“Behold a Pale Horse”

“Behold a Pale Horse”
Vol: 42 Issue: 31 Thursday, March 31, 2005

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 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.” (Luke 21:25-26)

Depending upon whom one asks the question, mankind has been on this planet for somewhere between six thousand and six million years. The six million year figure is the extreme end of the evolutionist’s estimates, where the six thousand year period is the time frame generally accepted by creationists.

Allow yourself to dwell, for a minute, on just how long six thousand years really is. Not in abstract, cosmic terms, but rather, in terms of human society. It was only six hundred years ago that conventional wisdom said the earth was flat. Mankind had been on the earth for more than five thousand five hundred years before we learned otherwise.

America, the greatest nation the world has ever known, is only two-hundred and twenty-nine years old. It was just one hundred and forty-five years ago that Americans were willing to kill each other over the right to own other human beings as property.

Only sixty years ago, human beings were being shoveled into ovens in their millions or shot down into mass graves at the hands of citizens of the oldest and most cultured civilizations in Europe.

Even at six thousand years, man has been here a long, long time, when you think about it.

Bible prophecy indicates that mankind’s time on this earth is limited and predetermined. Scripture tells us that God created the earth in six days, and on the seventh, He rested.

According to Psalms 90:4, “For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”

2nd Peter 3:8 tells “that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

The prophet Hosea, speaking to the Jews who survived the Babylonian exile, prophesied,

“After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.” And approximately two thousand years later (after two ‘days’) the Jews of Israel resumed their place among the nations of the world after a two thousand, five hundred year absence.

Hosea’s reference to the third day, in which ‘He will raise them up and they shall live in His sight,’ takes place a day AFTER their ‘revival’. This correlates to Ezekiel’s vision of ‘valley of dry bones’ that come together, revived as “an exceedingly great army” but, “when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.” (Ezekiel 37:8)

Israel is revived, but not yet ‘alive’ in His sight until their national redemption at the conclusion of the time of ‘Jacob’s Trouble’ that ushers in the Millennial Kingdom.

So, it is safe to infer from Scripture that time, from our perspective, is predetermined, and is running down like a stopwatch that was started ticking at the fall of Adam and Eve. There is a day already determined, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)

Scripture deals with time in a way that is difficult for us to grasp; from the perspective of the One knowing “the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:10) time is a constant state of ‘now’. It makes following the Scripture’s timeline difficult, which is why God promised there would be signs — or ‘mile markers’ — to let us know when time, as we understand it, is running out.

Assessment:

“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:8)

Among the most telling signs that we are approaching Zero Hour are the fears that, after six thousand years, the human race has used up our host planet.

A new scientific study, prepared in Washington under the supervision of a board chaired by Robert Watson, the British-born chief scientist at the World Bank and a former scientific adviser to the White House warns that very thing.

According to the study, human civilization has consumed two-thirds of the world’s resources, most of it in just the last sixty years. Among the study’s findings:

Because of human demand for food, fresh water, timber, fiber and fuel, more land has been claimed for agriculture in the last 60 years than in the 18th and 19th centuries combined.

An estimated 24% of the Earth’s land surface is now cultivated.

Water withdrawals from lakes and rivers has doubled in the last 40 years. Humans now use between 40% and 50% of all available freshwater running off the land.

At least a quarter of all fish stocks are overharvested. In some areas, the catch is now less than a hundredth of that before industrial fishing.

Since 1980, about 35% of mangroves have been lost, 20% of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed and another 20% badly degraded.

Deforestation and other changes could increase the risks of malaria and cholera, and open the way for new and so far unknown disease to emerge.

Flow from rivers has been reduced dramatically. For parts of the year, the Yellow River in China, the Nile in Africa and the Colorado in North America dry up before they reach the ocean.

An estimated 90% of the total weight of the ocean’s large predators – tuna, swordfish and sharks – has disappeared in recent years.

An estimated 12% of bird species, 25% of mammals and more than 30% of all amphibians are threatened with extinction within the next century.

This report is stunning, (even though it is sure to be disputed by other, equally qualified environmental scientists).

Let’s revisit the fact we’ve been on this planet for six thousand years. But it is THIS generation that is alleged to have used it up.

It is THIS generation in which men’s hearts have begun to fail them ‘for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.’

Signs in the sun, moon and stars have astronomers baffled; fears of a catastrophic collision with giant space rocks have us scanning the heavens and planning our defense from a threat that a generation ago, we didn’t even know existed.

The ‘distress of nations’ is palpable; witness the panic that ensued after the latest undersea aftershock as millions fled a new killer wave that never arrived.

The study says that we are running out of food sources, out of fresh water, we face the threat of killer plagues and epidemics; we’ve overfished the oceans and destroyed the seabed.

And the study concludes all this damage took place — not gradually over six thousand years of human existence –but within a single generation!

