Bless Them That Bless Thee

Bless Them That Bless Thee
Vol: 110 Issue: 18 Thursday, November 18, 2010

In spite of the fact that most Israelis believed at the time that Bill Clinton was a great friend to Israel, until Bill Clinton presided over the Oslo signing on the lawn of the Rose Garden in 1993, Israel controlled all of the West Bank, all of Gaza, all of the Golan Heights and was largely considered by the Arab world to be invincible.

Before an enemy could hope to push through to Jerusalem, it would have to fight all the way through the West Bank from the Jordan, all the way through the Golan from Syria, all the way across the Gaza Strip from Egypt, and still be strong enough to make it across the Green Line to link up with the armies approaching from the other directions.

It was Israel’s possession of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Golan that prevented the surprise attack on Yom Kippur in 1973 from succeeding.  It took Israel almost a week to recover and launch a counter-offensive. 

Had Egypt not had to first overcome Israeli positions in Gaza, Jordan the West Bank, and Syria the Golan, Israel would have been annihilated during those first few days.  

Today, the same attack would be launched from inside Gaza, from Bethlehem and from atop the Golan.Israel would’t have days to regroup — at best it might have hours. All of Israel’s 1973 defensive perimeter has been negotiated away. 

By the end of the Clinton administration, 95% of Israel’s defensive buffer was on the table.When George Bush came to office he announced that the centerpiece of his Middle East foreign policy was to oversee the creation of a Palestinian State.  

By the end of the Bush administration, the rest of the world was already referring to Judea and Samaria as ‘Palestine’ and the main stumbling block to peace was the question of how best to divide what had only twenty years before been “Israel’s eternal and indivisible capital” in Jerusalem.

Under the Obama administration, the Israelis are barely part of the negotiation process.  Abbas whines, Obama imposes, Israel capitulates.  

And today, people are openly talking about the previously-unthinkable possibility of the impending collapse of the most powerful nation the world has ever known.   

I don’t believe in coincidences.

Assessment:

In an article in the Jerusalem Post by Isi Leibler called “Candidly Speaking: Harper and Obama on Israel“, Isia Leibler wrote this:

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper has unquestionably emerged as Israel’s greatest friend in the world, effectively assuming the role previously occupied by former Australian prime minister John Howard.

Harper’s principled approach to Israel was demonstrated in an extraordinary address he gave in Ottawa to an interparliamentary conference for combating anti-Semitism. Courageously dismissing the traditional political correctness expressed by many liberals, who feel obliged to distance themselves from the Jewish state, Harper made it clear that under his leadership Canada would not “pretend” to be impartial on Israel even if that meant facing negative repercussions at the UN and other international organizations.”

Wow!  Canada ‘s Prime Minister is now unquestionably Israel’s greatest friend in the world?  That’s a pretty exclusive club – “greatest” means there can be only one.   Liebler continues;

Canada was in fact “punished” for its support of Israel when it was ignominiously defeated by Portugal, an almost bankrupt country, in its attempt to obtain a seat at the UN Security Council. All 57 seats of the Organization of the Islamic Conference opposed the Canadian nomination.

For some, Canada’s defeat under such circumstances will be viewed as a badge of honor. But what made Canada’s defeat even more outrageous was the role of the US. According to Richard Grenfell, a former press officer with the US mission to the UN, “US State Department insiders say that US Ambassador Susan Rice not only didn’t campaign for Canada’s election but instructed American diplomats to not get involved in the weekend leading up to the heated contest.”

David Frum, a speechwriter to former president George W. Bush, also noted that “the US government has kept awfully quite about the suggestion that it went missing during the Security Council vote.”

The US betrayal of its neighbor and long-standing ally is a chilling indication of the depths to which the Obama administration has stooped in its efforts to “engage” and appease Islamic and Third World rogue states.

Sadly, it’s pretty hard to disagree with either Frum’s observation or Liebler’s characterization of it as a ‘betrayal’.   I could have never imagined a scenario in which America stands against Canada because of Canadian support for Israel! 

Indeed, it is hard to imagine Washington opposing Canada at the UN for any reason.  For all our nationalist pride, the two nations are inextricably interconnected.

It is almost as unimaginable as, I dunno, the US government standing against Arizona at the UN . . .  but that’s crazy talk!

The JP article continues, listing many examples of recent assaults against Israel emanating from President Obama from foreign capitals such as his criticism of Israel from Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country.

Speaking of crazy talk, here’s how Leibler concluded the piece, and then we’ll come full circle:

[It] would perhaps be an impossible dream to have someone of the caliber of Stephen Harper leading the US, but alas, today, we are becoming increasingly reconciled to the reality that the US president is no friend of Israel and is paving the way for an imposed settlement with potentially disastrous long-term repercussions on the security of our nation.

According to the UN National Debt Clock, at the time of this writing, your share of the debt as a citizen is $44,217.00.  But of course, not all citizens pay federal taxes. 

Exclude little kids, families with a single breadwinner, and more than half of all working Americans who get ‘refunds’ for taxes paid by others, and it works out to, (at the time of this writing) $124,579 – oops, $124,580 per taxpayer.

Go to the bottom of the debt clock where it includes all the unfunded liabilities (stuff we promised but don’t have the money to pay for, like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc.) and the total indebtedness per US taxpayer is . . . drum roll please. . .  over a MILLION dollars. 

One million, forty-two thousand, four hundred and eight dollars, to be painfully precise.  (oops, make that four hundred and nine). 

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

Back in the 1960’s Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau characterized Canada’s position as being like a mouse sleeping with an elephant – the point being that what is a twitch to the elephant can be a mortal threat to the mouse.

In every US economic downturn of my lifetime, it hit Canada harder and the Canadian version lasted longer.   But despite America’s economic woes, Canada’s business fortunes for 2011 are surprisingly optimistic.

Canada has a debt clock and it also has a debt problem.   The Canadian national debt is almost six hundred billion dollars – but since Canada’s economy and population are much smaller, and numbers like billion and trillion are too vast to contemplate, the only real comparison that is valid is the taxpayer share.

In 2009, the US individual share of the national debt was $310,000 – today it is over one million dollars per citizen. In Canada, it is $16K. 

“I will bless them that bless thee” the Bible says.  That is why I don’t believe in coincidences.

God keeps His promises. 

Special Report: Have the Jihadists Already Won?

Special Report: Have the Jihadists Already Won?
Vol: 110 Issue: 17 Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I can think of few circumstances under which I would fly aboard a commercial aircraft.  A time-sensitive emergency, perhaps.

Or a place inaccessible by any other reasonable means; you can’t drive to Europe or Israel, for example.

But barring an emergency, I prefer to drive whenever possible.  I always have preferred other means of travel, but I have pretty much removed air travel from consideration as a condition of employment. 

In other words, I won’t fly for money. Anything I can’t drive to or do over the phone or via the internet is off the table.

It isn’t that I am afraid to fly, or that I am afraid some nut-bar will set off a bomb in his underwear. 

I am a Christian. I know where I will spend eternity.  I am not afraid of death in the sense that I fear being dead.  But there are many ways to get that way, and almost all of them are pretty scary.  

(Being instantly translated from this life to the next in a blinding flash of light from 35,000 feet (to me) isn’t one of them.)

There are lots worse ways to shuffle off this mortal coil. 

It isn’t the terrorists that have ended my career as a commercial air traveler.   I decided that several years back after our last trip to Israel.  

(It was such a miserable experience that if I was afraid of anything, it was that we’d have to endure the misery all the way to New York.)

So I was just a little disappointed that I had written off air travel already so that I couldn’t quit flying all over again as a matter of principled protest after I read about the now-famous “Don’t Touch My Junk” guy. 

I have no problem with security.  I think it is a great idea. Until protecting me entails replacing common sense with political correctness at my expense. 

Using political correctness as a tactic of security is like using your own forehead to sight in a new rifle.

Ten years after 9/11 the ONE thing about the terrorist threat to air travel that has remained constant is the ONLY thing that the government refuses to consider is the identity of the perpetrators. 

