Special Report: Heavenly Civics

Special Report: Heavenly Civics
Vol: 48 Issue: 30 Friday, September 30, 2005

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)

Paul’s admonition ‘not to think more highly of himself than he ought’ is one of those double-edged truths. A Christian need always be mindful his salvation was wrought by trusting in the completed Work accomplished at the Cross and not by one’s own merits.

But Paul’s admonition also means that we ought not to think LESS of ourselves than we ought. While we are utterly undeserving of the honor accorded us, we are still members of the Body of Christ, loved, cherished, and above all, forgiven our sins.

To continue to punish ourselves and wallow in our guilt is to deny the finished Work of Christ. Our obligation as soldiers in the Lord is, when wounded, to trust Him to bandage those wounds, pick up our weapon (which is the Word of God) and soldier on to victory.

Illegal immigration is fast becoming a global threat; consequently, citizenship is something we attach great value to. Citizenship is usually attained in one of several ways; it can be ‘inherited’ through one’s parents. It can be granted (or excluded) by membership in a particular group.

In the United States, citizenship is automatically conveyed at birth and is irrevocable, although certain rights and liberties can be revoked by conviction of certain crimes.

Citizenship, particularly in the United States, is a ‘pearl of great price’, something that people the world over would willingly exchange everything they own to obtain.

We see the value attached to citizenship in the case of John Walker Lindh, nicknamed, “Taliban Johnny.” Taliban Johnny was taken on the battlefield in combat against US forces as a member of the Taliban in the Afghan war, in a gunbattle that cost the life of a US CIA agent.

‘Taliban Johnny’ was singled out from the rest of the al-Qaeda captives, given immediate medical attention, afforded all the legal rights of a US citizen under the legal system, afforded the best lawyers money can buy, and is currently serving time in a relatively plus US prison.

Compare his plight to that of the average ‘Taliban Johnny’ now languishing for an indeterminate period, not to exceed his natural life, in a cage at Guantanamo Bay and the value of citizenship becomes even more valuable.

A Saudi terrorist who was born while his parents were visiting the US was also afforded all the rights given Taliban Johnny, although he returned to Saudi Arabia as an infant and subsequently took up arms against the United States.

They were treated differently, not because they behaved any differently than any of the detainees sent to foreign prisons where local jurisdictions could ‘interrogate’ them according to their somewhat less humane standards.

Under the American legal system, they had sinned the ‘unpardonable sin’ of taking up arms against the United States. Foreign nationals who commit the same sin are targeted with either death or capture.

‘Capture’ — however humanely it is seen from America’s perspective, is often a fate worse than death. It can mean a lifetime of dehumanizing captivity. But not for John Walker Lindh. He’ll be out in twenty years, less time off for good behavior.

Why? Because John Walker Lindh, traitor and killer of his own countrymen, is a citizen of the United States.

Assessment:

“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 3:20)

The word translated as ‘conversations’ in the KJV is translated from the word “politeuma” which is the root word for the English word ‘politic . It means, ‘community’ or ‘citizenship’.

At the moment when we are saved, that is, at that moment when we trust our lives and our eternity to Jesus Christ and allow Him to lead us, we become citizens of heaven. But the Bible notes that we are dual citizens; we are no longer ‘of’ the world, but we are ‘in’ it, and it is that dual citizenship that is our spiritual undoing.

Paul discussed the dual nature of the flesh and the spirit at great length in Romans 7, lamenting that they good that he wanted to do, he found he could not, but that which he hated, (that is, sin) was what he found himself doing instead. He cried out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

Paul both answers his own question and summarizes the situation as it exists for all men, from the Apostle Paul to you and me.

“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:24-25)

When Paul was discussing how we ought to see ourselves, he appended a thought that eludes many Christians; saying “to think soberly, according as God HATH DEALT to every man the measure of faith.”

Each of us is different. We came to the Cross individually, each with his own measures of sin and guilt to leave there. Some had more to leave behind that others; many murderers laid the blood of their victims at the foot of the Cross and had their guilt washed away.

Others had lesser crimes, less guilt, but whatever they laid at His feet was washed clean and they were granted heavenly citizenship. Paul tells us that each of us ought not to think more highly — or, by extrapolation, less highly, of ourselves than we ought. That is why the Bible’s story is so compelling; it is the story of man, warts and all.

The great heroes of the Bible; Abraham, David, Solomon, Noah, Lot, Sampson; these were all men of faith who were also sinners. They saw themselves for what they were. David admitted his sin was against God, that God was justified in condemning him, but reminded God of his condition:

“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” But he trusts God: “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” (Psalms 51:5-6)

None of us really measure up to what we think we should be as Christians, although we think we know lots of other people who do. Each of us is sustained, “ACCORDING AS GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH.”

“Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?” (Isaiah 45:9)

We are what God made us. Get over it. The truth is, we are each a work in progress, as each old sin falls away. Some sins fall away easier than others, some others we may well take to our graves rather than give them up.

But whatever we may think of ourselves, our citizenship is in heaven, and it is our heavenly patriotic duty to continue to do battle for the Lord and trust to Him for the healing.

As David reminds us, God desires truth in the ‘inward parts’ and, consequently, in that hidden part, He will make us to know wisdom. Heavenly civics says we are already citizens of heaven, but because of our dual citizenship, from our limited earthly perspective, it is an ongoing process; one begun, sustained and completed entirely according to the work of Christ.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6)

Trust Jesus! Pick up your sword and shield and get back into the battle. Maranatha!

