Another Samhain

Another Samhain
Vol: 61 Issue: 31 Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Your kids can’t wish each other a Merry Christmas at school and what used to be the Easter holiday period commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ has been dumbed down to ‘Spring Break’.

Religious holidays are all but illegal in 21st century America. Those few that survive have been watered-down beyond recognition. Thanksgiving, a day once solemnly set aside to thank God for our blessings as a nation, is now ‘Turkey Day’.

Most Americans don’t gather to give thanks to God, they gather to eat and watch football. For millions, it is the one day a year they say grace before meals, and that is about as religious a holiday as it is gonna get.

But there is still one religious holiday that is untouchable by either the Political Correctness Police or a vote-hungry Congress. Hallowe’en.

Your kids will be encouraged to dress up as witches and hobgoblins, to exchange Hallowe’en cards or small gifts, to wish each other a ‘Happy Hallowe’en’ and to engage in a day-long celebration that doesn’t end until dark.

Make no mistake about it, Hallowe’en is a religious holiday. It derives its name from ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ — the day before the Catholic holiday of “All Saint’s Day” on November 1st.

While Hallowe’en was adopted by the Catholic Church, its roots go back to 5th century BC Celtic Ireland. The Irish New Year began on November 1st and the Celts believed the last day of the old year had mystical properties.

The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living. The dead would roam the earth seeking living bodies to possess.

Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed. So on the night of October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them cold and undesirable. They would dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily parade around the neighborhood in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.

The holiday was known as the Feast of Samhain, and was the High Holy Day of the Druidic pagan religion.

The Romans later adopted the Celtic practices as their own. In the first century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of some of the other Roman traditions that took place in October, such as their day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.

The thrust of the practices also changed over time to become more ritualized. As pagan belief in spirit possession waned, the practice of dressing up like hobgoblins, ghosts, and witches took on a more ceremonial role.

The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840’s by Irish immigrants fleeing their country’s potato famine.

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Catholics would walk from village to village begging for “soul cakes,” made out of square pieces of bread with currants.

The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul’s passage to heaven.

Assessment:

The Druids were the priestly caste of the ancient Celts. The Druids were polytheistic pagans who also deified elements of nature. The Druids were reputed to have possessed ‘the ancient knowledge’ — or witchcraft.

There is little doubt in my mind that the Celtic Druids worshipped Satan, and there is plenty of documentation of the ‘ancient knowledge’. (Modern archeologists are still scratching their heads over Stonehenge).

Other ancient pagan religions also claimed divinely-obtained knowledge, and left behind similarly perplexing ruins, like the Mayan temple, the pyramids of Egypt or the statues of Easter Island.

Genesis Chapter Six makes reference to the offspring of an unholy mating between angels and the daughters of men in the period before the Flood.

“… the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” (Genesis 6:3)

Of the offspring of these unholy unions, Genesis tells us, “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” ( Genesis 6:4)

The ancient Greeks and Romans worshipped a pantheon of gods and goddesses, together with strange mythical creatures like minotaurs, centaurs, and so on. Joshua spoke of the ‘gods’ from before the Flood that were still being worshipped by the ancient Israelites:

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether THE GODS WHICH YOUR FATHERS SERVED THAT WERE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FLOOD, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)

When I was a young Christian, I used to rail against the celebration of Hallowe’en because it was Satan’s high religious holiday. But as I’ve matured in the Lord, I’ve come to see it a bit differently. And maybe because of contemporary history.

As Christian religious celebrations are being secularized, Hallowe’en just keeps growing in popularity. And as it grows in popularity, Hallowe’en’s Satanic background becomes more a part of its celebration.

It is an object lesson in the reality and existence of Satan and a testimony to his status as the prince and power of the air and the ‘god of this world’. (2nd Corinthians 4:4)

It is the one day of the year when Satan is unmasked and exposed as a real entity.

I don’t know if I ever made a convert by railing against little kids having fun dressed up in Hallowe’en costumes.

But Hallowe’en festivities offer the chance to pose to the skeptic the same question and the same choice Joshua gave his men. If Satan is real, then God is real.

And if God is real, then you have a choice before you. It was that logic that first caused me to seek Christ.

