The Entitlement Trap

The Entitlement Trap
Vol: 116 Issue: 19 Thursday, May 19, 2011

I was watching the news yesterday about the new wave of health care waivers and listening to the pundits analyze how they were distributed, etc. But they danced all around the real (and most obvious) issue.

But to get to it, we must first address a couple of questions.  Why has the administration granted some 1,300 health care waivers?  While we’re on the subject, what is a heath care waiver?  Maybe we should tackle that one first.

A ‘waiver’ is an exemption from some part (or all) of the provisions of Obamacare on the grounds that implementing it would be so prohibitively expensive or difficult that complying would run them out of business

(That also takes care of the ‘why’ question).

What brought the whole health care waiver issue to the forefront of national attention was the discovery that 20% of the waivers granted in April were granted to businesses in former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home district. 

By itself, that might raise eyebrows, but a closer examination of the businesses involved ought to be raising voices.  Waivers that ordinarily would go to small mom and pop restaurants to prevent them from going out of business went instead to restaurants with $60 steaks on the menu.

Pelosi famously told Americans that the Congress had to first pass the bill in order to find out what was in it.  Apparently, one of the things in the bill we didn’t know about until after it was too late was how easy it would make it for politicians to buy cooperation from the public.

Waivers have been granted to the United Federation of Teachers, McDonalds, the entire State of Maine, the Cement Mason’s Union Local 60, Teamsters Local Nos. 175 & 505 Health and Welfare Fund, 24 Hour Fitness (with more than 1,758 enrollees) – check out the HHS list here.

Altogether, the latest round of health care waivers granted by the HHS for April included twenty-seven waivers for health care and drug companies(!) and thirty-one waivers for unions.

There is a reason why the Democrats have been pushing for the nationalization of the health care industry – which is what the health care bill accomplishes – and it was never about affordable health care for the poor. 

If it was affordable there would have been no need to create a health care waiver system to prevent the plan from crushing small business.

It was always about control.

Assessment:

The health care plan could just as well have been designed by 19th century philosopher Georges Hegel – there is little doubt in my mind that he was the inspiration for the plan. It is a perfect example of the Hegelian Dialectic in operation.

A government “entitlement” describes a government benefit to which citizens are entitled by virtue of their citizenship.  An “entitlement” is much like a birthright.  As such, an “entitlement” is unconstitutional. 

Under the American system, rights can only be granted by God. The government’s role isn’t to grant rights, it is to guarantee them.   The Founding Fathers didn’t give the government the authority to ‘grant’ rights – they were fighting for freedom from that very system.

When a monarch needed popular support, he granted this group or that group special favors, rights or privileges in exchange for their support.  Many of the officers and men fighting against the American revolutionaries did so in exchange for the promise of land grants, titles or special privileges from King George III.

The United Empire Loyalists remained loyal to the Crown because the Crown promised them free land, allowed them to keep their slaves under a 1790 law and even granted them a special hereditary title.

In the 1930’s FDR re-introduced Americans to the royal system of granting entitlements, or hereditary privileges, not so much as a reward for current service as an investment for services yet to be rendered.  

The passage of the Social Security Act, for example, guaranteed the government a permanent lock on the senior citizen vote. No matter how outrageous a government plan might seem, all it takes is a threat to Social Security to get every government-dependent senior onboard.  

When you want to pass something that will damage workers, take it to the seniors. Conversely, if you need to convince workers to get onboard, then you threaten future Social Security benefits. 

It’s a pretty effective system since everybody gets old.  But it isn’t foolproof.   The degree of influence a threat to SSI has is directly proportionate to the age of the demographic involved.

Threats to SSI didn’t used to scare teenagers and twenty-somethings – now it doesn’t even scare people in their forties.  They know the jig is up, the con has been exposed and they won’t ever get their retirement money anyway.  

The threat has lost much of its power.

But everybody gets sick.  Little kids, teenagers, twenty-somethings alike.  And the MOST exposed demographic is the group that was least exposed by SSI – parents in their thirties and forties. 

They have no illusions about SSI.  They are less poor than their younger or older demographic counterparts, so they are less dependent on the government for survival.  But they have kids – and kids get sick.

Control the health care system and you control the population.  Indeed, you enslave the population.  The health care systems in the UK and Canada are terrible in comparison with the US free-market system – but they are the only game in town.  

Threaten their free health care and they will stand for almost anything. 

Obamacare takes it to the next level. Instead of threatening to withhold health care, the Obamacare threat is that it will be imposed, unless one gets a waiver.  Control the corporations and businesses first – worry about how to control individuals later.

Like the stimulus money before it, health care waivers are being passed out as ‘thank yous’ for political support, as incentives for future support, or as plain old bribes.

The proof is in the pudding.  Obamacare is a system so terrible that those with clout are willing to do whatever is necessary, give up whatever is necessary or go along with whatever is necessary. 

And yet there are millions of Americans prepared to defend both Obamacare and Nancy Pelosi. 

It is a manifestation of what Michelle Malkin (or was it Ann Coulter?) describes as LDS, or “Liberal Derangement Syndrome.”    

Here we have a system so destructive that even McDonald’s and Walmart can’t afford it, one so bad that the government can’t deny it, one so dishonest that even the Democrats can’t hide it . . . and yet still it has millions of blind, knee-jerk defenders of a system that is aimed at their enslavement.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.”  (Romans 1:28)

To me, this is one of the most astonishing prophecies in Scripture.  First, it is my opinion that being a good Christian and being a good Democrat are mutually exclusive positions. 

I do not see how a saved person can support Democrat priorities like abortion, the abolition of public prayer, restrictions on parental rights and so on.  (Evidently some can, but it is the how of it that escapes me.)

So I am of the opinion that the majority of Democrats, particularly those on the Left, do not like to retain God in their knowledge.  Now we move on to the part about a ‘reprobate’ mind doing things that are not convenient”.

(Reprobate – Greek: adokimos  means “morally worthless”)  (Convenient: kathehko  means “fitting, as in one’s best interests,” etc.)

The idea of defending a policy like Obamacare, particularly in light of the fact it is so destructive that the government has to grant waivers to keep it from collapsing the economy, is certainly not in any American’s best interests as a citizen.  

Yet there are millions that do. 

I used to wonder how it could ever come about that the antichrist could get America to go along with some of the policies the Bible says he will introduce, like the Mark of the Beast, for example. 

I don’t wonder about that anymore. 

Why Jesus Can t Be A Myth

Why Jesus Can t Be A Myth
Vol: 116 Issue: 18 Wednesday, May 18, 2011

One of the most important differences between Biblical Christianity and most other belief structures, (including atheism) is that, by its very nature, Christianity discourages becoming mythologized.

That is one reason that twenty centuries after the fact, Jesus is still God, but ‘Jupiter’ is a planet in the solar system.

Mythological religious figures are larger-than-life, have supernatural power, are somewhat mischievous, and their deeds tend to grow with time.

One could say that about Zeus, one could say that about about Mohammed, or one could say that about Charles Darwin.

Jesus Christ was larger-than-life in His humility. No other mythological god ever washed the feet of his servants. Jesus did not exercise His Personal power, but always accredited it to God the Father.

Jesus was kind and friendly, but deadly serious — no one could accuse Him of being mischievous. And Jesus Christ was the same yesterday as today.

There are no eyewitnesses to the life and times of Zeus or Jupiter. The Koran contains no eyewitness accounts — it was compiled after the death of Mohammed from oral tradition.

Charles Darwin was not the committed atheist his followers claim, but rather, he was the son of a preacher who attended Divinity School.

And, according to an eyewitness to his death, at Lady Hope, he underwent a ‘deathbed conversion’ in which he renounced atheism.

Darwin’s followers call that a ‘myth’. That’s my point. There are more written eyewitness accounts to the life and times of Jesus Christ than of any major historical figure of antiquity.

(And more eyewitnesses to His last words, (“It is finished”) than there were to Charles Darwin’s.)

Any attempt to mythologize Jesus Christ runs into that brick wall of eyewitness testimony. Jesus Christ has been mythologized by cults, but that is why they are called cults.

