The Only True Religion

The Only True Religion
Vol: 62 Issue: 30 Thursday, November 30, 2006

I was chatting the other day with a friend about the news and such when he unexpectedly turned the conversation to the subject of religion and specifically the notion that Christianity is the only ‘true’ religion.

“How do YOU know that Christianity is the only genuine religion? People from other religions think theirs is the only true religion. Even some Christian denominations claim theirs is the only way to heaven. Didn’t Jesus die for everybody?”

“Don’t get me wrong,” he continued, “I believe in Jesus and the whole Bible. I just think the idea that Christianity is the only true religion sounds pretty narrow-minded. How can you be so sure?”

At the risk of sounding like, well, you-know-who, much depends on how you define the word ‘religion.’ The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘religion’ as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power,” or “a particular system of faith and worship.”

Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. Attending a particular church doesn’t make one a Christian. And not going to any church at all doesn’t mean one isn’t a Christian. It is not a ‘system’ of worship, it is a personal friendship with Jesus.

“Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:14-15)

But applying ‘religion’ to Christianity in its loosest sense, the question remains: “How can anybody be completely sure that Christianity is the ONLY true religion?”

Assessment:

The simplest answer is the most obvious. While there can be many religions, there can be only one God. And while there can be many purported revelations from God, only one of them can be true. Things that are different are NOT the same.

Jesus Christ said that He was the ONLY way to the Father. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:16)

Jesus also said that He alone revealed the Father.

“All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and He to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27)

Christians don’t believe Christianity is the only true religion out of narrow mindedness or bigotry. They believe it because they take Jesus at His Word.

There is more or less universal agreement among the various religions that Jesus was a good man and a wise teacher. Jesus SAID that HE was the only way. Either he was telling the truth, or he was a liar and a lunatic.

Truth is not a feeling. Truth is not an idea. Truth can stand on its own merits, without requiring interpretation or semantic gymnastics.

Jesus offers a relationship with God, by trusting in Him and what He accomplished by His death and resurrection, instead of trusting in one’s own efforts.

Sincerity and good works cannot bridge the gap of sin between God and man. The truth of that statement is self-evident.

Men sin. Sinners cannot undo their previous sin, no matter how many good works they perform. Neither can they be certain they won’t sin again, no matter how sincerely they try.

If sincerity and good works were sufficient, then there would be no point in God giving us a Bible to correct our sincerely-held wrong ideas about Him. And He wouldn’t have sent His Son to accomplish what our good works could not.

It is utterly illogical to assume that there can be more than one acceptable way to please God. Logic demands that there can be only one true religion.

It isn’t narrow-mindedness. It isn’t religious bigotry. Jesus is the only way to the Father because He said so.

And if He doesn’t know, who does?

Talking Turkey

Talking Turkey
Vol: 62 Issue: 29 Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Another piece of the Gog-Magog prophecy seems to be coming together as Brussels has again dashed Turkish hopes of joining the European Union.

Brussels says it will recommending a partial suspension of negotiations between the EU and Turkey about joining Europe after Ankara refused to open its ports to EU member Cyprus.

The recommendation to EU governments came after talks on the Cyprus issue failed on Monday. EU foreign ministers will take a decision on the recommendations on December 11.

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 in response to a Greek Cypriot coup backed by Greece’s then ruling military junta and does not recognize EU member Cyprus. Ankara backs a Turkish Cypriot mini-state in the north, which it alone recognizes.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the decision saying this showed Turkey it had to honor its agreement with the EU to open sea and air ports to Cyprus, called the Ankara protocol.

“The Commission proposal is a strong signal that the Ankara protocol has to be accepted by Turkey,” she told reporters in Riga where she was attending a NATO summit.

Britain’s Tony Blair represented a lone voice of reason, warning that the EU should not send a negative signal to Turkey at this time as this could be “a serious mistake for Europe long-term.”

Turkey has waited a long time to be admitted to the EU, having first applied on April 14, 1987 when the European Union was still being proposed. Turkey had been an Associate member of the EEC since 1964.

Interestingly, one of the major reasons that Turkey is having such a hard time gaining membership is its relationship with both the United States and, strangely, Israel.

Although Turkey is officially an Islamic state, it is the only Islamic state to enter into mutual defense agreements with the Jewish State, going so far as to conduct joint wargames.

And Turkey has traditionally maintained exceptionally close ties with the United States and Washington has returned the favor by strongly backing Turkey’s bid for EU membership.

Some EU states, notably France, oppose Turkish membership on the grounds it will increase European political dependence on the United States to admit such a close American ally. And to be accepted for membership, Turkey needs to be accepted by unanimous agreement.

As long as Turkey enjoys warm relations with the US and Israel, it will remain on the EU’s doorstep, hat in hand, waiting for an invitation that will not come.

Assessment:

Ankara finds itself between a rock and a hard place in its bid to join the EU. Those who oppose Turkish membership do so, in part, out of a desire to embarrass Washington and Jerusalem.