So I don’t rail against it anymore. It is too good a witnessing opportunity to waste by sounding like a wild-eyed fanatic railing against little kids in cute costumes having fun.

“And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Even Hallowe’en.

Zoned Out

Zoned Out
Vol: 61 Issue: 30 Monday, October 30, 2006

According to the Assyrian website ankawa.com, a 14 year old Christian Assyrian boy, Ayad Tariq, from Baqouba, Iraq was decapitated at his work place on October 21.

Ayad Tariq was working his 12 hour shift, maintaining an electric generator, when a group of disguised Muslim insurgents walked in at the beginning of his shift shortly after 6 a.m. and asked him for his ID.

“According to another employee who witnessed the events, and who hid when he saw the insurgents approach, the insurgents questioned Ayad after seeing that his ID stated “Christian”, asking if he was truly a “Christian sinner.”

“Ayad replied “yes, I am Christian but I am not a sinner.” The insurgents quickly said this is a “dirty Christian sinner!” Then they proceeded to each hold one limb, shouting “Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!” while beheading the boy.”

Three rioting Muslim teenagers in Marseilles, France, set fire to a city bus, burning one woman and sending three other passengers to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

In a recent survey among the Middle East’s most ‘moderate’ Islamic state, some thirty percent of Turks say in a recent survey that they support honor killings of Muslim women. And 77% of young women at at the Middle East University in Ankara feel that a husband has the right to beat his wife for reasons such as her burning dinner.

In the past week (October 15-October 21), 78 jihad attacks world-wide killed 390 people and critically injured 462.

And in the UK, a research council project to investigate jihadi terror groups canceled their investigation. The reason? Fear of terror.

“Research councils today confirmed they have put on hold their involvement in a government-backed project that aimed to identify the growth of Islamist groups around the world.

The decision by the Economics and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council followed accusations by academics that they would be putting the lives of British researchers at risk in Muslim countries.” http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/research/story/0,,1926567,00.html

Assessment:

Islam divides the world according to its status relative to Islam. Dar al Islam (the Zone of Islam) and Dar al Harb (the Zone of War) are just two of the ‘zones’. There are more.

The Dar al Hudna (Zone of Calm) refers to “the land of non-believers currently under truce which is in respite between wars.”

Truce is bought by tribute by harbis. If the harbis refuse to pay tribute in exchange for the truce, hostilities are resumed.

Furthermore, only treaties that conform to Islamic prescriptions are valid; if these conditions are not fulfilled the treaty is worthless. Israel’s status during the Oslo Peace Process was that of Dar al Hudna, or zone of temporary calm.

The Oslo Agreement called for Palestinian recognition of Israel’s right to exist. That provision made it worthless on its face in the eyes of Islam. It was a ‘hudna’ agreement made to give the forces of Islam time to prepare for war. ‘Hudna’ is the calm before the storm.

Dar al-`Ahd means the ‘Zone of Truce’. The ‘Zone of Truce’ is different than the Dar al Hudna in one important respect. In Dar al Hudna, the truce is temporary and only until Islam can gain the advantage.

America’s status USED to be that of Dar al Dawa, before it moved to the Dar al Harb. Dar al Dawa is a term used to describe a region where the religion of Islam had recently been introduced. It is a ‘grace’ period during which Islam is given a chance to take root and build a following.

There is the Dar al Amn, or Zone of Safety. This is a term that describes the status of Muslims living in the West. While America is now part of Dar al Harb, it is also equally within the Dar al Amn — a ‘Zone of Safety’ for American Muslims from the Dar al Dawa.

And therein lies Islam’s strategic advantage. An American ‘Dar al Amn’ from within whose shores Islamist jihadis can safely plot ways to bring Dar al Harb to America’s homeland.

Last week, the US Army Military Academy at West Point opened an Islamic worship hall on campus, complete with a pulpit facing Mecca. West Point has roughly 5,000 cadets undergoing training at any given time.

Of those 5,000 officers in training, 32 are Muslims, or 0.15%. Now they have a Dar al Amn at West Point.

We aren’t at war with Buddhism, or even with an offshoot of some Buddhist separatist group. And there are more Buddhists in America than there are Islamics. So, is there a Buddhist Temple at West Point?