Because they introduce an element of unprovable myth to a life already marked by proven miracles well attested to by multiple, unrelated eyewitnesses.

In Jesus’ day, Jerusalem was a relatively small, close-knit city, many of whose residents could trace their genealogy back to Adam. Everybody knew everybody, or they knew somebody who knew somebody — like in many small towns today.

There is a story in which Jesus was preaching in a crowded synagogue. A paralytic, desiring to be healed, couldn’t be maneuvered through the crowd, so instead, they tore a hole in the roof and lowered the guy down.
(Like THAT wouldn’t be the talk of the town, in and of itself – the text says he was a paralytic from birth, and well known to his neighbors.)

Having lowered the guy down from the roof (picture it from the perspective of the audience) to Jesus, Jesus says to the guy, “Arise, take up thy bed, and walk.”

And he does! In front of a synagogue full of eyewitnesses, the guy picks up his bed, and walks out through the crowd.

The Gospel of Mark, which related the story, was already in circulation sometime around 45 AD — fifteen years after the fact. (There is little reason to doubt the healed paralytic was still alive and telling his own story, as well).

It is fair to assume that Jesus had at least as many enemies as He had friends. But there are no contemporary records denying that event took place.

Why? Too many eyewitnesses were there to see what really happened.

One cannot mythologize Jesus for several reasons; 1) the incredible detail of the written eyewitness record; 2) the contemporary acceptance of the Gospels as fact; and, 3) when it comes to the life and times of Jesus Christ, no myth is necessary.

The truth is staggering enough.

Assessment:

Those are the reasons why Jesus can’t be mythologized. There is also a reason why few, outside of the cults, have tried. There is no motive. To be saved, one must accept Jesus Christ as He is.

A Christian’s motivation is a sincere belief in heaven and hell and an equally sincere desire to keep his fellow man from ending up in hell.

A mythologized Jesus cannot save anyone.

On the other hand, atheism has no eternal power, demands no eternal accountability, and therefore, has no absolute truth.

Consequently, it is built entirely on a foundation of mythology.

Let’s examine just a few examples of atheist mythology (with acknowledgment to Vox Day’s brilliant book, “The Irrational Atheist.”)

Day takes on the most specious arguments offered by the three best-selling atheist authors of our time, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.

  • Myth: Atheists make up a smaller percentage of prison inmates than their religious counterparts.
  • Fact: Surveys show that those who profess no religion are four times as likely to be incarcerated than Christians.
  • Myth: Cities in Blue States are safer than Red cities.
  • Fact: The safest cities in “Blue” states are in “Red” counties. The most dangerous cities in “Red” States are in “Blue” counties. (It all depends on how you frame the facts)
  • Myth: Richard Dawkins claimed in his book, “The God Delusion” that religions are responsible for the destruction of religious art and literature.
  • Fact: Vox Day counters by pointing out the 41,000 churches destroyed the Soviet atheists, and thousands of Buddhist temples destroyed in Tibet, North Korea, and Vietnam, as they attempted to persecute religious belief out of existence.
  • Myth: Hitler was a Christian.
  • Fact: Hitler was a baptized Catholic who was heavily involved in the occult, Theosophy, Arianism etc. who hated Christians and planned to replace Christianity with Aryanism, an atheistic religion based in racial eugenics.
  • Myth: Atheists are rational, and therefore would never commit atrocities.
  • Fact: Most of the dictators of the 20th century were atheists. The Soviet Union was an officially atheist state.
  • Myth: Morality is a function of democracy in which the majority, rather than God, establish fundamental morality.
  • Fact: Both Hitler and Hamas were elected in free and fair democratic elections. Moral democracy is no guarantee of a ‘moral majority’.

Christopher Hitchens wrote, in his book, “God is not Great” that “what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence,” as his ‘evidence’ that proves God is a myth.

Day identifies fifty-one statements made by Hitchens for which Hitchens offers no evidence. (Therefore, by Hitchens’ own logic, his book can be dismissed much more easily that the Bible.)

My favorite chapter title is Day’s “Occam’s Chainsaw” in which he applies the logical principle of “Occam’s Razor” to the logical contradictions offered by Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris, et al.

In it, Day tackles the various logical problems inherent in the atheist arguments, including those rooted in lack of evidence, hallucination, temporal advantage, fiction, unfairness of hell, God’s character, moral evolution, etc.

Bottom line? It takes far more faith in the face of the contradictions, inconsistencies, historical inaccuracies, and outright mythology of atheism than it does to accept the premise of a loving God who is intimately concerned with the spiritual well-being of His creation.

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2nd Timothy 1:12)

Marantha! (Come, Lord Jesus)

Four Resurrections — One Judgment

Four Resurrections — One Judgment
Vol: 116 Issue: 17 Tuesday, May 17, 2011

During the thousand year Millennial Reign, the earth will be populated by ordinary, living, breathing humans, some of whom survived the Tribulation Period, together with those who will be born (in the usual manner) during the Kingdom Period.

The human lifespan will return to what it was in the days of Adam, but they will be mortal humans in the sense that, even with Satan bound, men will still die, and sin will still exist;

“There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.”

Further proving that the inhabitants of the Kingdom Period are ordinary humans; they will need food, and shelter, and to get it, they will have to work for a living, even as they enjoy an extended lifespan:

“And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.” (Isaiah 65:21-22)

Coinhabiting the earth with mortal humans, Scripture tells us, are the immortal resurrected dead.

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” (Revelation 20:4-5)

Notice two key points John makes in this passage.

First, those being addressed are undeniably those who came out of the Tribulation. And second, John says that, AFTER the Tribulation, (in which they were beheaded) they both live AND reign with Christ for the full thousand years.

This passage is often used as a proof text to argue in favor of a post-Tribulation Rapture. After all, they are clearly those who endured the Tribulation. And if it is the ‘first’ resurrection, then it must take place concurrent with the Rapture.

That seems to make sense, until you look at the passage again. Those referenced there are ONLY those who came out of the Great Tribulation.

Church Age believers and the Old Testament saints are not mentioned, since they have already received their resurrection bodies. (Matthew 19:28, Daniel 12, Job 19:25)

“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)

Revelation 20:4-6 mentions a “first resurrection” and identifies those involved as “blessed and holy.” The second death (the lake of fire, Revelation 20:14) has no power over these individuals.

But how does one have two ‘first’ resurrections; the first at a pre-Trib Rapture, and the second at the end of the Tribulation Period?

Actually, the Bible identifies the ‘first resurrection’ as occurring in four stages, not two.

The first resurrection, in general, is the raising of all believers from all ages.

It corresponds with Jesus’ teaching of the “resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14) and the “resurrection of life” (John 5:29).

And it clearly takes place in various stages; the first was Jesus Christ Himself two thousand years ago.

He was the ‘Firstfruits’ (1 Corinthians 15:20) Who prepared the way of salvation for those who Trust Him during the Church Age.

The second stage involved the resurrection of the saints of Jerusalem;

“And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” (Matthew 27:52-53).

Stage three is the resurrection of the “dead in Christ” followed by the Rapture of “we which are alive and remain” at the Lord’s return for His Church at the conclusion of the Church Age. (1st Thessalonians 4:17)

And finally, the resurrection of the martyrs at the conclusion of the final seven years of the Age of the Law. (Revelation 20:4, Daniel 9:24)

All these groups are part of the ‘first resurrection’ upon whom the ‘second death’ (in the lake of fire) will have ‘no power’.

There is no inconsistency between resurrection of the saints at the conclusion of the Church Age, followed by a separate resurrection of the martyrs at the conclusion of the Tribulation, anymore than there is an inconsistency between the Resurrection of Christ followed by the separate resurrection of the O. T. saints in Jerusalem.

From the Resurrection of Jesus to the resurrection of the Tribulation martyrs and O.T. saints (Daniel 12:13); it is all part of the general ‘first’ resurrection of the dead in four stages, each of which is clearly separated according to Scripture to a specific purpose in the overall Plan of God.

