Back in the Saddle Again

Back in the Saddle Again
Vol: 74 Issue: 19 Monday, November 19, 2007

I learned something new while I was on vacation that I didn’t realize until this morning. I realized for the first time just what a hard job keeping up with the Omega Letter Daily Digest really is.

I’m not complaining — far from it. I love my work, I love my OL family and I love being part of something so spiritually vital as our fellowship. Indeed, one of the hardest things I’ve done in the past week is NOT look at a computer.

As I sit down this morning to sort out what is going on in the world, I feel like I am trying to take a surprise test that I didn’t study for. So instead of bluffing my way through, I’ll just share some of my vacation with you, and we’ll get back to figuring out who’s on first tomorrow.

I stayed at my buddy Rick’s house for the week in his spare room — which didn’t make things any easier. Rick’s spare room is also his computer room.

(It gave me a glimmer of how hard it would be for an addict to kick his habit — in some strange way, NOT working was harder than working.)

I arrived just in time for the start of the Marine Corps Birthday celebration — nobody knew I was coming — it was a grand reunion.

Captain John acted as if he expected me all along — he handed me the Commandant’s yearly greeting to read to the group like I do every year.

“I see you adapted and overcame,” he growled. “Take your station!”

Our guest of honor was a retired Marine Lt. Col. with enough fruit salad on his chest to start his own produce department.

(Translation for you non-military types — “fruit salad” is Marine slang for combat decoration ribbons)

It was a great evening of war stories and old war horses reliving their glory days from many battlefields; WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the unknown battles of unnamed conflicts known only to them and a handful of spook-types.

I spent the rest of the Veteran’s Day weekend watching old war movies with my buddies. It sounds boring to some, but there is a real education there, if one takes the time to study the lessons offered.

The WWII movies I like the best were the ones Hollywood was churning out in the early years of the war when its outcome was still in doubt. Hollywood didn’t understand the enemy, and it didn’t try to.

Instead, they stuck to what they DID understand; we were good, the enemy was bad, they started it, and it was up to us to finish it. Our soldiers were heroic, brutal yet honorable, a force for good in an epic struggle with evil incarnate.

The war turned out the way Hollywood scripted it. We utterly destroyed our enemies and marched home in triumph.

We watched a couple of movies set during the Korean War, and one could see a subtle shift. Our forces were still brave, but so were the enemy’s. The main characters were not quite so fierce, not quite so honorable; the enemy was not quite so evil, our cause not quite so just.

The Korea War ended in stalemate. Nobody won, nobody lost, and the Korean War has yet to formally draw to a conclusion.

Then Hollywood moved on to Vietnam. We watched “Platoon” and “Full Metal Jacket” and “Hamburger Hill”. In those films, it was hard to figure out exactly who the enemy really was or which side to root for.

Vietnam ended in a loss. Or as observed by a character in the Clint Eastwood film, “Heartbreak Ridge” the score was 1, 0 and 0 for our side.

In post-Vietnam war movies, no matter which conflict they chronicled, there were no ‘good’ guys’ — just some guys were worse than others.

In the most recent war movies, our forces are depicted as dangerous psychopathic Nazi wannabes — unless they are gay, disloyal or cowards, like the hero in the slanderous 2004 movie, “Jarhead.”

It was like watching our society implode in fast forward.

But the men who fought those wars didn’t change. There is no difference between a Japanese bullet and a Taliban bullet — when it is fired at you.

Marines from all these wars didn’t fight for governments or to advance some kind of unpopular foreign policy. They fought for their buddies, for their flag, for their families — and for the ungrateful morons who can’t tell the difference.

Semper fi.

Assessment:

I was blessed with some pretty nice weather for this time of year — mostly mid-sixties to low seventies — there were only two days where I had to wear shoes.

The rest of the time was flip-flops and T-shirt weather. I had plenty of time and the right weather to sit on my favorite sand dune, watch the waves break against the shore, and spend some time alone with God surrounded by what is, (to me) His most magnificent creation.

I didn’t get a chance to go out and do any deep sea fishing this time — the “Scarlet Lady” was out to sea under the command of a new captain, Barry, whom Rick hired to fish her commercially.

(I might have been on vacation, but she wasn’t. Timing is everything.)

However, when she came in on Thursday after three nights at sea, Rick and I went down to meet her at the fish house and see how she did. Rick told me to prepare to be amazed, and he was right.

Barry was somebody who’d stepped right out of a Hemingway novel. He’s a crusty old one-legged Down Easter with a brogue so thick my out-out-tune ears could only catch one word in three.

True to the Hemingway model, Rick told me Barry lost his leg to case of fish poisoning. (But he got around that boat on a peg-leg better than I could on two.)

The only thing missing to complete picture was the eye-patch. (Rick asked how the weather was off-shore and Barry growled, “One of my legs like to froze solid out there.”)

Fishing a two-man crew, using rod and reel, three days and three nights, the boat’s fish box was crammed to overflowing with what tallied up to over twelve hundred pounds of beeliners, grouper, triggerfish and other delicacies from the sea.

There were a couple of fish I’d never seen, and I asked Rick what they were. He told me they were from the “deep water” saying, “I’ve never carried you out that deep.”

Rick and I usually fish fifty miles off-shore from Morehead City in the Gulf Stream. I didn’t want to ask any more stupid land-lubber questions, but I was impressed. Both of these guys were close to my age (and, as a ‘junior’ senior, I qualify for free-checking and some senior’s discounts).

After eight hours on the water, I need three days of Ben-Gay. I caught five tuna in one day once and I was unable to lift my arms the next day. All five fish combined weighed 130 pounds.

They were out there for three days and nights. If the average fish they caught weighed twelve pounds, then they caught about a thousand fish the same way I caught those five tuna. There’s deep sea fishing — and then there’s DEEP sea fishing.

Meeting Peg-leg Barry and watching them unload those fish was the high point of my vacation.

Other than that, I really didn’t do much more than relax. Rick and I suffer from the same old guy disease. We get tired when it gets dark.

And since it gets dark at 6 this time of year, if we went to bed later than eight-thirty in the evening, it was because one of us would wake the other one up snoring in front of the TV.

(I didn’t believe I snored. Rick didn’t believe he did, either. Now we know.)

The only night we ventured out later than the dinner hour was the last one. Becky’s annual Thanksgiving dinner was Sunday morning, and the locals living abroad all come home the night before, including one who moved to Nashville to pursue his songwriting career.

Billy Todd always plays at Becky’s the night before and everybody comes out. I couldn’t make the dinner because I was leaving the next day, but I was able to make his concert and see all the expatriate locals that I wouldn’t get a chance to see at dinner.

We had a ball, but we stayed out WAY too late. My flight left at five-thirty AM, so we had to get up for the drive to the airport at three.

I hate flying too much to be able to sleep on the plane, so I looked quite a sight when Gayle picked me up at the airport Sunday morning at ten.

I was unshaved and rumpled, and my suitcase smelled slightly of fish, but I am a new man.

