Thursday, December 29, 2005

STRATEGIC TRENDS:2005 YEAR IN REVIEW

STRATEGIC TRENDS: YEAR IN REVIEW - www.khouse.org

Our ministry goal is to create, develop, and distribute materials to stimulate, encourage, and facilitate serious study of the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. Each week the eNews staff examines current events from a Biblical point-of-view. We sincerely hope our efforts have helped you gain a better understanding of the times in which we live. We also hope we have been able to demonstrate how the Bible is as relevant and accurate today as it was two thousand years ago when Jesus Christ walked on the shores of Galilee.

Our staff regularly monitors ten specific global, social, political, and economic trends that we feel are significant to the Body of Christ. We follow these Strategic Trends throughout the year on our website and in our various publications. Today we would like to review each of these trends and take a look back over some of this year's major milestones.

Weapons Proliferation

The acquisition of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons by both terrorists and rogue nations is perhaps one of the greatest threats to our national security. US intelligence officials have focused their attention on Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, and North Korea in their attempts to stifle weapons proliferation. They have also kept a close watch on Russia and China, key suppliers of technology, components, and weaponry.

During the last twelve months Iran's nuclear program has become the focus of international attention. The EU has attempted to reopen dialogue in recent weeks, but there is little hope of reaching an agreement. Iran has vigorously pursued weapons of mass destruction - nuclear, chemical, and biological - and their delivery systems as well as advanced conventional weapons. To this end, Iran has sought foreign materials, training, equipment, and know-how from nations such as Russia, China, and Pakistan.

Missile tests conducted earlier this year by Iran may be part of the development of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) warhead. Iran has practiced detonating its Shahab-3 missiles while in mid-air, which has lead some intelligence officials to suspect that Iran is practicing the execution of an EMP attack. An electromagnetic pulse, triggered by a high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon, poses a considerable threat to our national security and is one of a small number of weapons that could be used to bring the whole of America to its knees. An EMP attack would strike what has become our Achilles heel – our relatively unprotected, yet vital, technological infrastructure.

The Struggle for Jerusalem

Yasser Arafat’s death has plunged the Palestinian leadership into a massive power struggle, with various groups and factions battling for control. Despite Mahmoud Abbas' clear victory in January's elections, organizations like Hamas still pose a serious threat to his leadership. Abbas has refused to confront armed groups for fear of civil war. Instead, he has attempted to woo militia members with the promise of jobs and political participation. His strategy, however, has not been effective. The Palestinian Authority is spiraling into chaos. Palestinian Security forces in the West Bank and Gaza are weak, ill-equipped, and divided. Their ability to maintain law and order suffers from shortages of equipment and ammunition, widespread corruption, financial mismanagement, and various other stumbling blocks to the its effectiveness. Meanwhile, terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' are better trained and better equipped.

The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza represents a major milestone in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In August Israel evacuated all 21 Gaza settlements along with four of 120 settlements in the West Bank - a total of about 9000 settlers were forced to abandon their homes. Some believe that the Gaza withdrawal was necessary for Israel's security - although Israel will continue to control the borders, coastline and airspace of Gaza, it will no longer need to commit substantial military personnel and resources to the protection of settlers within Gaza. Yet in many respects, the Israeli evacuation of Gaza represents a victory for terrorism. In the minds of the Palestinian people, the Israeli withdrawal is proof that terrorism works.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's controversial plan to pull out of Gaza has caused division within the nation of Israel - even prompting talk of civil war. Sharon made headlines recently when he resigned his position in the Likud - the right-wing political party he founded in 1973. Sharon and his supporters left the Likud to establish a new political party that will be committed to reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians consistent with the US-backed Road Map Peace Plan. Sharon has named the new party Kadima, a Hebrew word which means "forward" in English.

America's Challenge

The blood shed on September 11, 2001 became the catalyst in the war on terrorism. That tragic event briefly united Americans in a common cause, however that unity has splintered. National tragedy may have amalgamated the masses, but growing differences in values and philosophy have driven a wedge down the middle of American society. Americans are fighting a battle both in foreign lands and here at home. In the war against terrorism our enemy is easily defined, however the domestic battle lines are more muddled. It would seem that, as a nation, we have begun to abandon the faith and values of our founding fathers.

Controversial topics like same-sex marriage, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and intelligent design have continued to divide the populace. Unlike the war on terror, however, this confrontation has primarily taken place in courtrooms rather than on battlefields. In many cases, such as the court battle over removing the words "under God" from the pledge, victory seems to hinge on the interpretation of our constitution and the defininition of the Establishment Clause, from which the concept of separation of church and state is derived.

Perhaps one of the events history will remember most about 2005, is the dramatic changes that have taken place in the Supreme Court. In July, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor stirred up Washington by announcing her resignation from the Supreme Court. Her resignation was followed a few months later by the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Rehnquist has since been replaced by John Roberts. Samuel Alito has been nominated to take the place of the Sandra Day O'Connor.

Rise of the European Superstate

Over the last few years we have watched closely as the European Union has emerged as a growing world power. Bulgaria and Romania are set to join the EU in January of 2007 and both Croatia and Turkey have begun negotiations for membership.

The consideration of Turkey as a possible member of the EU has put the spotlight on Europe's growing Islamic population. Islam is quickly becoming a significant part of the cultural and political landscape of Europe. There are between 9 and 15 million Muslims living throughout Europe today, and Islam has become the largest religious minority. Considering current population trends and the need for immigrant labor, it is likely that the number of Muslims in Europe will continue to grow exponentially.

The Muslim population in Europe has expanded so rapidly that it now appears Europe is experiencing growing pains. However the problem is not overcrowding, it is increased cultural tensions. The situation came to a head in November, when widespread rioting broke out in France - in which over 7,000 vehicles were torched and various public buildings and businesses were destroyed. France's failure to integrate its North African and Muslim minorities is seen as the key reason behind the rioting.

Global Government

Often seen as the future embodiment of global government, the UN has been the subject of increased scrutiny. While the investigation into the Oil-for-Food scandal is at its height, the UN has been bombarded by accusations of corruption and mismanagement. The Oil-for-Food Scandal is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. As evidence is uncovered, the more apparent it becomes that UN lacks accountability.

It should come as no surprise that amidst the scandal the UN has announced plans for a massive overhaul. The huge reforms will be unlike any changes made since the organization was founded in 1945. Historically, government never downsizes voluntarily; it always increases its power and minimizes accountability to its citizens. Government reinvention is frequently an effort to avoid the consequences of failed policies in the past, or to justify a government's continued expansion by posing solutions to the problems it has created. Over the last decade, the United Nations has unabashedly pushed for what it calls "global governance." The UN is positioning itself for global power, no doubt it will use the scandal and the ensuing "reforms" to advance closer to that goal.

The Rise of Islam

The Muslim faith is becoming an increasingly volatile catalyst in today's international scene. With the continuing threat of terrorist attacks in the United States, it has become of paramount importance to understand the origin, nature, and agenda of Islam.

Many Americans believe that Islam is a religion of peace and that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. In public schools we teach our children a doctrine of tolerance, and in some schools students are even required to memorize passages of the Koran. While in comparison Islamic children are taught that America is the Infidel. We are the enemy. When the towers came crashing down on September 11, 2001 and thousands of innocent people were killed, Muslims all over the world danced in the streets and praised the hijackers. A survey taken in Saudi Arabia shortly after the September 11 attacks reported that 95 percent of educated Saudi men between the ages of 25 and 41 backed bin Laden’s cause. Islamic terrorists are referred to in the West as radicals and extremists, while in the mid-east they are heralded by fundamentalists as martyrs and heroes, and the families of suicide bombers are rewarded monetary pensions. The disparity between the two perspectives is staggering.

To say that Islam is a peaceful religion requires turning a blind eye to the growing humanitarian crisis in Darfur, the bloodshed in Chechnya, the London terrorist bombings, and the ethnic conflicts in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan and India – not to mention the ongoing violence throughout the Middle East.

The Magog Invasion

Many experts believe that a large-scale confrontation between Israel and its neighbors could be on the near horizon. Which has made Syria’s growing relationship with nations such as Iran and Russia more concerning. Over the past year or so, partly as a consequence of the war in Iraq, Russia has been carefully cultivating ties with Turkey, Iran and Syria. After losing the Mid-East foothold provided by Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the Russians have been building a new axis of power based on those three key countries.

Russia is now Turkey's second-largest trading partner, with a volume of $10 billion in trade per year. Russia has also strengthened ties with Iran by supplying it with nuclear-related technologies. Earlier this year Russia and Syria made plans to increase diplomatic and military cooperation. Russia wrote-off approximately 10 billion dollars of Syria’s Soviet-era debt and has supplied Syria with Russian made SA-18 surface-to-air missiles, in spite of Israel’s objections. Russian military experts have also been sent to the Gaza Strip to train Palestinian security forces. In addition to training, Russia is prepared to provide the Palestinians with armored vehicles, ammunition, and helicopters.

These developments could be a sign that the famed battle prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is on our near horizon. It is during this battle, that God will directly intercede to protect Israel from Magog and its allies.

The Rise of the Far East

China has quickly become a global power. In recent years, China has bought, borrowed, or stolen technology, which has catapulted its military capabilities into the modern high-tech arena. In the last year China has announced plans to launch 100 surveillance satellites, and has unveiled its new class of ballistic missile submarines. These submarines will be China’s first truly intercontinental strategic nuclear delivery system. The Chinese military is preparing for a war with the United States, a war which its commanders believe is inevitable.

In March the Chinese government passed an anti-secession law authorizing the use of military force should Taiwan formally declare its independence. The law also increased Chinese military spending. China wants to avoid entering into an armed conflict over Taiwan, but that does not mean it is unprepared or unwilling to go to war. China’s Foreign Minister made clear China’s intensions when he stated publicly "We will never allow separatist forces to secede from the great motherland...we will never allow it."

Over the last few years China has strengthened its ties with the Middle East. It is already one of the biggest suppliers of weapons and military technology to Arab nations and has become a major consumer of Middle Eastern oil.