“Breaking the Treasure Code:” Part Two

“Breaking the Treasure Code:” Part Two
Vol: 48 Issue: 29 Thursday, September 29, 2005

Israel produces almost no oil and imports nearly all of its oil needs, currently running around 274,000 barrels per day.

Traditionally, major oil import sources have included Egypt, the North Sea, West Africa, and Mexico. In recent years, however, Israel has stepped up its imports from Russia and the Caspian region (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, etc.) and now reportedly gets a majority of its oil from the former Soviet Union

Israel’s Petroleum Commission has estimated that the country could contain 5 billion barrels of oil reserves, most likely located underneath natural gas reserves.

Geologically, Israel appears to be connected to the oil-rich Paleozoic petroleum system stretching from Saudi Arabia through Iraq to Syria.

In April 2005, Zion Oil & Gas, Inc., based in Dallas and Tel Aviv, began drilling at the Ma’anit-1 well, located approximately 37.5 miles north-northeast of Tel Aviv.

Israel has sizeable deposits of oil shale, perhaps 600 million tons recoverable, with average production of about 9,000 barrels per day, according to the most pessimistic analyses.

Zion Oil founder John Brown believes there is more oil than that at that point in Israel where Asher’s ‘foot’ touches Joseph’s ‘head’.

Of his favorite son, Joseph, Jacob prophesied, “Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.” (49:25-26)

Each of Jacob’s sons were apportioned a share of the Promised Land, as noted in yesterday’s OL. The shares apportioned to Joseph and Asher came with a unique promise of blessings from the deep.

Note several things here. Joseph is to be blessed with the “blessings of the deep that lieth under” the land of Israel. The blessings shall be “on the head of Joseph.”

Deuteronomy 33:13 repeats the blessing and the prophecy: “And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be His land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath.”

Finally, Ezekiel 47:13-14 allots Joseph a double portion of the land; “Thus saith the Lord GOD; This shall be the border, whereby ye shall inherit the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel: Joseph shall have two portions.”

Of Asher, Jacob prophesied, “Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.” (Genesis 49:20)

In addition, Deuteronomy 33:24 records, “And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him DIP HIS FOOT IN OIL.”

Assessment:

I’ve been reading a fascinating book on this subject entitled; “Breaking the Treasure Code” by James Spillman and Steven M. Spillman.

James Spillman began working on breaking the Scriptural ‘code’ that reveals where Israel’s God-given treasure is buried back in 1973. In 1981, Spillman published a book detailing his findings.

In recent years, work by Zion Oil and others have found evidence of enough oil to make Israel a major global oil producer on a par with Saudi Arabia.

There exists the possibility of a major Israeli oil discovery in exactly the place the Bible said it would be found. Think of the implications!

The first and most obvious is the vindication of yet another Bible prophecy, and another powerful evidence of its Author’s continued involvement in the affairs of men in these last days.

It will be much more difficult to dust out the old ‘coincidence’ argument when Israel becomes a global oil center based entirely on Scriptural references to the exact spot where it was hidden.

Additionally, it could completely upset the current balance of power. A major oil strike could potentially make Israel as wealthy as any Arab oil kingdom.

It is unlikely that the Arab states would allow Israel membership to OPEC, which could signal the end of the oil cartel’s power and its stranglehold over the US economy.

An oil strike in Israel would be catastrophic to the Arab oil economy.

And, as noted, Israel is currently one of the former Soviet Union’s most valuable customers. An oil strike would instantly reverse the equation, depriving Russia of its current income while becoming one of its major competitors.

“Breaking the Treasure Code” makes a powerful case for the existence of oil hidden deep within Israel, explaining the relevant Scriptures and exploring the deeper meanings that come to the front when examined in context.

“Breaking the Treasure Code” is divided into two books within a book; Book I being Jim Spillman’s original 1981 publication, with Book II comprising Steve’s followup on developments in the years since.

Uniquely, Spillman explores the significance of a major oil strike in Israel to the unfolding tapestry of Bible prophecy for the last days, in particular, Ezekiel’s ‘Gog-Magog’ war scenario against Israel, uncovering Scriptural secrets hidden ‘until the time of the end’, as the angel told Daniel (12:4)

“Breaking the Treasure Code is both fascinating and relevant as the world grows increasingly dependent on a steadily dwindling energy supply.

So is its subject material, as it grows equally apparent that the days leading to that final countdown are dwindling as rapidly as the global energy supplies.

“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)

“Breaking the Treasure Code:” Part One

“Breaking the Treasure Code:” Part One
Vol: 48 Issue: 28 Wednesday, September 28, 2005

“And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 17:20)

Later, when Ishmael’s nephew, Esau, discovered that his brother Jacob had usurped his blessing, Esau went to his father Isaac, and begged;

“Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.

And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.” (Genesis 27:39-40)

The fulfillment of the promises of Scripture to Ishmael and Jacob are nothing short of astonishing in their specificity.

Tracing the geneology of Ishmael (Genesis 25:12-18) and that of Esau (Genesis 27:38-39) establish that the descendants of Ishmael and Esau make up the modern-day Arab world. Most of the world’s proven oil reserves are to be found in the Arab Middle East. The Arab world accounts for some 99.4% of the total land mass of the Middle East. And what they control, they control absolutely.

Since the birth of Islam in the 5th century AD, the Muslim Middle East has been the exclusive domain of the descendants of Ishmael and Esau. Under the banner of the crescent moon, Islam at one time controlled a vast empire that extended well into Europe. The Ottoman Empire (1417-1917) under Suleiman the Magnificent, (1520-1566) was the most powerful empire in the world.