Thanks for the vacation. I hope you enjoyed the retrospective series while I was away on my adventure.

Now I’m back in the saddle again.

The Deadliest Sin

The Deadliest Sin
Vol: 74 Issue: 17 Saturday, November 17, 2007

In the Book of Proverbs, God lays out a list before us of what are often called the “Seven Deadly Sins.” They earned that nickname, not because those sins will cause a believer to lose his salvation, but because they are the most destructive sins to a believer’s spiritual progress before the Lord.

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:17-19)

We’ll go through them in depth as we go on. But first, note that God HATES the first six on the list. Note even more carefully His opinion of the seventh — it is an ABOMINATION to Him.

The first deadly sin on the list is pride. Although it doesn’t make the ‘abomination’ category, it is the first step on the road that leads there.

Pride is the most insidious sin, since it might easily be termed the ‘silent’ sin. Its very nature prevents us from either recognizing it in ourselves or admitting to it when it is finally recognized (usually by somebody else.)

God hates pride. ‘Pride’ is arguably the seminal sin of the universe out of which all other sin arises. The first recorded sin in the history of the universe was not the fall of man, but the fall of Lucifer.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12)

What follows is Satan’s indictment, often called the five ‘I wills’ — each of which are the byproduct of Lucifer’s pride.

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (14:13)

Some preachers have made the case that sin can be defined through this passage. “I will” — rather than “God’s will.” It’s pithy and elliptical — and even accurate, up to a point — but it doesn’t quite hit the bullseye. Close, but not exact.

If one were seeking to locate the root and branch of sin, “I will” is a lesser included offense, so to speak, but not the original sin. “I will” is merely the outward expression of the original sin of pride.

If you take God’s list in order, “pride” is first because without it, the rest of them haven’t a leg to stand on.

The secular dictionary defines ‘pride’ thusly: “A sense of one’s own proper dignity or value; self-respect.”

Pride breeds lies. Why do people lie? Generally speaking, it is to conceal some secret that would make them look bad. There is a standing joke in prison that the one thing all inmates have in common is that they are innocent.

Even after having served their time, few convicts own up to the crimes for which they were convicted, even though vindication wouldn’t give them back their time served. It is gone forever, so why bother continuing to deny it? Pride.

“Hands that shed innocent blood” immediately brings abortion to the forefront of my mind. Why are abortion records kept secret? After the abortion is accomplished, the ‘problem’ is ‘solved’. It isn’t illegal to have an abortion, so there is no legal jeopardy attached to having had one. The records are sealed to protect the privacy (and pride) of the perpetrator.

And while there are many ‘reasons’ for wanting to get an abortion, when they are distilled down to their essence, one will find pride in there somewhere. The pro-life slogan, “It’s MY body” is an expression of pride. The abortion destroys the baby’s body, not the mothers.

“A woman’s right to choose” is another. A pregnant woman already made her choice when she did the deed that produced the pregnancy. Claiming a special ‘right’ to a SECOND choice to correct the first wrong choice — as an expression of the uniqueness of womanhood, is rooted in pride.

Men are expressly forbidden the same ‘right’ to correct a wrong choice. And not only is their sin NOT concealed, it is a matter of public record, accessible by anybody searching through court-ordered child support records.

The identities of those who actually shed innocent blood are protected, to protect their pride. Those just as involved in the creation of the child, but who have no say in the matter of abortion, are often held up to public ridicule. (Or even imprisonment)

The ‘innocent blood’ shed in the process is secondary to protecting the reputation of those who shed it. I would venture to bet that there would be lots fewer abortions if there were a legal requirement to post the particulars of an abortion in a local paper, the way the law requires public notification of a death, an estate, or a bankruptcy.

A heart devising ‘wicked imaginations’ and feet that are ‘swift to be running in mischief’ would be less divisive and less swift if the particulars were certain to be published on the front page of the newspaper, even when no crime has been committed.

We’ve discussed pride’s role in bearing false witness, and now we come to that final pride-sponsored abomination, “he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Assessment:

Ever find yourself in a discussion over doctrine that turns nasty? Where what ostensibly began as an effort to ‘straighten out’ someone else’s doctrinal error degenerates into an argument over whose understanding of doctrine is the correct one?

You can tell when it has made that shift from discussion to debate to argument, even if you aren’t part of it. It becomes less about the doctrine in question and more about who is right.

Even after both sides have agreed to disagree, the debate lingers as each side waits for an advantage, some unrelated event or circumstance that will re-open the debate and give one side or the other a hope for the opportunity to say, “Aha! Told ya!”

Pride, by its insidious nature, blinds us to the fact (obvious to most observers) that the goal of the debate has morphed. It’s no longer about the doctrine. It’s about being right.

The debate about the timing of the Rapture is a perfect example. It is a given that, when two genuinely saved, born-again Christians start debating the timing of the Rapture, both sides sincerely believe that they are right. Why else would they want to argue about it?

What neither side can articulate very effectively is what difference the timing of the Rapture makes to their own salvation. Or what difference it makes to the mission of leading souls to Christ.

A pre-trib Rapturist is no more saved than a post-Trib Rapturist. One is saved by grace through faith in Christ, not by faith in Christ’s appointment calendar. An understanding of the timing of the Rapture is necessary to rightly dividing the Word insofar as understanding the Bible’s prophetic outline.

But we aren’t saved by our understanding of the Bible’s prophetic outline. It isn’t when He comes that saves us, it is faith in the One Who is coming.

But spend a little time reading through some of the debates and it is hard to find much about Christ in them. It’s about being right. Pride. Bragging rights.

Proverbs says that ‘pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (16:18)

In our forums, debates about the timing of the Rapture has driven many members right out of our fellowship. Those who remain are vindicated — some even rejoice at having driven such a one away.

Nobody has learned anything from the exchange except which party is the better debater. Each side remains convinced of their own position, because the goal is to defend their own view, not consider the merits of the other side.

And pride won’t allow us to see that the damage being caused in the process far outweighs any eternal value that might be gleaned from winning over a post-tribber to the pre-trib side.

Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ. Nowhere does the timing of the Rapture play a role. Nothing of eternal value is obtained by driving away a brother or sister from fellowship over an issue that can never be proved until after the fact.

It serves only to spread unnecessary discord among brethren, which the Scriptures identify as an ‘abomination before the Lord’.

The discussion at hand in today’s briefing isn’t the timing of the Rapture — it is the insidious nature of the sin of pride. It sneaks up on us, unawares. By the time we recognize the role it plays, (if ever) it is too late to undo the damage its caused.

It shatters relationships, spreads discord among brethren, damages the shared mission of all Christians — to demonstrate the truth that, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

There are doctrinal differences between Christians because that is the way God has ordained it to be.

In the Book of Genesis, we read of Nimrod’s efforts to rally the whole world to his cause, to build a tower that would thwart God’s effort at judgment in the event of another flood.

To prevent the whole world from falling under the sway of one man’s heresy, God confused the languages and divided the world into nations, confusing their languages so that they would be able to form their own opinions about God’s will for their lives without the influence of a single, powerful human leader.