John TynerFor example, the “Don’t Touch My Junk” guy.  Does he look like a brainwashed, depraved murderer of Middle Eastern descent between the ages of 17 and 35?

Does it make a difference?  I dunno – you tell me.  Look at this other picture — it ran on the Drudge Report the other day under the caption, “The Terrorists Have Won.”   

Mayby they have?  Just exactly how many middle aged Catholic nuns have been recruited by al-Qaeda, anyway? Enough to justify groping one in public?

One of the most frustrating problems for the jihadist enemy is the problem they have recruiting ordinary Americans to become suicide bombers. 

That ought to work in our favor.

Generally speaking, people that can be convinced that mass murder can be a good thing are a little bent already. 

It isn’t easy to find a guy willing to blow himself up, let alone do it on an airplane full of grannies and cute little kids, for the purpose of killing grannies and cute little kids. 

Even harder to find somebody that bent that grew up in America without raising any red flags.

So far, there’s never been an American-born non-Muslim jihadist terrorist attack against any target in America.  Or anywhere else in the world. 

(One of the rules is that you can’t be a jihadist without joining the club.)

Back to the “Don’t Touch My Junk” guy.  The TSA’s new  security rules require that passengers be singled out at random and ordered to go through the naked X-ray machine. 

John Tyner was headed to South Dakota from California with a friend when he was singled out for secondary screening.  He flipped on his cell phone recorder and left it on.  It recorded the entire exchange.

Tyner chose to “opt out” of the naked Xray scanner and was told by the TSA that in that case, he would have to submit to a full body search.

Tyner politely waited
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until the agent explained what the search would entail. New York Daily News columnist Joanna Malloy wrote that the instructions sounded like the sort of thing you’d expect to hear in a sleazy massage parlor:

“We are going to be doing a groin check. That means I am going to place my hand on your hip, my other hand on your inner thigh. Slowly go up and slide down.” 

Tyner then uttered the soon-to-be immortal words; “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.”

The TSA guy didn’t like that. He called his supervisor.  Tyner asked if sexual assault was a condition of air travel. 

In essence, that is precisely what the TSA supervisor told him:

“By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights.”

Assessment:

One of the benchmark measures of a country’s domestic freedom is the ability of its citizens to travel freely within its borders.  The less free the indivdual is to travel, the less free the people of that nation are as a whole.

Especially if travel is restricted for dissidents who disagree with their government or it’s policies.

Ok. So Tyner doesn’t want to give up the right NOT to be sexually assaulted, photographed naked and exposed to unknown levels of backscatter radiation. 

This is America, right?  Tyner told the TSA he didn’t want to fly anymore – he wanted to leave.

The TSA told him that before he could leave, he would still be required to submit to the full body search.  Or, alternatively, he could be photographed naked and exposed to unknown levels of backscatter radiation.   

Let me recap.  Tyner opted out of the naked X-Ray so the TSA wanted to body search him, which Tyner equated with sexual assault.

Tyner’s choices seemed clear.  If you wanna fly, you have to be photographed and/or groped.   So Tyner said, “I don’t wanna fly”, but the TSA won’t let him leave without being photographed and/or groped.

So now they won’t let him fly, and neither will they let him leave, unless he submits to being groped by a TSA agent.  I listened to highlights of the recording – it was creepy.  

The agents admitted they had no authority to hold Tyner so he exercised his right to leave. TSA agents escorted him to the airline ticket window where they refunded his ticket and then escorted him out of the airport.   

Tyner didn’t get photographed naked and he didn’t get groped by TSA agents. He opted out and chose not to fly instead.  It’s over, right?

On Monday, the head of the TSA (the head of the agency!) announced it was opening an investigation – against Tyner!  It is evidently a crime to ‘opt out’ – one with a maximum penalty of $11,000.00. 

And what do you want to bet that the next time Tyner does decide to travel, he finds his name on the national “Do Not Fly” list?

Hell hath no fury like a TSA agent scorned.

Rat Lines

Rat Lines
Vol: 110 Issue: 16 Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Last month a Vatican synod on the Middle East handed over a document calling for Israel to end the “occupation” of Palestine.

In the very best traditions of replacement theology, the bishops demanded that Israel accept UN resolutions calling for an “end to its occupation of Arab lands” while fully aware that what they were really calling for was Israel’s national suicide.

The bishops warned Israel against using the Bible to justify “injustices” against the Palestinians.  The Vatican synod prompted a discussion in the OL about Christian supersessionism, or what we generally understand as ‘replacement theology’.

Supersessionism is the root and branch of Christian anti-Semitism. It is an evil. One can trace pretty much every evil done in the Name of Christ down through the ages back to that hellish doctrine. 

The Diaspora, the Crusades, the pogroms, the Holocaust — all played out in the shadow of the Cross.

The legacy of Christian supersessionism is writ large in Jewish blood across the pages of history. Essentially, supersessionists believe that God washed His hands of the Jews at the Cross and passed all the Covenant promises to the Church.

Supersessionism dominated organized mainstream religious thinking going back almost to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. 

Once the Romans destroyed the Jewish temple and flattened the city, there was no Israel.

A hundred years later, there was a Church.  But there was no Israel.   The ‘Jews’ such as they existed, kept to themselves, at first by choice to maintain their identity, and later by enforced segregation. 

Another hundred years, and the Church continued to grow despite the Roman persecution. And still no actual Israel.   

The Church continued to prosper while memory of a literal Israel faded. A hundred years later, Emperor Constantine unites Western Christendom under the banner of Rome. 

And the existence of a literal Israel is so distant a memory — and such an unlikely future – that the Christians of the time had nowhere to catalogue Old Testament promises of the existence of a literal Israel in the Kingdom Age and beyond into eternity.

You can’t just tear out huge sections of the Bible to explain away where Israel went.  For almost all of the Church Age, the Bible’s references to Israel either had to be transferred to the Church . . . or the Bible wouldn’t make all that much sense.

Here’s where faith and scholarship usually collide. 

Constantine, the Nicene Council, the Church Fathers and so on compiled the Bible – but at God’s direction.  Even if they wanted to exclude certain confusing Scriptures about the extinct-for-centuries “Israel” they couldn’t. 

They weren’t writing God’s history book, they were assembling it under the direction of the Holy Spirit. 

It is important to understand the difference between the Divine Inspiration of Scripture and human interpretative error.

To the compilers and later, to the interpreters of Scripture, Israel had no discernible place – yet the Lord put Israel at the center of everything.  You can’t get through five consecutive pages of Scripture without some running across a reference to Israel.

So if you are trying to interpret Scripture as infallible and Divinely-inspired and it talks about a place and a people as far removed from your reality as are fantasy worlds of hobbits and Middle Earth,  it creates a problem. 

A problem easily-solved by transferring the promises to a long-dead nation and it’s scattered and disconnected people to the now well-organized and institutionalized Church.  

It made great sense down through the Dark Ages when visible Christianity meant Roman Catholicism.

It made just as much sense when Martin Luther began to question papal authority, spawning the Reformation. 

The mainstream Protestant denominations that emerged from the Reformation had the same problem:

Here are these Scriptures, Divinely-inspired, upon whose authority they broke away from the traditional rituals. 

“Sola Scriptura” means “Scripture alone” and those who broke with Catholicism on that basis therefore had an even BIGGER problem with the non-existence of Israel.

They were putting ALL their faith in the promises of a Book that made equally compelling promises to a people and a nation that hadn’t existed for fourteen hundred years   — one that God had essentially abandoned. 

Israel as a nation was as literal to Martin Luther or John Wesley as Shangra-La.But here are all these promises to a long-extinct people. 

God can’t be wrong, so it must mean the Church.  Who else could it possibly be referring to?   There is no such thing as Israel and God certainly couldn’t be referring to the ghetto Jews of Europe as His Chosen People. 

In this line of reasoning, the promises made to Israel couldn’t mean literal Israel or literal, unsaved Jews. Why would God restore them later, having already transferring their blessings to the Church?