The second resurrection, then, is the raising of all unbelievers; the second resurrection is connected to the second death. It corresponds with Jesus’ teaching of the “resurrection of damnation” (John 5:29).

The event which divides the first and second resurrections is the millennial kingdom.

The last of the righteous are raised to reign “with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4), but the “rest of the dead [that is, the wicked] lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” (Revelation 20:5).

As part of understanding Scripture’s outline of the overall Plan of God, consider the various epochs of human history from the perspective of the angels who did NOT join the rebellion, and who, by nature, have no understanding of what sin really is or how it really works.

“Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; WHICH THINGS THE ANGELS DESIRE TO LOOK INTO.” (1st Peter 1:12)

We are a mystery to the angels. The Bible says they are charged with ministering to us, but that one day, they will be judged BY us. (1st Corinthians 6:3)

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1)

Isaiah 14 introduces us to the first outbreak of sin in the universe.

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

For his sin of arrogance, God pronounced judgement on Lucifer, the most honored of His angels, and those rebellious angels who followed him;

“Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:12-15)

The existence of humanity is often described by theologians as the ‘trial of Satan’.

The courtroom is Planet Earth, with Jesus as the Righteous Judge, the angels as witnesses, and with sinful mankind serving as evidence. It is more than just the trial of Satan. Sin itself is on trial.

Lucifer, called in Scripture, “the anointed cherub that covereth” was highly favored of God; “and I have set thee so” (Ezekiel 28:14) Isaiah 14:14 defines that first sin as, “I will” — the sin of pride.

The trial is to prove what ‘one little sin’ can do — the classic ‘slippery slope’ scenario.

The trial opens with Exhibit 1 — Adam and Eve. They are placed in a perfect environment and given only one command — to avoid the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. They fail — and man inherits a sin nature.

Exhibit 2 –Man is allowed free reign until the Flood — the so-called “Age of Conscience”. Without Divine interaction or instruction, society becomes so sinful and corrupt that God saves Noah and his family alive and destroys the rest in the Flood. 

Exhibit 3 – During the Age of the Patriarchs, God spoke directly to chosen individuals; Abraham, Noah, Lot, etc. Each, even having spoken directly with God, commit some heinous sin.

Having gone from one commandment (the Age of Innocence) to no commandments at all (the Age of Conscience) to direct confrontation,(the Age of the Patriarchs) God progresses to giving mankind the Ten Commandments (the Age of the Law).

Not one person ever kept all ten of them throughout his lifetime, no matter what the circumstances. (David, for example, broke all ten of them.)

Exhibit 4 — The Age of the Law, during which time the Commandments of God became so corrupted and perverted that it became necessary to scrap the whole system and replace it with the Age of Grace.

To accomplish that God Himself stepped out of space and time, took on the form of sinful man, kept the Law on our behalf, and paid the price for our sin. (Death)

In so doing, He made a way for all mankind to be saved by faith through grace.

But most of mankind rejects even the free offer of grace, preferring a life of unregenerate sin.

That constitutes Exhibit 5 — and it must make the angelic witnesses gasp in disbelief.

From the perspective of the angelic witness, then, ‘one little sin’ has thus far brought mankind to the point it is today. So far, God has given sin every opportunity to prove itself worthy of its wages.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23)

Exhibit 6 — The Age of Grace concludes at the Rapture. The Rapture removes the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit, giving Satan (and sin) free reign for seven years. And the end result is the near-destruction of all human life.

Jesus then returns at the 2nd Coming, binds Satan for a thousand years, and reigns Personally from Jerusalem.

Mortal humanity has no excuse, He is right there, in Person, for all to see.

Satan’s influence is restrained, lifespans are extended, there are no more wars, famine or poverty, and humankind is returned to the Eden-like state from which it began.

With God Himself on the Throne of human government, ruling with a rod of iron for a thousand years, Satan is loosed for ‘a little season’.

“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.”

The mortal humans who have lived in a state of God-given idyllic bliss for a thousand years, under the influence of Satan, raise an army to bring against the King of Kings and Lord of Lords Himself. Exhibit 7.

Sin is judged according to its works.

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.”

This is the SECOND resurrection. Unlike the first resurrection, it has only one phase.

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:10-12,14)

In the overall Plan of God, as outlined in Scripture, everything has a purpose. There are no omissions, no errors, and no inconsistencies.

From Genesis to Revelation, a central theme of Scripture is that sin is the cause of death, and will ultimately be eradicated from existence, together with all those who “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:12)

Praise the Lord for that OTHER central theme of Scripture.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

The Big Picture 2011

The Big Picture 2011
Vol: 116 Issue: 16 Monday, May 16, 2011

According to the Book of the Revelation, the system of antichrist consists primarily of three separate components. The political Beast’s system will link economic and political activity to the religious system, overseen by the religious Beast, known to Scripture as the False Prophet.

The object of worship will be the “Dragon” – the spiritual component of the antichrist’s system.  

“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”  (Revelation 13:4)

The Beast that we call the “antichrist” is but one element within a system, but for clarity’s sake, we call the political beast “the antichrist,” and the religious beast “the False Prophet.”  

“And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” (Revelation 13:2)

The dragon that gives “the Beast” his power, his seat and great authority is Satan.  All three collectively are “the Beast” or “the antichrist” because they are the system.

So the system of antichrist must rest on three ‘pillars’ – a global government, global economy and a global religious system.   Before going further, we need also define ‘global’. 

Clearly, not all the world’s people are subordinate to the antichrist’s system.  The Bible divides the world into four spheres of influence in the last days that correspond to the compass points.  

The antichrist’s government is the most powerful and sets the standard for all the rest, but it is not truly global, which is why it is marked by so much conflict.  Over the course of his reign he is challenged by the kings of the East and South and by Gog-Magog.

Before any of this can unfold, however, there must first be a system already in place. While there is a global government system, there is no genuine centralized global government.

The United Nations has proven itself under pressure to be a paper tiger. The idea is sound, the resources are there, as is the infrastructure, but there’s no leadership.  It has limited authority and even more limited power. 

The global religion is continuing to develop. It is unclear what its final form will be, other than to say with confidence it won’t welcome fundamentalism of any stripe. The Bible says it will have two horns like a Lamb (symbolic of Christianity) but will speak like a dragon (Satan). – (Rev 13:11)

I’m admittedly speculating, but I suspect that it will incorporate the prevailing worldview that Christianity, Judaism and Islam are all equally valid paths to salvation, but no more or less valid than earth worship, or pantheism.

Pantheism is the ideal replacement for the extremist fundamentalism within each system (except pantheism) that demands exclusivity. 

The basic doctrine of Judaism is summed up in one sentence from Deuteronomy: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.”

The basic doctrine of Christianity is summed up in one sentence from the Book of Acts:

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:12)

The basic doctrine of Islam is summed up in the Islamic statement of faith: “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.”

Pantheism is a pagan heresy that postulates that God is in all things and therefore, all things are God.  To a pantheist, God is in a tree so a tree can be a god.  

So could anything (or anyone) else.

Assessment:

Politically, the global government as it exists in its current form is clearly inadequate to the tasks at hand. The UN has proved itself utterly ineffective in preventing rogue states from attaining weapons of mass destruction and the systems to deliver them.

Half the countries in the world are at war with al-Qaeda, whereas the other half of the world seems to be supporting and financing them. Both sides are using the UN to push competing agendas.

The Arab-Israeli conflict rages on, thanks in no small part to the UN’s decision to take sides against Israel. Israel is a member state of the United Nations. The UN was created to settle disputes between nations.

It is expressly forbidden by its charter from interfering in the domestic affairs of member states without invitation.

“Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter. . .  (UN Charter, Article 2, para 7)

Israel’s war is with an ethnic minority within its own borders.  There is not, nor has there ever been an Arab nation of Palestine or an Arab peoples known as “Palestinians.”  

On that basis, the UN has no jurisdiction over the Israeli-Arab conflict — it is an internal Israeli domestic matter.

Lack of jurisdiction notwithstanding, the UN passed resolutions aimed at ordering Israel to surrender part of its territory to the rebelling domestic minority. It is largely on the strength of those resolutions that the Arabs are able to justify their war in the first place.