Those who favor Turkish ascension do so BECAUSE of Ankara’s close ties with both the US and Israel.

If the Turks were to distance themselves from Washington to appease France, for example, they would alienate themselves from other EU member states, like the UK. Since it takes unanimous agreement by all members, Turkey’s bid for membership is all but doomed.

Hedging its bets, Ankara is focusing its attention on developing closer ties with the Russians, just in case.

Russia s investment in Turkey is worth $350 million while Turkey s investment in Russia totals $1.5 billion. The two countries have developed a joint strategy of “multidimensional cooperation’ in the areas of the military and energy.

Russia agreed to invest in Turkey’s fuel and energy industries. In return, Turkey has agreed to accept tenders from Russia for the purchase of major weapons systems.

And Russia also opposes Turkish inclusion in the EU. During a 2004 visit to Ankara, Russian president Putin warned Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, “If you enter the EU, we cannot meet frequently.”

As a consequence, the Turks face a choice between extremes. If it distances itself from the US and Israel, it will placate part of the EU and alienate the other part, ending hopes for a unanimous agreement.

If it continues to maintain its relationships with the US and Israel, it will simply reverse the equation without getting a single step closer to EU membership.

Or, it can turn its attention to the East and to the welcoming arms of Vladimir Putin.

As noted earlier, this all lends itself to Ezekiel’s prophecy of the Gog-Magog War. According to the Torah, modern Turkey is descended through Gomer, Japeth and Togarmah.

Of all the various main players in the Gog Magog scenario; , Magog, Meschech, Tubal, Persia, Libya, Ethiopia, the only combatants not presently a client state of the Russians are, “Gomer and all his bands” and “the house of Togarmah of the north quarters and all his bands.”

Gomer is traditionally believed to include the area of the former East Germany and Togarmah is Turkey. Former East Germany is home to the one of the largest Turkish populations outside of Turkey, and the Turks make up Germany’s largest group of non-ethnic Germans.

Togarmah, or modern Turkey, is slowly being driven away from the West and into the waiting arms of the Russian bear.

Exactly as Ezekiel prophesied more than 2500 years ago.

The Generation of the Messiah

The Generation of the Messiah
Vol: 62 Issue: 28 Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj. Gen. Yahya Safavi now heads one of the most formidable military forces in the world, despite international sanctions designed to prevent an Iranian military buildup.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is an entity separate and distinct from Iran’s regular armed forces that is loyal and answerable only to Iran’s ruling mullahs. The Revolutionary Guard was created and set up specifically to prevent a military coup by secularists against Iran’s religious rulers.

And under Safavi, the Revolutionary Guard has developed into a force numbering as many as TEN MILLION dedicated and fanatically religious soldiers.

That isn’t ten MILLION Iranian soldiers — those ten million make up JUST the IRGC — Iran also has a separate army, navy and air forces. Plus tens of thousands of religiously devoted volunteer suicide squads.

In all, according to the CIA World Factbook, Iran has more than THIRTY MILLION citizens of military age and fit for military service, thanks to Iran’s lopsided population ratio.

The carnage of the 1980-88 Iran/Iraq War killed off the majority of Iran’s previous generation, resulting in 70% of the population of Iran being under the age of thirty.

Over the past three years, the IRGC has been given the best of Iran’s weapons and platforms. The force has developed and maintained control over Iran s entire strategic arsenal and is responsible for, among other duties, securing the nation’s nuclear program.

“The IRGC began as a buffer against a military coup,” reported Geostrategy-Direct.com. “Today, it is far superior in strength to the regular military and can conduct the bulk of the fighting against any enemy, including the United States.”

In a recent interview, General Safavi outlined both his own war strategy and the perceived weaknesses of the enemy [Israel/USA]. “We make full use of satellite systems, and can handle the enemy’s satellite systems,” Safavi bragged. “We can disrupt the satellite systems of the enemy. We can disrupt the communication networks of the enemy.”

Safavi made his comments after Iran’s recent ten-day wargame exercise, dubbed “The Great Prophet” that showcased Iran’s growing military prowess.

Safavi’s force fired hundreds of missiles and rockets towards targets, demonstrating the IRGC’s capability in precision strikes as well as command and control. The IRGC proved that in any war with the United States, Iran could obliterate virtually any strategic target in the Gulf and Iraq.

Safavi highlighted Iran’s successes with the Shihab-3 missile, adapted from North Korea’s NoDong-3, which Safavi said was accurate to within several meters.

“The Shihab 3 missiles, which were fired with a cluster warhead, deviated a few meters” from the target, Safavi said. “Naturally, a 20 to 30 meter [deviation] is acceptable, because the force of the explosion and the radius of the shock waves exceed 20 or 30 meters.”

Safavi said the new cluster warhead of the Shihab-3 ensures a killing zone of several square kilometers. The new missile variant was designed against aircraft carriers and large military bases.