It then follows that it could only be referring to spiritual Israel, which could only be the Church.  It was the only explanation that made literal sense for seventeen hundred years.

Faith collided with human knowledge — and faith lost.

Assessment:

The challenge that Dispensationalism is a relatively new doctrine developed by C.I. Scofield, J.N. Darby, or that it was based on the visions of a Scottish girl named Margaret MacDonald is a fairly powerful one.

How is Dispensationalism any different than any other breakaway 19th century Christian cult? 

But at the same time that mainstream scholarship began to question supersessionism,  God had begun to work within His actual, real Chosen People, precisely as prophesied by the Prophet Ezekiel. 

The Valley of Dry Bones began to come together, and the “problem” associated with prophecies to a non-existent Israel began to solve themselves.

Substituting the Church for Israel made a kind of sense when there was no Israel.  Claiming the status of newly Chosen People made a kind of sense when the other claimants’ to the title were the scourge of Europe, forbidden to associate with good Christian people and confined to ghettos.

But when the world’s Jewish population began to come together as one nation and one people and flock back to the Land of Promise, the logic of a substitute Chosen People and a spiritualized Israel started to break down. 

Why would God need a substitute Israel in addition to the literal one? 

Why would He need a substitute Chosen People, drawn from the Gentile world, side by side with the real Chosen People drawn from world Jewry and located in the Land of Promise and actually named Israel?

It seems a stretch — when the obvious is so blinkin’ obvious.  It baffles me. Why defend such a bitter and unsustainable doctrine? 

Look at the effort that has gone into proving that the Jews of today aren’t really the Jews of antiquity, for example.

There are people that actually are willing to believe that a person who wasn’t a Jew would impersonate a Jew – that’s their story and they’re sticking to it.   

Why would a non-Jew claim Jewish heritage?  So that when Muslims aren’t trying to kill him for being a Jew, Christians are trying to kill him for being a Christ-killer?

Can it be something as childish as spiritual jealousy?  Maybe a little bit – but that doesn’t explain how venomous the practitioners of replacement theology can get when challenged.   

Replacement theology disguises an evil as something done for God. 

 “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2)

It was born out of an institutionalized lack of faith in the clear prophecies of Scripture.  The idea of a literal Israel populated by literal Jews was crazy talk for seventeen hundred years. 

When the Land of Promise began to call out to the Jews, it threatened the whole structure of institutionalized Christianity. 

It also ripped away any justification that organized, institutionalized Christianity could offer for its treatment of the Jews down through the ages.

A literal, Biblical Israel today means that the Jews murdered by the Church for not converting to Catholicism during the Inquisition were literal, Biblical Jews. 

The Jews murdered by the followers of Luther were literal, Biblical Jews. 

It means all the property looted from Jews down through the centuries was taken from literal, Biblical Jews.

The Jewish Holocaust was ignored, if not directly facilitated, by the Vatican and by all the large Protestant denominations. 

The Roman Catholic Church created ‘ratlines’ through which the Vatican used its diplomatic status and its connections with primarily Catholic nations through which it resettled some of the worst mass murderers in the history of mankind and helped them escape justice.

That’s not Catholic-bashing – the truth is what the truth is.

It is well documented that German Bishop Alois Hudal in Rome operated postwar “Ratlines,” getting passports for wanted Nazis to allow them to escape justice. 

Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka extermination camp, admitted to British Nazi expert Gitta Sereny that Hudal helped him get away after the Nazi defeat in 1945.

Franz Stangl was personally responsible for the deaths of 800,000 Jews at Treblinka. 

The Vatican ratlines, which could not have operated without the knowledge of Pope Pius XII, helped Stangl escape to South America, along with Adolf Eichmann, who was responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews.

Josef Mengele, the notorious Angel of Death at Auschwitz, escaped through the Vatican ratlines. So did literally thousands of other wanted war criminals. 

The Eichmann files are being suppressed because members of the German government were as deeply involved as the Vatican.  Why would either the post-war Germans or the Catholic hierarchy want to protect Nazi war criminals?

The only logical reason is because it was consistent with supersessionist theology, which is; Jews are not the Chosen People, the Church is.  Those who claim to be Jews are really just trying to steal the Church’s birthright. 

The ratlines were set up to protect the defenders of the the faith.  

It isn’t too much different that the Muslim claim that Jacob stole their birthright from Esau, as justification for the use of suicide bombers against Israeli school children. (Heck, it isn’t any different.)

When it comes down to deciding which is the truth; Dispensationalism or Supersessionism, one need look no further than the fruits of each.

Truth doesn’t need justification.

Europe and The Big Picture

Europe and The Big Picture
Vol: 110 Issue: 15 Monday, November 15, 2010

A report by a leading analyst said the EU has become the most influential lobby in the United States regarding the stalemated Israeli Arab peace process.

Steven Rosen, a director at the Middle East Forum, said EU leaders were pushing Washington away from Israel and toward the Arab world.

“European leaders are the most effective external force urging the U.S. government to move away from Israel and closer to the Arabs,” the report, titled “The Arab Lobby: The European Component,” said.

Rosen, a former senior lobbyist with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said Arab countries have used Europe to pressure Washington to weaken the U.S. relationship with Israel.

He said successive U.S. administrations have regarded Europe as vital for the world economy, NATO as well as American dominance in the Middle East.

“Europe is not hostile to Israel on every issue, and not every European intervention with U.S. officials is meant to move U.S. policy in the Arab direction . . . But, on the whole, the Arab road to Washington runs through Paris, London, and Berlin.”

Rosen said the Europeans have been far more effective than the Arab-American lobby. The report also played down the so-called “petrodollar lobby,” led by Saudi Arabia, in reducing U.S. policy toward Israel.

“The strongest external force pressuring the U.S. government to distance itself from Israel is not the Arab-American organizations, the Arab embassies, the oil companies, or the petrodollar lobby,” the report said.

“Rather, it is the Europeans, especially the British, French, and Germans, that are the most influential Arab lobby to the U.S. government.

The Arabs consider Europe to be the soft underbelly of the U.S. alliance with Israel and the best way to drive a wedge between the two historic allies.”

Rosen said Britain, France and Germany wield the greatest influence over Washington’s foreign policy establishment. They said the leaders of the three EU states, which have threatened to embark on an independent policy, have easier access to the president and his senior aides than either Arabs or Israelis.

This all sounds suspiciously familiar. 

Assessment:

Daniel says the final world empire of antichrist will consist of ten ‘kings’, out of which will arise an eleventh, “with a look more stout than his fellows” and “before whom three fell”.

There are those who are dogmatic that the antichrist will be a Jewish or Muslim politician who will ascend to power via the Western European Union.

The WEU consists of ten full members and eighteen members of lesser status.

Bible prophecy scholars have identified Europe with the government of antichrist for more than a hundred years; long before Israel’s restoration and several world wars before any European unity movement took hold. Europe’s reunification in this generation fits precisely with that interpretation.

For those reasons, together with many others, the majority of mainstream Bible prophecy teachers accept the identification of the Western European Union as the revived Roman Empire of Daniel as a matter of dogmatic truth.

The Book of Daniel identifies a ten-nation confederacy. Daniel does clearly equate the antichrist with that confederacy, and he identifies the coming antichrist as a ‘prince’ of the people that would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple, which was accomplished by Titus of Rome in AD 70.

Until the restoration of Israel in 1948, the Big Picture of Bible prophecy was like a jigsaw puzzle that was still in the box. 

Once Israel was restored to the Land from which she had been scattered by the Romans in AD 70, some of the pieces started coming together.   Working a jigsaw puzzle, one generally starts at the edges and works inward.

There are a lot of pieces to the Big Picture that still need to be put together. 

For one thing, the United States has been the principle peace broker between Israel and the Arabs since the Yom Kippur War in 1973 gave rise to the Camp David Accords in 1977.

One can try and make Obama fit the mold of antichrist.  It is very tantalizing.  On the day he was elected president, the winning Illinois lottery numbers were 666. 

Obama may well have been born in Kenya, making him a British subject and thus part of the Roman Empire. 