This isn’t, as the politically correct might argue, anti-Islamic hysteria. Read the first part of today’s briefing again. Ask yourself what inspires Islamic religionists to become Islamic jihadists. (I’ll give you a hint. ‘Islam’ is part of both phrases)

Creating a Zone of Safety for Islamics within the Islamic-declared Zone of War is awfully nice of us. It seems like a decent thing to do, and demonstrates to all the world just what an open and free society we really are.

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25)

The Enemy Within

The Enemy Within
Vol: 61 Issue: 28 Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Islamic Society of North America is what might be termed the face of ‘moderate’ Islam. Formed in 1963, the Islamic Society is an umbrella group that represents Muslim associations for youth, college students, engineers and others, and also provides support to Muslim chaplains and North American mosques. Its annual meeting regularly draws more than 30,000 people.

“Muslims For a Safe America” has a website that explains; “Muslims For A Safe America was established after the 2005 London bombings, to encourage honest and informed discussion among American Muslims about Islam and American national security, and to empower American Muslims to contribute actively to the ongoing national discussion about how to make America safer.”

Other than saying it is based in Chicago, the website gives no clue as to either its membership or the size of the organization. Just that it favors a safe America.

“Muslims For a Safe America” conducted a survey at the Islamic Society of North America s 43rd Annual Convention in Chicago from September 1, 2006 to September 4, 2006.

The survey was informal; the group set up a booth and asked convention attendees that were Muslims and also American citizens to participate. But the replies were illuminative.

The booth attracted 307 Muslim respondents, and the first question read: “Are you a U.S. Citizen? (If no, then don t fill out survey.)”

Having identified themselves as US citizens, the next question asked, “Do you consider yourself to be a Muslim first, an American first, or both equally?” Of the 307 respondents, 214 declared themselves ‘Muslims First’.

Only 4 of the 307 declared themselves to be ‘Americans First’, with 86 claiming they were ‘Both Equally’.

Asked, “Did the U.S. government have advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, and allow the attacks to occur?”, 200 of 307 responded with an unequivocal ‘Yes’.

When asked if they believed the US government orchestrated the attacks, 106 answered ‘Yes’ and 50 more were ‘undecided’.

A majority declared the tapes of Osama bin Laden claiming responsibility for 9/11 were fakes. 208 of the 307 respondents answered that it believed, “the US government is at war with the religion of Islam.”

In light of the survey’s findings, I found the answer to question #15 almost laughable.

After agreeing their first allegiance is to Islam and that America is at war with Islam, when asked,

“Is it justifiable for the U.S. government to do any of the following in an attempt to prevent terrorist attacks in America: a) taking religion and ethnicity into account as one factor when deciding whom to interview and search at airports?” 258 of 307 said ‘No.’

What kind of logic is this? In essence, the survey says, “You are the declared enemy of my declared first allegiance, but are unjustified in considering my declared first allegiance as a factor”.

And we’re buying it.

Assessment:

This survey was not conducted by some anti-Islamic organization bent on spreading false propaganda against Islam. It was conducted by Muslims with no axe to grind against either Islam or America.

The respondents weren’t jihadists from Afghanistan. They were ordinary Islamic Americans who were attending an ordinary convention held by one of America’s largest and most respectable Islamic social organizations.

If Islam has a ‘moderate’ representative face, it would be the Islamic Society of North America. It is regularly among the Islamic invitees to the White House Ramadan celebrations.

The majority respondents to the survey also indicated that they;

a) Supported Iran’s right to nuclear weapons;

b) Opposed US military action to stop Iran’s nuclear program;

c) By a margin of 294 to 8, opposed the US invasion of Iraq; and,

c) By a margin of 248 to 51, opposed the invasion of Afghanistan.

When it came the question; “Is violence by Muslims against the American military overseas acceptable, in retaliation for the American government s actions in the Muslim world?” 134 of 307 moderate Muslim American citizens said ‘yes’.

I am not trying to stir up anti-Islamic hysteria. Truth is neither anti or pro anything — facts have no agenda.

The facts are that; This survey is real. It is recent (less than seven weeks ago).

It reflects the majority attitude of members of one of America’s largest and most respected ‘moderate’ Islamic organizations.