Within the Church, there are doctrinal differences between denominations that serve the same purpose. Interestingly, it is only AFTER those doctrinal divisions are ‘taken out of the way’ at the Rapture that the antichrist is free to advance his own personal doctrine, whereby he seizes control of the global religion and declares himself to be God.

His plan could never work during the Church Age. Christians can’t even agree among themselves about the details of the Eternal God, despite the fact they were revealed by God Himself, let alone buy into the unified doctrine of antichrist.

There is but one universal Christian doctrine, summed up in Acts 4:12:

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

The Apostle Paul addressed the doctrinal divisions that had already stirred up the pride of the early Church, as some Christians declared themselves followers of Peter, and others, followers of Paul.

“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” (Romans 14:1)

There is probably no better example of a ‘doubtful disputation’ than the timing of the Rapture.

As Paul noted in his letter to the Corinthians; “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?” We teach what we believe, but nobody should be forced to agree with every detail in order to keep fellowship. We are all one in Christ as sinners saved by grace.

I am convinced of a pre-trib Rapture, but if somebody wants to reject that in favor of another view, his eternity is not in jeopardy. Just his understanding.

As to endless debate about peripheral details not related to salvation, Paul says, “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” (1st Corinthians 14:36,38)

In addressing the minor doctrinal divisions of his day, Paul writes, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded IN HIS OWN mind.” (Romans 14:5)

The operative phrase here is for each man to be fully persuaded of his own doctrine in his OWN mind. If someone has a question, I will spend all the time necessary to answer it.

But debating the answer is both a waste of time and an excercise in pride. I can’t fully persuade somebody else’s mind. That is God’s job. At best, I can only sow the seed and wait for the Holy Spirit to water it.

I have all I can handle in just swallowing my pride and let Him do His job. I’ve already done mine.

“This column first appeared on July 26, 2006”

“And Now a Word from the Tooth Fairy . . .”

“And Now a Word from the Tooth Fairy . . .”
Vol: 74 Issue: 16 Friday, November 16, 2007

“The president’s frequent references to the terrorist attacks of September 11 show the weakness of his arguments . . . He is willing to exploit the sacred ground of 9/11, knowing that there is no connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq.”

With this comment, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi demonstrated to those few remaining who still doubt it, that liberals live in an alternate universe than the rest of us.

Pelosi’s comments are so out of touch with reality that it is almost pointless to rebut them. Any rebuttal seems to me to automatically fit the ‘beer makes you drunk’ variety. (“Pssst! Did you hear? BEER can make you DRUNK!! Who knew?”)

According to Pelosi, (who evidently was unaware of beer’s consequences) the President KNOWS there is no connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq. (Ummm, what the President KNOWS is what happens when one drinks too much beer. Judging by her comments, Ms. Pelosi does not).

At least, one can hope that the person who now occupies a leadership role in the government’s disloyal opposition was really drunk when she said that. The only alternative explanation is that she thinks her constituency must be.

Allow the appalling stupidity of Pelosi’s ‘rebuttal’ to the President’s speech sink in for a minute. Remember that she is one of the three top Democrats in the Democratic party.

If the Democrats held the majority in the Congress, Nancy Pelosi would be third-in-line in the national line of succession.

If something were to happen to the President, the Vice-President would take over. If something were to happen to both of them, the next in line would be the Speaker of the House. If the Dems held the majority, that would be Nancy Pelosi!

For the sake of argument, let’s take a second to review the main point of the liberal’s ‘rebuttal’.

‘There is no connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq.’

The attacks on September 11 (I guess that is what Pelosi is referring to by 9/11 and not the police emergency telephone number, but who knows?) were perpetrated by al-Qaeda terrorists dedicated to the destruction of America’s representative republic and its replacement with an Islamic government.

Everybody still with me? Any disagreement so far?

The war AGAINST Iraq ended in April, 2003 with the fall of Saddam’s Ba’athist regime.

On June 28th of last year, the Coalition Provisional Government was replaced with an Iraqi government that was installed in a free election characterized by a voter turnout that made American voter participation in Election 2004 pale by comparison.

The war IN Iraq that our forces are now waging is against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s forces. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a top al-Qaeda commander who openly admits that he takes his orders from Osama bin-Laden.

al-Zarqawi has allowed his communiques between himself and bin-Laden to be intercepted so as to put any doubts to rest about his affiliation and intent.

For Pelosi and her followers, this is a difficult equation to master, so once again, I will type really, really slow . . . the connection between the war in Iraq and 9/11 is that, in both cases, the combatants, objectives and methods are the same.

On September 11, it was al-Qaeda against America. The war on terror is, from the American perspective, a war between America and al-Qaeda. The combatants in Iraq are Americans and al-Qaeda terrorists.

There is no CONNECTION between an Albanian goat and a Australian platypus.

There is no DIFFERENCE between 9/11 and the war we are now waging in Iraq.

Assessment:

To make it fly, the Democrats are pulling out all the old canards. NJ idiot Jon Corzine appeared on Fox News this morning to bring up ‘no weapons of mass destruction’ and ‘Bush lied’ to support Pelosi’s amazing contention 9/11 isn’t connected to the war against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The New York Times had already published an editorial decrying the President’s ‘cynical exploitation’ of 9/11 before he had finished giving his speech.

By this morning, most of the headlines in the liberal media were parroting the same mantra.

Therefore, the Democrat’s desperate and transparent effort to portray itself as the party of truth, justice and the American way (as opposed to the lying liars who control all three houses of power) is gaining momentum among the useful idiots who are only too happy to provide propaganda victories to the enemy, provided it will boost their own short-term political prospects.

It boggles the mind. First, it is mind-boggling that an American politician would openly make such a seditious comment as part of a national rebuttal speech while American forces are literally still on the battlefield.

Secondly, that it would resonate throughout the liberal establishment the way that it has is simply stunning.

To hear other, presumably intelligent, well-read and well-educated American politicians repeat the claim puts me in mind of Election 2000, when the mantra of the mind-numbed was ‘every vote should count’ — as they simultaneously fought a pitched court battle to disqualify the ballots of our overseas military forces.

It’s like the Tooth Fairy is writing the Democrats’ speeches, which are evidently then vetted by the Queen of Hearts and March Hare before being delivered by the Mad Hatter.

Have these people no shame at all?

It is true that the 9/11 Commission found no link between Saddam’s Iraq and 9/11, (despite documents proving Uday and Qusai met with Osama in 1998 and promised to provide training facilities, so even that ‘truth’ is suspect).

But that bears zero relevance to the fact that it is the 9/11 terrorists we are fighting in Iraq today.

If, as Osama’s useful idiots like Pelosi contend, we pulled out of Iraq, what would happen then? Where would al-Qaeda go? Would all those foreign fighters in Iraq all buy houses in Baghdad, hang up their jihad suits and go job hunting?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the resources being directed against the US military in Iraq would be redirected against the US civilian homeland.

al-Qaeda fighters IN Iraq aren’t fighting FOR Iraq, they are fighting AGAINST Iraq. Their targets, apart from American soldiers, are Iraqi soldiers, politicians, policemen, school children, housewives, garbagemen, school teachers, etc., etc.