But according to the Prophet Daniel, something pushes Washington out of the way. Even if he is really a subject, Obama still isn’t a prince of the Roman Empire. 

And barring America’s dissolution and absorption into the WEU in the next couple of years, he probably won’t be.

According to the Bible, in the last days, the most important country on earth will be Israel. The most important city on earth with be Jerusalem. Given that the world is about to be plunged into global war over the existence of Israel and her possession of Jerusalem, it is hard to dispute that assessment.

The Bible says revived Israel will live in a state of war until a leader from the revived Roman Empire confirms a seven year peace treaty — predicated on the principle of land for peace.

“Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall DIVIDE THE LAND FOR GAIN.” (Daniel 11:39)

The Bible represents the greatest threat to Israel in the last days as coming from an alliance led by Russia and consisting of Iran and the Islamic Mediterranean states of North Africa and the Middle East.

The Bible describes a great religious war during the Tribulation that will target Christians and Jews for forced conversion. The Apostle John says that those who refuse to convert to his economic-religious system will be executed by beheading.

The Bible predicts that war and pestilences emanating ‘from the beasts of the earth’ will kill a fourth part of mankind during the Tribulation Period.

So do most secularists.  Not because they read the Bible. But because they see the same signs pointing in the same direction which can only lead to the same conclusion.

Obama’s unconcealed dislike for Israel, the Russian-Iran alliance, the beast-borne diseases, Ahmadinejad’s obsession with starting Armageddon, the Arab-Israeli conflict over its existence, forced conversions, beheadings, the global conflict over ownership of Jerusalem . . . this is headline news ripped right from the pages of the Bible.

Reading the same headlines 2500 years ago, the Prophet Daniel asked the revealing angel what it all meant. The angel told Daniel;

“Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed TILL THE TIME OF THE END. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. “(Daniel 12:9)

The Rapture: Why?

The Rapture: Why?
Vol: 110 Issue: 13 Saturday, November 13, 2010

“These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

According to the editors of the “World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions – AD 30 to 2200,” there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones.

For eighteen of the world’s major religions and its 270  sub-divisions, the concept of the sudden and instantaneous translation of millions of adherents from one form of existence into the next is completely unheard of.

It is even a controversial doctrine within Christianity. There are entire huge subdivisions, or denominations within Christianity that totally dismiss the concept of the Rapture.  

I found a column at the appropriately-named AgainstDispensationalism.com that argues belief in the Rapture is little more than “The Arrogance of the West.”  I chose that column to highlight because it is a shining example of why the Rapture is so controversial. 

To Jerry Johnson, the president of something called the Nicene Council, the Rapture is “paperback” theology and a recent theological concoction never taught by the ‘historic church’. 

(For context, the ‘historic church’ would be the one that embraces replacement theology. And my Bible is paperback).

Notes Johnson: “One is hard pressed to think that all of the great minds from St. Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin and Charles Haddon Spurgeon, that though they had read I Thessalonians 4 failed to understand the important teaching of a pre-millennial, pre-tribulation rapture.”

Then he lashes out with his best, Sunday punch.

“Pre-tribulation rapture theology is at its foundation conceited!”  

This is the main objection to the doctrine of the Rapture – the misconception that the Rapture is a Great Escape.  Why should Christians escape the Great Tribulation while others do not? 

“It’s unfair and God isn’t unfair.”

One wonders if they find it equally unfair that some go to heaven and others go to hell.  My bet is that some do, but others don’t.  (But all would agree that Hitler shouldn’t go to heaven.)

That’s why God is God and theologians are not.

Assessment:

As noted, no other religion has anything resembling a Rapture doctrine, including whatever ‘historic church’ Jerry Johnson was referring to.  So where did it come from and why is it there?

The first thing anybody does when trying to answer that question is to hopelessly complicate the issue so that whatever answer they come up with, it is practically impossible to decipher. 

If you take enough verses from different places throughout the Bible, you can make a case for a Rapture, against a Rapture, for pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, amillennial, premillenial, or post millennial, with or without a 1000 year Kingdom.

I know that to be true because there are scholars that adhere to each and every one of those positions (which is why they have names for them) and I refuse to believe that they hold those positions without some kind of Scripture to hang them on.

If one sees the purpose of the Rapture as a “Great Escape” then it is easy to take verses from all over the Bible to refute it.   Not because the Rapture is a false doctrine.  

But because that isn’t the purpose of the Rapture. Knowing why provides valuable clues as to when and how.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ promised His disciples that when He ascended into Heaven, the Holy Spirit would come upon them and indwell them and empower them.  That indwelling Power would come upon and indwell all who believed.

Jesus called Him the Comforter.  Jesus promised that He would abide with me forever.  

Let’s examine the simplest questions first.

What does it mean when Jesus Christ makes a promise to the Church? Is it reliable? What does “forever” mean?  Is there a time constraint on forever? When would forever run out?  Does abide forever mean “abide forever for every generation but one?”

Houston, we have a problem. According to my paperback theology, the Comforter is:

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”  (John 14:7)

So, the Comforter is the Spirit of Truth and He indwells me.  That’s what my paperback theology teaches me.  Then comes Part Two of the paperback Promise.

“I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

So how to resolve this obvious “contradiction” in Scripture?  There is only one way.  The Holy Spirit continues in indwell me throughout the Tribulation Period.  Therefore, by the authority of the Word of God, specifically, 1st John 4:4, “Greater is He (the indwelling Holy Spirit) than he that is in the world.”  

Since the indwelling Holy Spirit is greater and since He will not leave or forsake me during the Tribulation, it is not possible for the antichrist to overcome my indwelling Spirit and pledge allegiance to him. 

But that contradicts Revelation 13:7 which says that he can. And it’s not a little contradiction, either.

For the antichrist to overcome an indwelt child of the Living God, he must defeat the Indweller.  Unless the Holy Spirit no longer indwells me.  And if He doesn’t, did He ever? 

And if He did, where did He go? And how did He do that without breaking Jesus promise not to leave me Comfortless?  The Tribulation is, after all, the time of greatest spiritual trial in all of human history. 

And although every generation, from those thrown to the lions to those being massacred today in Iraq, have the benefit of the indwelling Holy Spirit, during the Tribulation I will be Comfortless? 

How does that work?  If the Rapture is a Great Escape from Tribulation for Christians, then wouldn’t the opposite be when Christians suddenly have the Comforter ripped from them just when He is most needed?  

And if I am still indwelt, then what is the purpose in sealing the Jews of Revelation 7 with the Holy Spirit so they can share the Gospel?  What’s wrong with using me?  Isn’t that my job since the Great Commission?

Here’s the Rapture narrative in summary. The Age of Grace began at Pentecost with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  The Age of Grace concludes at the Rapture with the withdrawal of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The Promise to the Church is kept precisely as it was given by the Lord Himself.  

Now, if one really works at it, one can find creative ways to portray the Rapture as the Great Escape and from there, all kinds of creative ways to dismiss it as paperback theology.   

But the simplest answer is still the only one that makes sense.

Speaking Plainly

Speaking Plainly
Vol: 110 Issue: 12 Friday, November 12, 2010

“These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.” (John 16:26)

If there is a single word that permeates every discussion on virtually every topic of interest, particularly in the United States, that word would be fear.

Fear so palpable that politicians can mold it like putty, reshape it and use it to sell a fearful public pretty much anything. 

Obama uses fear like a tool – in his world, the reason the Democrats lost the mid-terms was because the voters were too fearful or too intellectually challenged to understand his agenda.  

But there are plenty of legitimate reasons for fear, not the least of which is President Obama himself. His policies, both foreign and economic, are terrifying to anyone not too fearful of being called a racist or too intellectually challenged not to understand his agenda. 

There is the Federal Reserve’s ongoing theft of genuine wealth to be afraid of.  Pat Buchanan ‘translated’ the Fed’s QE2 this way:

Translation: The Fed is committed to buy $600 billion in bonds from banks and pay for them by printing money that will then be deposited in those banks. The more dollars that flood into the economy, the less every one of them is worth.

