And Then There Were Ten . . .

And Then There Were Ten . . .
Vol: 44 Issue: 31 Tuesday, May 31, 2005

In a dramatic broadcast last week, French President Jacques Chirac told his countrymen; “The first consequence of voting ‘no’ will be that Europe stops in its tracks.”

As it happens, the first consequence of voting ‘no’ fell on the French Prime Minister, who Chirac immediately fired and replaced with Dominique DeVillepin.

DeVillepin came to global prominence as the French Foreign Minister during the run-up to the ’03 Gulf War. It was DeVillepin who privately assured Colin Powell that France would back the US before publicly doublecrossing Powell by threatening a UN veto of a war resolution.

(In France, doublecrossing the US works wonders for political careers. DeVillipin was a career diplomat, being appointed to each government post he’s held, including his new one as French prime minister.)

The second consequence of the ‘no’ vote by France was a drop in the value of the euro, which fell to a seven month low on the news. (The euro dipped even further when Chirac announced DeVillepin’s appointment)

Derek Halpenny, senior currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi was quoted in the Financial Times noting the effect of the French referendum on Dutch opinion polls.

The Dutch opposition to ratification has hardened, which he says, “places more significant doubts on the future direction of the EU with 25 members rather than the initial 15.”

A snap poll yesterday showed the Dutch “no” camp had been strengthened by the French outcome, with 59 percent now planning to reject the constitution. The Maurice de Hond institute, which conducted the poll, noted, “The chance of a majority voting for the constitution in the Netherlands has become very slim.”

The referendum will be the first in the Netherlands in more than 200 years. The polls indicate a growing disconnect between public opinion and that of elected politicians. Almost 60% of the public opposes ratification.

But the constitutional is supported by 80% of Dutch parliamentarians. And the Dutch referendum isn’t binding — it is merely ‘consultative’. That means that the Netherlands is free to ignore the referendum’s results if it so chooses.

In the UK, Tony Blair is calling on his countrymen to ‘reflect’ on the French rejection, saying the vote has raised ‘profound questions’ about the future of Europe.

“But I think that underneath all this there is a more profound question, which is about the future of Europe and, in particular, the future of the European economy and how we deal with the modern questions of globalization and technological change.”

Blair’s questions become even more profound in light of the fact that Blair takes over the EU’s rotating presidency July 1st. That means it will be up to Blair to sort out what comes next for the EU.

Assessment:

Most European newspapers reflect the sentiments of today’s headline in the UK’s Scotsman; “Dutch Voters Set to Deliver Death Blow To EU Treaty.”

As noted, that isn’t necessarily true, as the Dutch government can choose to ignore the results of the referendum if it goes badly, although it says it will ‘consider’ the results if the turnout exceeds 30% of eligible voters.

I’m not sure exactly what that means — and neither does anybody else.

What the vote did was further establish the existence of two Europes — Donald Rumsfeld’s famous ‘Old Europe’ and the ‘New Europe’ emerging from the old Soviet bloc. Noted Polish commentator Krzystof Bobinski, “a lot of the smaller member states are saying, ‘Why should France take the decision for everyone?’ “

The EU could survive without a constitution, operating under the authority of the Nice Treaty concluded in December 2000.

But that would most likely speed up a French-German proposal of ‘Core Europe’ — an alliance of EU nations bound together and sufficiently unified to constitute a real force in the world, with a clear place on the global stage and a definite role as a counterweight to American global dominance.

The Bible predicts the emergence in the last days of a ten-nation confederacy that will arise from the old Roman Empire.

The prophet Daniel had a vision of four great beasts; a lion with eagle’s wings, a bear, a winged leopard with four heads and;

“a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.” (Daniel 7:4-7)

History identifies the first four beasts as Babylon, Medo-Persia, Alexander’s Greek Empire and the Roman Empire. The ten horns correspond with the ten toes on Nebuchadnezzar’s image, recorded in Daniel Chapter 2.

Daniel interpreted the two legs of iron of the king’s image as a ‘fourth kingdom’ out of which would arise an inferior incarnation symbolized by the images feet and toes.

“And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.” (Daniel 2:41)

Daniel also identifies the time frame in which this final confederation of ten kings would rule, saying;

“And in the days of THESE kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:44)

So the confederation of ten kings will rule until the Lord returns to set up the Millennial Kingdom. That seems pretty cut and dried. But, as skeptics are fond of pointing out, the EU has enlarged to over 25 ‘kingdoms’ so far and counting. The WEU has 28 members, although only ten of them hold ‘full member’ status.

John describes the same ten kings in Revelation 17, identifying them as a ‘beast’ with seven heads and ten horns, upon which “Mystery Babylon, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth” is carried.

Staying with the ‘woman’ John notes, ” here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.” (Revelation 17:9).

There is only one city of the ancient world that is specifically known as the City on Seven Hills. If you don’t believe me, “Google” the following phrase, “city on seven hills”. It is one of the traditional titles for the city of Rome. Rome has been known by that title since before the time of Christ.

It was revealed to John that the “ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings” and, strengthening Daniel’s identification of them as ruling until the Lord’s return, John continues, “which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” (Revelation 17:12)

The French vote may well have the domino effect now being predicted by the Europlanners for the greater EU, but the disintegration of the EU would leave the Western European Union unchallenged as Europe’s collective representative.