The UN’s core position as it relates to the Arab-Israeli peace process is nothing less than a redefinition of Hitler’s doctrine of Judenrein, meaning, “Jew-free” — since the UN supports the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israeli land now claimed by the Arabs as a condition of peace.

The great religious systems of this generation are undergoing a similar redefinition. 

Islamic fundamentalism has been effectively transformed into something called “militant religious fundamentalism” so that Islam can be exonerated as a “religion of peace that was hijacked by a few fundamentalists.” 

Following that line of thinking, if fundamentalists can take a ‘great religion of peace’ like Islam and use it to kill tens of thousands of innocents, just imagine how fundamentalism can transform other, older and even more warlike religions like Christianity and Judaism.

Most of the great religious wars of history were fought long before Islam was invented by an itinerant trader named Mohammed in the sixth century after Christ.

Ergo, the threat is not from Islam, but rather from religious fundamentalism of all kinds.  Christian fundamentalists, if you follow the news, beat their children to within an inch of their lives, blow up abortion clinics, murder abortionists and are just generally not very nice people.

Christians are the preferred targets of terrorist groups world-wide, but targeting Christians based on their religion isn’t seen as persecution so much as it is seen as an expression of legitimate grievances against Western culture.

The third pillar of the antichrist’s government is his absolute control of the global economy. According to Revelation 13:16-17, his control is so complete that no man will be able to ‘buy or sell’ unless they are part of his tripartite religious/political/economic system.

Before a new economic system can be introduced, the old economic order needs to be destroyed.  That process is well underway as we speak. Consequently, arguing for a strong global economic central banking scheme simply makes good economic sense.

Now, just look at the situation as it exists today — halfway through the month of May, 2011.

The global economy is on the ropes as the world’s largest economies search for new global currency to replace the rapidly collapsing economy.  The UN called for the replacement of the dollar almost two years ago.

The IMF added its voice last year arguing in favor of Special Drawing Rights (or SDRs) to central banks’ dependence on U.S. Treasuries. The IMF plan would dictate that certain assets, such as oil and gold, which are traded in U.S. dollars, be priced using SDRs.

The elimination of cash and its replacement with verifiable, traceable electronic transactions would go a long way toward ending the black market in arms and material with terror groups like al-Qaeda and would grind the international drug trade to a halt.

The technology is there, but the political will is not.  The unfolding global economic collapse — coupled with the ongoing wars against terror and the drug cartel — is slowly building the political will necessary. What is missing is a leader who can exploit it.

There is already a growing recognition of the dangers posed to global security by religious fundamentalism, but the UN recognizes that people need religion.  While religion cannot effectively be abolished, it can be modified.

A global religion under a strong single religious authority sounded like science fiction a few years ago. Under current world circumstances, it sounds like the only viable option.

Now let’s return to Revelation Chapter 13 again for a moment.  What are the odds?

In a single chapter, John outlined conditions precisely as they would exist 20 centuries in the future — and on a global basis — from a cave on the Greek island of Patmos.

The Bible shows them coming together simultaneously, a global government, a global economy and a global religion, in the same generation as a revived Roman Empire and the reestablishment of an existing Jewish state called ‘Israel’ — during a period of unprecedented global upheaval.

Again, I ask you. What are the odds?

In all the generations of all the governments of the entire world for two thousand years, nothing even approaching this scenario has ever presented itself.

  • There hasn’t been a united Europe since the days of the Roman Empire. (Until this generation when the 1948 Benelux Treaty set the unification of Europe in motion.)
  • There hasn’t been a Jewish state called Israel since 702 BC when the Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered and destroyed by Sargon II. (Until this generation when the 1948 Declaration of Independence reestablished the Land of Israel as a Jewish State.)
  • A global government system has never existed. (Until this generation when the UN Declaration of Human Rights was signed at the United Nations in 1948.
  •  A truly global economy was never possible before this generation. (Until the General Agreement on Tarifs and Trade was signed in 1948, setting forth the rules for international trade.)  
  • Centralized control of both was not technically possible. (Until the introduction of the transistor in 1948 by Bell Labs.)

The world looks like it is about to have a nervous breakdown, but for the Christian, it should serve as a major affirmation of our faith.

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19).

Bible Prophecy wasn’t given the Church just so we could dazzle our friends with scary predictions and things that make you go ‘hmmm.’

It was given us as a “light that shineth in a dark place” to illuminate the gloom and doom and reveal to us what is hidden to the world.  

Bible prophecy for the last days has a starting point.  And, it has a discernible ending point.

It begins with the generation that will see ‘all these things begin to come to pass’ (Luke 21:28), and ends with the close of the seven year Tribulation Period and the 2nd Coming of Christ.

We have seen the beginning — and the exquisite attention paid to detail thus far. It tells us that the Plan is in action, and that it will continue to unfold precisely as prophesied.

It tells us God remains on the Throne, His Promises remain valid. It gives us hope in a dying, sin-sick world.

We hear the question, “What is this world coming to?” and we know the answer.  We know what this world is coming to because of Who is coming.   We don’t know when, but we know it will be very soon.

Perhaps even sooner than we think.

”Yo, Ho, Ho, And a Bottle of Rum . . .”

”Yo, Ho, Ho, And a Bottle of Rum . . .”
Vol: 116 Issue: 14 Saturday, May 14, 2011

Senator Pat Leahy [D Vt] introduced legislation this week that would dramatically increase the government’s control over the internet.  The legislation would grant Washington power over the internet now enjoyed only in places like Beijing.

The proposed legislation has a noble-enough sounding goal; interdicting internet piracy.  But the bill’s main sponsor is Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont. 

Senator Leahy is to individual liberty what Senator Joe McCarthy was to communism, so any bill with his name attached rightly demands a closer look.

Senator Leahy is uncomfortable with existing legislation that merely allows the RIIA to seek civil penalties against illegal downloaders.  

In February 2007, the RIAA began sending letters accusing internet users of sharing files and directing them to a website where they can make “discount” settlements — payable by credit card.

In 2008, the RIAA sued 19-year-old Ciara Sauro for illegally downloading eleven songs.  The RIAA won a settlement against Sauro approached $8,000.00.

Sauro is disabled with pancreatitis requiring weekly islet cell transplants who is hospitalized weekly. Her mother works full-time for $8.25 per hour.

“You want to know the truth? I make $8.25 an hour. She can’t work. This child is very sick. I mean, what am I supposed to do?” Lisa Sauro said.

The RIIA typically assesses each illegally downloaded song in a range between $750 and $3000 per song!  According to the RIIA, that is what they lose per song, per person.  How do they arrive at that figure?

They make it up.

The same song can be legally downloaded for less than a buck at iTunes.  The RIIA’s provable damages amount to roughly 70 cents per song.

According to Senator Leahy, the threat of having one’s life ruined for digitally stealing about seven dollars worth of music is too weak.  According to Senator Leahy;

“Both law enforcement and rights holders are currently limited in the remedies available to combat websites dedicated to offering infringing content and products.”

I am not making a case that music piracy should be ignored or that it is anything less than theft. But the RIIA is already well-equipped with legislative tools useful for extracting thousands of times its actual damages. 

When one compares music piracy with the Somali pirates now holding a fleet of captured merchant ships with crews numbering in the hundreds languishing as prisoners for ransom, one wonders why any US Senator would be preoccupied with piracy of any other kind.

Although Leahy and friends evidently don’t think anti-piracy on the high seas laws need beefing up, the Protect IP Act as proposed would authorize the courts to order American ISP’s to stop rendering the DNS for a particular website, effectively blocking it from being accessed within the United States.

The legislation would empower the US to use the same technology China uses to prevent its citizens from accessing external websites that Beijing doesn’t want them visiting.  

The unions representing the recording industry were thrilled with the legislative proposal.  The RIIA, the American Federal of Musicians, the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists and the Director’s Guild of America issued a joint statement of approval:

“As the guilds and unions that represent 400,000 creators, performers and craftspeople who create the multitude of diverse films, television programs and sound recordings that are enjoyed by billions of people around the world, we unequivocally support this bill which, by providing protection for our members’ work, clearly shows that our government will not condone or permit the wholesale looting of the American economy and American creativity and ingenuity — regardless of how that looting is disguised on the internet to fool the American consumer.”