During his reign, he more than doubled the Ottoman territories inherited from his father, creating a multi-national multilingual empire stretching from Vienna in the west to the upper Arab peninsula in the east, the Crimea in the north to the Sudan in the south.

Architectural growth abounded. He had public baths, bridges, religious schools, and grand mosque complexes erected. Economic wealth spilled over into other fine arts. At the Palace Studio, 29 painters, half of them European, created a new aesthetic direction with their miniature paintings.

After Suleiman, the Ottoman Empire fell into decline before finally being defeated by the Allies in the First World War. After the war, the victorious Allies divided up the Ottoman Empire into individual states, including Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Transjordan.

The Islamic Empire of the Ottomans was replaced by the Islamic oil sheikdoms, but their oil afforded them wealth and global influence that would have made Suleiman green with envy.

God kept His promise to Ishmael and Esau.

Assessment:

There’s an old joke about Moses wandering in the desert for 40 years only to end up in the one place in the Middle East without any oil.

John Brown, a born-again Christian and founder of Zion Oil & Gas of Dallas, believes that God also made a promise to the sons of Israel that will take the humor out of the punchline. The Twelve Tribes were each given a section of Israel as inheritance, according to the Book of Genesis.

Deuteronomy says “Let Asher be blessed … and let him dip his foot in oil.” (33:24)

Genesis says “Joseph is a fruitful bough by a well … blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that couches beneath shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head.” (49:22-26)

Mapping the tribes’ Biblical territory shows that Asher’s area resembles a giant foot “dipped’ so to speak, into the top or ‘head’ of the area allocated to Joseph’s son Manasseh. According to Brown, the oil is right there, where Asher’s ‘foot’ dips into Joseph’s ‘head’.

Brown says he used a strategy explained to him by James Spillman, an evangelical minister and Bible scholar who lectured at his local church, to determine exactly where on the biblical map the oil might be. (Spillman’s research will be the subject of tomorrow’s Omega Letter).

What separates Brown from most other Middle East oil prospectors, however, are the humanitarian principles at the root of his long-awaited “Project Joseph”.

“I’ve put all the money I’ve earned in my entire life into this project,” Brown explains earnestly, “And all my shares go to a nonprofit trust to feed the poor and hungry. Anything I earn from this will be given to charity. We’re here because I know this is my purpose and destiny in life, to help Israel with its material needs and do what I can, as a Christian, to help.”

Over the next two decades Brown slowly assembled world experts on oil and gas, to put scientific power behind his personal faith in his visions. And his team of highly educated, skeptical, rational scientific minds: engineers, geologists and gas and oil exploration professionals, all believe, as he does, in the whereabouts of oil in Israel.

In reading their website releases, I note that Zion Oil is careful not to overstate the situation. Still, the signs, so far, are good.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the Spillman research and how the discovery of oil in Israel fits into the general outline of Bible prophecy.

Deception Insurance

Deception Insurance
Vol: 48 Issue: 27 Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The other day, I received an earnest-sounding email from a reader with what I believed was a serious enough question.

The reader was referencing my column, ‘As By Fire’ and had a question about the Crown offered those believers ‘who love His appearing’. He wanted to know whether that Crown is given to all believers who love His appearing, whether pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib?

As I said, it was a reasonable-sounding question. I researched the matter, and replied that the crown of righteousness is extended to those ‘who love His appearing’ [those who study prophecy and anticipate His return] regardless of when they expect Him to return.

Alas, it was another ‘Rapture ambush’. His reply to my reply was the usual ‘you are wrong but are too arrogant to admit it’ stuff, accompanied by a cut and paste job of somebody ELSE’s Rapture research, peppered throughout with comments like, “How can you deny what Scripture says so clearly,” and suggesting I am leading people into “stumbling in the dark believing in some pre trib rapture???”

In reply, I sent him my standard response; “I have my opinion, and you have yours. Only one of us can be right, and neither will know until it happens. So debating it is a colossal waste of time.”

His response to me was a bit puzzling at first. “I agree with you. But I am sorry you feel that way.”

My correspondent went on to explain that he, too, had once been a ‘pretribber’, concluding, “So I know exactly what I am talking about!”

One sentence jumped out at me and set my mind to work; “In fact my entire Christian life hangs in the balance on the power of His revelation.”

What he wrote was correct on its face, but it was in the context of his faith in a post-trib Rapture.

Assessment:

I believe that the Bible clearly teaches a pre-trib Rapture, not because it holds out the promise of a ‘great escape’, or because somebody convinced me in a high-pressure sales job, or because it is my opinion and I am sticking to it.

I believe the Bible teaches a pre-trib Rapture because a pre-Trib Rapture puts the last days and the Tribulation into a context consistent with the overall flow of Bible prophecy.

That is the only reason that I teach a pre-trib Rapture. It makes no difference to me if other, sincere born-again believers embrace a different view; the timing of the Rapture plays no role in our salvation.

Saving faith is faith in Who is coming, that He is coming again, as promised, and that He will keep all His other promises, including standing as our Advocate before the Righteous Judge.

Our faith is that “God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

But the timing of the Rapture is CENTRAL to the understanding of the overall Big Picture in the last days.

The ‘last days’ is a different era that the Tribulation Period. The ‘last days’ is used throughout Scripture in the context of the Church Age.

At Pentecost, the Apostles, newly-indwelt by the Holy Spirit, rushed from the Upper Room to the street, giddy from the experience. So giddy, in fact, that some bystanders thought they were drunk.

“Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But THIS IS THAT WHICH was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass IN THE LAST DAYS saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:” (Acts 2:13-17)

The ‘last days’ is the Church Age, whereas the Tribulation is the ‘Time of Jacob’s Trouble’. They are two different Dispensations of God. That is central to understanding the times in which we now live.

We are currently in the “dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2). Paul calls the conclusion of this present dispensation the ‘dispensation of the fullness of times.’ (Ephesians 1:10)

During this dispensation, believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

But John reminds us, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1John 4:3-4)

Note the context. John is speaking of the ‘spirit of antichrist’ which he says is ‘already in the world.’ He says that the spirit of antichrist cannot overcome the Church saints; because He Who indwells us (the Holy Spirit) is greater than the spirit of antichrist.

But this SAME PROPHET, writing of the SAME antichrist, (once antichrist comes in the flesh), says; “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.” (Revelation 13:7)

Since John penned both passages, and they cannot both be simultaneously true, the flow of Bible prophecy is interrupted, if the Church Age runs concurrent with the Tribulation.

During the Tribulation, the antichrist is ‘given’ power to overcome the saints. Is he ‘given’ power over the Holy Spirit? Jesus said, in the context of devils driving out devils, a house divided cannot stand’. (Matthew 12:25) Clearly, God isn’t giving power over Himself to the antichrist.

That leaves two possibilities, apart from a pre-trib Rapture.

The first is that the Holy Spirit indwells the Church until the onset of the Tribulation. Paul says He is ‘withdrawn’ BEFORE ‘that Wicked’ is revealed. (2nd Thessalonians 2:7-8)

For a pre-Trib Rapture to be a false doctrine means our generation was chosen out of all others in Church history to face the greatest spiritual trial the world has ever known without the Comforter Jesus promised would indwell us until He comes.

Or, it means that John was either lying when he said the spirit of antichrist cannot overcome indwelt believers, or when he said it could.

In either case, the promises of Scripture are broken.

Over the last thirty years, I’ve listened to explanation after explanation of why the pre-trib Rapture is a ‘false doctrine’. It usually revolves around the concept of a ‘great escape’ or some other misunderstanding of the flow of Bible prophecy.

Its opponents will spare no effort to ‘prove’ that it is a false doctrine, as if the timing of the Rapture were somehow of eternal significance. It is not.

The eternal significance of the Rapture is that, “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout . . . and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together WITH them in the clouds, to meet the Lord IN THE AIR. . .” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Now let’s try and pull it all together.

“And as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, His 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?”

Note the first thing Jesus says. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My Name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:3-4)

Jesus said the one who comes in His Name would deceive ‘many’ – not all.

Speaking to Israel, Jesus said, “I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” (John 5:43)

Paul identifies the one who Israel eventually (and temporarily) receives as their messiah is the antichrist.

If the one claiming to be Jesus is standing on the ground, instead of meeting me in the air, I won’t be deceived.

The doctrine of a pre-Trib Rapture isn’t a ‘great escape’ for the Church; it is a necessary evacuation of the Holy Spirit’s restraining influence as part of the overall Big Picture for the last days.

Remove it, and the chronology of Bible prophecy is thrown into chaos.

The pre-trib Rapture doctrine has no saving value. It is of no eternal consequence to anyone that they believe in a pre-Trib Rapture. I feel no particular need to convert someone to my understanding of the last days.

One is saved by God’s grace through faith in the finished Work of His Son on the Cross as payment in full as our pardon for sin.

But without the pre-Trib Rapture doctrine, Bible prophecy has no context. That is why I teach it as doctrine. It is my obligation as a minister of Christ. And my insurance against end-times deception.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2nd Timothy 2:15)

Focusing the Big Picture

Focusing the Big Picture
Vol: 48 Issue: 26 Monday, September 26, 2005

Despite twenty-five years of icy diplomatic relations and a cold ‘peace’ Egypt has scrupulously followed the military terms of its peace treaty with Israel, particularly in regard to the demilitarized zones in the Sinai Peninsula.

But over the past week, all that has changed as a consequence of the Gaza handover.

The Israeli military turned security for the Egypt/Gaza border over to the Palestinians and the Egyptians. The result has been massive weapons infiltration from the Sinai to the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian terrorists have been entering Sinai from the Gaza Strip in an attempt to infiltrate Israel and attack cities in the south. This time, the terrorists could be armed with Katyusha rockets, surface-to-air missiles and anti-tank rockets.

Only two weeks ago, Israeli leaders were touting the agreement to deploy 750 Egyptian police commandos along the nine-mile Egypt-Gaza border as heralding new security relations with Israel.

They envisioned strategic cooperation in the Middle East between Egypt and Israel as well as tactical cooperation that would ensure security along their border. Instead, Israel, after its pullout, has been virtually ignored by Egypt. Israel has no remaining influence over the Egypt-Gaza border.

Over the past week the PA has obtained weapons that could change the balance of power with Israel, not via smuggling tunnels, but carried openly across the Egyptian border into Gaza. They include extended-range Katyusha rockets, SA-7 surface-to-air missiles and RPG-7 anti-tank rockets.

It is nothing short of astonishing what the world is willing to overlook, provided it lends itself to the unspoken global desire to see Israel quietly evaporate into the Arab Middle East.

Everywhere that one finds Israeli Jews in Israel; one also finds peace and stability, despite the best efforts of Palestinian terror. But the moment Israel withdraws its influence; the newly Jew-free areas descend into chaos and madness.