The Western European Union, you’ll recall, consists of ten full members, six associate members, five observers and seven associate partners. And, as WEU’s website notes at the bottom of the ‘delegations’ page;

“Following a decision taken on 14 June 2001, the Secretary-General stated during the 1352nd meeting of the Council of Western European Union on 28 June 2001 that, with regard to the period from 1 January 2002, the Member States deemed it unnecessary, in present and foreseeable circumstances, to make any formal change to the statuses of non-full members.”

In other words, no matter who else may join the WEU, full membership in the WEU will always be limited to the original TEN.

The point is this: whether the EU implodes or not, the TEN are already in place.

And it is during the days of THESE kings that the God of heaven will set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed.

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Romans 13:11)

“Non!”

“Non!”
Vol: 44 Issue: 30 Monday, May 30, 2005

French voters dealt Jacques Chirac and the proposed EU constitution what analysts fear may be a death blow, with almost fifty-five percent of EU voters voting to reject it.

The French ‘No’ could doom the treaty, since all 25 members of the EU must ratify it in order for it to take effect. Some EU countries sought approval by referendum, others by parliamentary vote.

France was the tenth country to hold its ratification vote. The first nine members, Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain, had all voted ‘yes’.

The French vote now shifts the spotlight to the Dutch vote due on Wednesday. As in the case with France, all the opinion polls suggest that the rejectionists in that country are also leading. The French rejection reflects a growing mistrust of new European institutions across Europe.

Previous EU proposals have been rejected by some constituent countries without dooming the entire union — the Danish rejection of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 resulted in a compromise deal in which the Danes were allowed to opt out of monetary union in exchange for ratification.

No such remedy is envisioned for the French. A member state can’t exactly reject the foundational document of the European Union and remain a member.

France’s rejection advances the old ‘Core Europe’ plan — a ‘fast-track’ European Union in which the rejectionists are left behind to work out their difficulties with an eye toward rejoining later.

Another plan under discussion would leave the constitution behind, reverting back to the old model in which France and Germany took the lead through executive and judicial institutions.

President Jacques Chirac, who had predicted France’s isolation in Europe if the constitution was rejected, tried to put his best face on when addressing his nation, but he couldn’t hide his disappointment, saying in a televised statement;

“The decision of France inevitably creates a difficult situation for the defense of our interests in Europe. . . I will tell you in the very next days my decisions regarding the government and its priorities.”

For Chirac, the no vote was a personal defeat. Chirac had assumed that through the constitution, France could promote a stronger, more unified Europe that could project not only economic but also political power around the world.

He repeatedly spoke of a “multipolar world,” with Europe as one of the poles capable of counterbalancing the United States.

After the vote, there were calls among some of the most extreme opponents of the constitution for him to resign.

Among the rejected provisions envisioned by the Constitution were the elimination of the rotating six-month presidency, the creation of an official five-year term EU presidency, enshrine a list of basic rights, and delineated what functions would remain with member states and which functions would be governed from EU headquarters in Brussels.

Assessment:

France was one of the founding members of the 1948 Benelux Coal and Steel Community, which grew into the European Common Market which grew into the European Community which ultimately became the European Union.

The rejection of the constitution by French voters is therefore doubly stinging.

The EU has always been overwhelmingly dominated by the French. In Brussels, the working language of the EU was French. English was rejected out of French concerns that using English would discriminate against ‘other’ languages (‘other’ languages, of course, means ‘French’).

European heads of state and government will head to Brussels on June 16 to try and figure out what to do next. On July 1, the UK assumes its turn as head of the EU’s six-month rotating presidency.

If the Dutch follow the French lead and reject the treaty as well, it is probable that the UK’s Tony Blair will use Britain’s bully pulpit to declare the process dead in the water.

That way, Blair can avoid a defeat similar to Chirac’s by canceling the UK’s constitutional referendum scheduled for next year.

Article IV-443-4 of the constitution outlines the process, should it be rejected by any member state:

“If, two years after the signature of the treaty amending this Treaty, four-fifths of the Member States have ratified it and one or more Member States have encountered difficulties in proceeding with ratification, the matter shall be referred to the European Council.”

The two years will be up in October, 2006. That’s how long the Euro-planners have to pick up the pieces.

Note:

Today’s Omega Letter is a wee bit late . . . my friend, Captain John Kurek (USMC -Ret.) and I went to the town square at 8 a.m. for the lowering of the flag to half-mast in honor of those veterans of past wars who gave all their tomorrows for our today. Thank you to all our veterans. I pray we continue to be worthy of their sacrifice. And may God continue to bless America.

White House Shifts Support to Abbas

White House Shifts Support to Abbas
Vol: 44 Issue: 28 Saturday, May 28, 2005

After meeting at the White House with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, President Bush gave a speech in which he called on Israel to freeze all construction in the West Bank, dismantle unauthorized West Bank outposts and avoid permanent changes in Jerusalem.

President Bush was evidently impressed by the performance of Palestinian security forces now working in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Despite Israeli complaints, US envoy Lt. Gen. William Ward filed a positive assessment of PA efforts to put a stop to terror attacks against Israeli targets.

Ward reported to the President that Abbas was instituting reforms and required additional Israeli confidence-building measures, including the release of Palestinian prisoners.

According to news accounts, President Bush believes Abbas is genuinely committed to peace. So much so that he accepted a PA request to ‘monitor’ the evacuation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza because, according to a US official;

“Abbas is concerned that Israel will use the withdrawal to launch a massive military operation against Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip.”

The White House isn’t planning to send an ‘observer’ — it is planning to send The Observer — Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. That is about as high-ranking an official as the US could send, apart from Dick Cheney or the president himself.