The majority of Islamic ‘moderates’ believe they owe their first allegiance to Islam, not America. A third of those ‘moderates’ believe that there is justification for attacking US forces to retaliate against US actions in the Muslim world.

It would be different if I were simply trying to take some obscure poll and use it to try and whip up anti-Islamic sentiments. But I tried to find an example of a poll using the keywords ‘poll Islamic moderates.’

Most hits had ‘moderates’ set off in quotes, or used modifiers like ‘supposed’ and, in one case, ‘silent’. But I didn’t find any polls that reflected that there even WAS a ‘moderate Muslim majority’ on anything that sounded remotely moderate to my Western mind.

I found legions of hits with pages asking questions like, ‘where IS the moderate Muslim majority?’ on this issue, or that, but when it comes to tracking down WHAT constitutes a Muslim majority opinion, suddenly even the word ‘moderate’ gets all fuzzy and out of focus.

The harder you try and narrow it down, the more elusive the definitions get. What constitutes a Muslim ‘moderate’, and how does one stretch that definition to embrace the majority?

I’ve been reading and re-reading the survey, (http://muslimsforasafeamerica.org/?p=48) looking for the answer.

It seems that, in summary, the majority Muslim moderate view is that he owes his first loyalty to Islam and is justified in attacking America, given sufficient provocation.

A ‘moderate’ Muslim, then, means a devout Muslim who is not yet a jihadist. Unless sufficiently provoked.

And THAT’s what our political future is trusting in for its continued survival. Not provoking ‘moderate’ Islam to jihad. Or, as Winston Churchill described it in 1939, ‘feeding the crocodile in the hopes that it eats you last.’

“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1st Thessalonians 5:2-3)

Whistling Past the Graveyard

Whistling Past the Graveyard
Vol: 61 Issue: 27 Friday, October 27, 2006

The Associated Press is reporting French police preparations for renewed violence around Paris as, says the AP report, “mourners marked the deaths a year ago of two teenagers that ignited three weeks of riots in largely immigrant housing projects across France.”

The AP remembered “the outburst of anger at the accidental deaths of the youths, electrocuted in a power substation while hiding from police.”

More ominously, noted the AP, “attackers have torched four buses after forcing off passengers in the outskirts of Paris in recent days, and police have been ambushed in several organized attacks in recent weeks, raising fears of a new wave of violence around the anniversary.”

Who are these violent protestors? What is it about the ‘accidental electrocution’ of two ‘youths’ running from police that would spark three weeks of rioting?

What is the common denominator between the ‘rioters’ and the deaths of the ‘two youths’ that is central to understanding the story?

If you aren’t pretty good at reading between the lines, odds are good you could read the entire column and never get the answers to any of those questions.

The AP story, picked up by ABC News, contained 728 words.

The AP story was rooted in last year’s Islamic riots in France following the deaths of two Muslim teenagers who were hiding from police to avoid questioning.

Out of 728 words in the AP story, the word ‘Muslim’ appeared once. There was no other mention of Islam or any Islamic connection.

Since the story was all about Islam and Muslim rioting, it was impossible for the AP story to completely ignore the fact the common denominator was Islam.

But when it was absolutely necessary, the AP writer let it slip out. Note the almost apologetic context:

“Last year’s events jolted France into recognizing its failure to offer its 5 million Muslims, and its minorities especially those of Arab and black African origin a fair shake. Instead of France’s vaunted “egalite,” or equality, immigrants and their French-born children suffer police harassment, struggle to find work, and live in cinderblock public housing rife with crime and poverty.”

From this single sentence outlining the tragic conditions of France’s Islamic population one learns that somehow, Islam is connected. But that is the only clue in the entire column.

Without mention of France’s five million Muslims, one would conclude that the rioters were ‘minorities’ or ‘immigrants’. The only other clue to the Islamic nature of the rioters is a mention of the rioters as ‘teens of African descent’.

The AP column’s author, Jean-Marie Godard, was so excruciatingly careful not to offend French Muslims that the end result was a collection of facts devoid of context.

But Anita Elash, of Toronto’s Globe and Mail, was even more careful. In a story headlined “French Youth Still Feel Abandoned” she managed to tell the story of both last year’s riots and this year’s unrest without ever using either the word ‘Muslim’ or any form of the word ‘Islam’ in the process.