“So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.” (Mark 13:29-30)

Whitewashing Kofi . . .

Whitewashing Kofi . . .
Vol: 42 Issue: 30 Wednesday, March 30, 2005

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the interim Volcker report amounted to a vindication of Kofi Annan in the Oil For Food scandal.

Running under the banner headline, “Oil-Food Inquiry Clears UN Chief”, the Chronicle noted that the committee found ‘no evidence’ that the Secretary-General attempted to influence the awarding of a contract to a company that employed his son, Kojo.

And, Annan told a news conference that he viewed the conclusions about him as an “exoneration”, which he said he welcomed with “great relief” after “so many distressing and untrue allegations.”

Asked if he thought the report’s criticisms of him for management failures meant that he should step down for the good of the organization, he replied bluntly, “Hell, no.”

The Chronicle reported a vindication, but, according to the New York Post, the Volker report was sufficiently damning enough to justify it’s chosen headline, “Bye-Bye, Kofi”.

The Post notes that; “[A] careful reading of the 144-page document raises questions about why Volcker was so eager to give Annan the benefit of what clearly is considerable doubt surrounding the role of Swiss-based Cotecna and of Annan’s son, Kojo, in the $60 billion scandal.”

The relevant passage of the Volcker report says that the investigation uncovered “several instances in which [Annan] might, or could have become aware, of Cotecna’s participation in the bidding process . . . there is neither convincing testimony to that effect nor any documentary evidence.”

A vindication? A condemnation?

It all depends on which side of the fence one stands on. Despite its published conclusions, the Volcker report discovered that Kofi Annan knew as far back as 1992, when Oil-for-Food was first discussed, of Cotecna’s interest in procuring a contract from the U.N.; he also knew when the deal was signed that his son had been hired by the firm.

Moreover, as the UN was putting out the contracts for bid, Cotecna sent Kojo Annan to New York to, in the words of the report, “advance Cotecna s business” by lobbying his daddy’s United Nations to get Cotecna put on the ‘short list’ for contracts to be awarded.

While all this was going on, Cotecna Chairman Elie Massey was meeting privately with the secretary-general supposedly to discuss a fund-raising scheme for the UN.

The report concludes that at no time did Kofi Annan and Massey discuss financially ailing Cotecna’s interest in obtaining U.N. business.

Why did it conclude that? Because both men say so.

Since there are no other records, the Volcker Commission couldn’t prove WHAT they talked about. But the Commission noted that both Kojo Annan and Elie Massey “intentionally deceived” and made “false statements” to the committee, so they are really relying only on the diminishing veracity of Kofi Annan himself.

Rather than “exonerating” Kofi Annan, the Volcker report merely accepted his denials.

But the report DID criticize Annan directly for being ‘insensitive’ to the conflict of interest inherent in giving the contracts to Kojo’s employer.

“Insensitive” in this context, is an understatement of monumental proportions.

Assessment:

The Volcker Commission failed to find a ‘smoking gun’ memo from Kofi Annan directing that Cotecna be awarded its contract, but that doesn’t mean Annan’s conduct was above reproach — it was just too carefully protected to prove criminality.

Annan’s top aide, Iqbal Riza, evidently shredded three year’s worth of documents related to the investigation within hours of the Security Council’s authorization of the investigation. But the Commission could not prove Kofi gave the order.

The findings seem to defy common sense. Kojo Annan was hired by Cotecna — right out of college — for a TRAINING program with Cotecna.

As a TRAINEE, Annan was sent to lobby the UN for contracts, traveled the globe with its top executives and was paid some $400,000.00 — twice what Cotecna originally claimed, and much of it AFTER he left Cotecna s employ.

The commission could not explain the inconsistencies apart from Kojo’s relationship with Secretary-General, so they evidently decided not to try. Instead, they reserved their harshest criticism for Kojo, largely giving Kofi a pass.

“Kojo Annan actively participated in efforts by Cotecna to conceal the true nature of its continuing relationship with him,” inspectors found.

“Kojo Annan also intentionally deceived the Secretary-General … was not forthcoming … has failed to cooperate fully … [and] has refused to answer questions. … Significant questions remain about the integrity of Kojo Annan’s business and financial dealings.”

We mentioned earlier this week that Kofi was planning to sacrifice his son to save himself, and he did.

He claims that Kojo concealed his relationship with Cotecna from him, and then lied about the details.

“For reasons that parents everywhere will understand, the most difficult and painful moments for me personally, through this past year, have been those when it appeared that my son, Kojo, might have acted inappropriately, or might not have told me the full truth about his actions,” he told reporters.

Nice touch, I thought, bringing ‘parents everywhere’ in on his side, but it sounded flat to me.

However, he almost had me when he added, “I love my son, and I have always expected the highest standards of integrity from him.”

Then he lost me again when he pushed his son under the wheels of Volker s bus by saying he had instructed Kojo to cooperate with the investigation, and that Kojo had failed to do so.