The president, announcing $50 million for Palestinian infrastructure, said he intended to help create a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity and a link between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“A state of scattered territories will not work,” Bush said. “There must also be meaningful linkages between the West Bank and Gaza.”

For the first time, Bush said the United States would not accept any changes in the 1949 armistice lines without agreement by Israel and the Palestinians.

The president did not refer to his statement in April 2005 that called on Palestinians to accept the Israeli presence developed in the West Bank over the last 35 years.

“Any final status agreement must be reached between the two parties, and changes to the 1949 Armistice lines must be mutually agreed to,” Bush said.

Israeli officials appeared stunned by Bush’s reference to the 1949 armistice lines, which does not include the West Bank, Gaza Strip and much of Jerusalem. Some of the officials said the White House signaled its determination to press Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders.

(Here is a link to a map of the 1949 armistice lines).

“It’s a collapse of or at least a harsh blow in U.S.-Israeli relations,” Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said.

“What we saw yesterday must worry us. There is even a U.S. withdrawal from [United Nations Security Council resolution] 242, which talks about ‘defensible borders.'”

Assessment:

The White House’s abrupt about face is made all the more baffling when one takes into account Mahmoud Abbas’ record so far. And it is even more baffling given his plans for the future.

According to Geo-Strategy Direct, a subscription intelligence website operated by the Washington Times’ investigative reporter Bill Gertz, Abbas has been quietly laying the groundwork for a campaign of violence designed to undermine U.S. support for Israel and suspend Bush administration efforts to achieve reform and transparency in the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas let his cards slip during his White House meeting where he reportedly stressed that the PA would not compromise on its demand for the so-called ‘right of return for Palestinians to what is now Israel.

The ‘Right of Return’ would stipulate that those Arabs who fled their homes in advance of the 1948 Arab invasion be given back their lands and property, together with full Israeli citizenship for themselves and their dependants.

Israel estimates that the “Right of Return” would require it to absorb an influx of several million Arabs into its population. Because Israel is a democracy, the newly absorbed Arab voters could outnumber Jewish voters and could vote Israel out of existence as a Jewish state, destroying it without firing a shot.

Abbas adviser Bassam Abu Sharif articulated the PA’s position, saying, “The tasks facing the members of Palestinian organizations, especially Fatah and Hamas and the organizations whose representatives form the majority of the PLO leadership, focus first and foremost on resisting the occupation and establishing a state on Palestinian lands occupied in 1967.”

“Resisting the occupation” and ‘establishing a state on Palestinian lands “occupied” in 1967. . .” If there is a dime’s worth of difference between Arafat’s position and that of Abbas, I can’t detect it.

Let’s have a little pop quiz on geography. The ‘Palestinian’ lands ‘occupied’ by Israel in 1967 can be located on the 1948 armistice map. Locate the West Bank. (It’s colored orange.) What country did the 1949 Armistice Agreement give the West Bank to?

Now look to your left and locate the Gaza Strip. It’s colored in red. Now look down to the legend. Hmmm. Orange belongs to Jordan. Red belongs to Egypt. Now locate the ‘occupied Palestinian lands’ that Abbas is referring to.

Having some trouble?

That’s because there was no such thing as ‘Palestinian’ lands. Here is a map of what was called “Palestine” following the British defeat of the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1917.

If there is such a place as ‘Palestinian Lands’ historically, it includes all of Jordan, part of Syria, all of Lebanon and parts of both Egypt and Iraq.

For 500 years prior to the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, ‘Palestine’ (then called ‘Southern Syria) was a minor province of no particular importance. Jerusalem was of such little importance that it wasn’t even a territorial capital.

The name, ‘Palestine’ isn’t even an Arab word. ‘Palestine’ is from the Greek “Palaistina” which is derived from the Hebrew “Pleshet” which means, “Land of the Philistines” and historically, referred to a a small coastal strip north east of Egypt, also called “Philistia.”

In the 2nd century BC, the Romans renamed it “Syria Palaestina”.

The modern name, “Palestine” was revived when the British were given their mandate following World War I. Until 1967, the Arabs used the term ‘Palestinian’ to describe the JEWS.

The maps are there. Take a look at them again. There is no such thing as an Arab ‘Palestinian people’. There never was.

The ‘Palestinian people’ were created in a single day in 1967 by Yasser Arafat. He created them out of the expatriate Jordanians and Egyptians left behind after Egypt and Jordan were defeated by Israel.

The White House knows all this. It isn’t a secret. Neither is it revised history. The maps existed long before the ‘Palestinian people’ did. What has Abbas done to inspire such confidence that the White House would modify its position?

Apart from public assurances, Abbas has failed to arrest Palestinian terrorists, refused to dismantle terrorist cells or seize weapons from those identified as having attacked Israel.

Over the past eight months, Palestinian children have been learning from new school textbooks that demonize Jews and deem the Protocols of the Elders of Zion a legitimate historical source.

The new textbooks remove all Jewish and Israeli references found in previous editions. This includes the changing of the name of Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem.

PA officials said Abbas wants immediate U.S. endorsement of Palestinian positions regarding statehood. “We will ask Bush for a clear American position over the implementation of the roadmap after the withdrawal from Gaza,” Abbas said before leaving for Washington.

“We want two basic issues. We want him to give us political support and economic support that was promised by Congress because our people are in dire need of it.” Abbas got both.

Bush not only promised to keep up the pressure to force Israel to accept an enemy state within its territorial boundaries. He also agreed to a fifty million dollar grant for the Palestinian Authority.

