe, the United States, Australia — if the country has a name, it probably has a messianic cult.

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (Matthew 24:33-34)

The net result of all this is that, to the rest of the world (and many Christian denominations) pretty much anybody who believes that we are in the last days as foretold by Scripture is automatically a member of a ‘doomsday cult.’

But I have to dispute that characterization being applied to your Omega Letter. No Rolex, no Beamer, no harem — heck, I don’t even have a cool messianic title. . . . what’s wrong with you guys, anyway?

Blood Moon – Another Sure Thing

Blood Moon – Another Sure Thing
Vol: 80 Issue: 3 Saturday, May 3, 2008

My email boxes have been filling up with messages about the Blood Moon of 2015 and questions about a theory it signals the 2nd Coming of Christ. The ‘Blood Moon’ story has also made the rounds of our forums, some of whom must be getting some of the same emails that I am.

The premise is irresistible; a series of lunar and solar eclipses will occur during Passover and Succot (Feast of Tabernacles) seven years from now suggest a date for the Second Coming of Christ.

Mark Blitz, pastor of El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake, Washington, notes that the only string of four consecutive blood moons that coincide with Passover in the spring and the Feast of Tabernacles will take place between 2014 and 2015 on the standard Gregorian calendar.

It then follows that the Second Coming of Christ will take place at the end of the Feast of Trumpets — at the last trump, as it were. Blitz has put together a very compelling argument:

“The fact that it doesn’t happen again in this century I think is very significant,” Biltz explains. “So then I looked at last century, and, believe it or not, the last time that four blood red moons occurred together was in 1967 and 1968 tied to Jerusalem recaptured by Israel.”

Moreover, according to a WND report, Blitz noted a pattern of blood moon events that took place in 1948, two others in 1949 and 1950 took place on Passover and Succot.

According to Blitz (I haven’t done the research myself) the last time that the astronomical phenomenon known as ‘tetrads’ had taken place prior to 1948 was back in the 14th century, but “none of those fell on Passover or Succot,” he said.

Pastor Blitz’ research makes a compelling case, as I noted earlier:

“You have the religious year beginning with the total solar eclipse, two weeks later a total lunar eclipse on Passover, and then the civil year beginning with the solar eclipse followed two weeks later by another total blood red moon on the Feast of Succoth all in 2015.”

It was so compelling that J.R. Church of ‘Prophecy in the News’ is convinced:

“If you think that this is a coincidence, I want you to know that it’s time! There are no more of these for the rest of the century.”

I’m somewhat less convinced. Call me a hopeful skeptic.

Assessment:

WND interviewed Jim Bramlett, a former VP at CBN and author of a regular email newsletter and Hal Lindsey for the column. Bramlett was very excited about it. After watching a video of Blitz’ interview, Bramlett enthused:

“I have just watched the program two times and do not think I have ever been more encouraged or excited about the soon return of the Lord!”

Hal, not so much. WND quoted Hal’s comments as follows:

“In my 50-something years of studying prophecy, to me the greatest indication of the time of Christ’s return is based around the general things of prophecies coming together in the same time frame . . . I see the whole sweep and panorama spinning together in a precise scenario.”

What Hal is referring to is the Big Picture — the one Bible prophecy actually paints.

I talked with Hal about it the day after he spoke with WND. Hal was blindsided by the interview; unlike Bramlett, he hadn’t heard of Mark Blitz or his research.

But he and I had discussed the whole theory tying the return of Christ to the Feast of Tabernacles many times over the years. On the surface, this does sound a lot like just another ‘sure-thing’ — like Edgar Whisenant’s “88 Reasons Why Christ Must Come in 1988” and Harold Camping’s “1994”.

The Apostle Peter wrote: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2nd Peter 3:3-4)

I’ve even had that verse thrown at me in debates with date-setters who knew for sure they’d calculated the date of the Rapture as the last day of this year’s Succot or the start of Yom Kippur.

But disagreeing is not ‘scoffing’ and I admit I disagree entirely on principle — this is one of the most convincing arguments I’ve yet run across — assuming the research is accurate.