Biotech and Global Pestilence

According to the National Institute of Health infectious diseases remain the leading cause of death worldwide, and the third leading cause of death in the United States. Diseases thought to be obsolete have once again become a global threat, and in recent years new pathogens have emerged, some of which carry antibiotic-resistant genes or mutations enabling them to move across different species.

The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have been preparing for a possible outbreak of the Avian virus (also known as the Bird Flu), which officials believe could become a global epidemic if a new virulent strain of the virus emerges that can jump readily from human to human. If there is an outbreak health workers estimate that it would spread rapidly and could kill anywhere from 2 million to 50 million people.

In February of this year embryologist Ian Wilmut, the scientist that brought us Dolly the sheep, was given permission by the British government to clone human embryos for medical research. The announcement has renewed debate over the scientific and ethical implications of cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

Global Religion

It may seem difficult to imagine the world united under one ruler and one religion, especially with the bloody ethnic battles taking place in the world today. However, the violence caused by religious and cultural conflicts could in fact be the catalyst that brings about drastic change. The desire for world peace, the deterioration of moral values in the Western world, the restriction of religious freedom in America, and the continued persecution of Christians in other parts of the world could all pave the way for the emergence of a global religion.

The Roman Catholic Church is one of the wealthiest, most powerful institutions on the Planet Earth today. It has almost one billion followers, approximately 20 percent of the world’s population. This year history witnessed the death of Pope John Paul II and selection of his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. The Roman Catholic Church - the Vatican - is poised to become the vehicle for the final ecumenical union of all religions. Many commentators believe that the religion of the Antichrist will not be atheism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, or New Age. It will a pagan form of Christianity.

Looking Ahead

As Christians, it is important for us to be able to recognize the "signs of the times" (Matthew 16:3), or as we like to call them, the "times of the signs". We are living in a very exciting age, about which the Bible has a lot to say if you really take the time to study it diligently. God made no mistake by placing us in this time and place, and as such we are admonished to be brave and to contend for the faith. We are soldiers in a mighty spiritual army. Each has a unique mission incapable of being filled by another. It is time to pray for direction and purpose, and then boldly do what He commands us to do. If we truly believe that we are in the "times of the signs", and that the coming of our Messiah is near, then we need to be about our Master's business. Our goal is to hear the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

2005 IS ALMOST OVER-WHAT'S NEXT?

Signals pointing to fulfillment of Bible prophecy continue to mount. The signs are in every direction on the horizon of this generation. We are convinced we must, in obedience to the commission to be good watchmen of issues and events in light of God's prophetic Word, propose scripturally sound possibilities for this last time. We will delve into likely scenarios that might play out on the stage of human history from now until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Specifically, we will forecast the probabilities of things to come for the next four years.

This is not an endeavor to try to set dates. Our goal is to offer perspective, both different and superior, scripturally, and rationally, to the endless number of predictions, made through wild speculations, that have turned out to be false. We don't make any claims of supernatural knowledge or secret intelligence reports. We base our forecasting upon Jesus' words of condemnation to those of His time on earth who were willfully blind to the common signs signaling His first coming.

"Jesus answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matt. 16:2-3)

If you were to look back into history 150 years, you would find that Bible prophecy follows a very steady rate of progress. Because man becomes bored with or desensitized to prophecy-related events, he fails to realize how simple the task of prophecy watching can be. No Christian who earnestly seeks to know what the Bible says about what will happen in the future will fail to discern the signals.

The European Union

The EU has evolved from its genesis as the Club of Rome in the mid-20th century to become the 25-nation geopolitical entity we believe will ultimately provide the power base for Antichrist (Rev. 17:12-13).

As it looks now, the European Union, while a growing behemoth, will likely remain in the shadow of the United States until some future dynamic changes the present circumstances.

Because the Bible predicts the revived Roman empire will initially be a weak government, the next four years will likely continue to see the EU struggle with internal strife. Despite the conflicts and setbacks, the pro-EU forces will ultimately end up on top of the climb toward global power. Watch for the EU to assert its strengthening economic and military power while the next four years unfold.

Terrorism

If the prophetic birth pangs are going to increase with greater frequency and intensity, it is logical to assume that terrorism, as part of the end-time mix, will increase from this point. The world has yet to experience a large-scale terrorist attack involving weapons of mass destruction. We believe it is only a matter of time before the world is brought to a new level of shock as WMDs kill large numbers of innocent people.

It is very possible the Antichrist will rise to power as a result of a climate of fear involving terrorism. The Word of God indicates we are headed towards a period so frightening that men will die prematurely from fear.

"Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken" (Lk. 21:26).

Watch for terrorism to rise to the level of catastrophic use of weapons of mass destruction. Terrorism will inevitably bring with the dangers involved, liberty-oppressing ramifications throughout the U.S., and the world.



Russia

In chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel, we are told that Russia and a host of Arab and other nations will attempt an invasion of Israel. Prophetic scholars have been puzzled by the "evil thought" that will cause Russia to come against the tiny nation of Israel.

"Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, [that] at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought" (Ezek. 38:10).

The Gog prophecies appeared to many to be tailor-made for the geographical area once within the Soviet Union. When the USSR fell and was replaced by a freely elected democratic government, most prophecy watchers were in a state of denial about the validity of the reforms. Now that Vladimir Putin is rapidly reversing Russia's experience with freedom, we're getting an indication that the geopolitical realities that will produce the prophesied leader, Gog, are in place today.

Watch for Russia to drift away from democratic ideals. As it does so, we expect to see that nation embark on a new drive toward militarism. At some point, Putin's desire for even more power will cause him to exert strong-arm influence on the weaker nations surrounding Russia. The test of how near we are to Russia's prophesied campaign against Israel depends on how the world community reacts to Putin's likely coming move.

Mark of the Beast - 666

Actually, very little advancement is required before we reach the point at which the world will utilize a centralize financial system to control all economic transactions. The technology now exists and is ready for full implementation around the globe. The changes we see in the next few years may be very subtle, but they will have a profound impact.

By 2006, most consumer products will become tagged with radio ID chips (RFID). Once all the items on our store shelves become tagged, the logical question will be asked: "Why aren't humans marked?" As the tags become more popular, watch and listen for more serious talk about a cashless society, then for dynamic movement to implement it.

"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Rev. 13:16-17).

The United States

Because prophecy does not specifically cite the United States as being a major player in the end times, one can assume with good reason that our nation will become a secondary player in the final days leading up to the tribulation.

It is possible a devastating event might remove the U.S. from the world stage. For example, with a total national debt of $7.4 trillion and a trade deficit of roughly $500 billion for 2004, the American economy could implode from its own excess.

We believe America's position as the number-one global economic power will continue to diminish while the EU's economic fortune rises. U.S. resources are massive, but not without limits. The constant drain on them from expansive policing responsibilities around the world may trigger a breakpoint. Dependence upon fossil fuel to power both the engines of its vehicles and the engine of its commerce add to the strain on the U.S. economy. Watch for the spiritual and political division at the nation's core to worsen if Christians continue to make material matters their priority.

The Israeli-Arab Conflict

In the near future Israel and her Arab neighbors may experience a new level of hostility that will grab the world's attention like never before. Because Antichrist is predicted to be the guarantor of peace for Israel and its enemy neighbors, there must be a conflict of considerable magnitude for him to resolve. With Syria and Iran possessing weapons of mass destruction, that level of conflict could come when Israel tries to preemptively disarm one or both of these nations. Watch for such action, if it occurs, to thrust Israel toward isolation foretold in the following prophecy:

"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" (Zech. 12:3).

China

The Bible tells us that someday a huge military alliance will invade the Middle East with an army of 200 million soldiers. Because China is about the only nation with the ability to man and effectively outfit an army of such massive size, prophecy watchers have looked for it to fulfill the role of the kings of the east found in the following prophecy:

"And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared" (Rev. 16:12 ).

"Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them" (Rev. 9:16 ).

Watch for China's economic might to continue to grow. We expect that its need for natural resources will cause the Communist state to become more determined to project its influence on a global scale. We also think that China's relationship with the U.S. will become strained by the need to compete for those dwindling resources.

Morality

The decline in morality has been one of the easiest end-time signs to project. Over the past decade, the filth spewing from the media has steadily increased, its society-infecting contents flushing the nation and the world ever lower toward the cesspool of cultural depravity. Many short-lived attempts at reversing the trend have been made, but all have failed. It is likely that over the next four years, profanity and nudity will descend to new lows.

The growing availability of satellite and internet outlets that are beyond the reach of federal regulators will almost certainly speed the decline. "Shock jock" Howard Stern has already realized he can escape the wrath of the FCC by moving his radio program to the Sirus satellite network. Watch for entertainment media to severely test the broadcast and cable morality monitors at every turn. Since the regulators themselves approach life from a sin-fallen perspective, things will go from bad to worse.

Apostasy

One of the best ways to measure levels of apostasy is to track the activity of popular Christian leaders who are heavily involved in heretical doctrine. For a number of years, Rapture Ready has reported on the activity of leading figures in the word of faith movement. Until now, their errors have mostly been confined to teaching that corrupts the Gospel message.

Because there is no such thing as stagnant apostasy, in the next four years, we expect to experience examples of Christian leaders adopting doctrines that conflict directly with the heart of Christianity. Watch for some of the key indicators of apostasy to proliferate greatly. Some of these are: bold statements that reject Jesus as the only way of salvation; the acceptance of homosexual lifestyle; and hate-filled words and actions against true believers.

Oil

Man has just about discovered all the major oil fields on the planet that are going to be found, according to some experts. In fact, the rate of discovery of worldwide oil reserves, after declining for 40 years, is reported to have nosed dived in recent years. In 2000, there were 16 large discoveries of oil, eight in 2001, three in 2002, and none in 2003, notes James Meyer, director of the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre in London.

While more and more nations become industrialized, the focus on oil supplies is going to force the world's attention even more dramatically in the direction of the Middle East. Watch for the rise in the value of oil over the coming four years. That will in all likelihood lead to stronger military ties, as oil wealth is exchanged for armaments.

The Harlot Church

Bible prophecy forewarns that during the end times, a demonic spiritual movement will use love and understanding to create a global pantheon of religions. The result will be an organization that promotes the false belief that all roads lead to the Creator. Because Jesus Christ said that He is the only way to God, anyone who holds to this truth will be labeled intolerant.