(You certainly wouldn’t want to be fooled into not paying too much, would you?)

The Department of Homeland Security has already seized 120 websites under a program called “Operation in Our Sites.”

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act already grants rights holders the ability to demand search engines to stop displaying search results linking to infringing sites.   That authority is expanded to include websites that ‘facilitate’ illegal file-sharing.

Digital piracy costs the various guilds and unions somewhere around seventy cents for every song illegally downloaded.  That amounts to a lot of money they are not being paid, which they argue is equal to money lost.

But it is as lame as arguing that every time somebody remails the Omega Letter to a friend, that means we somehow lose money. That assumes that if it hadn’t been remailed for free, they would immediately rush to become a subscriber.   

It doesn’t work that way. (sigh) Because somebody downloads something for free doesn’t mean they would otherwise buy it.

There’s something else afoot.

Assessment:

“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12

While Senator Leahy obsesses about internet pirates like Ciara Sauro, Somali pirates currently are holding twenty-three vessels and more than five hundred hostages.  Somali piracy is costing the world’s shipping lines and navies more than $8.3 billion per year.

We touched on the three-part Hegelian Dialectic briefly in yesterday’s OL. The Protect IP Act is an object lesson in its practical application.  Here we we can see it not just as theory, but in actual operation.

Thesis:  The government is seeking the authority to control what information its citizens are able to receive from outside the country.

Antithesis: Highlight the costs of digital piracy to the economy and risks posed to national security by the limitations imposed on law enforcement due to the unlimited boundaries in cyberspace.

Synthesis: As a proposed solution to the twin threats posed by digital piracy to the economy and national security, offer new legislation extending the government’s control over what information its citizens are able to receive from outside the country.

And there you have it!  The provisions of the Protect IP Act would permit the government to block access to YouTube, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and potentially any other service where a URL linking to an illegal file might get posted.

By way of an extreme example, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, somebody could post a link to an illegal song download site in one of our forums and that could qualify the Omega Letter as a website facilitating illegal file sharing.

It wasn’t very long ago that I had a discussion with a friend about this very possibility.  We both laughed at the idea, scoffing that all anybody has to do is move their operations to a server physically located outside the country.

The Bible says – twice — that “there is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12, Proverbs 16:25

It seems logical to assume that when the Lord repeats Himself verbatim and so close together that He does so because He really wants us to “get” it.  

There is a Law of Unintended Consequences, but the consequences of the IP Protection Act are so predictable that only the willfully blind could fail to see them.  

According to Bible prophecy, when the antichrist arrives on the scene, he will do so in part because of his total command of the digital world.  Revelation 13:16-18 was a technical and practical impossibility when the Apostle John penned it in the first century.

It remained technically impossible until 1948 when Bell Labs developed the transistor chip that gave birth to the Computer Age and the global economy. 

Even after the internet came into being in 1990, it was a technical impossibility to control the boundary-less reaches of cyberspace.  Even after it became technically possible, it remained impossible in practical terms.  

It is now both technically possible and legally practical.  The antichrist’s reign is short – only seven years.  That isn’t enough time to build the infrastructure necessary for him to accomplish all that Revelation sets before him.

That means that the necessary infrastructure must already be in place and operational when he arrives on the scene. It is being developed and tweaked before our very eyes.

We are eyewitnesses to events every generation in history has longed to see — the return of Christ at the end of this age.

What an awesome time to be alive!

Triskaidekaphobia

Triskaidekaphobia
Vol: 116 Issue: 13 Friday, May 13, 2011

If you are concerned about today’s date – Friday the 13th – then you may be suffering from a mild cast of Triskaidekaphobia – an irrational fear of the number 13. 

If you are afraid to go out of the house today, then you probably qualify as a full-blown triskaidekaphobic.  

The word is a Greek compound word; “tris meaning “three”, kai meaning “and”, deka meaning “ten” and phobia meaning “morbid fear.”

The basis for Triskaidekaphobia is rooted in the superstition that the number thirteen is unlucky.  But the fear is of the number itself – thirteen floors, thirteen chapters, thirteen in an address, and when combined with a Friday, fear of a date. 

In numerology, twelve is considered the number of completeness. There are twelve months in a year, twelve hours on a clockface, twelve Apostles, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve in a dozen, twelve days of Christmas, a calendar day is two twelve-hour periods.

In mathematics, twelve is called a “sublime” number; twelve has a perfect number of divisors and the sum of its divisors is also a perfect number.  

Thirteen is considered unlucky because it is twelve plus one.  At the Last Supper, there were thirteen seated at the table.   Friday is considered unlucky because that was the day the Lord was crucified. 

Combine them, and for triskaideckaphobics, it is scary, indeed. Indeed, the fear of Friday the thirteenth is so common it has its own clinical name; friggatriskaidekaphobia.  

There lots of other phobias; Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is the irrational fear of the number 666, octophobia, the fear of the number 8. 

There are phobias that are so irrational as to sound funny; pogonophobia is the fear of beards; geniophobia the fear of chins, xenoglossophobia is the fear of foreign languages.  

Others don’t really seem to belong in the ‘irrational fear’ category at all. 

For example, ballistophobia, or the “fear of bullets”.  Nothing irrational about thatStygiophobia, or, the “fear of hell”  – that sounds like the most rational fear of all. 

Our culture is even governed by alleged phobias and by the fear of phobias, or at least, the fear of appearing phobic.  (There actually is a clinical name for the fear of phobias — phobophobic.)

For the past two decades, the gay rights agenda has used the word homophobic to marginalize its opponents as both irrational and fearful.  Its effectiveness as a tactic is self-evident. 

The quickest way to cut off all discussion is to label one side ‘homophobic’ because by definition, there is no point in attempting rational debate with an irrational person.  

As a tactic, it was so effective that it was immediately adopted by defenders of Islam and Sharia Law.

To be labeled an “Islamophobe” is to be marginalized as outside of mainstream thinking; a cowering, quaking, ignoramus irrationally fearing that which he does not understand.   

But Islamophobia has a lot more in common with ballistophobia than it does geniophobia.

If you know what I mean.

Assessment:

Phobias are all about fear and fear, interestingly enough, is almost always related to the future. Fear of a situation getting worse, or fear of the continuation of an unacceptable situation, fear of future consequences to present actions, fear of the unknown.

People aren’t afraid of events that have passed.   Fear of present events, such as being a passenger in a doomed aircraft as it is on its way down, relate more to the future collision than the present ride.  During a crisis, one is too busy to be afraid.

George Hegel was a philosopher who developed a dialectic, or developmental process, for governing in the absence of popular support for a particular agenda.  

Traditionally, this dimension of Hegel’s thought has been analyzed in terms of the categories of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.  Here’s how it works in summary:

Thesis: Create or identify a ‘manageable’ crisis. 

Antithesis: Identify the root cause, and stir up panic and fear of the crisis situation.

Synthesis: Offer as a solution to the problem the policy or program a societal shift which would have been impossible to impose upon the people without the proper psychological conditioning achieved in stages one and two.

Fear is what the Hegelian Dialect is designed to harness. Fear is what the current political season is all about. Watch the political commercials — its all about eliciting fear.

Prophetically speaking, the Bible divides the last days into two distinct periods — the period of fear, and the period where those fears are realized.

In the period leading up to the Rapture, the Bible warns of fear — “men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after the things which are coming upon the earth . . .” Jesus says at one point.  

After the Rapture, those fears are realized with the revelation of the antichrist and the unfolding of the Tribulation Period.   

For Christians living in this present time, the Lord tells us to “fear not.”  That seems odd, given the horrors of the Tribulation. 

Yet the Bible says that the Church has found grace in the eyes of the Lord and is deemed righteous in its generations by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.

In distinguishing the period of fear from the time of fears realized, Jesus told His disciples that it would be as it was in the time of Noah and Lot. 