Given the choice between his job and his son, he chose his job. That might be understandable to parents somewhere, but it isn’t understandable to parents EVERYWHERE.

But it reveals much about the character of the Secretary General of the United Nations, not much of it good.

The fact is, even this report as protective as it is of the secretary-general seriously undermines his credibility and effectiveness. And it still falls far short of explaining how this monumental scandal was perpetrated.

In any case, the United Nations’ troubles continue to mount, while its international credibility plummets like a stone. The Oil For Food scandal is much more than Cotecna and Kojo Annan.

In June, the Volcker commission will issue its final report in June, this time including the actions taken by the fifteen-member Security Council.

And there may not be enough whitewash to go around.

Israel’s ‘Apartheid’

Israel’s ‘Apartheid’
Vol: 42 Issue: 29 Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Prime Minister of Malaysia told the Organization of Islamic Conference at a conference entitled, “Peace in Palestine” that it should organize a global campaign against Israel similar to the one that forced South Africa to abandon apartheid.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi expressed hope that a three-day conference of civil society delegates beginning Monday would initiate such a campaign.

Abdullah said the “Peace in Palestine” conference should “intensify the international campaign for a sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side in peace and harmony with Israel.”

“If a global campaign could be launched, not unlike the (one) against apartheid in South Africa, (it) might indeed succeed in influencing the concerned parties to achieve a peaceful resolution,” Abdullah said in a published message distributed to conference delegates.

More than 300 activists, legal experts and academics are participating in the conference, organized by the People’s Alliance for Peace Malaysia, a coalition of 1,100 nongovernmental associations, Islamic groups and political parties.

The global campaign against South Africa included boycotting South African goods, barring South African athletes from participating in the Olympics, and ultimately isolated South Africa from the rest of the world.

Calling for a global campaign against Israel ‘not unlike the one against South Africa’ has just the right ring to it — socialist reformers will flock to it without ever noticing it is really a call for a global blockade of the Jewish state.

Whatever else he might be, Abu Abbas is a lot smarter than Yasser Arafat. Arafat put all his faith in the military option. Abbas is taking a page from the old communist playbook by appealing to the socialist instincts using all the right buzzwords and slogans to create a new villain by naming it after an old one. And from the Nazi principle of the Big Lie to make it all sound logical.

‘Apartheid’ earned global hatred because it was based on the principle of segregation based on race. Segregation had been rejected decades earlier in the United States and had already been rejected by socialist Europe, both of whom set their sites on South Africa as the last bastion of institutional racism in the Western world.

Abbas has seized on the viscerally unpopular concept of segregation and is transforming it for use as a weapon against Israel. From the outset, he has popularized the concept of Israel’s security fence as a form of ‘apartheid’ calling it the ‘apartheid fence’ whenever he could get in front of a microphone.

Abbas is evidently also studying Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ as well.

“All this was inspired by the principle – which is quite true in itself – that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. . . ” (Mein Kampf, James Murphy translation, page 134)

Assessment:

The OIC’s comparison between South Africa’s apartheid and Israel’s security fence is the Big Lie in action. In truth, there is no comparison.

The purpose of Israel’s security fence is not race-based, but security based. Arguing Israel is a ‘racist state’ turns the concept of ‘racism’ on its head. Israel is a land in which one can hear 86 different languages, in a state composed of people from every racial background.

Even the alleged ‘religious racist’ canard hurled against Jewish Israel collapses when one considers Israel’s Arab population. Israeli-Arabs are full Israeli citizens with the right to vote and to be represented by Arab politicians in the Knesset. Although a minority, Israeli-Arabs make up 18% of Israeli citizens.

And compared to the plight of those few Jews who live in Arab states, calling Israel ‘racist’ is patently absurd.

The security fence is not an ‘apartheid’ fence to keep out Arabs. It is a SECURITY fence to keep out terrorists. To any honest, thinking person who spends five minutes looking at the situation independently, there is no other rational conclusion to reach.

If there were no threat, Israel would have no need for a fence. Israel got back for sixty years without a fence. The fence, absent the threat of terrorism, is as much a nuisance to Israel as it is to the Palestinian side.

That should be obvious to anyone and, since it is so patently obvious, the OIC call for a global blockade of Israel should evaporate like steam — but it isn’t.

Look again at Hitler’s principle of the Big Lie. “It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. . . “

That the only democracy in the Middle East could come under fire for being a racist, apartheid state is absurd on its face. Adding to the absurdity is the fact the charge of apartheid is being hurled by an entity who demands, as a condition of peace, the total expulsion of Jews from the West Bank because they ARE Jews.

The OIC’s call for a boycott envisions blockading Israel until the realization of a “sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Twenty-five hundred years before there was a place on earth called “Israel”, the prophet Zechariah predicted that in the last days, Israel would find itself besieged by the global community over the issue of ownership of the city of Jerusalem.