In the next few years anyone who disagrees with that developing religious system of "tolerance" will not be tolerated. In the name of tolerance, Christians will be pushed to the margins of what is considered "tolerant" society. Already, our culture has reached the point that it is a hate crime for someone to declare the supremacy of Jesus Christ. Scripture foretells the result of the trends in this direction:

"And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration" (Rev. 17:4-6)

Watch for increasingly stringent legislative proposals, and, particularly, for more court actions and edicts aimed at putting a clamp on Christians expressing godly values in most every area of life in America.

People of the United states and the world are entering a time rife with probabilities that will present great danger to personal liberty. The next four years will, at the same time, offer possibilities full of great opportunity to live victoriously through Christ.

Friday, December 23, 2005

JESUS CHRIST,ONLY HOPE FOR A DOOMED WORLD

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays
By Nathan Tabor

What's the real difference between wishing someone a "Merry Christmas" or instead, saying "Happy Holidays?" Both are said in kindness, meant to wish someone well during the same time of year. It seems that the two should be interchangable, that they both essentially mean the same thing. Therefore, when someone takes offense to being wished a "Merry Christmas", it seems like no big deal to just substitute "Happy Holidays" and be done with it. It may seem like no big deal, but it is.

A Very Big Deal.

Christmas is not just any old holiday. Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, and the teachings of good will and kindness towards one another that Christ brought to this world. We celebrate his birth not only to honor Him, but to remind ourselves of how we strive to live our lives of faith.

The majority of Americans belong to a religion or faith that believes in the teachings of Jesus. Why is the majority being asked to hide their faith for the so called 'comfort' of a minority? Our country is based on majority rule. While it would be unreasonable to force all to be the religion of the majority, it is equally unreasonable to ask the majority to deny their faith because a select few are uncomfortable. Yet, this is exactly what is happening.

We deny our children the right to celebrate Christmas in their public schools. They are not allowed to sing Christmas carols, decorate Christmas trees or even hand out candy canes with religious sentiments. In fact, some of our children have been punished, suspended or chastized for doing so. What message does this send to our children? It implies that there is something wrong with expressing faith in Jesus. It subtly pulls them away from their faith, while at the same time promoting other minority faiths as being somehow 'better' or more acceptable. Our children are damaged by these ridiculous practices, and it is time to put an end to the persecution of Christianity in our public schools. Christianity is the predominant faith of our country, it should not be treated as it it was deviant or radical or even subversive. Yet, it is. Small wonder that our society is moving farther away from religion and losing touch with the discipline and moral code that religious practice offers.

It is also interesting to note that many non-christians celebrate Christmas. Has any Christian ever come out and condemned anyone for participating in the holiday without believing in Christ? Has any Christian group ever come out and denied a religious presentation in a public school by another religious group? Of course not. It is only Christianity which is repeatedly shunned from school celebrations. The liberal agenda is hard at work, making sure Jesus stays out of his own holiday.

The fact is that the teachings of Christ are the basis for our legal system and government. Thou shalt not kill, ( murder) covet thy neighbor's wife, (adultery) lie, steal, bear false witness, etc all come from the ten commandments. As a member of our society, we buy into these beliefs as true and sound. Therefore, we have a reason to celebrate Christmas even if we aren't Christian, as we are celebrating the fundamental cornerstones of our society.

What we lose when we generalize the Christmas season with the ambiguous "Happy Holidays" is the connection between Christ and Christmas. That is exactly what the liberals want us to do. They want to level the playing field and keep the minority in rule, instead of the rightful majority. Liberalism is socialism, and if you look at socialism or socialist countries you will find that they often do not allow religion. They don't want anything to compete with the influence of the government over its people. "Happy Holidays" is the first step in eradicating the most prominent religion from our society.

What can we do about this? We can remember to stand proud in our faith, and not allow ourselves to be browbeaten by the minority liberal agenda. We can set a place for Christ at our Christmas table, and make sure that our holiday is centered around the teachings of Jesus. We can take the time to renew our faith, and build upon the strength that our faith provides for us. We can greet one another with a boisterous "Merry Christmas!" and know we mean just that.

Copyright © 2005 by Nathan Tabor

Nathan Tabor is a conservative political activist based in Kernersville, North Carolina. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in public policy. He is a contributing editor at www.theconservativevoice.com and his :60 commentaries are heard on over 250 stations daily. Visit www.aconservativemoment.com to hear them. You can contact him at Nathan@nathantabor.com

Saturday, December 17, 2005

IN IRAN,ARMING FOR ARMAGEDDON

In Iran, Arming for Armageddon

By Charles Krauthammer





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Lest you get carried away with today's good news from Iraq, consider what's happening next door in Iran. The wild pronouncements of the new Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have gotten sporadic press ever since he called for Israel to be wiped off the map. He subsequently amended himself to say that Israel should simply be extirpated from the Middle East map and moved to some German or Austrian province. Perhaps near the site of an old extermination camp?


Except that there were no such camps, indeed no Holocaust at all, says Ahmadinejad. Nothing but "myth," a "legend" that was "fabricated . . . under the name 'Massacre of the Jews.' " This brought the usual reaction from European and American officials, who, with Churchillian rage and power, called these statements unacceptable. That something serious might accrue to Iran for this — say, expulsion from the United Nations for violating its most basic principle by advocating the outright eradication of a member state — is, of course, out of the question.


To be sure, Holocaust denial and calls for Israel's destruction are commonplace in the Middle East. They can be seen every day on Hezbollah TV, in Syrian media, in Egyptian editorials appearing in semiofficial newspapers. But none of these aspiring mass murderers are on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons that could do in one afternoon what it took Hitler six years to do: destroy an entire Jewish civilization and extinguish 6 million souls.


Everyone knows where Iran's nuclear weapons will be aimed. Everyone knows they will be put on Shahab rockets, which have been modified so that they can reach Israel. And everyone knows that if the button is ever pushed, it will be the end of Israel.


But it gets worse. The president of a country about to go nuclear is a confirmed believer in the coming apocalypse. Like Judaism and Christianity, Shiite Islam has its own version of the messianic return — the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam. The more devout believers in Iran pray at the Jamkaran mosque, which houses a well from which, some believe, he will emerge.


When Ahmadinejad unexpectedly won the presidential elections, he immediately gave $17 million of government funds to the shrine. Last month Ahmadinejad said publicly that the main mission of the Islamic Revolution is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam.


And as in some versions of fundamentalist Christianity, the second coming will be accompanied by the usual trials and tribulations, death and destruction. Iranian journalist Hossein Bastani reported Ahmadinejad saying in official meetings that the hidden imam will reappear in two years.


So a Holocaust-denying, virulently anti-Semitic, aspiring genocidist, on the verge of acquiring weapons of the apocalypse, believes that the end is not only near but nearer than the next American presidential election. (Pity the Democrats. They cannot catch a break.) This kind of man would have, to put it gently, less inhibition about starting Armageddon than a normal person. Indeed, with millennial bliss pending, he would have positive incentive to, as they say in Jewish eschatology, hasten the end.


To be sure, there are such madmen among the other monotheisms. The Temple Mount Faithful in Israel would like the al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount destroyed to make way for the third Jewish Temple and the messianic era. The difference with Iran, however, is that there are all of about 50 of these nuts in Israel, and none of them is president.


The closest we've come to a messianically inclined leader in America was a secretary of the interior who 24 years ago, when asked about his stewardship of the environment, told Congress: "I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns; whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations." But James Watt's domain was the forest, and his weapon of choice was the chainsaw. He was not in charge of nuclear weapons to be placed on missiles that are paraded through the streets with, literally, Israel's name on them.


(They are adorned with banners reading "Israel must be wiped off the map.") It gets worse. After his U.N. speech in September, Ahmadinejad was caught on videotape telling a cleric that during the speech an aura, a halo, appeared around his head right on the podium of the General Assembly. "I felt the atmosphere suddenly change. And for those 27 or 28 minutes, the leaders of the world did not blink. . . . It seemed as if a hand was holding them there, and it opened their eyes to receive the message from the Islamic Republic."


Negotiations to deny this certifiable lunatic genocidal weapons have been going nowhere. Everyone knows they will go nowhere. And no one will do anything about it.


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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

LET THOSE THAT HAVE EARS HEAR

A serious word of prophecy!

Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21)

This is such an awesome word in its specificity and seriousness from a loving and tenderhearted man, Maurice Sklar, also a magnificent violist, whom I love and respect as a true brother and servant of the Lord, that I feel to send it on almost in its entirety to you, hoping it will cause us to seek the Lord with all of our hearts for cleansing and dedication to His purposes and turning from everything that still keeps us captive. May it be so!

Yours,

Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director International Christian Zionist Center

THE PREPARATION OF THE BRIDE - Nov 24, 2005

"And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write… I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew (vomit) thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white rainment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." ( Revelation 3:14-22)

As I was reading and meditating on this scripture, the Lord said to me:

"I am sending my refining fire into the church. I am separating My bride from the Laodicean church of today. I am preparing her. I am purifying her. She will be without spot and without blemish. I will return for her in the midnight hour. Only those that are watching and praying; only those who are embracing the message of the cross and holiness; only those that walk in the power of My spirit in moment by moment obedience; only those who are overcomers will be a part of My bride.

Most of those in the church will not be ready for Me when I come for My bride. Many think they are saved, but they are not at all. They are serving pleasures, lusts, and are in love with themselves. They are consumed with this present world and its' selfish ways. They are in love with money, success, and covet fame, position and power. They do not want to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Me. They refuse to forsake all. Therefore, they will not be ready and will be left behind to face the great judgments that are about to come upon the world. Warn those that are lukewarm and have left their first love for Me, that if they do not repent, I will vomit them from My body.

I am preparing My bride. This is her hour of glory! I am purifying her. I am adorning her with My crowns and My jewels and My beautiful gowns. She shall be without spot or blemish. She will be dressed in My robes of righteousness – pure, clean and white. Who will come to Me and buy from Me what they so desperately need? It still is not too late. Repent, and return to Me with all of your hearts, so that you do not perish with this evil world.