It is an interesting choice of patriarchs.  Note they share a single distinguishing characteristic, apart from which, they have nothing in common.

Lot dwelt in the city of Sodom with his family.  God withheld judgment on the city until after Lot and his family were safely evacuated.

“But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:29)

The Bible says that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” and that “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations and Noah walked with God.”  

God withheld judgment on the earth until Noah and his family were safely aboard the Ark.

How does this relate to the Church?  The Church is justified and therefore judicially perfect in its generations from Christ to the end of the Age of Grace. 

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)

The days of Noah and Lot are the days in which God delivered those to whom He extended His grace and delivered them from judgment.

“Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Luke 17:30)

Fear-mongering is the order of the day. The times ahead will be fearful times at best, but what is fearful for the world should be cause for celebration for the Church. 

The world is looking for the antichrist to deliver them from the fearful things just over the horizon. The Church views the fearful things just over the horizon and sees the Lord coming to deliver them from the world.  

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken. (Proverbs 3:25-26)

It’s a scary world, but we are only in it, not of it. Don’t let being scared scare you into thinking your faith is weak.   Think how terrified you would be if the Holy Spirit wasn’t bearing witness to your spirit — right now where you sit — that you are a child of God?

Sit back, be still for a moment, and reflect how that promise is fulfilled, almost invisibly, in your own walk with the Lord. . . “For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”

Trust in the promise — it will continue to be fulfilled in our lives — sit back and witness the Holy Spirit at work in you.

Let fear drive everybody else.

A Measure of Wheat For a Penny . . .

A Measure of Wheat For a Penny . . .
Vol: 116 Issue: 12 Thursday, May 12, 2011

The federal deficit widened last month, if you can believe it.  The federal government spent $40.49 billion more than it took in for that month!  April marked the thirty-first month of deficit spending in a row.

America’s fiscal year starts in October, which means we are now seven months into the 2011 fiscal year.  With just over half the fiscal year behind us, the US deficit for the last seven months amounts to eight hundred and sixty-nine billion, ninety million dollars!  ($869,000,000,000.00)

Let’s put that into perspective first, before moving on.  A million seconds equals roughly 12 days.  A month is roughly two and a half million seconds.  A billion seconds is thirty-two years.  Stay with me here. 

So (at the rate of a dollar a second), paying back the amount of money we’ve borrowed over the course of the last 17.5 million seconds would take twenty-seven thousand, eight hundred and eight years. 

So if we started right now, we could pay off half of the debt accumulated in the last seven months sometime in the year twenty-nine thousand, eight hundred and eighteen!  

(How old will you be in the year 29,818 AD?)

The federal government will reach its current legal ‘debt ceiling’ in four days – on May 16.  Under the law, the US Treasury is forbidden to borrow beyond that limit without Congressional approval.  

But Congress isn’t going to approve, if the House Majority Whip is to be believed.

“I can tell you as a Whip there’s not one Republican vote for a negative debt limit vote where no cuts are proposed,” McCarthy told reporters at the Republican National Committee (RNC) headquarters on Wednesday.

“We have staked out very early what we see as a change to America. We have listened to the American public. They want jobs. They want government to cut their spending. They don’t want a credit card that just keeps expanding.”

This week, the Treasury auctioned off another $56 billion in new debt, in spite of the fact that auction will push the US over its debt ceiling on Monday, unless the Republicans fold at the eleventh hour and vote to increase it.

By all accounts, exceeding the debt ceiling will force the United States to default on its debt.  Some lawmakers say that this is a good thing because it will FORCE Congressional Democrats to cut spending.

The problem is that defaulting on our debt is unconstitutional.

Assessment:

“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.” – James 5:1-3

White House spokesman Jay Carney accused John Boehner and Congressional Republicans for holding the debt ceiling “hostage” by demanding spending cuts and a moratorium on raising taxes.

“We continue to maintain that the — it is folly to hold hostage the vote to raise the debt ceiling to prevent the United States of America from defaulting on its obligations to any other piece of legislation,” Carney told reporters on Air Force One.

“Maximalist positions do not produce compromise,” said Carney, who described Boehner as restating his “starting position” with his New York speech.

Big words like “Maximalist” sound more ominous than “Constitutionalist” does – which is what is really in play here.  The Fourteenth Amendment, which passed shortly after the Civil War, is often called the Civil Rights Amendment. 

In part, its purpose was to ensure that the statutory citizenship and legal rights granted to the newly freed slaves were not denied by the states, or repealed by a later Congress once the Southern states were fully represented again. 

But only in part.  We never hear about the other part from lawmakers, many of whom probably don’t know it is even in there. 

The Fourteenth Amendment also tackled the massive war debt left over after the Civil War. Vast federal debts had been incurred to fight that war, and Congress also acted to ensure that these obligations could not be disavowed in the future.

So in addition to guaranteeing rights to citizenship, due process of law, and equal protection, the 14th Amendment forbids dishonoring “[t]he validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law.”

What does this mean?  It means that the US is constitutionally forbidden from defaulting on its debt. In particular, it must continue to make payments, interest and principal, on its bonds, effectively requiring Congress to provide sufficient authority for that purpose.

The simple fact is that the Congress cannot renege on existing debt, but under the Constitution, it could bypass the debt ceiling by taking back the power — currently delegated to the Treasury — to borrow money. 

Since the Treasury is overspending about forty cents of every dollar, by taking back the power to borrow money, Congress could effectively cut spending across-the-board by forty percent by simply refusing to authorize it.

But that would trigger individual political responsibility – lawmakers would have to run on their fiscal voting record instead of hiding behind the Treasury Department. 

So it seems likely that the United States government will simply ignore the Constitution, as has become federal policy whenever the Constitution conflicts with political expediency.   

How does this fit with Bible prophecy?  According to the Bible, the antichrist’s government rests on three pillars; control of a global religion, global government and global economy.

The antichrist’s economy is evidently completely digitized – Revelation 13:17 says he will be able to restrict all financial intercourse to those who are part of his economic/religious system. Anyone not part of that system will be unable to buy or sell. 

But in order to reach that goal, the current economic system must first be replaced with a new one. According to Revelation, the antichrist accomplishes that by crashing the existing order.  Revelation Chapter Six provides the outline with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  

The rider on the first horse is the antichrist, symbolized by a rider on a white horse that carries a bow, but no arrows, indicating a peaceful ascension to power.  The antichrist won’t seize power, it will be handed to him. 

Once in power, the first order of business is to plunge the world into war. 

“And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” (Revelation 6:4)

War’s handmaidens throughout history have always been famine, pestilence and death, so it comes as no surprise that the next rider is the one on the black horse holding a pair of balances (weight scales) in his hand.

“And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” This is a perfect word picture to describe the eventual outcome of any deficit-based economy.   

A measure of wheat or three measures of barley symbolize a day’s worth of food.  A ‘penny’ symbolizes a day’s wages.  Oil and wine are symbolic of great wealth.   So the word picture is this – the rich will get richer while the poor get poorer.  

The condition already exists today – the poorest guy in America lives better than someone earning a comfortable living in most nations in central Africa. 

But eventually, the gap between rich and poor will become just as wide among workers within industrialized countries as it is between the industrialized West and that of Third World basket cases like Somalia.

Sadly, it is impossible to imagine that there are enough elected representatives willing to make the hard choices necessary to prevent this scenario from playing out precisely as outlined within the next few years, if not the next few months.

Now, take a look at our situation as it stands.  We can practically hear the approach of the Rider on the Black horse – and he is the THIRD horseman.   That gives us some idea of how close the first and second riders are. 

Bible prophecy was given to this generation, not for use as a parlor trick, but for use as evidence we can produce to prove to a lost and skeptical world that the Bible is true, the time is short, and the opportunities for salvation are limited.

These are but shadows of what the Bible says are to come during the Tribulation Period. We aren’t yet there. None of the expected riders have yet made their appearance, but the way is being cleared for them in preparation for their ride.

“And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. ” (John 14:29)

These aren’t hard times.  These are the end times.  