So far, Congress has given $200 million in US tax dollars to the PA. Arafat stole ALL of it, not to mention hundreds of millions more from other donor countries.

Now that he has the president’s ear, Abbas is reportedly planning to launch a fresh uprising against Israel. Geo-Strategy direct reports that Abbas hopes Israel will respond with “terrorist force and organized fire.”

According to the plan, the Israeli response would lead to massive Western pressure on Israel that would isolate the country and embarrass the United States. As a result, the Israeli people and American Jews would protest Sharon’s policies.

Gertz quotes Abbas advisor Abu Sharif who contends that an uprising represents, for the Palestinian side, a no-lose proposition. It would bolster the Palestinian stand, reverse the pro-Israeli policies of the United States and strengthen Abbas. As Palestinian violence rages back home, Abbas could be tough with the US.

Abbas was expected to delay any uprising until at least after the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, sources said. At the same time, he would not stop the escalation of Fatah and Hamas attacks on Israeli communities and military outposts in West Bank and Gaza Strip.

If this were any country except Israel, the entire farce would never have gotten off the ground. Were Israel not a Jewish state, the world would instantly reject the PA claims as historically and transparently invalid. Anybody with access to an atlas knows there has never been an Arab Palestine.

A hundred years ago, ‘Palestine’ was Southern Syria. For the next forty years, ‘Palestinians’ were Jews — Arab residents vehemently rejected the label of ‘Palestinian’ and insisted they were citizens of Southern Syria.

Thirty-eight years ago, following the defeat of Jordan and Egypt, an Egyptian-born Arab named Yasser Arafat invented the ‘Palestinian’ people.

The modern ‘Palestinian people’ have no unique language, no unique culture, no unique history and cannot be found identified anywhere in any historical records that date earlier than the mid 1960’s.

But somehow, we find one Mahmoud Abbas, ‘president’ of the ‘Palestinian people’, meeting at the White House with President George Bush to discuss creating a ‘Palestinian State’ on what is both historical and modern Israel.

And nobody seems to have a problem with it — except the Jews of Israel.

“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)

The BetaMax Dilemma

The BetaMax Dilemma
Vol: 44 Issue: 27 Friday, May 27, 2005

The British government is preparing to launch a national identification plan, issuing a biometric passport to every citizen over the age of sixteen. Each citizen’s details will be stored in a single, centralized database.

Citizens will be fingerprinted, photographed and biometric features, like iris scans and facial recognition points, will be included in the citizen’s file.

Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff is reportedly in consultation with his British counterparts in an effort to standardize the microchip technology used in British national ID cards to those used by the United States.

Chertoff says the goal is to ensure compatibility when screening terrorists. As Chertoff explained;

“It would be very bad if we all invested huge amounts of money in biometric systems and they didn’t work with each other. Hopefully, we are not going to do VHS and Betamax with our chips. I was one of the ones who bought Betamax, and that’s now in the garbage.”

Interesting analogy. I bought a Betamax VCR when they first came out, too. It had a much clearer picture, the tapes were smaller . . . I thought it was superior in every way. But pretty soon, all the video rental stores were renting VHS tapes.

Nobody ever developed an adaptor. It takes a VHS VCR to read a VHS format tape. It didn’t matter that Betamax was superior — what mattered was being able to read the information in the format it was presented in. That’s what makes his analogy so interesting.

Chertoff’s efforts to standardize the technology would make it possible for American officials to read all the information on a British chip as easily as it can read US chips, and vice-versa, setting the stage for a global ID system.

Chertoff is also floating what he calls the ‘Trusted Traveler’ scheme, similar to that worked out with the Netherlands. A pilot program is scheduled to begin between the US and the Netherlands, allowing Dutch visitors to use a Trusted Traveler card to enter the US without being subjected to further questioning or screening.

Under the ‘Trusted Traveler’ scheme, visitors forward their details to the US embassy to be vetted. If successful, they would receive a document allowing “fast-tracking” through the US immigration system.

Chertoff said compatibility and the checking system was intended purely to track down “terrorists and criminals” and the main aim was to provide a “fair and reasonable system”.

“When we screen based on names, we’re screening on the most primitive and least technological basis of identification – it’s the most susceptible to misspelling, or people changing their identity, or fraud,” he said.

Assessment:

Although the Department of Homeland Security and the administration both deny it, America is also developing a national ID system that mirrors the British plan. The only difference between the two is that the Brits openly call theirs a national identification system.

The United States calls their system the ‘Real ID Act’. The bill mandates that state driver’s licenses must include “the incorporation of specified data, a common machine-readable technology, and certain anti-fraud security features,” as determined by the secretary of homeland security.

Potential “specified data” could include retina scans and biometric data, according to the congressional summary.

The administration says it isn’t a national ID card because states can refuse to participate. But if a state opts out, then they lose federal money and federal agencies won’t accept that state’s driver’s license as identification.

So, if your state opts out, then you won’t be able to use your driver’s license as identification at airports, federally-chartered banks, etc. You couldn’t use your driver’s license as identification to enter a federal office building in your own state.

It would create the ridiculous situation in which you would be legally allowed to drive in another state, but your driver’s license wouldn’t be acceptable to identify you as the holder.

In the final analysis, there isn’t much difference between Britain’s national identification system and America’s Real ID Act. Both would create a kind of domestic ‘passport’ that citizens would be required to present on demand, and both would be linked to a massive central database containing your life’s history.

And without it, one would be excluded from normal society.