American soldiers aren’t IN Iraq fighting AGAINST Iraq, they are fighting FOR Iraq. THEIR targets are the fighters targeting those who are killing those on the list above, not Iraqis or the Iraqi government.

(I’m STILL typing real slow, in the unlikely event a liberal finds himself reading today’s briefing).

And not a word of what I’ve said is in defense of either the Republicans or the White House. (If that’s what you think, stand over there with Pelosi. Here’s your sign.)

It is a defense of America, who is under attack from all sides abroad, and under an even more vicious and deadly attack from within.

By quislings like Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Jon Corzine, Dick Durbin and others from any ideology that would so cheerfully sacrifice America’s long-term interests for short-term political gain.

This sounds like a rant. Maybe it is, but it is not intended to be. Neither is it intended to be political, despite the subject matter. It is impossible to separate politics from Bible prophecy and make any sense of the Bible’s outline for last days.

The antichrist is a politician. He comes to power through the political process. His platform is deception on a global scale. To be successful, he will have to have the support of a broad global constituency already conditioned to believe a lie, if properly packaged and repeated often enough.

Throughout my lifetime, one of the prophecy questions that always troubled me was how someone as overtly evil as the antichrist would be able to pull the wool over the eyes of the kindest, most generous, and most sophisticated people the world has ever known, for such is the America I know and love.

But when something as, (dare I say it . . .? Yes, I must, it is the only appropriate adjective available), when something as STUPID as Pelosi’s comment that the war in Iraq is not connected to the war on terror is not immediately recognized for what it is, my question about ‘how’ is answered for me.

The Apostle Paul, writing of the last days, warned of ‘perilous times’ because those “without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” would eventually gain positions of power to pave the way for the coming deceiver. (2 Timothy 3:3-4)

That certainly helps us get a better sense of “what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:6)

The ministry of the Spirit of Truth is removed with the believing Church at the Rapture. And when truth becomes meaningless, those people remaining will stand for nothing and fall for anything. We are almost there.

The anti-American, anti-God worldview of the liberal American Left mirrors that of most of the rest of the world.

It is a ‘perfect storm’ where treason is fashionable, patriotism is the exclusive domain of the ‘religious right’ and outright lies are indistinguishable from abject truth.

Or, as Solomon expressed it in Ecclesiastes 4:5, when “The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.”

“This column first appeared on June 29, 2005”

Special Report: The Year of the Countdown

Special Report: The Year of the Countdown
Vol: 74 Issue: 15 Thursday, November 15, 2007

As discussed in previous letters, most of the major prophetic fulfillments of the last days can trace their genesis to the same point in history — on or near the year 1948.

This is most significant since Jesus said that the generation who witnessed the restoration of Israel (the blossoming fig tree) ‘would not pass until ALL was fulfilled’ (Matthew 24:34)

Jesus spoke, for example, of ‘wars and rumors of wars’, while cautioning, ‘the end is not yet’. (Matthew 24:6) The Cold War was the ultimate ‘rumor of war’. It lasted more than forty years without either side ever directly confronting the other on the battlefield. Historians trace the beginning of the Cold War to the Berlin Airlift to break the Soviet blockade of Berlin, imposed on June 24, 1948.

The most well-known of all Bible prophecies is the Mark of the Beast. According to Revelation 13:15-17, the antichrist will assume control of a global system of government unlike any the world had ever known. Under the antichrist, any person outside that system will be declared ‘socially dead’ — any who refuse to accept the Mark will be unable to buy or sell.

Consider this for a minute, but I suggest you sit down before you do.

We are so close to that system today that the SAME METHOD is ALREADY being used to rout out and destroy terrorist cells! Every economic transaction, every internet session, every email and every phone call — world-wide — is already being electronically monitored as part of the war on terror.

To catch the terrorists in our midst, they must be isolated from mainstream society, their sources of funding targeted and destroyed, and their ability to engage in day-to-day social intercourse electronically interrupted.

Such intimate control of society was impossible before the advent of the Computer Age. Although there were clunky working computers dating back to the 1930’s, they relied on notoriously unreliable vacuum tubes, and firing one up consumed enough electricity to light a small city.

Before the digital explosion, transistors were a vital part of improvements in existing analog systems, such as radios and stereos.

When it was placed in computers, however, the transistor became an integral part of the technology boom. They are also capable of being mass-produced by the millions on a sliver of silicon the semiconductor chip. It is this almost boundless ability to integrate transistors onto chips that has fueled the information age.

Today these chips are not just a part of computers. They are also important in devices as diverse as video cameras, cellular phones, copy machines, jumbo jets, modern automobiles, manufacturing equipment, electronic scoreboards, and video games. Without the transistor there would be no Internet and no space travel.

Bell Labs patented the transistor chip in 1948, launching the modern computer Age.

Revelation 13 also highlights the career of the False Prophet, who will lead a global religious system that John describes as ‘having two horns like a lamb’ but ‘spake as a dragon’.

The World Council of Churches, the UN-backed ecumenical movement, whose stated goal is to bring about a global religious system, was created in Amsterdam in August, 1948.

Ostensibly a ‘Christian’ council, the WCC doctrinal statement says, it passes “no judgment upon the sincerity with which member churches accept” the WCC’s basic ‘confession’ of Jesus Christ. In other words, NOT believing in Jesus is no barrier to membership in the WCC, something Paul called, “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” (2nd Timothy 3)

The modern European superstate traces its roots to the 1948 Benelux Treaty that inspired the modern revival of the old Roman Empire.

And finally, we return to Israel. In Leviticus 26:3, 7-8, the Bible says that the army of Israel would have a supernatural power to prevail during times of conflict. Leviticus says that 5 people would be able to chase away 100 people, and that 100 would be able to chase away 10,000.

On May 15, 1948, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon invaded Israel. The combined populations of these countries was at least 20 million at the time, versus less than a million Israelis.

When the war was over, not only had Israel driven off the invaders, but she expanded her territory by over fifty percent. The 1967 war lasted only six days and left Israel in control of Jerusalem for the first time in 2000 years. The 1973 Yom Kippur War was over in a couple of weeks.

The Year 1948 marked the end of one Divine Countdown and the beginning of another. The first Divine Countdown dealt with the duration of Israel’s Diaspora.

In Ezekiel 4:5-6, the prophet records the period determined by God as punishment for Israel’s disobedience:

“For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.”

Babylon was later conquered by Cyrus in 539 BC. Cyrus allowed the Jews to leave Babylon and to return to their homeland. But, only a small number returned. The return had taken place sometime around 536 BC, 70 years after Judah lost independence to Babylon as Jeremiah predicted.

Because most of the exiles chose to stay in pagan Babylon rather than return to the Holy Land, the remaining 360 years of their punishment was multiplied by 7. The reason is explained in Bible’s book of Leviticus. (Leviticus 26:18, 26:21, 26:24 and 26:28). In Leviticus, it says that if the people did not repent while being punished, the punishment would be multiplied by 7. And, by staying in pagan Babylon, most exiles were refusing to repent.