The Shihab-2, with an estimated range of 500 miles, which includes most of Iraq, carries a 2,000 pound conventional warhead and 20 tons of fuel.

The IRGC has been developing a range of strategic assets. Under Safavi, the Shihab-3 is intended for conversion from the current liquid-fuel to the more efficient solid-fuel variant. With solid fuel, the Shihab could be prepared for launch within minutes.

Safavi, in an assessment echoed by Western analysts, asserted that the IRGC is a motivated force. This contrasts with the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan and Iraq where Americans do the bulk of the fighting while their NATO allies avoid combat.

“We don’t see any motivation among the American forces in Iraq,” Safavi said. “They are very cowardly. There are even scenes from Iraq in which they are seen crying. When their commanders encounter a problem, they burst into tears. We did not see such spectacles in the eight years of the Iran-Iraq war. I can therefore say that our advantage over the foreign forces is moral and human.”

Although Safavi was pointed in his assessment of the Americans as crybabies, America isn’t Iran’s target of choice. At least, not at first.

“If the Zionist regime was defeated by a group of Hezbollah in Lebanon after all, Hezbollah is a small group in Lebanon, which defeated the Israeli army in this 33-day war how can Israel withstand a great nation that numbers 70 million, 90 percent of which are Shiites?” Safavi asked.

Most of Safavi’s bluster was aimed at keeping America at bay while Iran makes short work of Israel. To that end, Iran and Syria have worked out a military cooperation agreement designed and focused on keeping America from coming to Israel’s aid when Iran makes its move against the Jewish State.

The two countries also plan to cooperate in air defense. Under two agreements signed over the past year, Damascus and Teheran pledged to make their air defense batteries interoperable, allowing for either country to help the other during an emergency.

Iran has begun taking delivery of the Russian Tor-M1 air-defense missile — rated as one of the best in the world. Syria has already purchased Russia’s SA-18 ‘Grouse’ missile system. The ‘Grouse’ — (or ‘Igla’ in Russian) has already proved its superiority over the US Stinger missile system in tests conducted by the South African military.

The Syrian model is a substantially improved variant with longer range, more sensitive seeker, improved resistance to latest countermeasures, and a heavier warhead. As we discussed in previous briefings on this subject, the entire Arab Middle East is arming and preparing for war with israel, believing that this time, it can not only annihilate the Jewish state, but defeat any American intervention effort on Israel’s behalf.

Egypt, a nation with no strategic enemies, is quietly spending more of its budget on defense than either Iran or Syria. What Iran and Syria are to Hezbollah, Egypt is to Hamas — but without the bluster.

Egypt conducts annual wargames in the Sinai against an imaginary enemy nation Egypt identifies as a “small country northeast of Egypt”, according to the subtitle of the annual ‘Bader Exercises’ manual.

There is only one such country on the map. The indoctrination of new Egyptian officers focuses on preparation for a possible future war against Israel, although Egypt has had a peace treaty with Israel since 1977.

Assessment:

What is fascinating to me is the fact that all of these nations are preparing for what they agree will be the Battle of Armageddon.

The Muslims have their own eschatological scheme for the last days, lifted from the Scriptures and then ‘tweaked’ so that the Muslim forces come out on top in the end.

Islam awaits its own messiah figure, the ‘Mahdi’ who will lead the forces of Islam in a victorious conquest of the world for Islam, after which everybody will live happily ever after.

Islamic scholars have even pointed to the rider on the white horse of Revelation 6:2 as the Mahdi of Islamic ‘prophecy’. (Christian scholars identify the rider on the white horse as the antichrist.)

Let’s add it all up and see what we get.

In Israel, devoutly religious Jews are preparing for the coming of the Messiah. For the first time in 1,600 years, the Jewish Sanhedrin has been reconstituted, since Jewish law requires the Jewish Messiah to be certified by Israel’s Supreme religious court.

Gershon Salomon’s Temple Mount Faithful fully expect the Messiah in the near future, and each year attempt to lay the cornerstone for the Third Temple. The Temple Mount Institute has recreated all the necessary elements for Temple worship and is training Kohanim priests in preparation.

Christians are awaiting the Second Coming of Christ in this generation. Western culture is also beginning to reflect that expectation through books, movies and television programming.

Movies with plot lines involving the end of the world are consistent box office winners; books about Bible prophecy are best-sellers; networks like National Geographic and A&E can’t make documentaries about the Bible and the last days fast enough to meet demand.

The Islamic world is so convinced of the soon appearance of their own messiah that they are willing to bring about a global conflagration in order to hasten his appearance.

So we have the world’s three largest monotheistic religions all convinced at the same point in history that this is the generation of the messiah. All three are actively making preparations in advance of his appearance.