I am sending a mighty army from mainland China along the old silk trade routes and into the unreached nations that have been called the 10/40 window. When they finally reach Jerusalem, THEN KNOW that the wedding day is upon you. Look up, for your redemption draweth nigh. I will then come in the clouds and meet you in the air! But, the remaining nations must still hear my gospel of grace. This will be the final and greatest harvest that the world has ever seen.

Many hundreds of millions are waiting to hear the good news in China, in India, and in the other Buddhist and Muslim dominated regions of Asia, the near east and the middle east, as well as the poorest of nations in Africa and central and South America, as well as the hundreds of islands in the oceans of the earth. I am shifting my focus to them. But you, O church of America and the West have prostituted yourself at every opportunity before every high place and idol shrine. You have substituted religion for My Presence. You shall surely perish when the fullness of My wrath comes upon Babylon. You shall be utterly burned with fire. You have heard and received the fullness of My love and grace, America. Still, you spit in My face and harden your hearts and refuse to turn back to Me.

Europe, you rejected Me and threw Me out. For hundreds of years you provoked Me to wrath. You despised My people Israel and slaughtered them in a rage that reached to heaven after robbing the Jewish people and throwing them out of nation after nation. You did this all in My Name!! How can you escape the wrath to come?! You cannot. Therefore, you shall receive and drink the fullness of My cup of wrath. Prepare to meet your God, O Europe! Europe, you shall receive 'the king' that you desire to worship instead of Me. He is soon to come forth. When you receive his mark, you will be eternally damned.

O Babylon, You drove My people from their homes in Gaza, and then started upon Judea and Samaria in Israel. Therefore, I will drive you from your homes in direct proportion, as you have seen in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast. There will follow two more judgments – one in a major city of Europe and one in the Arab nations in the middle east before the end of this year.

I will shake California in a warning, and then there shall finally come the earthquake that I have mercifully withheld for so many years. Millions shall perish in the ensuing floods and the west coast of America shall be removed and fall into the ocean. Boston shall experience a major attack upon a great school that once preached My gospel in ages past but has left the faith of their fathers – never to return again. It will never be rebuilt again. There shall be 5 terrorist attacks that will hit America in ever increasing destruction upon the major cities. Before the end of 2007, a nuclear "dirty bomb" will blow up in a major city in the south of America.

New York City will receive 3 major judgments before the end of 2008. Each one will be more devastating than the last. One will shake the entire financial world and cripple the once invincible financial power of America. Millions will lose everything in a moment. It will make the crash of the stock market in 1929 look like a little thing in comparison. America will no longer be the financial leader of the world. Another judgment will destroy a major stadium during a sports event. Yet another explosion will destroy nearly an entire Borough of New York. But for the sake of the Jewish people in New York, I will supernaturally spare them. After this, I will cause the largest aliyah (return) of My people (the Jewish people) from New York (and other regions throughout the developed world to Israel) in all of history. But only after the entire financial system that they are dependant on collapses will they all return to the land that I have promised them.

Tokyo, Japan. Hong Kong, China. Johannesburg, South Africa. Calcutta, India. Sidney, Australia. Chicago, Illinois. Los Angeles, California. Paris, France and many other cities will experience major catastrophies in the next five years. Millions upon millions will perish. The aids epidemic will devastate the population in Africa to half of its' present size in the next 4 years. Many other incurable diseases, famine, drought and starvation will soon devastate the under-developed nations of the world in a way that has never occurred before. North Korea will launch a sudden nuclear attack and then be completely destroyed. Only the prayers of South Korea can stop it. Pakistan will become a leading center for world terrorism and will experience a nuclear attack, also.

Israel is soon to once again send their planes and blow up the nuclear "plants" of Iran. Syria will soon collapse economically and be replaced by a fanatical Islamic government. A major coordinated Al Qaeda terrorist attack will blow up many historic places in Europe that were once bastions of true Christian faith, worship, art and music.

If America does not stand up now and defend Israel instead of forcing Israel from their land, we will continue to face the devastating consequences here.

This is but a fraction of what is soon to come if there is not repentance and turning back to Me.

I will shake all the nations, and then after each disaster, I will pour out My grace and bring in a mighty harvest of souls for My kingdom. As birth contractions happen with a pregnant woman, so will these events happen ever faster and greater. Each one will be more devastating than the last one, and each one will come closer and closer together. Haven't I said exactly this in My Word? Each disaster will judge and smash an idol that is worshipped by the world system of Babylon. I will then show Myself as the one true God over them all.

I will judge Hollywood and the entire movie industry for the millions upon millions of souls that they seduced and sent to hell. I will judge the news media and the television industry. I will judge the music industry. I will overturn the whole music industry in such a way that they can never pollute the world ever again. I will judge the internet pornography industry. Whole internet computer systems will be permanently shut down. I will judge the abortionists and their supporters. I will judge and reverse the Supreme Court. For a short time they shall change the laws to fear and honor Me.

There is coming a revival of morality and religion in America as a result of these calamities, but it will be a false one for the most part. God will become popular in the culture, but not the Bible and My name (Jesus). It will be a false gospel message. Not many will truly be born again. Only a remnant in My church will truly stay in right relationship to Me. When you see me take Billy Graham and Oral Roberts home, you will know that America and the West have received their last call. As I said in My Word, unless the Father would shorten these days, even the elect would not be saved. The deception of "Christian religion" will grow so great, that it will be nearly impossible to recognize the true prophets and teachers from the false ones. Counterfeit miracles and false "signs and wonders" will come and deceive many. Churches will preach a "success and personal achievement" gospel. Even false healing meetings will come and actually produce real miracles, but they will not bring the people to Me. The preaching of My supreme Lordship, the cross, My blood, holiness, and the fear of the Lord will become more and more rare, even more than it has become during the last 35 years.

Nevertheless, I have supernaturally preserved and kept My bride pure and faithful to Me. I will continue to do so. Most of My bride is in mainland China now. Many are in Asia, and Korea and India and Brazil and Russia and Kenya and Nigeria and throughout Africa. Most of My bride is hidden away in their prayer closets and have been persecuted and driven out of the churches by abusive pastors and false prophets, ministry leaders, and oppressive government leaders. Many are in prison. Some are daily dying of starvation and disease. Most of My bride has been beaten and left by the side of the road by the religious 'wolves in sheep's clothing'. They have been forgotten by the blinding greed of those hoarding their money and riches. Only the Good Samaritans can even spot them and see them. The rest are blinded. Only a few really love My bride the way that I do.

My bride is being purified through the fire of many trials of afflictions and persecutions at this present hour. Those that walk in My love and embrace the cross are being separated and persecuted by the Laodicean church. Those that are truly anointed and bringing the pure Word from My throne are being thrown out of the pulpits of the land and off of 'Christian Television' in favor of the confession of the Laodicean church: 'I am rich, I am increased with goods and have need of nothing. I am healed. I am blessed.' Really???? Are you???? It doesn't look that way from My throne in heaven!

Beware of any teaching that is selfish and appeals to your lusts and feeds the love of money in your lives. THAT teaching does not come from heaven. That is not My voice. My blessings come through seeking first the Kingdom and My righteousness, not from heaping riches upon yourself while the rest of the world starves to death and dies and goes to hell because of your selfishness and greed. You will see when you stand before Me what the TRUE RICHES are. The souls of the lost are the jewels in the crown of My bride.

My worshippers and musicians, artists and those that carry special anointings have been almost systematically removed from ministries and church leaders in favor of what is popular and can bring in the most money and please the people. This is an abomination in My sight.

Watch and pray that you may be accounted worthy to escape the things that are coming upon this earth. Receive My grace through the refining fire of the Holy Spirit so that you can be a part of that beautiful lady and bride. I am preparing her! It still isn't too late! Join with her and take up your cross and deny yourselves and follow Me.

That is how to be TRULY blessed and healed and delivered and fulfilled in life! That is the only way that My gift of eternal life can shine into the darkness of the world around you"

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty…Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (1 Corinthians 6:17-18, 7:1)

"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her (Babylon), my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Revelation 18:4)
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Friday, December 02, 2005

An Overwhelming Surprise {part 3}

Trumpet #4. Shortly after the second asteroid impact, the world will hear a terrible roar. Hundreds of powerful violent volcanic eruptions will occur. These will be numerous and powerful and cause great damage. Millions of people will perish. Revelation predicts there will be a great darkness. (Revelation 8:12) The jet stream will carry megatons of volcanic ejecta and soot around the world in dense clouds that cause complete darkness. Scientists have observed this phenomenon in recent times. The extended absence of sunlight over the middle third of Earth (the breadbasket of the world) will prevent surviving crops from reaching maturity. Worldwide famine will begin.


In short, the first four judgments will create a horrible domino effect radiating into every aspect of life. Illness of all kinds will appear. Clean water and food will become scarce overnight and the misery index will be scale.” “off the According to Revelation, 25% of Earthpopulation will perish from ’s these four judgments. (Revelation 6:8) Think about this. The population of Earth currently is more than six billion people. Twenty-five percent of six billion is one billion five hundred million people!


Trumpet #5. By the time, the fifth trumpet sounds, Earth will have experienced a worldwide situation that is so desperate that we can only compare it to the flood in Noah’s day. God deliberately puts the whole world in a desperate situation because He knows it is the best way to get everyone’s undivided attention. From a parental perspective, God puts the warring nations of Earth in a type of “time out.” God wants everyone to consider several issues. For example, God wants the world to know that the time has come for the nations of the Earth to end. (See Daniel 2.) He wants everyone to know that He is about to establish His kingdom and He wants everyone to know the terms and conditions of being a part of His coming kingdom.


A few days before the Great Tribulation begins, God will anoint 144,000 servant messengers with exceptional Holy Spirit power. These people, from every nation, kindred, tongue and people, will speak for God for 1,260 days. The 144, 000 will be ordinary people who will come from every religious background, and they will harmoniously proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the human race. As strange as it may sound, most of the world’s population will reject the terms and conditions of salvation.