In 1992, I visited Jericho, at the time, under Israeli administration. The streets were orderly and clean and the town was packed with Western tourists.

Jericho was the first city to be turned over to Palestinian control after Oslo. Within weeks, it became a terrorist staging ground. Trash started to accumulate on the streets.

Without the tourist industry, (which collapsed because it wasn’t safe to visit without Israel’s presence) and with Palestinians more interested in seizing more of Israel than administering what they already had, the standard of living in the Palestinian-administered areas collapsed almost immediately.

Rather than taking the billions international aid that was poured into the PA’s treasury to create a civil infrastructure, develop home-grown industry and build a stable economy, the PA leadership stole most of it, and squandered the rest on terrorism.

As Israel continued to withdraw from areas of the West Bank, each newly-withdrawn from area followed the Jericho model until the entire West Bank became an armed terrorist camp masquerading as a ‘democratic government’.

The more autonomy the world pressured Israel to grant to the Palestinians, the worse the chaos and poverty became.

The world sent the Palestinians advisors. They were rejected. It sent the Palestinians money. It was stolen. The advisors were soon replaced with negotiators as internal frustration exploded into the 2000 Oslo War.

Israel withdrew from each city and town in the vain hope that withdrawing would lead to peace. It had no other incentive, apart from the promise of peace.

That is the key issue here. If Israel was not seeking peace, why would it turn over anything to the Palestinians? What would be their motive, apart from peace?

A look at the statistics tells the story. The more land Israel traded for peace, the less peace it got. This is not a selective reading of the situation — it is the ONLY reading.

Within hours of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, Palestinians looted the Israeli settlements, destroying greenhouses and farms that could have provided work for thousands. They rampaged through each settlement, desecrating and burning synagogues. What little there was in Gaza worth having was soon like the rest of the territory.

Everything Israel has touched during its brief existence has flowered. In less than sixty years, despite constant war, global boycotts and every obstacle imaginable, Israel has built a vibrant and wealthy economy. Where Israelis labor, the land blossoms.

I remember riding a bus along the road that divided the Israeli West Bank from the border with Jordan in 1992, before Oslo. To my left, on the Israeli side, was row after row of fruit trees, surrounded by lush green vegetation.

To my right was a chain link fence plastered with signs warning of hidden landmines. Beyond the fence was the land as Israel found it in 1967, miles and miles of arid, unclaimed desert.

Everything touched by the Palestinian Authority has withered and died. That lush greenery along the border with Jordan has been reclaimed by the desert. Every city is a wasteland of uncollected trash and miserable poverty.

Gaza is just the most recent example of what a Palestinian state would look like.

Assessment:

None of this is a secret. UN officials are as aware of the history of the region as you or I. They are aware of the descent into chaos that follows each Israeli handover.

There is no exception to the rule. There is no Palestinian ‘showcase’ city one can turn to as cause for hope that the Palestinians are capable of statehood.

The State of Israel is everything the world wants the Palestinians to be. So when the Palestinians disappoint global expectations, the world blames Israel.

Alvaro de Soto, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, gave the Security Council his evaluation of the Gaza withdrawal.

He said the chaos is a consequence of Palestinian frustration with Israel.

According to de Soto’s report, if the average Palestinian doesn’t see his life improve now that Israel has withdrawn, then it will Israel’s fault.

(Honest! He said that!)

He explained to the 15-nation U.N. Security Council that residents in Gaza would “wonder what has changed” if they could not link up with Palestinians in the West Bank or have contact with the outside world.

Evidently, the barrier that Israel put up to keep out terrorists is to blame for the terrorism that Israel put up the fence to keep out.

The UN is evidently baffled by the puzzling question, ‘Which came first? The terrorism or the fence?’ and until all their distinguished diplomats can solve the riddle, the UN has decided the fence is the problem.

de Soto told the Security Council, “The barrier and the closures and the travails of traversing them are a source of humiliation and a constant check on their aspiration to run their own affairs. . . I speak here of the millions who have no connection with, or sympathy for those who resort to violence, and who merely wish to move about to earn their living or visit their separated love ones,” he said.

If there are millions who have no sympathy with terror in the Palestinian ‘terror’tories they have eluded the pollsters who consistently find a majority of Palestinians who are in complete support of terror against Israel.

But assuming there ARE millions of Palestinians who have no connection or sympathy with terror, why don’t they put a stop to it themselves? That is what civilized societies do.

In America, terrorists hide in tiny cells because if they lived openly, their neighbors would call in the FBI. They can’t gain a solid foothold because there is no popular support for terrorism among the American population.

The reason terrorists have nothing to fear among the Palestinians is because the millions of whom de Soto spoke are willing to tolerate them in their midst.

Last Sunday, Hamas held a ‘military parade’ to display its weapons arsenal when a truck filled with homemade explosives killed sixteen Palestinians. Hamas promptly blamed Israel and launched the series of rocket attacks.

There was no outcry against Hamas, although there was no possible way to legitimately hold Israel at fault for a Hamas parade blowing up. There was no outcry from anyone . . . until Israel retaliated.

Once the Israelis retaliated, Hamas announced it was ending its attacks on Israel. A Reuters report noted, an Israeli missile hit the northern Gaza Strip, hours after Hamas militants said they would halt rocket attacks on Israel” — suggesting that since Hamas called a halt, Israel was now the aggressor.

This is the global mindset where Israel is concerned. Although it is business as usual, and nothing particularly new, it is still staggering if one sits down and examines the Big Picture fairly.