The Jews expect their messiah to bring global peace. The Muslims expect their messiah to bring global war. Daniel identifies the antichrist as a false messiah who rises to power by means of the promise of peace and then plunges the world into a global war of annihilation against Christians and Jews.

Revelation 6:2 pictures the rider on the white horse as carrying a bow — but no arrows, symbolic of a peaceful ascent to power, followed by the rider on the rider on the black horse who plunges the world into war.

The details remain fuzzy — since they are working themselves out in real time — but the shared expectation is crystal clear. Almost against its will, even the secular world has begun entertaining the notion that the end is near.

What does it all mean? According to the New Testament, there is only one thing preventing global messianic expectations from playing themselves out — the appearance of the antichrist. And there is but one obstacle to his revelation — the ministry of the Holy Spirit during the Church Age.

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth (‘restrains’) will let (‘restrain’), until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming:” (2nd Thessalonians 2:6-8)

Paul says the Holy Spirit ‘withholdeth’ or restrains the ‘mystery of inquiity’ until the antichrist’s appointed time, when He is ‘taken out of the way’.

Since the Holy Spirit is God and God is omnipresent and therefore everywhere, (even ‘in hell’ says the Psalmist) the Holy Spirit must be ‘taken out of the way’ in the specific sense of His activity in restraining evil.

The only logical way to understand this is that His indwelling presence in mankind is withdrawn. The Bible also promises that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer and that He will continue to do so until Jesus returns.

So it is not logically possible for this to be accomplished without also ‘withdrawing’ the Church He indwells at the same instant.

The Bible explains, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: 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: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)

The Rapture is the next event on God’s prophetic calendar. Given all the signs that already point toward the coming Tribulation, that event could take place at any moment.

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

Eaten by the Bear

Eaten by the Bear
Vol: 62 Issue: 27 Monday, November 27, 2006

The body of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko is reportedly so radioactive that British medical examiners are afraid to conduct his autopsy and the health care professionals who treated him are being tested for radiation poisoning.

According to Litvinenko’s spokesperson after his death, he was killed by a ‘tiny nuclear bomb’ inside his body. That is a pretty good analogy, as it turns out.

Traces of Polonium 210 were found at Litvinenko’s home and at two other London locations he visited on the day he fell ill. That led doctors to look for it in Litvinenko’s body. Its presence was detected by a post-mortem urinalysis, leading to the radioactive cross-contamination fears expressed by his physicians.

And this is where it gets interesting. Although there are industrial uses for polonium-210, it is only used commercially in tiny quantities.

To obtain enough polonium-210 to kill a man, one would have to have access to a nuclear reactor, meaning it had to be a state-sponsored assassination.

The list of nations who have nuclear reactors narrows the field considerably. Especially since polonium 210 is carefully tracked and any quantity, no matter how tiny, would not escape notice. Except by the nation who supplied it.

Adding up motive, opportunity and means, there is only one viable suspect — Russia. Litvinenko named Vladimir Putin personally as his killer from beyond the grave in a statement read aloud by his spokesman after his death.

Litvinenko worked for the KGB and its successor, the FSB. In 1998, he publicly accused his superiors of ordering him to kill tycoon, Boris Berezovsky, and spent nine months in jail from 1999 on charges of abuse of office. He was later acquitted and in 2000 sought asylum in Britain.

Had Putin wanted Litvinenko dead, which seems likely, there are many other ways he could have had him ‘liquidated’ — to use the old Cold War term.

If his death were the only objective, Litvinenko could have been killed in a staged traffic accident, shot by a mugger, stabbed by a junkie, run over by a streetcar, the list of possible ‘accidents’ that the Russian FSB could have chosen from is virtually endless.

Instead, Putin ordered the hit on Litvinenko using a substance that was virtually an official signature. And Litvinenko didn’t just die; he literally melted from in the inside out in a long, drawn-out and excruciatingly painful death.

It is hard to imagine a more miserable demise.

Putin was sending an unmistakable message to Russian dissidents living abroad: “If you reveal Russian secrets, we won’t just kill you, we’ll overkill you.”

What is intriguing is that Putin thought sending the message in the manner he did was worth the considerable risk it posed to Russia’s international reputation.

What is Putin hiding that could be worse than the ramifications of a state-sponsored murder on foreign soil pointing directly to his door?

Kremlin enemies have been dropping lie flies of late; the former head of security for the Chechen President, a former guerrilla turned FSB agent, was shot dead by Russian police.

That killing was linked to the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya, an investigative journalist preparing to publish a series of stories about Chechnya, on October 7.

Here’s where the spy vs spy stuff apparently comes together. Until he was poisoned, Livinenko was investigating Putin’s involvement in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya — bringing things full circle back to Chechnya.

Russia is conducting a vicious war against Muslim Chechen separatists. Much of the Islamic Chechen rebels’ supplies flow into the region from Iran. The Chechen separatists are Islamic allies of Tehran.