About two and half years after the Great Tribulation begins, God permits that ancient serpent, the devil himself, to appear on Earth physically. The devil will come with millions of angels and he will masquerade as Almighty God. (Revelation 9:1-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 13:11-18) The devil is the dreaded Antichrist. Deceptively cloaked in brilliant light and charming benevolence, the devil will claim that he is God. The devil will declare that he has come to establish a thousand years of peace on Earth. At this time, there will be three identifiable groups of people. The first group of people are those who have rejected the devil and decided to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. The other group of people will readily receive the devil as God because of the miracles he performs. The third group of people will defy both the devil’s demands and the prompting of the Holy Spirit because they refuse to obey anyone. Since god is separating the people of Earth into two camps, sheep and goats, He will allow the devil to inflict pain and suffering upon the third group of people who have chosen to defy both God’s and the devil’s authority. Fortunately, the devil’s victims will eventually relent and join the devil’s camp. However, a few of his victims will come to their senses, repent of their defiance against the gospel of Jesus and receive salvation. The devil will even call fire down from Heaven to prove his assumed divinity. Consequently, millions of people will ultimately conclude that the devil is God and they will obey him with astounding zeal and devotion.


Trumpet #6. When the devils popularity and control of Earth reach a sufficient level, he will tell his followers that everyone who refuses to recognize him as God must be annihilated. I call the events of Trumpet #6, World War III. During this time, God will allow the devil and his angels to kill one-third of the world’s population. (Revelation 9:15) The devil will establish a one-world government and he will exult himself as King of king and Lord of lords. He will control all the necessities of life and if a person wants to buy or sell items for survival, that person must become a member of the devil’s kingdom. To demonstrate citizenship in his one world government, the devil will force the inhabitants of Earth to receive a tattoo on their right hand. The tattoo will be the number “666.” People who serve as officials in the kingdom of the devil will receive a tattoo on their foreheads to show their superior rank. The tattoo on their foreheads of the devil’s lieutenants will be the chosen name that the devil uses. (Revelation 13:17) The placement of a tattoo on the forehead of Satan’s lieutenants is a blatant counterfeit of what God intends to do for His faithful servants, the 144,000, after He takes them to Heaven. (See Revelation 14:1; 22:4)


Trumpet #7. Before Satan implements the mark of the beast, everyone on Earth will have heard the gospel and everyone will have made an informed decision for it or against it. When every person has made a decision, Jesus will close Heaven’s door of mercy. Jesus will announce that the offer of salvation is closed by saying, “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.” (Revelation 22:11) Then, the second global earthquake occurs. (Revelation 11:19)

An Overwhelming Surprise {part 2}

How the Tribulation Begins

The Great Tribulation will begin suddenly. It will begin with a global earthquake that effectively disrupts the activities of the whole world. (Revelation 8:5) God has a few things to say to the human race, and He intends to arrest the attention of the world with a massive earthquake that literally stops everything and everyone in their tracks. The sudden cessation of life as we know it will force everyone to stop and wonder what is going on. This coming earthquake is particularly interesting because geologists theorized a “global earthquake” was physically impossible until the early 1990’s. Now, physical evidence is proving that Earth’s tectonic plates go much deeper into the core of Earth than previously thought, and this information has caused geoscientists to change their thinking. The book of Revelation predicts there will be a total of four global earthquakes. (Revelation 8:5; 11:13; 11:19; 16:18) These earthquakes will increasingly rip up the surface of the world, and the infrastructures of travel, communication and manufacturing will collapse during the Great Tribulation. These earthquakes have no equal in recorded history. Each earthquake will have greater strength than the one before it. The final earthquake will be so violet that it will literally move all the mountain and islands from their places. (Revelation 16:20; 6:14)


Trumpet #1. Shortly (perhaps 30 days) after the first global earthquake, showers of white-hot hailstones will rain down from the sky. Meteoric firestorms will ignite unquenchable fires all over the world and the accompanying windstorms will destroy billions of acres of trees, food crops and vegetation within a few days. Of course millions of people will be left homeless ands many more will suffer and die during this “rain of terror.” (Revelation 8:7)


Trumpet #2. A few days after the meteoric showers of burning hail, earth will experience two horrific asteroid impacts. The first asteroid will impact an ocean; the second will impact a continent. (Revelation 8:8-11) The first impact will create a series of tidal waves that will inundate coastal cities around the perimeter of the ocean. Seaports and coastal cities, well known for their immoral behavior, will completely disappear with overwhelming loss of life. Survivors will be frightened and distressed by the angry tossing of the sea. (Luke 21:25) Ships will not be able to cross the ocean and men will be powerless to do anything about the churning of the deep.


Trumpet #3. The second asteroid will impact one of Earth’s continents with devastating results. The impact will contaminate water supplies and cause extensive death. Ground waves from the impact will fracture geologic strata for thousands of square miles. Sewage, deadly bacteria, toxic chemicals and other garbage buried in the Earth will seep into underground aquifers. Underground rivers will become contaminated and they will carry their deadly mixture for thousands of miles. Revelation predicts that many people will die of drinking poisonous water.

An Overwhelming Surprise {part 1}

To the Reader

If separated from the larger context of this study, this study could make God appear to be a very cruel and unfairly harsh-so please read subsequent studies as soon as possible! The devil delights in distorting the character of God whenever possible. The devil wants people to see God as a vengeful tyrant or a divine Santa Claus that can do no harm. Of course, both extremes are false. The same God, who destroyed the world in Noah’s day and sent fiery brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah, also sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. (John 3:16) In short, God reveals His love for the human race in a well-documented balance between justice and mercy. Bible history proves that God is longsuffering. He extends mercy to sinners day after day, year after year – until the day comes when extended, mercy no longer has any redeeming effect. Then God justifiably responds in wrath to deal with defiant rebellion. I offer this introductory statement because the contents of this study may seem overwhelming the first time you read it, but please press on and read Study 2 as soon as possible.

No Longer a Book of Mystery

The book of Revelation contains several prophecies that integrate into one big story. Some prophecies in Revelation have been underway for centuries and others are about to begin. When we properly assemble all of the prophecies, a mind boggling drama unfolds. God’s ways are wonderful to understand and so thrilling to discover. Some prophecies in Revelation are easy to understand and others are difficult at first, but we can say the same of God. Certain aspects about God are easier to understand than others. Ultimately, the book of Revelation confirms the good news that most people want to hear: A world of eternal joy and endless bliss is coming. The bad news is that God is going to test the inhabitants of Earth before He sets up His kingdom. (Revelation 3:10) God will separate ‘the sheep from the goats” before the Second Coming. The separation of the sheep from the goats is an important process in God’s plans because God will not permit rebellious people (represented by the goats) to enter His coming kingdom. God’s kingdom is reserved for people who love Him and exalt His righteous ways. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God….Nothing impure will ever enter it [the holy city], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lambs book of life….He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Matthew 5:8; Revelation 21:27, 4, insertion mine)


The book of Revelation reveals that God will soon inflict the world with a series of 14 plagues. These events will not occur in random order nor will they be freak disasters caused by nature. The seven first plagues are called “seven trumpets” in Revelation because they serve the purpose of warning or awakening the people of Earth to the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ. The seven last plagues are called seven bowls because they represent seven full cups of God’s vengeance that He will pour out upon His enemies. Although the Bible completely explains these events, they will come as an overwhelming surprise for most people. Our Creator has carefully designed these coming events to achieve His goals, and He will carefully execute these judgments so that He can redeem the maximum number of people, As you read this these studies, periodically remind yourself of two things: First, God so loved this world that He gave His only Son to die in our place and second, God’s patience with defiance and rebellion is limited. During the Great Tribulation, the people of Earth will see God’s perfect balance between justice and mercy. Remember this balance as you consider this study about the Great Tribulation. The next few pages give a brief overview of coming events.

Monday, November 28, 2005

END TIME CLOCK MOVES FORWARD

End Times Clock Moves Forward With Iranian Events

By Bill Wilson, KIN Senior Analyst - www.watch.org

WASH—KIN—Nov 28—The past ten days has witnessed the end-times clock moving forward as the European Community has uncovered documents that Iran has blueprints for nuclear weapons; Iran has offered oil and natural gas to North Korea in return for help building nuclear missiles; and, President George W. Bush has asked Russia, the linchpin in the Ezekiel 38 Gog/Magog prophecy, to intervene in the Iranian nuclear situation.

President George W. Bush recently said he would rely on Russian President Vladimir Putin to help bring Iran to its senses regarding its nuclear program. But Russia is neck deep with the Iranians in helping them develop nuclear technology. It seems as though superpowers such as the U.S. and Britain are at a loss on how to handle Iran and are blinded by the obvious relationships already in place.

Ezekiel 38 speaks of bringing Gog of the land of MaGog (which is Eastern Russia, Western China), Persia (Iran), Libya and Ethiopia (Both the Northern span of Africa) and other nations against Israel. Those who are named in the Ezekiel 38 Gog/Magog prophecy are deeply involved in helping Iran develop nuclear capabilities, and the West, including America and Europe, is relying on them to resolve the matter. Meantime, Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad has said that the Jews should be wiped off the face of the earth. To this end, Iran has given safe haven to Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and other Islamic terrorist groups.

Amadinejad also has said he will use nuclear technology as a means to achieve peace. And peace can only be realized by the elimination of all Jews and their allies. This is the peace of Islam. Amadinejad is so emboldened by his Chinese and Russian allies that he really fears no United Nations Security Council action.

And Amadinejad is using the cover of his allies to taunt the West. He was on the attack over the weekend, saying that the Bush Administration should be put on trial for war crimes. Amadinejad claimed that the United States and other Western nations used nuclear weapons against innocent people in Iraq. This outrageous accusation appears to be based on the "tank busting" artillery shells used by American and British forces which contain depleted uranium. The uranium, which penetrates tank armor, vaporizes and turns to dust after it is fired. Amadinejad played the hypocrite card in asking how the U.S. justifies using nuclear weapons and yet wants to prevent Iran from using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

But earlier in the week, the European Union accused Iran of having documents that show how to make nuclear warheads and joined the U.S. in warning Tehran it could be referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions. In addition, there are now reports out of Germany saying that in October Iran offered North Korea oil and natural gas as payment for help in developing nuclear missiles. Indeed, the two components to a dangerous nuclear program are missiles and warheads. It long has been reported that North Korean, Chinese and Russian scientists are assisting Iran with building a missile that can carry nuclear warheads. And Russia has billions of dollars at stake in building nuclear facilities in Iran.