So, if you take the remaining 360 years of punishment and multiply by 7, you get 2,520 years. That is 2,520 Jewish lunar years. 2,520 years x the 360-day lunar calendar works out to 907,200 days. Divide that by 365 and you come up with 2485.479 years.

2,485.479 years from 536 BC brings us to the end of the first quarter of the year 1949 — exactly one year AFTER Israel’s restoration in 1948. But 1 BC and 1 AD were the SAME year, so the ACTUAL date on our calendar that Ezekiel predicted the restoration of Israel corresponds to late spring, 1948!

1948 — the Year of the Countdown, counts down in BOTH directions. It counts down with staggering precision to the exact point in history when the fig tree would once again blossom.

That event triggered the Second Countdown — the one that signals the end of the Church Age. It is somewhat less precise, for obvious reasons.

Jesus said no man would ever be able to calculate the exact day and time, but He did tell us we would know when ‘it was near, even at the door’, saying, “THIS generation shall not pass, until ALL be fulfilled.”

The current Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, fought in the 1948 War of Independence. He is still around. And so are we. So the ‘fig tree’ generation has not yet passed from the scene.

And it won’t before the Return of Christ. Which could be any minute now.

Keep looking up!

“This column first appeared on August 7, 2004”

Minions, Monkeys and the Three Little Pigs

Minions, Monkeys and the Three Little Pigs
Vol: 74 Issue: 14 Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A school has banned kids under seven from reading the story of the Three Little Pigs in case it offends Muslims. All other tales about pigs, including Babe, are also off limits for pupils under seven at Park Road Junior Infant and Nursery in Batley, West Yorkshire.

The school says any talk of pigs is offensive to Muslims who make up 60% of the 250 pupils. That comes as a big surprise to British Muslims.

Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “This is bizarre. There is nothing to stop children reading about pigs. The ban is simply on the consumption of pork and pig products.”

This little bit of politically correct insanity about the ‘other white meat’ is being criticized even by British Muslim leaders, but it says something about the likelihood that we’re ever going to follow Rodney King’s advice and just ‘all get along’.

Meanwhile, the Islamic summit in Qatar was billed as the ‘voice of unity’ claiming to speak for a billion Muslims opposed to war with Iraq.

Here’s a sample of what that Muslim unity sounds like translated into English: “Shut up you minion, you Zionist agent, you monkey.”

Robert’s Rules of Parliamentary Procedure would have first demanded Iraq’s representative get permission from the floor before addressing the right honorable representative of Kuwait.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s top aide Izzat Ibrahim went on to address his honorable colleague from Kuwait, saying “You are addressing Iraq. You are insolent. You are a traitor to the Islamic nation. Oh, and may your mustache be cursed!”

Fighting words indeed! The Kuwaiti delegate responded that the insults were “the words of an infidel and a charlatan.” Take that!

There then transpired a bizarre exchange during which Iraq tried to roll up Arab nationalism, anti-Zionism, Islamic unity and packaged it under the banner that if you don’t love Saddam, you were a bad Arab, a bad Muslim and, besides, the real tyrant is George Bush.

Ibrahim, second-in-command of Iraq’s Revolutionary Command Council told the members of the Arab world’s largest Islamic grouping that they were all at risk from “the reckless and foolish United States” and said Baghdad expected “concrete steps to support Iraq against this tyrant.”

“There should be a point-blank refusal of any aggression and no help should be given to this enemy… We hope Islamic nations can face the challenge that is before them,” he said.

“In the face of this bitter reality, we must rally our forces and the foremost condition for our success is joint Muslim action,” Ibrahim added. “We must not allow anyone to break our ranks or our religion will be wiped out and our territories placed under foreign control.” (Does that joint Muslim unity extend to the monkeys, one wonders.)

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri again rebuffed proposals that Saddam go into exile to avert war, telling reporters it was President Bush who should “step down and leave other people to live in peace.”

Assessment:

“Shut up you monkey!” Makes you wonder why most of the Middle East are Third World basket cases in spite of the vast oil reserves they control. Of course, when you start censoring the word ‘pig’ in children’s stories for fear of offending Muslims, it kind of makes you wonder how British civilization has lasted as long as it has, too.

Allow me to point out that both the Arabs and the British have had a long tradition of wearing mustaches. (Hmmm. Coincidence?)

British kids can’t learn about the Three Little Pigs because their Muslim classmates may find themselves growing up wearing dishonorable mustaches. “Of course you know, this means war.”

And while this little sideshow is playing out, the United States now has the requisite forces almost all in place to trim’s Saddam’s mustache right down to the wood, and according to the most recent indicators, President Bush has made the decision to send in the barber.

The Russians have begun airlifting their nationals out of Iraq. Iraqi diplomats at embassies around the world are being expelled as Iraqi spies.

The invasion could begin as early as March 15, with the four day ‘shock and awe’ portion of the campaign to begin first.

That gives the UN until Friday next, or there won’t be an honorable mustache left in Baghdad.

Unless President Bush takes Iraq’s advice and steps down.

“This column first appeared on March 6, 2003”

Universe as God?

Universe as God?
Vol: 74 Issue: 13 Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Secular science, ever vigilant against interpreting their observations as evidence of a Creator, has decided that the universe is eternal.

Such is the latest pronouncement coming from the hallowed halls of science.

It is incredible to me that so many are willing to settle for science as their deity. Science has intoned solemnly that the universe began with a Big Bang and has been expanding ever since. Then, science announced that the universe is actually shrinking, imploding, if you will.

Scientists discovered that neutrinos are moving in the wrong direction and intoned their findings.

Now, the universe isn’t shrinking or expanding anymore. It is eternal, driven by what they call a ‘dark force’.

Two scientists have put forward a new model to explain how the cosmos is and where it might be going.

They say it is necessary to take account of startling new discoveries – in particular, the observation that everything in the Universe is moving apart at an accelerating rate.

Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok propose the idea that the cosmos goes through an endless cycle – of Big Bang, expansion and stagnation – which is driven by an as yet unexplained “dark energy”. [at this point, I am almost vibrating — “as yet unexplained ‘dark’ energy?” The Energy that drives the Universe is clearly explained. The Bible calls that Energy ‘God’.] They published their findings in the journal, ‘Science’.

Even some secular science writers who understand this stuff better than I do also know better. Cosmology writer Marcus Chown concedes it will be extremely difficult to finally prove any model of the Universe.

“The history of cosmology is the history of us being completely wrong,” he told the BBC. “I mean, cosmology is the hardest of all sciences; we sit on this tiny planet in the middle of this vast Universe, we can’t go anywhere and do any experiments – all we can do is pick up the light that happens to fall on us and deduce some things about the Universe.”

Assessment:

I am admittedly not a scientist and confess I have no faith in a system that changes directions more often than Colin Powell. But I am relatively conversant with the scientific system outlined by the Bible.