That should make Moscow the ideological enemy of Iran under the same principle that makes Washington’s support of Israel an Islamic target. Despite all that, Russian relations with Iran couldn’t be warmer. Moscow is supplying Iran with nuclear materials as well as building nuclear reactors all over the country.

And now Russia has begun delivering the first of 29 Tor-M1 missiles it sold to the Iranians in a deal worth $700 million. The Tor-M1 is regarded as the most highly advanced missile of its kind in the world.

It is capable of simultaneously destroying two targets traveling up to 450 mph in any weather, day or night. It is equipped with jam-resistant radar with electronic beam control, which feeds azimuth, elevation and automatic threat evaluation data on up to 48 targets to a digital fire-control computer.

Here’s what all that means in plain English. Once they are fully deployed, Iran s nuclear installations will be virtually invulnerable to American or Israeli air attack.

That creates a window of about six months to act.

Assessment:

Whatever Putin has up his sleeve, the trail flows through Chechnya to Tehran and back again, and anybody who gets too close to it ends up dead.

It is SO important that Putin made a point of using Livinenko’s murder as a warning, even at the risk of exposing his direct involvement.

Add that together with Putin’s decision to deliver the Tor-M1’s in defiance of a personal, face-to-face request by President Bush at the Hanoi summit, and it is clear that future battle lines are already being drawn up.

Iran has promised to annihilate Israel. Moscow is not only providing them with the means to do so, it is providing them with a protective umbrella to ensure they accomplish their goal. Putin knows that an Iranian attack against Israel would provoke a massive counterstrike against Tehran by either Israel or America.

It is almost like he is preparing a ‘Hail Mary’ play against the United States.

While America is focused on its outgoing nuclear response against Iran, Moscow would have a window of opportunity to launch a sneak nuclear attack aimed at wiping out most of America’s remaining missile capabilities.

It would be a major gamble for Russia, but once nuclear missiles start flying in any direction, anybody who has one is going to try and lob it into America. By the time America gets around to Russia, Putin is evidently gambling Russia could survive a degraded US response.

But the lynchpin is Israel. For the scenario to unfold in Putin’s favor, the first target has to be Israel, and the attack can’t begin from Russian soil. America’s first response must be against Iran and whatever other nuclear nutcases (North Korea, Pakistan) that take the chance to unload their arsenals on the Great Satan.

Admittedly, I am speculating a good bit on the details, but it is almost a foregone conclusion that something along these lines is already in motion. The Islamic world, financed and instigated largely by Iran, is seething for a direct military confrontation with Israel and the Great Satan.

Russia sees an opportunity to exploit the coming conflict, eliminating its only major military rival in the process, and hopefully, without getting nuked in return.

The price, from Moscow’s perspective, is the destruction of Israel, a price Moscow is willing to pay. Indeed, Russia has already bought chips in the game.

Has anybody else noticed that Ezekiel’s scenario is almost complete? Ezekiel foretold the rise of a grand alliance between Gog and Magog (modern Russia and its Islamic republics) and Persia, (modern Iran) together with the Mediterranean Islamic world, that would launch a sneak attack against Israel in the last days.

There is virtually no Islamic state that would stand in opposition and probable that most, if not all, would join in what would appear to be a certain victory against the hated ‘Zionist occupiers.’

According to Ezekiel, however, Israel is not destroyed. The invasion is stopped on the mountains of the West Bank in a miraculous battle that involves ‘pestilence and blood’ and ‘an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone.’ (Ezekiel 38:22)

Radioactive rain, giant hailstones that form in the stratosphere when the evaporated water cools, re-forms, and freezes, and ‘fire and brimstone’ — all are byproducts of a nuclear explosion.

The prophet Joel, describing the same battle, says it involves, “blood, fire and pillars of smoke.” (Joel 2:30)

Let’s summarize the prophecy: Ezekiel named Russia, Iran, the extremist Islamic world, and predicted a sneak attack on Israel resulting in what is clearly a nuclear war. Ezekiel said this war would occur “in the latter years.”

Ezekiel made his prophecy well AFTER the destruction of Israel in antiquity and 2,500 years BEFORE Israel was reborn ‘in a day’ on May 14, 1948, as prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah.

“Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” (Isaiah 66:8)

By itself, that is an amazing proof of Bible prophecy. Apart from the inspiration of God, how could the prophets know there would EVER be an Israel, let alone pinpoint when?

Now, let’s summarize the news: Iran is developing nuclear weapons and has sworn to annihilate Israel in “a flash”. Russia has returned to its Cold War status with the US, and is actively helping Iran both develop nuclear weapons and is supplying them with the means to protect them.

Russia’s Tor-M1 missiles give Israel and America less than six months to act.

Israel is preparing for a coming war with Iran. And Israel is already at war with most of the Mediterranean Islamic world.

What is missing from the news is any cogent plan by the United States to stop Iran from going nuclear or even any mention of a six-month window of opportunity.