The end times clock moved forward this past ten days as Iran became more emboldened. In fact, Amadinejad said America and her allies "speak as if they are the Lords of the world." We know that the Prince of Persia is satan and the Prince of Peace is Jesus Christ. In 2 Timothy 3:13, The Apostle Paul wrote of the end times, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." Don't let men twist what is black into white. Know Christ and know truth, without Christ there is no truth.
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Thursday, November 24, 2005

ARE DEMONS REAL

How Can a Person Become Demonically Possessed in the 21st Century?



“In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, ‘Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!’ ‘Be quiet!’ Jesus said sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.” (Luke 4:33-35)



From time to time, I have received questions about demonic possession and even though I do not fully understand this subject, I thought I would share with you what I have learned. I hope that it will be helpful. I believe this topic warrants attention because I am convinced that demons are increasingly taking possession of people! Human beings need a Savior because we are no match for our supernatural adversary, the devil. His tremendous powers and energies are devoted to ruin and destruction of every human being and he is determined to lead the whole world into open rebellion against the laws of God. Because the Prince of Darkness is steadily strengthening his grip on this planet, we need to understand how he works. Peter wrote, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)



I find it interesting that the term “demonic possession” is not directly mentioned in the Old Testament, but it is mentioned numerous times in the New Testament. Consider this one Old Testament text because some people think it indicates demonic torment: “Saul’s attendants said to him, ‘See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon you, and you will feel better.’ So Saul said to his attendants, ‘Find someone who plays well and bring him to me….’ Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.” (1 Samuel 16:15-17, 23)



Years ago, this text puzzled me. How could the Lord send an “evil spirit” (that is, a demonic spirit)? Later, I discovered my perplexity was due to a problem with language. The Hebrew word “rah” is translated “evil” in this passage has numerous meanings such as vexing, bad, miserable, heavy or troublesome-thus “rah” is translated evil in these verses. However, once I understood how the Hebrew word was used, it became clear to me that the troublesome spirit sent from the Lord was actually the Holy Spirit doing His best to bring King Saul to repentance. Even though David’s inspiring music would soften the king’s rebellious heart so he felt better, the efforts of the Holy Spirit and David’s music proved to be in vain. King Saul eventually committed the unpardonable sin and the Holy Spirit no longer spoke to him. (1 Samuel 28:6)



I believe the absence of any mention of demonic possession in the Old Testament could be due to two things. First, when the nation of Israel entered the Promised Land, they were a very healthy group of people. They had been eating angel food called Manna (Psalm 78:25) for forty years and illness in Israel was rare.

Second, prior to Israel’s exile in Babylon (605 B.C. – 536 B.C.), the Jews measured prosperity and misfortune with a very simple formula. If a person pleased God, then God blessed that person with health and prosperity. If a person sinned against God, then that person received a curse from God. (See Deuteronomy 28.) This simple formula was presented to Jesus one day. “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.’” (John 9:1-3) The point is that prior to the Babylonian exile, the Jews regarded misfortune as a curse from God. They erroneously believed God sent Satan to hurt them or harm those who displeased Him. Ironically, this faulty concept is discussed at great length in the book of Job, which many scholars believe was the first book of the Bible to be written. Scholars generally accept that Moses wrote the book of Job during his forty years of tending sheep. The irony is that Job’s three physician friends slandered God by insisting that Job deserved what he got. At the end of the book, God spoke to Job and told him that He was angry with his friends. (Job 42: 8,9) Given the fact that Job was an early book in the Old Testament, it is baffling why the Jews ultimately adopted a “prosperity theology” anyway.



After the Babylonian captivity ended, the Jewish nation became corrupt, broke their part of the covenant with God and did not receive the prosperity that God had conditionally promised through Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Israel became physically and spiritually weak. The necessity and importance of physicians and medicine became more important and respected within Israel. In fact, the healing ministry of Jesus brought more attention to His presence, His mission and His message than anything else! I believe that illness and birth defeats had become so prevalent during the time of Jesus, that some of the medical problems described in the New Testament are labeled “demonic possession” because the underlying medical problem was not understood. In other words, it is possible that some disorders, such as epileptic seizures, were probably mislabeled “demonic possession” because there was no understanding of the illness. (See Matthew 17:15-18) Since illness and physical defeats were considered to be a curse, the Jews reasoned that demons must be responsible. We see this type of thinking in this passage: “While they were going out, a man who was demon possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.’ But the Pharisees said, ‘It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.’” (Matthew 9:32-34)



Even though ‘demonic possession” may be a misnomer for certain illnesses, I do not want to diminish the fact that there were several genuine instances of demonic possession in the New Testament. Consider these two instances of demonic possession, and notice in both cases that the demon spoke: “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon possessed. They would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’ Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.” (Acts 19:13-17) In this passage, the demon challenged the seven sons of Sceva and then the demon empowered its host to attack these seven men and rip off their clothes! It is interesting that demons are always after our clothing. Keep this thought in mind as you read this next text.



“When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “what do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me1’ For Jesus commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. Jesus asked him, “What is your name?’ Legion,’ he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to go into the Abyss.” (Luke 8:27-31)



These two passages (and there are several other instances of demon possession in the New Testament) indicate that demons can and will take up residence within people. The all-important question is how do they do it? I believe demon possession can occur several ways. Space limits me to three:



1. If a person repeatedly and willfully violates his conscience, his sense of right and wrong will fade. In a morally confused and darkened condition, the door for demonic possession opens. Over time, the victim will be manipulated and ultimately controlled by demonic impulses. The obvious indication of a possessed person occurs when there is no longer any concern for right and wrong and the person inflicts crimes of passion that are unimaginable.



2. If a person is sexually and/or emotionally abused during childhood, studies indicate a strong possibility that the victim will grow up with thoughts and behaviors that are harmful and destructive. These behaviors can range from self-loathing to bursts of hostility and hatred toward anyone who may innocently hurt their already hurting heart. Whether the rage is directed inwardly or outwardly, rage and frustration left unchecked can open a door for demonic possession. The battlefield is often in the mind and the devil can wield a strong influence over the minds using fantasies and hateful desires that demand a horrible and depraved fulfillment.



3. There is a subtle form of demonic possession that is not easily discernable. We tend to think that demonic possession means that someone is out of control, irrational, out of their mind, or convulsing from a seizure. The devil is clever and highly sophisticated and he also has many very brilliant demons working with him. They know that we have been given the power of choice, and in order to possess us, all they need to do is gain control of that power. Demons have a wide range of tools to break down our power of choice and they prey upon our inherent rebellion against God’s laws. For example, demons have convinced a large number of young people that substance abuse is no big deal. Met amphetamines may offer an “ecstatic experience” for the moment, but the consequences of that first incident can (and often does) turn into addition. Thus, substance abuse can be an entry point for demonic possession. Demons have also led millions of people to believe there is nothing wrong with sexual immorality. This too, can be a door to addition and ultimately, demonic possession. However, what about those of us who shun drugs and sexual immorality? Does the devil have a plan for us? Very few people understand the addition that comes from materialism. When we are not able to say “no” to gratification, we have an addition. This is a growing problem that leads many people into bankruptcy. To avoid bankruptcy, many people make their jobs more important than God, family and health. Sadly, some people are driving themselves beyond exhaustion to get more money so they can buy more things. In this materialistic era, the love of money is an open door for demonic possession. Anything that has power over us can be used to pry open the door of our heart to Satan’s demons.



We live in an age of over stimulation. We are constantly busy and our brains are constantly processing some kind of data. Consequently, our brains are imploding because of over stimulation. Billions of dollars are spent each year on psychotropic drugs because people are unable to deal with the demands of living. Harmful behaviors are causing us to lose control of ourselves. We cannot focus, we cannot tolerate silence and we cannot rest. If the devil is a formidable adversary when we are at our best, what does he become when we are at our weakest? Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Friday, November 18, 2005

ON THE FAST TRACK TO THE RAPTURE

On the Fast Track to 'The Rapture'

Increasing natural disasters are raising the rapture index, leading some Christians to believe the Second Coming is near.

By Nancy Haught - Religion News Service

Whether you see earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis as natural disasters or acts of God, this has been a bad year for the world and a good one for the rapture index.

The index, a feature on the Web site www.raptureready.com, is a measure of how quickly the world is careening toward the Second Coming of Christ. On a good day, it claims 15,000 hits.

"Rapture" is a word that some Christians use to describe the moment when, they believe, Jesus will call them home to heaven and the rest of the population will struggle on with only the Antichrist and the apocalypse to look forward to. The time between the rapture and the Second Coming is called the tribulation.

Interest in all of this is peaking these days, spurred on by the apparent frequency and intensity of earthly disasters, last month's release of the third "Left Behind" movie and the prospect of a bird-flu pandemic.

Keepers of the Rapture Ready Web site are Terry James of Benton, Ark., and Todd Strandberg of Bellevue, Neb., two biblical prophecy devotees who have been polishing their concept since 1987.

James and Strandberg have come up with a list of 45 categories, from false Christs to inflation, famine and floods. Every few days, they assign each category a number from 1 to 6 to reflect its "intensity," according to recent news stories. They tally the numbers to come up with the rapture index, a number James calls "a speedometer that says how fast we're heading toward the tribulation."

On a recent day, the rapture index was at 159, well over what James and Strandberg call the "fasten your seat belt" mark of 145.

"It's been up around 159 for some time now," says James, who has written 15 books on biblical prophecy and fully expects the rapture to occur in his lifetime. So far, he's waited 63 years.

James knows that not all Christians see Scripture and the signs the same way he and Strandberg and the whole "Left Behind" crowd do. The Web site gets a lot of critical mail, and some of it is posted online.

"Some people get really hostile over anything on the site," James says. "To me, that shows the truth of what we're doing. ...We don't condemn anybody; we only point out what God says about sin in general."

Not all Christians have jumped on the rapture bandwagon. Many see it as a modern twisting of what they believe biblical prophecy really is--not so much predictive, as in telling what will happen in the future, as prescriptive, describing what happened in the past.