There are some sound arguments in favor of a national id system. It would at least make a dent in illegal immigration. Without a secure national system capable of telling citizen from noncitizen, U.S. employers routinely are let off the hook when job applicants show them any number of easily obtained fake identity papers or valid identity cards that offer no proof of citizenship.

A national ID scheme would reduce the instances of identity theft. It would allow the feds to identify and track criminals who take up residences in a different state.

The national ID plan has so many pros and cons that it could be the inspiration for the Proverb, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

It SEEMS like a good idea. But it is only a good idea if one trusts the government. And even if one DOES trust the government NOW, what about some future government? In the hands of a despot, the Real ID could be a powerful weapon of control.

Revoke someone’s ‘Real ID’ and a person’s hometown becomes his prison. Without it, one cannot travel, open a bank account, or work at any job that has federal connections. A despotic government could introduce pretty much any policy it wanted and silence its critics with a keystroke.

Expanded into a global ID system, as Chertoff wants, and whoever controls the global system could control the global population.

This state of the art global identification scheme wasn’t even possible a decade ago. Today, it is in development. It is naive to imagine that it won’t be fully implemented in the near future. (Betamax was better than VHS. Who would have thought 25 years ago that VHS would become the standard?)

But the Bible anticipated the development of a standardized global identification system two thousand years ago.

“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.”

Not only did the Apostle John anticipate the system, he explained how it would be used by the antichrist to control the population.

“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.” (Revelation 13:16-17)

The Real ID isn’t the mark of the Beast. Neither is the UK’s national ID scheme. But the ‘conditioning’ process necessary to implement the eventual introduction of a Mark as a requirement of citizenship in his new world order is an accomplished fact.

The antichrist has not yet made his appearance on the scene, but when he does, he will find the system already operating smoothly. Which is why God inspired Solomon to issue an identical warning, not once, but twice.

“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:18, Proverbs 16:25)

Lessons from Athens

Lessons from Athens
Vol: 44 Issue: 26 Thursday, May 26, 2005

When asked his opinion, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill famously replied, “Democracy is the worst form of government — except for all those others that have been tried.”

Nowhere is the truth of Churchill’s statement more evident than in the non-existent state of Palestine. After years of pressure from the United States, the EU and Israel, the Palestinian Authority finally gave in and allowed the first free elections since the mid-1990’s.

The elections were carefully monitored by every busybody organization on the planet from Amnesty International to the Global Committee to Save the Whales, and was pronounced free and fair.

The Palestinian Authority’s decision to embrace democracy represented a break between the PA and the rest of the governments of the Arab Middle East and was widely hailed as a ‘breakthrough for democracy’.

It was everything that the White House hoped for. One person, one vote, every Palestinian casting their ballot for the candidate that most closely mirrored his or her own views. After years of non-stop violence, at last, the Palestinians had a say in their own future.

The PA held its first municipal elections on May 5. The Palestinian voters gave one third of the seats on the municipal governments to . . . Hamas!

Yes, the same Hamas that carried out more than 500 attacks against Israel since September 2000. The same Hamas that killed 390 people, mostly Israeli civilians, and wounded more than 2,100 others. In free and fair elections, about a third of Palestinian voters indicated their preference for terrorists to lead them. Inconvenient.

It was so inconvenient to Mahmoud Abbas’ losing Fatah Party, that he is planning to postpone the parliamentary elections scheduled in July until he can ‘shore up’ his base.

Since neither Israel nor the United States is happy with the prospect of Hamas taking over the Palestinian Authority, they plan to look the other way. Evidently, ‘democracy’ is only the best form of government if the ‘right’ people win.

In Iraq, the United States, having droned on and on about democracy, took a victory lap after most of Iraqi voters turned out at the polls and elected a legitimate Iraqi government. But most of Iraq’s Sunni population boycotted the elections, which meant most of the seats went to Iraq’s Shi’ia and Kurdish candidates, leaving the Sunnis under-represented in government.

This was also inconvenient, since, ideally, a ‘democracy’ is supposed to ensure that all voices are represented. The architects of Middle Eastern democracy in Washington DC never anticipated what would happen if one group boycotted the election, got no votes, and then cried, “No fair!”.

Declared then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, “For the government to be representative and for the government to be effective, the transitional national assembly would certainly have to take into account the ethnic mix.”

Therefore, adjustments must be made in the newly elected parliament and the new government “to ensure adequate Sunni representation.”

Considering that a democracy functions on the principle that it represents the interests of the VOTERS and the voters had already spoken, making ‘adjustments’ to the new government sort of sends a mixed message, doesn’t it?

Lebanon, newly freed from Syrian control, is planning to hold free, democratic elections in the near future as well. Washington is in talks with Lebanon, seeking ways to ensure ‘free, fair and democratic elections’ — in which Hezbollah doesn’t win — as analysts say they would — if the elections were held today.

Assessment:

The word “democracy” comes from two Greek words meaning, ‘people’ and ‘power’. A more accurate rendering would be, “the power of the people to do what they see fit.”

Democracy isn’t a new concept — it was invented by the ancient Greeks. The city-state of Athens, 5th century Athens to be precise, is the inventor and first practitioner of democracy.

Athens was a democracy from 508 to 267 BC, two hundred and forty-one years — the longest-lived democracy which has yet existed. The great historian Thucydides placed the blame for the Athenian collapse on the people who chose their leaders unwisely.

Not all democracies are benign. Imperial Rome, despite its worship of Caesar, was a democracy. Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany through the democratic process. He was legitimately elected Chancellor of Germany in 1933 through Germany’s democratic process.