If Blitz’ calculations are correct and the 2nd Coming will be during the Blood Moon Succot of 2015, then that would mean a Pre-Trib Rapture would have to occur at least seven years earlier.

Assuming the theory that the Rapture and 2nd Coming are symbolically linked to the Last Trump (Succot) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is correct, the Rapture MUST take place no later than the conclusion of this year’s Feast of Tabernacles.

(The Second Coming of Christ takes place at the conclusion of the Tribulation during a blood moon — “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” [Joel 2:31])

I confess I haven’t much of an argument to rebut it, and frankly, I’m tempted to think that maybe this time, somebody has finally figured it out.

But no matter how hard I try, I cannot make it past the Scripture that says: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

I’ve tried to parse that verse and find a way to justify some argument that will nullify its meaning. Maybe no man knew then — but what about now? I can’t get there from here.

After all, these aren’t the words of an Apostle under Divine Inspiration concerning the 2nd Coming of the Lord. These are the Words of Jesus Christ concerning His own coming — if He isn’t THE final Authoritative Word on the subject, then there isn’t one.

I admit that I don’t know if Blitz is right. I didn’t know if Whisenant was right until the last trump of 1988, or if Camping was right until the last trump signaled the conclusion of the 1994 Succot celebration.

Every year, somebody sends me their calculations proving that this year’s Succot is The Last Trump and I don’t know if they are right until after it’s sounded and I am still here.

So I don’t know if Blitz is right, but what I DO know keeps me from going off the deep end with them.

I know that when it comes to setting dates, Jesus has been right every time.

Metanoeo

Metanoeo
Vol: 80 Issue: 2 Friday, May 2, 2008

The Bible was originally recorded in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek — but not in the working language of Jesus’ day, which was Latin.

The reason, I believe, is that Latin, like English, was a notoriously imprecise language. To the ancients, Latin was the language of business, Greek the language of philosophy and humanity, and Hebrew the language of God.

There is also a saying in our modern world to the effect that English is the language of business, French the language of love and Spanish the language of God. That reflects the areas in which those languages are the most descriptive.

The United Nations uses six official languages, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Originally, there were only five; Arabic wasn’t added until the OPEC Crisis in 1973. The reason for six official languages is to make allowances for those things that get ‘lost in translation’ from one language to another.

Of the six, English is the most deficient. As with Latin, more things are lost in translating TO English than FROM it.

Some words have no English equivalent; ‘Schadensfreude’ is a German word that means, ‘happiness at the misfortune of others’ in English, but to a native German, it carries all kinds of shades and sub-texts English cannot support.

The closest English word to “Schadensfreude” is “epicaricacy” — I rest my case.

Both Hebrew and Greek are very precise languages — which explains why God chose those languages to record His Word — there are some concepts that only Hebrew or Greek can do justice to — they “lose something in the translation” into English.

The Greek word ‘metanoeo’ is one of those words that defies transliteration into English. The closest English equivalent to it is ‘repent’ but that word comes no closer to expressing the flavor of ‘metanoeo’ than ‘epicaricacy’ does for ‘Schadensfreude’.

The Greek ‘metanoeo’ is a compound word; ‘meta’ meaning ‘after’ and implying ‘change’ and ‘noeo’ meaning ‘the mind’. Combining them, ‘metanoeo’ literally means ‘after thought’ in the sense of ‘re-thinking’.

The implication here is, after rethinking everything, you have a change of mind from one thing to something else. (We don’t have an English word that says all that. The closest we can come is ‘repent’ but it only applies to religion, not thought)

“metanoeo… lit. to perceive afterwards (meta, after, implying change, noeo, to perceive; [comes from the Greek noun] nous, the mind, the seat of moral reflection), in contrast to pronoeo, to perceive beforehand, hence signifies to change one’s mind or purpose…” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary).

By implication, metanoeo means a complete change of mind from one thing to another in which the two positions are mutually exclusive, rather than simply meaning any old change of thinking.

For a hard-line Far Left Democrat to become a hard-line conservative Republican is an example of ‘metanoeo’, for example, whereas deciding you like country music after all, is not.

(One can like country music without giving up one’s love for Big Band Swing, one cannot become a “hard-line conservative” Republican and remain on the fence about abortion.)