EuroNet News reported unrest in the Parisian suburbs in this morning’s editions, also without ever mentioning the words ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islam’.

The Los Angeles Times mentioned that the rioters were ‘hoodlum’ but it, too, dared not to connect the words ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslim’ with words like ‘rioter’ or ‘hoodlum’.

It merely noted, way down in the third to last paragraph, that “The majority of those rioting were the French-born children of immigrants from northern and sub-Saharan Africa, most of whom are Muslim.”

Assessment:

The most infamous ‘Christian fundamentalist group’ in America today has got to be hands-down, the ‘Westboro Baptist Church’. That’s the hate group headed by the self-styled “Reverend” Fred Phelps.

His ‘church’ consists of members of his family and they make headlines by protesting the funerals of fallen US soldiers, carrying signs proclaiming, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”

THAT ‘Westboro Baptist Church.’ But when the AP writes about IT, it is always identified as being ‘fundamentalist Christian’. The LA Times never fails to identify Phelps as the head of a sect of ‘fundamentalist Christians’.

I typed ‘fundamentalist Christian’ into Google and got returns on Eric Rudolph, the abortion clinic and Atlanta Olympic bomber, and Fred Phelps, of the Westboro Baptist Church.

But when describing riots that threatened to burn Paris to the ground, the fact the rioters are all Muslim is handled by the mainstream media on a need to know basis.

This is more that mere nit-picking; there is much to be learned here. America is some 90% self-professing Christian. It is 1% Muslim.

It is therefore hardly relevant to preface every single mention of the Westboro Baptist Church as either ‘fundamentalist’ or ‘Christian’ to an almost universally Christian audience. If anything, there would be a crying need to differentiate between Westboro’s incestuous cult and New Testament believers.

Barring that, the mere mention of the group as a ‘church’ is pretty self-explanatory to an audience made up of people steeped in Christian tradition. But the media never misses a chance to redundantly connect the Westboro cult with ‘fundamentalist Christianity’.

The same media all but ignores the Islamic connection with the Paris riots, which is highly relevant to understanding what the rioting is all about.

It is easy to figure out why. They are afraid of accidentally offending Islamic sensibilities and sparking further rioting. It also runs afoul of the law of unintended consequences.

Islam benefits from media deference in two ways.

In the first, appeasement always encourages more violence. Appeasement is like paying a blackmailer. Once you start, it only gets more and more expensive. One need only look at Israel’s experiences since Oslo.

Secondly, the other way to appease Islam is by presenting Christianity in as negative a context as possible. This provides the enemy with reams of propaganda material for use in recruiting new jihadists.

“Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.” (Proverbs 6:2)

Islam Trends Democratic

Islam Trends Democratic
Vol: 61 Issue: 26 Thursday, October 26, 2006

It appears that Arab-Americans are trending toward Democratic candidates, according to a new poll conducted by Zogby International.

According to James Zogby, “This first started in early 2002,” referring to the Arab-American shift to the Left.

“It enlarged in 2004, and now, in 2006, has grown to very large majorities.”

According to the Arab-American Institute, the Arab-American community is projected to turnout about 510,000 voters. And that could mean 5 percent of all voters in Michigan, 2 percent in Ohio and Florida and 1.5 percent in Pennsylvania.

In all four states, the Democrats are leading among Arab Americans by large margins, with Florida’s gubernatorial race being the lone exception.

The numbers are a far cry from as recently as 2000, when Zogby says President Bush won the support of 46 percent of Arab Americans, compared with 38 percent who went for Al Gore. Independent candidate Ralph Nader, who is Lebanese, received 13 percent of the Arab vote.

Pollster John Zogby, James Zogby’s brother, said that his initial data on Arab-American voting trends, conducted between 1981 and 1984, showed “a fairly even balance” in voter identification between Democrats, Republicans and independents. For the most part, that trend continued through the late 1990s.

“In 1996, that parity was present,” Mr. Zogby said. There has been a 12-point shift away from the Republicans over the past decade, he said.

“Clearly, there is a trend in the Democrats’ direction,” Mr. Zogby said. “Clearly, there is a vote for change.”

Assessment:

What can we learn from this new polling information?