Historically, democracies have not lasted long. Imperial Rome’s democracy caused its collapse — historian Edward Gibbon described it as ‘bread and circuses’. To maintain power, Caesar bought votes by ingratiating himself to the people with government handouts and by entertaining them in the coliseums.

When the people discovered they had the power to vote themselves welfare out of the Roman treasury, Imperial Rome soon spent itself out of existence.

Democracy functions according to the principle that the laws of the land reflect the will of the people. No law can exist without the consent of the governed, and the governed, through their representatives, have the authority to create law as they see fit.

As such, democracies do not function under the rule of law; they are a law unto themselves.

The Athenian democracy survived 241 years before finally collapsing. Historians blame Athen’s fall on the people’s preference for leaders who promised rewards, played on superstitions, and otherwise appealed to baser instincts in order to gain power.

Unlike the Romans, Athenian democracy championed free speech. Many Greek notables were horrified by the freedom of speech in Athens, which permitted the comic poets to make scurrilous attacks on public figures.

Others assailed democracy more insidiously by pointing out its weaknesses in practice. The Assembly was called ‘fickle’ and ‘bloodthirsty’. Athenian politicians came from the educated and wealthy classes, and were the inventors of class warfare as a political tactic.

The Founding Fathers, drawing lessons from the history of the world’s great democracies, crafted the US as a Constitutional Republic and NOT a democracy. As we’ve seen, democracies don’t operate under the rule of law — the rule of law is as fluid as popular opinion. Our Founders had an opportunity to establish a democracy in America and chose not to.

If the source of law for a democracy is the popular feeling of the people, then what is the source of law for the American republic?

According to Founder Noah Webster: “[O]ur citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion.” (Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), p. 6.)

“Blackstone’s Commentaries” have been the traditional final legal authority for Supreme Court decisions since Independence. Blackstone explained the difference between a democracy and a Constitutional Republic was the source of its authority to govern:

“To instance in the case of murder: this is expressly forbidden by the Divine. . . . If any human law should allow or enjoin us to commit it we are bound to transgress that human law. . . .”(Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (Philadelphia: Robert Bell, 1771), Vol. I, pp. 42.)

Washington is trying export ‘democracy’ to the Middle East. So far, democracy has put Hamas in power in the Palestinian Authority. It threatens to put Hezbollah in power in Lebanon. It created an imbalance of power in Iraq that could ultimately result in civil war.

And efforts to tinker with the results of the election to correct the ‘ethnic imbalance’ is seen by its opponents as evidence of the corrupt nature of Western democracy.

America’s democracy, at 229 years old, looks very much like Thucydides Athens. The principles of class warfare, buying votes by promising entitlements, playing on superstitions and otherwise playing ‘to the baser instincts’ of the population have been elevated to a form of governing called ‘partisanship’.

No matter what one side proposes, the other side accuses them of playing ‘partisan politics’ by employing one of the Athenian principles outlined in the previous sentence.

The ideological divide that destroyed Athenian democracy was the consequence of free speech taken to its ultimate limit. Rumor-mongering and false accusations destroyed the Athenians by destroying confidence in the system.

Ideological warfare at home resulted in Athenian defeat on the battlefield.

Does anybody else see a pattern here? The acclaimed 19th century philosopher Georges Santayana famously observed that, those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. George Bernard Shaw paraphrased; “One thing man learns from history is that man learns nothing from history.”

America was founded as a Constitutional Republic and bound itself to Divine Law by placing limits on the ‘rule of the people’. Progressive liberalism has systematically whittled away at the foundations of the American rule of law until the ‘rule of law’ has become whatever the people will it to be.

You needn’t take my word for it. Neither is it my opinion. It is a fact, provable by a backward reading of the history of the past generation.

It is also provable by a forward reading of history of the LAST generation, recorded by the Apostle Paul in this second letter to Timothy.

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

That this is the last generation — the one of which Jesus was speaking when He said, “this generation shall not pass until ALL be fulfilled” — there can be no doubt.

America’s decline in power and prestige is directly related to its declining relationship with its Founder. Everybody preaches it, (usually to raise money) until it sounds like ‘fire and brimstone’ white noise, but it IS demonstrably true.

It’s been said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. There is no reason to believe that the trend will suddenly reverse itself. Past history shows that trend is a mirror image of Athens and Rome as their democracies began to implode.

Future history says the same thing. Human government has exhausted pretty much all its options. There is only one option left.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2nd Thesslonians 2:3-4)

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

The “Nuclear Option”

The “Nuclear Option”
Vol: 44 Issue: 25 Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Fourteen US Senators, seven moderate Republicans and seven Democrats, reached a last-minute compromise that averted the application of the so-called ‘nuclear option’ by the Republican-controlled majority.

That’s the way that most news services reported the deal. Incidentally, it was also the first time I ever heard the word ‘moderate’ applied by the mainstream media to describe a Republican senator.

The San Jose Mercury-News reported the story under the tongue-in-cheek headline; “High-Minded Centrists Discovered in Senate.”

The Mercury-News story contained, to give it credit, an honest effort on the part of the paper to balance the story, but one can’t describe color if one is blind to begin with.

The report began by repeating the Left’s revision of Senate history:

“Seven moderate Democrats and seven moderate Republicans have backed the Senate away from the “nuclear” brink with a deal on appeals court judges nominated by President Bush. Three will be approved and two will be rejected by filibuster.

The deal scuttles a plan by the Republican leadership in the Senate to eliminate filibusters on judicial candidates. The filibuster is a longstanding practice in the Senate that enables a minority of 41 senators to delay a vote indefinitely.”