A Pretext in Context

A Pretext in Context
Vol: 116 Issue: 11 Wednesday, May 11, 2011

 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” – Jesus Christ, Luke:21:28

For nineteen centuries, students of Bible prophecy have been on the lookout for the signs outlined by the Lord in His Olivet Discourse; watchmen on the wall ready to give the warning when they see them coming.  

That is what Jesus instructed us to do.  Each generation is to watch for signs of His coming:

“Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” (Mark 13:33)    

“Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 13:35)

“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:36)

Many of the signs outlined by Christ aren’t all that unique.  Indeed, wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, plagues –all these are part of the human condition — and have been since the Fall.  And every generation has had its share of watchmen; most ended up objects of ridicule for their pains.

William Miller was a serious Baptist preacher who fell victim to the practice of interpreting Bible prophecy to fit current events; he became convinced the Rapture would take place in 1844. 

It didn’t, earning the nickname “The Great Disappointment.” 

His followers, known as Millerites, went on to become the founders of several cults including Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses. But when Miller started out, he was a sincere student of Bible prophecy who gained a national following.

There is little doubt that Miller was a sincere believer that believed he was obeying the Lord’s commandment to watch. Where Miller went wrong was in re-interpreting Matthew 24:36 when he found it inconvenient to his calculations, which convinced him that Christ would return on October 22, 1844. 

I have even less doubt that he would be horrified to know that his historical legacy would be that of becoming the eponymous father of many cults.  

Miller was so focused on the signs of the times that he failed to identify the times of the signs. The very first sign of the times is the one that identifies the times of the signs. 

It is that first sign that makes the rest of them relevant. As we’ve already noted, there is nothing unique about earthquakes, famines and wars. What is unique is the historical context. 

Jesus begins by prophesying the Destruction of Jerusalem and the Diaspora and comes full circle back to Jerusalem:

“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)

That is the historical context of the last generation.  No previous generation could qualify as the times of the signs.  Neither could some future generation.  It must be this one.  Allow me to explain:

Jesus identifies Israel in the parable of the fig tree.

“And He spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:29-32)

The only logical interpretation for the fig tree is that it refers to Israel. The “fig tree” is symbolic of Israel as a nation. To “sit under one’s own vine and one’s own fig tree” became a proverbial expression among the Jews to denote national peace and prosperity.  (Micah 4:4)

The picture of the fig tree coming into bloom is a picture of Israel restored to her land after millennia of Disaspora.  The restoration of Israel is unique in the annals of history. 

No ethnic nation of antiquity has ever reconstituted itself even one generation after its conquest and dispersal, let alone after 19 centuries. It is not an event that can be repeated and still be called unique. 

Israel can only be restored as a nation once to qualify us as the generation of the times of the signs.

Note that the Lord said “the fig tree and all the trees.As the fig tree symbolizes Israel, so do the “rest of the trees” symbolize the nations.  The UN was founded in 1945 with 51 member nations. 

The last British colony to gain independence, ending the Colonial Era, was Burma in 1948.  As the colonial powers began to break up, new nations began to emerge.  Today, the United Nations has 191 member-states, most of which did not exist prior to 1948. 

That’s a lot of new trees ‘shooting forth’.  

“and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)

Jerusalem was taken from the Jews in AD 70 and has been the object of conquest and a prize of war ever since.  Over the centuries Jerusalem has seen many flags overfly her walls, every one of them a symbol of Gentile conquest.   

Until June 1967 — when for the first time since the Romans banishment, Israel recaptured the Old City and the Temple Mount and declared Jerusalem its eternal capital.  Jerusalem was united and under Israeli control. 

The fate of the city and its eventual masters is still a topic of contemporary political debate, but the recapture of Jerusalem from the Gentiles by the Jews is still a one-time event, unique to the annals of history.

These two events are what put everything else in context.  The signs of the times have been with us since Adam and Eve.  But the times of the signs have a definite start date; May 14, 1948 and a definite ending date.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

We didn’t know the start date –May 14, 1948 — until after it happened.  The end date works the same way.

Assessment:

“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)

Read that through again – see it in the context of the signs of the times. For nineteen centuries, it was all parables and proverbs, heads and horns and beasts, earthquakes and famines and wars. 

“A proof text without a context is a pretext” my old professor used to tell me.  One could make anything of it one wanted to, much like William Miller did in 1844.

The Olivet Discourse was an outline of signs ‘spoken in proverbs’ so that every generation that ever lived had reason to believe that they might live to see the “Blessed Hope”.

If the signs of the times were unique to one generation, then all previous generations would know they didn’t qualify and there would be no need to watch.  So every generation thought they could be the one, but only one generation could KNOW that it was the one.

The other generations were watching for the signs of the times.  This generation is watching from the times of the signs.

All previous generations looked forward, but only one could look back to the restoration of the Jews to the Promised Land, the re-establishment of Israel and the Israeli capture of the Old City of Jerusalem in order to find the context in which to view the rest of the Big Picture.  

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 continue.

Now that we are pretty much exactly where the Bible said we would find ourselves, Bible prophecy takes on a new relevance.  What used to sound proverbial and symbolic now speaks so plainly that some Christians believe the Tribulation has already begun.

“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 these things begin to come to pass in context, we can face what remains with confidence.

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 the same thing the Lord promised the Church. 

The Apostle Paul, speaking of the Holy Spirit, wrote to the Thessalonians, saying:

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.”

But the Lord promised the Church (and me) that He would send the Comforter and that He (the Holy Spirit) would abide with me forever.  The Lord identifies the Comforter as the indwelling Holy Spirit:

“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 14:17

The Promise is that the Holy Spirit will abide with me and in me forever.  But Paul says He will be taken out of the way before that Wicked can be revealed.  These are apparently irreconcilable differences.  

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

How can the Holy Spirit be taken out of the way without breaking the Lord’s promise that the Comforter will abide with me forever and that the Lord will not leave me Comfortless? 

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Context is everything.

Lest Any Man Should Boast. . . .

Lest Any Man Should Boast. . . .
Vol: 116 Issue: 10 Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In 1964 the US Supreme Court was hearing a case styled Jacobellis v. Ohio in which the owner of a neighborhood “arts” theatre was convicted of exhibiting pornography after it showed the French film, “The Lovers” (Les Amants) after Ohio had banned the film as obscene.

The Court ruled in favor of the theatre owner, ruling that the Constitution protected all pornography except “hard-core” pornography.  The ruling became famous for its vagueness.  

In his opinion, Justice Potter Stewart explained the difference:

“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

Another word that is sometimes equally difficult to define is the word, “morality.”  

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy attempts to define morality in a general sense this way;

“A code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.”

That definition is as stunningly vague as is Justice Potter’s definition of pornography: “I don’t know what it is, but I know it when I see it.”  

I would be hard-pressed to define my own moral code, other than to say that I know when it is offended.  Let’s take, for example, the killing of Osama bin Laden for a moment.  Was it moral to kill him?

My initial answer is an unqualified “Yes” in the sense that it was just as moral as killing a rabid dog.  A rabid dog is insane, dangerous and so deadly that it can infect and kill even after death.  There is nothing else one can do with a rabid dog.  

Now, let’s take it to the next level; was the bin-Laden raid morally acceptable?   

Is it moral to shoot down an unarmed, helpless old man hiding in his bedroom instead of capturing him and taking him into custody?   

According to the after-action report, only one person, the courier, was found in possession of a weapon.  

Details remain fluid, but the most recent reports deny that there was even a fire-fight.  They killed the courier, then his brother, then bin-Laden’s late-adolescent son, then a female believed to be his doctor, before finally “double-tapping” the terror chief.

Osama bin-Laden was the face of the September 11 attacks.  He was ultimately responsible for the deaths of thousands, probably tens of thousands, over the course of his lifetime.  Had he lived, there is no doubt that thousands more would die at his direction, or in his name.

Was it moral to shoot him down like a dog without making any effort to capture him alive?   The administration is saying today that the SEALS did NOT have a ‘kill” mission, but rather, a “capture OR kill” mission but that is clearly a lie.