Barbara Rossing, a New Testament professor at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, is familiar with the Web site but doesn't think it holds much appeal for Christians like her who have condemned the "Left Behind" series and argue that the rapture is not a biblical concept. She wrote "The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in The Book of Revelation" (Westview Press, $15, 222 pages).

"World events should be a wakeup call to us," Rossing says. "We should be thinking about what our calling is, as people of faith in the world today. We need to be thinking about how to connect the dots--not in an Antichrist-end-times kind of way--but in terms of how God is at work in the world for healing, for justice and for love."

James is familiar with the criticism and it doesn't shake his confidence in the rapture.

"I'm of the opinion that every Christian will go (in the rapture), regardless of the state of their walk with Jesus," he says. "We're all in God's family."
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Thursday, November 17, 2005

PROFESSOR THINKS BOMBS,NOT PLANES,TOPPLED WTC

Y. professor thinks bombs, not planes, toppled WTC

By Elaine Jarvik
Deseret Morning News

The physics of 9/11 — including how fast and symmetrically one of the World Trade Center buildings fell — prove that official explanations of the collapses are wrong, says a Brigham Young University physics professor.

In fact, it's likely that there were "pre-positioned explosives" in all three buildings at ground zero, says Steven E. Jones.

In a paper posted online Tuesday and accepted for peer-reviewed publication next year, Jones adds his voice to those of previous skeptics, including the authors of the Web site www.wtc7.net, whose research Jones quotes. Jones' article can be found at www.physics.byu.edu/research/energy/htm7.html.

"It is quite plausible that explosives were pre-planted in all three (WTC) buildings," BYU physics professor Steven E. Jones says.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News

Jones, who conducts research in fusion and solar energy at BYU, is calling for an independent, international scientific investigation "guided not by politicized notions and constraints but rather by observations and calculations.

"It is quite plausible that explosives were pre-planted in all three buildings and set off after the two plane crashes — which were actually a diversion tactic," he writes. "Muslims are (probably) not to blame for bringing down the WTC buildings after all," Jones writes.

As for speculation about who might have planted the explosives, Jones said, "I don't usually go there. There's no point in doing that until we do the scientific investigation."

Previous investigations, including those of FEMA, the 9/11 Commission and NIST (the National Institutes of Standards and Technology), ignore the physics and chemistry of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, to the Twin Towers and the 47-story building known as WTC 7, he says. The official explanation — that fires caused structural damage that caused the buildings to collapse — can't be backed up by either testing or history, he says.

Jones acknowledges that there have been "junk science" conspiracy theories about what happened on 9/11, but "the explosive demolition hypothesis better satisfies tests of repeatability and parsimony and therefore is not 'junk science.' "

In a 9,000-word article that Jones says will be published in the book "The Hidden History of 9/11," by Elsevier, Jones offers these arguments:

• The three buildings collapsed nearly symmetrically, falling down into their footprints, a phenomenon associated with "controlled demolition" — and even then it's very difficult, he says. "Why would terrorists undertake straight-down collapses of WTC-7 and the Towers when 'toppling over' falls would require much less work and would do much more damage in downtown Manhattan?" Jones asks. "And where would they obtain the necessary skills and access to the buildings for a symmetrical implosion anyway? The 'symmetry data' emphasized here, along with other data, provide strong evidence for an 'inside' job."

• No steel-frame building, before or after the WTC buildings, has ever collapsed due to fire. But explosives can effectively sever steel columns, he says.

• WTC 7, which was not hit by hijacked planes, collapsed in 6.6 seconds, just .6 of a second longer than it would take an object dropped from the roof to hit the ground. "Where is the delay that must be expected due to conservation of momentum, one of the foundational laws of physics?" he asks. "That is, as upper-falling floors strike lower floors — and intact steel support columns — the fall must be significantly impeded by the impacted mass. . . . How do the upper floors fall so quickly, then, and still conserve momentum in the collapsing buildings?" The paradox, he says, "is easily resolved by the explosive demolition hypothesis, whereby explosives quickly removed lower-floor material, including steel support columns, and allow near free-fall-speed collapses." These observations were not analyzed by FEMA, NIST nor the 9/11 Commission, he says.

• With non-explosive-caused collapse there would typically be a piling up of shattering concrete. But most of the material in the towers was converted to flour-like powder while the buildings were falling, he says. "How can we understand this strange behavior, without explosives? Remarkable, amazing — and demanding scrutiny since the U.S. government-funded reports failed to analyze this phenomenon."

• Horizontal puffs of smoke, known as squibs, were observed proceeding up the side the building, a phenomenon common when pre-positioned explosives are used to demolish buildings, he says.

• Steel supports were "partly evaporated," but it would require temperatures near 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit to evaporate steel — and neither office materials nor diesel fuel can generate temperatures that hot. Fires caused by jet fuel from the hijacked planes lasted at most a few minutes, and office material fires would burn out within about 20 minutes in any given location, he says.

• Molten metal found in the debris of the World Trade Center may have been the result of a high-temperature reaction of a commonly used explosive such as thermite, he says. Buildings not felled by explosives "have insufficient directed energy to result in melting of large quantities of metal," Jones says.

• Multiple loud explosions in rapid sequence were reported by numerous observers in and near the towers, and these explosions occurred far below the region where the planes struck, he says.

Jones says he became interested in the physics of the WTC collapse after attending a talk last spring given by a woman who had had a near-death experience. The woman mentioned in passing that "if you think the World Trade Center buildings came down just due to fire, you have a lot of surprises ahead of you," Jones remembers, at which point "everyone around me started applauding."

Following several months of study, he presented his findings at a talk at BYU in September.

Jones says he would like the government to release 6,899 photographs and 6,977 segments of video footage for "independent scrutiny." He would also like to analyze a small sample of the molten metal found at Ground Zero.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

UNHOLY WAR

Unholy War - By Ron Cantrell - www.bridgesforpeace.com

A new kind of battle is raging around the world. It is unlike any war in the past. It is hard to define. It is being waged without clear borders. It is staffed with soldiers that are unscrupulous and operate in underground cells which are nearly impossible to identify

Almost every news broadcast details another incident in the battle and a depressing by-product is that the world economy is taking a beating due to consumer fear.

Because this current war involves a religion, i.e., Islam, modern warfare methods are handicapped by the overly cautious. They are convinced, and perhaps rightly so, that it would be catastrophic to be guilty of attacking a world religion.

Westerners search introspectively to see if they have acted in some way to justify conventional terror attacks (if there is such a thing), but, the pivotal question is, "Might some of these groups loose upon the world a biological attack that would be almost impossible to contain before it killed hundreds of thousands of people?" Western leaders wage a war in their hearts over whether to act preemptively or to mercifully restrain themselves.

A tool of this unscrupulous and stealthy enemy, aimed to captivate world attention, is suicide bombing. Perhaps not the most powerful in waging war physically, but psychologically it is devastating. It existed only in the far-away and foreign Middle East until September 11. The power of this tool, its unpredictability, and its simplicity has the world by the throat. It is odd, but it has its genesis in a romantic Persian story of a.d. 1050.

Omar Khayaam, the famous Persian author of "The Rubiat of Omar Khayaam" made a youthful pact with two of his close childhood friends. Omar and his friends, Hasan-i Sabah, and Nizam al-Mulk vowed that whichever of them succeeded in life first would use his money and power to aid the careers of the other two.

Nizam found fortune and fame first when he became Vizier to the Sultan of Persia. He fulfilled his vow by offering government positions to Omar and Hasan. Hasan accepted, but Omar pleaded to be supported in his heart's desire of being a poet. Hasan joined Nizam in the courts of the Sultan. Too soon, it became obvious to Nizam that Hasan was a threat in his new position. Nizam set him up and disgraced him in the eyes of the Sultan. Shamed and enraged, Hasan fled to Cairo where he plotted revenge. There, Hasan fell into the hands of the missionaries of a radical sect of Islam known as Ismailis. Hasan was attracted to this secret sect, peopled by those with higher esoteric knowledge that liberated them from all laws, including those of Islam. In 1080, Hasan returned to Persia and sought a place to teach "The New Propaganda," as it was known.

Dogged by agents of the Sultan, Hasan located a remote and inaccessible castle fortress in Alamut. Alamut Castle stood high on a rocky outcrop guarding a 6,000 ft (1828.80 m), fertile plain stretching behind for 30 miles (48 km). With his new devotees, Hasan became the world-renowned "Old Man of the Mountain." The famous adventurer, Marco Polo, in The Adventures of Marco Polo, wrote this of him:

"The Old Man kept at his court such boys of twelve years old as seemed to him destined to become courageous men. When the Old Man sent them into the garden in groups of four, ten, or twenty, he gave them hashish to drink. They slept for three days, then they were carried sleeping into the garden where he had them awakened. When these young men awoke and found themselves in the garden with all these marvelous things, they truly believed themselves to be in paradise. And these damsels were always with them in songs and great entertainments; they received everything they asked for, so that they would never have left that garden of their own will. And when the Old Man wished to kill someone, he would take him and say: 'Go and do this thing. I do this because I want to make you return to paradise.' And the assassins go and perform the deed willingly."

Assassin is a title derived from hashashin, the Arabic word for hashish. In Persia assassins and their deadly deeds were born. Assassins were greatly feared and the institution caught on and spread. Literature is filled with tales of murder by the Assassins.

The good news is that Assassins as an institutionalized political force no longer exist. They were never defeated as such, but their usefulness and successfulness faded and they were simply incorporated into the fabric of Islamic society. The myth that the Assassins sprang out of a need to retaliate against the Crusaders is just that, a myth. The Assassins were an internal Islamic struggle predating the Crusades.

This leads us to ask more about Islam and hopefully to clarify its purposes today.

Islam Versus Islamist

It is necessary to separate Islam from the violence of Islamist movements. During many time periods, nations considered Islamic have coexisted with surrounding nations peacefully. The exception is when extremist elements gain enough power to began operations considered Islamist.