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

Think of it from Zechariah’s perspective. In Zechariah’s day, Jerusalem had been a Jewish city for more than five hundred years.

(For comparison purposes, five hundred years ago, Henry the Eighth was seated on the English throne. The King James Bible would not be introduced for another hundred years)

Centuries before Zechariah, even, the Psalmist wrote, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalms 137:6)

Yet Zechariah said that, in the last days, the ownership of Jerusalem would be contested by the ‘whole world’. Imagine how foreign a concept that would have sounded — to a Jew living in Jerusalem some 500 years before Christ.

But in this generation, despite the fact that Jerusalem was founded by the Jewish King David more than three thousand years ago, specifically to house the Jewish Temple and to be the heart of Jewish culture and religion, the whole world questions Israel’s claim to the city.

Despite being the most racially and ethnically diverse state in the world, Israel is facing a global boycott as a racist state whose security policies are no different than racial apartheid.

While the accuser claims to be the victim of ISRAELI racism while simultaneously demanding the ethnic cleansing of Jews from all Arab-claimed territories in Biblical Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

And nobody raises an eyebrow. They’ve all bought into the Big Lie.

“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:3-4)

Annan Plans “Billy Carter Defense” To Volcker Report

Annan Plans “Billy Carter Defense” To Volcker Report
Vol: 42 Issue: 28 Monday, March 28, 2005

According to the London Sunday Times, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has formulated his damage control plan in response to the second interim Volcker Report due out tomorrow.

Quoting directly from the Times, it appears that Annan “plans to blame his son for embroiling him in the oil-for-food scandal when a UN inquiry issues a harsh report tomorrow.”

Still quoting, “Aides say that Mr. Annan plans a Billy Carter defense , whereby he should not be held accountable for any transgressions by his son, just as Jimmy Carter was not forced from the White House when it emerged that his brother was lobbying for Libya.”

According to news reports, although the Volcker Report will be ‘critical’ of Annan, it only blames him for sins of omission.

The report blames Kofi for ‘failing to pay enough attention to the conflict of interest caused by his son’s work with a contractor involved in the Iraq oil-for-food program’ — according to news sources.

The report accuses son Kojo directly of using his father’s name for personal gain while he worked for Kotechna. On the other hand, the elder Annan, according to the report, was so ‘blinded’ by the father-son relationship that he was unable to see the conflict of interests.

Let’s see. Kofi isn’t responsible for his son’s actions, and so therefore, he is not responsible for his own? Here’s how the report frames that neat little bit of circular logic.

The New York Times said this morning that the report, “faulted Mr. Annan for failing to be sensitive to the perception of nepotism and conflict of interest that inevitably arose from his son’s involvement with a United Nations contractor.”

From outright corruption and influence-peddling, not to mention theft running into the billions, plus using the United Nations to keep Saddam in power and the gravy train in motion — to being “insensitive” — that’s quite a whitewash!

The report focuses on Kotechna and Kojo Annan, most probably because the UN’s investigative team knew it had to come up with something to avoid criticism, and figured the Kofi-Kojo-Kotechna was damaging enough to give the Volcker Commission credibility, but benign enough to allow the elder Annan to survive.

But the committee found more dirt than it expected, and it is going to be harder to whitewash than anticipated. They expected to discover that Kojo drew $3000 a month for three years after he left Kotechna as part of a ‘no-compete’ contract settlement.

They discovered it was more like four hundred thousand dollars — and even that is a preliminary figure. Kotechna, it seems, isn’t sure HOW much it paid the younger Annan.

But Kotechna assured the commission, who evidently accepted its assurances, that it did NOT hire or continue paying Kojo hundreds of thousands of dollars AFTER he left his job in order to maintain Kofi’s good will or retain its Oil For Food Contract.

Evidently, Kojo’s connections were merely coincidental.

That’s the Volcker Reports story, and its sticking to it.

According to Congressional investigators, who have shared their findings with the UN, there are other questions to be fully addressed. Kojo went to work for Kotechna in 1995. Kofi met with Kotechna officials three times between 1997 and 1999.

Two of the meeting were BEFORE Kotechna was granted admission to the Oil-For-Food conspiracy and one meeting afterwards. None of the three previous meetings were previously disclosed.

Assessment:

Despite his intention to invoke the ‘Billy Carter Defense’ and distance himself from his son, Kofi is reportedly ‘depressed’ and ‘considering resignation’ in the wake of the scandal.

Kofi Annan’s record as the United Nation’s seventh Secretary-General is a litany of scandal, mismanagement, corruption and betrayal. It is inconceivable that he should have held his post for as long as he has.

According to the UN’s official biography, Kofi Annan was both the instigator and architect of the Oil For Food program in the early 1990’s.

Under his watch, almost a million people were butchered to death during the Rwanda genocide. Nobody has ever been held accountable for the UN forces there — then under Kofi Annan’s direct supervision — stood idly by despite the desperate urging of the general in command of the UN forces there to allow him to stop it.