There are probably all kinds of ways of looking at the data, but no matter how one spins it, the bottom line remains unchanged.

The Arab-American community would rather have a Democrat deciding how America should fight the war on terror than it would a Republican.

Maybe they don’t like Republicans, maybe they don’t like George Bush, but the trend toward the Democrats began in 1996 — about the same time that Osama bin-Laden declared war against the infidel West.

It trended even more sharply Democrat following the attacks on September 11. Indeed, as the US intensified the conflict, Arab American support for the Democrats went up commensurately.

It is worth noting some other polling information, this time, from CAIR, to help round out the picture.

CAIR found that 55 percent believe that the Bush Administration’s current war on terror has become a war on Islam.

Sixty-nine percent believe a just resolution to the Palestinian cause would improve America’s standing in the Muslim world. Sixty-six percent support working toward normalization of relations with Iran .

Only 12 percent believe the war in Iraq was a worthwhile effort, and just 10 percent support the use of the military to spread democracy in other countries.

Call me a cynic, but there doesn’t seem to be a dime’s worth of difference between the majority American Muslim opinion on these issues and those of ‘radical’ Islam. The only distinction is about how best to advance that agenda.

Think about this. Radical Islam advocates advancing that agenda by the sword. ‘Moderate’ Islam advocates the ballot box.

But the agenda remains the same, and it is the agenda, not the method, that we are at war with.

Terror is not a cause. Terror is a method of advancing a cause. Fighting terror instead of the cause it advances is manifestly futile.

The Republicans are arguing that the terrorists are trying to influence the election in favor of the Democrats. The Democrats dismiss the charge as ‘electioneering rhetoric’.

But facts are stubborn things. It is beyond logic to argue that the Democratic agenda of opposing the war effort helps the war effort. It is equally illogical to argue that anything that helps the enemy helps America — unless one shares the enemy’s agenda.

It is obvious on its face that CAIR’s Arab American poll reflects the same agenda as the radical Islamist enemy. Removing both partisan preferences and political correctness from the equation and just connecting the dots as they appear, what picture emerges?

Which side benefits from an anti-war agenda? America’s? Or America’s enemies?

Remember, we are not discussing politics so much as we are looking at America’s survival in its current form.

We remain at war with an enemy as determined as any fanatical Nazi storm trooper or Japanese samurai. Partisanship has overtaken good sense. It is clear who the enemy would like to see win in November.

What is NOT clear is why any American would want to give them the victory.

It’s just not logical.

Special Report: Israel and The Big Picture

Special Report: Israel and The Big Picture
Vol: 61 Issue: 25 Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Special Report: Israel and The Big Picture

There is so much going on in the world related to Bible prophecy that it becomes helpful to take a step back and contemplate a bit on the Big Picture.

It is easy to get so caught up in the details that one misses the awesome power of the Big Picture itself; the embodiment of the old saying about being unable to ‘see the forest for the trees’.

Bible prophecy is more than a prediction about the future. It is a promise about the future. God doesn’t just list events out of context, the events emerge later out of the promises He makes.

God promised the restoration of Israel in the last days as a benchmark against which to measure other end-time’s promises.

To bring about the restoration, God promised that the Jews would be forced out of Israel, scattered worldwide, persecuted worldwide, and that they would then return to Israel.

All of these promises were fulfilled in the context of the greater Promises of the Big Picture; the return of Christ for His Church and the national redemption of the Jews.

The Bible contains hundreds of prophecies. Some were fulfilled more than 3000 years ago. Others have been fulfilled since then. The most astonishingly unlikely prophecy of Scripture was fulfilled on May 14, 1948, when Israel resumed its seat at the table of nations after a 2,700 year absence, as prophesied by Daniel, Ezekiel, Hosea, Isaiah and Jesus.

Israel was established as a nation some 3,400 years ago. The Jews lost sovereignty about 2700 years ago. Israel existed under a sucession of conquerors until AD 70 when the Jews were banished from the Holy Land by the Romans.