An Islamist is a follower of Muhammed who sees it necessary to subjugate the entire world to Islam through violence called "jihad" or holy war. An emerging worldwide Islamist movement advocates that the world's fifty-plus Muslim nations unite into a single khalifah, e.g., pan-lslamic state. Certain nations fall into the category of Islamist and not just Islamic. Iran is a good example.

Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini was the first to declare the existence of an Islamic Revolution that should be exported worldwide. He stated, "We must strive to export our revolution throughout the world, and must abandon all idea of not doing so, for not only does Islam refuse to recognize any difference between Muslim countries, it is the champion of all oppressed people. Moreover, all the powers are intent on destroying us, and if we remain surrounded in a closed circle, we shall certainly be defeated. We must make plain our stance toward the powers and the super powers and demonstrate to them that, despite the arduous problems that burden us, our attitude to the world is dictated by our beliefs."

But, Islam is not a homogenous whole. There are serious schisms within Islam. Two branches of Islam evolved, Sunni and Sha'ai - They could be thought of as the Friendship camp and the Kinship camp. The Ismailis, named for Ismail son of Ja'far al-Sadiq, appear about a.d. 800.

Recognizing the Threat

Many Westerners do not like to discuss religion or politics. This is a secular way of escaping confrontational topics. Many secular people also imagine themselves to be in the majority. The truth is that the secular population of the world is only 850 million people as opposed to 2.2 billion Christians, 1.3 billion Muslims, 900 million Hindus, and 360 million Buddists. In the majority of these religions, faith is their politics. We can no longer hide our heads in the sand and avoid discussing religion or politics.

The demographics of many nations changed in the 1970s, suspiciously linked to the Ayatollah Khoemini's call to export the Islamic Revolution. It was then that universities worldwide received an influx of Islamic students, and new Islamic communities began to crop up. Up until September 11, 2001, tolerance was the world's by-word regarding growing Islamic populations in Western nations. Then attitudes changed.

PBS (Public Broadcasting System) in the USA aired a program entitled Jihad in America. The program documented growing radical Islamist groups on American soil teaching violence against their host nations. Others followed with documentaries that ranged from panic to simple whitewashing of the very serious problem. World news agencies have sent confusing signals as on one hand they paint a peaceful face on violent Islamists but on the other they present horrific documentaries on life in places like Afghanistan under the Taliban.

There is indeed a very credible threat to non-Muslim nations. But, we are beyond the point of containing the threat, neatly, on the other side of any given border. Besides, democratic nations are based upon the rights of everyone to live where they choose, and to practice the religion of their choice.

Yet, there is a key to understanding what is happening all around us–it is Jerusalem!

The Lord Rebuke You Satan!

The book of Zechariah needs to be reread in our troublesome times. So many encouraging things jump off the pages of his book. A young man running to measure Jerusalem in chapter two is stopped by an angel and instructed that Jerusalem would be too large to be contained by a city wall. That brings the book right up to our time period since Jerusalem was contained inside the city walls until the late 1800s. It goes on to say, "And I Myself will be a wall of fire around it, declares the Lord, 'and I will be its glory within'" (Zech. 2:4,5).

When Ehud Barak was Prime Minister of Israel in 2000, 96% of the West Bank, five villages which constitute East Jerusalem, and a large chunk of the Old City of Jerusalem was being offered to Arafat. Arafat's resounding answer "NO!" only makes sense in light of God's announcement that He Himself would become a wall of fire around the city.

Yes, Jerusalem is central in our present distress. Simplistic as it seems, Jerusalem is the keyhole in the door of the future. The world's attention is constantly drawn to this "bull's eye" in the Middle East. And the bright red spot directly in the center is Jerusalem. Israel has served as the petre dish of terror. It has been the testing site for methods that will be exported to the rest of the world.

Zechariah records another astounding scene in chapter three. The scene appears to be Israel being restored as a priestly nation. Joshua, the high priest comes before the Lord and who comes to accuse him? Satan! Undoubtedly Satan's accusation had to do with Joshua's filthy clothes. Satan's accusations are built on generalized guilt rather than God's gentle revelation of a problem and its immediate solution. What makes this revelation astounding is God's rebuke of Satan.

In a time period when multiple gods were worshiped by all nations that surrounded Israel, God clearly delineates who is speaking when He rebukes the evil one.

"The Lord said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you!" (Zech. 3:2).

The drama of planet earth has always been, and will always be anchored to Jerusalem.

What is Our Mandate?

". . . You who call upon the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth" (Isa. 62:6b,7).

First of all, what is a mandate? A mandate bonds three parties: the creator of the mandate, the executor, and the lesser party whom the mandate is designed to protect. It is a commission from a higher authority to carry out an injunction on behalf of a lesser nation.

As the swirling dust of WWI settled and nations brought their soldiers home from foreign lands a new Middle East emerged. Far away and very different from the West, the romantic sands of the deserts of the Middle East were the stage for drama. Lawrence of Arabia and others like him were popular new movie material. Classics rose from the sun-baked land. From as far away as Australia, proud horsemen, known as the "Lighthorsemen," aided the British against the German-backed Turkish forces in photogenic settings, such as the oasis of Be'er Sheva, which sits astride the southern Negev Desert in the Holy Land.

The Middle East was not content to remain a peripheral issue. The war shook many foundations, and solutions for repairing those foundations laid the groundwork for the implementation of mandates for the Middle East. The war drove back the once flourishing Islamic Turkish Ottoman Empire and left huge areas of the borderless desert sands wiped clean like a slate. The powers that were suddenly in command after the war unrolled their maps on the tables and began to draw new boundary lines. On the one hand, the lines drawn in the settling sands of the Middle East by Western powers were simply arbitrary guess work. The accusation of many Arab nations in recent days is that those Western powers had no right to "draw the lines."

On the other hand, some of the lines were not man-made, but decrees from heaven. They lay just beneath the sand and needed simply to be brushed off and reinstated from ancient times. The nation of Israel lay veiled in Islamic dust, awaiting God's perfect timing. A new chapter of spiritual history opened as the breath of His Spirit blew away the covering.

With that unveiling, many biblical references demanded rethinking, fresh interpretation, and resolution. From those biblical references, Isaiah's ancient mandate had come to fruition. It could not have been written for any other time period—it is for us, it is for now!

Christian history boasts a long list of godly men and women who understood the mandate to act in behalf of Jerusalem. The list is too long to print here but is available in The Israel Teaching Letter called, The Risk and the Reward or in Ron Cantrell's Unholy War for an Islamic Empire. It is all too true that Christianity persecuted Jewish people over the centuries, but throughout Christian history there were some who clearly saw this mandate. Some saw Israel's rebirth even before the Jews themselves were interested.

These Christian men and women, and their acts of valor on behalf of Israel, punctuate history books with selfless stories of aid to an oppressed people, desperately searching for a haven they could call home. Their involvement spans several centuries.

The question is, "Are you on that list?"

At the dedication of the first Temple in Jerusalem, King Solomon looked down through the centuries and saw you and I! In his glorious prayer recorded in II Chronicles he said,

". . . hear from heaven, Your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of You, so that all the people of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your own people, Israel" (II Chron. 6:33).

That seems to constitute a blank check drawn on the account of heaven. It is drawn upon with purpose, and that purpose is, "so that all the people of the earth may know Your name and fear You." If King Solomon looked down through the ages and saw us, let us boldly step into that prophetic picture and play out the role that was set for us from the heavenlies so long ago.

How Then Do We Live?

Certainly we now live in the time described by Matthew. "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:12,13).

We must be among those who stand firm to the end. It is vitally important to expertly interpret the Scriptures for our time. Things that never needed detailed clarification will now have to be reexamined with microscopic focus to receive clarity. For instance when Jesus commanded us to turn the other cheek, I believe this is speaking of interpersonal relationships. For international terrorism, turning the other cheek is not applicable. I believe we need to pray that leaders of terrorist and terrorist harboring nations will be tried as war criminals in an international court of justice. This falls under Paul's exhortation to the Romans regarding obedience of government authorities.

"For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer" (Rom. 13:4).

Saleh Abdal Jawwad, head of the Political Science and History Departments at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank, said about suicide bombings, "Sharon's policies are pushing the Palestinians to this!" If this is true, why does Israel's long list of victims show an ongoing reign of terror from the PLO's inception in the 1960s? Why did Arafat decline ninety-six percent of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and a large portion of the Old City when it was offered by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak? Arafat should be among those tried for his crimes against humanity.

There must be an international court with power to try and prosecute terrorist criminals wherever they surface in the world.

We must stop promising Arafat and the Palestinians a State. If statehood is awarded to the Palestinians now, the world will be rewarding bloody violence. How will the Palestinians handle the myriad of other important matters like water rights, municipality division, electricity (now provided by Israel) health care and on and on? Will they continue to blow up busses and send suicide bombers until their state is perfect?

There is no dirth of documented evidence indicting most of the PA's head leadership. Israel's incursions into Ramallah, and Jenin last year yielded hoards of boxes of manuscripts with hard cold evidence of criminal activities.

I realize that terrorism is no longer just aimed at the Middle East. But, the accusation seems to come back time and again that Islam would not act badly if the Palestinian issue were solved. Don't believe it. However, for all intents and purposes, I believe God is focusing our attention on the Middle East generally and Israel specifically.

This is not a time to draw back, it is an opportunity to see God's hand at work in the Middle East specifically and in the rest of the world as well. It is a time, especially if you never have before, to participate in what God is doing, to run alongside Him as He ministers to His people and sets the stage for the return of the Messiah.

I love Rees Howell's prayer journal entry of September 12, 1940 when Hitler's blitzkreg was ravaging Europe and England.

"We prayed last night that London would be defended and that the enemy would fail to break through, and God answered prayer. Unless God can get hold of this devil and bind him, no man is safe. If we have protection for our properties, why not get protection for the country? What wonderful days these are!"

Wonderful days? Yes! We must rejoice knowing that the time Yeshua (Jesus) has longed for, when God will say "It is time to go redeem Your bride!" is ever closer. The signs that are a harbinger of that moment are all around us. Whatever you are called to do in God's kingdom, resolve do it better and with more gusto. We can surely agree with John the Revelator when he said, "Even so, come Lord Jesus!"

"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20).
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