Bernanke is not just risking inflation. He is inducing inflation.

He is reducing the value of the dollar to make U.S. exports more competitive and imports more expensive, so that we will consume fewer imports. He is trying to eliminate the U.S. trade deficit by treating the once universally respected dollar like the peso of a banana republic.

Sarah Palin noted Germany’s past experience with runaway inflation (think Weimar Republic) and said that when Germany called the Fed’s policy “clueless” and warns us to think again, maybe we should.

“We shouldn’t be playing around with inflation. It’s not for nothing Reagan called it ‘as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.’ The Fed’s pump-priming addiction has got our small businesses running scared and our allies worried.”   

Those are pretty fearful images.  So is the image of our president in action overseas, as painted by Lt. Col Oliver North, USMC:

[H]is [Obama’s] appearances this week in India, Indonesia and South Korea have made it vividly clear to all that Obama is incapable of shaping events.

Though he still panders to every audience, his obsequious bows to foreign potentates and apologies for America’s misdeeds no longer hold the allure and cachet they carried just months ago. In New Delhi, he reiterated his Utopian plea for a world without nuclear weapons and spoke of supporting India’s bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council — without mentioning that both India and Pakistan hide their atomic arsenals from U.N. arms inspectors.

He paid homage to Gandhi, danced with schoolchildren in Indonesia and went to the G-20 summit in Seoul, where he continued to whine about trade imbalances and currency manipulation while defending further devaluation of the American dollar. Along the way, he missed yet another opportunity to define our enemy as radical Islam and ignored American troops in harm’s way by treating Iraq and Afghanistan like flyover country.

The president’s rhetorical flourishes and quests for applause lines on this trip provide striking examples of his chaotic, uncertain leadership at home and abroad.

When one takes into consideration the overall Big Picture; enemies on all sides, a rapidly failing economy, a disintegration of the social order unlike anything in living memory, the rise of radical Islam, radical national socialism, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, it’s a pretty scary world out there

A mother emailed me recently to ask if I had ever written anything to encourage young people that maybe she could share with her kids. 

Boy, that’s a tough one. My kids grew up hoping the Lord would tarry at least long enough for them to learn to drive.

Now their kids are wondering the same thing.  

Assessment:

Back during the comparative Good Times of the late 20th Century, Bible prophecy for the last days was scary stuff. First off, it forecast the economic, social, moral and political collapse of the Christian West

Nobody wanted to hear that in the mid-1990’s.  Life was good, inflation was low, the economy was booming, we won the Cold War, the Gulf War, the Culture War and the future looked bright. 

(Sigh. It seems so long ago, now.)

My kids were in their teens and they wanted to have a future.  Especially the future that they expected in the 1990’s.  That future included peace in our time, a balanced budget and full employment.  But Bible prophecy forecast doom and gloom and scariness.

And as the century turned, so did the fortunes of the West.  Peace and prosperity faded into doom and gloom and scariness.  Ten years into the 21st century, have you noticed that nobody is talking about ten years from now?

Everybody is talking
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about 2012 in some context, running the gamut from the general election, to the war on terror to the Mayan Indian calendar’s Doomsday myth, but interest in what comes beyond that sort of fades away.

Not even secularists are very interested in speculating where we will be a few years from now for the same reason that most churches avoided Bible prophecy in the 1990’s.   Too much gloom and doom.

Today’s kids look forward to a debt-laden future for as far as they can possibly foresee.  If the economy doesn’t collapse Western civilization, there are about a hundred million jihadists hoping to topple it by force.  

With the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and the technology to deploy them, the future isn’t looking all that bright.

As Jesus was preparing the Apostles for what was to befall them, He told them that, until that point, He taught them in proverbs. But just before He was to be arrested, He told them plainly Who He was and what was to follow.

“I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. 

His disciples said unto Him, Lo, now speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.” (John 16:28-29)

Bible prophecy sounded pretty gloomy a few years back.  But as you can see, God didn’t cause the mess we are in – He let us do it.  The further we moved away from Him, the more He allowed us to. 

Now that we are pretty much exactly where the Bible said we would find ourselves, Bible prophecy takes on a new relevance.  The Book of Revelation doesn’t engender a lot more fear than does the New York Times, (and has proved itself infinitely more credible.)

Bible Prophecy, even ten years ago, seemed proverbial and symbolic.  Today, it speaks so plainly that some Christians have come to the conclusion we are in the Tribulation already.  (We are not.)

But I notice there is less dread about the Rapture than there used to be.  And a lot less resistance to the concept, or so it seems to me.

What used to sound scary – being jerked out of this world before we had a chance to get a driver’s license, or get married, or have kids, or have grandkids . . . seems a lot less scary than being left behind in it.

“Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (John 16:31-32)

Bible prophecy is like that.  It forecast the coming catastrophe, the scattering, an-every-man-for-himself scenario, but yet we are not alone, because the Holy Spirit is with us and indwells us. 

So as we see all these things begin to come to pass, it’s still scary, but less scary than if we were alone.

We were warned of what is here and we’ve been told of what is coming.   But what is coming for the world is not what the Lord promised us.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

The tribulation that is coming is coming upon the world.  For His Church, the message is, “be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”

We’ll speak plainly about what that means in tomorrow’s OL.  Maranatha!

Atonement

Atonement
Vol: 110 Issue: 11 Thursday, November 11, 2010

If there is anything about this Christian life that makes it hard to grasp, it is the principle of atonement.  But once you get it, the rest of it makes sense.

It makes shorter work of understanding grace and mercy and explains why salvation cannot be related to works. I’ll say that again at the beginning of the column so you will know what to look for. 

We are going to find the reason why salvation CANNOT be related to works.   So let’s start first with ‘works’.

In Christian theology, we work at the task of living, and our “works” are the visible results of that effort. 

“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18)

How we approach the task of living produces certain fruit reflective of the way in which in works at it.  I don’t need to be told that Donald Trump has a strong work ethic. 

He wouldn’t have accomplished what he has with his life if he didn’t.   The fruit of his works is his wealth and property.

I don’t need to be told that Barack Obama is a man of great ambition – his ruthlessness in the pursuit of his high office reflects that.  The fruit of his works is obvious.

James says that faith is not something that can be visibly demonstrated except through the works that result from it.  This makes logical sense.  Faith without works is dead.  But you can’t turn the equation around — works have nothing to do with faith. 

Works cannot generate faith, unless that faith is in one’s own ability to perform them.  If my faith is in my works, then it can be well and truly said that I am faithful — to me. 

From here, there is no possible way to skip over me and claim my real faith is in the completed Work at the Cross because of how good I am.

But it is by faith we are saved and not works. 

“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” (Romans 3:27)

“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

“This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galatians 3:2)

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” (2nd Timothy 1:9)

“That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2nd Timothy 3:17)

We are saved by grace and perfectly equipped with the necessary equipment (Scriptures) to do all good works. 

There is an old hymn that says, “only one life, t’will soon be past, only what’s done for God will last. . .”

The only truly unselfish and perfect good work a Christian can do is to lead a lost soul to Christ.  We are equipped with the Scriptures and motivated by faith.  Works, good or bad, cannot possibly be relevant to faith in Christ’s ability to save you.

Otherwise, the principle of atonement would not make sense.

Assessment: 

The word atonement is a variation of the Hebrew word “kapher” whose primitive root literally means “to cover, specifically with bitumen, or pitch.”  It is the same word used in Genesis 6:14 when God instructed Noah to waterproof the ark with pitch.  

Bitumen is the heaviest, thickest form of petroleum.  It’s a really sticky, gooey type of oil like the tar used to patch a leaky roof. The point is that bitumen covers completely, doesn’t wash off and prevents anything from getting through it.

Atonement literally means ‘to be covered’ and figuratively as ‘the means whereby alienation ceases and reconciliation ensues’. “Reconciliation” is the equivalent term given for the same Hebrew word, kopher ‘to cover’, or ‘atonement’.