“A long-standing practice” is a bit of a stretch when applying the history of the filibuster to judicial nominees.

The only time in American history that the filibuster has been successfully used to block a judicial nominee was the 1968 filibuster blocking President Lyndon Johnson’s appointment of Associate Justice Abe Fortas as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Abe Fortas was, at the time, a close advisor to President Johnson. In those days, a justice was paid $39,500. Fortas was able to bring in extra cash through a ‘foundation’ set up by Wolfson. Wolfson paid Fortas a ‘fee’ amounting to $20,000 a year, for which Fortas was required to attend a single annual meeting.

In return, Fortas lobbied the administration on behalf of Wolfson’s two companies, both of which were under federal investigation. Ultimately, Johnson withdrew his nomination of Fortas, and Fortas later resigned to avoid impeachment.

To read the liberal press, like the Washington Post or the LA Times, Fortas is an example of the GOP using a filibuster to block a judicial nominee.

The filibuster that blocked Fortas’ nomination was bi-partisan. His nomination was blocked by twenty-four Republicans and nineteen Democrats. Despite Fortas’ credentials as a reliably liberal Democrat, back then, some Democrats still put what was best for America ahead of what was best for liberal America.

Senate Democrats say 12 nominations have been filibustered in the Senate to 2000, with Fortas being the only nomination that wasn’t subsequently confirmed.

No matter how you spin it, that is one successful judicial filibuster, 37 years ago, out of more than 200 years of Senate history.

Since coming to office, ten of Bush’s 45 judicial appointees (more than 20%) have been denied by filibuster, requiring a unconstitutional super majority vote.

The Democrats called the threatened closing of the filibuster option by the GOP “an assault on the very essence of the Senate, a body distinguished by its insistence on tradition and unwritten rules.”

Notes columnist Charles Krauthammer; “This claim is a comical inversion of the facts. One of the great traditions, customs and unwritten rules of the Senate is that you do not filibuster judicial nominees. You certainly do not filibuster judicial nominees who would otherwise win an up-or-down vote. You surely do not filibuster judicial nominees in a systematic campaign to deny a president and a majority of the Senate their choice of judges. That is historically unprecedented.”

Assessment:

The word ‘filibuster’ comes from a Dutch word meaning, ‘pirate’. A ‘filibuster’ is a parliamentary procedure that the minority can use to block sending a nominee to the floor for a vote. A filibuster deadlock requires a 60% majority vote to overcome.

A filibuster is one of the few times in which a super-majority is required by the Senate. Barring the invocation of a filibuster, all that is required for judicial nominees is a simple majority of 51-49.

In the event of a tie, the Vice President can cast a tie-breaking vote, making a 51-50 majority vote a possibility.

The alleged ‘nuclear option’ that was avoided by the fourteen ‘centrist’ senators would have resulted in a Senate rules change that would eliminate the need for a super-majority and would return to the Constitutionally-mandated simple majority.

The reason that the Republicans call it the ‘Constitutional option’ while the Democrats (and the mainstream press) prefer the term ‘nuclear option’ is because if the Senate majority exercises that option, the Democrats pledged to shut down the government.

The seven so-called ‘moderate’ Republicans broke ranks with their party to join with the seven ‘moderate’ Democrats (who did not) to come up with the ‘compromise’ deal. (The exact same offer was made last week by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and was rejected by the Senate majority as ‘tepid’.)

The ‘compromise’ worked out means that the Democrats won’t block three of Bush’s nominations (that they previously said were unacceptably biased), in exchange for blocking two others.

In reality, it was all arbitrary procedure — there were no heart-felt moral convictions at work here. The deal proves that the Dems weren’t blocking the now-acceptable justices out of conviction, but for the express purpose of obstructing the administration.

What was unacceptable to the Democrats was the risk of losing the ability to govern from the minority, not the suitability of the justices themselves.

The four-year-long fight was instead about Senate Democrats finding creative new ways to continue to wield the power the voters took away from them in 2000.

Whether justices Owens, Pryor or Brown will be good for the country or not is evidently irrelevant.

Priscilla Owens’ nomination was filibustered for four years. Others have also waited years for the up or down vote denied them by the Senate Democrats.

If they were bad appointments before, what about the nominees has changed to make them acceptable? If they are now suddenly acceptable, then why block them in the first place?

What about this deal suddenly makes bad nominees good, or good nominees bad? The answer is fairly obvious. What is good for the country is secondary to what is good for the Democrats — which appears to be the only consideration that matters.

“But He, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.” (Luke 11:17)

“Wherefore, Contend With One Another Over These Words”

“Wherefore, Contend With One Another Over These Words”
Vol: 44 Issue: 24 Tuesday, May 24, 2005

From time to time, there are periodic eruptions in the forums from new members or guests who believe that it is their mission in life to correct our allegedly mistaken views on doctrinal issues like eternal security or a pre-Trib Rapture.

The Omega Letter was designed to be a private fellowship of like-minded believers who can expect consistent and prayerful teaching on the deeper points of doctrine.

One can find many different ministries that claim a number of doctrines that aren’t shared by the Omega Letter.

There are Catholic ministries, Pentecostal ministries, Baptist, Methodist, non-denominational, ministries that believe in a pre-Trib Rapture, as well as those who believe in pre-wrath, mid-Trib, post-Trib — there is even a mainstream doctrine that denies there will ever be either a Rapture or a Tribulation Period.