It wasn’t Columbus who discovered the earth was round. The Bible tells us that in Isaiah 40:22. Although secular science learned about germs and microbes in the past century, the Bible testifies to the spread of germs.

The ancient Hebrews were warned that he that toucheth a dead body shall be unclean for seven days Numbers 19:11. The foods specified as unclean, like ferrets, moles, weasels, mice — all carry disease. [Levitcus 11] Other unclean foods like pork or shellfish carry bacteria that can be deadly long before the senses can tell it is spoiled.

The Bible’s admonitions about washing, cleanness and uncleaness, care around dead bodies, warnings about eating the flesh of animals that die of natural causes; all indicate an advanced knowledge of germs and their method of transmission.

The information was there for thousands of years. Like that ‘dark energy’ science is now desperately seeking to explain.

Until the turn of the 20th century, it was still a common medical practice to treat disease by ‘bleeding’ the victim. If science had turned to the Scriptures for guidance, they’d have discovered that the Hebrews have known for more than three thousand years that “the life of the flesh is in the blood” [Lev 17:11].

Secular science is the Holy Writ of secular humanism — a religion dedicated to proving man is god.

The Apostle Paul explained secular humanism this way: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. . .Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.” [Romans 1:20-21,25].

The Bible is a Book of science, inspired, not by a ‘dark energy’ but by the Creator of the Universe. He is Eternal, not the universe itself. It is that sense of the Eternal that science is detecting. That explains the sense of desperation in coming up with a secular explanation.

God is science, since He is the author of natural law. Which is why Paul was careful to admonish Timothy when he sent him out to begin his ministry, “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” [1 Tim 6:6]

On scientific prounouncemnts that contradict revelation, Paul warned, “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called, which some professing have erred concerning the faith.

Science is real. The Bible is real. God is real. But the universe is not eternal. God is.

“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” [2 Peter 3:12]

Special Report: Operation “Magic Lantern”

Special Report: Operation “Magic Lantern”
Vol: 74 Issue: 12 Monday, November 12, 2007

The FBI is developing a kind of trojan horse software that they can use to intercept voice-over-net communications. Presently, they can tap phones, and they can capture computer keystrokes, but they can’t listen in to voice communications over the net. Enter the “Magic Lantern”.

It’s part of a wider FBI project called “Cyber Knight.” Cyber Knight would allow investigators to secretly install over the Internet powerful eavesdropping software that records every keystroke on a person’s computer, according to people familiar with the effort. Magic Lantern would let them listen in to voice over data communications.

Magic Lantern could be installed over the Internet by tricking a person into double-clicking an e-mail attachment or by exploiting some of the same weaknesses in popular commercial software that allow hackers to break into computers. That is what a “Trojan Horse” is.

Criminals, Terrorists and Foreign Spies

At least one antivirus software company, McAfee Corp., contacted the FBI on Wednesday to ensure its software wouldn’t inadvertently detect the bureau’s snooping software and alert a criminal suspect. The FBI software could be used with a court order against criminals, terrorists or foreign spies.

Who would qualify? According to a flyer issued by the FBI, someone who fits a terrorist profile would include “Doomsday Cult-Type Groups”.

Fitting The Profile

The FBI identifies what it calls “Super Patriots” and describes as “‘defenders’ of the US Constitution against federal government and UN” as being among those who fit the terrorist profile. That is where this gets scary. I fit the profile. I am a fundamentalist. I believe we are living in the last days. I am a patriot who believes in the Constitution. I believe the UN is the forerunner of the global government of antichrist.

It Couldn’t Happen Here

The Apostle John describes the government under antichrist. He says it will be global. [Rev 13:8] It will derive its power from control of a global economy. [Rev 13:17] It will slaughter all those who believe in Jesus. [Rev 13:7]. It will practice a form of counterfeit Christianity [Rev 13:11] that Paul describes as ‘having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof’ [2 Timothy 3:5].

The United States is not the whole world. It is actually only a tiny part of it, representing less than 5% of the global population. But America has always served as a benchmark for individual liberty and a restrainer of those who would steal that liberty.

A Christian Nation, Despite the Naysayers

Despite what the liberals say, America is and has always been a nation that functions under Christian principles, even when called by a different name. Less now than at its foundation, but still, America remains the most Christian nation on the face of the earth.

Even if it falls far short of what it could be, it is still head and shoulders above any other on that score. Most Americans reading John’s description of one world under antichrist dismiss it as something that ‘can’t happen here’. And it couldn’t, even a decade ago.

What It All Means

America has steadily been eroding those elements of our freedoms that would have presented a stumbling block to the antichrist. The reasons sound noble enough. Eliminating terror and terror networks worldwide is a noble cause. It seems right. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death,” wrote Solomon under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Proverbs 14:12. And that same Spirit felt that one fact important enough to repeat in Proverbs 16:25.

The Evolution of America

This is America — still the freest nation the world has ever known. But it is evolving, forced into compromising those freedoms by circumstances beyond its control. That evolution is embodied by such things as the Operation CyberKnight, Operation Magic Lantern, Project Echelon, Project Carnivore, the Inslaw Project and others.

A Tracked Society

Those projects are transforming us into a tracked society. A society in which membership in the ‘wrong’ group, adherence to the ‘wrong’ values, belief in the ‘wrong’ theology can mean social death. How close is it? Consider what would happen if your social security account was closed. Without a Social Security number, you couldn’t work, have a bank account, get a mortgage, or even rent an apartment. You couldn’t earn a living. In short, you would be socially dead.

The Specter of Social Death

Membership in the wrong group today — in America! — can easily result in social death. Under antichrist, John says membership in the wrong group — those who do not join his system symbolized by accepting a “mark” become socially dead. “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” [Rev 13:17]. It couldn’t happen here only a decade ago. For 1900 years it couldn’t happen anywhere.

John was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God Who knew it would happen everywhere, one day, in a single generation, somewhere in time. This generation. It isn’t here yet. But it is fast approaching. You’d have to be blind to not see it coming. If it is this close, the Rapture of the Church is even closer. Where do you stand with Jesus?

Time is running out.

“This column first appeared on DATE HERE”

Israel Training With Tactical Nukes

Israel Training With Tactical Nukes
Vol: 74 Issue: 10 Saturday, November 10, 2007

The government of Israel has let it be known that Israeli Air Force pilots are currently undergoing training for a tactical NUCLEAR strike against Iran’s nuclear program to prevent Ahmadinejad from getting the Bomb.

The Israelis intend to use precision laser bombs followed up by low-yield tactical nuclear bunker-buster bombs to hit Iran’s hardened underground facilities. The training exercise calls for the use of two Israeli Air Force squadrons to carry out the attack.

The London Sunday Times quoted one of its sources saying, As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished.”

Israeli intelligence assessments conclude that conventional weapons won’t be enough to totally annihilate the three main targets, a uranium conversion plant near Isfahan, the heavy water reactor at Arak, and the Natanz facility that Ahmadinejad boasted now has 3,000 centrifuges online.