Metanoeo is not just a ‘changed’ mind, it is a total reversal of one’s previous beliefs.

Assessment:

When the Bible says ‘repent and be saved’ what it means is understand the nature of sin and be aware of your personal guilt. The concepts of sin and righteousness are originally perceived spiritually, but understanding and awareness of them are functions of the mind.

The fact that God demands repentance shows that it involves your mind; it is something you choose to do. Metanoeo suggests more than just rejecting your former position or attitude, and includes turning to and embracing a new one.

For some Christians, ‘repenting’ is what you do once when you get saved, and after that, it almost seems as if no further repentance is necessary. One is forgiven and that’s that.

THAT version of ‘repentance’ is more like deciding you like country music but you still love swing.

On the other side of the extreme, ‘repentance’ means to never sin again. For some Christians, that means that one maintains their own salvation on guts alone, in constant fear they will sin themselves out of God’s protective Hand.

That version doesn’t require a change of mind, it demands a change of works. There are many churches who have voted to disfellowship someone because they ‘showed no signs of repentance’ — which is nothing less than judging what is in another person’s mind and heart — both the exclusive provinces of God.

Biblical ‘metanoeo’ is somewhere in the middle — it is neither a one-time event before resuming the life of Good Times Charlie nor is it a Sword of Damocles hanging over the head of a believer.

Before I was a believer, my concept of sin was anything that hurt another person directly (especially if it meant I’d be exposed as the culprit). It’s been rightly observed that the “best measure of a man’s character is what he does when nobody is looking.”

When I became a believer, I knew that no matter what I did, whether in Grand Central Station or alone in a locked room, there was always Somebody looking. It was a total reversal of my worldview — a complete change of mind that brought with it a semi-complete change of heart.

I say ‘semi-complete’ change of heart because metanoeo is a process — I am not the believer I was twenty years ago — indeed, I’m not the believer I was twenty days ago.

If you are a sincere, born again, Blood-bought believer, there is something in your life you’ve undergone a metanoeo over since coming to Christ. (If you are like me, there are many somethings — and a couple on the horizon you’re still wrestling with)

Before I was a believer, I was uninterested in coming to Christ because of all the things I’d have to give up first. Like most unbelievers, I believed that salvation meant cleaning myself up first, and then presenting myself before the Lord. It was too much to even contemplate.

When I learned the Gospel, I underwent a total metanoeo about both my guilt and God’s forgiveness, and as I’ve matured in the Lord, that ‘change of mind’ has continued.

A related word is metanoia, which usually is translated “repentance” or “conversion.” It literally means your thinking has been converted. It does not mean you have achieved sinless perfection, nor does it hold out any promise that you will in this life.

It means understanding that you CANNOT, and that Jesus Christ in His mercy, made a way for you to be converted (notice ‘being converted’ is a process), starting by removing your sin and your guilt at the moment of salvation.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6)

You can be ‘confident’ that it is Jesus Who began ‘a good work in you’ and it is Jesus Who will perform it. Trust Him and allow Him direct you on the path He has prepared for you.

Don’t let doubts or the enemy or some clever argument steal away your victory.

The refrain from the old hymn, “Saved” says it all. At the moment you were saved by the Crucified One, “Your sins are forgiven, your guilt is all gone!”

But your metanoeo was just beginning.

Iran Countdown

Iran Countdown
Vol: 80 Issue: 1 Thursday, May 1, 2008

OPEC’s second largest oil producer — and therefore a major player in the international oil cartel, is the Islamic Republic of Iran.

And, as the world’s second largest producer of oil, Iran insists it needs nuclear power to meet its domestic energy needs.

For reasons that confound logic, that conundrum presents no challenge for much of Europe, the Chinese, the Russians, and even some of the Sunni Islamic states that have the most to fear from a nuclear-armed Shi’ite Islamic republic.

But what is even more baffling is the fact that Iran seems determined to use its oil wealth to force a military confrontation with the United States.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the depreciating dollar a “worthless piece of paper” at a rare summit last year in Saudi Arabia attended by state leaders from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Now he’s going to prove it. This week, Iran announced it was ending all oil transactions in US dollars.