And what is missing from Ezekiel’s prophecy is any mention of a Western superpower resembling the United States.

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you BY THE WORD OF THE LORD, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: 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: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1st Thessalonians 4:13-17)

The Bible is true and the signs are all there. What terrifies the world is, to the Christian, proof positive that God is still on the Throne, and that He knows what He is doing. All He asks of us is to trust Him.

I wish I could say with absolute certainty that the Rapture occurs before anything bad happens. But the only certainty I can find in Scripture is that the Rapture occurs before the man of sin is revealed.

Still, Paul was inspired to conclude this passage with the hopeful message, “Wherefore, COMFORT one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:18)

I’ll trust Him on that.

The Last War

The Last War
Vol: 62 Issue: 25 Saturday, November 25, 2006

A brilliantly revealing interview published yesterday by Worldnetdaily gave one an opportunity to literally sit for tea with an Islamic suicide bomber named Ahmed.

Let me begin by congratulating WND’s Aaron Klein for putting his head into the lion’s mouth to get the interview by going to Gaza in the first place.

The final product was as spellbinding as it was bone-chilling. (A link to Klein’s column is at the bottom of the page)

But more that that, it was highly instructive of the true nature of Islam. A belief structure has to be founded in something in order to earn the designation ‘structure’.

To qualify as a ‘religion’ that belief structure must be rooted in certain basic doctrinal principles. Variations in doctrine can exist within that basic framework, but if they stray beyond that framework, it becomes a different religion.

There are certain Christian bedrock doctrines, but many different denominations within Christianity. Those that stray beyond those bedrock doctrines earn the designation of Christian ‘cult’, rather than a Christian denomination. Stay with me, here.

If a Mormon were expounding on the deeper things of Mormonism, mainstream Christianity would immediately distance itself from beliefs like Jesus had several wives or that He was the brother of Lucifer, for example.

The way they would do so would be to point out where such doctrines run counter to the bedrock beliefs of Christianity as outlined by the Bible.

The invisible Islam of peace, love and tranquilizers that we keep hearing about should be doing the same thing regarding radical Islam.

If Islam’s foundational doctrines are really peace and love that have been perverted by the radicals, then radicals like Ahmed wouldn’t be Islamic anymore than Mormons are Christian. Do you follow?

Mormon terrorists wouldn’t be ‘Christian’ terrorists anymore than Mormon polygamists are ‘Christian’ polygamists. There is a distinct and insurmountable doctrinal difference between Mormon and mainstream Christian beliefs regarding polygamy.

There appears to be no such legitimate doctrinal distinction between Islamic terrorists and Islamic non-terrorists. I say ‘legitimate’ because Islamic apologists claim a distinction, but it is a distinction without a difference.

So-called ‘moderate’ Muslims differ from Islamic radicals in methodology, but the Koran imposes the same ultimate doctrinal goal of bringing about global submission to Islam on moderate and radical alike.

In a nutshell, if radical Islam wasn’t essentially mainstream Islam, true Islamics would call it something else.

Assessment:

What made Klein’s interview so chilling was how completely reasonable Ahmed was. Klein pressed him on the whole 72 virgins thing, but the way Ahmed explained it, it almost made sense. It’s a bit lengthy, but insightful.

“Let me explain something to you. The world, the lower one we are in now, it is temporary. Allah examines the loyalty of human beings, asking you in this materialistic world to avoid all that is tempting, all that pleasures you on earth, and to dedicate yourself to Allah.

This doesn’t mean that Allah does not think it is good to take part in these needs of sex, in the pleasure of drinking alcohol, enjoying nature and other stuff. The point is that non-Muslims do those things in this world while ignoring Allah and all moral rules, while Muslims are asked to do a tremendous spiritual effort on earth in order to gain these other (physical) pleasures in the next world.

I don’t know how you Jews see these physical pleasures, especially after the Torah that Allah gave you was falsified, but in our religion all spiritual efforts are asked from us on earth and it is much more difficult. So it is not that all the story is about sex. You do free sex now, I do not.

But you will go to hell after living 50, 60, 70, 80 years, and I will go, I pray that Allah accepts, to heaven and there I will do and will enjoy what you did during these 80 years. The difference is that after these years you will burn in hell forever and I will, after my years in this world of faith, restraint and patience, enjoy Allah’s pleasures forever. “

For that reason, says Ahmed,”I pray that Allah gives me the honor to be dead in an operation. This is the supreme and the noblest way to ascend to Allah. These martyrs have special status in the next world and have bigger chances to watch Allah’s face and enjoy the magnificent pleasures he offers us.”

Ahmed says he has nothing against Jews in particular, other than the Koran says to kill them. And their allies, the Americans.

“We were never taught to hate Jews but to hate the occupation of the Zionists. . .” but, while, “the Jews stole this holy Islamic land and we must fight them, I am looking to receive what waits for me in the next world.”