Israeli officials believe that destroying all three sites would delay Iran’s nuclear program for years and prevent the Jewish State from living in fear of sudden nuclear destruction from the east.

Noted Israel Insider, “Dr. Ephraim Sneh, the former deputy Israeli defense minister, said last month: “The time is approaching when Israel and the international community will have to decide whether to take military action against Iran.”

But he lamented that; “At the end of the day it is always down to the Jews to deal with the problem.”

The Insider also reported that the US “is believed to be backing away from military action in Iran, and the new US defense secretary, Robert Gates, has described a strike against Iranian targets as a “last resort”, leading Israelis to believe that it will be left to the IAF to strike.”

Moreover, the Insider said Israeli officials do not expect to get a green light from the US to use tactical nukes — the IAF intends to operate unilaterally as necessary.

Assessment:

If the IAF plans proceed to fruition, Israel will be the first nation to use a nuclear weapon against an enemy since the United States dropped “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945.

A number of US analysts believe that Israel leaked the story to the London Sunday Times deliberately as a message to Iran.

The Israeli Insider quoted one such analyst, who told them;

“In the cold war, we made it clear to the Russians that it was a virtual certainty that nukes would fly and fly early. Israel may be adopting the same tactics: ‘You produce a weapon; you die’.”

I don’t doubt that Israel wants Iran to know that it intends to deploy tactical nuclear weapons. Israel no doubt also wanted the world to know of its intentions in advance in order to gauge global reaction.

It is worth remembering that this story originated with the London Sunday Times, which is Great Britain’s answer to the New York Times as that nation’s newspaper of record — (except the London Times still has the international credibility once shared by the Gray Lady in New York).

The point is, this story is NOT some unsourced rumor picked up from an internet blog. It was the featured report in one of Great Britain’s oldest and most prestigious newspapers, read in capitals the world over.

And it reported that Israel was preparing for a first-use nuclear strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities! The world’s reaction was. . . it was . . well, ummm . . . I ran a Google news search on the keywords “Israel” “tactical” and “nuclear” to see.

There were TWO articles — one from YnetNews and the other from the Israel Insider. Both hyperlinked to the London Times report, but apart from that, there appears to be a deafening silence. No outraged editorials from the Saudis or Egyptians or from al-Jazeera. No protests in the streets.

In 1981, when Saddam was about to flip the switch that would bring his Osirek nuclear processing plant online, Israel began conducting training simulations that telegraphed their intention to destroy it.

The global reaction in 1981 was not unlike the reaction to the Times’ report. Even the Arabs remained silent, and in the decades since, there has been an unspoken acknowledgment that Israel did the world a favor.

It would seem the world is prepared to accept another favor from the Jewish State.

See y’all next week . . .

As noted yesterday, I am taking a week off beginning today. Starting Monday, we’ll run a retrospective series of columns, one from each year since the OL began publication in October, 2001, (which coincidentally, was the last time I’ve gone a whole week without being tethered to my laptop. I’m actually a bit apprehensive about it all).

Thanks so much for all the encouraging emails — you guys are the best!

I’ll be back to resume our normal publication schedule a week from Monday.

Maranatha!

Strengthening the Wrong Weakness

Strengthening the Wrong Weakness
Vol: 74 Issue: 9 Friday, November 9, 2007

According to a breathless three-line report in this morning’s Jerusalem Post, the Palestinian Authority has offered up a major concession; the JPost calls it a ‘breakthrough’ in negotiations.

It appears, (from this report) that the Palestinians have agreed to dismantle Palestinian terrorist groups as a precondition to being granted statehood. Indeed, the excitement level is so high I almost hate to point out that this is a breaking news story — from 2002.

Phase I of the Road Map for peace required the Palestinians to renounce terrorism and disband terrorist groups as a first step towards NEGOTIATIONS toward statehood.

Annapolis is evidently aimed at implementing the three phases of the Road Map for Peace in reverse, beginning at statehood and working backwards towards a civilized society.

On the other hand, elsewhere the JPost reported that Israel’s Shin Bet security service says that, “even if understandings are reached in Annapolis, the chances of implementing them in the field are almost zero.

“There is a total disconnection between the leadership and the Palestinian people,” said the document, and “the PA has no security apparatus capable of implementing agreements. The existing [security] forces are totally corrupt.”

When the government of Israel calls Abbas a weak leader, it is actually more an assessment of the led than it is of the leadership. Abbas is a ‘weak’ leader because his constituents prefer Hamas.

Hamas won a majority of seats in the last Palestinian election, not because Abbas was a weak leader, but because the Palestinian people didn’t want to be led in the direction he was taking them.

They chose, eyes wide open, the alternative choice of everlasting war with Israel offered them by Hamas.

Abbas remains a ‘weak’ leader because he is continuing to lead his people in a different direction than they want to go. Let’s contrast Abba’s ‘weak’ leadership against the comparatively ‘strong’ leadership of Yasser Arafat.

Arafat never missed an opportunity to remind his people privately in mosques and at refugee camps that any peace deal he signed with Israel fell under the category of ‘hudna’.

A hudna is a uniquely Islamic Arab term that means a temporary truce aimed at giving the enemy a false sense of security while providing a chance to rest and regroup one’s own forces.

Privately, Arafat never wavered from his Phased Plan for the Destruction of Israel, even as he denounced it publicly. In this, his most willing accomplices were the Israelis, who excused his ‘hudna’ speeches as political rhetoric aimed at mollifying the extremist elements among his people.

But the Palestinians knew Arafat was really mollifying the Israelis. Arafat’s goal was never a Palestinian state beside Israel, but a Palestinian state instead of Israel.

Arafat never lost the support of the Palestinians because Arafat was leading them in the direction that they wanted to go.

Now we come to Mahmoud Abbas. When Arafat died, Abbas decided to actually pursue a policy of side-by-side statehood. He stopped referring to signed agreements as ‘hudna’ agreements and urged ordinary Palestinians to contemplate the merits of a genuine peace deal.

When Abbas presented the Road Map to his people and announced he had signed off on ending terror and disarming the terrorists as the first step, his people realized that Abbas didn’t negotiate a ‘hudna’, but an agreement that he truly expected them to honor.

A ‘hudna’ assumes a resumption of hostilities once sufficiently regrouped and re-equipped. The Road Map required the ‘resistance’ to disband and disarm as a first step. That is NOT the direction that the people wanted to go.

And they said so in clear, unmistakeable and undeniably democratic terms, at the very first opportunity. Hamas ran on a platform of ‘hudna’ — which, it is is worth repeating, is a one-sided truce that assumes a resumption of hostilities.

The West insisted that the new Palestinian government embody the principles of democracy and reflect the will of the people. That’s exactly what they got.

Abbas offered them statehood and peace. Hamas PROMISED eternal warfare. They campaigned on a policy of absolute loyalty to the PLO’s Khartoum Agreement, famously called the “three ‘nos” — no negotiation, no peace, and no recognition.

Given the choices before them, the democratic majority of the Palestinian electorate elected the policies of Hamas over those of Abbas to represent them.