So well known to Annan were the atrocities ongoing in Rwanda, that his inaction became the subject of a 1998 book bearing the revealing title, “We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories From Rwanda” by Philip Gourevitch.

In his book Gourevitch argued that less than 5,000 U.N. troops could have stopped the killings, citing Maj. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, the then-head of Annan’s U.N. peacekeeping mission in Rwanda.

The genocide and enslavement of Christians by Islamic forces in the Sudan continues to this day.

During Yugoslavia’s civil war, Annan declared the city of Srebrenica a ‘safe haven’ and encouraged civilians to enter en masse so as to be under UN military protection. While UN peacekeepers watched, as many as 8,000 of them were slaughtered.

Annan’s blind support of Yasser Arafat bears a large measure of responsibility for the outbreak of the five-year ‘Oslo War’ that has cost the lives of thousands on both sides in Israel.

The list could go on and on . . . from the pedophile peacekeepers routinely raping young girls in the Congo with impunity to the various internal UN scandals that continue to surface as the digging continues.

For years, there has been a growing grass-roots element within the United States that is pushing to have the US withdraw from the UN altogether.

Leading the effort is Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who, until recently, has pretty much been a lone voice crying in the wilderness.

As a consequence of the revelations coming out of the Iraq War, that lone voice is becoming a chorus.

The last time HR 1146 came to the floor of the US Congress, it got 74 votes — ten more than the year before. It got nowhere nearly enough votes to pass, but it is indicative of the growing anti-UN sentiment among lawmakers.

And Utah State Representative Don Bush recently introduced a House Resolution to the state legislature, [HR 7] urging Congress to withdraw from the United Nations. It passed 42 to 33.

Although the bill didn’t make it to a floor vote in the Senate, it did pass through committee, 9-2, so the voices, while still muted, are out there.

Kofi Annan’s resignation might save the UN, for a time, but it is too little, too late. If the US were to pull out of the United Nations, it would cease to exist in short order.

Which would leave Europe perfectly positioned to pick up the pieces, precisely as the prophet Daniel predicted.

Special Report: The Historical Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Special Report: The Historical Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Vol: 42 Issue: 27 Sunday, March 27, 2005

Today is the day that Christianity commemorates that singular event in human history — the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And as usual, in the weeks leading up to this day, the secular press corps has devoted gallons of ink and miles of column inches to its annual debunking of the ‘myth’ of Jesus’ resurrection.

This is also when various churchmen go public with their doubts about this central tenet of Christian teaching, questioning whether it REALLY happened, suggesting that if not, it doesn’t really make any difference.

In his book, “Jesus 2000”, for example, Dr. George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, makes this astounding statement: “Unlike the birth of Christ and the crucifixion,” he says, “Christians cannot know with the same certainty that He was resurrected.”

Writes the leading Anglican churchman; “I can tell you frankly that while we can be absolutely sure that Jesus lived and that He was crucified on the Cross, we cannot know that He was raised by God from the dead.”

Is he right? I mean, really. Is there a POSSIBILITY that the Resurrection is ‘unknowable’ apart from blind faith?

In other words, COULD there have been a Jesus Who, in the words of secular historian Josephus, ‘did many amazing works’ before being judged a political criminal and executed by Crucifixion, but Who wasn’t literally resurrected ?

There is plenty of historical evidence attesting to an historical Jesus. Is it possible that He was a wise man, and a good teacher, or, as the Koran claims, even a prophet, but that the Resurrection was a legend tacked on later by His followers?

Most Christians I know have admitted a momentary twinge of doubt at some point, wondering if it were at least POSSIBLE that guys like Archbishop Carey might be right. That the Resurrection, if not an outright hoax, was a sincere effort on behalf of His followers to keep His teachings in the spotlight after His shocking and early death?

After all, it isn’t uncommon for the Jews to carefully record and revere the words of the great sages of history, like Maimondes or Ramban, the author of the Mishneh Torah.

Archbishop Carey is wrong when he says that there is no way to know with certainty that He was resurrected. And it makes a BIG difference.

“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” (1st Corinthians 15:14) If Jesus Christ was not resurrected, then, by Paul’s own admission, our faith is in vain. Our faith is NOT in the fact Jesus lived and died. Everybody does that.

Our faith is not in the fact Jesus was highly favored by God. So was David, Moses and Abraham. According to Isaiah, Lucifer was an ‘anointed angel’ ALSO once highly favored by God.

We aren’t saved by believing that He existed, as Dr. Carey proposes. Our faith is that, in His resurrection, Jesus defeated the power of death and hell for us all.

Despite the arguments from the skeptics and the God-haters, the Resurrection is as provable as is the existence of a Jewish carpenter from Nazareth Who ‘did many amazing works’.