Terrorists strike Israel and it is Israel’s fault. Terrorists blow up one of their own trucks during a terrorist parade and it becomes justification for more terror against Israel.

The fence built by Israel to prevent terrorists from infiltrating and conducting terrorist attacks has become a justification for terrorist attacks.

The chaos that follows each Israeli withdrawal is somehow evidence of Israeli perfidy, whereas the law and order that previously existed was the result of Israeli ‘occupation’. No blame is ever assigned to the Palestinians.

Every city is a hotbed of terrorism, every poll shows the terrorists would win election to public offices, every act of terrorism is defended by the Palestinian leadership, and it is the fondest dream of the global community that the terrorists be granted statehood, side by side with Israel, terrorism notwithstanding.

It is madness squared. There is no logical explanation that works. All logic collapses with the notion that the fence designed to keep out terror is the cause of the terror it was designed to keep out in the first place.

Imagine a similar situation somewhere else on the planet, where the global community essentially sides with terrorism against a legitimate state? It’s as if the Israeli conflict is not quite of this world.

It isn’t. Nothing makes sense because it is a spiritual conflict conducted on an earthly battlefield. If that sounds strong, try and make some other sense of it.

The Bible says that in the last days, there will come upon the earth a strong delusion that will facilitate the rise of the antichrist; “for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” [2 Thessalonians 2:10].

Need evidence of global deception? A legitimate, democratic, pro-western state is under constant terrorist attack by a dictatorial, anti-western, pro-terrorist regime.

The dictatorial, anti-western, pro-terrorist regime uses terrorism to enforce a territorial claim that dates back to 1967. The legitimate, democratic, pro-western state has a deed dated 3000 BC signed by God, recorded in Scripture and, until it was exercised by Israel in 1948, universally accepted as valid.

But which side is favored by the global community?

Scripture identifies two separate ‘gods’ in the last day s conflict. There is the God of Creation, the Creator God of Scripture — the same God worshipped by Christians and Jews. Christians call Him ‘Father’ or ‘Lord’ and Jews call Him ‘Adonai’ and ‘Lord’ — both call Him by His revealed Name, ‘Jehovah’.

“And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the Name of God Almighty, but by My Name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” (Exodus 6:3)

The other god identified in Scripture is “the god of this world” that Scripture says “hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” (2nd Corinthians 4:4)

Scripture says that, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Scripture says that the ‘god of this world’ is “the prince of the power of the air” further identifying him as “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

Pulling it all together, a picture begins to emerge of the spiritual battlefield. On one side are those who follow the god of this world, and on the other, those who follow the God of Creation.

There are no borders in the asymmetrical, spiritual war of the last days. And not all of our enemies follow Islam, but they follow the same god.

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Proverbs 8:36 says that “all they that hate Me love death.”

Following the same theme, Jesus told us how to identify the enemy.

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20)

Pieces in Our Time?

Pieces in Our Time?
Vol: 48 Issue: 24 Saturday, September 24, 2005

Israel launched an air strike on two cars driving in Gaza City on Saturday, killing at least four Hamas terrorist operatives and wounding at least nine others.

The strike was in retaliation for an ongoing rocket barrage launched against Israeli cities by Hamas from the Gaza Strip.

Israel had promised a “crushing” response to the rocket attacks, which lightly wounded five Israelis, and has massed troops along the Gaza border.

Israel had moved artillery cannons, tanks and ground forces to the Gaza border and threatened the “crushing” response Saturday, after Israeli towns were hit by the first major Hamas rocket barrage from the coastal territory since Israel’s pullout two weeks earlier.

Ariel Sharon called his Security Cabinet for a meeting to approve the military’s response, which is expected to last for several days.

The escalation was set off by an explosion Friday at a Hamas rally in the crowded Jebaliya refugee camp in which at least 15 Palestinians were killed. Hamas was holding a ‘military’ parade and showing off its weapons when a truckload of homemade explosives went off.

The explosion was witnessed by hundreds of Palestinians. Still, Hamas blamed Israel for its misfortune, launching the rocket attacks in ‘retaliation’ for the unrelated accident.

Israel closed its borders with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, meaning thousands of Palestinian laborers won’t be able to get to jobs in Israel.

But, to the average Gaza citizen Israel’s reprisals and the hardships they caused are increasingly being blamed on Hamas instead of Israel.

Many Gazans had also hoped for a return to calm after Israel’s pullout, and Israeli sources are hopeful that the new round of airstrikes will turn the local population against Hamas.

“We have to make it clear to the Palestinians that Israel will not let the recent events pass without a response,” Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said in a statement, referring to the Hamas rocket fire. “The response needs to be crushing.”

Assessment:

Since Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, it has become increasingly obvious that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has lost control of the Hamas-dominated Gaza population.

Yuval Diskin, in his first on-the-record briefing since taking over the Shin Bet security service in May, said the Palestinian Authority’s ability to enforce law and order in Gaza to be “negligible at best.”

Diskin said he is concerned that groups linked to the al-Qaeda terror network would find their way into Israel or the Gaza Strip over the newly porous border between Egypt and Gaza, following Israel’s withdrawal this month from the coastal strip.

In Egypt’s Sinai desert, “there is a strong infrastructure of world terror linked to al-Qaeda — stronger than the Egyptians themselves were aware of,” Diskin said. “The Egyptians are having a hard time getting on top of it.”

Diskin said he was afraid weapons smuggled into Gaza weapons would eventually find their way into the West Bank and violent groups would shift their focus there. Hamas has credited its attacks for driving Israel out of Gaza, and is calling for redoubled efforts in the West Bank, where Israel has 246,000 settlers.