They wandered, persecuted and afflicted, and were dispersed (but never absorbed) among all the nations of the world. But when God called them back to their land at the appointed time, they came in exactly the order prophesied:

“Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 43:4-5)

Zionist history records the first modern mass emigration of Jews back to the Holy Land as the “First Aliyah” (1882-1903)

“Between 1882 and 1903, approximately 35,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine, then a province of the Ottoman Empire. The majority, belonging to the Hibbat Zion and Bilu movements, came from Eastern Europe with a smaller number arriving from Yemen.” (Wikipedia entry for ‘aliyah’)

These early immigrants from the East later gathered the survivors of Hitler’s Holocaust in Western Europe, and, under the slogan, ‘Never again’ declared the rebirth of the sovereign state of Israel.

The Russians soon clamped down on Jewish emigration, and Jewish ‘refuseniks’ languished in Soviet labor camps until the USSR collapsed and ‘gave up’ her Jews — from the north.

In 1991, during a 36-hour covert operation, Israel airlifted 14,325 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in defiance of the Mengistu regime then in power who was ‘holding back’ the Ethiopian Jewish community from emigrating to Israel.

Since then, dozens of other rescue operations have been mounted for isolated Jewish communities world-wide.

God’s promise was fulfilled exactly as it was given, in order and to the last detail.

“I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” (Isaiah 46:10)

Allow yourself a second to contemplate that verse and what it reveals. God’s ‘signature’ is to start at the end with a Promise, then outline in advance how He will keep it.

First, the end — Israel’s restoration — told ‘from the beginning’ and then, ‘from ancient times’ His method for accomplishing ‘the things that are not yet done.’

God not only promised Israel’s restoration, but in so doing, foretold, in detail, the events that would make restoration necessary — and the order in which He would accomplish it.

Down to details like the subtle difference between ‘gathering’ from the West and commanding the South to ‘hold not back’. Awesome.

The prophet Joel foretold that the modern state of Israel will be partitioned by other nations.

“I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for My people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted My land.” (Joel 3:2)

Zechariah foretold that Jerusalem would become the focus of international attention, a ‘burdensome stone’ that will cause all the nations of the world to be gathered against it. (Zechariah 12:1-5)

The prophet Micah said that in the last days, Jerusalem would become the world’s most important religious site. (Micah 4:1)

NONE of this was even possible to be fulfilled only a generation ago. Today, it is so much a part of the daily newscasts that it loses its impact.

Step back from it for a minute and see it for what it actually is.

The scenario playing out before our eyes conforms exactly with God’s promises regarding Israel in the last days. That is just part of the Big Picture. It’s awesome.

All the rest of the details are, in and of themselves, just as awesome.

But when you step back and see how each detail is so interdependent on so many other details, ‘awesome’ isn’t quite adequate to describe it.

The attention to detail confirms for us that no matter how chaotic and out of control world events seem to be, everything is going according to Divine Plan. God remains in control of events and He told us how it all turns out in the end.

And since He hasn’t been wrong yet, we can trust Him on it.

The Inexplicable Sandy Berger

The Inexplicable Sandy Berger
Vol: 61 Issue: 24 Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It’s been a couple of years since the world forgot that a highly-placed member of the Clinton administration stuffed documents relevant to the 9/11 attacks down his pants and sneaked them out of the National Archives.

I keep waiting for somebody to get curious about what those never-recovered documents had to say. They must have been pretty important for the former National Security Advisor to the United States to steal.

And then to lie to federal investigators about stealing them afterwards, which is another major federal crime. We are talking a major federal crime.

It was lying to investigators that sent Martha Stewart to the pokey. It turned out that Stewart lied to investigators about a stock transaction worth $40,000 — play money to billionaire Stewart.

And the action Stewart was convicting of lying about wasn’t even illegal. Martha went to jail for the lie, not the crime she lied about.

Lewis “Scooter” Libby was the Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney and one of the most important policy-makers in the Bush administration.

He was indicted by a federal grand jury and resigned in disgrace. The grand jury indicted him for lying under oath about his involvement in the leaking of the name of CIA employee Valerie Plame.

Libby wasn’t the leak. And we now know that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald KNEW Libby wasn’t the leaker before he even called Libby to testify. And Fitzgerald also knew that the ‘crime’ being covered up wasn’t a crime at all.

But Libby remains under federal indictment on charges of lying to investigators about a crime that was never committed by an investigator who knew he was not guilty when he began the investigation.