There is the evidence provided by hundreds of living witnesses.

Consider the claim from the perspective of 1st century Jerusalem, a close-knit and articulate society:

A political criminal was convicted in a public trial and then executed in full view of thousands. That same convicted criminal was seen three days later; “by above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.” (1st Corinthians 15:6)

Jesus was well known in Jerusalem. There were those who loved Him, and many more who hated Him. Those people could certainly have confirmed or denied the accuracy of the reports of a resurrected Jesus.

Suppose I were to publish an account that said John Kennedy really died by slipping on a bar of soap in a bathtub in Boise, Idaho forty-one years ago.

It would never fly. Too many living witnesses saw what took place in Dealey Plaza to avoid a firestorm of controversy.

The Apostles preached and wrote of events that took place within the lifetime of their audiences. Think of how fantastic a claim the resurrection of Jesus truly is! If the record was not true, there would be evidence from the same period of accounts to the contrary.

Writes E. M. Blaiklock, Professor of Classics at Auckland University, “I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history . . .”

In addition, the death of Jesus was a major event politically. As a consequence, so many security precautions were taken with the trial, crucifixion, burial, entombment, sealing, and guarding of Christ’s tomb that the circumstances would be well publicized throughout the Jewish community.

Jesus’ tomb was sealed with a Roman seal. The penalty for breaking it was crucifixion. The Apostles had proved themselves no heroes so far. All had abandoned Him and Peter denied Him three times. It is unlikely they would risk breaking a Roman seal to perpetuate a hoax.

When they found the empty tomb, the disciples didn’t fan out to the far reaches of the Empire with their story. They went straight back to Jerusalem. If their claim was false, it would be the last place to try and preach it. The story wouldn’t have lasted a single day in Jerusalem if the empty tomb were not already an established fact.

In addition to the claims of the Apostles, both Roman and Jewish records of antiquity admit an empty tomb. Coming as it does from such hostile sources, it adds even greater weight to the historical evidence.

The tomb was not just sealed with the seal of Rome, it was sealed with a two and a half ton boulder and guarded by Roman soldiers. If they WERE asleep (a death penalty offense) then somebody would have had to have quietly moved a 5,000 pound boulder without waking them.

Inside the empty tomb were the grave clothes, still bearing the form of a body, but empty. That precludes any possibility that Jesus was entombed alive and that He somehow escaped. It also eliminates any possibility that His Body was stolen. In either case, the graveclothes would have to be unwrapped.

Then there are the Apostles themselves to consider. Preaching a resurrected Jesus Christ meant social suicide. They were disowned by their families and their faith, were arrested, imprisoned and ultimately given the choice of a slow, painful execution or admitting they made it up.

If they KNEW that their ‘preaching was in vain’ as Paul called it, then they knowingly threw away their lives for nothing.

On the other hand, imagine if you KNEW Jesus they way that they did, saw the things that they saw, and stood watching at Pentecost as the Resurrected Jesus ascended bodily into heaven, and then were offered the choice to deny what you actually witnessed with your own senses.

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His Majesty,” writes Peter. (2nd Peter 1:16)

We can — and do — know for sure what escapes Archbishop Carey.

Jesus Christ was executed at Golgotha in full view of thousands of witnesses. Three days later, He was resurrected bodily and over the course of the next forty days seen alive by thousands more witnesses.

The story of His resurrection was unchallenged by living eyewitnesses, and so profoundly changed them that Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee who despised Christ and persecuted His followers, became the Apostle Paul, the greatest witness to the truth of the Resurrected Jesus.

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

The skeptic’s arguments fall apart when weighed against the historical evidence. Jesus IS alive, and He IS coming again! Happy Resurrection Day!

“Nobody Left To Speak for Me”

“Nobody Left To Speak for Me”
Vol: 42 Issue: 26 Saturday, March 26, 2005

“First they came for the Communists, and I didn t speak up, because I wasn t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn t speak up, because I wasn t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.” – Rev. Martin Niem ller, Germany, 1945

Martin Niem ller was a German pastor who famously penned those words after his release from the Dachau concentration camp at the close of World War Two.

A former U-Boat commander in World War One, Martin Neimoller became a pastor in Dahlem, a fashionable suburb of Berlin after the war.

Initially, Niem ller was a supporter of Adolf Hitler — he even served as a poster boy for the Nazis in the early years by virtue of his military service.

Years later, as a protest against interference in church affairs by the National Socialists (Nazi Party), Niem ller founded the Pastors’ Emergency League. The group, among its other activities, helped combat rising discrimination against Christians of Jewish background.

For his efforts, Niem ller was eventually rounded up by personal order of the Fuhrer and sent to Saschenhausen and eventually Dachau. Hitler condemned Neimoller to spend the rest of his life in the Nazi concentration camp system as an inmate.

Niem ller s quote instantly became famous and has been adopted and rewritten so many times to fit so many occasions since that it is actually impossible to find exactly what he really DID say.