Celebrations at the evacuated Samarian settlements continued Wednesday. Dozens of gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a violent group with ties to Abbas’ Fatah movement, fired in the air.

“This is our victory … the victory of your weapons,” Zakariye Zubeydi, a leader of the gunmen, told several hundred supporters. “We will continue to expel them (Israelis) from every centimeter of Palestine.”

With Palestinian lawmakers preparing a no-confidence motion Monday because of lawlessness in the West Bank and Gaza, Abbas allies were exploring the possibility of a Cabinet reshuffle to head it off.

If this were anywhere else in the world except Israel, the world would have long since sighed, shrugged its shoulders and told Israel to do what it had to do to restore order.

If this were anywhere else in the world, either Gaza would be under Israeli control, or under Palestinian control. But because this is Israel, when the Palestinians can’t control it, it becomes Israel’s fault.

If this were any other country in the world except Israel, the world would long since have abandoned its mad plan to turn part of Israel over to a cadre of admitted terrorists whose ultimate goal is Israel’s destruction, recognizing that a state made up of terrorists would be a terrorist state.

But this IS Israel, where the natural order of global politics does not apply. The world despises Israel, although it cannot quite put its finger on why.

Whatever human-rights violation charge can be hurled against Israel pales by comparison to those of Islamic countries, like Somalia, Sudan, Iran, or Syria. But nobody is demanding that an Islamic/Arab state give up any of its land for a homeland for Islamic Arabs.

Israel is the only Western democracy in the Middle East, surrounded by a sea of Islamic/Arab dictators, kings, despots and hereditary dynasties.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East that guarantees the basic freedoms of speech, assembly and religion to its citizens. Israel grants Islamic-Arab citizens equal rights with Israeli-Jewish citizens.

In Islamic-Arab countries, Jews have long since been deported, murdered or otherwise ethnically cleansed from Islamic territory. Freedom of religion is non-existent, as is freedom of speech or freedom of assembly.

Yet Israel is the evil entity whose oppression of the Islamic Arabs stands head and shoulders above the blood-stained repression pf dictators like Bashar Assad, Hosni Mubarak, or King Abdullah al Saud.

Indeed, Israel is so universally regarded as an evil usurper ‘stealing’ its its one-sixth of one percent of ‘Arab’ land that any nation who allies itself with Israel finds itself isolated from the rest of the global community.

Consequently, only one nation does consistently stand with Israel — the United States. As a result, Israel and the United States vie for the honor of being declared Islam’s Number One enemy.

How is it that the world’s two most hated countries are the two most closely identified with the Bible? If Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, it follows that America is the world’s only Christian country.

And their most implacable shared enemy is Islam — which claims descendancy from both Judaism and Christianity.

In reality, this is a spiritual conflict that has been ongoing since Michael was delayed from appearing to Daniel by the Prince of Persia. But, as we approach the final hours of the last days, that conflict is spilling out into this dimension, precisely as Scripture predicted.

The central prize in this spiritual war is what it has always been — possession of Jerusalem.

The world hates Israel because it is a constant reminder of God. Israel’s restoration after all these centuries nags at the global conscience; God said He would restore Israel to her original land grant in the last days, and there it is!

Paul described the mindset this way: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” (Romans 1:29)

The existence of Israel is just not convenient to the spirit of humanism that rules most of the world in these last days. It would be much better if Israel just sort of went away, allowing them to believe that Israel’s restoration was just a political coincidence, and her destruction would remove that nagging doubt about God.

So Israel keeps on making suicidal concessions, which in turn serve as a springboard for demands for even more suicidal conditions.

Eventually, Israel will either concede itself out of existence or be so weakened as to fall to the sword of Islam.

Either way, the whole ‘God’s Chosen People’ thing will be put to rest.

The ‘Road Map To Peace’ initiative is dead, whether the Quartet is prepared to admit it or not. Israel has no qualified interlocutor with whom to negotiate, and the terms of the negotiations are impossible to meet without committing national suicide.

“They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” wrote the prophet Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11)

The prophet Daniel predicted Israel would exist in a state of constant war until the Antichrist ‘confirms’ an existing seven-year covenant between Israel and ‘the many’.

That event signals the kick-off for the 70th week of Daniel and launches what we know as the Tribulation Period.

The 7 year agreement Daniel foretold exists. Israel exists. A revived form of the Roman Empire exists. The conflict exists. And the clock continues to tick.

Tick, tick, tick.

Special Report: Iran Bets It All

Special Report: Iran Bets It All
Vol: 48 Issue: 23 Friday, September 23, 2005

The European Union backed away from its threat to refer Iran to the UN Security Council for possible UN sanctions following the collapse of the EU’s diplomatic effort to curtail Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

After a series of negotiations at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, the EU, represented by France, Germany and the UK, decided to withdraw a draft resolution that called for Iran to be reported to the security council for breaching the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

According to the Guardian-UK, the resolution said there was “international absence of confidence that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes”.

The Financial Time writes that Russia and China objected to the draft’s wording that Iran was in “non-compliance” with the IAEA’s rules and to the assertion that the issue was now “within the competence of the Security Council, as the organ bearing the main responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security”.

In Tehran, the council of mad mullahs were elated. “The EU’s withdrawal was a significant victory for Iran,” Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

So were the Russians who are taking the impossible position that they are opposed to a nuclear Iran while simultaneously developing Iran’s nuclear program for them. “This is a plane that does not fly,” Grigory Berdennikov, Russian IAEA ambassador, told reporters.