So lying to federal investigators is, as I said, a big deal in Washington. Lying to investigators put President Clinton in the dock at the Senate and put the country through the agony of the impeachment proceedings.

It was the lie that put Clinton there, not the ‘crime’ he was covering up. His political supporters forgave him the crime, dismissing it as something ‘everybody lies about’.

But Clinton lost his law license in his home state, the highest rebuke possible in the legal profession. He was convicted of lying to a grand jury and lost the civil suit brought against him by Paula Jones.

Despite Clinton’s continuing popularity among Democrats, Clinton will never enjoy the post-presidential career he’d hoped for. He will be forever tarnished, popular, but polarizing.

Bill Clinton is living a politician’s nightmare; he will always be remembered for the worst thing he ever did.

Assessment:

Sandy Berger used his position of trust as a former Cabinet official to steal highly-classified documents from the National Archives.

He was so startled by the documents he discovered that he actually stuffed them down his pants and walked out with them.

It is important to keep in mind what Berger was doing in the National Archives. He was assigned to review documents relevant to the September 11 attacks and report back to the 9/11 investigating committee.

The documents Berger took each copy of the millennium report is said to be in the range of 15 to 30 pages were highly secret. They were classified at what is known as the “code word” level, which is the government’s highest tier of secrecy.

Berger homed in on a single document: the so-called “after-action report” on the Clinton administration’s handling of the millennium plot of 1999/2000. Berger is said to have taken multiple copies of the same paper.

He is also said to have taken those copies on at least two different days.

There have been no reports that he took any other documents, which suggests that his choice of papers was quite specific, and not the result of simple carelessness.

So his theft can only be construed as an attempt to alter the historical record on terrorism. And when questioned, he lied to investigators.

He said he ‘inadvertenly’ took the papers home.

“In the course of reviewing over several days thousands of pages of documents on behalf of the Clinton administration in connection with requests by the September 11 commission, I inadvertently took a few documents from the Archives,” Berger said in a written statement.

“When I was informed by the Archives that there were documents missing, I immediately returned everything I had except for a few documents that I apparently had accidentally discarded.”

When Berger pleaded guilty, he admitted he knowingly hid his handwritten notes in his jacket and pants in order to sneak them out of the Archives. He also admitted he cut up the missing documents with scissors.

Despite both the crime and the coverup, Berger was fined $50,000.00 plus community service and probation. He served no jail time. Because he pleaded out to a misdemeanor, Berger has no felony conviction on his record.

His security clearance was only suspended until 2008 — meaningless to a partisan Democrat during a Republican administration.

Nobody knows for sure what documents Berger took. We only know what documents Berger admitted to taking.

And since he STOLE them in the first place, what logic is there in declaring the case ‘closed’ on Berger’s word?

Finally, two years after the fact, and after the administration has been soundly beaten with the 9/11 Commission’s final report (without the stolen and possibly, exclupatory, information) a group of ten House Republicans are wondering, “What did Sandy Berger stuff down his pants?”

They asked the House Government Reform Committee to determine whether any documents were missing from Clinton administration terrorism records, to review security measures for classified documents and to seek testimony from Berger.

(It is worthy of noting that not ONE of the Democrats who were calling for Scooter Libby’s blood joined them.)

The request is ‘under review’ by the House Government Reform Committee. (In other words, it depends on who has the majority in the House — and on the Committee — after the mid-term elections.)

Meanwhile, Scooter Libby is still under indictment. Martha Stewart is a convicted felon.

But Sandy Berger is hosting fund-raising dinners for political races, doing cable TV appearances, and advising political campaigns.

In two years, he can cash in on his political favors and count on a prominent role in any subsequent Democratic administration. (Berger was a senior advisor to the Kerry campaign when the story broke, and Kerry was rumored to have offered him Secretary of State.)

It is inexplicable that Berger remains such a high roller on the national political scene. How did he manage to do it? And seemingly, get away with it?

The case is all but forgotten. The Bush administration couldn’t protect Scooter Libby.

All her popularity and money couldn’t protect Martha Stewart. But somebody was able to protect Sandy Berger. It is Orwellian. Who HAS that kind of power?

I don’t think we’ll know the answer to THAT question until we get the answer to the first one.

“What DID Sandy Berger stuff down his pants?”