“The dollar has totally been removed from Iran’s oil transactions,” Oil Ministry official Hojjatollah Ghanimifard told state-run television Wednesday. “We have agreed with all of our crude oil customers to do our transactions in non-dollar currencies.”

Iran’s oil ministry says that it will only accept euros or the Japanese yen for oil, a direct slap at the struggling US dollar. Iran’s central bank has also been reducing its foreign reserves denominated in U.S. dollars, further weakening the currency on the international market.

To understand what Iran’s shift away from the dollar means to you and me, we need to take a quick trip through the history books.

After the outbreak of World War Two, America became the armory to the world, selling billions and billions of dollars worth of weapons to the Allies, for which it demanded payment in gold.

By war’s end, the majority of the world’s gold reserves reverted from America’s European creditors of the 1930’s — and back to the United States.

The Bretton Woods Agreement in 1945 made the US dollar convertible to gold at the government level. This established the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

But the twin wars on poverty and in Vietnam drained the US economy, forcing the Fed to increase the money supply, most of which ended up as foreign reserve currency holdings.

The runaway inflation caused by the artificial increase in the money supply began to worry investors. By the 1970s, foreign governments began demanding payment for their dollars in gold.

On August 15, 1971, the US announced it was ‘severing the link between the dollar and gold’ and defaulted on its payments.

In order to keep the dollar (and the global economy) from collapsing, the US had to find some economic replacement for the gold standard. In 1973, Washington cut an iron-clad deal with the Saudis.

The US would prop up the Saudi regime in exchange for a Saudi pledge to accept only US dollars in payment for oil sales. Eventually, the rest of OPEC followed suit.

The world had to buy oil. And since they could only buy them with US dollars, they needed to continue to hold US dollars in reserve.

In order to buy oil, the world’s net oil importers HAD to maintain a reserve supply of US currency, keeping it out of circulation, which kept the world from being flooded with dollars, which would, of course, devalue it.

Should OPEC drop the US dollar as its official currency, all those dollar reserve holdings would suddenly be released on the global market, and the US dollar would soon be worthless.

Tehran’s decision amounts to an act of economic warfare against the United States that, should it take hold among the rest of the OPEC states (including Venezuela) could bring the American economy to its knees.

So it should be of no surprise to anyone to learn that the United States has just dispatched a second American aircraft carrier group into the Persian Gulf.

This may well be — ahem — the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Assessment:

Washington can’t afford to admit that it is going to war over oil — even though there is probably no reason more historically justifiable.

Those historians who blame the United States for forcing Imperial Japan into World War II point to the US embargo of Japanese oil as the principle cause.

Since Japan had no natural resources of its own, war was Japan’s only option. And seen from Japan’s perspective in the 1930’s, one can hardly argue — but the Allies utterly rejected that argument in 1945.

There is something about going to war over oil that sticks in our craw; it seems so, ummm, mercenary and self-serving — Americans are better than that.

And we are better than that — right now. It is much easier to behave honorably when somebody takes your lawnmower than it is when you are about to lose your house.

Here we see the inherent truth in yet another old saying — “desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Iran has been steadily making Washington’s case FOR war for the White House. Noted Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week; “What the Iranians are doing is killing American servicemen and women inside Iraq.”

The Pentagon is not eager for war with Iran — US forces are stretched thin now, but are nowhere nearly exhausted.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen made that clear at a Pentagon press briefing last week, warning Tehran:

“I have reserve capability, in particular our Navy and our Air Force so it would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability.”

The US already has a broad and convincing case for war against the Iranian regime; its support for Hezbollah, al-Qaeda in Iraq and Hamas; its belligerency towards Israel, its harrassment of US-flagged ships in the Gulf — but it is the threat to the US oil economy that is the red flag.

One of the enduring images from the pre-Iraq invasion demonstrations were of sign-carrying American Useful Idiots chanting “No Blood for Oil.”

In January 2003, Americans were paying $1.78 a gallon. Now that it is approaching five dollars, “No Blood for Oil” means something altogether different — now that its our blood on the line.

That second carrier group isn’t steaming in the Persian Gulf for nothing.