The mullahs are putting all their chips into the game, and they are daring anybody to call their bluff.

There is no way else to interpret the words of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani that, in case the Big Three goes on pressing for full rejection of the nuclear fuel cycle program, Iran may withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and deny IAEA inspectors access to Iranian nuclear facilities.

To the West, that will be a clear signal that the Iranian nuclear program is ready for military application. It appears that Tehran has begun engineering the eventual unveiling of its nuclear dossier, a bit at a time, conditioning the world for its eventual acceptance of Iran as a declared nuclear power.

Iran needs nuclear power for peaceful energy purposes like frogs need ten-speed bicycles. Iran has 11% of the world’s oil and 18% of gas reserves. If Tehran developed its oil and gas reserves, with oil at $60 a barrel and potentially reaching $90 per barrel, Iran’s oil wealth could eclipse that of the Saudis.

Instead, it is pouring that money into its nuclear program as fast as it comes in, and is doing little to nothing to maximize its potential oil potential.

Assessment:

Permitting Iran to develop a nuclear weapon would be nothing short of madness. There is no doubt that, once having developed nukes, the mad mullahs would ensure Osama could get his hands on some of them.

Consider the following scenario: Iran’s chief enemy is the United States, because the United States stands between Tehran and its commitment to destroy the Jewish State of Israel.

If Tehran could engineer a few al-Qaeda nuclear attacks within the United States, it would take the US out of the running without putting Tehran at risk of US nuclear retaliation.

And an America crippled by simultaneous nuclear attacks would be unlikely to deploy conventional forces abroad. Neither would it be willing to endure an Iranian nuclear counter-strike on what would be left of the homeland.

It would be the perfect time for Iran to strike against Israel, and wipe it from the face of the map for all time. The Russians, by virtue of Moscow’s involvement in Iran’s nuclear program, would be drawn into the conflict, however unwillingly, further keeping the EU and the US at bay and leaving Israel to fend for itself.

This is a scenario that could play itself out within months, according to some estimates of Iranian progress towards developing a working nuclear weapon. The Mossad predicted three years ago that Iran would be fully nuclear by late 2005. With Iran’s threat to quit the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty on the table, late 2005 seems entirely possible.

This could not fit more perfectly into Ezekiel’s predicted scenario for the ‘latter days’ in which Gog [Russia] is drawn, as if it had ‘hooks in its jaws’ into a Persian [Iran] led invasion that draws to its conclusion when the invaders come ‘against the mountains of Israel.’

Never mind that Ezekiel predicted Israel would exist 2500 years into the future, when it didn’t exist in Ezekiel’s day. Never mind that Ezekiel named by name the exact alliances that would exist during that pinpoint of time. Or that Ezekiel even outlined the circumstances by which Russia would find itself among the invaders. Or even that Ezekiel predicted the global response would be a weak diplomatic protest. (“Art thou come to take a spoil?”)

Look instead at the Bible’s description of the weaponry deployed. The prophet Joel described the same battle from a different perspective:

“But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.” (Joel 2:20)

If one takes a globe and draws a line due north from Jerusalem, the line intersects with Moscow — the ‘northern army’. Joel says, “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.” (Joel 2:30)

Ezekiel describes the battle this way: “And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.” (Ezekiel 38:22)

The prophet Zechariah gives this amazing ‘eyewitness’ testimony from across the centuries: “And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. ” (Zechariah 14:12)

These are 21st battlefield descriptions as offered by eyewitnesses whose testimony is limited by a 6th century BC vocabulary. How would someone who had never seen a nuclear explosion describe it? Fire and brimstone?

The ‘great hailstones’ and ‘overflowing rain’ are consistent with the effects of a nuclear detonation — ‘nuclear rain’, they call it. The giant hailstones are formed by the sudden rush of superheated vapor into the upper atomosphere freezing into chunks and falling back to earth.

A neutron bomb is a specialized type of small thermonuclear weapon that produces minimal blast and heat but which releases large amounts of lethal radiation.

The neutron bomb delivers blast and heat effects that are confined to an area of only a few hundred yards in radius. But within a somewhat larger area it throws off a massive wave of neutron and gamma radiation, which can penetrate armour or several feet of earth. This radiation is extremely destructive to living tissue.

Because of its short-range destructiveness and the absence of long-range effect, the neutron bomb would be highly effective against tank and infantry formations on the battlefield but would not endanger cities or other population centers only a few miles away. It can be carried in a Lance missile or delivered by an 8-inch (200-millimetre) howitzer, or possibly by attack aircraft.

How would a person with a 6th century BC vocabulary describe the effects of a neutron bomb, one of the main weapons in Israel’s arsenal?

When Zechariah ‘witnessed’ it, he described it this way: “Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.”

Allow yourself to dwell on the detail and specificity of these descriptions for a second. Imagine how strange and other-worldly they sounded twenty-six hundred years ago. Now, imagine how they sounded in 1905? Just as strange and other-wordly as they did circa 600 BC.

Today, they don’t sound strange or other-worldly at all. When ANOTHER eyewitness to the last days, the prophet Daniel, questioned the meaning of the vision he had just been given, the revealing angel told him;

“Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and SEALED till the TIME OF THE END.” (Daniel 12:9) Further, the angel said, “the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Daniel 12:10)

In this generation, the words are at last unsealed, for the first time in twenty-six hundred years. Despite their clarity, the wicked continue in their wicked ways, not understanding the lateness of the hour.

It is the time of which Jesus was speaking when He said; “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)