The Quartet and the Israelis make no secret of their low expectations, repeating at every opportunity the’weak leadership’ mantra to disguise the emerging reality that the whole conference is no more than a political photo-op.

It isn’t the leadership of Abbas that is weak. It is the Palestinian desire for peace.

Point of No Return

Point of No Return
Vol: 74 Issue: 8 Thursday, November 8, 2007

This week’s announcement by Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that his country now has 3,000 working centrifuge devices working marked a grim milestone in the ongoing Iranian nuclear crisis.

Until Iran’s announcement, a nuclear Iran was always just around the corner, but it was around the corner. Not anymore. Having 3,000 centrifuges up and running means the corner’s been turned.

Months ago, Iran laid out that number as a benchmark that its nuclear program aimed to achieve by the end of the year. Speaking in a nationally televised address, President Ahmadinejad said Iran’s nuclear fuel production program is “irreversible.”

He said Iran disregarded previous threats from the West over its nuclear activities, and carried on with its work. Now, he said, “We have 3,000 centrifuges.”

Uranium gas is enriched in cascades of centrifuges linked together. The result can be low-grade fuel used for generating electricity, or higher-grade fuel appropriate for nuclear weapons.

In the November issue of the US-based publication Arms Control Today, former UN weapons inspector David Albright and former State Department official Jacqueline Shire wrote that “it appears Iran’s uranium-enrichment program still has a way to go.”

They said then, “Iran has not yet demonstrated competency at enriching uranium,” but it is “clearly on the road toward doing so.”

But that was before Ahmadinejad announced he had three thousand working centrifuges.

U.S. nuclear proliferation experts say 3,000 centrifuges properly linked could theoretically produce enough highly enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb in about a year.

In making yesterday’s announcement, Ahmadinejad confirmed that Iran had passed the nuclear point of no return. What it means is that the West has a window of opportunity that will be completely closed within a year.

For that reason, Pentagon officials told the London Times yesterday that, “Israel could ‘do something’ when they [Iran] gets to 3,000 working centrifuges. The Pentagon is minded to wait a little longer.”

Confirming that assessment, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak emerged from a cabinet level security meeting to reiterate Israel’s position that it cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran. Talks never did, and never will, stop rockets, Barak told reporters.

To give some sense of the feverish pace being maintained by Iran’s nuclear technicians, in April, Ahmadinejad had only 328 centrifuges up and running.

All the estimates that projected Iran could have a working nuclear device by the ‘end of the decade’ (three years from now) have been based on the production capacity of 300 odd working centrifuges.

In 2004, the International Atomic Energy Commission projected that, if something wasn’t done to stop Iran’s nuclear program, Iran would be a nuclear state within a matter of a decade or so. In 2006, that estimate was revised downward from ‘decades’ to ‘years’.

With yesterday’s announcement, those estimates are now being expressed in terms of ‘months’.

Assessment:

It all boils down to this simple equation: If Israel doesn’t destroy Iran’s nuclear program, Iran’s nuclear program will destroy Israel. There is no nation in history whose existence ever faced a more immediate, or more mortal threat, than the one now facing Israel.

In the event of a nuclear exchange with Iran, the United States would most probably survive, albeit in a greatly weakened form. But Americans are an industrious people — there is little doubt that the survivors would rebuild.

Even Iran, given its size and the protection afforded much of the country by its mountain ranges, would probably survive intact, although soundly defeated.

But as Golda Meir observed so poignantly during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, “The Arabs can fight, and lose, and come back to fight another day. Israel can only lose once.” That was true in 1973. It is even more true in 2007.

But in 1973, it was the Israeli state that risked national destruction. In 2007, what is at stake is the continued existence of the Jewish race.

What it means is this: The United States can afford to adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude; it would be dangerous to do so, but not necessarily fatal. But for Israel, every hour that it waits increases its vulnerability.

Let’s take a look at the overall strategic situation from Israel’s point of view. While Israel waits, Iran continues to arm and equip Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.

US intelligence estimates that Hezbollah now has ten times as many rockets in its arsenal as it did prior to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War. Hamas has turned Gaza into an armed military encampment as heavy weapons and Iranian Revolutionary Guards continue to flow into the region through Egypt and Syria.

Although it would be unthinkably costly, it is at least possible that Israel could fight off a concerted attack on three fronts — but the fear of risking an Iranian nuclear strike would slow Israel’s response, possibly enough to ensure Israel’s defeat by conventional forces.

And if Israeli forces were to prevail against the land armies assembled against them, their victory would last as long only as it takes for a nuclear warhead to travel from Iran to Tel Aviv. It is a nightmare scenario.

So it seems pretty clear that, for Israel, at least, waiting is not an option.

From the perspective of Bible prophecy, the Prophet Ezekiel predicts the rise in the last days of an Islamic alliance against Israel, led by Persia, or modern-day Iran.

Ezekiel’s narrative concludes with what appears to be a nuclear conflagration that takes place somewhere among the mountains of Israel, but it is the invaders who are the targets.

“And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.” (Ezekiel 38:21-22)

It seems unlikely Moscow will risk a direct nuclear confrontation with the West over Mahmoud Ahamadinejad. The Russians think he’s as crazy as we do. And in Ezekiel’s scenario, it is Gog-Magog who gets nuked, not Israel.

Most of the nations included by Ezekiel in that alliance would dance for joy at Israel’s destruction, and some of them would eagerly sign up right now.

Except that, at the moment, most of the Gog-Magog nations are just as frightened by the prospect of a nuclear Iran as Israel is. The majority of the Gog-Magog nations are ethnic Arab states.

Iranians are not Arabs, but Persians. And there are three thousand years of bad blood that exist between the Arab and Persian cultures.

The only common thread between the Arabs and the Persians is Islam.

Even Russia, who Ezekiel says will ultimately lead that alliance into battle, opposes letting Iran get the bomb.

Moscow is only interested in squeezing as much cash out of its nuclear deal with Iran as possible before the hammer comes down on Ahmadinejad’s nuclear program.

Following Ezekiel’s scenario, two things become immediately apparent. The first is that Gog-Magog’s Iran [Persia] is NOT a nuclear nation. A nuclear Iran would not need to participate in ground invasion of Israel. Neither would it need Russia’s assistance in destroying Israel.

The second thing that jumps out is that neither will an Israeli air strike against Iran result in Iran’s destruction, which seems to rule out the use of nuclear weapons against Iran in any upcoming conflict. Ezekiel says Iran survives to fight another day.

On the other hand, a crippling strike against Iran by Israel would not only remove the Iranian nuclear threat, it would also remove the one existing barrier to the formation of Ezekiel’s alliance, uniting the Arabs and Persians under the banner of Islam.

So, it would appear that the scenario unfolding before us is most probably NOT Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog War – there are at this moment still too many loose ends that remain untied. But Israel could tie up almost all of them at one blow by taking out Iran’s nuclear program.

In summary, I’d have to say that, while this is most probably not Ezekiel’s final scenario, it does mark the point of no return on the road to it.

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