A kindred term expressing a different aspect of the same truth is “propitiation” (hilasmos) (1st John 2:2), the verb of which is in Hebrews 2:17 translated “to make reconciliation.”

Also “ransom,” or payment for redeeming a captive (Job 33:24), kopher, “an atonement,” Matthew 20:28. Hebrews 9:12; Christ, “having obtained eternal redemption for us.”

We are saved by faith in the atonement, through Christ, Who obtained eternal redemption for us.

The atonement; kopher, hilasmos, is the covering of our sins with the Blood of Christ, which covers them as completely as pitch, allowing nothing to get through. The redemption is the price paid for the covering that provides for the ‘reconciliation’ which means ‘atonement’. 

We can go at it all day but every word that is used to explain the mechanism by which we are saved eventually winds back to atonement, illustrated as ‘covering’. That is salvation.

To lose one’s salvation, one must, by his own works, somehow sin through the covering Blood of Christ, which is why understanding the illustration of “covering” — specifically with something as sticky and impenetrable as bitumen – is so necessary to understanding the Christian’s true standing before God.

I didn’t make atonement (cover) myself. Neither did I make atonement for myself.  I didn’t have the ‘pitch’ I needed – I had to get it from somewhere else.

After atonement was made for me and the covering applied at the moment of salvation, I put my faith in the clear and repeated proclamation that the covering was enough.

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

The atonement (covering) allows us to stand before God justified, judicially righteous and without the stain of sin. We obtain that covering by repenting (metaneo – a change of mind) about our sin and trusting Jesus Christ for our salvation.

The illustration used by Scripture recalls the pitch used to seal Noah’s Ark at the Lord’s direct instruction. Our works cannot add to the atonement (covering), nor can they scrape it off. 

In this illustration, you aren’t Noah. You’re the ark.

The atonement (covering) is obtained by faith and it is faith in the atonement that produces works of faith. Works neither produce that faith, nor can they undo the covering obtained by that faith. 

Saving, sustaining faith is in the covering, not the coveree.

“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live. Yet not I, but Christ, liveth in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith ofthe Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

“I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Galatians 2:20-21)

Don’t let the enemy steal away the victory.  There are dark times ahead.  Know where you are in Christ and you can’t help but walk in the light. 

How great is that?

Throw Israel From the Train

Throw Israel From the Train
Vol: 110 Issue: 10 Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Evidently not content to merely slam his own country from abroad or offer a symbolic bow to China, this time President Obama added a slam at Israel for good measure.  What a guy!

I noticed when I attempted to Google the story that the main returns were from Press TV (Iran) Gulf News (Oman) and the Palestine News Network. 

They bore headlines such as “PLO Report Says Seven Palestinians Killed by Colonists”; “Israel Approves New Units in al-Quds” – the WSJ story Google chose to highlight bore the headline, “Obama Says Israel Endangers Peace Push.”

I try not to use Google anymore – it’s like trying to get all your news from ABCNews or CNN or something – the facts are there, but you have to dig through the “facts’ they want you to see first before you can get to reality.

“I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough that could finally create a framework for a secure Israel living side and side – side by side in peace with a sovereign Palestine,” said Obama from Indonesia.

“We’re going to keep on working on it though, because it is in the world’s interest, it is in the interest of the people of Israel, and it is in the interest of the Palestinian people to achieve that settlement, to achieve that agreement.”

Obama didn’t explain how it was in Israel’s interest to have a sovereign Palestine run by terrorists sworn to Israel’s destruction, living side-by-side with the Jewish state.   It would be like setting up an al-Qaeda run-state in Michigan, claiming Michigan had always had an Islamic majority and so it is in America’s interests to surrender Michigan.

The irony here is in the US demand that Israel recognize Palestinian sovereignty over the east half of Jerusalem while the Palestinian side still refuses to recognize Israel’s existence as a Jewish State.   

The Jewish State has existed as a matter of law and as a geopolitical reality since May, 1948. There has never been a Palestinian state of any kind in the history of the world. 

Prior to 1967, what are today Palestinians were citizens of Egypt and Jordan.  Prior to that, they were one of two ethnic minorities under the administration of the British mandate.

Prior to that, they were citizens of the Ottoman Empire and residents of the province of southern Syria. That takes us back to the 12th century.  One can keep going backwards all the way to the Romans in AD 70, who banished Jews from the country and renamed it “Palestina.”

But then there is the problem of what the country was called before ‘Palestina’ – it was called Judea — after the Jews that had lived there under a series of conquerors — going back to Sargon the Assyrian in the 8th century BC.

Pesky Jews!  It doesn’t matter how far back one tries to go to make the case for the Palestinian ‘people’, just before them  — in every case going back to King David – Jerusalem was the capital city of Israel.

Sixteen hundred years before Mohammed, King Solomon had already erected the First Temple.  Twelve hundred years before Mohammed, the Second Temple was under construction. 

Seven hundred years before Mohammed, King Herod had constructed the most beautiful and elaborate Temple the world had ever seen. 

One hundred years after Mohammed, (800 years after Herod, 1300 years after Ezra, 1700 years after Solomon and only about 1200 years ago), the invading Muslims constructed the Dome of the Rock on the ruins of the Temple.  

For some of you this is a review.  For others, it may be the first time you’ve ever heard the actual history.  For this generation, ‘history’ is a little like ‘truth’ in that it doesn’t reflect reality as it was. 

It reflects what those in power say it was. And in that reality, the Jews ‘stole’ the land from a people that did not yet exist at the time of the alleged ‘theft’. 

Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinian side, is calling for the unilateral establishment and recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state.

“Israeli unilateralism is a call for immediate international recognition of the Palestinian state,” Erekat said to near-universal agreement.   Netanyahu countered by saying “Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is the capital of the State of Israel.”

State Department spokesman Crowley said the statement from Netanyahu’s office was unhelpful, and rejected its suggestion there was no link between settlement activity and the peace process.

“There clearly is a link in the sense that it is incumbent on both parties, as we’ve insisted all along, that they are responsible for creating conditions for a successful negotiation,” Crowley said. “To suggest that this kind of announcement would not have an impact on the Palestinian side I think is incorrect.”

The EU, which has been attempting to supplant the United States as the principal peace broker between the two sides,  said Israel’s plan “contradicts the efforts by the international community to resume direct negotiations and the decision should be reversed”.

According to the EU’s replacement for Javier Solana;  “Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.”

Assessment:

There is simply no rhyme or reason for the United States, the European Union or any other civilized country on earth to support the Palestinians over the Israelis.   It is the logical equivalent of supporting the Nazi conquest of Great Britian on the grounds that the Nazis already held most of Europe anyway.

Israel is a modern Western representative democracy.  The Palestinian Authority routinely orders the on-the-spot execution of its citizens on the mere suspicion of collaboration with Israel.  It holds elections only when it finds them convenient. 

The Gaza Strip is governed by Hamas, a radical terrorist group that exists exclusively for the purpose of destroying Israel.  Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are both governed according to the tenets of radical Islam, which means that we’re encouraging our enemies to make war against our friends.

This is a very odd position to be taken by a country that is presumed to be the best friend Israel has in the whole world.

According to the Prophet Daniel, something happens to end the love affair between the world’s most Christian nation and the Jewish state and drives Israel into the waiting arms of the Europeans. 

We are told in Daniel 9:24 that seventy weeks (seventy periods of seven years each = 490 years total);

“are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”

Note the six things that are to be accomplished over the course of these 70 weeks.  

  1. To finish the transgression. (Accomplished at the Cross.) 
  2. To make an end to sin. (Accomplished at the Cross.) 
  3. To make reconciliation for iniquity. (Accomplished at the Cross.) 
  4. To bring in everlasting righteousness. (Accomplished at the Cross.) 
  5. To seal up the vision and the prophecy.  (Yet future)
  6. To anoint the Most Holy. (Yet future)

“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and its end shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” (Daniel 9:24-27)

The “people of the prince that shall come” destroyed the city and the sanctuary exactly as Daniel prophesied, after the Messiah was ‘cut off, but not for Himself’ (not for any wrongdoing) and “unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” 

What war?  The war against the Jews.  It began in AD 70.  It has never ended — not to this very day. 