The ‘definitive’ quote, if there is one, would be the one entered into the Congressional Record in October, 1968, in which Neimoller is quoted saying;

“When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church — and there was nobody left to be concerned.”

No matter what version is quoted, Niem ller quote is remembered in some form because of its political truth, particularly in the intervening years since the Second World War.

Assessment:

A twenty-first century rendition of Niem ller’s poem would read; “First they came for the unborn, and I was unconcerned because I had already been born.” “Then they came for the deformed and defective and I was unconcerned because I was normal.”

Then they came for the elderly and infirm and I was unconcerned because I was young and healthy.

Then they came for Terri Schiavo, because she was disabled and helpless. I was unconcerned because I was awake and aware . . . .”

“And so it goes until they come for me.”

Niem ller’s poem is a word picture that describes incrementalism — the process of gradually introducing concepts until they become like ‘white noise’ — it is there and it is annoying, at fi”rst, but eventually, one becomes so used to it that it eventually fades into the background.

I recall living in Los Angeles in the mid-1990’s for a time while I was working on a project with Hal Lindsey. We lived on Venice Blvd, an LA ‘surface street’ that was six lanes wide. Inside our apartment, we had to crank the TV nearly to the max in order to make out what was being said.

After a while, we didn’t even notice the din — we got used to shouting at each other, like everybody else did. One weekend, we went to the mountains to visit a friend. There was something about the visit that seemed odd — it wasn’t until after we got back to the city that we realized what it was — it was too quiet.

That is how ‘incrementalism’ works. The Bible says that in the last days, ‘perilous times will come’ — in incremental waves.

Paul says it begins when men become ‘lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, unthankful, unholy’ — moving along in incremental waves until society eventually becomes ‘without natural affection’, a society of ‘trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good’, etc.

The Terri Schiavo case is an object lesson in ‘perilous times’. One can find every element of Paul’s litany of social ills exemplified in process whereby she was condemned to a slow, painful death by starvation.

For Terri Schiavo, the times could not be MORE perilous. She is being put to death because she is inconvenient to her husband’s ten-year long common-law marriage and an awkward reminder to their children that Daddy is really married to somebody else.

The court system, proving itself ‘without natural affection’ ordered her to be starved to death — with, according to the polls, the approval of a majority of America. Our natural affection for the disabled and infirm comes in a close second to our own self-love.

Ask anybody who agrees that Terri Schiavo should be put to death, and they will all give the same reason for their approval. “If it was me, I wouldn’t want to live like that.” In this view, it isn’t about Terri, it is about me.

Those who object to the court’s rulings are the object of national ridicule, ‘right to lifers’ who object ‘on religious grounds’.

Whatever your beliefs, ABC s Jake Tapper commented on Friday, Terri Schiavo and her family deserved better than the way Congress worked this week.

On Monday s CBS Evening News, reporter Elizabeth Kaledin argued that this is exactly the kind of scenario doctors are worried about. It s sad enough that this case had to play out in the courts, but to get politics involved now, I think they would say, is just bad medicine.

None of the broadcast network stories showed even one dissenting expert that objected to the extermination of Terri Schiavo. And those who DO object, on the grounds that life is sacred and only God has the right to take it, are despised by the Left as members of the ‘Religious Right’ — a phrase that guarantees they won’t be taken seriously, no matter how logical their arguments might be.

The Left argues that all they are doing by starving Terri Schiavo is to ‘allow her’ to go and ‘be with God’ — evidently a most compelling argument to those who don’t believe in Him anyway.

The Bible says that during the reign of antichrist, those who refuse to worship him and put their faith in Jesus will share in Terri’s fate — the government will facilitate the wish of Christians to see Jesus by hastening their departure from this earth.

It always sounded a bit like science fiction to me — I couldn’t imagine it ever being possible again after Hitler. But that was then. This is now.

“Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up. . . “

Special Report: That Elusive ‘Moral Authority’

Special Report: That Elusive ‘Moral Authority’
Vol: 42 Issue: 25 Friday, March 25, 2005

On this Good Friday, if the newspaper headlines reveal anything, what they DO reveal is anything but good.

Indeed, it is as if the global moral compass has reversed itself and now points south instead of north — but take note of the fact it is NOT spinning wildly — the shift is more or less universal.

Take the ‘moral authority’ that once belonged to the Catholic Church, for example. For a billion or so Catholics — and the leaders of majority-Catholic nations — the Catholic Church was the final authority on moral matters like abortion, contraception, marriage, family, etc.

Until it was revealed that a significant percentage of the Catholic hierarchy was actively homosexual, that the ranks of the priesthood shot through with pedophiles, and that the Catholic Church used its ‘moral authority’ to shield them from exposure and prosecution.

And the Vatican pronouncements against things like abortion and its advancement of family values suddenly sounded hollow and hypocritical and altogether less ex cathedra than before.