I don’t enter into debates with believers who take a different view. It is my contention that doctrinal differences within the Church are deliberate.

The Genesis story of the tower of Babel is instructive in more ways than simply providing the answer to the question of where all the different races and languages came from.

In that story, the men of Babel, hoping to avoid another flood, decide to build “a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.” (Genesis 11:4)

The narrative goes on;

“And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:5-7)

Clearly, God knew that the men of Babel could NOT build a tower that reaches to heaven. Just as clearly, God knew that there ARE restraints on men, and there ARE some things that men cannot do, even if they imagine they can.

It is true now, and it was even more true then.

But, without the confounding of languages, the people WERE one, in that they had a single king who sought, by his own effort, to bring all the people of the earth together under a single banner in an expressed effort to thwart the purposes of God.

So God confused their languages, not because He couldn’t ‘put down’ a man-made effort to usurp His authority, but out of mercy, to prevent the necessity of having to punish them all.

In confusing their languages, God separated mankind into individual nations, preventing the rise of a global dictator like Nimrod who was determined to bring the whole world under a single, rebellious dictatorship.

In the beginning, the Church was one under Jesus Christ. To ensure that one man didn’t take over and begin dictating his own terms after the Lord ascended, Jesus left the Church under the care of twelve apostles.

Three hundred years later, one apostle was elevated by men to become the titular head of a single united, Christian Church, under the authority of a single man heading a single denomination.

The consequence of that effort is known to history as the ‘Dark Ages’.

Once the Church became ‘one’ under the papacy, there truly was ‘nothing restrained from them’ spiritually. The Popes of the Dark Ages appointed and removed kings from their thrones. History is filled with the accounts of the Papal wars and inquisitions.

Under the power of the papacy, the power over heaven and hell was taken from Jesus and given to the papal Church. The papal Church claimed the power to forgive sins or retain them, and made keeping Church doctrine a condition of salvation.

At its extreme, the papal Church began SELLING free passes to heaven, known as ‘plenary indulgences’, turning salvation into a commodity to be bought and sold.

It took a millennia for the power of the papacy to be broken by the Reformation, which resulted in the Church being separated into denominations, like the world was separated into individual nations at Babel.

The various denominations hold differing doctrinal views that keeps them separated into individual church groups, or denominations, preventing the rise of another superchurch.

Assessment:

According to the Book of the Revelation, in the last days, spiritual Babel will rise again, under the headship of a single man, energized by Satan, and known to Christians as the antichrist.

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. . . and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:7a, 15b)

During the Church Age, no such leader could ever deceive the entire believing church. There are too many minor points of doctrine that divide us for any one man to unify us under a single banner of united Christianity.

The proof is the Omega Letter. Our fellowship are all professing believers, all saved by grace through faith, all witnesses to the saving power of Christ, and all expecting to spend eternity in heaven.

Despite all that, the doctrinal differences that exist between us on a single point, the timing of the Rapture, is enough to divide us into two camps. From what I can read, there will be no compromise.

Those who reject a pre-Trib Rapture argue that expecting a pre-Trib Rapture will make believers so blinded to the antichrist that when a European leader arises who confirms a peace covenant with Israel, declares himself Israel’s Messiah, and demands global worship in exchange for a Mark that, without which, they will be unable to buy or sell, that they will accept the Mark.

According to this view, because the Rapture hasn’t happened, Christians in the Tribulation will not recognize the antichrist.

Consequently, there is no fellowship between the two camps. When they come together under one roof, all the points of common agreement fall by the wayside as each side attempts to ‘convert’ the other to their point of view.

It wouldn’t matter who came along, or how charismatic he might be, there is nobody on this side of the Church Age who could get every Christian to accept his headship.

It is the doctrinal differences that divide us that prevented the rise of antichrist during the Church Age, just as the language division broke Nimrod’s power at Babel.

To many Christians, ‘ecumenism’ is a dirty word. ‘Ecumenism’ is a doctrine that seeks to set aside theological differences in an “organized attempt to bring about the cooperation and unity of all believers in Christ.”

Why is ecumenism such a dirty word? Because a single Church body, under a single banner, sets the stage for the rise of a false prophet as described in Revelation 13. That is why most non-denominational Christians oppose it.

Every ministry has its own statement of faith. Why is that? Because they are different.

The Omega Letter’s statement of faith holds to the inerrant, Divine inspiration of Scripture. We believe in salvation by grace through faith.

I personally prefer the King James Bible for preaching and teaching, but we take no dogmatic view as a ministry.

We believe in the Virgin Birth, the Crucifixion and Resurrection, eternal security, dispensationalism and a pre-Tribulational Rapture.

One can find other, sincere, honest and Christ-honoring ministries who differ with us on several points. As a consequence, there will be no evangelical ‘pope’ who can authoritatively dictate doctrine to all Christians during the Church Age.

But the Bible says such a one will exist during the Tribulation.

The Omega Letter will hold fast to its statement of faith, because, unlike our critics, we believe that God has His purposes in this age, just as He did when he confused the languages of men at Babel.

It is not our mission to convince skeptical Christians that the pre-Trib Rapture is the correct view. We believe it is the correct view, but reject any notion that the timing of the Rapture has any bearing on salvation.

We teach it because we believe it is correct, but we have no contention with those who believe otherwise. And we have no wish to engage in pointless debate, either in our publications, or within our forums.

Having taught the Rapture in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17, the Apostle Paul didn’t conclude by saying, “Wherefore contend with one another over these words.”

Instead, he said, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:18)

I find little comfort in confrontation.