There has NEVER been a day in the history of the Jewish people from the time of Daniel to the present when the Jews were at peace with the world. 

Unto the end of that war, desolations are determined (against the Jews) Daniel prophesied.  That war ends when the coming prince of the revived Roman Empire ‘confirms the covenant with many for one week’ (a seven-year covenant).

This covenant confirmation remains yet future.  How can we know that?  Because “in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease.”   There has not been a time when Jewish sacrifice and offering has resumed since the destruction of the Temple.

To fulfill this prophecy, somehow the Jews must bebuild the Temple and restore Temple worship.  And since it is guaranteed by a prince of revived Rome, it won’t be guaranteed by an American president. 

Indeed, it demands that an American president do something so egregious from the Israeli perspective as to drive them into the waiting arms of that coming European prince.

I don’t know who the coming prince is. I don’t expect that I ever will.   But I’m pretty sure we have a candidate to start the ball rolling in that direction.  

And before all that — the Trumpet! 

Maranatha!

The Counterfeiters

The Counterfeiters
Vol: 110 Issue: 9 Tuesday, November 9, 2010

President Obama’s top economic advisor, Paul Volcker, said that he sees no short –term way to ease high unemployment or spur economic growth for the next year or more.  

Volcker’s comments came shortly after the announcement that the Fed was monetizing another $600 billion of the national debt.

The policy is called QE2 – for Quantitative Easing, Round Two. Quantitative Easing is when the Fed prints money and uses it to buy up its own debt.   

It is a policy so mad that it defies explanation – like using the line of credit on your house to make your mortgage payments so you can keep your credit cards free to buy big screen TVs for all your friends.

In theory, since the Fed controls the printing press, the amount of money it can create out of nothing is unlimited.  That theory is sound.  The Fed can print money as long as it has paper and ink. 

The problem is, the more money the Fed prints, the rest all the existing dollars are worth.

You’d think that would be obvious.  It is the principle under which the US Treasury Department prosecutes counterfeiters.  Counterfeit money reduces the value of all existing money. 

By way of illustration, suppose you have $1000 in $100 bills. If one of them is counterfeit, your $1000 is instantly reduced in value to $900.

The value of the other $100 bill was literally stolen by the counterfeiter.   Run the numbers up from thousands to trillions and let the Fed do the same thing counterfeiter so — and the effect on you is exactly the same.

The ten $100 bills that you held in your hand ten years ago in 2000,  is today worth about $780.00 — according to the inflation calculator at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

(There is also a much simpler version here, but I wanted you to see the official government calculations first).

So you got ripped off by counterfeiters for over two hundred bucks in just the past ten years. And the Fed action this week is projected to cost you another $200 or more over the coming year. 

The skyrocketing price of gold confirms that projection.   But it’s a sweet deal for the government. The government borrowed when the dollar was higher against the currencies of investor countries.   

The dollar has fallen 19% against the euro since June, for example. Now we can pay it back with devalued dollars that our investors have to accept at face (de)value. (No wonder they’re so mad!)

Pretty clever, no?  It isn’t an original plan, though.  The Germans tried it after WWI.  It only worked for awhile. By 1923, inflation was running at 20% per day, meaning prices of consumer goods doubled every 3.7 days.

Paul Volcker is a name rings a bell for us old-timers.   Volcker was the chairman of the Federal Reserve under Jimmy Carter — who raised mortgage rates to over 21% in 1981.

For those of you who don’t remember, here’s what that meant, using 2010 housing prices for clarity. 

Suppose your house is worth the national average — $167,500.00 — and you’re carrying a mortgage of $140,000.00 at 5% over 15 years.  Your monthly payment is roughly $1,103.00 per month.

Leave everything the same, but change the interest rate to 21.5% .  Using all the same numbers and changing only the interest rate, your $1,103.00 payment at 5% becomes $2,520.65 at 21.5%.   

Paul Volcker presided over the longest period of economic stagnation and inflation since the Great Depression.   Carter even coined a new word to describe it, stagflation.

In 1987, Reagan fired Volcker, who went immediately to Wall Street and joined a Rothschild investment banking firm.  Two months later, the stock market crashed, losing 22% of its value in a single day and kicking off a recession that lasted for another five years.

In 2004, Volcker was tapped by the United Nations to research the ‘possibility of corruption’ in the Iraq Oil-for-Food program.  Even though Kofi Annan’s son was directly linked to some of the billions that were stolen from starving Iraqis, Volcker managed to keep anybody from actually being prosecuted.

Volcker is today the Chairman of the financial advisory board, “the Group of Thirty” a founding member of the Trilateral Commission, a Bilderberger with longtime ties to both the Rothschild and Rockefeller family empires.

Volcker serves as Co-Chair for the World Justice Project, an effort to establish the legal framework upon which a global government could be built.  (Scared, yet?)

None of this should be particularly shocking, especially to me. I’ve been writing about how the economy really works for years.

Assessment:

I get emails all the time asking my advice on what to do in order to prepare for the hard times to come.  Let me be the first to admit that I am no better prepared than any of you.  I have no stocks, bonds or investments. 

I’ve no retirement plan, no 401k. 

We still owe a small fortune on the RV we bought for the 2006-2007 Road Tour, although we are paying it down as fast as we can.  I just bought my house two years ago – it’s worth about what I owe on it. 

I bought a small amount of junk silver (pre-1964 silver coins) for use as barter money in the event of total collapse, but that’s about it.

Glenn Beck cited figures that suggest food prices are going to skyrocket soon, so we’re laying in as many non-perishable food items as we have room for and can afford.    

Still, it’s odd that I’m no better prepared than I am, despite having known what was coming for years.  How do I explain myself?  I don’t really know – I never expected to be here when the collapse came. 

I still don’t. 

The collapse that is coming is NOT the collapse symbolized by the Rider on the Black Horse in Revelation.  That collapse is global and catastrophic and clearly out of control.  This is aimed squarely at the United States like a rifle. 

It appears to me that the collapse that is coming is an engineered collapse, aimed at consolidating power and eliminating competing interests. It has all the earmarks of an engineered crisis, much like the economic collapse in 2007. 

And from my understanding of Bible prophecy, something exactly like this is a necessary element of the overall Big Picture.

I believe that we are coming down to the wire and that things are soon going to start moving swiftly — there remain a number of loose ends to be tied before the Bible’s scenario can move forward. 

First, the world during the Tribulation Period is divided in the last days into four spheres of global and economic power, not five. Since the Bible makes no mention of any nation resembling America during the Tribulation, it stands to reason that America is not a major player when it starts.

The antichrist is a prince of the Roman Empire, Daniel 9:27 says, so again, it stands to reason that America is not a major player in the Middle East peace process when the Tribulation begins with the antichrist’s confirmation of a peace covenant with Israel.

The Apostle Paul says that before the antichrist can be revealed, the Holy Spirit’s restraining influence is removed from the earth.  Since the Holy Spirit indwells me, that means that I must be withdrawn with Him.

So I don’t really have much in the way of financial advice to offer.  The Bible says that all these things we are now witnessing are part of the last hours of the last days of the Church Age scenario.  

Nothing about the Tribulation can move forward until the issues of US financial and military hegemony, US involvement in the peace process and the removal of the Restraining influence of the Church are resolved, allowing the Bible scenario to move forward.

Things are starting to move swiftly in the direction the Bible forecast for the last days. It isn’t a time to be afraid.  This is the time to be bold.  Everything the Bible predicted has come true so far.

That means we can be confident that everything else the Lord promised will continue to move forward with equal precision.   Everything.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

That’s about as prepared as I need to be.    

The Discrepancy Debate

The Discrepancy Debate
Vol: 110 Issue: 8 Monday, November 8, 2010

The Bible is unique among all the sacred books of the various religions of mankind in that it claims of itself 100% accuracy 100% of the time. 