So much so that a pro-abortion, pro-assisted suicide, pro-gay rights, divorced Catholic came within striking distance of the Oval Office, with the support and encouragement of pro-abortion, pro-assisted suicide, pro-gay rights Catholic playboy/politician Ted Kennedy.

According to exit polls, forty-eight percent of American Catholics expressed the degree of influence of the Vatican’s moral authority in their lives by voting for John Kerry.

The moral authority of the United Nations is undergoing a similar reversal. The moral authority of the United Nations is to the secular world what the moral authority of the Vatican is to the Catholic Church.

Because the UN was a community of nations not beholden to any single national or ideological interests, it was designed to reflect the moral authority of the global community. In the past decade, the UN’s moral authority has been blunted by countless scandals.

The Oil-For-Food scandal, one of the most heinous crimes in world history, is being treated largely like a book-keeping error, despite the fact it reaches all the way into the Secretary-General’s office.

What makes it so heinous is the fact that literally hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died so that the UN could continue to loot Iraq’s treasury. It is increasingly clear that the global opposition to toppling Saddam was an effort to both maintain the scam and keep their involvement from being exposed.

The latest revelation from the investigation has the Secretary General meeting four times with officials of Kotechna both before AND after Kotechna hired Annan’s son Kojo and was awarded an Oil-For-Food contract.

(Annan had previously denied any connection between Kojo’s job with Kotechna and Kotechna landing an Oil-For-Food contract.)

Not only did Annan lie about the meetings, it turns out the whole Kotechna story is falling apart. Kojo was paid TWICE what was previously revealed and several times what the job was actually worth, even if Kojo had other qualifications apart from his dad being UN Secretary General.

In the midst of all that, Kofi Annan continues to function as if the UN’s moral authority is intact, and the nations of the world continue to let him, even defend him and the organization.

Even the European Union’s efforts at taking the high moral ground are transparently inside-out. It leads the civilized world in involuntary euthanasia and abortion, while lecturing the United States on the morality of imposing the death penalty on convicted murderers.

Hypocrisy has never been so fashionable.

Assessment:

Seven days ago, a Florida judge ordered a brain-damaged woman to be exterminated by slow starvation because it was determined by judicial process that her life was not worth saving.

The Congress of the United States passed a law designed to stop the process. The President of the United States flew across the country for the express purposes of signing it.

The legal community was thrown into a tizzy. Constitutional issues abounded and the greatest legal minds in the country expressed outrage at the apparent violation of the separation of powers.

One side argued that it was the right of the husband to demand Terri Schiavo be put to death out of respect for her wishes.

The other side argued that the husband had abrogated his right to guardianship as her spouse when he entered into a common law marriage and that he had an overwhelming conflict of interests.

A Gallup Poll cited by Fox News this morning indicated that some 80% of Americans agree with the court’s decision to starve Terri Schiavo to death.

What NOBODY appears to be debating is whether or not it is wrong to kill a human being. In their final brief, Terri’s parents asked the judge to determine whether or not Terri Schiavo had a Constitutional right to life that trumped all over rights.

The judge, by denying the request for an emergency injection to replace her feeding tube, ruled that she did not. And that does NOT seem to be an issue of much concern.

Words fail me in my effort to express how amazed I am at the universal willingness to accept the concept of ‘involuntary euthanasia’ in any form, no matter how carefully parsed and packaged.

Under certain circumstances, a human being can be exterminated like an unwanted pet, according to the laws of the United States, which are evidently in keeping with the wishes of the majority of the population.

Indeed, the default is death, with the burden of proof falling on the Schindler’s to prove Terri would prefer to live. If they can’t prove beyond any doubt that she wanted to live, the court’s assumption is that she wanted to die.

The moral compass is pointed due south.

The pro-death lobby is using all the right words, claiming they are allowing Terri to ‘go be with God’ — as if God is not as capable of taking her in His time as He is every other human being who has ever lived since Adam was cast from the Garden of Eden.

The pro-life lobby is grabbing all the attention it can from the media, then using it provide ammunition for the other side to use to marginalize them as religious fanatics with a hidden agenda.

Lost in the babble is the fact that, under certain circumstances, the government of the United States can legally order a person to be put to death for the good of society. Using almost the same criteria for evaluation as used by the Nazis during their euthanasia program in 1939.

(And if it can happen here, it can happen ANYWHERE).

The Apostle John says that during the reign of the antichrist, “as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:15)

Revelation 20:4 says that John “and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God.” (Revelation 20:4)

The antichrist’s government will ALSO have the authority, under certain circumstances, and in keeping with the moral compass of the time, be able to order a person put to death for the good of society.

The circumstances aren’t the same, but circumstances change. Every journey begins with a single step.

The world is well down the road to perdition already. And with the extermination of Terri Schiavo almost complete, we’ve just turned a corner.

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