The way he explains it, it’s really nothing personal. At one point, he tells Klein, “Meanwhile and before I drive you to hell in an operation, enjoy your tea and our hospitality,” laughing as he said it.

As for America, “America is destroying and exploiting the Arabic and the Islamic world as part of a Zionist and Crusader plan. The American Jews, we say, are the godfathers of this Zionist entity in America.”

Ahmed’s view of America and Israel is not outside that of the mainstream Islamic world. All of the international polls show the majority of Muslims consider America and Israel to at war with Islam. Not all of them want to die. But the majority of them share Ahmed’s goal, if not his method.

Most people associate Armageddon with the climactic battle that takes place on the plains of Megiddo at the Second Coming. We get our English translation, “Armageddon” from the words ‘Har’ and ‘Megiddo’.

The final battle is but the last battle in an ongoing war of extermination against Christians and Jews that rages throughout the Tribulation Period.

It is during that war that the antichrist rises to power and seizes control of the reins of global government, but the war itself is already raging when he does.

Plotting the scenario according to the Bible’s timeline, we are already engaged in the early phases of that war. The White House calls it a ‘generational’ war.

The Bible calls it the War of Armageddon. The war that takes the world into the Tribulation.

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way. And THEN shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:7-8)

Klein’s original column: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53091

You’re Not a Monkey’s Uncle

You’re Not a Monkey’s Uncle
Vol: 62 Issue: 24 Friday, November 24, 2006

“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20)

New discoveries by leading genetic researchers continue to change our understanding of who we are, where we came from, and, perhaps, when we will leave, according to the results of several new studies.

In the lead study, reported tomorrow in the journal Nature, scientists created the first map of the human genome that shows that large segments of DNA are missing or duplicated between normal, healthy people.

Known as copy number variants (CNVs), some of these altered DNA sequences can be responsible for increased susceptibility to cancers and many other diseases, the study team says.

The new map provides a much clearer picture of human genetic variation, says geneticist and co-researcher Charles Lee of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

“This evidence is showing that we are more genetically unique from one another we all have individualized genomes,” he said.

The findings “will change forever the field of human genetics,” commented James Lupski, professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

“One can no longer consider human traits as resulting primarily from single base pair changes,” he said. “This is perhaps the most important breakthrough in human and medical genetics in several decades.”

Until now it was assumed that the human genome, or “book of life”, is largely the same for everyone, save for a few spelling differences in some of the words. Instead, the findings suggest that the book contains entire sentences, paragraphs or even whole pages that are repeated any number of times.

The findings mean that instead of humanity being 99.9 per cent identical, as previously believed, we are at least 10 times more different between one another than once thought – which could explain why some people are prone to serious diseases.

Among the other conclusions reached by this study is the fact that chimpanzee DNA is not virtually identical to human DNA, as previously believed.

So much for being a monkey’s uncle.

Assessment:

DNA is nicknamed ‘the Book of Life’ by geneticists because encoded in our DNA is all the necessary information that makes life possible.

DNA encodes our red blood cells, and the heart that pumps them. DNA encodes our hair follicles, and the color of the hair in them. DNA encodes our bones, and the muscles attached to them.

And DNA thoroughly destroys any argument of random creation, since it proves all the details of your life were encoded in advance, right down to one’s individual disposition.

It is the DNA structure that ‘creates’ life in the same sense that inputting certain information into a computer ‘creates’ the results intended by its programmer.

Comparing the Scriptures to DNA research, one can make a powerful argument for predestination, without impugning our free will.

Although they haven’t completely unlocked that part of the human genome, geneticists believe that when you will die and what you will die of is already encoded in your DNA.

Barring some accident, your are already predestined, by your genetic code, to live a finite period of time before your DNA activates the disease already encoded in your DNA that will ultimately kill you. That doesn’t mean you don’t have free will.

You could still kill yourself. Or battle the disease medically. But depending on your DNA code, the treatment will either work or it will not.

You have nothing to say about how you were programmed, yet your free will remains unfettered.

It is no accident that scientists have dubbed DNA ‘the Book of Life.” They took their imagery directly from Scripture, because Scripture has already outlined how it works.

Psalms 139 begins: “O Lord, Thou has searched me and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassed my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue but, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether.” (v.1-4)

Scripture teaches that we are individuals by sovereign Design, rather than by a combination of random chance and our own choices.

Scripture says, “For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” (Psalms 139:13)

Science also now says that our genetic code is imprinted on each of us from the womb.

The Scriptures say, “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Science agrees that we are unique individuals whose differences are predetermined. While the Scriptures assign that marvel to our creation by a sovereign God, science assigns the same marvel to the uniqueness of our DNA encoding, while denying the existence of an Encoder.

“Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in THY BOOK ALL MY MEMBERS WERE WRITTEN, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalms 139:16)

According to the Bible, God knew who and what I would be while I was ‘under construction’ in the womb, according to the genetic Book of Life that contained all my relevant information.