The administration’s latest story has one glaring fault – there was no contingency plan for what to do with a live Osama bin Laden.  None was presented or offered after the fact — because none was ever drawn up.

So, was killing an unarmed Osama as he cowered behind a woman a moral act?  What about the killing of four unarmed accomplices?  What about lying about the circumstances surrounding the killing?    

Was it moral?

Assessment:

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. . . .” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Suppose you were a SWAT Team member who had a bead on a hostage-taker with a gun to somebody’s head and you get the “green light” order to “take him out.” 

Euphemisms aside, you’ve been ordered to kill somebody without mercy.  Is it moral?

Of course it is moral.  You have a moral obligation to protect the innocent. You take the shot to prevent the loss of innocent life.  Not to punish the guilty, but to limit further loss of life.   But Osama bin Laden didn’t have a gun to anybody’s head, you might reply.

True enough.  But in this case, Osama WAS the gun.  As long as he was viable, he was a weapon capable of causing further loss of life.  Had he been captured and imprisoned, he would have become an even more deadly weapon.    

Dead, he is a “martyr” to his cause — but nobody will be mounting any missions aimed at rescuing him or planning kidnapping operations aimed at forcing a prisoner swap.  

But if it is moral to shoot down  without mercy an unarmed old man hiding in his bedroom in order to prevent his capture from inspiring a new terror offensive, then what was immoral about water-boarding captured terrorists to achieve the same objectives?

Viewed as “a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons” the specified conditions are as follows:

Waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) prevented several other major attacks against civilian targets on a similar scale to 9/11.  

By not waterboarding KSM, the “Second Wave” which included a plan to crash a hijacked aircraft into the Century City office building once used by Ronald Reagan in Los Angeles, could have claimed uncounted thousands more Americans.

Which is the rational course of action?  Is it rational to kill an unarmed man to prevent him from planning further attacks, but not to make him uncomfortable in order to prevent attacks already in the works?

Here is the crazy place we find ourselves today.  Or at least, here is where I find myself.  I find myself defending – as moral – the shooting to death of an unarmed old man cowering in his bedroom. 

I also find myself defending – as moral – the use of a form of torture (albeit one with no lasting effects) in order to extract information from helpless prisoners being held incommunicado in secret detention facilities outside the country.

As a Christian, I cannot find any moral conflict with the killing of Osama bin Laden as he cowered in his bedroom.  I cannot find any moral conflict with waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in order to prevent future terror attacks.

And suddenly, the whole “Perilous Times” scenario comes rushing to the forefront of my mind.  I almost find myself shouting “Aha!” 

Paul isn’t just describing Obama and his friends in the last days.  He really isn’t simply outlining the Left’s political agenda for the last days. He is describing us all.

“Lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:9)

Shalu shalom Yerushalayim

Shalu shalom Yerushalayim
Vol: 116 Issue: 9 Monday, May 9, 2011

The Prophet Ezekiel was given a vision and a prophecy sometimes called “70 Sabbaths Without Rest.”  The prophecy was in two parts. In the first, the Prophet is told to lie on his right side for 390 days. In the second, he was to lay on his left side for 40 days.  

The period of 390 days was assessed against the House of Israel.  The forty days was assessed against the House of Judah.  In total, for 430 years God’s people refused to keep the sabbaticals and the Jubilees holy to God.

As recorded in Leviticus 26:27-35, God promised the children of Israel that if they did not keep the Sabbaticals and Jubilees, that He would.  Not only that, but He promised that if they refused to hearken to Him, they would increase their punishment seven times.

So when they didn’t, He did. The children of Israel were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar for 70 years, leaving an unpaid balance of 390 years.   

Three-hundred and ninety years times seven equals 2520.

Sir Robert Anderson, in his classic work The Coming Prince, noted that the Bible uses 360-day years in both Genesis and Revelation.

In attempt­ing to rec­on­cile the 2520 of 360-day years to our Roman cal­en­dar, one is faced with the dis­crep­an­cies between the side­real year and the solar year.

In 1572, it was rec­og­nized that errors had accu­mu­lated until the calendar had 11 days too many, and adjust­ments were required. In the Gre­go­rian Reform, Sep­tem­ber 4th was declared Sep­tem­ber 14th, and the for­mula for leap years was changed to exclude cen­turies unless divis­i­ble by four (and mil­len­nia by 400).

According to the prophet Daniel, the Tribulation Period is divided into two periods of 1260 days each. The Apostle John said the Tribulation would last seven years, or 2520 days.  

Ezekiel Chapter 40:1 records the Prophet measuring the Temple Area.  He records the date as the 25th year of exile, in the fourteenth year after the fall of Jerusalem, corresponding to the tenth day of Nisan, 573 BC.

Two thousand five hundred and twenty years after Ezekiel’s recording of the Temple measurements brings us to the tenth of Sivan – May 14th of the Gregorian year 1948.

And it was on May 14, 1948 that David Ben Gurion first declared the existence of “a Jewish State in the Land of Palestine, to be known as Israel.”

In Ezekiel’s day, there was no place called ‘Israel’, had not BEEN a place called ‘Israel’ for 150 years, would not be another place called ‘Israel’ for 2,520 years, and besides, Ezekiel was a Jew from Judah.

But Ezekiel’s prophetic writings are filled with references to a future place called ‘Israel’, one that he describes as “the people that are gathered out of the nations” (38:12) and then further describes as “my people of Israel” (38:18)

Ezekiel wrote of Israel’s regathering in the last days. In Ezekiel 37, the prophet is shown a valley of dry bones. Those dry bones, the Lord explains, are the “whole house of Israel”(37:11) that the Lord says would be restored in the last days.

In Ezekiel’s vision the dry bones reassemble as an exceedingly great army.  It took 2,520 years to redeem the children of Israel from the nations and restore them to their own land.  

And according to Daniel, Jeremiah and John, the 2,520 days known as “the time of Jacob’s Trouble” is set aside to finish their spiritual redemption as a nation.  

Assessment:

Because Israel still uses the 360 day calendar, Israel’s Independence Day is like Passover – every year it falls on a different day.  This year, Israeli Independence Day is tomorrow, May 10th

Today is Israel’s Memorial Day. In his Memorial Day address, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the families of the twenty-two thousand, eight hundred and sixty-seven victims of wars and Palestinian terror attacks since the Jews first left the safety of Jerusalem to settle the Land.

“22,867 of our sons and daughters have fallen. We feel this in the families that were never created, in the children that were never born. I am a part of you. I know what the pain is like. I feel the scar that will never heal. I know the stages. First comes the shock. Then the denial. And then the horrible realization that our loved ones will not return. That they will only live on in our hearts and dreams.. . .I know that even when the whole country stands behind you, you want to walk alone with your pain.”

The Palestinians also have a holiday to commemorate Israel’s rebirth which they celebrate on May 15th.   It is called “Nabka Day” – the day of “the Catastrophe”.

Given the state of war that exists between the West and the forces of radical Islam, Israel should be viewed as our last outpost, the one shining example of freedom surrounded by a sea of repressive Islamic dictatorships.

Instead, the mainstream media and apparently, the White House, prefer the Palestinian narrative of catastrophe over the Biblical theme of redemption.

Consequently, Israel’s mere existence is now viewed by the majority of the world’s peoples as a “catastrophe.” Historical anomaly? Or fulfillment of prophecy?

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)

In this case, we’ve chosen the tactic of “the enemy of my enemy is my greater enemy.” Our goal appears to be one of avoiding angering those who already want to kill us at the expense of abandoning those that would defend us to their deaths.

It seems counter-intuitive because no matter how one looks at it, it defies both political and military strategic logic.  Not to mention common sense. 

Yet it is EXACTLY the situation predicted by the prophets thousands of years in advance.

Thankfully the prophets ALSO predicted that, as long as the sun shines in the morning and the moon shines at night, Israel’s survival is assured.

“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is His Name: If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.” (Jeremiah 31:35-36)

So as Israel prepares to celebrate 63 years of independence, Shalu shalom Yerushalayim. (Pray for the peace of Jerusalem).

They can huff and they can puff, but Israel isn’t going anywhere.