The Bible is filled with historical, medical and scientific information that can be and has been checked in every possible way for accuracy.

Consequently, in every generation since its compilation, dedicated cadres of non-believers have made it their mission in life to prove the Bible wrong.  The more successful they appeared to be in their mission, the more famous they became; Neitzche, Descartes, Kant, etc. 

But their fame didn’t come from disproving any fact about the Bible, but rather through their philosophical arguments about the existence of God and faith and redemption and existentialism. 

When it came to actually disproving anything, Kant couldn’t.  (Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)  Neither could anybody else.  Despite claims to the contrary, nobody has ever conclusively disproved anything in the Bible. 

Any discrepancy has been analyzed and re-analyzed by both friend and foe, read and re-read, argued and re-argued, in a million conversations over thousands of years. 

Whoever successfully proved the Bible wrong on any point; doctrine, history, archeology, law, medicine, science, or geography would have single-handedly destroyed the basic foundation of the Judeo-Christian ethic. 

Such a thinker and philosopher would be world-famous. Think of it! The man who proved God wrong! In all those generations, among all those thinkers over all those centuries, that thinker has yet to claim his prize.But there are claimants. 

Because while there are no contradictions in Scripture, there are discrepancies.  They are superficial and largely irrelevant, but they are there.   

Critics love to use them to shatter the Christian claim of Biblical infallibility.  But don’t be shocked.

If there weren’t discrepancies, then I’d be worried.

Assessment:

The Bible was originally written in ancient Hebrew and Greek.  Neither language survived through the ages unchanged.   Until 1948, Hebrew was as dead as Latin.  First century Greek is not 21st century Greek.

According to the Bible Society, the Bible has been translated into more than four hundred languages as of the turn of the 21st century.   Four hundred different languages!

Canada has two official languages; English and French. In French, “Comment vous applez vous?” means “What is your name?” But translated literally, it means, “What you called you?”  

(Those kind of linguistic discrepancies were the reason I did so poorly in high school French.) 

But let’s just stick with English for a moment.  Some Bible  translations are translated from different original manuscripts. 

The Textus Receptus, or the Received Text,  is the manuscript handed down through the ages and was the basic manuscript used by the King James translators in 1611.  The oldest existing copy dates to about the 10th century AD.

In 1844, an older manuscript was discovered by a scholar named Stanley Tischendorff in a Coptic monastery on Egypt’s Mount Sinai. It dated to about the 4th century came to be known as the Codex Sinaiticus.

Not to be outdone, soon afterwards, the Vatican discovered an equally ancient manuscript in one of its vaults.  This second, 4th century manuscript came to be known as the Codex Vaticanus.   Most of the other English versions were translated from the CR and CV.

There are vast differences between the TR and CS/CV but that doesn’t change the reality that the Bible is still the inspired Word of God.  If God didn’t want those discrepancies, they wouldn’t be there. 

Their existence is a reason to believe, not a reason to doubt. Why?  First, it destroys any suggestion of collusion between the various writers. 

I used to be a police officer – we’ve learned certain things about human eyewitness testimony.   For example, no two witnesses ever agree on every detail.  If they do, they are probably lying. 

If there were perfect agreement in every detail between Isaiah and Moses, between Peter and Paul, or between Matthew and Luke, the skeptics would zero in on it as evidence of a forgery. 

Real people, especially those separated by great spans of time, don’t write in harmony with other writers, and if there were perfect agreement, it would naturally generate suspicion of collaboration. 

So these apparent contradictions and discrepancies serve to refute these kinds of objections by their very existence. 

Secondly, these apparent contradictions stimulate Christians to deeper Bible study — they literally force man to search the Scriptures. There are few motives for study more powerful than that of trying to reconcile apparent Bible contradictions.

Believers cannot be satisfied with easy answers. The writers were fallible men, but they were inspired by an infallible God. 

Although the contradictions seem to be apparent, upon greater study, one finds invariably that they exhibit a deeper agreement than appears on the surface — which reveals in greater detail the whole counsel of God. 

When a believer solves one of these so-called contradictions on their own, it is a faith-affirming and joyful event. 

But the same discrepancies that a believer finds to be powerful evidence of its Divine inspiration, to dedicated unbelievers, are equally powerful evidences to the contrary. 

Take, for example, the Commandment; “Thou shalt not kill.” (Exodus 20:13)  But in the very next chapter, we read, “He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.” (Exodus 21:13) 

Taken at face value, that is an irreconcilable contradiction contained in the King James Bible, together with most of the other translations. God tells man, “Thou shalt not kill,” and in the very next breath, orders man to put transgressors to death. 

How does one put someone to death without killing them?  A discrepancy?  

Only in English. The Hebrew doesn’t say “Thou shalt not kill.” That is what the English translation says.

Consequently, in English, Exodus 21:13 is a direct contradiction within God’s Word. But God isn’t English. (God isn’t even American!!) 

The Hebrew says, “Thou shalt do no murder’ — which not only eliminates any apparent contradiction but serves to explain Exodus 21:13 as part the whole counsel of God, which is, if you commit murder, you shall be put to death. 

Now for the one that makes Christian’s eyes pinwheel: The Apostle Paul says, “for by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

But the Apostle James says, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24)  Is this not a contradiction? And not just a minor one, either.

Are we saved by grace, or by works? Salvation is by faith, as Paul says. A person who is saved is transformed.  That doesn’t mean the person who is saved lives a perfect and sinless life.  But he sees things differently and that inevitably expressed through a person’s works, some more than others. 

James says, “I will show thee my faith by my works,” not, “I will substitute faith with my works.” In context, the meaning is obvious and the contradiction collapses. 

1st Samuel 15:29 tells us that “God isn’t a man, that He should repent.” But in the same chapter, we also read, “It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king.” (15:11)

Another contradiction. Or so it seems. God is immutable. He cannot change, or change His mind. God cannot ‘repent’ but since men do change, God seemingly must, and does, repent of individual actions with individuals. 

God cannot change His mind about sin and unrighteousness, yet when we repent and are saved, God blesses and rewards the same sinner. There is no contradiction. If anything, that PROVES God does not change. 

God didn’t change. We did. God hates the sin and loves the sinner, as He always has. God knew Saul would fail Him, but when Saul did, God had to change the way He dealt with him. 

If not, then God really WOULD had to have changed His mind. 

In the study of Scripture, a text without context is a pretext — that is to say, taken out of context, one can make the Bible say anything. For example:

And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself:   And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: .”

Two parts of verses out of context, and we can make the Bible appear to be advocating suicide:  

King David was just about the most depraved sinner among all the Patriarchs of Scripture. David committed adultery with Bathsheeba, and then had her husband, Uriah, murdered so he could marry her. 

Yet the Scriptures call David a man after God’s own heart. Does that mean God is a murdering adulterer? Or that He approves of murder or adultery? Clearly not.

A contradiction? Only if you take it out of context. 

When most people are caught in the act of sin, they get defensive; they get angry, attempt to justify themselves, or just outright lie and deny it.

When David was confronted with his sin, he repented, confessed his sin, and sought God’s forgiveness.  David was a man after God’s own heart because God looks at a man’s heart in the context of his words and deeds.

The discrepancies in Scripture are only discrepancies in translation — they don’t exist in the original languages. The ‘contradictions’ are not contradictions at all, but rather the result of sloppy scholarship on the part of the skeptic. 

One can make the identical observation within Christianity.  There are as many interpretations of Scripture as there are different denominations within Christendom. 

It is faith in the completed Work of Jesus Christ at the Cross that saves us. Not faith in our own interpretative abilities, the infallibility of our doctrine, faith in a particular English translation of the Bible, or faith in a particular preacher or teacher. 

The Bible remains the inspired word of God, fully inspired and fully authoritative.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2nd Timothy 3:16-17) 

The dedicated skeptic doesn’t want to believe. God gave all men free will, so if he doesn’t want to believe, God isn’t going to make him. But don’t let his confidence in his cleverness shake your confidence in the Revealed Word of God.

You can only lose your faith if you forget where you put it.