Geneticists say they can determine these same details, one’s sex, hair color, physical strengths and weaknesses, susceptibility to disease, and even one’s susceptibility for sin, based on the information encoded in the DNA before one is born.

Geneticists have discovered genetic markers that predispose some people to criminal behavior, violence, drug abuse or alcoholism, for example. These discoveries have resulted in the development of a scientific sub-discipline called ‘behavioral genetics’.

DNA can determine the probability of mental illnesses, physical deformities, things like Down’s Syndrome, and a host of other genetic factors that will determine everything from how I process information to predicting the way I will react to that information.

In light of advances in DNA research, arguing against a Creator to initially program our DNA is like arguing that once a computer builds itself, it writes its own programming, turns itself on and decides for itself what it wants to work on and for how long before automatically self-destructing.

It makes as much sense as believing one is a monkey’s uncle. Which makes no sense at all.

What makes sense is a Creator God Who built me a certain way, left me with free will choices to make the most of it, and, since I am predisposed to make the wrong choices in certain areas of my life, also made a way for me to live in His sight for eternity, despite my built-in shortcomings.

“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:22-23,28)

Special Report: Giving Thanks

Special Report: Giving Thanks
Vol: 62 Issue: 23 Thursday, November 23, 2006

This Thanksgiving, I have a lot to be thankful for. And you are at the top of my list. Forgive me if I get a bit mushy.

There isn’t much that gives me more joy than to spend a little time in our member’s forums, bathing myself in the love and light projected by your postings and prayers for one another.

When it all gets to be too much to bear, I need only visit the forums to restore my sense of equilibrium. It is in our forums that I seek refuge from the cares of this world. And I’ve never been disappointed.

For each of you, and the counsel you provide, I am grateful beyond measure. And I pray our God will continue to bless me with your friendship until He comes for us all at the Rapture.

I have other reasons to be thankful on this Thanksgiving Day, 2006, not the least of which is the fact that my God and my Creator stepped out of space and time and entered this world to live the life God expects of me, and to pay the penalty due for my failure to meet that standard.

I am grateful that God judges me according to His Son’s righteousness and not according to my own.

I am grateful for the opportunities God gave me this year to meet many of you in person. I am grateful for the sense of eager anticipation I have for meeting the rest of you in the coming year. Or the year after that.

I am grateful beyond measure for the testimonies we’ve received from folks who have used the Omega Letter to lead people to Christ. That means that we are fulfilling our mission.

And I am humbly grateful for those testimonies I’ve received this year from people that have credited stumbling onto a publicly posted Omega Letter for filling in that missing bit of information that prompted them to seek Christ directly.

Those testimonies are, to me, like a warm hug from the Holy Spirit. Since our mission is to equip you for your own one-on-one evangelism effort, leading someone directly to Christ via the Omega Letter is a special and unexpected bonus.

I am thankful that the Lord could use someone like me. Apart from the personal sense of spiritual accomplishment, it also validates our ministry approach. It confirms to me the truth that, if He can use me, He can use anybody.

I am grateful that God gave me this particular ministry.

I have much to be grateful for in the natural, as well. America remains free.

And although it doesn’t get said much by anybody here in the States, I am particularly grateful for John Howard and the people of Australia.

(I regret that Americans tend to take Australia for granted. There’s nobody I’d rather have watching our backs.)

Speaking of watching our backs, I was grateful to read of the six imams that were booted off a US Airways plane the other day.

The imams and the useful idiots among us immediately began complaining about discrimination — and it might have given us another black eye — until the facts came out.

Turns out that the loudest complainer had ties to Hamas, the Holy Land Foundation and Osama bin-Laden. (Thank You, Lord.)

I am grateful that America still produces the kind of people that make up our armed forces. I live near a Marine base, and I marvel each time I meet one of these quiet heroes, cut from the same cloth as their grandfathers of the Greatest Generation.

(If you look closely, you can sometimes see the steel hidden beneath that velvet cloth. It almost makes me pity the enemy.)

I am grateful for answered prayer. For my own, and for each of you who have posted praise reports in the prayer forums.

I am grateful that the Lord has given me a ‘bully pulpit’ from which I can testify that each of you are a direct answer to my own prayers. Many of you over the past year have unknowingly provided direct answers to my specific prayers.

I am grateful for your unstinting support, spiritual, moral and financial, while we floundered through our first road tour effort. We learned much we will apply to the next tour.

And while on the subject, I am grateful for the OL’s Nicole Boedecker, who is taking on the task of supervising and coordinating next year’s tour effort for us. (We will discuss that together in greater detail in the coming week once the holidays are behind us).

Despite the threats all around us and the dark clouds gathering on the horizon, there is still much to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving. And may Our God continue to bless each of you in the coming year as you have blessed me.

And may we never forget our blessings. Or forget to be grateful for them.

Until He comes.